Misty still wears the grogginess of sleep as she reluctantly opens her eyes that morning. She gives a half grumble, rolling on her side and squishing her face further into the pillow. As she inhales deeply, she can smell the sweetness of her girlfriend. It brings a smile to her lips, only for it to plummet as she realises said girlfriend in question is not there.
Springing up from the bed, she blinks profusely and glances around the room.
No sign of Cordelia. Just the neatly folded covers on her side of the bed, and the lingering scent of perfume. Misty follows that scent like some sort of trail hound, eager and keen to find the prize.
She does, pottering around the kitchen with a hum floating around her. Misty grins at the sight of her, with wavy hair scaling the length of her back and a ruffled dress that outshines the morning sun.
Misty bites her lip, eyes brimming with emotion. Sometimes she’s glad Cordelia can’t see the way she admires her, ‘cause surely she’d just be a mere smitten fool. Heart picking up in pace, a side effect often found from the woman’s presence, she tiptoes in further and embraces her from behind.
Cordelia just about jumps out of her skin, spilling a puddle of milk all across the counter. It adds to the coffee grounds that are already in a pile on there. “Misty.” She chastises, even if she’s twisting her neck and smiling.
A kiss is placed to the back of her neck. “Sorry, darlin’.” The mess is eyed. “C’mere, lemme get that.”
“Oh.” Cordelia half frowns, then lowers the carton of milk to the nearest surface. “Did I spill some?”
Misty smirks and offers a white lie with a kiss now to her lips. “Only a little. It was my fault, anyway. Seein’ as I scared you an’ all.”
“You always wait until I have something in my hands to do that.” Cordelia points out shrewdly, even if she accepts the offers of morning kisses with the uttermost happiness.
In their embrace, Misty chuckles and squeezes Cordelia’s sides. “Guilty as charged.” Her gaze migrates back down to the counter. “Is one of those for me?” She asks, referring to the two mugs.
“Hm huh. I made you some tea.”
As always, with every statement like that, a badge of pride is worn, showed around for all to see. “You spoil me.” Misty smiles appreciatively, detangling herself from Cordelia and reaching for the drink. Its warmth tickles beneath her nose, then soon travels the length of her throat.
Bare feet padding against the floor, she makes her way over to sit at the table. “You got up early.” She points out, admiring her fully dressed girlfriend before her. In comparison, Misty is still wrapped in her loose night dress, all wrinkled from the sleep.
“Well,” Cordelia pauses, lips pressing together in a clear show that she’s trying to hide her nerves. “Today’s the day. . .” She has spun on the spot, leaning her rear against the cabinets as she gazes in Misty’s general direction.
The day. . .
In her sleepy stupor, Misty hasn’t really pieced the morning together yet. But it doesn’t take long for the puzzle to slot neatly into place. When it does, excitement swells so boldly within her that she almost drops her mug.
“It’s the seventh already?!”
She’s on her feet, then, bounding over to Cordelia with enthusiasm. The woman must be able to hear the scuffle, to sense to burst of giddiness. She beams amidst her laughter. “Yup.”
Misty is grasping onto her hands. “We get our dog today?”
“I get my dog today.” Cordelia corrects with a brow rising slowly. She outstretches a hand until it makes contact with Misty's hip. There, she holds on. “Remember, baby. She isn’t like a normal pet dog. . .”
That doesn’t deter her. Not one bit. “She’s still a dog. And she don’t gotta work all the time. When she’s on break, I’m gonna cuddle her so much.”
More of those promises roll off of her tongue as the conversation progresses, with anticipation building steadily inside of her. Until her tea becomes cold and Cordelia is insisting that she go get dressed.
It’s safe to say that she runs up the stairs, followed by the quickest shower of her life. Her hair isn’t even fully dry as the two make their way to the truck. Or more, Misty practically shoves her girlfriend inside.
“Misty,” she laughs, “I don’t know why you’re rushing. We’ve got an hour before we have to be there. Plus you’ve got to go open the store.”
She pulls a face and groans. “But this is more important. Plus Sarah is minding the store today.”
Cordelia is shaking her head fondly, “yes, but we both know you like to open every morning so you can say hi to the flowers.” There is just the slightest bit of teasing in there, enough to earn an eye roll from Misty.
