Not sure if this one is a goer... this is one is set down for a little further down the track. So please excuse any punctuation stuff-ups... and feel free to let me know what you think. As in should I keep this one or should I toss it straight into the bin and start over. Trust me you won't hurt my feelings as I often toss stories out and start over, and hopefully second tome around they are better.
“Momma told me when I was young. To treat people the way I want to be treated.” Tobias Kern leant down and scratched behind his faithful dog, Luc’s ear. Up here in his mountain home Luc was the best friend Tobias had. So talking to him just came natural like. It didn’t matter if Luc couldn’t answer back, but he sure was a good listener, and that was all that mattered.
“I’ve been thinking that people are cracked in the head, Luc. Maybe that’s why we stick close to home and don’t bother with them. Only thing is, is lately I’ve been a might lonely. I sure wish there was someone to talk back to me. You’re my best friend, boy, but even you must crave your own kind once in a while.”
Sitting on the front porch Tobias thought about life. He couldn’t do much about his loneliness but he could go into town and adopt a friend for Luc. There were always shelters with animals in need of a good home, and at least Tobias and Luc had that to offer. If they left early in the morning, they could be on their way home by nightfall.
Tobias stood. “Come on, buddy, let’s go and see if we can’t find someone to keep us company. Winter will be coming soon and we’ll be snowed in before you know it.
* * * *
The sun was beating down in the car park as Tobias exited his truck and waited for Luc to join him. Even though the sun was brutal, the wind had a chill factor that let everyone know winter was well and truly on the way. At least the shelter carpark was dirt so there was no scorching hot bitumen to scald Luc’s paws. Tobias needed Luc there to find an animal that was compatible with them both. No use rescuing another pet if the two animals were going to be growling at each other the whole time.
As he opened the front doors Tobias glanced toward the counter and saw the woman behind the desk talking to a young man who was obviously—if going by the tears streaking down his face—was surrendering his dog. Luc must have sensed what was going on as he headed straight for the young man and sat at his feet.
“I don’t want to give her up, but I can’t afford to keep her with my current situation. I lost my job, my home, and my family all in the same day. I’ve been struggling to make it, but I can’t look after myself let alone Bessy here.” The guy was babbling. There was no doubt about it.
The guy looked to be in his early twenties not that much younger than Tobias’s own thirty-one years. He wondered what the guy’s story was, but knew it would be rude to butt into the conversation. When the young man placed his pet on the floor Tobias watched on as Luc curled himself around the sweet little angel. If he didn’t know any better he’d think it was love at first sight. Maybe his coming here today was a sign. Somehow he was meant to be in this exact spot to meet Bessy and her owner.
When the phone rang, the shelter worker excused herself to answer. Tobias reached out and gently laid a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “Come and sit a spell and tell me your trouble. A problem shared and all that…” Tobias nudged the guy in the directions of the waiting rooms. Both dogs following closely behind them to once again curl up at their feet.
“What’s your name? Mine’s Tobias Anderson.” Tobias began, hoping it would help the stranger open up.
“Greggory Hale, but everyone calls me Gregg.” A shuddering breath was audible and for some reason Tobias wanted to step in and help this stranger out.
Tobias smiled what he hoped was reassuringly. “Well, Gregg, why don’t you tell me what’s going on and maybe we can help each other out.”
“What do you want to know?”
“Why don’t you start with the reason you are here trying to give this pretty little girl up for adoption?” Tobias spoke calmly again wanting Gregg to open up and talk, it was obvious the guy needed to tell someone what was going on.”
Gregg nodded, “It’s my birthday today, and it totally sucks. A month ago I was living the good life. I had a family who loved me. We still all lived on the family ranch, and worked it together. Then I did something stupid and it lost me everything.”
“What did you do?” whatever it was it couldn’t be all that bad.
As he swiped at his tear filled eyes Gregg murmured, “I got caught kissing one of the ranch workers. My dad lost it big time and threw my ass off the ranch. I only have Bessy now because she followed behind. Id’ stopped on the side of the road and she came trotting up and stopped beside the door. I couldn’t take her back. I had to take her with me.”
Tobias frowned at what he heard. How could a father throw away a child—no matter how old they were—just because they were caught kissing an employee? “Is that the whole of it? You kissed an employee. Was it against the rules, or something?”
“A male ranch hand. And yes for my family that is the biggest sin of them all. I have three brother and a sister and not one of them stood up for me. My mother turned her back so she didn’t have to see me walk away. I was given fifteen minutes to pack my gear and get off ranch lands before my father took stronger measures.”
“Where have you been living since then?”
Gregg shrugged, “Here and there. My car mostly. My money is running out quickly and I hate having to turn in Bessy, but she’s better off without me.”
A plan of action began to form in Tobias’s mind. “What I think is you need someplace off the beaten path to get your head together and figure out where you’re at. Maybe we can help each other out. It looks like my Luc has taken a shine to your Bessy. What would you think about coming home with me for a spell until you work stuff out. I should warn you. I live up the mountain and once winter sets in you’ll be stuck there for the duration.”