Not sure if you noticed but voting has officially timed out and I would just like to say WOW and thanks so much! I'm not exactly sure how many of you voted because I set the poll so that each person could cast numerous votes. When I put up the poll I was expecting maybe 20, at most 25 votes, whoa was I wrong. 155 VOTES!!! That blows my mind! I had absolutely no idea that I would get so much feedback, and I would like to say thanks! This shows me that you lovely readers at least tolerate my writing and would like me to write more. So I will continue to do just that.

So, who will be my next leading man... well, I'm not 100% sure BUT as of right now, I am leading toward choosing.... BRRRRRRRRRRR (That's my drum roll by the way).... Max Talbot!

Ok, now before those who didn't vote for him let out a groan and say,"But there are already a billion and 1 Talbot stories!" hear me out. Yes, I am quite aware that there are a lot of Max Talbot stories and if I were you in your computer chair I would probably be saying the same thing. However, Max did win the poll and out of all of them I have the most ideas for at least the start of his story. So when I eventually do put up the next story, which I'm still deciding on on when to put it up, I would ask you to please at least read the first chapter. I'm trying to go a little bit different way than many of the Talbot stories and I would love your input.

A few notes about Discovering... Love?, I just finished the first week of the new semester so I've been pretty busy lately and don't have that much for the next chapter. However, this semester I I won't have to work on Saturdays, so I have that day completely to myself! Which is totally different from last semester where I was working or going to class everyday of the week. So hopefully I can spend sometime writing then. I apologize for the last chapter's extremely depressing mood, but, well, that's how I planned the story out. Thank you for all of the great comments on it, it gave me a confidence boost and I wasn't sure how some of you would take it. Thanks for the feed back, it's much appriciated.

@ Lexi, I'm sorry but I had to laugh at your comment. There is absolutely no need to apologize for not loving dogs like I do, I completely understand! In fact, believe it or not, but my brother isn't a big dog fan either. But your comment was VERY much appreciated. I wasn't sure if I was putting too much of the dogs into the story, especially in the last few chapters (and I'm sure I probably am), but your continuing interest in the story let me know that you understand why I am and that's very important.

Ok, that's all. I'm sooo sorry I took up so much of your time with all of this, but it all needed to be said. I want to keep everyone, who shows interest, up to speed with my doings. Honestly, I had no idea that so many votes would be cast, it really did shock me. So THANKS SO MUCH everyone, it really means a lot!


P.S. The Max story won't be as long as this one. Maybe I'll make it 25 chapters? I'm not sure, I haven't gotten that far, but if you wanted a different leading man hopefully I will do a story on him at some point in time. Like I said, I have ideas for most of the people I put up, but only time will tell. Thanks again!

January 15, 2010 at Friday, January 15, 2010 , 8 Comments

Chapter 75: The End

* No this isn’t the end of the story, there are 12 more chapters left *

As I held the water bowl up to his level so that he could take a drink, I knew. I wouldn’t have sent everyone else away if I didn’t, but I was still in denial. After all, Bran was the best dog, the one that everyone wanted. He was a wonder dog, search and rescue hero, obedience and agility champ, and… my partner.

Why was this happening? I had lost the love of my life (again), and I was pregnant, and now Bran was being taken from me. At such a young age too. He was supposed to be with me, helping me through life. Helping me lead the pack, be there as my child grew; be there by my side. What had I done to deserve this? Why was he being put through this painful suffering?

I wake up from my restless slumber to a whine. I still, wanting to get up, but fear stuck me in place. What if I went to him and he was gone? I hear it again along with nails scratching on the floor. I swallow my fear and gently move off the couch that I had made my make shift bed that night. I wanted to be close to him and keep an eye on him, but he could no longer make it up the stairs. He could hardly move at all. I pick up my pillow and comforter, and set them next to him on the floor of the kitchen. I watch as his chest moves up and down in a sporadic movement. His paws and legs move on the dark wood, trying to get up and whining when he fails to do so. I bite my lip as tears push against my eyes wanting to break loose. Walking over I gently lay down next to him, covering myself with the comforter, the floor hard and cold beneath me.

“Shh… babe, it’s ok,” I whisper, running my hand from his neck down across his ribs.