But Cordelia isn’t lying, and they take the familiar drive to the flower store. Her fingers idly tap against the steering wheel, matching the rhythm of the radio. With hands as percussion, her gravelly hum soon joins in. Though she should be concentrating in driving, she finds herself easily distracted by passers by and swaying trees, and the rest of the world that wakes up just a couple of hours behind them.
She’s always preferred to be up earlier, to catch sights of a quieter world. A task she’s often done alone, finding peace in the solitude. Now, with Cordelia, it appears she’s met her match at who can arise the earliest. With that, there’s company; a figure by her side to welcome in the day.
Out of the corner of her eye, she grins in the woman’s direction. “It’s really pretty this mornin’.”
Cordelia hums thoughtfully. “What does it look like?” A faint smile appears on rosy lips. “Describe it to me.”
“Well,” Misty begins in all seriousness, searching for just the right words. “The sky is this swirly mix of pink and orange. . .your favorite color.” They’ve stopped at some lights, as if by fate, and it gives Misty more of an opportunity to peer around. “All the trees are in bloom, an’ full of life and flowers. . .it’s good kinda bright. Not too much, but kinda like the same glow the moon gives ya, you know? ‘Cept it’s day time.”
Cordelia chokes on a laugh. “Yeah, that one didn’t slip past me.”
That wry smile is ignored in favor of continuing to survey the area and translate it as best she can. “It’s just one of those days where everything seems right.” She tilts her head to the side, smiling over at Cordelia, “an’ I know it’s gonna be perfect ‘cause we’re finally gettin’ our dog.”
She’s laughing again, lifting a soft palm that locates Misty’s thigh with ease. It is well practised, after all. “I like it when the sky is orange. It makes me happy” She announces quietly, adjusting the glasses on her face.
Misty makes a vow there and then that every orange horizon will be shared with her girlfriend.
She places her hand over Cordelia’s, squeezing it ever so softly before someone honks their horn behind in a show of impatience. Misty’s face reacts with a twist of annoyance. “I was goin’. She sets the vehicle into motion, grumbling and regretting the loss of contact with Cordelia.
It isn’t long before they arrive at the flower store, where she walks slower by Cordelia’s side as she leads her in. They begin their usual morning routine, organising and planning any orders for the day, leaving notes for Sarah, and occasionally stopping to peek over at Cordelia.
The woman, oblivious to her audience, is floating about the room to smell each and every flower that she locates. At the moment, she has paused at the bright yellow freesias. They hold her attention, just as Cordelia holds Misty’s.
She wishes she could save the moment forever, as sun streams through the tall windows to dance around the room. The crisp white walls aid in that, reflecting the light with zeal. It bounces into her eyes, welcome, and then she sighs ever so fondly.
Cordelia’s neck pops back up. “Everything okay, Misty?”
Perfect, actually. “Yeah.” She grins, tucking the pen into her bun to stop herself from losing it again, then tiptoeing nearer. “I’m comin’ over. Don’t jump and knock over a whole display again.”
“That was your fault!”
Misty is already wrapping herself into Cordelia’s side.
She hears a chuckle huffed against her. “At least you warned me this time.” Twisting, she kisses Misty, missing her cheek and finding just above her ear. Either way, the Cajun giggles.
The world outside grabs her attention again and, as she hugs Cordelia, she lets her mind wander. “Are you excited?”
“About gettin’ a dog.” She clarifies. ‘Cause she damn well is. Beyond excited, actually.
“I – I think so.” Cordelia adopts a quiet tone, wearing vulnerability for Misty and Misty alone. “I’m a little nervous, though.”
“Well, what if she doesn’t like me? Or if it doesn’t work out?”
She blinks, regarding her at first with this half smile, only to realise she’s deadly serious. “Delia. . .”
Cordelia is already shaking her head, pushing up a mask of courage over her nerves. “I’m fine, it’ll be fine.”
She squeezes her hold around the woman, as always loving the way she feels in her arms. “You can tell me.” Teasing pushes through, her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. “You don’t gotta be so strong all the time, ya know? Things can scare ya.”
“I know.” She sighs.
Misty watches her, lips parted as words mull around in her mind. Soon, they come into fruition. “Think of how amazin’ its gonna be when you’ve got her. All the stuff you can do.”
The same ideas appear to slowly travel over Cordelia’s expression. “It will be nice. . .if she likes me.”
