Squire’s Isle Created by Geonn Cannon

Adoption

There’s about to be a new member of the Powell family…

Nadine nearly missed her cue, trying to stifle her laughter as she leaned back toward the microphone. “Well, hi. Sorry, that song is a bit shorter than I remembered. We’re almost to the end of our time together, but the Squire’s Isle Animal Shelter is continuing its adoption drive all this weekend. There are still a ton of loving animals looking for families, so come on down and find the one that belongs with your family. I’m going to throw it back to ol’ Ben in the studio at the top of the hour, but before I go I want to thank you for listening. And I want to thank my rambunctious, unexpected co-host Orson for sitting in this past hour. Orson, you may not have said much, but that’s what I look for in a co-host.”

The beagle she had been playing with popped up on his back legs and, on the downward drop, bumped his head against her knee.

“So come on down to the Shelter. They have dogs, cats, parakeets… well, not so many parakeets. But you won’t know until you come down. Your best friend could be waiting. This is Nadine Butler, the Pixie–”

Orson barked twice, loud enough to be heard over the microphone.

“–and her co-host Orson wishing you a very good afternoon and a happy weekend. See you on Monday. Say bye-bye, Orson!”

She started the next song and bent forward again, rubbing the puppy behind his ears. He had initially come up into the broadcasting booth with the manager of the Animal Shelter. When she left, the other three puppies had gone willingly. Orson, on the other hand, crawled up onto Nadine’s control panel and started sniffing everything in sight. Nadine eventually decided he wasn’t getting in the way and said he could stick around.

“You were a very good co-host. But now I think it’s time for you to say bye-bye.” She kissed the top of his head. She saw Miranda topping the stairs and held up a finger. “I’m not getting attached. I’m just thanking him for his help today, honest.”

Miranda grinned and crouched next to Nadine’s seat. “He was a very good co-host, huh?”

“He loved the booth. And my shoes.” She chuckled as he started biting the laces again. “But don’t worry, I know I have to give him back.”

“You do, huh?”

Nadine bent down and pulled the puppy up onto her lap. “Well, yeah. Getting a puppy is a big responsibility. I wouldn’t force that on you.”

Miranda smiled and scratched Orson’s flank. “I know. I also know you’ve wanted a dog since you were a little girl. First your parents said it was too much responsibility, then you lived in that apartment… I think you’ve waited long enough.”

Nadine stared at her. “Don’t tease me, Miranda.”

“I’m not teasing. I’m just acknowledging the fact that this little guy appears to have already adopted you. Besides, it would be kind of hypocritical if you spent all day trying to get people to come out and adopt animals when you didn’t take one home yourself.” She held out her hand, and Orson alternated between sniffing and licking it. “Besides, look how happy he is with you. And vice versa. I think if you’re ready to have a puppy…”

Nadine cupped Miranda’s cheek with her free hand and bent down to kiss her. Orson squirmed between them.

“What do you think, Orson? You want to stay on as my co-host a little while longer?”

Orson yipped and licked her cheek. Nadine cringed away from him, but that only made him redouble his attack.

Miranda grinned. “I think that’s a yes. I’ll go find the manager and tell her she’s found a home for at least one of her charges.” She kissed Nadine’s forehead, squeezed her arm, and gave Orson’s back a quick stroke before she stood up and walked back down the stairs.

Nadine leaned back and held Orson so that she could look into the energetic puppy’s eyes. He was white with brown speckles, the color darker on his head and ears than it was on his back. His tail, when it wasn’t wagging too quickly to be seen, was white. She thought about those quiet mornings and afternoons when Miranda was at work, the quiet of the house pressing in on her. She usually hung out at Coffee Table Books or went to the library just so she wouldn’t be all by herself. It might be nice to have someone to keep her company, someone to take care of…

“Well, you are cute…”

Orson barked, twisting his head back and forth until Nadine put her hand on the back of his head and scratched.

“Okay. You’re a Powell now. But don’t think you’re taking my job! This was a one-time thing, and I’m not having some cute young thing upstaging me. It’s the Pixie, not the Pixie and the Beagle. So get any ideas of stardom out of your head right now, pup.” She bumped her forehead against his. She hadn’t even realized she’d been bracing for the moment she’d have to give him up, but Miranda had freed her. Now she could admit that she’d loved the dog the moment he came into her booth, and her love had been sealed when he started prowling around the controls.

He belonged with them.

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