“But he followed me home!”

I love Ben.

But there are some days where I’m not exactly certain that he understands why I do not want any more animals in the house.

“He followed me home!” – This works when you’re eight-years-old and cute enough to carry it off well. It does not work when you’re 32 and staring at your girlfriend who’s three-year-old golden retriever just ate her running shoes and she’s chasing him around the house trying to get the shoe back.

“Hey, Marlowe? He thinks it’s a game, so if you just stop-” Ben was trying to say as I ran through the house after Winston. I’d had just about enough of his shoe chewing ways.

“Ben?” I said as I stopped and leaned against a wall, panting.

“Yes, Marlowe?”

“Being another animal in to this house that you’re going to con me in to keeping and you’ll be sleeping next door.”

He winced and fed the parrot on his shoulder another cracker. The parrot squawked and grabbed on to it with a purple tentacle that slid out from under his feathers by the base of his wing. The bird sat there, holding the cracker and nibbling on it while giving off this air of ‘I really don’t care to be here.’

“but Marlowe, he has no where else to go.”

“Oh yes he does. He goes home with you or back to the clinic. I cannot handle another animal. Look at the mess that just two dogs creates!” I said as I gestured around me.

Ben frowned and sighed. “If you moved in with me..”

“No, you’re not getting out of this with that. It’s barely been six months, Ben. I’m not moving in with you yet. As for the bird, it cannot stay.”

Ben sighed and looked at me. His eyes were turned down and his shoulders fell. I felt my resolve weaken a little, but I was not going to be swayed. I’d said yes to the freaky dogs. I said yes to the dragon egg. I was saying no to a bird. Anything but a bird at this point.

“No, Ben. No birds.” I tried to make that sound as firm as possible while still being gentle, but I was afraid I failed at it when he got up off the chair he was sitting on and walked toward the door.

Before I could say anything else, he reached down and snatched my sneaker from Winston’s mouth before he could get up and run off with it again. Tossing me the shoe, he watched me as I caught it and dumped it in to the trash bin I had installed under the counter so the dogs couldn’t get in to it anymore.

“You need training.”

“For what?”

“For Winston, you need to go to obedience training. So he’ll stop chewing on your shoes.”

“Is there a class near by?” I would have paid the man in gold if he taught it, but no. He wasn’t a trainer.

“Next month. Miles can sign you up. It’s held at the library on Thursday nights.”

“Okay. I’ll go.”

“Just like that?”

“Just like that, as long as you promise not to bring another animal here without telling me first.”

Ben eyed me. “I knew there’d be a catch.”

“I don’t like surprises that I have to feed.” I pointed at the bird. “I don’t know how to take care of that, or what to feed it. I’m not just telling you to hurt you.”

“Feels like it some times.”

“Well I’m not. I actually considered the squirrel before I realized I knew diddly about its care.”

“You would if you moved in with me.”

I sighed. I walked right in to that one and Ben knew it too. The rat smiled.

“Not yet. I’m not ready.”

“You keep saying that, but I’m not entirely sold that you actually believe it.”

“Well I do, and I’ve got Mark still here. There’s him to think about too, you know. He is family.”

“He can come too.”

I laughed. I couldn’t help it. “You’d day anything to get me to move in with you at this point, but my answer is still no for now.”

“For now. I’ll wear you down yet.” Ben said as he walked over and backed me up against the wall before he kissed me. “Unless the houses decide for us. They’ve been known to do that.”

I sighed and leaned against his chest. Great. Another thing about my house that I didn’t know. “When does it usually happen?”

“Oh, usually around a major holiday if the couple hasn’t decided for themselves. It makes it rather awkward when the houses combine right before all the relatives show up for a holiday like Thanksgiving.”

I groaned. That was not what I wanted to hear.

“I’ll think about it, but for now you have to go back to work.”

“Not yet. You’re looking so very tasty and I haven’t had lunch yet.”

“Well Darling, I hate to break it to you, but your bird just let one rip on your shoulder and it’s disgusting.”

Ben swore and looked at me. “No birds.”

I laughed as he walked out of the house, an air of indignation at the bird on his shoulder that ruined his moment.