“Delia. You guys spent two weeks at the centre together. Think the biggest worry is that she’s gonna replace me.”
Chuckling, she bites her lower lip and wraps fingers delicately around Misty’s fingers. “No one can ever replace you, Misty.”
“Ah, remember when there was a time that you hated me bein’ in your house?”
Cordelia freezes. “I never hated you. I hated that fact that Fiona just dropped you off with no explanation.” With a head shake, she purses her lips together. “Although, that is just a classic move from my mother.”
“You hardly let me do anythin’ for the first week,” She reminisces, “Miss, ‘I can do it’.”
“I can do it.”
Misty laughs in all her fondness. “I know.”
They fall into a quiet, where thoughts traverse in different directions. Running her hands the length of Cordelia’s back, she gives a definitive nod. “It’ll all go well. You’ll see. You can do this too, right?”
And just like that, they are all the magic words needed to charm the beast of nerves inside of Cordelia.
“Right.” She agrees.
Misty’s gaze is stolen by the clock that sits above the display of hanging alyssum. “I can’t believe we get to go pick her up soon!”
“You’re such a kid, Misty.”
“But it’s a dog.”
They don’t quite manage to see eye to eye there. Cordelia likes animals, sure, but not to the same extent as Misty. She, on the other hand, has been begging for some sort of pet since they became official. If this is the closest thing she can get, then she’ll definitely take it.
As the minutes go by, her heart only moves to the beat of the most rapid drums.
There’s definitely a bounce in her step when they pull up. She scurries over to Cordelia’s side, holding out a hand. “Here.”
Cordelia’s warm one slots into hers, while she uses her other to feel around for the frame of the truck. Once she’s out, Misty has already managed to grab her cane. Gently handed over, Cordelia links their arms together.
Here, the woman sucks in a deep breath and maybe, just maybe, she is more excited about this than she’s letting on.
She nods. “Let’s go get our dog.”
“Your dog.” Misty corrects softly, ‘cause that’s what she is, really. Perfectly matched to compliment Cordelia’s personality and lifestyle.
The two make their way inside, happily greeted by Katie, the very same woman who has been walking them through the entire process. “It’s finally the big day, huh?” She smiles, plump cheeks all rosy and shining in excitement.
Misty mirrors her grin.
There’s the usual set of paperwork, a bore of descriptions that have her zoning out and instead headed over to the bulletin board. Here, there are newsletters of campaigns and events and, more importantly, there is an endless supply of dog pictures. All enough to have a goofy smile placed on her lips.
She offers every image its deserved attention, slowly padding back over to Cordelia who is nodding and smacking lips together thoughtfully. Katie smiles softly at Misty as she reappears, holding Cordelia’s hand without so much as a second thought.
“You have to remember that these will be new surroundings for Daisy, too. It might take her a few weeks to fully get comfortable in your home, so a little patience is needed. Once she’s settled, she should hopefully be the perfect dog for you. And if you have any problems or questions, all you need to do is call us, okay?”
“Right.” The woman nods, “what if. . .she isn’t happy?”
Misty pulls a face, intersecting. “Cordelia has got it into her head that the dog suddenly ain’t gonna like her.”
“Oh.” Katie begins, a little surprised. “Well, all the files seem to suggest that she took really well to you. I can’t see it being a problem. But again, there is always someone to contact in those circumstances.”
She continues, talking enthusiastically on and on, but there’s only one thing that Misty is waiting to hear.
And finally, she does. “So, are you ready for us to go get her?”
Cordelia pushes a smile onto her lips, clearly fighting her trepidation. “Yes. I think I am.”
What can be no longer than five minutes is possibly the longest wait on their entire lives. Misty wants to talk, to give Cordelia a series of constant reassurances, but maybe she just needs quiet right now. So, she instead gives a solid form next to her, and a hand to clutch on to.
Her hold tightens when they hear the jingle of a collar and nails hitting the linoleum floor.
Then, the door opens and out walks Daisy. The Labrador cross retriever steps in a dainty manner, head held high and, as soon as she spies Cordelia, giving a little wag of her fluffy tail.
Katie brings her nearer, a bag thrown over her shoulder. “Here she is, guys. Ready to go to her new home.”
