There Be Mature Content Here
Please be advised that the following is intended for mature readers only.
(Finished – 7/18/2021)
Pyxis The Restrained
Luna’s in control.
Truly. She’s got absolute command over me.
My complete obedience to her has got everything to do with the fact that she’s currently all tucked up under my armpit and doing her whole-hearted best to squeeze me outta my shell. That she’s giving me this ferociously possessive hug—staking her claim on me—before Gary.
With a body-shuddering exhale, I release every last shred of my conscious control over my mating instincts.
I’m Luna’s. I’m Luna’s. I’m Luna’s.
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“Gary.” My voice rumbles up from my gut and grates my throat.
I can hear Gary gulp down a nervous swallow. “Um, yeah?”
Yeah. I’m starting to sound all feral again, but fuck it. I’m mated to Luna the Baby Bunny. Me being a primal, possessive beast is the male who I was always meant to be. Devoted only to Luna. Crazed only for Luna. Restrained only by Luna.
And if Luna has her arms wrapped around me, then there is only one thing that happens next.
I just gotta tell Gary.
“When you smell that, Gary,” I cant my head toward the inside of the modular while keeping my focus intensely on my mate, “All that perfectly burnt bread? It means two things.”
Luna groans in embarrassment as she cringes, pulling her shoulders tight as she presses closer to me. By Aku, I growl in primal pleasure. She’s not just hugging me. She’s clinging to me.
Gary’s timid voice pipes up. “It does?”
“It totally does. One. There’s tons of air.”
“Two.” I pause because two is really fucking important. “Two means I’m busy, Gary.”
“Busy?” Gary asks.
He’s probably shifting on his feet and in desperate need of reassuring tapping, but that’ll have to wait until after. I’ve got all these plans forming for pleasuring my mate because I have this undeniable need to smell and taste her arousal.
I clench my hands into fists, beating back the impulse to snatch Luna up. “Like really fabulously busy.”
Luna groans again and squeezes me tighter. She’s mumbling something about ‘Stupid, Luna.’ Her embarrassment is cute—because if it wasn’t cute, it’d be cutting—so I elaborate the only way I know how.
“Fuckingly fantastically fabulously busy.” Unable to resist my urges any longer, I grasp Luna about her waist and pick her up. “So come back later, Gary.”
Luna squeals, which is great.
Gary sputters, which is kinda annoying. “But, Jo—”
“Like, a lot later.” I step back inside the modular and kick the door closed.
Only, the door doesn’t close.
It kinda crumbles as it goes flying outta the modular, narrowly missing Gary.
Luna cries out. “Gary!”
Yep. Poor Gary. He’s paler than I’ve ever seen him. And his eyes are wider than I’ve ever seen them.
Luna scrambles outta my arms and I let her go. Why? Because Luna wants to go and I always do whatever Luna wants to do. Even if that means coddling Gary after a near-death experience rather than going back into the modular’s bolthole and wringing a dozen or so orgasms outta her.
But you know, if that’s what Luna wants to do then that’s what we do.
Though, I still growl when Luna places a steadying hand on Gary’s shoulder while gently urging him to sit down before he topples over.
Then again, at least I am still here with Luna, which is fab—
“Pyx!” Luna gasps as she’s looking around. “Whaddya doing? Get inside before someone sees you!”
Right. Because I’m in the middle of Two Dash Four Dash Kay wearing nothing but my ShellWear—the clothing that my people wear when we’re sheltered inside the Bale. Outbalers are not supposed to see me like this—out of my armor.
Yet here I am, just standing in the modular’s doorway. I guess it’s kinda fortunate that Gary, who just so happens—thanks to Joia—to be blindfolded, is the only human here at the moment.
“Pyx!” Luna hisses.
Aku help me, I snatch up the duffle with my newest set of armor—again, courtesy of Joia and her uncanny foresight, but I’m not thrilled to follow my mate’s command. In fact, I’m kinda sulky and surly and grumbly.
I’m not acting at all like a real Akupara who’s under his mate’s complete control.
I’m inside the modular. Thank Aku for that. Because while I had been brooding, I’d been gripping the duffle’s handle so tight that I’ve compressed the handles into dust.
Truly. Tiny black particles coat my palm and sift through my fingers to the floor.
