“It worked!” Bonnie yelled, dancing around the living room and nearly running into the coffee table. “Five weeks and it finally worked! And she’s so cute!”
Jonno stretched his back with a groan. “Yeah, and her, ah… dog is—”
“Yeah, he wasn’t scared of you like all the other dogs were,” Bonnie said, beaming. She threw her arms around Jonno. “It’s perfect! Thank you so much!”
Jonno laughed and hugged her back. “Yeah, anytime. You owe me, though.”
“Yeah, I’ve got it,” Bonnie said. She let him go and started pacing excitedly again.
It was a gamble, this: hanging out at the dog park in hopes of meeting a cute girl who would potentially not be so terrified when she found out her girlfriend was actually a werewolf. Well, technically, Bonnie’s still working on that plan. Hannah seemed cool though, and considering her dog James was nearly as big as Bonnie and Jonno in their wolf forms… well, it didn’t seem like it’d be too much of a stretch to hope that Hannah would find wolves cool. Maybe half-wolf, half-human girlfriends…
Bonnie dropped onto the sofa, pulling out her phone and looking at the texts she and Hannah had exchanged before leaving. She curled into the sunken cushions of the sofa— broken from a few months back when Bonnie jumped on it while wolfy. And a bit high. No matter, it still functioned just fine.
With a big smile spread across her face, Bonnie started typing out another message.
“Bonnie’s dog is a werewolf,” Jim announced as soon as he was back to his human form.
Hannah gaped at him. In her pocket, her phone buzzed. “What?”
“Jonno. He’s a werewolf. I could tell. And he could definitely tell I’m the same,” James said. He shrugged and headed for the kitchen.
Hannah slowly sat down in an armchair. Another werewolf… pretending to be a dog…
“Oh god,” Hannah said. “D’you think Bonnie knows?” Quickly, she grabbed at her phone, which was showing a new text from Bonnie.
forgot to tell you… your smile is real cute :)
Hannah smiled despite herself and texted back.
you DID tell me :P
that was about a different smile… I mean the smile when you were leaving
unless that was because we were parting ways :’(
no that smile was for you
“Well, does she?” Jim said, startling Hannah.
“What?” Hannah said.
He gave her a look. “Did you ask her?”
Hannah raised an eyebrow at him. “How the fuck am I supposed to ask a girl— one I happen to fancy— if she knows her dog’s actually a werewolf?” She scoffed. Okay, now that she was giving this a bit of thought… no, Bonnie probably didn’t know. She seemed too genuine and open-hearted to be hiding the fact that her dog was actually a shapeshifting wolf. Jonno… well, there might have been any number of reasons why the werewolf was masquerading as a dog.
“Do you think she’d be bringing a werewolf around a dog park for weeks if she knew?”
James rolled his eyes and sat on top of Hannah, squashing her. “You did that,” he said.
“I brought you once, just today—”
“Yeah, and you’re going to keep asking me to do this shit long enough to keep going back and flirting with her, won’t you?” he said.
The phone buzzed again.
since you’re new to the park, you might not know there’s a festival happening in three days
you want to meet up again for that? its got free tacos
Hannah’s lips curled into another smile. “James, dear, how do you feel about free tacos?”
The park was crowded when Hannah arrived with James. He’d been sulking and complaining and doing everything he could to annoy Hannah ever since she asked him to help again; however, a half hour earlier, he’d grudgingly shifted into his wolf form and allowed Hannah to walk him out.
In the meantime, Hannah had been texting Bonnie almost nonstop. Bonnie was such a magnetic person, thoughtful at times and mind-numbingly hilarious at others. And so so cute in the selfies she’d sent Hannah. James teased Hannah about the faces she made while reading Bonnie’s texts, but honestly she didn’t care.
Bonnie was amazing.
And she was right there, just as beautiful and perfect as she was three days ago.
Bonnie lifted a hand up to wave. Hannah was finding it hard to breathe.
And suddenly Bonnie was falling forwards, her leg tripping over something. Hannah’s heart jumped in her chest and she moved as fast as she could, throwing her arms forward to catch Bonnie before she face-planted into the grass.
