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Violet set down the paintbrush when she heard the door creak open, only then realising how much her arm ached. She had been painting all day, going from bedroom to bredroom of the saunders manor with cans of paint and prushes and rollers and a bunch of other things that violet barely understood further than how to use them. After almost a month of rennovations, the house finally looked like a regular family home. From the inside, at least. On the outside, it was still a creepy manor with three weird spires.

There were eight bedrooms in the place. So far, in the past two days, violet had painted six of them. With Juniper and Augusta on a break and out of the house, Isaac was supposed to be helping her with the final four—he was moving in as soon as it was done—but Violet hadn’t seen him all day.

The sound of the door closing echoed through the house as Violet bounced down the stairs holding her aching right arm in her left. “ISAAC?” she called. A response came from somewhere in the house. Violet followed the sound of his voice to the front hallway to find a bashful looking Isaac with a suspisciously lumpy jacket.

“Hey. How’s it going?”

Violet rolled her eyes, reaching up to brush a leaf out of his unruly hair. “You need a haircut. Also, where have you been all day?”

“Your roots need touching up,” he quipped back, but his usual demeanor was lost slightly when he ran his fingers through his curls and his expression changed, momentarily confused at their length. “Um, well, I was just walking around the edge of town, you know, and near the entrance sign, well, I—I found this little guy.” Isaac slowly opened the side of his jacket and brought out a tiny, tiny golden retriever puppy. “I couldn’t just leave him,” Isaac hurridly continued, “he looked like he’d been abandoned. And he’s so small, I almost stepped on him at first. I wouldv’e been back sooner but I took him back to my place to get him cleaned up and feed him and—”

“Shut up. He’s adorable.” Violet was somewhere between laughing at isaac’s ridiculousness and crying because of how cute the pup was. “Oh my god, I’m so glad you saved him. Let’s sit down, though, before you say anymore, I’ve been standing all day and my thighs are killing me.”

Before they could go anywhere, however, the door opened again.

“Oh, hi mum,” Violet said over Isaac’s shoulder at the figure in the doorway. “How was your date?”


“He’ll have to stay with Isaac until we’re finished with the house, but of course he can stay. There’s really no other option, is there?” Juniper smiled at Violet, whose head was in Isaac’s lap and the puppy asleep on Violet’s stomach, all on the couch together. “Have you named him yet?”

Isaac shook his head. “No, he didn’t have a tag or anything. I thought we could decide together.”

Violet looked from the puppy up to Isaac. “Can we name him Rosie? I know that’s a girls name and he’s a boy, but… I mean, if you want to name him something else that’s fine. I just thought maybe…”

“What even is gender, anyway?” Isaac replied. “I think it’s great.”

Beaming, Violet turned to Juniper. “Mum? What do you think?”

Juniper smiled softly at her daughter. “I think it’s lovely. I also think it’s not my choice. He’s your dog, you two.”

“Only if you’re absolutely sure that I can move in. Otherwise dual ownership would get confusing for little Rosie.”

“Stop it,” violet said, poking his chin. “You know how many spare rooms we have anyway. Or would, if you’d done anything at all today. It’s literally no trouble.”

“Isaac, are you being a bad boyfriend?” Juniper reprimanded him.

Violet interrupted his answer by shoving her hand in Isaac’s face. “Oh my god, mum, you have no idea. He left me to paint four rooms all by myself just so he could be angsty in the woods.”

“I wasn’t being angsty! I got you a puppy, you ungrateful child.” Isaac laughed back, pushing away Violet’s hand.

“I’m not ungrateful, my arm is just very sore, thank you very much.”

“Then be quiet and let me talk!”

“You want me to shut up?”

“Yes. Please. Shut up.”

“Make me,” Violet said, her eyes glinting.

Isaac shook his head firmly. “Little Rosie doesn’t need to see this. Look at that, you woke him up. You’re a horrible person, Violet Saunders.”

“Oh my goodness, I am so sorry. Rosie, I swear I didn’t—no, come back please!”

The puppy trod onto the couch and off her stomach, and when violet sat up to try get him back, Rosie promptly lay down in Isaac’s lap.

“I guess we know who his favourite is then?” Violet said at the same time as Isaac said “He’s trying to be just like you. How cute.”

They looked at Rosie, asleep again, then at each other. “When did my mum leave?” Violet asked quietly. Isaac shrugged.

“As long as she doesn’t come back,” Violet murmered, leaning in.