Luna startles me. I quickly swipe my hand on my pant leg and pick up the duffle like I’m deadlifting a sack of boulders.
“Gotta get armored up,” I blurt out. “Gary’s waiting.”
Luna arches her brows. “Gary’s passed out.”
“Then I need to take him to Doc Skylar.”
Luna’s brows change again, going from astonished arches to sympathetic furrows. It’s a look—that pitying look—that I’ve come to expect. Eventually, everyone gives me that ‘oh, you poor idiot’ look.
“Pyx, listen.” She reaches for me, then pulls back. “We just need to be careful is all. I mean, people don’t walk around with blindfolds on.”
“Sometimes they do.”
“I guess.” Luna’s expression shifts from sympathetic to confused. “Wait. Are you being literal or…”
I shrug. “I’m just being an ass.”
Truly, I’m being an ass. I just gave Luna one of my asinine lines—something rattled off—and not a real answer.
My real answer is fuck everybody else. Only Luna matters to me.
But I gave Luna that shit line because my stubborn, mating impulses aren’t supposed be rearing against Luna’s wishes. A real Akupara would gladly be hollowing himself out to do his mate’s bidding.
This…my reaction. It’s wrong.
Luna sighs. “You’re not an ass, Pyx. I’m the ass for hugging you in front of Gary—”
“I fucking love that you hugged me in front of Gary.”
As the booming echo of my voice fades, I’m so fucking relieved that my mate merely looks startled and not frightened.
Then she narrows her eyes at me. “You love it even though you almost decapitated Gary with the dang door?”
“Uh, no,” I mumble, dropping my gaze. “I don’t love it that much.”
But just by a hair. Truly. I fucking adore that Luna hugged me. Wish she was hugging me right now.
“Well, I’d love to, too,” Luna says with a huff as she squeezes past me. “But I got stuff to do.”
She starts gathering her foraging items—gloves, a small knife, and a basket.
Confused, I ask, “What about the drill?”
“I told you I’d wait for you.” She squeezes past me again. “But I got a ton of other stuff to do, Pyx.”
Right. Something about the miners. And her candy. And my sisters’—both Emys’s and Rez’s— fertility. And…something else. I think. I’m sure she’s told me. Or maybe Jo’s told me. I just don’t remember.
Luna’s about to step through the doorless doorway but stops and turns around.
“Just, get suited up and get Gary over to Doc Skylar,” she says with a heavy sigh.
Then she runs her gaze over me. I don’t like the look in her eyes. She’s assessing, making a mental list, and I can’t help but worry if she’s cataloguing all my pros and cons.
I know that the con list is endless.
She shakes her head and gives me a weak smile. “I’ll see you later, Pyxis.”
Luna the Baby Bunny
I screech and duck—bellyflopping onto Briarwood’s undergrowth—as chunks of tree bark rain down on my head.
Ugh. I’ve been through this situation a bazillions times before. I know exactly what’s happening. It’s Candy-Hating Howie with Rock-Blazing Bianca tagging along with him.
And you know what? I’ve had it with Howie!
“Gosh dang it, Howie!” I bellow as I push up to my feet, spinning about as I try to spot my nemesis. “I’m so freaking tired of this! Just get your sour little self over here and—”
Another rock smacks into another nearby tree.
And, yeah. I’m hitting the forest floor again.
No. This thing with Howie. It ends now.
I spit bitter leaves and chalky soil from my mouth. “Freaking stop it, Howie! Call off Bianca!”
“I’ll call off Bee once the mod-lot is called off!” Howie fires back from…
Well, from somewhere.
Seriously. I can’t tell where he’s at. I think he’s on my left, but all the rocks have struck trees to the right of me. Unless he and Bianca are flanking me.
Stupid sneaky Howie with his stupid flanking maneuver.
And also, just stupid Howie. I don’t run the mod-lot—the modular housing lottery.
“Call it off.” I mumble to myself, sounding all sullen and surly.
And, yeah. I’m gonna own my surly sullenness because if I could call off the lottery, I totally would. I don’t need roommates snooping around my modular while I’m being drilled by Pyx—er, fixing the drill with Pyx. While Pyx and I are trying to fix the drill.
Fix the drill. Fix the drill. Fix the drill. For the love of god, Luna. Remember. You are trying to fix the drill, not to be drilled.
But I really do wanna be drilled. By Pyx. Right now.
