Josiah isn’t much of a people-animal. That doesn’t mean he can’t play nice with them. He snuffles at Alice and gives his best cute act, until he’s certain that she’s calmed down. Before long, Alice is stroking Josiah’s short, coarse fur with both hands and looking down at him with big, sad eyes.
She says, “how did you know that I needed this?”
Josiah tells her, “every bird in the timeline knows this is what you needed.”
Alice, clearly, doesn’t understand what he’s saying. Still, the love of an animal can do amazing things to a person’s heart. For Alice, it makes her want to open up.
She tells Josiah, “you must think I’m awfully silly, walking around sniffling while I work. I just can’t help it right now. There’s…you see, my fiance. He broke up with me. Left me for someone else and – I suppose I just can’t figure out what to do with myself now.”
There’s a lot that Josiah can say in response. But considering that Alice can’t understand him, he does his best to get his reassurance across in other ways. He presses his head against her palm. He snuffles at her hands. He looks at her with his big, dark eyes.
Alice asks, “do you think I’m pretty enough, Josiah?”
“Very pretty,” says Josiah. And then to get his point across, he braces his front paws on her knees, stretches up as far as he can, and presses his nose to her cheek in a mockery of a kiss.
Alice laughs. “Thank you, Josiah. Knowing that I’ve got you around helps. Do you think you’ll feel like coming and visiting me again?”
Josiah grumbles. He hems, and he haws, and he hums. Then he says, “only until you’re feeling better.”
Alice wipes at her eyes with one hand. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you just nodded your head. Oh, but I have so much work to do. I had better get back to it. Thank you for listening to me, Josiah.”
And then she does what few people are brave enough to do. She leans down and presses a kiss right to the top of Josiah’s head.
Alice gets up and finishes her work in the room. Once she’s safely out of sight, Punch and Snipes join Josiah.
Punch says, “that was real sweet of you, Josiah.”
“I only did it because it’s my job,” grumbles Josiah, half-heartedly. “And because I don’t want either of you ruining my napping spot.”
Punch and Snipes trade amused looks.
“Whatever you say,” says Snipes.
Punch echoes, “yeah, whatever you say!”
They both know the truth.
Josiah is a good animal, even if he’s a little gruff too.
Katelynn E Koontz – Author