Part 4 of The Encounter. The boss meets Sophie.
The Encounter Part 4
I woke up, tired and uneasy. Losing my job was a horrible fate for me and I dreaded the idea of asking my family for money. "I have two more paychecks," I said to myself out loud. "Maybe I can find another job." I tried to think positively. However, I wasn't just thinking about me. Sophie had become such an exciting and important part of my life in the little time I had known her. She was family now, and I couldn't let the dragoness down. She seemed to know my stress, because just when I was thinking about her, she looked over the edge of the bed and licked my face.
"Hey there Soph," I said. I was unable to hold back a slight smile. She was so cute when she was trying to take care of me. I scratched her behind her horn, where I had discovered that she liked to be pet. She let out a deep purr and pushed her head into the scratching. No, I couldn't possibly let her down. How I was going to do it, I didn't know, but I was going to do whatever I could to keep her happy. "I hope I can find something. She is quite the eater," I thought to myself. That reminded me... my boss, Mr. Stevenson, was supposed to come over today. CRAP! My place was a mess. I lived alone and rarely had anyone over so I didn't really clean much. I kept stuff picked up and cleaned a little, but this was my BOSS coming over! I leaped out of bed and scurried around the house, still in my boxers, trying to get the place presentable.
After only a few minutes though, there was a knock at my door. I almost rushed right to the door to open it, but realized I was naked save for a pair of navy blue boxers. "ONE SECOND!" I yelled, rushing to my room and quickly getting dressed in a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. I quickly ran back to the door and opened it. My heart was racing. I watched Sophie's tail disappear into my room, as she was accustomed to doing when someone was at the door. My hand shook and I held my breath as I opened the door...
...it was the mail man.
I let out a huge sigh of relief before I could catch myself. The mail delivery man didn't seem to notice though, and handed me a package after asking me to sign the oversized touch pad. (Seriously why are those things so big when technology is so good? They could make them smaller now.) Anyway, I let the rest of my sigh out as I closed the door and went to tell the green dragoness that the coast was clear. I continued cleaning, trying to make my place as presentable as possible. Once I was sure it was okay, I waited...and waited...I was starting to wonder when, or if, he was ever going to show up. I looked at my phone, but there were no messages. As I did, however, I felt stupid. He had to work. He was probably going to visit after work sometime.
I went to my computer, and started doing some thinking on the next chapter...It was harder to end the story than you might think. I had two chapters to end a story that wasn't originally supposed to end for another fifteen or so installments. I was stumped as to how I was going to do it. A big surprise battle scene, too cliché. Peace? No that would never happen... what if the dragon grew tired of fighting and left? That might work but it was anticlimactic. I thought about what the readers would want and figured I could make the battle scene work. "Might as well go out with a bang, and the readers don't care about it being cliché," I said as I started writing the new chapter. I got completely caught up in my writing, as I do sometimes. I sat for hours, writing, revising, rewriting, adding details, removing details, and simply breaking my own story apart to make it the best I could. In the end though, it was about 20 words too long. I had a limited amount of space to work with in the paper, and I had fought against length requirements the entire time. However, I had to add a lot of information in order to make the ending fit, and it was killing me. I was in the middle of trying to reword and revise when I heard a deep growl and felt Sophie bump my leg and look toward the door. I heard the knock for what I thought to be the second time and told the dragoness to stay in my room. She did so happily. I don't think she is antisocial...just she knows that humans and dragons don't generally mix well. Why she likes me so much is beyond my understanding.
I got u and opened the door. I am sure my eyes were red and glossy from staring at the screen. I would imagine I looked a bit drunk, though I hardly ever drink. Standing at the door was my Mr. Stevenson. He was a little taller than me and had changed out of his work clothes into more casual clothing. I quickly invited him in.
"It's all nice on the outside and empty on the inside," I stated, gesturing to my lack of furnishings pretty much anywhere in the house.
"It's nice," my boss replied, looking around but seeming to be a little tense.
"I would much rather have a smaller house, but it was inherited so it kind of holds sentimental value."
"Understandable," he replied. This made me nervous. Normally he was full of words, and cheery, but Mr. Stevenson had just given me two, short answered replies. "So when do I get to meet your dog."
