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Daan was rubbing his shoulder with the ache he felt, having been pulled several blocks to the BEAR building.

As soon as they entered, the canine sensed it. He barked at his guest to ask if he couldn’t detect the change in the entire place with is pets away.

“It’s fine,” Daan assured him and Bear decided he needed to ditch this guy.

STAY!’ Bear barked and grabbed the leash with his mouth. Daan went to follow him, giving a clear indication that he didn’t understand. ‘STAY!’ Bear said and this time, bared his teeth to make sure the man understood.

“What has gotten into you?” Daan asked, but didn’t follow as the dog went up in the elevator.

Bear jumped up at the buttons and pressed Sameen’s floor. ‘Go play,’ he suggested as the man just stood there.

The door opened and Bear exited, making his way to Janine’s cubicle. “Hey, you okay there, buddy?” Martine asked and wasn’t a bit surprised to see him. He stopped to jump up and give her as close a hug as possible.

“Bear!” Janine said when he entered and bent down to give him a heartfelt hug. “I miss them, too,” she said because she could read his expression.

She sat back as Bear began whining about how he was sure it had been longer than two weeks, but she assured him it was only one more day. Then, he howled that he wasn’t sure he could wait anymore.

“You know,” Janine said, looking around to make sure no one could hear her, “… this might sound crazy, but when Shaw is really upset, she goes in to see the Doc.”

I have one of those,’ Bear informed the well intentioned woman. ‘A for effort, though,’ he barked because he had come to understand the two legged ones like acknowledgement.

“She’s really good,” Janine said in a sing-song voice that made the dog’s head twist back and forth.

He was already there and his therapist was ineffective at best. ‘What the hell,” he barked and marched down towards the therapist’s office.

“Do you know….?” Janine was asking when he turned and looked at her. “Oh, right, sense of smell and all.”

Bear waltzed past the receptionist without being noticed and jumped up, putting his mouth on the doorknob. He was so effective and quiet that Iris never noticed him entering until he was sitting in front of her desk.

“Oh,” she said and took off her reading glasses. “Hello, Bear. How are you?”

He whined how he was missing Root and Shaw and although Root called and spoke to him, he was really missing them. ‘It’s been weeks,’ he barked.

“It must seem like a long time for you,” the therapist said, thinking how daily contact with them would make this separation hard. “Do you want to…?” she was asking, when Bear jumped up on the couch and lay down. “Okay, then…,” said Iris who wasn’t exactly sure where to sit. She didn’t know if he wanted to be petted or nap. Bear looked at her and then at her usual chair she sat in with clients. “I guess I’ll sit here,” she said and sat down, almost certain the dog was directing her.
Iris Campbell had very little experience with pets other than the dog she had growing up. But being a true empathic, she could easily understand how he would miss his humans. “If I understood…,” she coughed when she almost said Lionel’s name as her source, “… they’ll be home very soon.”

I know about you and Lionel,’ Bear woofed and Iris smiled back, not understanding a single bark.

“Missing is very hard,” Iris proffered and some of that was her own feeling about missing her favorite client. Shaw’s attendance was erratic at best. “But it speaks to how much we care about them.”

That made sense to the canine. He did go on about how there were two of them and only one of him.

“Sometimes it helps to keep ourselves busy,” the therapist heard herself reveal, and in truth, was giving herself the same advice.

That sounded like a great idea. Bear needed his own project. Janine was right; this woman was good. He leapt off the couch and pushed his head under Iris’ hand so she could pet him. Humans liked that. He barked his thanks, went to the door and opened it himself.

“Well, that’s a first,” Iris smiled as he left.

Well, that’s a first,’ Bear thought to himself of how helpful the therapist was. He was going to fire his old one and switch over to Dr. Campbell.

The only drawback to Root borrowing her friend’s beach house was that the neighbors all knew each other. It was only a matter of time before someone was jogging along the beach and invited them to dinner. At first, they refused politely, stating they were on their honeymoon. But one night, they gave in and accepted. It was an outdoor affair, relaxed wear and plenty of champagne. The crowd all greeted the couple and congratulated them. Sameen felt as if she was surrounded by people who knew her, but she knew no one.

In other words, she didn’t like it.

“We heard you skipped out after the wedding,” one woman shared and tapped Root’s knee to emphasize how fun that seemed.

“We couldn’t wait to just get away,” Root said innocently and everyone laughed. Root was polite enough to smile, but Sameen stood there staring – her deathly glare.

