As the couple lay on their backs in the middle of the aisle of the New York Public Library, Sameen broke out in a soft laughter. Her knee was bent up, with Root's hand on her exposed thigh.
“What’s so funny?” Root asked, making the tiniest circle with her index finger on Sameen’s skin. The more Shaw thought about it the more she laughed. “What?” Root said, laughing with her even though she was unsure of why.
“Oh, Root,” Shaw said, out of breath from giggling. “I was trained to carry out missions in the most dangerous situations, you know,” the former operative mused. “But you – you get me to do the wildest things in the strangest circumstances,” Shaw said, and leaned over Root and kissed her. “I’d follow you anywhere. Even to the stacks in the library,” she laughed when she was done.
“It’s fun, isn’t it?” Root inquired.
“Any place is, with you,” Shaw agreed.
“Have I told you that I love you?” Root asked, putting her leg over Sameen’s as the couple lay there without a care in the world.
“How much?” Shaw asked.
“More than any written language can express,” Root answered seriously, running her finger the length of the very personal tattoo on Sameen’s left arm. “My arrow,” she uttered and almost felt lightheaded with the thought.
“I am,” Shaw declared.
The couple emerged sometime later, holding hands, and smiling at the other visitors. People stared as the duo passed, looking very much in love.
Shaw could tell from the look in some of the other patron's eyes as they eyed her wife up and down - just what they were thinking. Bending down to one's ear Shaw whispered; "Better than any of your dreams."
"What did you say?" Root asked.
"Nothing," Shaw fibbed and pulled Root down the long marble steps.
It wasn’t until they were in the elevator on their way to the apartment that Sameen remembered to tell Root she was working on getting the puppy a new home.
“Oh?” Root said, her plan already in place. She nonchalantly pressed her phone to send the message.
“Dog your battle stations!” Isabelle said and then felt embarrassed when the two dogs looked up at her. “It was a play… on words… never mind,” she said as she helped put things in place. “Remember, not until after she’s eaten.”
Shaw was very surprised that Root didn’t have more to say about the puppy issue, but got distracted when she stepped into the apartment and the aroma of her favorite meal greeted her. “Steak?” she asked as if there were any doubt.
“Yes,” Isabelle smiled.
“With potatoes?” Shaw asked as if they didn’t always accompany the steak.
“Just the way you like them; plenty of butter,” said the woman who was in on the plan to butter Shaw up.
Shaw sat down immediately at the kitchen counter and Isabelle started to serve the food.
“Don’t you look lovely,” Isabelle said and Shaw thanked her.
“We were at the library,” Root beamed.
“Hey, Isabelle, why don’t you take the puppy,” Shaw asked, thinking she’d strike while the iron was hot.
“Me? Oh, no, I couldn’t,” Isabelle politely protested and handed Sameen more steak.
Sameen and Root finished dinner, including Sameen’s favorite desserts. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that woman was trying to bribe me,” Shaw laughed as they walked into the living room where Phase Two was about to begin.
Sitting on the couch now, the women were approached by Bear. Worried that he was leaving this whole plan in the hands of the two-legged, he had devised his own.
“Bear, don’t you have something for Sameen?” Root asked as they sat on the couch.
Bear barked and the puppy dragged the bag that he gave her across the floor and stopped. Bear barked again, reminding her they had rehearsed this. She picked it up one more time and brought it over to Sameen.
“What is this?” Shaw asked, bending down and picking it up. “Did you pick this out all by yourself?” she asked when she saw the new Yankees t-shirt. “Thank you,” Shaw said, petting the pup and all seemed good until Shaw added, “… I still say Fusco’s our best choice. I mean, we did just rescue him.”
“We did get him kidnapped,” Root pointed out.
Bear looked at Root whom he mistakenly took to be out of ideas.
Phase Three was about to begin.
He put his head down on Sameen’s lap and gave her the most wanting, pathetic look he could muster. “There’s a good boy,” Shaw said, mistaking his performance for neediness.
Bear looked at Root and shook his head. “No, she’s not,” Root argued quietly while Sameen turned on the television. She wasn’t about to let Bear complain that her wife was thickheaded.
Bear decided it was time for the big performance. ‘Just like we practiced,’ he barked quietly to the puppy, who sat at attention.
The puppy went over and fell at Shaw’s feet. She looked at Bear, who looked at the distracted Shaw and barked to take it up a notch. The puppy began whining.