Tears beginning to push their way out, as I feel every bone sticking out under the flesh. The lean muscle that had helped him out run even Maggie had wasted away, leaving behind only a pathetic portion of what he had been. I slowly stroke his fur, listening to his shallow, uneven breaths. The smell of his breath was nauseating from the damn tumors.

Before I know it the sun comes up, shining its morning glow through the windows.
Bran struggles again, whining when he can’t lift himself to a standing position. I watch helplessly as the salty solution leaks out of my eyes and onto my pillow. Finally on his third try, he manages to stand. He moves extremely slowly as if every movement causes him great pain. He finally makes it to the door and just stares at it as he tries to gather some strength.

“Do you need out bud?” I ask quietly, quickly getting up and going over to him.

I open the door and look back at him. He stares at me with his piercing blue eyes, trying to send me a message. He walks over to me, ever so slowly, and lifts his head just enough to lick my hand, his body leaning against me.

A sob tears free with out my consent, knowing that he is telling me good-bye.

I gently pick him up, something I would have never been able to do before he got sick. I walk out the door and gently place him in the snow for him to do his business, but he just stiffly stands there, staring at the ground.

I sigh and pick him back up taking him into the warm house. I set him down on the comforter I had laid on the floor. But instead of lying down, he gingerly moves to the cold stone fireplace hearth, almost falling down on it in exhaustion.

I sniff, wiping away tears and trying to compose myself as I pick up the phone.

“Hello?” a voice answers after the third ring.

“Mike, it’s Caitlin.”

“Caitlin… do you want me to bring the dogs back?” he questions slowly. He was really asking if Bran had died yet.

“No, not yet,” I say quietly as I look over to the fireplace hearth where he lay, “Bran… he’s in a lot of pain, Mike, he’s suffering. I think it may be best….” I whisper my voice cracking, as I’m unable to finish.

I hear him sigh heavily on the other end.

“I can bring the injection over and do it there, Caitlin. But I can’t leave for another two hours.”

I swallow my tears.

“That’s fine. Thank you Mike.”

“See you soon Caitlin,” he replies before hanging up the phone.

I put the phone down and walk over to Bran; I lay on the carpet next to him. My hands going over his body, trying to memorize the feeling of his fur and proportions of his limbs, feeling his heart flutter irregularly under his prominent ribs. I didn’t want to remember him this way, but I wanted to remember how his fur felt between my fingers, how big his paw was compared to my hand, hell I’d even take the ranci breath if he could stay. Two hours, I had two more hours with my best friend.

As I lay on the carpet next to him, tears made their way down my cheeks. The clock on the mantle ticked away, reminding me that I didn’t have time anymore, that his time had run out. I hated this. I hated feeling this way. I didn’t want him to go.

I sniffed as I felt the chills running through my body. I didn’t want to care, but there was the baby to think about. The baby that would grow up with only stories and pictures of my partner, the “man” who had been so much a part of my life. The baby would never know my best friend. I sniff in order to breath, no longer wiping the tears away. What was the point, they only leaked out anyway.

I move to the couch next to the mantle, lying down on the overstuffed cushions. I sigh, which just comes out a shaky mess of breath. My eyes were heavy from the crying I had done, my body begging me to take a nap. But I couldn’t, if I went to sleep, I knew he wouldn’t be here when I woke up.

My mind begins to wonder as I stare at the black TV screen. What was I going to do with out him? The pack and I would move on, but how? Why do things like this happen? Why the hell did life have to be so damned complicated?! Why did I even bother loving, it only ended in heartache, so why bother? Save myself the hurt that it came with. Why couldn’t I keep anyone in my life? Everyone was always betraying me or dying, why were they doing it? It hurt so much.

Suddenly, I hear a whine from Bran’s place on the fireplace hearth and his body slightly shakes.

“Oh God,” I whisper, forcing myself to get up and go over to him.

“Bran? Babe, shh…” I say kneeling down next to him and putting a hand on him. He ceases his whining as soon as I touch him, but I’m not sure if he knows I’m there or not. He shakes and makes a sound almost as if he’s vomiting. I watch in terror as his piercing blue eyes glaze over and then roll back in his head, sinking into his skull like a scene from a horror movie. His mouth opens wide as his tongue is pushed out of his mouth and slightly hangs out.