I freaking miss him.
Feeling grumpy, I shout at Howie and make sure that I sound all condensing and stuff. “I don’t control the housing lottery.”
Howie shouts right back, mimicking my ‘you’re an idiot’ tone. “Never said ya did, Lunatic.”
It’s always ‘Lunatic’ with Howie.
“Listen, Howie.” And you bet that I’d said his name like I’m calling him an idiot. Because he is the idiot in this situation. Not me. Totally not me. “You just demanded that I call it off—”
What the—? Seriously, Howie? “Did, too!”
Howie heaves a disgruntled, very much infused with adolescent hubris, sigh. “I didn’t say that. I said when the mod-lot is called off.”
“You…” I let my retort die as I replay our exchange.
Okay. He did say when the mod-lot is called off.
But I still shout back, “You implied it!”
“I did not!”
Listen, I’m not proud about being a petulant ass. It’s just, I’m in a mood because back there—that thing that happened at my modular with Pyx and Gary—is upsetting.
I’d acted like an clingy, Pyx-obsessed lunatic.
There you go, Howie. I said it about myself. Lunatic.
I’ve been out in Briarwood for only, like, an hour trying to get more ingredients for both burning bread and making vitamin-filled cake. Yet I’ve spent that time debating what turns me on more: the sounds of Pyx’s raw, naked ‘he’s totally aroused’ growls or just Pyx, naked and aroused.
I think both?
But back to my point. If I can’t be away from Pyx for a measly hour—spending that entire time fantasizing about his panty-melting, infectious smiles and core-clenching groans of pleasure—then something’s wrong.
Like, ‘tackle-hugging him while sniffing his armpit because he stepped outta my modular and I totally need to possess my mate’ kinda wrong.
“What I implied,” Howie shouts back, “is that you get Jo to call it off.”
Oh. Well, that makes way more sense. Because, as mayor of the settlement, Jo could call off the lottery. But I’ve already asked her and she won’t do it.
“Gees, Luna!” I hear Howie scoff. “How did you not get that? It’s so obvious. Jo’s the one who gets stuff done around here. Everyone knows that.”
And… Yeah. That hurts, Howie. That really hurts.
Not because Joia isn’t a completely awesome badass who gets crap done, but because—as he just said—it’s so obvious.
I can’t fix crap.
Mating Pyx was supposed to fix all this…
Something spiteful and genuinely foolhardy roils through me.
“Fine!” I shout out—more to the universe than to Howie. “I’ll fix it!”
Sure. Joia already shot me down when I asked her to cancel the lottery. However, in this regard, I can re-plea my already pleaded case because I’m doing this for Howie, not for me. And there’s no way Jo’s gonna say no to helping out some highly-questionably-sweet kids, right?
Right. Totally, completely right.
And because Jo will handle the lottery, it isn’t a big deal to add ‘Call Off Mod-Lot for Howie’ to my never-ending ‘Things to be Fixed’ list.
Really. It’s not a big deal. As Howie implied—and as I know first hand—Jo fixes everything.
Pyxis The Restrained
I cant my head, gesturing toward my patrol partner. “How’s Gary doing?”
I’ve done what Luna had bade me to do. I’ve brought Gary to the humans’ version of a medical unit. But being here with Gary is sorta…I don’t know…
I mean, he’s just lying on a cot—not even recuperating inside a subpar med-chamber—and the canvas that’s stretched across the rickety cot frame is soiled and threadbare.
I don’t like it.
But I don’t like being away from Luna a whole lot more.
Which makes me feel…itchy?
Yeah. Totally itchy.
My entire body is plagued by this itchiness to get to Luna, get outta my armor, and get inside her.
Why? Because it’s fucking phenomenal having my cock inside of Luna.
Plus, the floor of the medical unit—which is just another one of the human settlement’s dilapidated modulars—is squeaking beneath the shifting of my itchy feet.
I gotta go. Squeak.
But Gary’s here and he’s got this prickly color—a blush, I think the humans call it—blooming on his face. Squeak.
And Luna’s not here. Squeak. Squeaksqueaksqueak—
“Stop that,” the human medic snaps at me.
I give her a sharp nod. “Sure thing.”
“Gary’s fine,” the human medic says, her tone hard, “but wouldn’t you be better outside?”