Oh fuck. She was holding Bonnie. Bonnie’s arms had gone instinctively around Hannah’s waist when she caught her. Hannah stared into Bonnie’s face as her face grew hot.
“Thanks,” Bonnie mumbled.
Hannah helped her to her feet. She might have been shaking a little. Who wouldn’t, after holding someone really cute in their arms? Beside her, James huffed and butted his head against her side.
Right. Hannah took his leash. It was so fucking weird holding a leash.
“Thanks for coming!” Bonnie said, nearly bouncing on her feet with Jonno at her side. The dog-that-was-apparently-a-werewolf wagged his tail convincingly. James cocked his head at him.
Hannah took her attention off the two werewolves. Well, two other werewolves, since she was a werewolf too. She brightened up at Bonnie’s energy.
“Course I was coming!” she said. “I had to see you again. Even though, uh, I saw you in the pictures you sent me.” Wow, way to be fucking awkward. “Your face.” That did not help in the slightest.
Bonnie put her hands on each of her cheeks and squashed her face a bit. “My face is much better in person,” she said.
“Yeah,” Hannah agreed.
James took that moment to start pulling on the leash, trying to drag Hannah off in the direction of a bunch of tents. Hannah looked over. She couldn’t smell like a wolf in her human form, but it was still impossible to miss the scent of candy floss and tacos and curried chicken and kebabs.
“You, ah,” Bonnie said. She gestured at the food and then made a strange face that looked like she was trying to say something but the message just wasn’t coming out.
Jonno made a sound that almost sounded like a bark and started tugging Bonnie like James was doing. Hannah chuckled.
“Guess our, um, dogs know where we’re going next?” she said to Bonnie.
“Yeah,” Bonnie said absentmindedly. “So, uh, what have you been up to? I mean— shit, I asked you that yesterday didn’t I? Sorry—”
“No, it’s alright,” Hannah said. “Just James driving me crazy every day. You know.”
As they passed a group of older women with their dogs, Hannah noticed all of the dogs shied away from Jonno and James, whining and hiding behind each other. Hannah tried to guide James away from the dogs as much as possible, but it was getting harder as they got closer to the heart of the activities.
“That happens with Jonno all the time,” Bonnie said. “Real— I mean, little dogs don’t like him much. Real, uh, real shame. He’s sweet.”
“James is a bit of a bastard, so them avoiding him is completely justified,” Hannah said, internally hoping to take the conversation away from her werewolf flatmate soon. Jim shot a glare at her and snapped at her hand. She pushed his head away.
“Well, I like his owner,” Bonnie said, smiling at Hannah.
Hannah wasn’t quite sure how she would have responded, because at that very moment, Bonnie walked straight into the side of a tent and stumbled to the ground. There was no way for Hannah to catch her this time, so she just watched, open mouthed, as Bonnie flailed around in the folds of the tent while Jonno barked at her.
James nudged Hannah again. He was giving her a weird look.
“What,” she hissed at him.
James rolled his eyes. Hannah stuck her tongue out at him and went to help Bonnie untangle herself from the tent.
They walked through the rows of vendors, most of which were small businesses trying to sell their dog-related products, businesses that had nothing to do with dogs at all, or local shelters with adoptable dogs. Hannah tried to pet some of the dogs, but they all cowered away from their group. It was a little unfortunate, but Bonnie didn’t seem bothered by it at all.
When they stopped at a table run by a local bank, Bonnie reached for some of the free tennis balls sitting in a bowl. Hannah was perplexed at first. What did they need tennis balls for?
“You can take those to play with your dogs,” the gentleman behind the table said.
Bonnie probably didn’t hear him, because she said to Hannah: “You know, I can juggle. I took a class from a clown once.”
“What?” Hannah said, blinking in surprise.
“Look,” Bonnie said. She threw one of the balls in the air. Then she dropped the other two. “Fuck,” she said. She immediately bent down to grab the ones she dropped and the first ball fell and bounced off the back of her head. Jonno jumped and caught it in his mouth.
Bonnie straightened up with the two other tennis balls and frowned at Jonno. “Aw gross, man, I don’t wanna touch that now.”
Jonno lifted his head up enough to drop the tennis ball in the free tote bag they’d gotten from a radio station. Bonnie made disgusted noises as she looked in the bag. “You’re the worst,” she groaned. “Why’d I bring you?”
