Amy, Rex and Mike
'Do you like dogs?' Mike put his coffee cup down and looked straight at me.
'Dogs?' I twirled my apple around in my fingers wondering where this random was leading.
'You know, four paws, big floppy ears, barks a lot.'
'I've met one or two,' I answered him cautiously. 'Why?'
'Only Lauren has asked if I could have Rex for the weekend…'
Wheels were turning in my head. 'And who might Rex be?' I was already fairly certain that Rex wasn't human.'
Was Mike looking sheepish or was it my imagination? 'Oh.'
'And she wants to bring him over on Friday.'
'That's nice,' I already had a really good idea of where this was going. 'Only?' I raised my eyebrows in Mike's direction but trying not to laugh at his obvious discomfort was becoming difficult.
Mike took a deep breath. 'Only…'
'It's fine Mike,' I told him as I watched relief wash over him.
'Really,' I told him. 'Rex can stay with me for the weekend.'
'I would have taken him, but we're not allowed pets – especially dogs.'
'So why did you agree?' I was intrigued. 'Couldn’t you just have said no?'
'You haven't met Lauren yet, have you?'
I shook my head thinking that the closest I had coming to meeting any of Mike's family was the doorman at his apartment.
'She's a whirlwind in a tornado,' Mike was still looking anxious.
I was actually thinking it would be nice to have some doggy company. I had grown up with dogs but Mum and Dad had got to the stage where they preferred weekends away to walking a dog on a wet and windy day.
'Really?' Mike was smiling. 'You'll take Rex?'
'It's fine,' I was thinking that Mike had a really lovely smile. 'Only …'
A frown crossed his face.
'… you'll have to come and help.'
The smile was back. 'I can bring him over on Friday and stay – if you'd like…'
A thousand different emotions cascaded over me. There was excitement at being able to spend a whole weekend with Mike, nervousness at being responsible for someone else's dog followed by panic at the realisation that I only have one bed. I could ask Mike to sleep on the sofa but somehow that seemed – rude.
'That would be great,' What was I doing? I took a deep breath. I was doing exactly what I wanted. I really did want to spend the weekend with Mike, even we did have a cute little pooch in tow. In fact, I couldn't think of anything better. As to everything else, I'd just wait and see what happened.
I looked out of the window again. Mike had said that he would come over with Rex about 6 o'clock and it was already ten passed. I had taken the afternoon off week, cleaned the apartment from top to bottom and then spent an hour soaking in a rose-scented bubble bath. I had shaved my legs (and various other bits), washed and styled my hair and now I was as model perfect as I could be. I had even found time to paint my toenails in a racy red. I still wasn't happy with the body I saw looking back at me in the mirror but I was working on it. There was only one thing that was really bothering me and I knew that I would do everything in my power to make sure that it didn't happen. There was no way that I was going to let Mike see me naked. I still had far too many lumpy, wobbly bits and my tummy was too big, well, too big without my magic pants. I had done everything I could to make myself feel good but Mike always made me feel confident and pretty and that was exactly what I needed in my life now. I still couldn't believe how I had let Paul undermine my confidence for all those years.
I watched an old Land Rover pull up outside thinking that I was already half in love with Mike and was busy wondering if Mike felt the same way. That thought was abruptly pushed out of my head as a huge beast of a brute bailed out of the car quickly followed by Mike. As I watched Mike grabbed hold of a lead that looked more like a tow rope and was dragged halfway down the street. I stood frozen to the spot. I wasn't even sure that the Hound of the Baskervilles would fit in my little apartment – I had been expecting something cute and cuddly, like a little spaniel.
There was a knock on my door followed by the sound of claws scrabbling on the hard tiles in the hallway. I opened the door to find Mike clutching the rope and gasping for breath. I had a feeling that the beast had dragged Mike up the stairs in a single bound.
'Amy,' Mike gasped. 'Meet Rex.'
Up close, Rex was actually quite adorable. His fur was sleek and smooth shimmering somewhere between a deep grey and black. He had a crazy white patch on his chest and he was currently holding his head on one side with his big ears flopping over his face. He was looking at me like I was the best thing that he had ever seen – either that or he wanted to eat me. I wasn't sure which as I looked at Mike.
'I thought you said you were bringing Lauren's dog over?'
Mike looked a little guilty. 'Did I forget to mention that Rex is a Great Dane?'
I put my hands on my hips, nodding furiously. 'You also forgot to mention that you were bringing a dinosaur.'
'He's a lovely dog,' Mike was clearly trying to make peace.
'What on earth possessed Lauren to get such a huge … dog?' I was curious.
'No one else wanted him.'
I looked at Rex and rubbed his head noticing that his huge tail wacked Mike in the shins. He winced.
'He's really friendly too,' Mike tried to step out of the way of Rex's swishing tail.
'It's not that,' I glanced over my shoulder at my apartment. 'I'm just not sure that he'll fit.'
Ten minutes later, one broken vase and a trail of destruction had led us to the lounge which was the only room where we all fit. I was sitting on the sofa next to Rex who had his head in my lap and was looking up at adoringly. Mike was on the hard floor, rubbing the bruises on his shins.
'This,' I told Mike as I scratched Rex's ears, isn't how I imagined this weekend going.'
Mike looked at me over Rex. 'Me neither,' he said. 'Me neither.'