“Nah. I’m fine.” But hold up, here. “Why would I be better outside?”
The human medic narrows her eyes at me. “What?”
“If it’s better outside then why aren’t all your patients outside?” I narrow my eyes right back at her. Which, of course, she can’t see. Because of my solid opaque faceplate. “Do I need to get Gary outside?”
Because that would be fabulous. Getting Gary outside the medical unit gets me closer to Luna, who’s not inside with us.
“I didn’t mean—” the human medic sputters, “That’s not what—Just what exactly are you implying, Akky?”
“I’m not implying anything.” I glance over to Gary, seeking his input. “I’m not, right?”
“I, um…” Gary—whose facial coloring has transitioned from that bright, prickly red back to its former sickly, pasty paleness—just gapes up at me. “I don’t really know, P.”
He doesn’t really know.
Well, that’s too bad because I’m being incredibly real right now.
I turn back to the human medic. “You just said that I’d be better outside. So, wouldn’t everyone also be better outside?”
Seriously, this is a legitimate question that I’m asking. If humans follow this whole ‘better outside’ medical protocol—which I one-hundred percent endorse—then why are all the patients inside?
Truly, this facility is wholly inadequate for healing any living creature. Unless you’re a bacterial strain. If so, then this place is absolutely kick ass.
But Gary isn’t a bacterial strain. So for Gary, it could possibly kick his ass to stay here.
“That is not what I meant!” The human medic rails at me.
I cock my head at her. “But that’s what you said.”
“What I meant,” the human medic snarls at me, “is that it would be better if you went outside because you don’t belong here.”
Gary gasps. “Hey now, Doc!”
I just shrug. “Of course I don’t.”
“Then leave.” The medic points her finger. “Just go.”
“Do you mean leave the medical modular—”
“Medical clinic,” she snaps at me.
I keep going. “Or…”
That’s the sound of my helmet scraping across the low ceiling as I visually track where she’s pointing. Which is up and not toward the modular’s main doors.
Does she mean go off-world?
Because if that’s what she’s saying, she’s totally implying it. Which completely contradicts what she said earlier about implications.
I flick my attention from the low ceiling to the huffing medic. Screech.
However, she’s cringing and slapping her hands over her ears, and those human reactions aren’t really giving me any indication about exactly where she wants me to go.
I tilt my head back toward the ceiling. Screech. “You mean off-world?”
Because my answer to that is an abso-fucking-lutely hard no. I’m not leaving Warren’s. Warren’s is where my mate is.
I snap my attention back to the medic. Screee—
The ceiling falls on my head.
Well. Not the whole ceiling. Just a sliced through sheet of it.
And now that sheet has dropped onto the floor.
“Shit!” Gary cries out.
I turn—twisting just my torso—to look at Gary. He’s sitting up, looking all gaping and startled and befuddled. You know what? He kinda looks like regular old, not-injured-at-all, Gary.
Which is a relief.
He runs his stunned gaze over me. “Ya okay, P?”
Whatever ‘okay’ means. It’s a human word. But I’m totally confident that it completely applies to me.
Although, Gary’s still giving me a wide-eyed visual inspection.
“Really,” I say because I really mean it. “I’m okay.”
I turn back to the human medic. She doesn’t need to be fussing over me, either. “I’m totally okay.”
“You’re certifiably insane!” She yells.
Pointing my finger at her, I correct her. “Totally mated.”
Now the human medic is gaping at me—all while Gary is still gaping at me—and no one’s talking.
This sorta thing happens to me so frequently that I don’t mind the silence. But I’ve been told, repeatedly, that other people do mind.
So I toss out a line. “But if ‘certifiably insane’ is the human term for being totally mated, then…”
But neither Gary nor the human medic grab hold to get us all talking again.
“Really, we can use that term.” I glance back-and-forth between the two humans. “I don’t mind.”
But Luna might.
I go to add that really important caveat. But because the human medic can’t see past my faceplate, she cuts me off.
“Go.” She growls the way humans do, sounding totally non-threatening and kinda ridiculous. Except for Luna who just sounds sexy and adorable when she growls at me. “Just go.”
The human medic redirects her pointing finger from the ceiling to the front door.
I nod in approval. “That’s much better.”
Through those doors, Luna is somewhere out there.
“Not better,” she grates out. “It’s for the best.”
