37 with Tom Holland
37: Volunteering together
“Babe, I know we have a lot on our plate, so I’m only going to ask you this one last time.”
Your eyes snap open, hands shielding your face from the sun. Beside you is your boyfriend, gauging your expression carefully as he smoothed down the ears of the dog that sat in between his legs. The energetic little thing (Beowulf, named for his rugged look and wolf like features) has a yellow bandana tied to his neck, indicating that he’s one of the many dogs in this park that belongs to the local humane society. The two of you have to be back any moment with this gorgeous young husky, whose eyes blink up at you adoringly.
You know what Tom is going to ask. “Babe,” you say, but it sounds more like you’re trying to persuade yourself. “We’ve got a lot going on.”
“I know, but hear me out,” he says this while holding the dogs hands up in a placating gesture. You almost melt into his whims right then and there. “Look at him.”
“Let’s walk him back and then talk about it?” you say this while sitting up, wrapping your hand tightly around Beowulf’s leash. Tom groans, but none the less stands, Beowulf yawning and padding around his feet. For a shelter dog, his manners were near perfect, and his training seemed to be complete.
“How could a dog like you not have an owner?” you asked Beowulf in an odd voice, one that made Tom stare at you in awe and admiration. He liked this really loving, soft side of you; one that played with animals in cute voices and wore your hair up in a sporty ponytail. He couldn’t imagine volunteering as a date could make him fall even deeper in love with you, but there you were, crouching beside the most adorable husky in the world, eyes wide and smile bright.
He wanted to see this image all the time. He wanted to adopt Beowulf so badly. Partly because he missed having a dog after moving to the states, but also because it felt so domestic. Married couples had dogs, families had dogs.
The word family rung in his head as the two of you walked Beowulf back to the shelter. You were listing out reasons why adopting him would be costly. (“Not just in money, but in time. What if we aren’t always there for him. Owning a dog is new to me. Plus, we just live in an apartment, is that going to be enough room for him to grow?”)
All of your points were (probably) valid, but when it was Tom’s turn to hold the leash, he couldn’t help but let his true feelings show. “If we get this dog,” he started, wetting his lips as if to give him the courage to continue. “It’ll feel like we’re a family.”
You blinked at him, your face emotionless until he saw a glimmer in your eyes. Perhaps happiness, maybe even tears, but you looked away quickly, smiling and biting the inside of your cheek.
And then, cheekily, you replied “I hope you don’t mind shelling out money for food and toys, cause we’re getting the dog.”