Joined: Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:54 am
Location: Westchester, NY
How Long: A FanFic, by Caesalson
After the dust had cleared, most of the town thought of the whole sorry affair as beginning amidst the social arena of one of the Good Olâ€™ Dogs Club many spontaneous parties, and of course in reality the casual chain of events stretched back many years before that; but in the interest of coherence and completeness, the story began with Peanut Butter Sandwich struggling with a bottle of cleaning fluid for his collars bell.
He sat on the bathroom floor, trying to force the sticky, plastic top off with a pair of Mr. Sandwichâ€™s pliers. He briefly considered using his teeth to get a better grip, but that seemed like a waste considering how much time heâ€™d spent cleaning them. Itâ€™d probably muss up his fur, too, if he spilled.
Finally the cap gave in and allowed itself to be twisted off. Peanut looked around for some sort of towel or rag, and grabbed a likely looking wash-cloth from the edge of the tub. Laying his collar on the fluffy towel beneath him, he meticulously buffed the metal bone he hadnâ€™t even considered cleaning for as long as he could remember. After a few minutes, it gleamed and shone a brilliant white.
Putting the collar on, Peanut stood up and studied himself in the mirror. He was immaculately clean; his fur washed and groomed, his claws trimmed and filed down, his teeth practically sparkling. None of this improved his confidence, though. He knew heâ€™d done everything he could, and in the back of his mind he also knew he was by no stretch of the imagination ugly, but still he cringed at his own reflection.
He left the bathroom and removed a large chest out his closet. With a level of care approaching reverence, he lay on the floor and opened it. He checked to make sure everything was in order, and then closed it. Glancing around the room, he made to hide it once more, then decided against it. However things turned out, he wouldnâ€™t need to hide it anymore. He brought it down to the living room and put it on the coffee tableâ€¦just in case.
He sat down and looked at the clock. It read 7:24.
Peanut breathed heavily while he waited. His heart pounded quickly in his chest. He was nervous, but he knew he had to this, whatever the outcome. Nothing could possibly be worse than this torturous waiting. The longer he waited, the more he felt aware of every flaw about himself, every doubt resurfacing. He swallowed. It couldnâ€™t possibly be much longer, could it?
Someone knocked at the door.
Peanutâ€™s head snapped in the direction of the door, fear seized his breathing.
â€˜No,â€™ he thought. â€˜I canâ€™t stop now! Iâ€™m so close!â€™ Already things were going badly. What if he couldnâ€™t keep going? What if he went back to-?
Shaking his head, Peanut got up and placed his paw on the knob. Determined, he opened it-and came face-to-face with angelic perfection.
â€œHey,â€ was her greeting. A violet testament to the beauty of the feline form, she stood with a paw on her hip, tail twitching, yellow eyes gleaming radiant gold. â€œI got dinner!â€ She grinned, triumphantly holding a bag of pet treat mix. â€œItâ€™s not the healthiest thing in the world, butâ€¦â€ She shrugged, and then looked at Peanut more closely, noticing his tense stance. â€œWhatâ€™re you all dressed up for, if youâ€™ll excuse the term?â€
â€œErrâ€¦â€ Peanut began. â€œItâ€™s...wellâ€¦maybe you better, uh, come in.â€ He stuttered.
â€œâ€¦sure,â€ Grape said, giving him a look with eyebrows raised. She walked past him and eyed the chest on the table. â€œAnd whatâ€™s this?â€
â€œJ-just wait for that, alright?â€ rushed Peanut as he closed the door. â€œI-uh-was hoping that, we c-c-could t-talk about s-s-s-sâ€ he couldnâ€™t even finish the sentence. â€œMaybe you should sit down.â€ He finished sheepishly, staring at the floor.
When he dared look up again, Grape was seated on the couch, looking at him with concern. He walked over awkwardly and sat next to her.
â€œPeanut, whatâ€™s wrong?â€ she asked. â€œYouâ€™re kinda starting to worry me now.â€
He sighed heavily. â€œGrape, I-â€ Oh no. Already he felt ready to run away, tail between his legs. â€œI feel like I really have tell youâ€¦â€ He could no longer bear looking her in the eye. He sat back and hugged his knees to his chest.
â€œPeanut, what is it?â€ Grape asked more firmly. â€œFor Godâ€™s sake, what are trying to tell me? Whatâ€™s going on?â€
Peanut glanced up to see Grape cross her arms over her chest and narrow her eyes, looking equal parts worried and annoyed. â€œPeanutâ€¦â€
â€œI canâ€™t!â€ he shouted. â€œI just canâ€™t say it!â€ He shut his eyes, feeling feel hot, salty tears travel down his face silently.
Grape simply sat. Peanut could hear her breath slightly faster. Then her perfect, soft paw on his shoulder. â€œItâ€™s okay, Peanut,â€ he hears her say, with such care and love in her voice. â€œTake your time. Just try.â€
He sniffled. â€œYouâ€™ll hate-h-h-hate-â€ He knew there was no going back. He couldnâ€™t put it off any longer. But he was still so scared. He still had to be able say it or heâ€™d never escape. Unless, of course, he turned to Plan Bâ€¦
He could still feel her gentle paw holding him. She was being so patient with him, really, considering how he was acting. So patient. Patient and perfect and beautiful. Thatâ€™s why all of this was useless, stupid, stupid.
