Chapter 69: The Offer

After lying in Sid's arms for what seems like forever I had fallen asleep, a deep sleep plagued by dreams of Bran dying. I woke in tears a couple times, Sid comforting me if he heard me, being the perfect boyfriend he always is.

The next morning I feel the bed dip slightly and a cold nose press against my face. I inhale deeply and look to my right to see Flash staring at me intently, trying to get his point across.

“Alright Flash I’m up,” I whisper.

That’s when it kind of hits me again. Bran’s days are limited. I had finally fallen asleep from my last wake up and my head was pillowed on Sid’s chest, my hand covering his heart. I felt the beat slowly beneath my palm, trying unsuccessfully to get my heart to beat at the same tempo. I sigh and look up at his face, biting my lip. Without Bran in my life, he would be my rock. Sidney would be there for me, I don’t know what I would do with out him.

“Ruff.”

“Alright Flash,” I say carefully getting up. I walk down stairs and after a brief “good morning” to my pack I let them out. While they’re out, I run back upstairs and change into my running clothes.

Going back down I let Maggie inside and see her dash up the stairs, probably to go sleep with Sid.

I chuckle and step out into the warm air. I now had 5 dogs running with me in the morning before our walk, Ty and Finn joining the group. I was training them to be SAR dogs with Flash and Hawkeye. Which was especially important being that Bran couldn’t do it anymore.

I sigh as I stretch my tired muscles. I look down to Bran who was sitting next to me. Finn was sitting next to Bran as the other dogs lay in front of me. All watching me intently waiting to run. I look back to Bran and Finn. Finn’s white hair shown brightly against Bran’s black, but the blue eyes were almost identical, although they didn’t stand out as much as Bran’s. I had named Finn because of his light colored fur. I also hoped, even before I found out about Bran, that he would follow Bran’s lead and become a good partner. Much like the relationship Finn Mac Cool (the legend) had with his dog Bran.

“Alright, guys, Let’s go!” I say jogging down the porch steps and onto the road, my pack (minus Maggs) following behind me. My feet find the rhythm easily, after all I have been running for years, and pound against the pavement. I look back to see Bran panting more than the rest, but he was still keeping up. I bite my lip willing the tears not to come as I keep running. I was sick of crying. I needed to live in the moment like Sid said. Appreciate what I have now while he still here. From now on, no one would see me cry.

As I run back to the house I find a different car in the drive way, one with a car seat facing backwards in the back seat. I smile and jog up the stairs of the porch and into the house, the dogs following close behind. I pull my ear buds out of my ears and put my iPod on the end table by the coats. I turn around and I’m immediately pulled into a hug.

“Ummm…”

“Cait I’m so sorry to hear about Bran. Sid just called me and told me what happened. This just isn’t fair, first Annie and now Bran. No one should go through this. Especially not you, and Bran I can’t believe it. What did the doctor say, are you going through with Chemo?” she seems to say in one voice.

My jaw clenches as I swallow a wave of emotion.

“I’m ok Beth,” I sigh.

“Ugh, you’re all smelly and sweaty,” she says disgusted as she pulls away.

“Well, that’s what happens after you run over a mile,” I roll my eyes.

“Go shower, I brought ice cream and depressing movies,” she says with a bag in her hands.

I smile as I feel a wet nose press against my leg and turn to find a big white dog looking up at me.

“Hey Koda! Are you being a good boy for Beth?”I ask with a smile, bending down to pet him as he wags his tail furiously.

“I’ll go put the movies in and make popcorn,”Beth says heading to the kitchen.

“No.”

She stops in her tracks turning to look at me.

“What? But Caitlin…”

“No Beth. I’m not going to start… mourning. Bran is still here,” I state bluntly.

“Cait… you can’t just keep all these emotions bottled…”

“I’m fine Beth,” I growl.

“Ok, fine,” she frowns.

Suddenly there is a knock on the door.

I walk over to open it to see a man with shaggy dark hair, his hands in his pockets as he looks at me through dark eyes. A Rottweiler stands next to him. The dog wiggles his butt excitedly wagging his tail and trots in to see me.

