Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Rex to the Rescue!

She was after a job and if that meant flirting with a guy to land it, she had no problem with side-stepping moral issues should it get her what she wanted.  Her older boyfriend was a bit overbearing, anyway.  She felt kind of entitled to keep her options open.  And it wasn't like anything was going to happen on this date, she wouldn't let it -- she hadn't made it all the way through university with her knees clamped tightly together by being a push-over.

He wasn't sure what he wanted from the encounter.  A piece of tail wasn't really the thing (Rex ensured he was rarely in dire need in that regard).  It was something ethereal.  Something in the air that eluded him when she was near.  A sense more than a feeling.  A blink more than a wink.  A stirring, not in his loins (though that was certainly a near constant around her), but in his heart.  A leaf in the breeze.  A twinge.  Not something he was too familiar with, but craved nonetheless.

He'd been assured she was probably still a virgin, popular opinion being that many had tried and none had been able to pry that door open even a crack.  He doubted she still was.  There were signs, signals, cues.  Rex knew things other males didn't.  Rex could smell things like that, and Rex had already met the Maltese.  Rex wasn't out on this date, however, he was in his dog house, sound asleep, dreaming doggie dreams.

Her voice was high-pitched, not nails-on-chalkboard, but songbird-like.  Her hands and arms fluttered like a female pigeon ruffling her feathers in the presence of a covey of suitors.  She had the short-legged strut of a best-in-show lapdog, her long locks flowing, shining in the arena lights.  They'd been to his place so he could change clothes, then out for pasta and now were at some charity cocktail thing she'd been keen to make an appearance at.

She'd tittered and preened at dinner.  He was his usual attentive self, answering queries with questions, deflecting, keeping the subject of the conversation her, her past, her dreams, her aspirations.  She'd attempted the young adventurist persona, but had been called out -- yet she wasn't what she appeared to be, a lovely little tart trying to play the older man like a virtuoso.  She was vastly inexperienced, but was able to match parry with thrust intellectually.  Poorly read, but a quick study.  She had little interest in anything that did not please her in the moment, or had a role to play in building her future, yet could pick up on things at a depth unusual for someone just out of college.

There had been no physical contact outside of his hand on the small of her back going through a doorway.  She felt in charge, safe, but she didn't know him very well and was unaware she'd already met Rex.  She flitted about at the resto-bar venue, the social butterfly, alighting on one group of people, laughing merrily, air-kissing, then touching down elsewhere, entertaining some girls she knew with a dollop of gossip, then snaking through the crowd to bat her eyes at some young studs hovering near the bar.

He watched her, bemused.  She seemed so enthusiastic about this mindless activity, so fully engaged, getting off on the attention, yet there was something else.  Her sidelong glances his way as he took in the crowd and chatted with some strangers standing at his elbow, the way she monitored where he was and what he was doing, all suggested there was something else going on with her, subliminally.  She was doing what she thought was the thing to do at the event, but seemed to relish knowing she had a man stashed away on the periphery of the crowd, a secret weapon of sorts, a safety net, another source of entertainment to return to.

It had been nearly an hour.  Although chatting came easily to him, he had no interest in these people, the 'desperately social' set.  He'd lost track of her during her constant movement from group to group.  He eased himself up onto a low barstool near the center of the venue, his back toward a large potted palm, one foot rising up on to the top rung of another stool beside him.   He put his empty drink on a bar table where a bus-girl swept it up with a beguiling smile.  He thought about slipping out and leaving.  Would she even notice?  Would he even care?  He thought about chatting up the bus-girl.

Suddenly she was back in front of him, hovering.  "Are you having fun?" she chirped.  He lifted his eyebrows a notch and looked down at her with a half smile, "What's not to like?" he asked.  She looked uncertain, her hips swiveling to and fro over her perpetually clamped knees, her hands clasped around a nearly empty glass of white wine.

He became aware that Rex had also arrived on the scene and, bored, was about to take charge.  His face faded from the half smile to a neutral, but intensely switched-on stare, his head cocked unconsciously to one side and forward over her.  She continued to look uncertain, her brow wrinkling at the subtle change that had come over him...

Read the rest of this story and the entire collection of Rex's short stories by buying a copy of "Is Rex a Dog?" for $0.99 at Smashbooks by clicking here!

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