Cordelia holds out a hand, which is instantly touched by the wet nose of the dog. She sniffs and nuzzles softly, before coming to sit in front of the woman. Beside her, Misty makes googly eyes at the creature and stops every muscle in her body from reaching over to fuss her.
“I’ll take you guys to your car.” Katie offers, then pauses. “Do you want to take Daisy, Cordelia?”
The woman nods. If Misty looked closer, maybe she’d be able to see a tremble in her fingers as she takes charge of the harness. But it sits nicely in her fingers, and Daisy peers up at her obediently.
“Um,” she begins gingerly, “forward.”
And just like that, she sets into motion.
Every command is followed with ease, just like they’d practised in all of their bonding sessions, and Misty finds herself in awe at the intelligence of the creature. There’s a calm aura about her, a gentleness that Misty’s heart swells at. Each time she glances at her new owner, there is something awfully sweet behind the dog’s eyes,
As they walk, her ears flop in her place; her tail lifts high, swaying back and forth, and the two move as though destined for each other. Misty keeps a few steps behind, watching the interaction softly.
Katie has more advice to offer, all smiles and enthusiasm. Her love for Daisy is clear, felt in the gushing tone of her voice. “She really is a good one, I think she’ll make a big difference to your life.”
Cordelia seems far more comfortable with charge of Daisy now, and finally breathes out a smile. “I – thank you.”
The bag is held out. “These are for you guys – a few treats to get you started. We listed her favorite brands in the information pack, plus there’s a couple of her toys in there. When she’s not working, she does like a little play. Especially with the stuffed rabbit.”
That notion has Misty smiling, itching to reach out and touch Daisy again. The dog lifts her head, wispy little whiskers poking out either side of her dark nose. Her eyes meet Misty’s, and here she at least lets words spill out. “She’s so beautiful.”
“Oh yeah, she’s a stunner.”
“I love her already.” Misty laughs, her hand finding the small of Cordelia’s back. Those words are no lie. Just the sight of Daisy has her heart stuffed full of all kinds of good emotions. The same ones she feels when she casts a gaze in Cordelia’s direction. Between the two of them, she’s pretty sure that she’s gonna have heart palpitations.
She thankfully manages to calm herself and, once they’ve said their goodbyes to Katie, she watches as Cordelia sets about getting the dog into the truck. Daisy is slightly small for her breed; she manages to fit into the footwell laying over Cordelia’s feet. The older blonde smiles at that, gently bending down to rub at silky ears.
“You ready to go home, Daisy?”
The dog stares back at Misty’s words, and Misty couldn’t be happier.
The afternoon is spent adjusting to their new arrangement. While she texts Sarah every so often to check up on the shop, she devotes the most of her time with Cordelia. The three go for a walk, a short, rehearsed trip where she finds it strange that she’s not the one leading Cordelia through the streets.
Daisy takes her role with ease, never faltering.
She assesses the world where Cordelia can’t, faithfully leading the way. Maybe Misty is going to get replaced by the dog.
“This feels kinda weird.” Cordelia chuckles as they turn into their street. Here, Daisy needs little direction to locate the front door, where she waits just at the step.
Cordelia sucks in a breath, cheeks puffing out thoughtfully. “Wonderful weird.”
Although it may appear she’s finished, there is more to say once they’re inside, and seems to suddenly get hit with the realisation of it all. “I – I can just. . .go out, whenever I want.” She announces, words thick with emotion. “I don’t have to ask anyone to take me somewhere – I. . .”
As she trails off, any other words lost to grateful little tears in the corner of her eyes, Misty nods in understanding. “Yeah.” She agrees. “You can.”
To her surprise, Cordelia lowers herself to the floor ever so slowly before the dog. Her hands roam over soft fur, those adorable little ears, before she scratches Daisy’s muzzle. She takes it all in her stride, remaining oh so still under the touch,
Even when she is pulled into an embrace by the woman, she doesn’t react much. Just merely offers another content flick of her tail and half closes her eyes.
Misty soon helps her back into her feet, teasing her endlessly that she’s already attached to the dog. It isn’t denied, and Cordelia’s delicate smile doesn’t budge. Now they’re in the house once more, Daisy’s harness is taken off and hung up in its new designated spot. Much to Misty’s joy, as it means it is her turn to fuss the dog; she offers scratches and belly rubs as Daisy sits in her chosen spot at Cordelia’s feet again.