"About that...I do have a pet...well sort of. She is a bit too smart to really call a pet. The thing is, she's not a dog. Can I trust you not to tell anyone? Seriously, I promise there are no laws against it. Nothing bad just. If you tell someone, it could cause problems."
He looked at me funny but nodded. "Fine, you have my word."
"Good," I said. "SOPHIE COME HERE REAL QUICK"
Trusting my judgment, the dragon didn't think twice about simply walking out of the room. However she stopped in her tracks when she saw Mr. Stevenson. She gave him a weird look, and my boss in turn, gave me an utterly confused and shocked look.
"I told you she wasn't a dog," I said nervously.
Mr. Stevenson seemed not to be able to figure out how to react. For a while he stood stock still, but eventually he spoke, albeit shaky. "I-I guess she...isn't gonna like the gift I brought then," he said as he slowly revealed a large flavored dog bone. He looked quite nervous, but he seemed almost more upset that she wouldn't like his gift. I knew I'd have to say something. However, Sophie had other plans. She slowly stood up, powerful muscles easily allowing her sleek form to rise from the floor. She had what could only be a sly grin on her muzzle. She walked up to the dazed man, taking her sweet time to approach him. When she finally stood right in front of him, she gave him that look that always made my heart melt. Puppy dog eyes are no comparison. She sniffed the dog treat, then stuck out her long forked tongue and grabbed the bone with it, taking it from my boss's hand and holding it in her maw before walking back slowly over to her spot on the floor and laying down with it.
"Looks like she DOES like it," I said, chuckling. "I would have never guessed, but I guess it does smell like meat. I mean she IS a dragon after all." Sophie gave me a glare as if to say "What's that supposed to mean?" It was quite funny as well and I struggled to stifle a giggle. Sophie, meanwhile, started knowing away on the large bone. She took the end of it and crushed it in her jaws. My boss jumped at the sound of the bone cracking so easily.
"Damn that...she," he corrected. "She could easily bite a man's leg off!"
I gulped at the thought but quickly found my courage in the fact that I knew Sophie was too nice for that kind of thing. "She COULD but she WOUDLNT. Not unless someone tried to hurt me or her."
"I guess so. So what exactly do you feed her?" Mr. Stevenson asked, obviously not knowing what a dragon would eat other than meat.
"Well actually I've seen her teeth. She seems to be mostly carnivorous but also has a couple flat teeth...I think she occasionally eats fruit," I said. "Speaking of fruit where did my oranges go?" At that Sophie turned her head away a little, her "tell" if you will. She may be good at biting through bones, but she'd be horrible at poker. "Sophie just because it is edible, doesn't mean you can eat it you silly dragoness."
Mr. Stevenson just chuckled a bit. "Well I'll see what I can do. How has the story come along?"
"Thanks. It is going well, though it was hard trying to find a way to end it so soon."
"Why don't you come over to my place for dinner tonight? It's sorta late to be cooking and my daughter would love Sophie. She's really into dragons and shares something with this one actually."
This intrigued me, and I had to ask. "What could your daughter POSSIBLY share with a dragoness?"
My boss just chuckled. Despite hard times, he always seemed to be in a good mood. "You will just have to come and find out."
"Damn it. I hate cliff hangers!" I stated dramatically. Sophie looked at me funny. "Wanna go for a ride Soph?" She'd never been in my car before...In fact she wouldn't fit. But my boss happened to own a large SUV. He was after all, a successful person. I managed to coax Sophie away from the bone long enough to get her outside. Convincing her that it was okay to get into the vehicle was kind of rough. Eventually I climbed into the back and held the bone teasingly in front of her. She lunged at it, but I pulled it away and she ended up on top of me. "Ah bad idea...girl you are heavy." I managed to roll out from underneath her and shut the back gate, before climbing into the second row of seats (as the third was laid down to make room for Sophie). "Lay down," I told the green and brown dragoness, and she instantly did so.
"How DO you train a dragon exactly?"
"Well it's nothing like the movie! I can tell you that much," I said, laughing at my own lame joke as we started off toward my employer's house.