I lead the way toward the clinic, wary. Something feels off. I stop.
"Come on," she says, impatiently tugging me forward. "It's okay."
Though reluctant, I trust her. If she determines to enter, I will follow and protect her. Anywhere. Always.
We had an understanding, we two. I expected the occasional burn of her wrath, the sweeping sting of her frustration. I sometimes made mistakes, required harsh discipline. But her soft words and smile were like honey. When we went to sleep, the way that she touched me—I knew I was forgiven. She was mine. So I took care of her, guarded, warned of danger, kept her safe. I would not let her down.
Then there were the men. She tired of my company and took them to bed instead of me. They never stayed long. I was the one to dry her tears and listen to her heartache when they didn't call back. The worst of them she brought home the other week. A scoundrel. Greasy. He smelled like another woman's perfume. I tried to warn her. But she dismissed me to my bed, scolding me. It was not my place.
Still, I threatened him the next morning—when she wasn't looking. He hasn't been back.
We're inside now, following a long hall. I enter a small room, search for signs of danger. But when I turn, my lady is gone. I can hear her outside the door, speaking to the vet.
"My boyfriend is allergic."