“Hey Sammy!”I laugh bending down to pet the dog before Sam goes off to visit with all the other dogs.

“Hey Kris! How was your summer?” I ask going over to give one of my best friends a hug.

“Hey Ace,” he sighs sadly pulling me tight against him. Boy did he smell good. “Sid told us about Bran.” 

They had had an optional skate today, so of course Sidney was there. Kris must have left early. He really was one of my best friends.

“Oh,” I frown.

“Caitlin I’m so, s…”

“No Tanger. I don’t want the sympathy, Bran is … he’s still here,” I sigh looking over at the black dog who standing next to me watching the Sam interact with the new pups. “And I’m not going to mourn him when he is still here.”

Kris looks at me with a small sympathetic smile nodding his head in understanding. He chuckles and pulls me into another hug. 

“Well, the boys are on their way over here to cheer you up anyway,” he smiles at me.

“Just tell them I don’t want sympathy. I want life to go on like normal,” I sigh.

“Will do Ace,” he smiles giving me a small salute.

“Well since you don’t need a shoulder to cry on,” Beth stated somewhat bitterly, “I guess I’ll just head home.”

“Beth I’m sorry, but when have I ever needed a shoulder to cry on?” I ask with a small chuckle, “And you are welcome to stay for the party.”

She smiles at me, “Good point. And thanks for the invite but Zach is off today too, so maybe we’ll take Brad to the zoo or something. So if it’s ok, I’m going to leave Koda here, I’m sure he’ll have a better time here than sleeping on the couch at home.”

“Sure thing Beth,” I smile.

“Great thanks Cait, I’ll come by for him after dinner,” she says giving me a hug and heading out the door.

“So, can you at least tell me what’s up with Bran?” Kris asks from behind me.

I sigh and look at him, my eyes connecting with his dark ones. I know my pain is showing through a little bit and I quickly look away. Kris was always good at picking up on emotions.

“Caitlin I know you’re hurting right now, but I also understand that you need to keep it all in. Can you just tell me what the vet told you?” he asks quietly coming close to me to put his hands on my shoulders.

I sigh and nod my head. "Yeah, ok. Do you want a cup of tea?"

"Umm... no thanks I'm good. I'll just steal one of Sid's Gatorades," he smiles following me into the kitchen. 

I put on a kettle of water to boil. My grandfather would always tell my grandmother to put on a tea at times like this. He said that his mother would always do it, just like she would at home in Ireland. I lean against the counter waiting for it to heat and Kris comes up to stand next to me, a bottle of electric blue Gatorade in his hand. He looks at me, expecting me to begin.

"I took Bran to the vet yesterday because I noticed that his glands were swollen," I begin with a sigh, "I think I knew it was bad. But ... I don't know. Anyway, the doctor confirmed it was lymphoma, cancer of the lymph nodes. That's it."

"Well, is there any cure?” he asks pressing on.

"No." I counter bluntly watching Bran's slight movement of breathing as he lay by my feet. 

"Is there chemo? I mean I've heard that dogs can get chemo..." he begins.

"Yes, chemo is an option. But Kris, chemo only adds a few months maybe a year onto his life. Lymphoma can't be 'taken out' like other cancers. It is in his glands and they can't be taken out."

"But it could add time," he presses gently.

"For what Kris?! So that I can watch him waste away longer. So I can see him suffer with the chemo?!" I snap back.

He looks at me with pity, but a bit taken aback by my sudden out burst.

"I'm sorry," I sigh, "It's just. I've seen dogs going through chemo, they can get very sick and be miserable. I don't want that for Bran. So he is on a steroid that will hopefully send the cancer into remission for a few weeks. But.... he just..." I say my lip quivering as I look down at my partner, "he just doesn't have that long."

I sniff and my voice catches in my throat. Before I know it I'm pulled into Kris's chest, his strong arms around me. I sigh and hug him back tightly. I hated this.

