Fic snippet: A Pleasant Afternoon

WiP: WRE fic snippet. Romaine and El spend a lazy Sunday together. (Note: Armand is Romaine’s middle name.)

coffee magazine
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After lunch they slumped on El’s sofa, drank more wine, listened to some music. El put the TV on and found a showing of Princess Bride, the movie only five minutes in, and they watched the rest. Halfway through El served up generous slices of chocolate cake and made coffee.

When El had finished her cake she tucked herself up on the sofa, feet on the cushion, knees against Romaine’s leg, one arm against his, sharing his warmth.

After the movie, Romaine stretched, sorry to dislodge El but feeling stiff. “Fancy a walk?”

She nodded. “Want me to walk the Wolf?”

“Would you? Thanks.”

Romaine went upstairs to get ready, El saying she needed to use the toilet, tie up her hair, and find a coat.

A few minutes later she came to meet him, pushing open the door which he’d left ajar. She was wearing a grey hoodie with the slogan “I am a cat” on it and the hood even had little ears sewed on it. Romaine, now in wolf form, snorted at the hiding in plain sight pun and then used his nose to nudge the collar and lead he’d found from a bottom drawer and put on the coffee table.

El put the collar on him but not too tightly. The lead was a slip lead, a green and white striped cord with a leather stopper which she didn’t bother to adjust since he wouldn’t be pulling at her, and a large hand holder loop.

“Keys?” she asked. Romaine whined, having forgot about that and gestured to the key box.

El picked up his keys and slid them into her pocket alongside her own, clipped to the belt loop on her trousers for security.

She pulled the door so it locked behind them. On the way out, they met Mrs Calloway, just coming back in with a newspaper tucked beneath her arm.

“Oh this must be that beautiful dog,” Mrs Calloway said. “Can I pet him?”

El glanced down at Romaine. He gave what passed for a nod and pulled forward a little.

“Sure,” El said.

Mrs Calloway crouched down and stroked Romaine’s head between his ears. “Who’s a lovely boy, yes you are, aren’t you! So big and handsome. What’s his name?”

El hesitated only for a moment. “Armand.”

“Oh, that’s lovely.” Mrs Calloway stood with only minor difficulty. “Where’s his owner?”

“Romaine had to work,” El improvised. “I said I’d walk Armand for him.”

“It’ll be nice, them having you around,” Mrs Calloway said approvingly. “Well have a good walk. I’m going to go and make a nice cup of tea.”

As they walked to the park, El said, “Sorry about that. Hope you didn’t mind.”

Romaine lifted his nose and snuffled at the palm of her hand, reassuring her.

There were a few people in the park, an older couple walking hand in hand, a cyclist who went whizzing by wearing a hi-vis jacket, a young woman jogging. El took them along a curving path to a large patch of grass and slipped off the lead.

Romaine ran around, enjoying the freedom. He circled the grass, coming back to El frequently as an obedient dog would do. A woman in her thirties came along with her dog, some sort of Staffordshire cross. The dog sat down next to her owner, unsure what to make of Romaine. Some dogs were terrified of Wolves, knowing the difference between dog and Wolf, some went on the defensive, while others didn’t seem to care.

“Is he friendly?” the woman asked.

“Yes,” El said, the lead in one hand, the other tucked into the pocket of her hoodie.

Romaine trotted over and rolled over, showing the dog his belly as sign of trust.

“Go on, Trixie,” the woman coaxed. Reluctant, Trixie edged forward and sniffed at Romaine. He stayed still and, satisfied, Trixie wagged her tail.

Romaine and Trixie played for a while, he being careful of the dog’s small size. While some might have disdained to interact with a dog, Romaine saw no difference than a human playing games with their pet, or an adult with a child.

The woman whistled. “Come on, Trixie.”

Trixie trotted back over, had her lead clipped to her collar. The woman said goodbye to El and headed off towards the north gate of the park. Romaine padded over to El, ready to leave also.

“You had fun?”

He nuzzled at her and she laughed.

When they got back home he shifted back, pulling his trousers on without underwear. “Thanks, El.”

“Any time. I guess I should go back home.”

“You sure? You can stay a while longer. I was going to shower and then make tea. You can put the kettle on while I shower.”

El hesitated. “I don’t want you to get sick of me. And I’ve got a few things I need to do on the laptop. Next time though?”

“Sure. You know where I am if you change your mind.”

“Thanks, Rommie. I’ll see you tomorrow. We can drive to work together.”

When she’d left, he took a shower, enjoying the hot water, and shifted halfway through to let the Wolf enjoy a wash too.

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