The lightening flashed and five seconds later, the thunder crashed, causing Dan and Phil to run under the awning for cover.
“Holy Cow,” Phil said, “that came up quickly!”
Dan pulled out his phone and looked at the weather app. “Looks like it’s going to last a while, too,” he said. “80% chance of thunderstorms for the next two hours.”
“I guess we could call a Lyft,” Phil suggested.
“We could,” Dan said, “but why don’t we wait it out for a bit. There’s a Starbucks over there and we could get a coffee and sit by the window.”
“Okay,” Phil agreed, pulling his hood over his head, “make a run for it?”
“Three, two, one, GO!” Dan exclaimed, and the two young men bolted from under the awning and across the street.
There was no awning at the Starbucks, so they bolted inside dripping wet, causing the barista to give them a dirty look.
“Sorry,” Dan said sheepishly.
The barista rolled his eyes and went back to ringing up his customer.
After dripping dry for about five minutes, Dan and Phil approached the counter and ordered their coffee, then found a table by the window as they waited for their names to be called.
“The windows are already steaming up,” Phil said.
“What should I draw?” Dan asked.
“Not a frowny face!” Phil said, giggling.
“Hmm,” Dan said, lifting is left hand to the window. He drew a circle, then paused, then completed it with an upside down smily face.”
“Staying on brand, are we?” Phil asked.
“Yeah,” Dan giggled.
“Powell? Fester?” Called the barista.
“That must be us,” Dan said, smiling, and went up and grabbed their drinks.
He sat them down on the table and slid back into his side of the booth.
The coffees were too hot to sip at first, so Phil drew a right-side up smily face the window next to Dan’s to pass the time.
“Nice!” Dan said.
“I should make my merch just a regular smily face with the text ‘Please, talk to me’ on the back,” he joked.
“You should!” Dan agreed. “And it should all be in white with black lettering.”
“Oh no!” Phil said, suddenly.
“There’s a dog loose outside in the storm!”
They both wiped the steam off the window and saw the white dog, drenched and shaking, standing in the middle of the road.
Phil bolted up.
Dan followed immediately.
Without bothering to look for traffic, Phil ran across the street to the scared animal and then slowed as he approached.
“There’s a good lad. What’s your name, buddy?” Phil said gently.
The dog looked up at Phil with big brown eyes and trembled.
“Phil!” Dan shouted from the sidewalk, “Get out of the middle of the street!”
“Come on, boy!” Phil encouraged, but the dog was so frightened that he could not move. Phil reached down and let the dog smell his hand, then gently took him by the collar and started leading him back across the street. Dan stepped out and stopped traffic as Phil slowly made his way to the sidewalk.
“We need to find an awning,” Dan said, putting his hood up over his head and reaching over and doing the same for Phil.
“There’s one down the street a bit,” Phil said. “Come on, Linus, let’s get you out of the rain.”
Bent over, Phil lead the frightened animal by the collar slowly to the awning three buildings down. When they finally made it, both Dan and Phil were drenched to the bone, but they didn’t seem to notice.
Dan crouched down and took the dog’s face in his hands. “Hey boy!” He said. “That’s a good dog! There’s a good boy!”
Phil let go over the collar and reached down to check the tag. “It looks like Linus’s name is Miles.”
“Helloooo, Miles! That’s a good boy, Miles!” Dan enthused.
Miles’s ears perked up a bit at the sound of his name.
“Is there a phone number on the tag?” Dan asked.
“Yeah,” Phil said, having to shout a bit to be heard against the downpour around them.
Dan pulled out his phone, “Read it out to me?”
Phil read out the number and Dan dialed it in. After six rings, the voicemail picked up and Dan left a message. “Yes, hello, my name is Dan and I think we’ve found your dog, Miles. Please call me back,” he said, leaving his number.
Phil was on his knees, oblivious to the water soaking through his jeans, and was soothing Miles.
“Miles, what a good boy!,” he said as he pet him. “Who’s a good boy? Who’s a good little doggo? You are!”
At every mention of his name, Miles tilted his head. Dan reached down and pet him gently.
“How are we going get him home?” Phil asked. We can’t exactly ask a Lyft driver to take two wet guys and a soaked dog into his clean car.”
“I have an idea,” Dan said, rushing off down the street. “I’ll brb.”
He came back with yards of plastic, and three towels.
“Perfect!” Phil said. Dan called the Lyft and then donned dried himself and the dog off as best he could. Phil wrapped himself in the towel, then started sorting the plastic.
When the driver pulled up, he was hesitant to let them in. “It’s alright,” Dan yelled over the crashing thunder, “I’ve got plastic!”
