The sound of the doorbell reverberated through the house reaching the ears of one sensitive brown dog.
“Door! Someone is at the door!”
Her bark could be heard throughout the entire home.
“Don’t worry Cindee, I will get it,” a little cream colored labrador puppy called up the stairs on his way to the front door, where he found that he was too late. Mommy had already opened the door and signed for a package.
“Thank you, have a nice day,” she said to Sandy, the postal carrier, before closing the door.
“Look out,” the puppy squealed and danced to the right, narrowly avoiding being stepped on.
“Oh, I am so sorry Mylo,” she said patting the young pup on the head.
“It’s alright Mommy,” the dog squeaked back in his tiny adolescent voice.
“Look, its for you guys,” she said, laying the package on the floor, where Mylo could get a better look.
“Okay, I gotta get back to work,” Mommy said with another pat of the head for Mylo and off she went to her office.
“What is it?”
The voice was deep and latin. Mylo knew there was only one person that voice could belong too.
“Dunno Rapi,” the dog said, turning to see a portly orange cat lumbering towards him.
“It looks like a box,” a little black cat said looking down at them from her perch on the stairs.
“It is a box Yehudi,” the orange cat answered.
“And a letter,” Mylo added.
“We can see that,” a chubby grey and one cat added from the kitchen doorway behind them.
“Good to see Bella is snarky as always,” Rapi grumbled to Mylo.
The cats and dog gathered around the package, anxious to discover the contents. They glanced back and forth at each other for serveral seconds, until Mylo finally broke the silence,
“Cindee!” the puppy howled.
“It’s a box and a letter,” the big brown dog said, stating what by now had become obvious.
The package had been wrapped in standard brown packing paper with a label that simple read “The Gang” along with their address underneath it. Cindee found it odd that there was no return address either. Attached to the box with tape was a long white envelope.
“Who do you think it’s from,” Yehudi asked, the little black cats eyes opened wide in wonder.
“Maybe if we open the envelope and read the letter it will tell us,” the orange cat mused.
“That’s a good idea Rapi,” Cindee said, smiling over her shoulder at the chubby feline.
The older dog slid a black lacquered nail under the fold of the envelope and neatly tore it open, then dumped the contents out onto the floor. The Gang huddled around the folded piece of paper shooting glances back and forth between the note and Cindee.
“Read it Cindee,” Rapi was the first to speak.
“Out loud please, because I still can’t read good,” Mylo added.
“Well, can’t read well,” the grey and white cat corrected him.
The brown dog unfolded the paper, cleared her throat, and began.
My heart yearns for you, and I desire your tenderness with every fiber of my soul. I find myself falling and lost for words when you gaze upon me with those beautiful eyes, for they set a kaleidoscope of butterflies free within me. The mere sight of you sets my heart aflutter. Please accept this token of my affection until such time as we may rendezvous again, say tonight? I will meet you at your front door at six this evening. Until then, know that you dance in my dreams.
Cindee looked up at the rest of her friends as the last words fell from her lips, to find each and every one of them staring at her mouth agape. There was only one thing she could think to say.
“What a bunch of sappy slop,” the young puppy groaned, sticking his paw to his mouth, and pretending to gag.
Rapi glared at him for a moment, then his focus softened a little.
“Are you kidding me? That was the most romantic thing ever,” the orange cat gushed.
“Wierdo,” Yehudi added pointing towards the cream-colored dog.
“He is just saying that because he doesn’t have a girlfriend,” Bella said, making sure to add her two cents to the discussion.
Each having taken a moment to make fun of Mylo, the Gang went their own way. Everyone except for Cindee who had stayed behind to talk with her fellow dog friend.
“Don’t let them get to you, sometimes they just get a little catty,” the older dog said, her eyes warm and soulful.
Mylo stared at her for a moment.
“Catty?” he added with a giggle.
“Sorry, no pun intended,” Cindee answered with a laugh of her own.
The two dogs climbed up on the window bench together and stared silently out at the street.
Cindee’s mind quickly wandered back to her puppyhood and life with her mentor Cosita. What would Cosita have said, Cindee wondered. Probably not much, since the old terrier was a spinster, and quite content to be one too. Maybe that was the key.
“You know life isn’t about having a partner to love, or about conforming to what other people think you should be. It’s about being the most authentic you that you can possibly be,” Cindee said, turning her attention to Mylo.
The younger dog glanced over at Cindee and smiled, then returned his gaze to the window again to watch a family of four bike down the street together.
“Thanks, Cindee. You know, being in a relationship isn’t really high on my priorities list right now anyway. I think I need to master peeing outside first.”
The two dogs broke out into a fit of giggles together.
