Until November

By: Aurora Rose Reynolds
Chapter 1

Walking into the lobby of the hotel, the warm air hits me in the face. It’s October and I can already tell winter is going to be rough. The lady behind the counter Glances up from her computer with a look of shock on her face. I can’t blame her. I look like I feel, which is crappy.

“Oh, honey, are you okay?” she asks. I hate that question.

“I’m fine.” I try to smile. “I need a room. Something that’s dog friendly if you have it.”

“Of course,” she says, looking back down at her computer and typing. “How many nights?”

“Just one.” I lean on the counter, feeling the exhaustion of the last few days catching up to me.

“Room 312 is dog friendly. You just take the elevator to the third floor and make a right. It will be seventy for the night and fifty dollars deposit for the dog.”

I hand over my card. Waiting for her to finish checking us in, I look down at my new companion. I still can’t believe he saved my life.

From what I can remember, I was attacked and he came out of nowhere, jumping on the guy attacking me. The cops said that if it wasn’t for him, I probably would have been killed or in a coma. Instead, I just had a concussion, two broken ribs, and a sprained wrist.

Beast was the first thing I saw when I woke up in that alley with the smell of garbage and urine all around me. I thought I was dead until I heard whining and felt a warm, wet tongue move across my face. I opened my eyes to see a huge face looking down on me like some kind of doggie angel. He stayed at my side while I gathered my strength to get up. He never left me alone, not even when I stumbled into the apartment to call the police. He was my own personal guardian through every moment.

“Here you go, honey,” the receptionist says, handing me the room card and bringing me back to the present. “The elevator is right down that hall.” She points to the left.

“Thanks,” I mumble, ready to get into bed.

“I know it’s none of my business,” she says, and I stop to look at her, “but I hope you were able to get in a few licks before you left his ass.”

“It’s not what it looks like.” I smile and shake my head.

“Mmm hmm, honey. If you say so.”

I don’t have it in me to argue with her so I just let it go and smile. “Come on, boy.” I drag Beast along with me toward the elevator while trying to carry my bag. “You can smell everything in the morning when I’m not so tired,” I say through a yawn while pulling him behind me.

When we finally reach our room, I’m overwhelmed by the smell of dog urine. I wonder why they take fifty dollars if they were obviously not using it to get the smell out of the carpet. I’m too tired at this point to care and just happy to have a bed. We could sleep in my car, but with all of my stuff in it, there’s not a lot of room. I take Beast’s leash off and go to the bathroom, carrying my bag with me.

After brushing my teeth and washing my face, I look in the mirror and cringe. I look like a cow. My face is black and blue, my green eyes are red and puffy, my upper lip is cut, and I have so many bruises that even my hair hurts. I pull off my jeans, sweater, and bra but keep on my tank top and panties; then crawl into bed. Leaning over, I turn off the light. Two seconds later, I feel the bed bounce with Beast’s huge body as he curls into me. And then, I’m out.

The sun is shining through the crack in the curtain. I moan and roll over. Beast is lying on his back with his legs straight up in the air and he’s snoring. He is the strangest dog I’ve ever met, not that I have a lot of experience with dogs. I’ve always tried to avoid them. When I was four, we went to visit one of my mom’s friends out in the Hamptons. They had a dog that attacked me. I ended up in the hospital with stitches from my eyebrow to the corner of my eye. Ever since then, I’ve had a deep fear of dogs; including the small ones that everyone thinks are so cute because they look like you could put them in your pocket. My dog, Beast, is not small. I Googled dog photos after I found him and from what I can tell, he’s a Great Dane. He comes up to my waist when he is standing on all fours. I’m five four and when he stands on his back paws, his head is a good four inches above mine. Surprisingly, I’m not afraid of him at all. Actually, I don’t think I would have made it through the last couple days without him.

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