You know what I miss the most about Chicago? Pizza. Pizza... and Donuts.
I love those sugar covered ones, and the ones with the little sprinkles. Oh yeah, they are so goooood. I can eat a whole bag of those by myself. 'Course Benton says they're bad for me and tells me I'm getting fat. He used to give me the dirtiest looks when I stared in the window of the local cake shop and drooled. Yeah, I know, the guy loves me and he's only looking out for me.
Anyway, I'm not going to think about donuts right now on account of the fact that we are a hundred miles away from the nearest baked goods store and all I got to eat is what I can catch and kill. Okay, I'm being dramatic here. Benton provides the food; I don't really have to hunt. But that is so not the point.
We spent four months on our little adventure. Hand of Franklin? Who's bright idea was that? Oh yeah, Ray something or other. Needless to say, we found squat. And it was cold. I was used to having all the modern conveniences in Chicago. Central heating, duvets and soft pillows. Beds! What I wouldn't have given for a nice, warm, comfy bed back then. Digging out a hole in the snow and huddling with the sled dogs for warmth wasn't my idea of fun.
At least we have a cabin now. I don't know how the decision to stay was arrived at, but the moment Benton began looking for logs, I knew we wouldn't be going back to Chicago. It seemed the most natural thing in the world, but it couldn't have been an easy choice for him.
Oh, he didn't say anything, not out loud, but I could read him like a book. This place is beautiful but it can be deadly too. I knew he felt guilty about agreeing to take the 'Yank' on a harebrained adventure in a landscape he was ill equipped for.
Right now the sky is clear, so Benton and me are on a little mission. I do the choosing, he makes good with the axe, and in no time at all, we've got ourselves a little tiny fir tree on the back of the sled. We haul it back to the cabin and Benton manages to get it inside without loosing all the needles. He beds it into a large crate filled with rocks and gets it standing more or less upright.
Looks bare though, so he uses some of his precious stock of aluminium foil to make little stars and moon shapes. He hangs them on the tree and takes a step back to admire his handiwork.
"What do you think?" he asks. I tip my head sideways and smile. Seen better, seen worse. At least he made the effort. He rummages around in his knapsack until he finds two small packages, which he slips under the tree just as the bedroom door opens.
"Ah, Ray," he says, turning to smile widely at the third member of our odd little family. "Merry Christmas!"
"You got a tree?" Ray looks just like a child on Christmas morning as he stumbles out of the room and comes to stand next to Benton and me. "I can't believe you got a tree."
Benton smiles and slips an arm around his shoulder. "Well now Ray, it wouldn't be Christmas without a tree, would it?" And he tilts his head slightly, placing a kiss on Ray's lips. Quite disgusting really, but they seem to like it. They do it often enough!
Ray looks completely shell-shocked when Benton straightens up so I stick my cold went nose into his hand by way of support then trot over to the tree to sniff the two gifts hidden there. One of them smells really interesting.
Benton sighs with exasperation but I couldn't care less. I have Ray's attention now and he comes over to see what I've found. "Whatcha got there boy?" he asks, pulling them both from their concealment. "Oh, pressies!"
Ray reads the little card attached to the square box and squats down beside me. "This one's for you, buddy," he says, kindly opening the box so that I can stick my muzzle right in there. And what do you know! It's a donut. A sprinkle covered donut. I'd like to know where the hell Benton's been hiding it, but I'm too busy eating to ask.
When I look up, Ray's already opened his gift and whatever it was, he liked it. He's showing Benton just how much by doing that horrible face-sucking thing again. I lick some stray sprinkles off my muzzle and sit down to watch
Yup, I miss Pizza, and I miss donuts, but you know what? I'd happily give them up in a heartbeat if it meant getting to stay here and see them so happy. Benton's got Ray down on the rug by the fire now, and their doing that weird mouth-licking thing again ... kissing they call it.
Okay, that's all I can stand to watch. Humans have such disgusting habits! I mean, there are limits to what even I will lick! I slip quietly past them and into the bedroom, where there's a nice, big, warm, comfy bed with my name on it. And pillows. Did I mention how much I love pillows? Especially ones that smell of my two favourite guys.