“It sounds like you have this under control Mylo. I think I will go upstairs and rest for awhile if it’s okay with you,” the brown labrador asked.
“Sure. See you later, and thanks again Cindee!”
The clock chimed six and I bolted to an upright position; I could feel my ears perk up in anticipation, listening for the slightest sound. Much to my surprise, I was actually greeted with a beautiful noise. A sweet baritone voice. An intoxicating melody. The notes strained to form a hauntingly beautiful ballad, which had started out softly, then ever so subtly began to build.
An electric pulse of excitement began to snake its way through my slightly chubby, yet feminine form, causing my hair to stand on end, but in an exhilarating sort of way. There was not a single doubt in my mind, I knew this voice. What’s more, I knew it was for me.
A leap from the bed and a hop to the sill and I was peering out the window. Below me, on the front steps stood a fluffy multi-hued Maine Coon, a red rose in one paw, and eyes raised to meet mine.
“Ambrose,” I called his name breathlessly.
His voice took on a surprisingly nasal tone. A tone that sounded more like …
I shook the cobwebs from my head and turned to face the voice calling my name.
“You haven’t been listening to a thing I have said have you,” the little black cat said, the accusation stinging, yet accurate.
“Reality sucks,” I said, blowing out a stale breath and sinking back into the dullness of reality.
“Roses are red,
Violets are blue …”
I let out a groan.
“This simple will not do,” I said, dropping the pen on the desk in frustration and hopping from the desk.
“Why? Why can’t I write a nice poem?”
I was frustrated. So frustrated that I had begun to pace back and forth across the floor. With each step I took, my tummy swayed hazardously close to the carpet, and my mind filled with more clutter, more doubt.
“Luna wrote me such a beautiful love letter, and I can’t even come up with one little sweet poem in return,” I heard myself grumble some more.
“Just tell her how you feel,” a familiar voice came from the doorway.
I jumped at the sound and felt my legs go weak underneath me. I was more than a little shaken by the unexpected interruption, but relieved to find my best friend standing there looking back at me.
“It isn’t that easy Cindee,” I complained.
I could see the admiration in her eyes, then a smile, but that didn’t really reassure me.
“Sure it is, just pretend you are telling me how you feel about her.”
I let the idea simmer inside of my noggin for a moment then nodded at Cindee with a smile of my own. With no further words needed she continued down the hallway, and I to my desk where I grabbed the pencil and let my imagination fill with the delicate features of Luna’s face. In my mind’s eye I could clearly see the Siamese looking back at me, and without a moments notice a rush of emotions swept over me and poured out onto the paper.
I stretched out on the bed and stared out the window at the leaves rustling on the tree branches. Somehow, this always seemed to calm my nerves. Today, however was a little different. Thinking about that love letter my mind wondered back to the Spring Spree and another incident involving love letters.
When I Grow Up by the Pussy Cat Dolls began to pulse through the room, which caused a surge of fur to press onto the dance floor. We left Rapi and Luna there to suck face and escaped to the safety of the bar area which had just cleared out leaving a few nerds behind who didn’t like to dance.
I glanced next to me to find Bella standing there with a stupid smile on her mug. ‘It’s that dreamboat Jasper,’ she said pointing at the blueish-grey tabby sitting at the bar nibbling on a handful of treats.
She tried to keep this thing with Jasper a secret. They had been exchanging love letters for months now and Bella had been hiding them under her bed in hopes of keeping her feelings a secret. She is so self-absorbed she doesn’t even realize that the rest of us know about her secret stash.
Anyway, Bella had spotted Jasper and wanted to chat him up, so what does she do, she grabs me by the collar and drags me over there with her. Smooth move, right?
So, there I am being held against my will when Bella taps the muscular grey cat on the shoulder. ‘Hi Jasper,’ she cooed. Startled by the unexpected attention, he sends treats flying everywhere. ‘Geez, oh, hi ladies,’ the grey cat managed to recover.
Lemme tell you, this was a very uncomfortable situation to be in. I could not help but wonder why Bella couldn’t be more like Rapi and grab the situation by the tail and just go for it. ‘The place is hopping right?’ Jasper says matter of factly while glancing around the room.
Both Bella and I look around as well. While she is pretending to be interested in her surroundings, I on the other hand, would give my left paw to be back out on the dance floor. ‘Sure is’ Bella mumbles.
Jasper grabs another handful of treats and holds them out to me, ‘care for a Temptation Bella?’ I can feel my whiskers begin to twitch, then nod towards the grey cat. ‘She’s Bella, I’m Yehudi,’ I smile awkwardly.
