Welcome to Wednesday Briefs, where authors post free fiction of 1000 words or less each week. I used this prompt: use time in your story in some way.
After some serious cuddle time, I dressed. Hope watched me, his head tilted slightly upward and his ears pricked up. Shane would've loved this small creature, even though Hope wasn't really all that small. He'd be a large dog when he was fully grown.
His size didn't matter. We—no, I—owned the condo, and a German Shepherd would fit without trouble. I turned toward the window in the bedroom, swallowing hard. What the hell had happened with me in less than twenty-four hours? How did I go from suicidal thoughts to planning how a puppy would fit into my life? The life I'd considered giving up only a short time ago?
I squeaked when Hope's cold and wet nose nudged my hand. “Hey! You don't like when my attention is on anything other than you, huh?”
Hope tried to climb up my jeans-clad leg, which even with the protective layer, hurt.
“All right, all right! You're confusing yourself with a lapdog but come here anyway.” I laughed when he flung himself into my open arms, wriggling and yipping. I buried my face in Hope's soft fur and inhaled his scent.
Reluctantly, I calmed him down and set him back on the floor. “We need to get you some food, and I need to ask around if someone's missing you. Oh, and we need a collar and a leash. How about you stay for an hour and I go fetch everything?”
I didn't mention to Hope that this would be the first time I willingly left the house without someone threatening me or dragging me out. Hope growled at me; a long-drawn, vibration that went right through my bones. Wincing, I crouched down and petted his head. “Do you know how freaky it is for you to understand me? Or at least for you to appear to understand me? Anyway, we need all these things and I can't just keep you without looking for your owner first. Look at you! You're in good shape, someone must miss you.”
Hope lifted his forepaws and rested them on my knees before he gently, almost lovingly, rubbed his head against my cheek. I'd miss him too if someone claimed him. I knew I would. The thought of giving Hope up had me sweating.
“You must be hungry.” I tried again.
Hope simply pushed his body between my knees and shoved his head underneath my chin, whimpering. I choked. Shane had done the very same whenever he felt off-kilter or wanted me to comfort him. Sometimes he'd used the exact same position when he didn't want to deal with something unpleasant.
“Don't do that, please,” I whispered. “Don't remind me of him.”
Hope withdrew from my grasp, his large eyes shining even more. I never thought a puppy could pull off a hurt look, but Hope did.
I closed my eyes, then rose to my feet and staggered out of the bedroom. Hope whizzed past me. What was he up to?
I scratched my head as I thought about the whereabouts of my car keys. They weren't on their usual place, at the hook near the front door, and they weren't in any of the jackets hanging in the floor wardrobe.
Hope busied himself with whatever but suddenly a tinkling sound caught my attention. Frowning, I watched Hope passing me with his head ducked low.
Hope fell into a run and I scurried after him, almost tripping over old newspapers and dirty dishes. The house was a mess! And now, my puppy seemed to have found my car keys—as incredible as it sounded.
“Hope! Give me the keys!” I shouted.
He looked back and indeed, my car keys dangled from his snout. Unbelievable! Even more unbelievable was the fact that Hope squeezed himself under the sofa. I followed him and lifted the hem of the fabric to peer at him. Hope lay pressed on his belly, with the keys between his paws. When I reached out to grab , he put one forepaw on them, a triumphant gleam in his dark eyes.
For a moment time stood still and I just stared at him. Then I burst out laughing.