“Ghost!” Jon called as his dog took off, appearing as a white streak across the park “Ghost come back here!” Jon began to jog after Ghost, cursing all squirrels, when he stopped short.
Ghost was laying on his back whilst a black and white husky sniffed his snout and a redheaded woman rubbed his belly .A beautiful redhead woman, with pink cheeks and intelligent eyes.
“What the fuck?” Jon whispered in confusion. Ghost is usually wary of new people.
“We weren’t hurting him.” The redhead woman says, standing tall and looking insulted. She clicked her fingers and the other husky stopped sniffing and padded to the woman, sitting next to her. “He chased a squirrel and then him and Lady started to play.” She explained, her voice icey cold.
“No!” Jon almost shouted at the misunderstanding. “Sorry, no, it’s not that! It’s just that Ghost is usually really quiet and cautious around other people and other dogs. I was just a bit shocked.” Ghost was still laying on the ground, but had begun to roll in the dirt and grass, getting his freshly cleaned white fur nice and green and brown.
“He seems sweet.” The redhead woman said smiling at Ghost.
“She’s beautiful.” Jon commented, gesturing toward Lady. He looked at the redhead and she nodded consent at his unasked question. He knelt down and held his hand out for the dog to sniff. She did so in a delicate manner and bowed her head ever so slightly for pats. Jon chuckled.
“I can see why you called her Lady. She’s very well behaved.” The woman smiled.
“She’s a sweetheart.” Jon and the redhead’s fingers brushed as she also leant down to pat Lady. Ghost obviously feeling indignant at being ignored, stood and bounded at the redhead.
“Ghost! Off!” Jon cried, grabbing Ghost around the chest. “I’m so sorry, he doesn’t usually jump up like that.” Jon could feel his cheeks going red. Of course Ghost acts like he’s never been trained.
“That’s okay!” She said in a happy voice and crouched down to Ghost’s level. “He’s just excited! Aren’t you precious boy?” She ruffled Ghost’s fur around his neck before smoothing it back in place. “I’d ask if they could play together, but I was just heading home.” She said looking at Lady as if she were depriving the dog of food.
“Next time!” Jon said enthusiastically. “Maybe some of Lady’s manners will rub off on Ghost.
The redhead smiled and Jon felt the whole day get a little brighter.
“Next time.” She agreed.
Jon would not have admitted it to anyone. Not to Sam, not to Edd, and definitely not to Tormund. But he had been to the same dog park at around the same time for almost a week. He would also have never admitted that this seemingly innocuous habit began because of Lady’s mum.
That’s how he’d begun to think of her, Lady’s mum. And now he was standing in the warm spring evening watching Ghost run circles around a small group of Pomeranians that belonged to a spiteful woman with long blonde hair.
“Keep your beast away from my precious babies!” She cried reaching down and picking up the tiny dogs. “Joffrey has a very temperamental nature and cannot be bullied like this!” Jon whistled between his teeth and Ghost came to him.
“Sorry Cersei!” He called and turned to walk away when he realised he’d summoned two huskies with his whistle.
He crouched down to her and rubbed just behind her ear.
“Where’s your mum, sweetheart?” He asked as Ghost circled them both.
“Lady! What is wrong- oh!” The redhead appeared from behind a line of trees panting slightly. “Ghost’s dad!” She exclaimed upon seeing him. He laughed.
“I’ve been think of you as Lady’s mum.” She smiled. “I’m Sansa.” She held out a hand.
“Jon.” he replied, shaking her hand. Her skin is soft, ridiculously soft. How does anyone have skin that soft?
“If you’re not busy, can we let them chase each other around? Lady has been so naught the past week because we haven’t had much time to come down here.”
“Yeah, it’s fine with me.” They both looked at their pets and the dogs looked back. Sansa laughed quietly.
“Go on Lady!” She encouraged. “Go play!” Lady stirred but looked back at her pure white companion, waiting.
“Have fun Ghost, go have fun.” And they were off.
“Wanna sit?” Jon asked gesturing to the bench seat near them.
“Sounds amazing.” Sansa replied. She let out a groan of relief that had Jon wondering about the other sounds she might make for him, when she sat down. “My feet are killing me.” She reached down and tugged off a high heel of some kind.
“Why are you wearing those shoes to the dog park?” He asked, an eyebrow raised.
“I came from work.” She replied “Grabbed Lady and came here. I wanted her to have a nice long play.”
“Is work why you haven’t been down here much?” Jon asked, genuinely interested in the answer.
“Yeah, I’ve been swamped. I’ve got about three manuscripts left to read through and edit and then I’ve got some time off.” She smiled.
“Sounds nice. Any plans?” He asked
“Just relaxing. I’ve been working non-stop lately and my brother said I should take some time off.” Jon frowned at her. “It’s a family business.” She explained.
“What about you Jon, what do you do?”
“I’m a detective.”
“Like a P.I? Like Sam Spade?” She asked, her face lighting up with curiosity.
“Well, I’m a P.I, but nothing like Bogart. More like…” He struggled to think of an accurate pop culture parallel .
“Jake Peralta without the badge? Jessica Jones without the super powers?”
“How do you know I haven’t got super powers?” He asked. She laughed and Jon knew he wanted to hear that sound more often. “It’s a small business. Just me and some mates. Mainly taking photos of cheating spouses and finding run away kids. But it’s a living.”
“And far more interesting that fixing the incorrect use of ‘there’ sixty thousand times a day.”
“Grammar is important.” Jon intoned and was rewarded with another laugh. Lady and Ghost had found a large branch and were play tug-of-war with enthusiasm.
“Do you mind if I take a photo of them? They’re just so cute and my sister would love it.” Sansa asked, pulling a lavender coloured phone from her pocket.
“Go ahead.” Sansa got up and wandered around the playing dogs, taking photos and laughing at the canine rituals of play. She was back next to him in a couple of minutes and Jon noticed she had goosebumps on her arms. The breeze has picked up. I should have brought a jacket to offer her. He scolded himself.
“I can send them to you, if you like?” She offered.
“Sure.” Jon replied, taking her phone and typing in the first 3 digits of his number before realising what he was doing. Holy fucking shit. She asked for my number. “Maybe next time Ghost and Lady get together for a play date, we could bring some coffee?” He asked.
Sansa smiled at him and took her phone back from his outstretched hand, their fingers brushing. Electricity seemed to spark up Jon’s arm and he couldn’t help but smile back at him.
“It’s a date.”