Aidan mashed himself more firmly against my side, the bed shaking from the power of his snores. He had his chin nestled cozily into my pillow and was breathing his foul breath all over me. On my other side, down past my knees, Rex has settled himself, all 17 lbs, solidly across my shins and was dozing happily. On the other side of the bed, Davey was having the best sleep of his life. I, on the other hand, was stiff and achey from trying not to roll atop and subsequently squash one of the little pets as I slept. My instinct for preserving the 3-dimensionality of smaller beasts is strong, so I'd spent most of the night waking up to reposition myself as comfortably as I could between two sworn enemies who wanted to rest their weary bodies on mine. I was too happy that my dream of having all four of us on the bed had come true to give into my longing to fling the cat and pug to the floor and commence ruining Davey's slumber with my bed hogging and sleep sprawling. I strongly suspect that the reason Davey had been encouraging Aidan to sleep between us was because small animals are the only known objects able to emit a force field powerful enough to keep me from migrating to the center of the bed and throwing my leg across Davey as he tried to sleep.
When I got up in the morning, creaking and ornery, I began to wonder how long the pets' tentative truce would last for. Aidan had come back from his sleepover at Grandma's the evening before, and, to my surprise, both boys behaved with utmost gentility towards the other. I knew it couldn't go on much longer, but oh how I hoped it would.
I watched them carefully as they started their mornings. Rex seemed oddly at ease despite Aidan's presence and Aidan seemed unperturbed by the threat Rex posed to Aidan's self-proclaimed status of #1 Cutie.
"What is going to snap this fantasy back to reality?" I mused, watching Rex peruse the carpet for intriguing odors. The answer came more quickly than I expected when I heard the click of toenails on tile and the jingle of dog tags as Aidan came trundling down the hallway after being forced, once again, to watch his Davey abandon him. Who knew when he would come back? Nobody. He could be gone forever.
Rex looked up, startled by Aidan's appearance. He had been far too absorbed in smelling the floor to pay much attention to his surroundings. Aidan grunted and snorted. "My Daddy is gone."
"That noise is too distracting," Rex mumbled to himself as he moved past Aidan to go out the door and smell the carpet in the living room.
"I"M GONNA CHASE YOU!" bellowed Aidan, leaping after him ecstatically.
"No thanks!" Rex bolted down the hallway.
"Dang it," I swore, jumping up. "Aidan! No! Bad! Bad chase!" I followed the little hooligan down the hall. Aidan took one look at my displeased frown and his elated, cat-chasing smooth brow crinkled and folded in on itself. When Aidan is happy, he still has a few puggish wrinkles around his nose and forehead. As soon as his mood turns south, however, his whole face collapses into a miserable walnut. It was with this walnut face that he scrambled onto the couch, looking contrite. For some reason, Aidan seems more cute when he is sad on furniture than on the ground, which he frequently uses to his advantage. I glared daggers of imminent discipline at him, unassuaged by his clever furniture ploy. I was about to lay down the law.
Normally Davey is the one who reprimands Aidan for misbehavior and it goes something like this.
Aidan chases Rex. Davey grabs him by the chin, makes him look into his eyes, and says sternly, "Don't chase that cat." Aidan blinks and pouts. Davey bursts into a flurry of adoring chuckles and throws his arms around Aidan. "Oh my God! You're so adorable!!!" he gushes. "I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiis much." He then showers Aidan with kisses and gives him his favorite toy to play with.
I was not going to be so easily swayed. I grabbed Aidan's chin like Davey would and said sharply, "Bad. Do not chase my cat. Bad. Bad chase, Aidan. Bad." He tried to look away but I kept a firm grip for an extra moment to make sure he realized I was serious about the severity of my displeasure. When I released him he blinked and pouted in a way designed to be heart-rending.
"Yeah right," I said. "You're in trouble. I'm not talking to you." I turned my back on him and went into the kitchen to boil water for tea. Aidan followed me.
"Can I have some salami or toast?" he ventured.
I ignored him.
Aidan stared at me, dismayed.
"Kariana, why are you ignoring me? Kar Kar?"
I shot him a dirty look and went back to what I was doing. Aidan blanched, his eyes growing larger.
The front door opened and Davey walked in. He had stopped by to pick up something he needed for work. Aidan glanced at the door. He normally went crazy with happiness when Davey returned home, but there were more pressing matters at hand. He hovered anxiously at my feet. "Kariana? Remember that you like me because I'm a good boy?" he entreated.
Davey frowned at the scene before him. "What's wrong with my dog?" he demanded, concerned.
"I'm punishing him," I said. "He chased my cat and now I'm giving him the silent treatment. He hates it."
Aidan added a few new wrinkles to the walnut.
"Please say, 'Hi Aidan" and pet me," he begged.
Davey laughed, completely smitten by Aidan's adorable sorrow. I wandered into the living room to complain about my back, taking a seat on the couch. Persistent Aidan, seeing his opening, charged after me, leaping onto the couch and flopping down with his chin on my thigh before I could stop him. "I really like you and want you to like me," he whispered, sadly. "I'm sorry I made you mad."
Satisfied that my objective had been reached, I gave him a hug. It had been hard to be so mean to him when he was just a silly, insecure little dog, but I knew it was for his own good. He settled against me, relieved that he was back in my good graces, not knowing that he had never been out of them in the first place.