â€œLook in the chest,â€ he choked out.
â€œLook!â€ he yelled. â€œQuick, before I change my mind!â€ His left arm flew out to point out towards the chest. His entire body shook with trepidation. He felt ready to scream.
He heard movement beside him.
He heard the creak of rusted metal.
He heard paper crinkle.
He heard a gasp.
He heard silence. Terrible, crushing silence.
And then there was nothing but the embrace of his angel, nothing but her fur and warmth and love. Now he truly wept, openly and loudly, feeling her whiskers on his face as she cooed her reassurances; it was alright, she didnâ€™t hate him; everything was going to be fine. It was over, finally.
He wasnâ€™t sure how long he remained like that. All he knew was that suddenly he was out of tears to shed, and he felt so much better. At last he had the courage to look up.
She looked down at him with a magnificent twinkling in her golden eyes, a light, cheery smile playing on her lips. â€œItâ€™s really nice, you know.â€ Peanut blushed a bright crimson. Grape held clutched in her paw a drawing of herself-her collar absent, sure, but she wasnâ€™t going to complain about that, apparently. The background was rather stained from endless erasing and re-drawing. Scrawled along the edges were the words â€œI love you,â€ and a plethora of hearts. It was probably the cheesiest and most laughable of all his drawings in the chest, but it was also the best.
â€œHumph,â€ he muttered to himself.
â€œI mean it,â€ Grape assured him. â€œIâ€™d kill to look half as good as this!â€
Peanut looked down, only half-accepting her praise. â€œBut, I mean,â€ he wavered. â€œWhatâ€™re you-uh-howâ€¦erâ€¦?â€
She sat back and looked at him, more serious now, and clutched his paw in hers. â€œPeanut, believe, me Iâ€™m really flattered, and you know I like you, and youâ€™re the best friend Iâ€™ve ever hadâ€¦â€
He choked down a sob. â€œAnd?â€
She let out a deep sigh. â€œWell, Peanut, youâ€™re a dog. And Iâ€™m a cat.â€ She looked into his eyes, her regret clear. â€œAnd Iâ€™m with Maxwell now, and heâ€™s a really nice guy. Besides,â€ she said. â€œI donâ€™t want to risk our friendship if something happens.â€
Peanut whimpered, pleading with his eyes. â€œNothing would happen.â€
â€œBut you donâ€™t know thatâ€¦â€ she drew away from him.
â€œYes, I do!â€ he implored, grabbing her paw again. â€œYes, I do know, because I love you and wouldnâ€™t let anything happen.â€
â€œI love you, too,â€ she said, looking away. â€œBut not like that.â€
Peanut didnâ€™t move for a moment. Then he let go her paw, and fled out of the house, leaving Grape and his work behind.
â€œJoey! Answer the door! Someoneâ€™s here!â€
Joey fumbled with the assortment of needles, thread, and fabrics covering his desk. Quickly he stuffed the catsuit heâ€™d been working on into the hole heâ€™d dug â€˜neath the floorboards, hoping it wouldnâ€™t get dirty; secretly cleaning such prized items was beyond difficult. After slamming the board into its place he ran outside.
There Bino stood just inside of the back door. Over the deafening rain Joey could just hear a door bell jingle from the front hallway.
â€œWhy should I open it?â€ He shouted across the yard. â€œYouâ€™re already in the house! Iâ€™m out here!â€
Bino rolled his eyes. â€œYeah, well, Iâ€™m doing important Good â€˜Ol Dogs Club stuff. Soâ€¦go do it.â€ He swaggered off back inside.
Joey let out an exasperated sigh and ran from the doghouse, trying and failing to cover his with face with his paws. After getting inside, he found himself splattered with mud from the waist down and soaking wet. He shook himself, drenching the surrounding area and still leaving himself covered in mud. He growled nothing in particular, thinking to himself that heâ€™d get Bino backâ€¦â€™cept he knew that he wouldnâ€™t dare try. And he sure wasnâ€™t going to tell Fido.
Not caring about whether he got muddy paw-prints all over the floor, Joey made his way up the hall and hoped whoever was at the door hadnâ€™t given up and left. In this weather, especially. Gripping the already-muddy door handle (probably stupid Bino and his stupid cat-hater friends) he pulled the door open and looked at a pathetic and miserable creature that sort of looked Peanut.
It was only with a manner of disbelief that Joey realized that the drenched dog standing before him was Peanut, albeit a Peanut that was shivering and looking altogether rather emo, staring hopelessly at the ground, tail between his legs and ears drooping.
â€œPeanut?!â€ he asked incredulously. â€œWhat are you doing here?â€
Peanut looked up at him with watery, soulful eyes. â€œI...need someplace to stay tonight.â€
â€œOh.â€ An awkward moment passed. â€œYou can come in now, you know.â€ Said Joey.
â€œHuh?â€ Peanut mumbled. â€œOh. Yeah.â€ He walked slowly in, seemingly unaware of the world around him.
