My cocker spaniel, Shiloh, is crazy. Now this isn’t news to us, we’ve known it since she hooted like an owl the entire way home from the breeders. We’ve known this since we had to run her up and down the hill outside our house as a puppy so she would be tired enough to go to sleep at night. We’ve known this since I had to sleep on the floor next to her little puppy crate with my hand through the grating so she would stop barking and settle down. So this is not new. (She now sleeps in a crate in the bedroom while all other pups are down in the kitchen because if she doesn’t she barks all night.
But tonight she has gone beyond her usual craziness. Tonight she is barking at nothing. She keeps wandering to the short hall between the living room and kitchen and barking at the ceiling. Then she runs to the couch and barks at the hall. There are no mirrors, lights or shadows that we can see to explain her sudden psycho behavior. Then after being hollered at by me, she is wandering back and forth from the kitchen to the living room whining. At present she is staring at the ceiling of the hallway with great intensity, then at a corner of the living room, then back to the hall and so on and so forth.
Perhaps it’s the storm that is trying to break outside that has her stirred up. Or maybe the fact that the alpha dog was up at 4:30 in the morning working. Who knows. None of the other dogs are the slightest bit interested. Two are sleeping on my feet and a third is sprawled out on the couch sleeping.
I’ve been suffering from completion-phobia. I’m avoiding finishing my current WIP. The story is only two chaps from done, but I can’t seem to work on it. I’ve picked up the story that will follow that one and have begun working on it. *shrugs* I just hate finishing things up. I don’t know why.
Now I started writing this blog last night, and it is now the following afternoon. Yep, I’m want to do wild and crazy things like that. Life is so very exciting when you’re me.
Tomorrow is Monday. I truly despise Mondays. They come along just as I get into the groove of being me again and suck all the fun and happiness out of my week. You see I am basically nocturnal. I don’t get going until the sun goes down. Unfortunately my school does not subscribe to this theory and has the horrible demand that I show up by 8am every morning. Not bad you say? Well it wouldn’t be if I didn’t live so far away from my place of employment. I have to rise at the unholy hour of 5am, leave the house by 6am to arrive in time. Ten minutes late and I’ll be squealing into the parking lot at 8:04 am just ahead of the homeroom bell. I hate Atlanta traffic.
In the summers I become completely nocturnal. I am up all night until my SO gets up for work. After seeing my dearest off, I go to bed and sleep the morning and early afternoon away. I awake just in time to welcome home the weary worker and receive the glares and grumbles that are unjustly slung at my obviously just woken up self. I the summers I become the owl I was born to be. But during the year I’m stuck trying to force my body into the mold of the lark.
Yes, I am aware that very little of what I’ve actually typed makes any sense. That’s the beauty of it. I don’t have to make sense. It’s my blog. So to make up for it, I offer an excerpt.
Measure of Healing:
Working together they carried the crate into the small bedroom in the back of the house. Alejandro noticed the Spartan décor. The bed was stripped to the mattress and a couple of blankets were stacked on it. The room had a bedside table and rather than a dresser, a shelving unit. All of it bare. There was one picture, its plastic frame affixed to the wall by screws at all four corners. A small clearing in the Everglades met his eye. Brie opened the door to the crate.
“I cleared everything out of here when I came to get the 4Runner,” she responded to the question he didn’t ask.
“Will it take long to clear out the closet?” Alejandro leaned against the wall of the room. Brie watched him shift slightly against the wall as if he were stiff and was stretching. If he was doing what she thought he was doing she’d slap him.
“I’m not clearing the closet,” she walked over and pulled on the door. The latch was tight.
Alejandro frowned. “You’re not going to give him a place to hide are you?”
“No,” she turned to face him. “We’ll leave the crate with the blanket for a day or two then I’m taking it out as well.”
He opened his mouth to protest but stopped when she glared pointedly at him. “You said you wouldn’t interfere in this.”
“You’re sure about this? That this is the right thing?” He couldn’t help it. His mind kept telling him how stupid it was to trust a human to know what was right.
It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him if he didn’t trust her, she could have him and the boy back on the plane in a matter of hours or just open the back door and toss them both out. Instead she forced herself to see past his skepticism and his suspicion. She counted to ten, twice. She told herself he was worried about Tomás and that that was to his credit.
