“I think it would be nice if you got her a gift,” Renfield said, absently.
Renfield put down his pen and turned his attention to the wolf. “Well, it is Christmas and it is traditional – especially considering the two of you had a litter together and you’re still seeing each other. I think she would appreciate it.”
Diefenbaker rolled his eyes.
“It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant,” Renfield replied dryly. “I’m sure she’d enjoy a new collar or a toy or even a box of bones.”
Diefenbaker barked sharply.
“As a matter of fact, yes, I *am* getting Detective Kowalski a gift. And we’ve been going out for a much shorter period of time. And for your information, I’m taking him to dinner and a show.”
“Money shouldn’t be a problem. I know you have a bank account that has regular deposits. I’m sure Constable Fraser would be more than happy to withdraw some money for you.”
Diefenbaker just stared at Renfield and raised an eyebrow.
“Well, then either you talk to him about it, or tell me your account information. Either way, you are buying her a present.”
Diefenbaker laid down with a sigh.
Diefenbaker whimpered and covered his eyes with his paws as Renfield stood and shouted at the tv screen, “Go! Go! Go! Go! Go! Yes!” and triumphantly thrust his hands in the air. “Oh, don’t look that way,” he said, sitting back down as a commercial break came on. “You wanted to be contrary and cheer for the opposing team this time.”
Diefenbaker huffed, but didn’t look up.
“Wearing a pair of boldly patterned pants is not a good reason for following a team. There also has to be strategy and skill involved.”
“No, you can’t root for Canada too now. You’re stuck rooting for Norway until the end of the match.” He continued, “That’s not to say they’re not a good team and may in fact actually win, considering how close it’s been, but I will tell you I told you so if necessary and you’re not allowed to be a sore loser.”
The match resumed and they watched intently. Finally, Canada barely edged out Norway in the game to advance in the tournament. Renfield cheered enthusiastically and Diefenbaker nudged his snacks towards Renfield.
“I hope you’ve learned your lesson this time."
Diefenbaker snorted and left the Consulate.
“No, you can’t come to the soiree tonight. There will be a number of highly important guests there that Inspector Thatcher and Constable Fraser are expected to entertain and stay on the good side of and I doubt having you there will add to that atmosphere.”
Diefenbaker stared at Renfield as Renfield continued to polish the banister. “You can stare at me all you want, I’m not going to relent, and neither are they. Constable Fraser already told you no in no uncertain terms – I heard him do so this morning before he left with Detectives Vecchio and Kowalski.”
“Yes, I suppose there will be finger foods and appetizers there, but do you really think you should be asking me to make you a doggie bag? You’ve been looking a little pudgy lately.”
Diefenbaker growled lowly.
“I know Constable Fraser thinks you have a junk food problem and I happen to agree with him, considering I’m the one who feeds you while you’re here and he feeds you at home. You’re going to need to cut down if you expect to keep up with Fraser in the field.”
Renfield sighed. “I’ll see what I can do.”
“Look, it’s not my call. The Chicago PD has strict rules about ride-alongs, and they are already pushing it with Constable Fraser.”
Diefenbaker whined again as he and Renfield watched the GTO pull away from the curb. “Besides, Detective Kowalski is even stricter with his car than Detective Vecchio is from what Constable Fraser tells me.”
Diefenbaker huffed and stared down the empty street.
“We’ll go to the park on my lunch break, if you wish,” Renfield said in a concillatory tone. “It’s Thursday and the pee-wee team should be playing football. They might even let you chase them.”
Diefenbaker woofed in assent.
“But promise me you’ll come when I call this time. I have to be back promptly for guard duty and Inspector Thatcher wasn’t very pleased the last time. And, obviously, she wouldn’t accept the truth that it was your idea and that you wouldn’t listen to me when I called you.”
Renfield smiled as he ate his lunch and watched the pee-wee team play. Diefenbaker sat patiently at his side, waiting for his turn on the field with the happily shrieking kids. At the sharp whistle blow, Diefenbaker was out on the field like a shot.
“You’re a werewolf,” Renfield said in disbelief.
“Were-human,” Diefenbaker gently corrected. “There is a difference. My primary form is as a wolf and at the full moon, I turn into a human. If it hadn’t been for that car impeding my escape, you wouldn’t have been the wiser.”
“As much as I enjoyed dating a ‘man of mystery’, who only blew into town once a month, I’m glad I know the truth,” Renfield admitted.
“And what do you think about the truth?” Diefenbaker asked, taking Renfield’s hand in his.
Renfield gently pulled away. “I don’t know. I need to think about it. It’s a lot to take in.”
Diefenbaker nodded. “I understand. If it helps, everything I’ve told you is true. Well, maybe not the job stuff.” They both chuckled. “I do love you.”
“I know. I just…I need time to process.”
“Take your time. I’ll wait as long as you need.”
It took Renfield a month. Every time he looked at Diefenbaker, he felt conflicted. The next time Diefenbaker came to him in human form, he said, “I’m sorry, but I can’t. It’s just – it’s too much for me. Maybe one day, but not now.”
“Can we still be friends?” Diefenbaker asked, doing his best to keep the hurt out of his voice.
“Of course!” Renfield replied. “Besides, where else would I hear all the juicy gossip?”