“No, no, no! Do not do this. Come on Triton,” I beg as I push him by his rear out the front door.He grunts, stopping to lie down on the doormat panting. Looking up at me with his big caramel eyes, he pleads: ‘Help me mama.’
I huff and blow my bangs out of my eyes. Darn dog plays me like a fiddle. “Please Triton, mama will give you a cookie.” I step in front of him, bracing my legs, and tug on his leash. “Baby come on, let’s go bye bye’s,” I plead with him.
His response is a groan and then he flops down on his side.
“Ugh…don’t do this now!” I growl down at him with my hands fisted on my hips.
He wags his tail twice and paws at the air before me.
“King Triton, you get up right now! You are a bad boy.” I use my stern voice with him.
He wags his tail and then lets out a whimper.
I furrow my brows and get down on my knees, bending over him, “Come on baby, the doctor is going to fix you right up,” I whisper as I scratch his face.
He responds with a grunt and licks my face, “Lord your breath stinks. What the hell did you eat today?” If only he could answer, my life would be so much easier right now.
I push myself up off the floor and stand on my porch looking around. Even with Triton being a pain in the ass, the beauty of my new neighborhood is breathtaking. Surrounded by mountains and wildlife, it’s idyllic and I drink it in, the crisp morning air filling my lungs. The moment I stepped foot into the town it felt like home. My Mom was right when she said I belonged back here. Her home town. My shoulders slump as I still feel the loss of my parents.
A chorus of shouts fill the air and pulls me from my sorrow. I grumble to myself, “Perfect location, right next to a field. My lily white ass it is.”
Triton lets out another grunt.
“Right, focus Sophia,” I tell myself. What the heck was I thinking getting a dog this big? “Come on boy you have to get up, mama can’t lift you.” I tug on his leash again and he doesn’t move an inch, just lets out a sigh.
I look across the street, to the ‘field.’ It’s seven am, on a Saturday no less, and high school football practice is already in full swing. I swallow and thank baby Jesus that in the week since I’ve been here, I haven’t shrieked at the boys or Mr. Holy Hotness their coach for being so loud in the mornings. Plus, who am I kidding? I’ve enjoyed watching him work out with the kids.
“Hello, can one of you boys help me?” My voice echoes across the street.
Fifty something heads turn my way. Oh.
I lift my chin up higher. “Can someone help me lift my dog? Please?”
Heads turn as they look back to their stoic coach who’s flipping through a book, studying it behind dark sunglasses. He looks up and nods his head once at the group of boys and they’re off.
Three boys come running across the street, one steps ahead of the others.
“Hello ma’am, I’m Bobby. That is Pete and Bubba.” He says as he points to the other two.
“Hey guys, I’m Sophia Brown.”
“Hello Sophia,” says Bubba in a high-pitched voice as his feet shuffle back and forth.
Bobby smacks him in the arm, “Your mama would have your head.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Brown.” Pete says.
Miss Brown? I can’t be much older than these boys. I press my lips together to hold my laughter back. Triton grunts on the floor bringing the attention back to him. I kneel down beside him.
“Is he a Saint Bernard?” Bubba asks.
“No, he’s a Bernese Mountain Dog.”
Triton’s tail thumps against the door.
I shake my head and murmur, “Good boy.” I scratch his face and then look up at the boys. “Can you help me get him into the truck?” I point over to it in the driveway.
“Sure,” Pete says with enthusiasm.
“Hey Triton, these gentlemen are going to help you into the car, okay baby?” The boys step closer and Pete joins me at the front while the other two head down by Triton’s tail.
“Okay, you both balance his back side while we get him from up here,” I say as I slide my hands under him.
Everyone gets in position and Triton turns his head to the two boys by his rear and lets out a little growl. Each of the boys pull away from him immediately.
“Triton! That is a bad boy!” I look at the boys apologetically. “He isn’t mean guys, just a bit grumpy today. Can we try again?”
They cautiously make eye contact with each other and nod their heads, putting their hands back under Triton. He turns his head and shows his teeth to Bubba and Bobby.
Their eyes go wide and they quickly back off, Bobby looks at me, “I’m sorry Miss Brown, but I don’t want to get bit.”
I nod, “I understand. I’ll figure something out.” I say with more confidence than I feel.
They stand up and back away from Triton and he shows his teeth at them once more with a low growl.
“King Triton, you stop that right now.” He sheepishly looks at me and howls, then plops his head down.
The three boys just stand there, “It’s okay, I can get him to move. You boys go back to your practice and thank you for trying.”
They look at each other and then back at the practice field, “Sorry, Miss Brown.” Pete sighs and then they silently leave. I stand back up and look down at him thinking about what will get him to move. Cheese is the first thing I can think of. I step over him, go back into the house and run down the hall to the kitchen. Grabbing a slice of cheese from the fridge, I slam the door and turn back. I can see Triton’s ears perk up as I unwrap the cheese, crinkling the wrapper.
“Here baby, mama has cheese.”
The damn dog doesn’t even turn around, but as I step outside I happen to look across the field where the three boys are animatedly pointing back at Triton as they talk to their coach. He hands one of the boys his book and then looks back at me, or at least I think he does. He has to be one of the only people I know that looks good in aviators. Damn good in fact.
He starts walking toward me and suddenly my mouth feels as if I’ve been sucking on cotton balls. I swear I can hear that song from the movie Top Gun playing. Is he walking in slow motion? No, he can’t be. I can’t take my eyes off him as the lyrics take my breath away teasingly echo in my head. As he approaches me, I try to gather myself and give him a welcoming smile.
