Chapter 16: I Don't Get It

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I had been hanging out with some of my boys at Duane's house when Joy called me. I didn't know what was wrong with her because she didn't say anything. I also didn't know why I felt the need to meet up with her. But I did. I convinced myself it was because we were friends and I wanted to make sure that she was okay, but I knew it was a little deeper than that. I didn't know many other women I would have dropped what I was doing to go meet up with.

I pulled up to the Starbucks parking lot and I saw her sitting in her car looking down. I couldn't tell if she was sleeping or crying. I got out of the car carrying Claudia's new puppy. She had to go out of town for the weekend to help a client with a fitness competition and asked me to dog sit for her. As I rounded the car, I noticed her getting out of hers as well. I immediately noticed her wiping her eyes.

"Who is this?" Joy asked, her demeanor changing at the sight of the Boston Terrier puppy.

"This is Rue," I said, scanning her face to see if I could figure out what was wrong.

"Rue? Like from the Hunger Games?"

"You guessed it. Her mommy is a huge Hunger Games fan." I chuckled while rubbing Rue under her chin. I noticed the uneasiness on her face at the mention of Rue's owner being a woman. She looked off in the distance.

"This was a bad idea, I don't even know why I'm here," she said running her fingers through her hair. "I shouldn't have called you and I shouldn't be here," she said in distress.

"Well, you did call me so tell me what's going on?"

She paced in a circle as if she was struggling with whether to tell me what happened or leave. I didn't try to pressure her either way.

"I don't know what's wrong with me," she said pressing her hands to her face. She was crying again.

I looked around the parking lot, it was well after midnight and the parking lot was deserted except for our cars. Against my better judgment I opened my passenger door and guided her inside. I then handed her Rue in hopes that the puppy's cuteness would help cheer her up. While Rue settled in her arms, I got behind the wheel and drove us to my building. After parking my car in my designated garage, we took the elevator to my three-bedroom condo on the twenty-second floor. Joy was snuggling Rue in her arms while leaning her back against the elevator wall. Rue seemed to soak it all in.

When we reached my floor, I led her out of the elevator and into my condo. It was open floor on the first level, so she could see the kitchen, dining room, living room area right away. We passed through the entryway and kept walking until we reached the living room. She sat down on my ivory leather sectional and Rue laid in her lap. They seemed to be comforting each other.

"Light or dark?" I asked her while stepping behind my bar.

"What?" She looked up from rubbing Rue's stomach. I gestured at the bar. "What do you have that's strong?"

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