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*Author’s note: The basis for this story comes from something which happened to me last year when I was out on a long bike ride. A very attractive woman who was maybe 10-15 years older than me was in her car flying around a big curve in the road. She saw me and started frantically waving her arms and hollering at me for help so I stopped to see what was going on thinking the worst. As it turned out, her dog got off the leash and she was panicked about it getting run over or never coming back. I found her dog and waited for her to arrive and take him from me.
She was so grateful, she was almost beside herself. In fact, after checking me out (sorry for saying that as it sounds very pretentious—maybe her eyes needed to be checked) she was so grateful she made it clear just how she wanted to thank me. If you’ve read my own personal stories, Creative Writing and Bagging Lauren, you know I’ve had a thing for older women since high school. Were I not living with someone I dearly love, I’d have definitely taken her up on her very um…generous offer.
“Oh, good girl! Okay, go play!” he said as he took the leash off his dog after their daily mile-long fast walk next to his bicycle. He loved running and bicycling but he hated walking so this was his favorite way of exercising his dog.
Shea was panting hard and happy as could be after another brisk morning walk. She sniffed around the yard until she found the perfect spot the squatted down and watered the lawn. She finished, jumped up, and ran straight to him. “All finished? Yeah? Okay. Good girl. Let’s go inside. Heel!”
Shea took up her spot at his left side and followed him in, her tail held high. When the got inside he petted her for a good long time and praised her for doing such a good job. When he released her she headed straight for her water bowl and lapped up nearly half of it. He wiped up the drops she spilled all around it and refilled the bowl.
Curt Grimes loved Shea like he’d never loved anyone or anything in his 26 years. Sure, he loved his family but who didn’t, right? And when it came to women, Curt had never had any intention of having anything close to a relationship since girls started flocking to him his senior year of high school.
He’d been very overweight and desperately in need of braces to the point where not a single girl had ever paid him the slightest bit of attention. After years of begging, he finally got braces during his sophomore year and the summer before his senior year they came off. Curt had just one friend who, on a whim, talked him into starting a workout program at his house after school at the start of his junior year. His friend’s dad had bought his son a weight bench, a bar, and enough weights to work out with. He’d also scrounged together a few dumbbells and the two of them begin playing around with them and after reading some articles online about what exercises to do for what body part, they got very serious about it. Curt also stopped eating junk food and started walking and then gradually jogging.
By the time his senior year rolled around, the metamorphosis was incredible and Curt found himself in a completely new and unfamiliar world. A world in which attractive girls now came to him rather than taunting him or avoiding him at all costs.
By the time he started college, his confidence had grown from less than nothing to a point where he felt he could sleep with pretty much any girl he wanted. And he’d wanted a lot of them—one night at a time. He’d lost track of how many women he’d bedded, but he could count on one hand the number he’d asked back for an encore event. Until Mindy Franklin.
Mindy was a research scientist at a cancer clinic in Seattle and she was as beautiful as she was smart. Curt met her when the company he worked for as a software engineer won the contract for upgrading Mindy’s entire building. He was there doing a site survey to determine how many terminals were needed, what kind of server upgrades would be required, wiring/connectivity/WiFi issues, and any other problems that might impact the job.
Mindy had been assigned to provide him any support he needed and the two of them began flirting almost immediately. What Grimes didn’t know was that Mindy was also a professional at the love-’em-and-leave-’em game nor that she too, had no intention of settling down anytime soon. She also happened to be nine years older than him and although he’d ‘dated’ older women before, this was the first time he found himself really, deeply attracted to someone, let alone someone that much older than himself.
She’d accepted his offer of dinner and they found themselves in bed together that first evening and for the first time ever, he didn’t offer to get her a cab when they were done. Contary to her own one-time-only policy, Mindy stayed that night and stayed many other nights for the next three months, and Grimes soon found himself in another completely unfamiliar situation. “Shit!” he said to himself one morning when he woke Esenyurt Escort Bayan up before her and saw her laying next to him. “Could I possibly be in love with her?”
He shook off the feeling during a very long, very hard bicycle ride that morning but the feeling came back again that evening and it wouldn’t leave him alone. He was having trouble concentrating at work. He was making simple mistakes. He was having difficulties sleeping and those nights when she stayed at her apartment, he barely slept at all.