Hannah watched it all with no idea what to say. James bit her hand. She yanked her hand out of his mouth and smacked him on the head.
After that, they made their way to the food court. Much to Bonnie’s dismay, only about a third of the food vendors were offering free food courtesy of the festival’s organizers— cue Bonnie apologizing to Hannah and Hannah assuring her it was fine. They got their free tacos and candy floss and walked away to find a shady spot to sit down. In the distance, they could just barely see a stage, where a group was doing magic tricks or something.
Jonno stretched out in front of them, his eyes closing as he appeared to fall asleep. Bonnie leaned back against the tree, and Hannah followed suit.
“This is fun,” Bonnie said.
Hannah’s eyes were drawn to Bonnie’s hands as she licked sugar from the candy floss off her fingers. She glanced over at Hannah, startled a little when she saw her staring, and bit her lip. Hannah quickly took another bite of her chips to avoid having to say anything.
“I, um. When d’you think you— I mean,” Bonnie fidgeted. “Do you want to meet again here soon? Or… do you want to meet again, like, period?”
“Yes,” Hannah said quickly. “Uh, we could go on like…” She hesitated over the word, never having used it when talking with a girl before. Her heart was pounding. “A date. Wherever you want.”
Bonnie looked relieved to hear that word. “Oh. Wow. Yeah. Great!” Her face lit up. “Um, I don’t know where— wherever you like, I guess. Uh—”
Hannah looked away from Bonnie in shock at the familiar voice. The voice that she shouldn’t have been hearing because he was supposed to be pretending to be Hannah’s dog. But there, just on the other side of Jonno, was James. In human form. Holding a beer.
Hannah was speechless.
“You must be Bonnie,” Jim said, nodding at Bonnie before taking a drink.
“Um, yeah?” Bonnie said.
“I’m James,” he said, and Hannah would have jumped up to tackle him if Jonno wasn’t in the way. “I’m Hannah’s flatmate.”
“Flatmate?” Bonnie repeated.
“We’re just mates,” Hannah said quickly. “Best mates, but that’s it.”
Bonnie nodded. Then a smile broke across her face. “You named your dog after your flatmate?”
James cracked up laughing. “Yeah, Han lost a bet and had to name him after me.”
Hannah buried her face in her hands. This was a disaster.
“Where is James anyway?” Bonnie said. “The dog, I mean. I don’t… I don’t see him… oh no.”
Well, obviously the dog wasn’t there anymore. Hannah peeked through her fingers to glare at Jim. He shrugged.
“Maybe he went off in search of the free food he was promised,” he said.
Bonnie gasped. “You think he might have run off?” She sat forward to shake Jonno. “We can go look for him. He can’t have gone too far.”
Bonnie stood up and reached down to help Hannah to her feet. She smiled appreciatively at Bonnie, but as soon as Bonnie was crouching down to wake up Jonno, she stuck up both middle fingers at James.
You wanker, she mouthed.
James flipped her off in return and downed the last of his beer.
At least James suggested that they split up to search more ground. That still meant that the conversation was largely focused on musing about how such a massive dog managed to wander off and walking up to random people to ask if they’d seen a dog about Jonno’s size. James, of course, went to the food court first and stayed there for at least fifteen minutes before Hannah lost sight of him.
Finally, she and Bonnie “found” him sleeping in the sun near the pond. Hannah wanted to kick him awake for how he’d ruined her date, but the relieved hug that Bonnie gave her put her in a slightly better mood.
“Glad we found him,” Bonnie said, still squeezing Hannah tightly. A moment later, she released her, face very red.
Hannah took a deep breath. “How about coffee?”
Bonnie looked confused.
“Tomorrow,” Hannah clarified. “I’ll text you the place. If you’re interested.”
Bonnie relaxed and nodded, her smile returning. “Yeah! Sounds great.”
“And… just the two of us? Not that I don’t love Jonno, but—”
“No, I get it,” Bonnie said. She reached out to pat James on the head. Bastard didn’t deserve it, and he definitely didn’t deserve to be making a happy noise at the contact. “Just you and me. Don’t think coffee places usually let w— dogs come in.”