“Oh, what’s wrong with her, do you think, Sameen?” Root asked and if Bear could have winked, he would have.
“What?” Shaw asked and looked down. “Are you okay?” she asked and petted the listless dog. “She seems… very un-puppy like.”
“Yes, she does,” Root said on cue. The ruse was supposed to be the puppy acting adorable and irresistible. She was acting more… sickly.
“Come here,” Shaw said, sliding off the couch in her cocktail dress and onto the floor next to the dog. “Does she look sick to you?”
“Let me see,” Root said and looked over. She did, in fact, not look well.
The vet was called and no one was more surprised than Bear who simply thought his friend was the canine Meryl Streep.
“She’s like … not doing anything,” Shaw said, her voice laced heavily with worry. “How do you reboot puppies?”
“Just hold her until the doctor gets here,” Root said and the man arrived within a half hour.
The puppy shook with fear when the man came near her and Shaw insisted on holding her while he examined her. Root watched as Sameen spoke softly, assuring the puppy that she was okay.
“I’m going to give her a shot that should boost her immune system. Keep her warm through the night. I suggest someone stay with her in case she gets worse. We’ll know in the morning if she’s okay,” he said. “Oh, and I would keep the other guy away from her. You don’t want him to get it, if it’s anything serious.”
Bear was upset and the only one who could assure him was Root. “I’ll stay with her,” Shaw volunteered when the vet left. “You take Bear upstairs. We don’t want him to get anything,” she decided.
Root kissed her wife goodnight and made up the couch for her. But Sameen continued to sit on the floor with the lethargic puppy.
Root… and Bear… watched through the banister from the upstairs landing. “See? This is why having puppies is hard,” they heard Shaw say. “You’re needy, whiny, eating all the time. But you’re adorable. Hmm; you actually remind me of me,” Shaw laughed softly as the puppy slept in her arms.
“Isn’t she just the best,” Root cooed softly to Bear.
Root got up very early to find her wife and the puppy missing. Bear ran downstairs ahead of her, just as Shaw was coming in with the canine patient. “Look who’s all better!” Shaw said as she walked in. The dog barked hello to Bear, but wouldn’t leave Sameen’s side.
“Are you okay?” Root asked Shaw, happy to see the puppy back to her exuberant self.
“Yes and watch this,” Shaw said and walked across the entry way. As she expected, the puppy followed right behind her. To further demonstrate it, Shaw walked into the living room and stopped. The dog followed. No matter how many times Shaw put distance between them, the puppy closed in on her.
“It’s like she’s your shadow,” Root mused, happy to see the connection.
“Root!” Shaw exclaimed. “That’s a great idea.”
“What is, Sweetie?” Root asked.
“We’ll call her… Shadow,” Shaw decided, looking down at the dark furry face.
Bear looked up at Root with a knowing look. He understood that once the pet selected a name for you, they were hooked. ‘My work here is done,’ Bear said going into the kitchen and getting breakfast.
“I think it’s a perfect name,” Root said, adding; “She does seem very attached to you.”
“Yeah, right?” Shaw said, unaware of the full impact of what was going on. “I never had a dog,” she shared.
“You do now,” Root contemplated out loud.
Shaw looked up at Root, then down at the puppy that was staring right back at her and wagging her tail furiously. “Oh,” she said, finally getting that she had been part and parcel to the very thing she had originally wanted to foil. “Are you sure Bear is okay with this?”
“Oh, I think so,” Root smiled, because there was no way Bear was letting go of his new friend.
“You know I don’t know anything about them, right?” Shaw questioned her wife.
“Daan will help,” Root said.
“What’s the worst that can happen?” Sameen asked because she really had no idea.
The puppy had now passed what Bear told her was the most important test. She had a name. ‘Not a bad name at all,’ he barked to her as they enjoyed their breakfast.
‘I own her now,’ Shadow barked, her mouth full of dog food.
Bear couldn’t help but notice the resemblance when he looked over at Shaw who was talking to Root - you guessed it – with her mouth full of food.
A little while later, Shaw was explaining to Shadow that she had to go to work and that she would be back later. “Call me if she needs anything, okay?” the new owner asked Isabelle.
“I will,” she promised. Then, turning to Root, the chef whispered to please let her know about the bloodwork results. “I have a lot of cleaning out to do if it doesn’t go well,” she whispered.
“You might hear it from the rooftops,” Root replied, hoping it didn’t come to that.