Cut To The Feeling
(i've been denying) how i feel
Little Hope was established in early 1990s by Beth’s father Murray, who was at that time a vet. He died shortly afterwards and Beth, still a teenager, took it upon herself to run the shelter. The building was sandwiched between an ice-cream parlour and a hair salon. Beth’s eight year old twin daughters helped her paint it bright yellow (all they did was chose the colour) two years ago; which according to Beth suited the atmosphere of the shelter incredibly. Beth’s daughters, Blue and Violet had deemed yellow a happy colour prior to leaving their marks - two little hands on the front door which had long since faded – and then proceeded to virtually adopt every animal in the shelter.
Maybe this was the reason (the ice-cream parlour also helped heaps) that the shelter always had influx of little children with waffle cones in their hands and ear-splitting grins as they walked through it accompanied by their parents. Most of the times, their aching teeth would be replaced by satisfied hearts when they’d walk out with adopted puppies in their arms.
This was the thing Rory liked most about volunteering at the animal shelter. This, and the fact that Rory got to look after and befriend animals that would have never come closer to her otherwise. She really had a penchant of scaring away animals when trying to pet them and babies would cry whenever someone would hand her theirs to hold.
She had tried her best to stay away from both but one accident involving a bicycle, a sixteen year old Rory’s clumsiness and quick thinking – and perhaps luck as Little Hope was across the block – neverending crying and hiccuping after, she found herself looking after a litter of puppies, which, according to Beth, were a few hours old.
Among that litter was a runt, so small and visibly weaker than its siblings. It was pretty much enveloped by its mother, who seemed to be protecting it from its siblings.
Beth came back a few moments later.
“The pup’s going to be fine,” She told Rory, interrupting her stare-down with the runt, “You can leave if you want, but you’re welcome to stay and look at the animals.”
Rory was unsure, but decided follow Beth as she showed her around the shelter – Little Hope. She told Rory all about its history, about her father, about the first animal she rescued. She saved a puppy from rain and brought it to her father to take care. The puppy didn’t survive, but it left a flicker burning in her to save other animals.
Now Beth ran the shelter and put up puppies for adoption.
“And the corgi back there? The runt of the litter just born? Is he going to be fine?”
Beth laughed, stopping their tour and looking at Rory with kind eyes, “He is actually a she.”
Rory blushed, “I’m sorry. Biology is not my strongest suits. But is she going to be fine?”
Beth shrugged; sighing as the bell over the door rang, announcing an incoming customer, “Only time will tell.”
But Rory didn’t wait for time; coming time and again with things she thought would be helpful for the really young puppy. And they did help – or maybe it was the care she gave the little puppy – for the puppy survived, but her mother didn’t.
And that’s how after two weeks of coming to the shelter on a regular basis that Rory decided to – officially – volunteer at the shelter, a two-week old motherless Moby the first dog she
The nightmare came in the shape of Harry accompanying Rory and Moby to the vet, despite of the number of times the former refused. The showers of yesterday resulted in a kind of wet weather and Rory could feel her sinuses taking the burn of that. Her eyes had started burning long before but her headache was only taking flight.
It also didn’t help that Harry was aggravating it more.
“Really, Beth, Moby and I are fine by ourselves. You don’t need to send Harry with us.”
“Oh, but she does.” It was Harry. Harry with his tall frame and evil grin (which only Rory could see), his boyish charm and orangutang-ly ways which had everyone under their control. No one could say no to him, he made sure of that.
“Please Beth. There’s no need to bother Harry-”
“Oh, but it’s not bothering me in any way. I want to go because what if the vet says some term you don’t understand and end up making a fool out of yourself? Now, Roro, I really can’t let that happen.”
“Hey! What did we say about calling me Roro?”
“Let me check. Oh, you said to absolutely call you that whenever I want to bother you!”
If Rory wanted to then she could have made fun of Harry’s shoes which were on the verge of falling. But no, despite how much she hated those boots and his flashy shirts (they’d flash his nipples), she couldn’t do that. Her tongue just wasn’t ready to voice what she had been thinking for as long as he’d been causing her discomfort.
Beth was watching the two bicker back and forth. She, along with all the staff at the shelter, got used to their regular banter in the first month of Harry working at the shelter. It was childish, a usual dose of entertainment for everyone. But it could get annoying pretty quickly.
“That’s enough, you two. Harry’s going, and that’s final.”
Rory was quick to shut her mouth, while Harry shot her a dirty smirk. Beth turned her back towards them to grab a couple of things for Moby, giving Rory enough time to flip Harry off.
Rory would rather untwist her guts with a wrench than admit that Harry was right.
But it turned out he was right after all. Moby was, indeed, pregnant.
Four days pregnant.
Dr. Travis took Moby for some blood tests after examining her physically. He told the same things that Harry told Rory before, except they were less vivid but more detailed, if that made sense. Harry kept shooting Rory smug looks, the kinds which irritated Rory to no end. At one point, she picked up the flower pot with dead stems and almost threw at him. But the doctor turned towards her at the last moment.
