Home > Deathly : The Dillon Sisters(6)

Deathly : The Dillon Sisters(6)
Author: Brynne Asher

“Ruff!”

“What the hell? Is that a dog?”

“Yeah.” I sigh and wrestle it with the leash. “I’m dog sitting … sort of. I’ll call you later.”

“A dog might be good for you. Soften your image with the press—”

I’ve had about enough of him trying to manage my life crisis. “Later.”

I double-time it up the stairs from the boat dock. The dog finally gets with the program and is on my heels—panting and yapping. When I get to the wall of windows that cover the back of my home looking over Gray Mountain Lake and we get inside, I unleash the beast. He goes straight to the food I had to stop and buy last night on the way home.

I pull up a number on my phone I’ve called at least ten times now—a number I never thought I’d be calling. But the chick shelled out fifteen Gs, you’d think she’d at least be interested to know where her damn dog is.

“You’ve reached Dr. Aria Dillon. Please leave your name, number, and a message. I’ll return your call as soon as possible. If this is a patient and you’re in need of immediate assistance, you know how to reach me.”

After the tone, my words are not cordial or friendly. “Aria Dillon, you’re a shit doctor if you can’t check your messages. I’ve got your damn dog and I’m not happy about it. I have a shift at the station in—” I check my watch “—exactly forty minutes. The dog is coming with me because I refuse to leave him in my house alone. He’s a needy son-of-a-bitch which means I’m the worst person you should leave him with. I don’t do high maintenance. I’ll be at Station Six on the west side. If your ass isn’t there to claim him in the next twenty-four hours, I’ll take him to the pound myself.”

I slam my cell on the marble and hear a whine.

“What?” I look at the mutt sitting on my boot, staring at me like I didn’t just threaten to take him to a place where rescuing is not the goal. I shake my head. “You’re at the end of a long line of pains in my ass, you know that?”

He wags his tail. “Ruff!”

 

 

Aria

 

 

“…I’ll take him to the pound myself.”

I squeeze the water from my hair and listen to the message again. I’ve lost count how many times he’s called and how many irate voicemails I’ve collected.

After I taxied home last night, I hit my treadmill harder than normal. I ran for over an hour straight until my body and mind were so exhausted, I knew I’d sleep.

Turns out I stopped too soon. I was restless for most of the night, but like I’ve done every Sunday morning since we moved to Washington, I woke before dawn and was in the pool swimming laps by seven.

Being below the surface has a calming effect unlike anything else. The quiet, the solace, and quite literally, the utter beauty of peace. I’ve counted on its protection for as long as I can remember, drowning out voices and demands and demons that have nipped at my heels for most of my life.

Even if its protection only lasts as long as my held breath, I still crave it.

If only it worked like it used to.

Today, being under water drowned out the messages from him.

So many messages.

When I ran out of the auction last night, I assumed I could collect my expensive new dog from the rescue organization. The hero attached to him certainly wasn’t interested in being there and probably wanted out of his end of the bargain. But when I started getting calls last night from an unknown number, I realized I should have signed over the small fortune, grabbed my new dog, and ran.

Now, I’ve got a bigger problem on my hands.

I have to see him outside of the auction, a place I would’ve had the security of the crowd.

If he takes my new dog to the pound, I don’t know what I’ll do, and that’s if Briar doesn’t kill me first.

He’s at work. I might not have the buffer of a large crowd, but we won’t be alone. Station Six isn’t far from my neck of the woods. I’ll get in, get out, and never see him again.

I’ll go home, shower, then hit the pet store on my way, to get who knows what my new dog needs, and then face my consequences. I’ll do it like any self-respecting adult would who considers herself a health professional. I need to suck it up and do the hard shit, as I tell my patients daily.

Maybe I’ll luck out and he’ll be putting out a fire somewhere, saving someone’s life, or pulling a cat from a tree. Though, it sounds like he doesn’t like animals, which I find hard to believe.

Who doesn’t like dogs?

Well, other than my parents.

I push that thought away because I hope he’s nothing like my parents. I’ve got less than twenty-four hours to get my dog. Then I can put this behind me once and for all.

Brand Vitale will soon be a bad memory that will fade into the landscape of my life, just like the rest of them.

Then I can get on with my fresh start with the dog that was never a part of my plan, but that’s okay.

I think I’ll name him Muppet. He looks like one.

Muppet and I will be just fine.

 

 

4

 

 

Happy Life

 

 

Aria

 

 

My credit card is officially maxed out. Unexpected pets are expensive.

I pull into an empty parking lot across from Station Six. My ten-year-old Merc is bursting at the seams with puppy food, toys, dog shampoo, treats, and everything else the kid at the pet store informed me my new dog needs to live a happy-go-lucky life. I, on the other hand, will not be happy or lucky while I’m paying off one bad decision after another. If this stuff doesn’t provide Muppet with the lap of luxury, I give up. And since I never give up on anything, that’s saying something.

The enormous garage doors are open and heroes are scrubbing trucks and restocking an ambulance. It looks like they just returned from something big. Some of them are wearing their gear. But unlike last night when their job was to seduce stupid, tipsy women such as myself, today they’re dirty and covered in soot.

Which means I missed my window of opportunity. Had I not stopped for coffee on my way to the pet store, I might have missed them, grabbed Muppet, and been able to avoid another confrontation with Brand Vitale altogether.

I guess I could wait it out, hope for another fire, medical emergency, or a time-consuming highway pileup where they have to break out the jaws of life.

My phone vibrates.

A text.

Unknown Number – Are you going to come and get your dog or sit in your car across the street all day? I’ll walk him to you if I have to.

My heart drops as I look toward the station. He appeared out of nowhere, standing at the curb across the street glaring at me.

Damn.

I hold his glare as I flip off the engine and climb out of my car. Waiting for traffic to clear, it’s all I can do to stand tall and not let it show how much the man intimidates me. People take advantage of weaknesses. I should know, my father has lived his life doing just that to everyone around him.

Right now, I need to hide every simmering emotion, so I hold my head high as I make my way across the busy street.

Get the dog, get out. Simple, quick, easy. This will all be over in no time.

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