Davey was gone the whole weekend at a music festival, leaving me alone with the pets. Rex couldn't have been happier that his evil step-father was gone, but Aidan seemed to be having a hard time with it.
The first day went all right, what with the BBQ and the wealth of dirt meats (see the previous post for the tale) to keep him engaged. When we got home Aidan was wiped out, and promptly plopped onto the bed and dozed off.
I joined him on the bed for some television soon after that, and then Rex joined the both of us before running off again to pursue his mysterious night hobbies. I drifted off, enjoying the center of the bed and all four pillows to the fullest.
When I woke up, I discovered the boys had taken over my side of the bed in the middle of the night. Rex was curled up against my hip, Aidan against my calf. I smiled. Rex had long ago decided that he does not want to sleep on the same bed as Davey, so it was nice to have him next to me again. When he felt me shift, he woke up and scampered off to begin his morning routine, while Aidan popped up, dashed over to my face, gave my breath a vigorous and thorough smelling and then fell down onto the pillow with his head next to mine on the pillow, his chin cradled between his fat, little paws.
"Promise you'll never leave me," he said. "Because... I think Daddy has left me."
"He'll be back, because he loves you." I rubbed him behind the ears and tried to go back to sleep, but with limited success as Aidan kept farting doubtfully, despite my reassurances.
Later that morning, after the smell had encouraged me out of bed and into the kitchen for some breakfast, the neighbor dog, Mischa, started yapping in the back yard. Aidan and I were seated together on the couch, the pug having glued himself to my side all morning, and when Aidan heard the high-pitched barks he pricked his ears and stared out the window until he heard the familiar yip once more. His body began to heave silently, faint squeaks beginning to issue forth until he was whining at full force.
"I, waahhh, want, wahhhh, to, wahhh, play!" Aidan gasped between whines. I was more than happy to oblige, thinking he needed to get his mind off of things and knowing that he and Mischa could be out there having doggy fun for up to 30 minutes if he was feeling frisky. I let him out the door and he ran up to the other dog, whose gender I am not 100% on, and followed it around the yard, his short legs pumping to keep up with Mischa's casual trot. I smiled and went to go to the bathroom.
When I returned, Aidan was standing anxiously at the door, looking around for me while Mischa stood a distance away, looking somewhat peeved at Aidan's party-pooping. I looked at the pug quizzically. He shifted his weight anxiously.
"I'm tired of playing, Mom! I want to come home!" he said.
"What about Mischa?" I asked. "Don't you guys want to play?"
"No, I want to be with you," Aidan said.
Mischa tilted his/her head in what seemed to be contempt at Aidan's babyishness.
I opened the door and he hurried in, getting up on the couch and waiting expectantly for me to sit down. I did, and collapsed next to me.
"I thought you would leave me like Daddy did if I don't stay next to you to make sure you are with me," he garbled at me.
A little later Sir went to go next door to Mac's, and brought Aidan with him. Never one to turn down an invitation, Aidan followed him outside. I went to take a shower. When I came back, Aidan was at the door again. I opened the door and his little sausage body exploded.
"Look Mom!" he screamed, literally screamed, as he spun, literally spun, around the living room. "I'm home! I'm home! Oh, how I've missed it, and you! Where's Rex? Where is what's left of my family!? Rex! Mother! I LOVE YOU! I love being home and I hate being away! I never want to leave again! I'm not like Daddy! I'll stay!"
He draped himself across the couch, worn out from his outburst. "I'll be brave for you, Mommy, if you will promise never to go away."
"I have plans this evening, dear, but I'll be home after a few hours," I said.
"Oh, how I wish I could believe you," Aidan mooned, uncomforted.
I spent the rest of the weekend with Aidan attached to my body at any contact point he could reach. On Sunday, he was extra despondent, Davey having been gone for two whole nights. I had cramps, so I spent the time when I wasn't at work laid out on the couch watching TV and feeling like a victim, with Aidan tucked securely under my head since he refused to get off of my pillow.
"Does this make me an orphan?" Aidan asked. "I know you're not my real Mom, so what's going to make you stay with me if not even my real Daddy will?" He sniffled pathetically.
Every time the door opened Aidan would look up, waiting for a sign that Davey had returned, but he was always disappointed. I figured it would be a wonderful moment when his pappy got back.
Except that when Davey returned, he came in without any of his usual gusto or sense of showmanship. He opened the door and went down the hallway with no fanfare, just like our roommate would do after one of his cigarettes. Aidan heard the door open, perked up his ears, decided it was Dan and was about to put his head back down when he noticed what my ears noticed: whoever had just gotten home had gone into Davey's and my bedroom. Aidan cocked his head and, without another word, jumped off my lap to go see if maybe, just maybe, his wishes had been granted.
I don't know what transpired between the two of them. I didn't hear any squeals or shouts from either of them, but Aidan did keep himself stuck to Davey like velcro for the rest of the night, never letting him out of his sight for a moment. On only two occasions did Aidan abandon Davey for me.
Aidan was sitting underneath Davey's rolly chair, where Davey could not see him. Davey scooted back to model his new shirt for me, startling the pug and causing him to shriek.
"Aidan! I'm so sorry!" Davey said. The thing to understand is that the Blakes are a loud clan, who boom when stimulated by emotion of any sort. Davey in particular uses pretty much the same pitch and tone when he is booming no matter what it is he is trying to express, so to someone like Aidan who doesn't speak English, Davey's loud proclamations of sorrow at scaring the pug and entreaties to come be comforted sound exactly like Davey telling the dog he has misbehaved and is about to get his cheeks squished (gently). Davey reached for Aidan to soothe his frazzled nerves. Aidan's eyes bugged. He hopped out of reach in the nick of time and hid behind my chair under my desk. For some reason, Aidan has the misguided notion that I am the one who will always protect him and make the terror go away.
"Aidan!" Davey wailed. "I'm sorry, buddy!"
Aidan looked up at me, his eyes wet. He looked hunted.
"Davey," I said, "I think he thinks you're mad at him. Try being more quiet, maybe?"
"Aidan," Davey said in the normal coo he uses when talking to his precious puggy pug pug. "I'm sorry."
Aidan squeezed out of his hiding spot and popped into Davey's arms, resting his head against Davey's chest. "Hold me, Daddy," Aidan begged. "And never let go."
The next time Aidan favored me to Davey was in the middle of the night when Aidan, obviously still wound up from all the excitement of having Davey realize the error of his ways and return to the pug, was startled by nothing and emitted an ear-piercing shriek that woke me up. I rolled over to go back to sleep while Davey set about soothing him, but all of a sudden I felt a warm, furry weight on my neck.
"Why are you going to Mommy?" Davey asked, a pout in his voice. Aidan had rested his chin on my neck and jaw, and was jiggling his head around to get nice and comfortable. Once again, he was under the impression that I would make the scared go away, if only he was near me. I don't know why I am his rock in the chaos of pug life, but I imagine it's because I never freak out when Aidan gets freaked out, and so he assumes I am more powerful against enemies than his much stronger and braver Daddy, who gets worried when Aidan is distressed. I fell asleep with the dog still nuzzled up on me, refraining from making him sleep elsewhere this time because he was so obviously feeling vulnerable after his confidence-shattering weekend of abandonment.
When I woke up in the morning, though, Aidan had removed himself from the comforting bubble of my personal space and had stolen Davey's pillow, curling against his Daddy's scalp like a jelly bean. They spent the morning until Davey left for work gazing lovingly at each other and canoodling on the couch.