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Cynical Conjunction

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There Rey was walking down the pavement of Harlem. Heels hanging by her fingers of one hand, her purse hitting her knee in the other, head throbbing with a light sharp pain. Hair a mess, but not to the point where you know where she’d been. From anyone else’s perspective she was just a women who had a bad morning - which was the case, but not exactly. You see, Rey had just escaped out of a mans fire escape window after having a one night stand. That’s right, the walk of shame. 

She’s not proud of it no, but she’s had a rough week and last night helped relieve her. In fact, her relief bled all the way til now. She still felt good, amazing even. The sex was great and if there was a way she could rate him out of ten, he’d be off the charts. She’d be up to do it again another time, if she knew his name or where to find him.

Last night was kind of a blur, Rey knew she was drunk and that..that’s it. The talking part was hazy and so was his appearance, the only clear thing was the sex. Yes, it was that good! Mean good. She took a picture of his junk - just to remember him by, there was Advil and a glass of water on the bedside table. He must’ve put it there for her, like he predicted her hangover. She took it just before leaving to where she was now. Her phone buzzed in her purse with a reminder that she had a job and she was going to be late. 

“Shit.” She swore under her breath, she bolted  down the street to the nearest taxi and jumped in. There were already customers in there but she didn’t care, and they didn’t seem to care either. Rey slipped her heels back, the uncomfortable feeling of walking around a city barefoot finally catching up to her. She had to get home and shower and change. When she got close enough to her place, she walked the rest of the way. 

Stumbling inside her messy house, she stripped off all her clothes and ran to the shower forgetting her towel. Her daily late alarm clock ringing in the kitchen, this is not her first time being late. But it is her first time being late for said reason. She washed her body so fast her skin was irritated when she got out. It didn’t matter, she had to go. After getting dressed she flew down the stairs to the garage and looked for her car. Rey always forgot where she parked her car.

A throat cleared behind her. That deep throaty voice that she recognized a little too quickly, she turned around to see her landlord. Reason two to why she woke up in a strangers bed last night. The man who basically raised her until she hadn’t the money to live on her own, still in his clutch. He’s just the worst person in the fucking planet. She fixed the strap of her purse over her shoulder, knowing what he was going to say.

”Behind on bills Rey, I can’t take your excuses anymore and you’re late for work.”

“Yeah..I know.” She sighed.

” Pay tonight or I have no choice but to evict you.” He warned. Rey had no idea where he thought she was gonna get the money that fast, but he of all people should know since he gives her her paychecks.

When she found it, she got in and drove to work. 

Rey works in an animal shelter during the day and at a nursing home at night. She work she mostly with dogs, washing them, walking them, and feeding them. Same thing with the elders at the nursing home. It’s hard seeing the dogs leave when they’re adopted, Rey always cries. But she’s happy when they go, it’s better than staying in a shelter waiting to be sold. 

“There’s the Rey of sunshine!” Kaydel greeted from behind the front desk as she walked in. “Boss is lookin’ for you. You’re on walking duty.”

Rey placed her purse behind the desk where she was sitting. “Yeah..I saw him in my way here.”

”Aw shit, he always catches you.” She pointed out.

“Yup..perks of living in his complex.”

“You look like you had a night.”

“Oh I did.” Rey chuckled. “Got drunk..and woke up in someone else’s bed.”

”Oh shit, you told me not to expect such things from you.” Kaydel gasped.

Rey pursed her lips and draped her sweater on the chair. “It was a one time thing, it won’t happen again.” She assured massaging the pain in her forehead. “So..who am I walking today?” 

“Section A, we’ve got the big doggies, fun sized and classic waiting to be taken.” She announced like a saleswoman.

”Alright,” she grabbed the keys. “I’m gonna get some food while I’m out. Want anything?”

”I don’t know how your gonna do that but yeah I’d like a cheese burger and some fries.”

“Cheese burger and fries coming up.” Rey went into the dog hall, the loud barking coming from every direction as she passed pens of begging canines. She grabbed the leash and went into the first dog pen to be jumped by the biggest dog they had. Nikki. The bravest and most independent of dogs in the shelter. She’s been through the most because she’s a pit bull. But she’s the sweetest most kindest pup ever. Rey fell to the ground getting covered in licks. 

“Someone’s excited to go on their walk!” She giggled putting the leash on her. 

Although Nikki was a good dog, she could get a little too overexcited when it comes to walks. Rey worked was pretty fit, mostly because of how challenging it was walking her. She had to use all her strength to keep her from running off. That’s why Rey walked her first, so by the time she got to the smaller dogs, she didn’t have to worry about lack of energy from smaller dogs. 

After she walked big Nikki, she moved one to the next dog. Walking the fifth one down 3rd Avenue she noticed another dog casually crossing the street. It looked like a Yorkie and a Poodle mixed, it approached her. Sniffing snouts with the current dog she was walking.

”Hey there little guy,” she acknowledged bending over to him. “where’s your owner?” She looked at his collar: Bebe child of Dameron. She turned it around to see any contact, but the engraving was hard to see with dirt stuck between the letters and numbers. Rey decided to take Bebe back to the shelter with her, to be safe. 