He and his buddy from high school still stayed in touch and Curt asked him for his advice. “Sounds like you’ve got it bad for her, Curt. Have you given any thought to asking her to marry you?”
“I have, actually,” he told him honestly. “And that scares the hell out of me.”
His friend laughed and said, “I felt the same way until I met Jamie, but when I did, I just knew. We’ve been married almost two years now and I still love her. Maybe even more than when I first met her.”
Curt thought Mindy felt the same way. She’d been the first to say ‘I love you’ and she always said it back when he said it to her. After talking to his only other real male friend, his very own father, he decided it might just be time to settle down. He made reservations at a very nice restaurant and after dinner he told her again he loved her. “I love you too, Curt,” she said with a bright smile. “And dinner was lovely, as usual.”
That’s when he reached for the brass ring and fell flat on his face. He was on one knee proposing to her in front of a restaurant full of people and he wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly when she’d told him, “I love you, Curt, but not like that.” She went on to explain that by ‘love’ she meant fond feelings, not some deep desire to spend the rest of her life with him. The hurt was so deep he was completely unaware of the reaction from most of the woman who felt awful for him. To add insult to injury, it was Mindy who said, “Don’t worry about me. I’ll just take a cab, okay?” He put the ring back in his pocket, paid the bill, then walked out in a kind of stunned haze. He made his way home on autopilot and spent the next week with that sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. She came by for the few things she’d left at his place the next day and he never saw her again.
He got up one morning a few days later to go for another long run and that’s when he found Shea, a skinny, nearly emaciated yellow Labrador Retriever, wandering around lost in the cul de sac where he lived. She was all too happy to come when he called her and after giving her some leftover chicken, he decided to keep her inside. He took her picture then put up signs all around his development, but he didn’t receive a single call and by the third day, he was almost praying he never would.
Curt had never had a dog growing up and he’d never really given any thought to owning one, but Shea had grown on him so fast and so hard it shocked him. Once he was sure no one would claim her, he took her to a vet and got her checked out, bathed, flea dipped, and given her necessary shots. The vet said he’d never heard of anyone abandoning a yellow Lab before as they were one of the most sought-after, family-friendly dog breeds. He told Curt it happened all the time, but almost never with Labs.
Curt wasn’t about to look a gift…dog in the mouth and took her home with him to stay. The following week he enrolled her in an obedience class and Shea absolutely loved the new bond the owner-pet discipline created.
He hated leaving her home alone each day when he left for work and couldn’t wait to get back to see her. He put a doggy door in the back of the house which led out to a fenced-in backyard so she could take care of business while he was gone. Beyond that, everywhere Curt went that he could take his dog, Shea went with him.
It was over two months since Mindy’s very public rejection before he dated anyone again and when he did, it just wasn’t the same. That fire he always felt when he was ‘on the hunt’ wasn’t there. He’d even turned down an offer to go home with a girl for the first time. In fact, he found himself preferring to hang out with Shea in the evening and just listen to music or watch some sappy romantic comedy on TV.
He sat there one evening watching Must Love Dogs and found himself tearing up at one point before he sat up straight and said out loud, “What the hell is wrong with you, Grimes?” Shea sat up and barked and he called her over and petted her head and ears the way she loved. “Why can’t human girls be like you? Huh? Why is that, Shea?” Shea just panted and ‘smiled.’ Curt knew better than to attribute human emotions to animals, but with Shea he just couldn’t help himself. And who knows? Maybe she really was smiling. After all, she made him happy enough to smile all the time so why couldn’t whatever she was doing be considered smiling and the result of being happy?
He knew it was probably a bad idea, but he’d let Shea start sleeping Avcılar Escort Bayan in his bed the first night after he took her to the vet and considered her his dog. It was weird, but Curt found himself preferring the company of his dog to that of the endless one-night-stand chicks who’d graced his bed over the years. For that matter, he felt comfortable not ‘dating’ anyone and just quit looking. As crazy as it sounded, he’d never been happier. Except maybe for that brief period of time when he’d convinced himself Mindy loved him the way he’d loved her.
“You ready for our walk?” he said one morning.