Sid's POV

I go to pull into the driveway but find that I can't. There were cars everywhere. I sigh and find a parking space in my old driveway. They weren't supposed to come. I knew Caitlin didn't really want to see anyone and I had tried to get out of practice as soon as possible. But let's face it, the season was coming up fast and the media wanted the scoop on everything. I knew they were planning on coming being that it was the beginning of a new season and they hadn't had a boys day at my house in forever.  However, I thought me telling them about Bran would put that to rest. 

I walk into the room finding some of the guys playing video games and the others I assumed were in the dining room. I walk up to Jordan fuming.

“What the fuck man?! I told everyone to lay low for awhile, let her be,” I whisper shout at him.

“Dude calm down! We all showed up to cheer her up, you know a movie or something, but she told us that she didn’t want our sympathy. She said that Bran was still here, that we shouldn’t be mourning. And then brought out the poker. She’s in the dining room, kicking ass last time I checked.”

I sigh, I should have known she would try to forget about all this. She was shutting everyone out, like I thought she would and hoped she wouldn’t. I could try to get her to stop, to open up, but that would probably not turn out well. I wanted her to let me in, but I knew she wouldn’t. What I saw last night would be as close as I got to knowing what she was feeling.

Caitlin’s POV

“Mary?! Can you get me Buster Chandler’s file?” I shout into the lobby from work. It was just Bran and the pups with me today, they were snoozing on their dog beds by the couch.

“Sure thing! Oh and there is someone for you on line 1,” she shouts back.

“Thanks!” I shout back before picking up the phone, “Hello?”

 “Is this Caitlin Shaw?” a man asks.

“Yes it is,” I say as Mary hands me a file before walking out of the room.

“Hi Caitlin, this is John Garcia. I’m the manager for DogTown out here in Utah.”

“Hi! What can I do for you?” I ask enthusiastically.

“Well, I’ll get right to the point. There was recently a big dog fighting ring found and with it was a Puppy Mill,” he says.

“Oh no,” I sigh shaking my head, it couldn’t get much worse than that.

“Yeah well, we have quite a few dogs on our hands and we’ve shipped some of the cases we are confident will be easy to rehibilitate out to other shelters, but we still have a good number of dogs and some of them are really difficult cases,” he continues.

“Ok.”

“And we have heard of you’re work and we did some research and we would be honored if you joined our staff,” he states.

“Oh! Well… I don’t know… I have my own business and...” I begin.

“We could really use your skill here. I know you have a business and everything out in Pittsburgh, but if you could maybe even take a few weeks off, and help us….” He says.

“I don’t know Mr. Garcia, that’s a lot… and I have a life set up here,” I say.

“Please call me John. And I understand,” he says.

“I’m sorry John but the answer is no, I can’t just leave what I have in Pittsburgh,” I sigh, “I’m really sorry.”

“I understand. I just thought I would ask, and if you ever change your mind our door is always open for you,” he says.

“Thanks John.”

“Thank you,” he says before hanging up the phone.

I hang up and take a deep breath looking over at Bran and the pups, all three were looking at me curiously. DogTown was one of the greatest training facilities/ shelters in the US. A part of me wanted to check it out, see what it was like working there. I could learn so much from that experience. But… my life was here. I had friends here, a business, and I couldn’t leave Sidney. Whether I could help it or not I was head over heels in love with him. I couldn’t leave him, it would tear me apart. Nope. I was staying here in the burgh, for as far into the future as I could see.

September 07, 2009 at Monday, September 07, 2009

6 Comments to "Chapter 69: The Offer"

Posted by Anonymous ( September 7, 2009 at 8:04 PM )

Thank you for the update! I can't wait for the next one, to see what happens w/ their relationship after Sid's skeazy little rendeavous....

Uh oh... She's got an out now. A BIG far away out. Sid needs to tell her asap!

Wow, great update! Can't wait for more. Wonder if/when Sid will tell her about his hook up?

Wow, this is sooo good...can't wait to see where you take it now...I'm with Heather, she's got a big faraway out now...

Oh man. That was a great update. Now with Bran dying (I really hope that doesn't happen) and Sid cheating, I wonder if she'll change her mind about the offer...

Uh oh... that's all I have to say.
Well, that and I can't wait for the next update!

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