“I’m sure,” she said through tight lips. “He’ll be better if he wakes up alone,” she motioned to the door.
Alejandro frowned at her again. “Alone in a strange place?”
“Not entirely strange. The scents will not be threatening. He will stay in the crate most of tonight and tomorrow, unless I miss my guess.” She looked pointedly at the man, “And I never miss my guess.
“Then he’ll start exploring the room. Something he’ll feel freer to do if there is no one around.” She walked out of the room and he followed, closing the door behind him.
“What if he hurts himself? You’re just going to leave him in there for the next few hours unsupervised, unmonitored?” This was not right. He was a child, cat form or no. You didn’t leave a child unattended for that long. Especially one you had drugged.
“No, I’m not. That’s where you come in.” She’d been thinking about this on the drive in. If she was stuck with him, he might as well be useful.
Alejandro relaxed. Was she being deliberately obtuse? “You want me to stay with him.” He stated, finally understanding. The woman should have just said so.
“No.” She met his eye unflinchingly. “You are not to step foot in that room until I say you can. Those are the terms, Cougar. Take them or go.”
When he didn’t answer but stared at her, eyes blazing, she snorted angrily, “Look, do we really have to do this crap or is there enough human in you to realize that we’re talking about a living child and not a deer carcass that you’re protecting? Because, Cougar, you are either going to help or stay out of my way.”
She didn’t even blink when the low growl came from his throat. “No one who didn’t birth me or raise me ever talks to me like that, lady. And even they don’t talk to me like that any more.”
“Oooh,” she rolled her eyes. “Big scary Cougar-man is angry.” She stood tall and actually stepped closer to him. “See me tremble.”
She was either the bravest human he’d ever known or the most foolish. His brothers and sisters backed off before they pushed him too far. Even his father seemed to know how far to press him.
“Don’t push me, lady.” He stepped up to her and glared down into her face. Even as he did it, he knew she wouldn’t be intimidated.
“Why? What are you going to do about it?” she smirked at him. A little more, she thought, just a little more and we’ll know.
“Are you stupid?” he moved closer, forcing her to back into the hall wall to avoid making contact with him. He braced his hands on the surface to either side of her head. “Little doctor I could rip your throat out before you could even scream.”
“I’d like to see you try it.” She sneered. Alejandro narrowed his gaze and watched her. She was amazing. She wasn’t afraid of his threats. His proximity bothered her. Hell, it bothered him. But he smelled no fear, no hesitation in her. If he wasn’t so angry he’d damn well be impressed.
“As tempted as I am,” he stepped back and turned away from her. “I won’t.”
There it was. What she wanted to know. “Why? How do I know you won’t get pissed off later and kill me in my sleep?”
“Because I said I wouldn’t,” the words came out loud but he stopped them from becoming a full yell. “On the plane I told you I wouldn’t hurt you.”
“And because you never have,” she said softly.
The change in her tone turned him around. Her face was calm and emotionless but her eyes held a shrewd look. Her voice, when she spoke was almost gentle and it ran down his spine as if it physically stroked him. “You’ve never attacked anyone, have you?”
“I’ve had my share of fights and I’ve got the scars to prove it.” He watched the startling blue eyes watch him.
“But you’ve never attacked. You’ve defended yourself but you’ve never attacked.” She said the words as if she knew them to be absolutely true. With humans that was to be expected. But she could feel it in him. He’d never even attacked another Cougar, never challenged another male.
“What does that matter?”
“It matters a great deal,” Brie smiled inwardly. She didn’t trust him. Trusting a Cougar got you dead, or worse. But she didn’t have to sleep with a gun under her pillow. When the time came that he hurt her it would be because he had no choice or didn’t understand the consequences of his actions. He might be the cause of her death but she now believed he wouldn’t be the instrument of it. Then again maybe that’s why he’s here, she thought. It wasn’t the first time this had occurred to her. Maybe he’s a part of it or maybe he’s just an innocent pawn. She was wondering more and more if the whole thing weren’t a set up. Wondering if the Cougars hadn’t gotten tired of waiting. His presence here would give them all the impetus they needed to finish what they started all those years ago.