A wind kicked up and she was glad to not be out on the water. “Going to be choppy,” she said. Which meant at least one person per tour would get seasick. Not that it was her problem. “No throw-up on my calendar today.”
Thor, comfy in her lap, licked her chin. He didn’t mind throw-up. Or poo. The grosser the better in his opinion. Setting the dog down, she craned her neck and took in the sight of Ghirardelli Square behind them. It wasn’t out of her way to walk over there, but if she did she’d buy chocolate and then she’d have to run tomorrow too. She was debating that when Thor was approached by a pigeon who was nearly bigger than he was.
Thor went utterly still, not moving a single muscle, the whites of his eyes showing.
The pigeon stopped, cocked its head, and then made a faux lunge at Thor.
Thor turned tail and ran behind Pru’s legs.
“Hey,” she said to the pigeon. “Don’t be a bully.”
The pigeon gave her a one-eyed stare and waddled off.
Pru scooped up Thor. “I need to get you glasses because you just frightened a full-grown man and then cowered from a bird.”
Thor blinked his big eyes at her. “Wuff.”
At the sound, the pigeon stopped and turned back. In her arms, all tough guy now, Thor growled.
Pru laughed. “I’m setting you down now, Mr. Badass. We’re going to run into work real quick to pick up another box of my stuff—”
Thor cuddled into her, setting his head on her shoulder, giving her the big puppy eyes.
“Oh no you don’t with that look,” she said. “I’m not carrying you all the way there.”
He licked her chin again.
She totally carried him all the way there.
“Jake!” she yelled as she and Thor entered the warehouse on Pier 39 from which SF Bay Tours was run. “Jake?”
Nothing. Besides being her boss, Jake was her closest friend, and for one week awhile back, he’d also been her lover. They hadn’t revisited that for many reasons, not the least of which was because Pru had a little problem. She tended to fall for the guys she slept with.
All two of them.
The first one, Paul, had been her boyfriend for two whole weeks when her parents had died. And since she’d fallen apart and he’d been eighteen and not equipped to deal with that, he’d bailed. Understandable.
Jake had been next. He’d loved her, still did in fact, but he wasn’t, and never would be, in love with her. And the truth was, she hadn’t fallen in love with him either. She actually wasn’t sure she was made for that kind of love, receiving or giving. She wanted to be. She really did. But wanting and doing had proven to be two entirely different beasts. “Jake!”
“Don’t need to yell, woman, I’m not deaf.”
With a gasp, she whirled around and found him right there. She hadn’t heard him come up behind her, but then again, she never did.
Jake had been in Special Forces, which had involved something with deep-sea diving and a whole lot of danger, and in spite of it nearly killing him, he hadn’t lost much of his edge. He hadn’t smiled when she’d nearly jumped out of her skin but he’d thought about it because his eyes were amused.
Thor was not. When Pru had jerked, he’d gone off, barking at a pitch that rivaled banshees in heat. “Thor, hush!” she said and turned to Jake, hand to her heart. “Seriously, you take five years off my life every time you do that. And you gave Thor epilepsy.”
Jake didn’t apologize, he never did. The man was a complete tyrant. But a softie tyrant, who held out his arms for Thor.
The poor dog was still barking like he couldn’t stop himself, eyes wide.
“You’re such a pussy,” Jake told him.
“Excuse me,” Pru said. “You know he can’t see very well and you scared him half to death. And hello, he’s a dude. Which means you two share the same plumbing. So he’s not a pussy, he’s a big, male baby.”
“He doesn’t have my plumbing, chica,” Jake said. “I might not have my legs but at least I still have my balls.” And with that, he pushed off on his wheelchair, coming closer as he pulled something from his pocket.
A dog cookie.
He held it up for the gone-gonzo dog to see and Thor stopped barking and leapt to him without looking back.
Jake whirled his chair around, and man plus dog took off.
Pru rolled her eyes and followed them past the NO ONE BUT CREW PAST THIS DOOR sign, down a hall, then down another to a living area. “We’re not staying,” Pru said. “I’m just picking up one of the last boxes of my stuff.”