“What?!” The driver asked, confused.
Dan opened the back door and covered the back seat and floor with plastic, then lifted the frightened dog in and slid in beside him.
“Ah, I see. Well planned, mate,” the driver said.
Phil was last in and closed the door behind him.
“Let’s get you home, Miles,” Phil said, scratching him behind the ears.
Miles tail began to wag a bit.
“Aww, he likes you!” Dan said.
“Yes he does,” Phil said, speaking in baby talk, “Miles is a good boy! What a good boy he is!”
Miles stood up and licked Phil straight on the lips.
“Ewww!” Dan laughed.
“He love me,” Phil joked “We’re engaged now, I guess!”
Once they were home, they led Miles into the living room and toweled him dry.
“Dan,” Phil said, suddenly worried, “We don’t have anything for him to eat!”
“Let’s get him some water to start with,” Dan said, “And I’ll rummage through the fridge for some meat.”
Soon, Miles was set up like a king, with a big bowl of cool water, and a plate with grilled chicken that Phil had warmed in the microwave for him.
Miles cleaned his plate, drank half the water, then pattered back into the living room, turned around in a circle three times, and lay down.
His beautiful brown eyes started to droop as he slowly blinked, then they closed.
“Oh my gosh,” Phil whispered, “He’s sleeping!”
Dan whipped out his phone and started snapping pictures.
An hour later, after tip toeing around and whispering, Miles woke up. He went straight for his water bowl and lapped up the remainder, then went to the glass door and started to whine.
“Oh! He must need to go outside!” Phil said. “But he’ll get all wet again!’
“We can just towel him off again,” Dan said.
Miles christened the patio, then came back inside and got a gentle rub down with a warm towel.
Miles sat and looked at them expectantly.
“What does he want?” Dan asked.
“I think he wants to play!” Phil replied.
“Let’s get him a toy then!” Dan enthused, and ran off in search of something Miles could play with. He came back with his plushie.”
“You want him to eat you?” Phil teased.
“Eh, I’ll get another one. Here you go, boy!” Dan said, and tossed it into the air.
To their surprise, Miles jumped into the air and caught it perfectly.
Dan laughed so hard he nearly doubled over. “That was amazing!”
“Do it again!,” Phil said, and Dan tossed another treat into the air and Miles caught it mid-toss.
“This is the perfect dog!” Dan enthused. “I wonder if he knows tricks?”
It turned out Miles could sit, stay, roll over and catch treats and toys with high leaps into the air.
“What is he going to sleep on tonight, if they don’t call?” Phil said.
“I could run out to the store and get a bed,” Dan suggested.
“Does Tesco's have them? Then we could just have it delivered. And some dog food besides. Oh, and a new toy!”
“Let’s check,” Dan said, opening his laptop and beginning to scroll.
Just then, Dan’s phone rang.
It was a number he recognized and for just a moment, he hesitated to pick it up.
“Hello? …. Yes this is Dan. Yes, Miles is just fine, we have him in our apartment. He was on 4th and Lane, just standing in the middle of the street in the rain. Yeah,” he giggled, “just standing there. I think he was scared by the thunder, but he’s all good now. I mean, if you want, we can keep him tonight since it’s getting late and we can arrange to meet tomorrow….Oh you’d like him tonight? Of course! Sure, I understand.”
Dan gave him their address and hung up the phone.
Well, I guess we won’t need to supplies, Phil. They want Miles back tonight. They’re on their way.”
“Oh, good…” Phil said, trying to hide his disappointment. “I’m sure they miss him terribly.”
“This good doggo? Of course they do!” Dan said, gently stroking Miles.
“Well, I guess we should get him downstairs. We’ll just wait in the entryway for them, I reckon,” Phil suggested.
“Yeah, that’s a good idea. No need for them to climb up all of our step,” Dan agreed.
The owners were a young couple, about Dan and Phil’s ages with a young toddler named Zelda. Zelda clapped and cheered and Miles, who apparently went by “Milo”, raced up to them, jumping and licking each member of the family.
Dan and Phil beamed. It was great to see Milo so happy and the family so relieved to see him again. They refused the reward, and accepted only a thank you.
Back upstairs, Phil said, “It’s funny. The apartment feels so empty now.”
“Yeah, it does,” Dan said, sitting down on the sofa and tossing his plushie up and down.
Phil sat down beside Dan and sighed.
Dan reached this arm around Phil and drew him close.
“When we have our forever home,” Dan said, “We’ll get a dog, Phil. I promise.”
They sat snuggled together on their couch as the lightning flashed and the thunder clapped, day dreaming about their future together.