Kaydel was still at the front desk watching something on her phone, as much customers as they get, they didn’t come often. She looked up noticing the small dog in Rey’s hand.

”Um..who’s this?” She asked getting out of her chair for the first time since the beginning of her shift.

”This is Bebe, I found him wandering the streets. He has an owner..somewhere. I was hoping you could read the collar since I couldn’t.” She gave her the dog to look at the collar.

”It’s the owners number.” 

Rey rolled her eyes at the i buoys information. “Well - yeah but can you read it?”

”Yeah..yeah I’ll give them a call.” She looked at the collar once more to remember the digits before going back to her desk to write it down. Rey brought her dog back to its pen then returned to Bebe in the front for a check up. It was unknown how long he’s been on the streets, and even though he seemed clean, Rey had to double check for flees or anything else he could’ve caught while out there. She took him into the medical room and checked his nails, they were in perfect shape, his fur freshly cut, and overall he seemed like really healthy dog. Must’ve just wandered away from his owner and got lost. 

Bebe sat there panting with his tongue out. Rey scratched his head and smiled. He was fairly behaved and trained well. Whoever this ‘Dameron’ person he belonged to, they were doing a good job. She gave him a toy to chew at from the supply room when Kaydel came up to her. 

“Hey uh, we have a guy claiming to know this dog.” She informed causing Rey to look towards the lobby. Her heart skipped when she recognized the figure, dark smooth skin, big arms, twisted hair. It was him, she instantly hid behind Kaydel. “What the - girl what’re you doing??”

”That’s him! That’s him!” Rey whispered aggressively trying to hide herself.

”Mr. One Night Stand? Damn, he’s fine.”

”I know, I can’t let him see me.”

Kaydel stared at her for a long while, because the situation was stupid. She sighed and took Bebe to the front where the man was standing. Rey followed as stealthily as she could without being seen.

”Is this the dog?”

”Yes! Yes that is little Bebe, thank you so much-“

”Ah!” Kaydel shouted. “You can’t have this dog without the owner.”

”But - he’s at work and I was supposed to dog sit and I was a little late because - well anyway I took Bebe for a walk at the park when he ran away from me through some ditch and I lost track of him.” He babbled. He looked adorable when he was nervous. “Look!” He dug through his pocket and pulled out his phone. “I have a picture of all of us. See!” 

Kaydel leaned over the desk and squinted her eyes. “Hmm, you know that doesn’t prove anything right? The dogs just gonna have to wait here until I see proof of ownership.”

”Oh no.” He whined.

There was the sound of someone clearing their throat behind Rey, once again she recognized it oddly quick and turned around to see Unkar.

”What’re you doing on the floor?” He asked, his voice shaking the room which just so happened to catch everyone’s attention. Even Bebe barked.

”I was just - looking for my keys.” She stated rising to her feet. 

“They’re in..your pocket.” he huffed.

”Oh..ha..silly me.” She giggled nervously. She could feel the mans eyes staring her down. “I’ll get back to work.” She assured Unkar before he huffed and returned back to his office. Rey looked at the man in better lighting now, but all she could remember when looking at him was his hands exploring her body and that made her blush. Kaydel seemed just as awkward in the situation.

”You work here?” He asked her. This wasn’t supposed to happen, they weren’t supposed to see each other again. So she played dumb.

”Yes..who are you?”

“Oh I know you remember me. I’m a light sleeper, I heard you snap those pictures.” He violated. Rey closed her eyes in disappointment and embarrassment.

Kaydel nudged her with a look of betrayal. “You have pictures!?”

Rey rolled her eyes at her and looked back to the man. “I’ll delete them if you want, but we shouldn’t be talking. It’s against the rule.”

“What rule?” He chuckled.

”The one rule of having a one night stand: you don’t see each other again.” Rey explained to him. He looked at her for a long time before nodding his head and pursing his lips.

”Okay, well I just came for my friends dog. So don’t think I was following you or anything.”

”I didn’t think that.” She huffed crossing her arms.

”How’s that hangover by the way?” He asked, typing on his phone, for some reason that made Kaydel laugh. Rey glared at her.

”It’s good thanks to you, the Advil helped ease the migraines.”

”I figured.” He nodded. He stuck his phone in his pocket with a pitiful gaze at the desk. “I..wanted to apologize about last night..although you were leading me on, I kind of feel like I took advantage of you. You know I don’t usually have sex with intoxicated strangers. I know you weren’t really thinking straight..so yeah.” 

Reys annoyed expression dropped as Kaydel nudged her again. He was apologizing for her leading him on? He felt bad that she wanted to have sex with him. If anything she should apologize for taking advantage of him. He seemed like a really sweet guy who just happened to get himself in a situation he didn’t mind, but would never get into on his own. She shook her head. “No it’s - it’s okay, you didn’t take advantage of me. I was conscious enough to know what I was getting myself into.”

”Really?” He laughed. “You don’t remember much of last night do you?”

Her eyes grew wide at his laugh. It was clear there was more than just sex going on. What did she do last night?