“Oh, you are just the cutest.” She drags nails across her tummy. “You are the cutest dog in the whole wide world.”
Fingers scratch her head, watching gleefully as eye close in content, “yes, do you like that?”
She shuffles closer. “How about this? Aw, is that nice?”
Next, she literally boops her nose.
“You are the prettiest gal in this house.”
The Cajun blinks, moving pupils over toward Cordelia. “I still love you.”
She is already shaking her head and smirking. Misty lifts herself into cramping legs and jumps into the spot beside Cordelia. “You will always be my favorite, you know that.”
“Looks like I have some competition. . .”
Gently pulling her in by the collar of her dress, she speaks with intensity. “Never.” And a searing kiss seals that promise, one that Cordelia reciprocates with a groan into her mouth. Today really is the best day ever.
She cooks that night. It gives Daisy and Cordelia more time together and, every time Misty peeks over at them, she finds the pair always in touching distance. She even sits beneath the table as they eat hearty amounts of spaghetti. All Misty can see is a golden tail poking out between legs, enough to summon happiness within.
It seems the only time that the two can manage a separation is as Cordelia heads for her shower that night.
Even then, Daisy sits at the door, looking all kinds of forlorn. Misty’s heart aches in understanding.
She crouches, holding out a hand, “hey, c’mere girl.”
Daisy peers between her, making a quick decision and then dutifully returning to her guard of the door.
“Aw, I know.” She drops herself cross legged to the ground. “But she’ll be back, I promise.” Hands tap against the floor, wiggling almost enticingly. This time, the dog takes the choice of company and slowly heads toward her.
She comes to sit before Misty, setting those impossibly big eyes on her once more. Misty strokes her cheek in circles. “See? I’m okay, too. Huh?” The way she leans into the touch answers the question.
“Anyway,” Misty grins, “I wanted to talk to you, missy.”
Daisy blinks, as though giving the woman her full attention. Maybe it’s all in Misty’s head, or maybe they have just been given this super wise dog.
She draws in a breath, and continues in all serious. “It’s real important, so you gotta listen.” Here, it’s Misty’s turn to eye the bathroom door. “Now, you’ve got yourself an awfully important job, Dais. You’ve gotta make sure that Delia is safe, right?”
Tilting her head to the side, Daisy absorbs the sweetly spoken drawl.
“I mean it. She may seem all strong, but everyone needs someone to look after their back. That’s you – you’re kinda like her freedom. . .which I know is a damn lot of pressure for a dog, but I believe in ya.”
She ruffles the fur on Daisy’s head again, marvelling at the softness. “You’re gonna help keep her happy. Normally that’s my job, but we can share it. How do you feel about that?”
Obviously, the dog doesn’t speak. Now, that definitely would be impressive. Still, her eyes seem to agree.
Misty lets her hands slow in their pets, lingering just at Daisy’s shaggy neck. “She deserves that.” The woman whispers, her heart suddenly aching in a way that it hasn’t done for a long while. She thinks of Cordelia, of her struggles and pains, and how she fights them every day without a single complaint. “She deserves so much.” Misty confesses to her new friend. “You’ll see. . .you got lucky, you know? She’s gonna be the best owner ever – and I’ll love you, too, ‘course.”
Once again, she is drawn to the door. The dog stares in the same direction, and the two weaer complimenting expressions of love. “But it’s all about her, so just. . .I’m puttin’ my trust in you to take care of her.”
There is understanding in her dark brown eyes, something almost human, and Misty knows that she doesn't have to worry about a thing.
Her throat burns with emotion, the same that is quickly swallowed down as she hears the shower stop and the movement of Cordelia in the bathroom.
“Alright, let’s shake on it.” She lifts a hand, and Daisy slowly lifts her own paw up to meet it. Misty grips that soft paw and shakes. “Good girl.”
They pull apart just as Cordelia appears, wrapped in her robe with wet hair hanging down. Misty beams at the sight, standing readily to greet her and steal a kiss. “Is Daisy there?” Cordelia asks against her mouth.
“Oh, I see. You wanna know where the dog is instead of me.” Misty pouts.
“Misty, I am not gonna love the dog more than you!”
A firmer kiss confirms that, sucking her very breath and thoughts away, and Misty flutters in content for a little while longer.