Resisting Her

By: Kendall Ryan

Chapter 9

“Do you mind if we turn on the TV?” Savannah asked. “It’s just so quiet in here, and I’m used to more background noise.”

“Sure.” Cole handed her the remote, and she stared down at it curiously like it was some strange foreign object. “Here.” He hit the power button, bringing the flat screen to life.

It was turned to one of the premium channels, which thankfully kept the programming clean during the day. He rarely watched TV, but when he did, it was typically when he couldn’t sleep and it was either watch the soft-core smut on this channel, or infomercials. And a man only needed so many Shark Vacuums and Ab Rollers.

Savannah studied the TV for a moment, wincing at the string of curse words that ripped from the foul-mouthed character on screen. Cole quickly changed the station. The Weather Channel. That was a safe enough option.

Savannah smiled at him in appreciation and headed back into the kitchen.

A short while later, she hesitated at the threshold of the living room, a casserole dish in her hands. “I made beef wellington, would you like some?”

She couldn’t have known that was his favorite and his mother used to make it for him on special occasions. “You made wellington?”

She nodded. “It’s my favorite.”

“Mine too.”

All that week Savannah had made elaborate meals for Cole. Eggs benedict for breakfast, panini sandwiches for lunch, that afternoon she’d baked and decorated six dozen sugar cookies, and now it was beef wellington. She didn’t know how to make the right portions for just two of them either, so leftovers were stacked in both the fridge and freezer. He’d have meals for the next year at this rate.

Malcolm’s words rang in his head…Savannah’s the nurturing type…she needs to get in a healthy routine… He wasn’t sure all this cooking counted as a healthy routine. She rarely left the kitchen, and when she did, she didn’t know what to do with herself.

Cole was still full from lunch, but he forced down a few bites of the delicious meal, praising Savannah for her efforts. He noticed that she barely ate any of the food she cooked, like she was doing it solely for his benefit. He decided it was time to act.

Cole returned an hour later, wondering if he had made the right decision. The puppy wiggled in his arms, anxious to get down and play. Crap. What if Savannah didn’t even like dogs, or what if she was allergic? Deciding it was too late to turn back now, Cole unlocked the door and went inside.

Not seeing Savannah, he carried the Maltese-Poodle puppy toward her bedroom and knocked at the door. “Savannah?”

He heard her sniffle. “Just a second.”

The puppy let out a whimper and reached out a paw toward the door scratching to get in, like it somehow knew it’s mother was inside. Savannah slowly opened the door. A smile lighting up her tear-streaked face. “Cole?” She blinked, an unspoken question forming on her lips.

“She’s for you. She’s fourteen weeks old. A family bought her from a pet store, and then changed their mind and dropped her off at the shelter down the road. She’s yours. If you want her.”

“Oh, Cole.” Savannah lifted up on her toes and pressed a kiss to his cheek. “Thank you. She’s so cute.”

Cole handed the squirming thing over to Savannah, who promptly kissed the top of its head and cradled it on her hip like a baby. She captured his attention and held it. Cole’s lips turned up in satisfaction as he watched the touching sight.

There was no denying the dog was cute. She was a whopping six pounds of fluffy cream and tan fur, with a tail that wagged non-stop. Cole wanted to adopt a German Shepherd, or some other manly dog, but when he saw this little thing that looked more like a gremlin than a dog, he knew it was the one Savannah would want. And if the way Savannah buried her face in the puppy’s fur and murmured unintelligible baby talk to it was any indication, he’d done the right thing. His heart squeezed in his chest — the feeling unfamiliar and startling. But he reminded himself he’d only done this to get her doctor off his back. Animal therapy or some shit it was called.

“What are you going to name her?” he asked.

Savannah’s lips curved into a smile. God she was beautiful when she smiled. “I get to name her?”

He nodded and watched her eyes light up.

“I’ll have to think about it.” She smiled, holding the puppy out at arm’s length to get a good look at her.

Cole left again with the excuse of needing to pick up a collar, leash and dog food. But mostly, he needed to escape the overwhelming feelings brought on by Savannah’s sweet murmurings to the puppy.

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