Now with Moby gone for tests, Rory was seated alone with Harry in the waiting room. It was small and cozy, the chairs were warm and Rory was close to dozing off. The walls were a pretty blue colour, with paintings hung to give the room an added homey feeling.
Harry sat next to Rory, bouncing his legs up and down as he went through his phone.
“Moby’s going to be a mother.”
Rory could see his eyes still fixated on his phone. “I’ve worked that out, I think. I know what being pregnant means.”
He chuckled, completely ignoring her comment, “Then does that make you a grandma?”
Rory’s brows furrowed, “Whose grandma?”
Harry put his phone away in his pocket, completely focusing his attention on the girl sitting next to him. Rory had to admit; side-profile Harry was much better to look at than seeing him from front. Not only she could really measure the angle of his jaw line (not that this was what she had been spending her time doing) from the side but also this saved her from the heavy intense gaze he used which always made her feel like a little girl looking at a gorilla.
“The pups. You yourself said Moby was like a child to you, didn’t you?”
Rory remembered the conversation as clear as a day. It was Harry’s first day volunteering (which she didn’t know at that time) and accused him of – er – shoplifting Moby from the shelter when in reality he was taking her to stitch up the leg she had just injured trying to jump from the top shelf to the floor. All it did was break her skin open when she landed on her leg, leading to Rory officially meeting the med student who had everyone under his charm the minute he arrived.
“That really does make me a grandma.” Rory laughed, the absurdity of the situation kicking in. “If none of them get adopted then I’m going to keep them all.”
Dr. Travis had guessed the litter to be composed of six puppies and estimated the expected date of delivery to be about fifty-eight to sixty-three days after. The date happened to clash around the date Josh and Lara were getting married, which reminded her she needed to RSVP to the invite.
“Hey, do you have any idea who the father is?”
Rory didn’t. “No, I am actually clueless. Moby hadn’t left the shelter in two weeks since Newt was sick with chickenpox and Lacey ended up contracting them too, which left you, me and Penny and all of us were fussing after Earl Grey and her broken legs. None of us took Moby out of the shelter which could only mean it was –”
“-Either Franklin or Turner?”
Rory hummed, “But Franklin was adopted two weeks ago and Moby hated Turner with a passion.”
Harry smiles cheekily, and Rory wished he had kept his mouth shut. “Maybe it was not much of a hate than it was sexual tension?”
Rory groaned, getting up from the chair and heading towards the doctor’s room. “You’ll never learn, Peanuts. C'mon now; they must be done with the tests.”
“Peanuts?’ Harry’s brows furrowed.
Rory nodded, beginning to leave. "Yes, peanuts. That’s your name now. They bother me and you bother me. Giving you their name will only remind me why I hate them so much.”
The flat was reeking of burnt pasta.
Rory didn’t try to cook usually because she couldn’t cook at all; her flat mate Francine used to do that job. Rory washed the dishes and did the laundry, while Francine cooked three meals for both of them daily. She was taking culinary classes so Rory’s palate was the prey for all the experiments Francine would do.
Rory wasn’t complaining. It kept her well-fed and healthy. But Francine moved in with her boyfriend a month ago and Rory was left alone to fend for herself.
All Rory could cook without burning were instant noodles, but she couldn’t live on them forever. Money was pretty much tight so take-away food everyday wasn’t an option. And she had everyone at home convinced that she was doing pretty good job living alone.
But now her dinner was burnt (despite her being so adamant about wasting food) and she hadn’t eaten anything since the morning.
Sighing, she took out the frozen pizza stacked in the freezer for emergency (like now). Morning with Moby had tired her out, a really hyper dog was brought into the shelter and Rory kept fussing after him all afternoon because despite of being so active, the dog wouldn’t eat a thing. Her own lunch was missed in this.
The evening class wasn’t better at all; her professor assigned them some long essay on world affairs or something which she had to submit two days later.
Sitting on the counter, she started devouring the pizza. Almost instantly, her eyes shifted to the white envelope which was in the same position she had left. Looking at the card caused thousand memories to revive and cover Rory as shrouded darkness. Never in her wildest dreams would Rory have thought that Lara out of all people would end up marrying Josh. It was maybe because she knew Josh and she knew Lara and she knew how much opposite their personalities really were. If one was plain paper than the other was glimmering, wrap-up paper. If one was carbonated drink then the other was sparkling wine. One was her best friend and the other was her boyfriend.
They had nothing in common, as much as Rory knew.
But maybe, she didn’t know both of them as well as she thought she did. Because her better judgment got the wrong of her and she ended up being pushed to the side. Literally.
The pizza was gone in a second, but the bitter taste left by the cold memories remained even after that. She went to bed with a heavy heart, and even the dreams of Moby cuddling with six small puppies could not lighten her mind - or heart.
Noteshere we are back with chapter 2! i'd really like to hear your thoughts so please comment then and/or any question or feedback you might have!
until next time xx