Sameen had just recently assured her wife that there was no need to feel jealous without making Root feel bad for feeling that way. She understood that when you grow up with so little, you sometimes latch onto what you do have later on in life. That fear of losing always stays with you. Root was so touched that she could admit these feelings, that it soothed her beyond measure. She would always feel protective of Sameen, but she realized there was little need for the green-eyed monster.

Sameen – didn’t realize it, but she was about to experience some of the same emotions.

Root was in her element; a group of strangers didn’t put her off. In fact, she shone with her friendliness and heart melting smile. It was just a matter of time before they fell under Root’s angelic spell. Shaw stood at a short distance when she went to get another drink. She could watch Root smile for hours she thought, as she looked at her wife. Root possessed a natural grace with people that Shaw admired and maybe even envied. She just couldn’t understand how Root could draw each person in as she talked about things. Shaw had no patience for that. But she liked watching Root do it.

“Oh, Root,” one man said and handed Root another glass of the bubbly, “… I think you and I should work on a project I’m developing,” the wealthy techie thirty something suggested. The man was speaking Root’s language. He hit her with the trifecta of her interests; technology, philanthropy and vision. Root couldn’t help but be enticed by his suggestion.

Because – it was all about the work.

Billy Blare wasn’t coming onto the newlywed; he wasn’t being inappropriate, nor was he aware that her wife didn’t care about any of that. “I just go my black belt in Tang Soo Do,” Billy bragged, thinking that sharing some personal information would tempt Root to do business with him.

Root understood what he was doing because she was often sought after by business proposers. Shaw didn’t care. She wanted to be with Root and was growing impatient with having to be so polite.

“I could snap you like a twig,” Shaw appeared out of nowhere and shared with him as she bent over to reach his ear.

“Oh!” he said and wondered how in the world Sameen could mistake his gestures as flirting.

Sameen didn’t care.

“No, I was trying to offer your wife an opportunity to put our philanthropic talents together,” he explained.

Damn!” Shaw thought to herself. If there was one way to get to her wife’s heart, it was to off her a good deed opportunity. “Do you want to do this?” Shaw turned and asked Root who was both surprised and taken by her wife’s response.

“I would like to talk to Billy further,” Root said, hoping it didn’t ruin the mood.

The man turned to look at Sameen, hoping this would assure her that he had no ill intentions.

Shaw didn’t care.

Something was coursing through her veins right now and she was on auto-pilot.

But… when we get back to New York,” Root added and that made Sameen smile.

“Let’s go,” Shaw said, holding her hand out to Root, but never taking her eyes off the man who annoyed her.

“I have to go,” Root said, but her tone was almost a lilt from the excitement of Shaw being so domineering.

Sameen took Root’s hand and pulled her gently until they were away from the crowd.

“Look, I’m sorry if I made you leave…,” Shaw said, because she was beginning to sense her reaction was over the top.

Over-the-top was exactly what turned Root on instantly.

“Don’t apologize, please. I love it when you’re … like that,” Root said, stopping in the sand and kissing Sameen.

“A pain in the ass?” Shaw asked, not quite getting it yet.

“Domineering,” Root spelled out.

“I wasn’t … I would have stayed …,” Shaw tried to explain and was about to ruin it if Root didn’t stop her. “Look, if you want to work with the guy… “

“Shut up, Sameen,” Root said and kissed her hard. One look in those soft brown eyes that were gazing back at her finally made her realize Root was trying to tell her something.

“You don’t want to work with him?” Sameen guessed incorrectly.

“Sure I do,” Root said, trying to get this back on track. “If it’s okay with you that I’m working at night…maybe alone…. with him?”

“Why would you have to ….?” Shaw asked and then she noticed Root was swaying, biting her lip with anticipation. “Ooh, I see what you’re doing.”

Thank God,’ Root thought, afraid of missing an opportunity for some playful time alone.

“You don’t want me to be jealous really, you want me... to... be …,” Shaw said and got stuck.

“In charge, bossy, heavy-handed,” Root spelled out.

“Heavy handed?” Shaw asked as if she never heard the phrase.

Root’s expression was one of total excitement of Shaw getting this right.

“Oh, so you want me to … ?” Shaw asked, unsure of the depths of Root’s fantasies.

Shaw’s suggestive look took their play from zero to sixty in seconds. Root didn’t expect Sameen to connect the dots so quickly. “Oh… my…God,” Root said, her knees weakening at the mere thought of it. Sameen caught her wife before she tumbled in the sand.

“Okay, then,” Shaw smiled devilishly, thinking she was getting the hang of this intense foreplay.  "Let's go."