I glance nervously to my left and find Bella with her forehead furrowed and her eyes burrowing into Jasper. I have seen this face before. Panic stricken, I begin to scour the area looking for an escape route, when out of the corner of my eye I catch Bella throwing a sturdy left hook that connects squarely on Jasper’s jaw with a thud.
It was in that moment that I realize all those love letters … they were meant for me. I just knew in my heart of heats that that love letter that arrived today was from my sweet Jasper. I knew it!
I stepped out of the shower and toweled off in front of the steam covered mirror while humming “I Kissed a Girl.” Katie Perry songs do that to me, get stuck in my head, you know what I mean, and once they are there, you can’t get rid of them. Well, that was what was happening to me right now. I swiped at the mirror with a hand towel and screamed at the werewolf that was staring back at me from the other side.
“Mommy!” I shrieked.
“What’s wrong Cindee?” Mommy came thumping up the stairs in a hurry and poked her head in the bathroom.
“Are you okay?” she asked, all slumped over, panting, and wheezing from the exertion.
“Look at this hair, do I look okay?” I grumbled at the unsightly mess that was sticking out in every direction.
“Your hair?” Mommy asked incredulously.
“Yeah, my hair. If anybody can fix it, you can. I mean you wake up with a black poodle that went through shock therapy on top of your head every morning and after a little work, it is beautiful!”
Mommy glared at me through narrowed eyes and huffed. Somehow, she did not seem to see the compliment. I didn’t have time to mess around with hurt feelings right now, I am on a tight schedule, so I did what any manipulative dog would do, I turned my head and gave her the sad puppy dog look.
“Please? I neeeeed you Mommy!”
She looked down her nose at me and sighed. Again, with the huff. Mommy has been doing that a lot lately, maybe she should see the doctor about that problem.
“Okay, I’ll help,” she said, just as I was about to bring up my concern about her breathing problem, instead I smiled and let the thought go.
“Thank you, Mommy!” I leaned over and kissed her on the cheek.
I examined the mirror again and saw a pooch with the face of a chocolate lab and the hair of medusa staring back at me. Mommy grabbed the brush and began to run it through my brown hair and in no time. I was beginning to resemble myself again. I explored my floppy ears and wondered how they would look if they were pierced. I think it would be fantastic to wear those big hoop earrings like Mommy does.
“There,” Mommy said, putting the finishing touches on my hair.
“What do you think about this? It kind of matches your bow?”
The light reflected off the silver studs that covered the pink leather collar. I glanced from the leather accessory to the mirror and examined the pink bow that Mommy had just placed in my hair.
“Your right it’s perfect!”
The chime from the doorbell rang and I leapt to my feet.
“It’s Lucas!” I barked and began for the stairs.
All of them had made a mad dash towards the stairs, save Mylo who had been lounging on the sofa watching old episodes of Murder She Wrote. Each of them waiting with bated breath from Mommy to come to the door.
Each of the friends looked at the others, surprised to find everyone dressed up for the occasion. Rapi, wearing a sky-blue bowtie and clutching a letter in his left paw looked like he was about to be sick. Bella and Yehudi on the other hand had each worn a pink ribbon in their hair, and simultaneously stared at the door with their mouths wide open. Cindee had dolled herself up too, and was perhaps the most nervous, unable to stop her panting.
They were all on edge, and even the simple act of opening the door seemed to be taking Mommy forever. Slowly, inch by inch it creaked open until finally the author of the love letter came into full view.
“What is that” Bella asked, her nose scrunched up in distaste.
“You mean, who is that,” Yehudi corrected her.
“Humpf,” Rapi groaned and turned to walk away, no longer interested in the outcome.
Cindee, on the other hand, was speechless. A stray tear broke free from her eye and trickled down her cheek. She had hoped that Lucas had flown in from out of town to surprise her, but this was definitely not Lucas.
“Is Mylo here?” the small pile of fur asked.
“Oh my gosh, it talks,” Yehudi gasped.
Hearing his name, Mylo slid off the sofa superman style and meandered over to the door.
“Oh, hey Chewy,” he said with a smile.
“Chewy,” the little black cat asked.
“It’s short for Chewbecca,” Cindee answered.
“The neighbor’s dog,” Rapi clarified.
“There is a dog under that?” Yehudi asked.
“Sheep dog,” Rapi answered with a giggle.
The initial shock had worn off, and all of Mylo’s friends whooped and hollered for him. Mylo and Chewy were about to leave but stopped at the sound of Rapi’s voice.
“Here Mylo, you need this more than me!”
The orange cat tossed his sky-blue necktie. Mylo smiled put it on and walked off into the sunset, surprised and content to be on his first date.