Joey looked on towards his friend with confusion and concern. Well, maybe not exactly a friend, but cat-lovers had to stay together right? â€œLook, you sit in the living room,â€ he told Peanut, â€œand Iâ€™ll get you a drink and something to dry off with alright?â€
Peanut just nodded half-heartedly and walked off through the living room doorway.
Joey hurried into the kitchen and grabbed a towel by the sink. He spied a pitcher of hot chocolate on the counter, with GOOD â€˜OL DOGS CLUB: BABYLON GARDENS on it. Joey looked at it for a moment, pondering. Then he decided that the Club could stand to go without their hot cocoa for the evening, and took the pitcher and some mugs as well.
He plopped down next to Peanut on the couch, who was staring vacantly at something in his hand. â€œWhatâ€™s that?â€ He asked, trying to sound friendly rather than intrusive. Peanut enclosed whatever it was in his fist and didnâ€™t answer, so Joey decided to not pry any further.
After Peanut had finished drying himself off, he accepted the mug of hot cocoa. A few minutes of awkward waiting ensued while Joey waited for him to finish. Eventually Peanut set the mug down, seeming to have woken up a bit.
â€œSoâ€¦,â€ Joey began. â€œWhatâ€™s going on?â€
â€œGrape,â€ answered Peanut bluntly. â€œI told her how I felt about her.â€
â€œâ€¦which is how, exactly?â€
â€œI loved her. I mean, I love her. Or maybe not. Or it was a crush. Or something, Iâ€™m really not sure anymore.â€ He poured himself some more cocoa and took a swig.
â€œWow,â€ said Joey, shocked. â€œThatâ€™s err, news. Umâ€¦what happened after that, exactly?â€
Peanut stared into mug. â€œShe didnâ€™t feel the same way,â€ he said, eyes watering. â€œI mean,â€ he turned to Joey, â€œshe didnâ€™t get angry or kick me out or anything, butâ€¦I just canâ€™t face her-things-right now. I-I need to crash somewhere else, for one night at least.â€ He gave the same mournful look as before. â€œIs that all right?â€
â€œSure, sure!â€ Joey confirmed hurriedly. â€œLook, Bino is running a Good â€˜Ol Dogs Club tonight â€˜cos Fidoâ€™s on duty, so why donâ€™t you stay in the doghouse with me?â€ He put a reassuring paw on Peanutâ€™s shoulder. â€œYou sure thatâ€™ll be fine with everyone else?â€ he asked. â€œOf course,â€ Joey told him. â€œStop worrying. Binoâ€™ll whine, but Fido and Mom and Dad will let you stay, Iâ€™m positive.â€
Peanut seemed to be cheered up slightly by this, if nothing else, and the two tore across the yard under an umbrella. Finally under a shelter again, Peanut looked at Joey with embarrassment as he took out his catsuit.
Seeing Peanutâ€™s gaze, Joey spoke. â€œIâ€™ve lost a little weight, so I have to adjust the suit a little.â€ He grinned. â€œYou know, you could take the old oneâ€¦â€ He held out a gray tabby-style suit.
â€œEhhh, thatâ€™s alright,â€ mumbled Peanut. â€œIâ€™m tired; I think Iâ€™ll just go to bed. Sort things out in the morning.â€
Peanut curled up on top of a pile of blankets in the corner next to Joeyâ€™s doggy-bed.
â€œHowâ€™d you like to go to a little â€˜social gatheringâ€™ tomorrow?â€
â€œYou mean a cat-lover social gathering?â€
â€œâ€¦I guess soâ€¦thanks for all this, by the way-â€
â€œHey, itâ€™s no problem.â€
Peanut sat up. â€œHey, um, could I have that catsuit?â€ Joey grinned and cocked an eyebrow. â€œYou want what now?â€
Peanut blushed slightly. â€œItâ€™s a little bit cold, alright?â€
Joey chuckled. â€œHey, itâ€™s fine, you donâ€™t have to make excuses to me of all people.â€ He tossed over the gray tabby suit, which Peanut hastily put on, feeling rather embarrassed. Turning away from Joey, he resumed his position on the floor.
Still giggling slightly, Joey looked back at his desk and tried to remember where heâ€™d left off. He stared at a collection of fabric patches and was about to pick up a needle when he felt his eyelids begin to droop.
â€˜This can probably wait â€˜till tomorrow,â€™ he thought to himself. Yawning, he stretched his arms and padded over to Peanut. He lay down next to him, close enough to feel the heat off his trembling body. Pausing for a moment to tussle his hair with a smile, Joey pulled a blanket over both of them. Then he heard a sniffle beside him.
He turned to see Peanut staring up at the roof of the doghouse, a few tears running through his soft brown fur. His lips trembled as he choked back a sob. He seemed about to speak, and Joey gave him a moment.
â€œIâ€¦just donâ€™t know how Iâ€™ll ever face her again,â€ he whimpered. â€œI donâ€™t think I can ever go back to just being friends. And if I canâ€™tâ€¦â€ he buried his face in his paws. â€œI donâ€™t know what Iâ€™ll doâ€¦â€