Chapter 66: When I'm Gone

I wake up with my head pillowed on his shoulder and his arm wrapped securely around me, this was a normal occurrence, but I never tired of it.  I look over to the clock. 6:30! Why the hell am I up?! I have no idea why, but I was up. Maybe it was the anticipation to get the puppies today. I don’t know what it is but I was up and I really wanted to go for a walk. I crawl out of bed and throw on some jeans and a t shirt with a pair of running shoes, Bran watching me from his place at the end of the bed.

 “Come on Bran, let’s go for a walk,” I whisper.

He follows me out of house and into the back yard. I take in a deep breath, taking in the cool, but humid morning air.

I begin to walk down the path in the woods that eventually lead to a stream. As I pass tree after tree my mind begins to wonder.

Sid would be leaving in a few days and going back to Nova Scotia. I knew he wanted me to go with him, but I just couldn’t leave work. I couldn’t close down the business during the busiest season.  I loved Sidney and I really did want to spend the summer relaxing with him, but this was my dream. I had always wanted to become a successful dog trainer and although I was pulling my hair out sometimes because it was so stressful, I never stopped loving my job.

But two months was a long time to be apart. Granted we were apart often when hockey season was in full swing, but not for two months straight. Sid kept bugging me about coming to Halifax with him and just taking a few days off, but with the way things were looking, it didn’t seem possible. With this trip, I was already missing a week and with such a busy time, I didn’t know if I would be able to take off more time.  But I’d survive. I could handle being apart. I was never really alone when I had my dogs. 

Maybe this time apart would be good. I would never admit it to him, but it was kind of scaring me how fast we were moving. I mean, we had been together for about 6 months and we had been living together for 3 months, 4 months? I had lost count; my mind was still a little fuzzy from the lack of coffee. We had been moving fast and what scared me the most was that I caught myself wanting to move even faster at times. Sometimes I would look at Beth and her family and catch myself thinking of me and Sidney with our own family.  I had never felt this way before, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to get married or have a baby. Yes, someday I did, but right now? I wasn’t sure. 

I arrive at the stream and let out a content sigh at the sight of the fog lying on top of the stream water. The sun was still coming up giving the scene a soft glow. The birds were beginning to wake up and could be heard singing as they searched for their breakfast.

I find a good spot to sit down under a tree, Bran lying next to me putting his head on my lap. My hands find their way through his thick black fur. It was times like these I really treasured, just me and Bran. No other dogs, no other people, just me and my other half enjoying a peaceful moment together. I sigh and lean my head back against the coarse bark of the tree. With the puppies coming, this would probably be the last moment for a while that Bran and I would have alone.


I look back with a smile as they crawl around in the back, Bran laying down and watching them. We were headed back to the cabin to get everything together, and we both agreed to go on one last hike before we left. I honestly don’t think I have stopped smiling since we pulled into Brian’s driveway. I paid Brian $100 each for them, which was a happy medium. Being that Brian was just going to give them away to a shelter but he got $200 instead, and I was getting champion racing blood for a very cheap price. After seeing them though…. Sid didn’t seem exactly thrilled, but he kept his mouth shut anyway.  I told him they were part wolf, I don’t know what he was expecting. 

We pulled into the driveway of the cabin and I immediately hopped out of the car to let them out. I open the door letting Bran out and the one pup (the one that was all white) tries to follow suit and jump out of the car.

“Whoa… hold on there kid. You’re not big enough to do that yet,” I chuckle, picking them both up and setting them on the ground.

I had learned that both pups were males. Sid had pointed out that Maggie would still be the only girl at home.

We walk into the cabin and the puppies follow us, the white one seeming to take to following Bran.

I laugh as the puppies wrestle a bit before completely crashing; after all they had a pretty long day. I knew that they would better adapt leaving their mother with having other dogs around, especially having each other.

I walk into the bedroom to pack, Bran following me as the little kids slept on. I get out my suitcase and start packing it. I found that Sid and Anna packed more stuff than I probably would have. Having to go at the last minute when SAR called made me a light packer. We packed in silence, I sensed that something was bugging Sid.

“Hey are you ok?” I ask from across the bed.

“Yeah, fine,” he mutters.

“Yeah, it really sounds like it,” I chuckle.

“it’s just…”


“I just can’t believe you got two more dogs, like you really need another one,” he sighs shaking his head.

“Sid, I told you, the shelter would have put them down.”

“It’s just… you said that you couldn’t come with me, yet you have time for two puppies?”

“Sidney come on. You know why I can’ t go with you. I need to work, and the puppies will fit in with my work schedule. But I can’t pick up and leave for the summer,” I sigh shaking my head.

“Whatever,” he mutters.

“Look, I’m sorry I can’t spend the summer with you, but …” I begin.

“I know, I know.  This is your job too, taking care of dogs that no one else will take,” he says walking out of the room.

I sigh and shake my head. I’ll admit I didn’t really think of how this would affect Sid when I said I would take the pups, but this was part of my passion. I thought he of all people would understand that.

Normally, yes I would get upset. But I just got two puppies and today was my last day in Alaska and I’ll be damned if that’s going to bring me down. So, I just put it in the back of my mind, no doubt it will come up at a later time.

The puppies run ahead of us chasing each other, before the one gets the upper hand and pounces on the other. They both fall onto the dusty path rolling around. Bran simply walks over them as we keep moving on. I laugh and let out a sharp whistle to get their attention. I see them both perk up at the sound, looking for where it came from.

“Come on kids,” I shout and they both come running.

