Pair meet each going to adopt a puppy at a shelter
Dex had just finished taking the last of the older dogs for their walk and had settled them in their kennel with a rawhide when he heard the bell over the door chime. Cursing because he was hot and sweaty and doing an amazing impression of a tomato, Dex hurried up to the front, hoping it was someone who actually planned to adopt. When he stepped out, he was not at all prepared for someone that attractive to be waiting and checking out the pictures of the animals.
Dex hung up the leash in his hand and tried to remember how to do his job. “Um…hi. Can I help you?”
Dex and the hot guy were about the same height so it meant that when the hot guy turned around, he could stare right into eyes that seemed to sparkle with concealed amusement. “Yeah, I wanted to adopt a dog.”
“Great!” Dex put on his brightest smile and moved out from behind the counter. “If you follow me, I can take you to the kennel. We’ve got lots of great dogs looking for a great owner.”
As he opened the door, Dex cringed. He’d been so flustered by that 5 o’clock shadow and the tattoo on a strong, muscled arm that he’d forgotten to ask for a name or even give his own. “I’m Dex, by the way. If you have any questions, I mean.”
There was a soft chuckle from behind him. “I’m Derek, though my team calls me Nursey.”
The moment they walk into the kennel all the dogs start barking at the newcomer and Dex smiles. He loves seeing them all get excited and eager for someone to possibly take them home.
Once the dogs had quieted down, Dex asked. “Team?”
Derek smiled at him and Dex felt his heart start to beat faster. “I’m on the Samwell hockey team. Just got offered a room at the Haus and after a bit of prodding and pleading, I got them to agree to let me have a dog.”
“Well, I’m sure we can find the perfect dog for you and your team.”
“I hope so. I want all the guys to think that I’m chill and nothing gets to me, you know? And I think a dog will help me stay relaxed.” Derek’s cheeks went red. “I’m going to shut up now and stop rambling.”
Dex gave Derek a genuine smile. “No. It’s okay. I definitely understand. It’s part of why I started working here. Being around the dogs really helps. My friends say I can be a little high strung and..” Dex peeked over at Derek and bit his lip, “and you don’t need to know all that. You go to Samwell too?”
“Yup! I’m a sophomore and still have no idea what major I want to pick.” Derek nudged Dex with his shoulder. “Now show me some dogs. Maybe someone who’s as ‘chill’ as I like to pretend to be?”
“Do you like big dogs? Little dogs? Certain breeds?” Dex pointed to a few of the kennels and when he didn’t get a response, he remembered a pair of dogs who had recently been abandoned. He reached out for Derek’s hand and pulled him over. “Actually, I think I have just the dog for you.”
Inside the kennel, Dex brought Derek to was a sleepy basset hound and another larger dog which seemed to be a mutt. “Josie here is probably one of the most ‘chill’ dogs we’ve ever had come in. I think she might be perfect for you. Do you want to meet her?”
Derek blushed and knelt down to get a good look at Josie. She lifted her head and regarded the newcomer before shuffling over and sniffing at Derek’s outstretched hand before letting out a soft bark. “Yeah. That would be nice.”
“Stay right here and I’ll grab a leash.” Dex could hear Derek talking quietly to Josie as he fetched the leash and when he came back, Derek was sitting on the floor in front of the kennel, still talking. “You two seem close already.”
Derek stood and let Dex get Josie out of the kennel. He ran a hand through his hair and Dex watched the hand a moment, almost forgetting to hand over the leash. Once Derek had the leash, Josie padded around his legs and sat.
Derek knelt again and ran a hand over Josie’s ears and sighed. “I think you’re right.” Josie licked at Derek’s fingers and Derek smiled. “She’s the one. I’ll take her.”
“Great! Follow me out to the front and we’ll get you set up. Josie here has already been spayed and her shots are up to date. So there’s not too much you need to do.”
As they walked toward the front, there was a bark from the kennel Josie had been in and both Derek and Dex looked over to see Josie’s mate scratching at the door.
“What’s his story?”
“Jack? He and Josie came from the same house. We figure they were friends and lived in the same house. They’ve been close since they came in.”
Derek’s face fell. “I’d hate to separate them. Especially since they were raised together.”
Dex bit his lip. “Actually, you don’t have to worry. I was planning on adopting Jack soon.”
Derek beamed at Dex, happiness sparkling from his eyes. He took a step closer to Dex and leaned in close. “That’s great! Maybe we could get the dogs together to let them play?”
Dex knew his face was red again, but the way Derek’s words moved over his skin was electric. “I’d like that. After we fill out your paperwork, I can give you my number?”
“I’d like that.” Derek followed Dex out front and filled out the paperwork. Once he’d finished, he looked up to find Dex holding out a post-it note. “What’s that?”
“My number. If you still want it.”
Dex started to pull his hand back, but Derek caught him and took the post-it. “I do. Was gonna hand you my phone so you could put your number in, but this definitely works too.”
Running a hand through his hair, Dex tried to think of any reason to get Derek to stay a little longer. “I hope everything works out with Josie. She’s a great dog.”
Josie was leaning against Derek’s legs, tongue lolling out happily. “I think she’s going to be the perfect fit.” Derek took a deep breath and look Dex in the eye. “I know this is probably stupid, but is there any way you would want to come with me and help me pick out some supplies? That is if you’re done here or could take a break?”
“I can do that. Let me just tell my boss. My shift’s just about done anyway.”
Derek’s face lit up and he shooed Dex toward the door. “Go, go.”
Dex laughed and hurried back to let his boss know he was leaving and then hurried back to where Derek was waiting. “We’re all set. There’s a pet store just down the street that has a great selection.”
They walked out together, Josie plodding along behind them.