“You might want to stop your dog from eating that cheese,” he states flatly with an upstate accent.
I look down at Triton as he stretches his neck to steal the cheese right out of my hand, noisily scarfing it down. I frown at him.
I throw my hands up in the air, “Your belly hurts you big dope. Why did you eat more?”
The coach clears his throat.
“Oh sorry. Hi, I’m Sophia.” I put my hand out.
He looks down and takes it in a quick firm grasp, letting it go just as fast. “Hey, I’m Bo. Did you need some help with your dog?”
“Yes, I, uh…yes.” Still feeling the heat of his hand on mine, I manage an “it’s a pleasure to meet you,” before slowly moving my eyes down to Triton so that I can get a good look at him. Damn, they invented Levi’s for a body like that. Heaven.
Triton whimpers and rolls on his back.
“What’s wrong with him?” Bo asks with an eyebrow raised.
“He has a bad habit of eating anything and everything he can get his teeth into.”
“Ah, I see. You’re new here, right?”
I can’t see the expression on his face with those glasses on. “Yeah, word travels fast huh?”
“Sweetheart, the minute the house sold, tongues were waggin’.” He gives me a crooked smile.
“Good to know. Would you be able to help me lift him into my truck?”
“Sure, are you bringing him into the vet in town?” He runs a hand through his hair and rests it on the back of his neck.
“I was going to drive him to his old one since I haven’t been able to get in to meet the vet here yet.”
Triton looks up at me letting out a part whimper, part bark.
“Quit being dramatic,” I chide throwing my hands in the air.
Bo chuckles. “He has some personality. How far is the drive?”
“Slightly over two hours.”
He pauses then tilts his head to the side. “The vet here is excellent, would you like me to call in a recommendation?”
I tuck a stray piece of hair behind my ear and smile.
“You think they’d see us?”
“I think I can get you in.”
“I would love that, thank you so much for your hotness…I mean kindness!” I close my eyes, what the fuck?
He emits a deep laugh and pulls a phone from his back pocket, quickly sending a text off. “Come on, let’s get this boy into the car.”
“Okay, I’ll grab his upper half,” I indicate as I bend down by Triton’s head.
“You just get the door to the truck. What’s his name?” He gestures down.
“Triton, well King Triton. He only gets called the full name when he’s been bad, like now.” I look down, “You’re a very bad boy.”
His rolls to his side, his tail thumps on the doormat and he paws at the air again.
Bo cracks a grin.
“Alright buddy, you ready?” He squats down and puts his arms around Triton.
He growls low.
“King Triton.” My shoulders slump with exasperation.
Bo pulls a hand away from Triton and holds it up to me for silence. He then looks down at Triton and growls right back in his face. Triton’s tail stops wagging and he tucks it between his legs. Bo then with a grunt, picks him up and cradles him like a baby.
“Isn’t he heavy?” I question in shock.
He doesn’t manage to complete his words before Triton licks his face.
Triton’s tail swings back and forth as he keeps on licking Bo’s face while the poor guy carries him to the truck. Bo stops when Triton’s next swipe goes over his sunglasses leaving a big wet streak mark on them.
I cover my mouth as I snort with laughter.
“A little help here?” he requests as he tries to pull his head back from Triton’s lick attack.
“Oh, here, let me,” I offer and step closer pulling the glasses off his face.
I freeze, my knees threaten to buckle from the heat of his gaze. Bo’s eyes are a sky blue and scorching like a hot summer’s day. I can’t take my eyes off him. Triton, the brat of a dog, knows I am drooling over him and interrupts us with a whine. I release a breath I didn’t realize I was holding.
“I meant the dog, but if you can hold those while we get this guy in the truck?”
“Yes, let me open the door.” I turn around and jog over to the truck. Swinging the door wide open, I look back and see him striding with Triton in his arms. I stand back as he sets him in the back cabin and I am blessed with the rear view of him.
“Oh my,” I whisper, my mouth dropping open at the perfect sight.
He sets Triton down with ease.
“Is something wrong?” Bo probes, his brows raised high, making his forehead crinkle with concern.
“Not a thing.” Good job Sophia, he almost caught you gawking at his behind. But what a lovely behind it is.
“Would you like me to drive?” He takes his glasses out of my hand and starts to clean them on his T-shirt.
His shirt lifts slightly and I get a peek at his abs. My face heats and I wipe the sweat off my forehead. I want to see more, but Jesus, get it together Sophia! You’re supposed to be focusing on Triton, not the coach’s magnificent body.
“Are you sure you have the time?” I glance over at the football field filled with athletes.
“Yeah, they’ll be alright.”
“Thanks so much for your help, but if you need to stay here I’m sure I can find someone to help at the vet office.”
He looks down into my eyes for a moment, then puts his aviators back on, breaking the contact. “How about you sit in the back with Triton and I’ll drive?”
“Sure, since you know where you’re going.” I inwardly sigh with relief. “Thanks.” I reach into my front pocket, fishing out my keys. “Here, you’ll need these.” I place them into Bo’s open hand and the second our skin touches a spark goes through me. I pull it back quickly and rub my palm frowning. What the hell was that?
Bo frowns. “Static,” he states gruffly. “You ok?” he asks shaking his hand off.
“I’m fine.” Still rubbing my hand, I get in the back with Triton. Bo stands for a brief second at the open door looking in at us, then nods his head once and gets into the driver’s seat.