“BRAN! NO!” I scream, my hands shaking him. “Don’t leave me.”

As soon as it comes, it suddenly ceases and he stills.

“No,” I whisper, frantically trying to find a heart beat; it doesn’t even register in my brain that he has stopped breathing.

I put my hand over where his heart is and still, feeling it slowly fade away.

“No,” I cry, “please!”

I keep my hand over his heart for the next few seconds, feeling it fade to nothing. His heart had stopped beating. I frantically try to find his pulse by his back legs where it should be the strongest, but there is nothing. He’s gone.

“Bran, No,” I whisper tears leaking out as I put my head in my hands. I can’t believe he’s gone.

I pull myself together and look at the clock. Mike would be here in 30 minutes. I get up and walk over to the phone, not looking back at the fireplace. I dial the number quickly and clear my throat.

“Caitlin?” Mike says quietly, he knew.

“Mike, you don’t need to come over. I’ll call you when I’m ready for the dogs. Thanks.” I say wanting to get off the phone as soon as possible.


“He’s gone Mike,” I say my temporary wall crumbling down as if it were made of simple plaster, “I’ll call you later, I have to go.”

“Cait….” He begins before I hang up the phone.

I cry softly going into my room, pulling the charcoal colored flannel sheet from my bed. Walking back down the stairs I walk over to the hearth where his body lay, tears blurring my vision, as I get closer.

“I will always love you,” I whisper holding in the sob that wants to break free.

I open up the sheet and gently lay it on top of the shell that once held my best friend. As the sheet covers him, leaving only the outline of his wolf like body showing through, finally the sob tears free, I’m unable to stop them. He’s gone. No longer would he be there by my side, no longer would he stare at me with his incredible blue stare, no longer was he there to protect me and love me. The world’s best dog, my partner . . . My best friend, he’s gone.

* * * *

I know a lot of you wanted Bran to live, by some miracle. But this . . . this is life sometimes. ~Aeryn

For Annie,
My own Bran who left me over a year ago after a four month battle with lymphoma at only 4yrs old. This was modeled after her death. Rest in Peace, my little Anita, I love and miss you.

I Haven’t Left At All

I saw you gently weeping as you looked through photographs

You paused for just a moment at one that made you laugh.

But as you turned more pages the tears began to flow

You whispered that you missed me but I want you to know;

I softly licked those stinging tears that from your cheeks did fall.
I want to help you understand I haven’t left at all.

On those days that you are overcome with sorrow, pain, and grief

I rest my head upon your leg to offer some relief.

When you take our walking path I’ve see you turn around

Because I know you surely heard my paws upon the ground.

At night while you are sleeping I snuggle at your side

You stroke my fur as you touch that place where I used to lie.

You said it’s just your heart playing tricks upon your mind

But rest assured I’m really there, my spirit’s left behind.

I know your heart is hurting; it’s like an open sore

You think my life has ended and you won’t see me anymore.

But for those of us bound tight by love, death is not the curtain call,

It’s really the eternal beginning that waits for us all

So, dear Master as you live your life I patiently await

For us to be together when you pass through Heaven’s gate.

~Author Unknown

January 05, 2010 at Tuesday, January 05, 2010 , 11 Comments

I Need Your Help!

Alright, so there are only a couple more chapters in this story (13 plus a epilogue to be exact) and I plan on continuing my writing after finishing this story. But what good is writing if you have no one to read it?! So I ask you, my lovely blog readers, who should be my next leading man? I have put up a poll, to the right of this post and I would greatly appreciate if you would take a minute to choose whom you would like to see… well, read. If your preference isn’t on there, I’m always open to new ideas too, so you could always leave it in a comment. I’m not promising that I will definitely choose the winner as my next long story, but I will do at least a short story on the winner. Thanks so much guys, it really means a lot.

And as for Discovering… Love?, the chapter is coming. The next chapter is rather short, but it’s packed full of emotion. I have it half done, but it is a very difficult chapter for me to write. Anyway, Chapter 75 will be up by the end of the week, I DO promise you that. Thanks for voting and for keeping interest in this story, it really means a lot. Ok, that’s it, ranting over.

and HAPPY NEW YEAR, may 2010 be great for everyone!

~ Aeryn

January 04, 2010 at Monday, January 04, 2010 , 14 Comments

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