Huh. If leaving is truly best…
I cant my head towards Gary. “Should Gary come with—”
“No!” She jabs her finger at Gary. “He stays.” Then her finger is back to pointing at me. “You go.”
“Got it,” I say with a head nod.
After all, she’s being incredibly clear. Not a single hint of any sorta implications going on.
“Come on, Doc,” Gary says. “Don’t kick him out like that.”
“She’s not.” I’m all for leaving.
You know, because Luna’s not here.
“He doesn’t belong here, Gary,” the human medic flicks her hand at me. “At least he’s leaving unlike some other people who refuse to go.” She narrows her gaze at me again. “You know, you could take them with you.”
But more importantly…
“Who can I take with me?” I look from the glaring medic to Gary, who’s now sitting up in the cot.
The red flush is back on Gary’s face.
As well as a scowl.
Huh. I’ve never seen Gary look like this. Like he’d take on pulse blasts just for the chance to rip the arms off of the cannon’s gunner.
“Dammit, Doc,” Gary hisses as he clambers to his feet. “What’s wrong with you?”
“Wrong with me?” The medic scoffs. “What’s wrong with you? We all have assignments here, yet I’ve heard that your reports are getting shorter and shorter.”
“We’re supposed to write patrol reports?” I turn to Gary because I wanna see the look on his face when he answers me. “Because if we’re supposed to be doing that…”
Well, I still wouldn’t be doing that because I hate reporting. My siblings know this well about me. Gary, not so much.
Which kinda stings that he never noticed this about me.
But still, I would’ve remembered if there was something that I wanted to actively dodge.
Instead of answering me, Gary knocks me on my shouldercop. And the only reason I know that he did that is because I’m starting down at him, waiting for an answer about this whole reporting thing.
“Come on, Pyx,” Gary says while glaring at the human medic. “Let’s go. I’m feeling better, so it’s best I get outta here, too. Right, Doc?”
The human medic glares right back at Gary. “Rodgers’s gonna hear about this.”
“Fine by me,” Gary tosses over his shoulder as he leads me out of the human medical unit. “He ain’t reading my reports anyways.”
“I’ll read your reports, Gary,” I say. It’s true. I will. I mean, if he’s going to all that work, somebody oughta read them. “But after I go see Luna.”
During that whole exchange with the human medic my itchiness never stopped. And you know what? I hope it never does. The demanding anxiousness that’s riling me is because I want Luna. And I want to always want Luna.
“Yeah, yeah,” Gary mumbles, then he looks up at me. “You just go see your girl, Pyx. I’ll do the patrolling for us.”
I should be thrilled about this. I mean, I am thrilled because, you know, Luna and all. But the itchiness in me has changed. Like, I wanna go see Luna. But I also wanna not leave Gary.
Not seeing Luna is amping me up, driving me into a frenzy.
But leaving Gary weighs me down, making me feel like shit.
I don’t like that my feelings are conflicting with one another. I fucking hate it. I’ve not felt this torn since my father.
“Pyxis,” Gary says firmly, snagging my attention. “Go on. I got patrol.”
But I’m shaking my head as adrenaline is pumping into my legs, priming my muscles for the run back to Luna.
“Really, go to your girl.” Gary slaps me on my shouldercop—which again I can’t fucking feel because of my fucking fake armor. “I’ll see ya later.”
Gary gives me a head nod like it’s all settled, then walks off.
And by Aku this sucks so bad.
I wanna call after him.
I wanna find Luna.
Fine. It’s Luna.
It’s always Luna.
I pivot away from Gary and head the other direction. However, instead of pushing the limits of my Outbaler speed, my feet are dragging in the dirt that coats the roads and pathways of the humans’ settlement. For once, moving in teeth-gratingly, minuscule increments isn’t driving me mad. I just settle into the slow and sloppy pace all the way back to Luna’s modular.
The modular’s door is still off the hinges, so I stand before the threshold and stare inside.
Lifting my hand to my helmet, I tap the release that pops the seal on my faceplate’s seams. Air filters inside, carrying the hours-old scent of my mate and just a faint hint of burnt bread.
I growl, feeling pissed and frustrated and so, so… something.
But then I hear Luna’s footsteps striking the ground.
Thumps, yes, but tiny thumps. Because it’s Luna and she’s not a massive clambering idiot like I am.