There were certain words Shea just knew: Eat, water, food, potty, bed, play, fetch, ball, and walk. Sure, she understood, ‘sit, stay, stand, heel, shake,’ and other commands, but just the mention of the word ‘walk’ and her ears went back as she’d tilt her head to make sure she heard correctly. Then the tail wagging started along with her ‘happy’ face.
“Come on! Let’s go!” he told her after hooking on the lead to her collar. She was well-trained enough to run beside him without one, but the extra control made him feel better just in case.
They were about halfway through when Grimes saw an older-model blue sedan come tearing around the large bend in the main road running through the development. The woman inside was waving her left arm frantically up and down and back and forth. “Excuse me? Hey! Can you please help me?”
Grimes noticed she stopped in the middle of the road right in the blind spot of the curve. “Sure,” he told her. “Just pull over to the side first, okay?” He was more concerned about Shea being exposed to an oncoming car than the woman or her car, but he certainly didn’t want anyone to get hurt. She let the car slowly drift over to the shoulder and Grimes pulled up next to her window with Shea in tow panting hard.
“Have you seen a Dalmatian anywhere? Mine got off the leash and bolted. I’m worried sick. I can’t find him and if I lose him…” He could tell the woman had been crying and he fully understood why. Before finding Shea he would have dismissed her as an overly emotional (if not hysterical) woman and blown her off.
“It’ll be okay,” he told her. “Where did you last see her?” he asked.
“Him,” she said correcting him. “Rex is a he.”
“Sorry. Right. Where did you last see him?”
She explained where she’d been with him and which direction he took off once he got off the leash.
Grimes asked, “Is he wearing a collar? He is? Okay, good. And if I find him where do you live so I can bring him home?”
She gave him the street name and number and he said, “I know exactly where that it is. Do you have your phone with you?”
She said she did and he told her, “Let’s exchange numbers real quick and if I find her or if you find her first, we can let the other person know.”
They quickly punched in their numbers and he said, “Okay, we’ll do these four streets behind me and maybe you could do the others to your right?”
The woman, who’s hands had been shaking, seemed to understand and agreed to the deal. “Thank you. Thank you SO much! I just have to find him.” Grimes stifled a chuckle as she left rubber when she pulled away. Grimes wanted to laugh at her, but as he looked down at Shea, he couldn’t because it wasn’t funny. He got it.
“Okay, girl. Let’s go!” he told her as they headed down a side street.
They made it to the end then turned left intending on hitting the next parallel street when Grimes saw him. The black and white dog was sniffing a fire hydrant at the corner. He was maybe 50 yards away as he slowly approached. At about 20 yards, he got off the bike, laid it on the sidewalk. He told Shea to sit, unhooked the leash, then called out, “Rex? Here boy!”
The dog looked but wouldn’t come so Grimes told Shea to stay. He walked a little closer then sat down. For some reason that seemed to attract dogs that otherwise paid no attention. Rex took a few steps his way then turned. Grimes laid all the way down and started whimpering as though he were hurt. Bingo!
Rex was on him in a second licking his face and wagging his tail. “Good boy, Rex!” he said as he reached up to pet him. The dog didn’t bolt as he sat up. In fact, he let Grimes keep petting him which he did as he slowly reached for his collar with one hand. Once he had it, he hooked the leash onto Rex’s collar then called out, “Shea? Come!” His dog was standing next to him still panting. “Good girl!” he told her and petted her as her reward.
He led Rex back to his bicycle as Shea heeled. Pushing his bike with one hand and holding Rex’s leash in the other, they wound their way around to where Rex’s owner lived and Grimes sat down on the porch and pulled out his cell phone. A frantic voice on the other end said, “Hello? Who is this?”
“This is Curt, the guy on the bike looking for Rex?”
“Did you find him? Is he okay?”
Grimes laughed quietly and told her, “Yes, I did find him and he’s okay.”
“Really? Oh, my God! Oh, thank you SO much!” Before he could say anything else she said frantically, “Where are you?”
“We’re at your house on the front steps waiting for you. Rex is fine so don’t hurry, okay?”
As he spoke, he burst out laughing when he heard tires squealing around the corner and saw the blue sedan barreling down the street toward the house. The woman flew into the driveway, jammed on the brakes, then flung the car door open without even shutting off the engine.
