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bits of life

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1

Maggie was stretched out, flat on her back on the couch, the newest addition to their family snuggled on top of her.

“Such a handsome little man you are,” she cooed. “My beautiful little boy.”

A teasing scoff sounded from the chaise, where Alex was curled up, reading up on how best to care for their new family member. “Mags, they told us at the shelter that he needs to lose some weight. There’s no way around this, he’s a fat cat.”

Maggie gasped in faux outrage, hugging the large tuxedo cat close to her. “Don’t you ever speak to me or my son again!” She leaned up, touching her forehead to the cat’s, who was not bothered by any of the shenanigans going on around him. “Don’t listen to her, my sweet Nick; she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. You’re beautiful and I love you just the way you are.”

Alex laughed. “Forever making me play bad cop, aren’t you Sawyer? We’ll just put him on the weight management food, and limit his treats, and he’ll be fine.”

Maggie nodded. “For sure. You got it, babe.” She leaned into Nick’s forehead again. “I got your back, buddy. Don’t worry about treats.” She punctuated the deal with a wink. And all Alex could do was laugh.

2

Alex had fallen asleep during the movie. It had been a long stretch of long days, but she finally had some time off to relax. Apparently her body took that quite literally.

She woke up slowly, realizing that she was on the couch, the movie was over, and Maggie wasn’t there. She also realized that she was hungry, and something smelled amazing.

Just as she was about to get up to investigate, Maggie appeared in front of her, holding out a plate with a pile of grilled cheese sandwiches and one of the fancy sodas they’d picked up on their last weekend in Canada.

And while Alex’s body had woken up, her brain hadn’t quite gotten there yet, so while she planned to say ‘thanks Mags, it looks great’, what came out was “you look like an angel.”

Maggie laughed. “I like it. Our Lady of Grilled Cheese? The Harbinger of Lunch? Doesn’t have quite the same ring as The Morningstar, but I’ll take it.”

Alex was blushing a little by now. “You’re lucky I love you, smartass.” She sat up, and raised both hands in a grabby motion. “Now please bring that smartass, and those fantastic looking sandwiches over here, so I can enjoy you both.” Alex pulled the top sandwich off of the pile and took a huge bite.

"You put bacon in them?!" She grinned goofily, through a mouth full of sandwich. "I luff you so much."

3

Maggie loved her dog. She needed to assert that. But sometimes she regretted getting such a smart dog. She hadn’t been ready for all possibilities.

Gertrude had been a nightmare all day. She was bored and restless. The thunderstorm raging outside not only prevented her from going for a run, but the thunder made her anxious.

She paced the apartment, not interested in anything Maggie offered as a distraction. She was about to call the vet when she heard something coming from the bedroom.

She slipped quietly down the hall, not wanting to disturb whatever had calmed the dog. She stood in the doorway of her bedroom, and her heart melted.

Gertrude was lying up on the bed, staring hearteyes at Alex, who had pulled out her old guitar, and was softly singing. After a few songs, Gertrude was fast asleep, and Alex stood with a smile, tucking the guitar back into it’s case, then back away in the closet.

Maggie stepped into the room, and pulled Alex in for a kiss. “I love that you sang our dog lullabies. What would everyone at the DEO think if they knew how soft you are at home?”

“They’d never believe you if you told them about this” Alex replied confidently. “We’re going to keep this one in house, yeah?”

Maggie nodded. “Play for me sometime, and you have a deal.”