“Pyx!” she calls out. “Pyx! I—”
Aku help me, I sprint.
I snare her, snatching her up in my arms.
I inhale, dragging in the fresh, addictive scent of Luna as well as the leafy, loamy smells of Briarwood and—
I can hear, see, and smell my mate but, because I’m still in my fucking fake armor, I can’t touch her.
What makes it all even worse?
Luna’s anchoring herself to me. Her arms are about my neck. Her legs are doing their damned best to wrap around my hips. Her magnificent breasts are heaving against my plastron as she’s rubbing her lush core against my loincop.
“Pyx,” she heaves. “I need… I…”
“You.” I growl, knowing that she can hear my raw desire and need for her because I’ve unconscionably popped my helmet’s seams. “Need you, Luna.”
Three full-speed strides brings me to the modular’s door. As I cross the threshold, I palm her ass. With my other hand, I tear the bio-locked hatch of the secret bolthole wide open.
My mate moans as the head-spinning scent of her arousal intensifies.
I growl in response. My mate. I know her well and she likes me like this. Possessive. Primal. Unrestrained.
As I jump into the bolthole, dropping into a squat to take the brunt of the landing, my mate continues to writhe in my arms.
“Off,” she’s begging me as she’s tugging at the collar of her dress. “Get this off of me.”
So I do as she commands and rip her clothes off her sexy-as-hell body.
As for me? I keep my head straight long enough to wrench my loincop away from my armor. The rending of serrated metal echoes about the cave.
My mate sighs and shudders.
I—being the brute that my people have always said that I am—grasp Luna’s thighs, spread her wide, and thrust into her.
Thank Aku, finally I can feel her—
Luna hands smack my wrists. She’s gripping me as she’s sucking in a sharp inhale.
For a horrid moment we stare at each other. She’s wide-eyed with astonishment. I’m heaving like a mate-mad beast and my harshly snorted breaths are fogging the faceplate of my phony armor.
I shouldn’t have done that.
I really shouldn’t have done that. A real Akupara would not’ve—
But Luna drops her head back onto the padded pallet, exposing her neck as she opens her mouth. “Oh my—yes.”
She’s loud, lewd, and moaning exactly what I desperately needed to hear.
I stroke into her. I stroke again. And again.
She’s moaning and I hear her pleasure. I see her chest rising and falling as she pants and calls my name. I smell her desire with each grunt and snarl that forces its way past my clenched teeth.
As for feeling her?
My hands—pressed against the cave wall—tremble and then puncture solid rock as they curl into fists. My armor’s gauntlets creak and pop. But I don’t touch her.
Only my cock, which is pumping into the otherworldly ecstasy of her core, is bared. All my attention and determination is honed on sinking into my mate. The sensation is unbelievably intense. It’s like a fantasy.
Hell, it’s surreal.
Which is not the kinda ‘real’ that I wanna feel at all.
But my stubbornly disillusioned self silently chants with each thrust, It’s real. It’s real. It’s real.
By Aku, please let it all be real.
This chapter is complete! I’ve enabled commenting and have added my own thoughts as well.
As always, thank you so much for reading!
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One thought on “Slow and Steady – The Velveteen Tortoise – Chapter Thirteen”
Before I jump into my comments on this chapter, I want to thank everyone for hanging in there while life keeps ‘life-ing’ at me. I greatly appreciate your support! So, thanks for that. Y’all rock.
This chapter added 4500 words, bringing us to 61,500 words total. The story is at the 70-ish percent point. I think. Right now I’m at my in-laws and my stuff is scattered all over — including my copy of “Romancing the Beat” — so I’m totally guessing here. Basically, Pyx and Luna’s honeymoon phase has ended, and those ‘No Ways’ that they’ve been handling oh-so-badly are now kicking them in the backside. From here on out, their butts will get whooped until it all gets better. When will that happen? Well, once Love Conquers All, of course!
My apologies keeping these comments short. My puppy is barking NON-STOP at the television because my daughter INSISTS on watching “The Secret Life of Pets.” Every time the dogs bark on-screen, Otus barks in real-life while running around the house. He’s going from the front door, to the back door, to the garage door. Barking. Barking. Barking.
I’m sure you understand why I’m off to go have a cupcake and watch the end of the movie with everyone…💜
Take care all! And thank you so much for reading!
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