Grimes stood up and held out the leash but it was all in vain. Rex went crazy when he saw her her. He ran all the way to the end of the leashe then jumped causing him to almost fly backward when the leash ran out.
“Sorry about that,” he said. She didn’t even hear him and Rex was fine.
She was kneeling down and the Dalmatian was slobbering all over her. “Come here you silly boy! You scared me so bad!” She grabbed his muzzle and said, “Did you know you had me worried sick?” Rex jumped up on her knocking her backwards and Grimes ran over to help her up.
“You okay?” he said as she took his hand so he could pull her back up.
“I’m wonderful!” she said as she grabbed the leash. She turned to him and said, “Thank you SO much! I think I’d die if I lost him!”
“You’re welcome,” he told her. “I’m kind of attached to mine, too.” He walked over and shut her car off and closed the door.
The woman looked over at Shea was sitting perfectly still. “How do you get her to do that?” she said. “I can’t even get Rex to sit let alone stay.”
“It just takes a little time and a lot of patience,” he told her. “Do you want me take him inside on the leash or do you have him?”
“Oh, no. I’d be afraid he’d get away again. Would you mind? Bringing him inside, that is?”
“Not at all,” he told her.
He walked Rex inside, let her close the door, then said, “Okay? Is it safe?”
“I think so,” she said.
Grimes unhooked Rex and he tore off down the hall. Seconds later, he was running back toward them at full speed. Then he headed up the stairs, made a quick loop and ran back down.
“He’s a little crazy sometimes,” she said.
“He seems to need exercise,” he told her.
“I know. I watch Cesar on TV. You know, The Dog Whisperer. I know how important exercise is, but I’m terrible about taking him.”
“Yeah, all dogs need daily exercise, but some, like Dalmatians, really have a lot of pent-up energy.”
“I’ve seen you go by on your bike many times. Do you guys go every day?” she asked him.
“Definitely. Seven days a week unless it’s raining too hard.”
“You wouldn’t want to take Rex with you, would you?” she said totally joking.
Grimes noticed for the first time this woman was attractive. In fact, she was very attractive. Without being obvious, he looked to see if there was a wedding ring and when he didn’t see one he said, “I couldn’t handle a second dog, but you could ride with us if you have a bike.”
“Are you serious?” she asked him as Rex flew by again, sniffed Grimes briefly then tore off the other direction.
“Absolutely serious. We just have to get out early so I can leave for work by 7:30. Is six am too early for you?”
“Not at all. I’ve always been a morning person.” She looked at Grimes and said, “Are you really sure? I don’t want to barge into your time with…what’s your dog’s name?”
“Shea,” he told her. “And you’re not barging into anything. I invited you, remember?”
“Yes, you did,” she said smiling.
Grimes saw that her smile was perfect. She had those soft, full lips he loved and her perfectly straight, very white teeth were dazzling. She wore her dark hair short but it was very cute looking which surprised him as Grimes didn’t normally like short hair. But it really worked for her. It was short but very dark, very thick, and had a soft, silky texture to it. He wasn’t sure how much older she was than him, but she had very smooth skin and even when she smiled, her eyes looked wrinkle-free and…amazing. She was without doubt the nicest looking older woman who’d ever caught his attention and between her pretty face and her very tight, very toned-looking body, she’d most definitely caught it fully and completely.
“Did you hear me?” she asked politely.
“Sorry, I got distracted for a second. Could you say that again, please?”
“I was asking if we could possibly join you starting tomorrow morning. I do have a bike, by the way.” She paused and said, “Oh, but I haven’t ridden it in years so I have no idea if the tires are flat or not.”
Grimes volunteered to check and both of them were flat. He grabbed the pump off of his bike and blew hers up for her. “Okay, you’re all set,” he told her after he checked her brakes. Then he said, “Um…do you have a helmet and a leash for Rex?”
“I do,” she told him. “I have both. Is there anything else I need?”
“No, that should do it. Well, other than a plastic bag for…you know. Just beware the first time or two Rex is going to try and pull you like a sled until he gets used to it. As a matter of fact, it might be smart if I take him and you take Shea the first time.”
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