I chuckle as they run past me. I look up to Sid who is next to me just looking off in the distance.

“Look,” I sigh, “I’m really sorry that I didn’t ask you about the puppies first, but Sid you have to understand that this is part of my job. And I’m really sorry that I can’t come up with you to Nova Scotia, but I said I would come up for a few days if I could.”

He sighs and looks over at me with a weak smile, “I know.”

“I really am sorry that I can’ t come home with you for the summer.”

“I understand,” he sighs pulling me into a hug, “It’s just I’d like for you to see my home and where I grew up, just like when I went with you for Christmas.”

“I will come and see you. And when I do, you can show me all your favorite places,” I mumble into his shoulder before kissing the underside of his jaw.

“Good,” he responds.

We walk through trails in the dense wooded areas, and it reminds me of how much I miss living in the woods. Don’t get me wrong I love Pittsburgh, but living in the suburbs just couldn’t compare to living in the woods. Oddly enough, I missed the excitement and nervousness of knowing there was a bear around the neighborhood. The coyotes howling was a treat I missed in the suburbs, granted you rarely heard the coyotes in the woods, but still.

The pups ran around ahead of us and Bran stayed next to me, loyal as always. I took in the sights of the tall pine trees and the smell of the cool water from the stream. The sound of an owl from far off told me that it was sometime in early evening, we should probably head back. But I didn’t want to, I wanted to stay in the woods and run bare foot like I did when I was a kid, jumping over the prickly pine cones and dodging sharp acorns. I wanted to go swimming  in the frigid, awakening coldness of the creek.(which if you are from western PA is pronounced "crick" :) ) I missed living in a place like this, something I hadn’t realized until just now.

“We should probably get back,” Sid says quietly, “ The plane is supposed to come in a couple hours.”

 “Alright, let’s go,” I sigh.

We go back to the house and get everything in the car, Bran now having to share the back seat with the pups. I’m about to step into the car when I hear the sound of a wolf howling far off in the distance. It’s not long before more join in as the sun creeps closer and closer to the horizon, streaking the sky with purples and pinks. I take a deep breath in one more time before getting in the car.

The plane ride went smoothly, it was really long but it went smoothly. Although I would miss the beauties of Alaska, I was glad we were finally going home.

Sid’s POV

“Ruff, Ruff…”

“ugh, Flash…” I groan, not even opening my eyes.

“Alright Flash, I’m up,” Caitlin mumbles into my shoulder

I feel her side of the bed shift as she gets up and throws on my t shirt from on top of the dresser, that had been thrown sometime last night.

“Ruff… Ruff…”Flash barks more urgently.

“Alright, let’s go!” she says as she walks out of the room. Then it hit me, I was leaving today. This would be the last time until I came back in September that I would wake up to Flash barking. About half an hour later, I hear her walk back through the door and climb into bed again. Her head pillows on my shoulder as her one arm finds my chest and she presses flush against me. She lets out a sigh.

“I’m going to miss this,” I state quietly.

“me too,” she whispers, her voice wavering ever so slightly.

I bend my head down capturing her lips with mine in a tender kiss.


“Call me as soon as you get there,” she says looking up at me with teary eyes.

“I will,” I smile. I just looked at her for a minute. She was clad in a dark green tie dye shirt, indigo shorts, and running shoes. She had to go to work soon. Her hair was down and it had air dried in subtle waves that had an auburn sheen in the sunlight. Her big brown eyes had tears that were threatening to fall. She bit her lips and tore her eyes away from mine for a minute her long lashes sweeping to her cheeks as she looked down and took a deep breath, composing herself. When she looked back up the sadness was still evident in her eyes, but she had a better sense of control. Bran leaned against her side, always her constant companion. He had come with her because she was going straight to work. I was glad she brought him; he would be the one taking care of her when I was gone. Honestly, I was jealous of him, he was her partner, not me.

 The intercom comes on announcing the final boarding call.

 "Well… I guess I will see you…” I begin. I had no idea when I would see her. I hoped she would come up soon, but with Caitlin you never know.

 “Yeah,” she sighs smiling weakly at me.

I press my lips against hers and feel her arms snake around my neck. Her fingers tangle in my hair and she presses close against me. I pull away, dreading that I had to do so and rest my forehead against hers, looking into the chocolaty depths of her eyes.

“I love you,” I whisper.

“I love you too,” she whispers back.

I press my lips against hers one last time before turning and handing my ticket in.  Just before I walk down the runway I look back, She stands with Bran sitting next to her, her hand on his head as she bites her lip. Bran stares at me with those piercing blue eyes and I silently tell him to take care of her when I’m gone.

August 15, 2009 at Saturday, August 15, 2009

6 Comments to "Chapter 66: When I'm Gone"

awww, now you have me crying. i loved the update, but it was so sad, but a good sad. please update soon!

So happy to see that you updated! This chapter was really sad but hopefully everything works out for them. I sensed tension between Sid and Bran and hopefully Sidney doesn't let that go to his head.

Great update!

That was such a sad ending... My heart aches for both of them. I hope Caitlin can escape work soon and visit him. Sidney should've taken one of the puppies, as his companion. Haha!

Great update! Hate to think of them being apart for so long!!! So sad to be away from the one you love!

I'm with everyone else, great update!

"Bran stares at me with those piercing blue eyes and I silently tell him to take care of her when I’m gone."

Yeah so I started crying.... now I'm gonna go hide in my pillows and hold them close to me. So beautiful.

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Discovering...Love? by AS is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.