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Tails, You Lose

Never bet against the underdog…

By Caroline CravenPublished 8 months ago 4 min read
Top Story - July 2023
46
Tails, You Lose
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

She didn’t see me. She couldn’t have. As soon as I saw her glance up at the window, I let the curtain drop and pressed myself against the wall. Out of sight. And it would seem out of mind too. Replaced.

The key turns in the lock and I hurl myself across the lounge to the couch on the far side of the room. I lie on my back, my arms stretched out behind me, my head half-buried in the cushions. My gentle snores should be enough to fool her.

She flings open the door and for a moment stands silhouetted in the entryway. I turn my head a fraction, opening one eye and peering through the slit. Oh, she’s right next to me. How did that happen? She must have moved ever so fast. I recoil as she prods my shoulder.

“I knew you were faking Max,” she says. “You only ever snore when you’re pretending to be asleep.”

Busted. She knows me too well.

“I’m going to make myself a cup of tea, do you want anything? Not that I should be nice to you, not after I caught you spying on me again.”

Her voice fades as she retreats into the kitchen. Swinging my legs over the side of the couch, I trail after her. She’s still muttering as she bashes her cup down on the counter, the tea slopping over the side.

“Don’t you dare look like that,” she snaps. “Don’t try and make me feel sorry for you. We both agreed, remember?”

I do remember. Remember how I would’ve agreed to anything, just to keep her in my life. I feel my bottom lip tremble and the tell-tale prickling sensation in my eyes. I won’t let her see me cry.

Catching my shoulder on the doorframe, I hurry into the lounge and collapse into the chair overlooking the garden. The garden. We had so many ideas, so many plans for transforming this postage-stamp sized space together. Raised flower beds, an apple tree, maybe even a pond. I guess we won’t be doing any of those things. Not now.

She crams herself into the chair, squishing me into the corner. I keep my face turned away, not trusting myself to look at her.

“Max, please…”

Please what? What does she want from me? I thought I could cope with this new arrangement, but now I’m not so sure. It hurts too much. She said we could carry on living under the same roof, but she wanted to see other people. It wouldn’t be just me and her anymore.

In the beginning, I didn’t worry. The first few dates she went on ended badly and she spent most of the time moaning about how boring they were, how being single was better, but then…

… I knew this one was different. She couldn’t stop smiling, gushing about his ‘twinkling blue eyes’ and his ‘gorgeous Irish accent’. She seemed to float around the house. I don’t think I ever made her that happy.

And now she’s spent every single night with him over the past month. I told her I didn’t mind, but as soon as I heard the front door bang shut, I would pace the room and look out of the window, waiting for her to come home. Back to me.

Her hand reaches up and she draws my head around to face her. I won’t look at her. I won’t.

“Max, I’ll always love you. You came into my life when I needed you most. You made me feel like I could do anything,” she says. “It’s down to you that I feel ready to move on, start over again.

I stare down at the floor, the tears blurring my vision, making the wooden planks look fuzzy. Please stop talking.

“He’s coming over in a bit, just went to get a few bits from the supermarket so he can cook dinner. He’s desperate to meet you. I hope that’s okay.”

My head snaps up. He’s coming here. Into my house. I don’t think I can stand it. Why can’t she see what this is doing to me?

She drops a kiss on my head: “You’re still the most important man in my life. That’s never going to change.”

We both jump as the doorbell rings, and I wince as she squeals ‘he’s here’ in my ears. As she’s reaching up to turn the handle, she looks over her shoulder at me and says: “Be nice, Max.”

Be nice!?!?

I clamp my eyes shut as I see her reach up to kiss him, the dull ache in my chest making it hard to breathe. Then I feel a hand on my head, my eyes flicker open.

“So, you’re Max,” he says. “I’ve heard so much about you. You’re every bit as gorgeous as Laura said.”

He drops to the floor in front of me, perched on his heels, and holds out a giant bone, almost as big as me. I snatch it from his outstretched hand and run into the kitchen to eat it. Perhaps this new arrangement will work out just fine after all.

Before I’m out of earshot, I hear her laughing and say to him: “I told you Max would be okay, but I did need his seal of approval. Because for me, it’s definitely a case of love me, love my dog.”

Short Story
46

About the Creator

Caroline Craven

Scribbler. Dreamer. World class procrastinator.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

  2. Compelling and original writing

    Creative use of language & vocab

  3. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Eye opening

    Niche topic & fresh perspectives

  3. Masterful proofreading

    Zero grammar & spelling mistakes

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Comments (33)

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  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    Ah, I suspected. She's right though - not going to work if Max doesnt approve. Nice writing.

  • Sathishkumar S2 months ago

    hi good job. please read my stories also...

  • L.C. Schäfer2 months ago

    A very wise move, have your boyfriends vetted by your dog. 😁

  • Hayley Matto2 months ago

    Absolutely adorable!! Cutest and most clever perspective! Pacing was absolutely excellent as well!

  • Such a good story. I did start thinking he was a dog when she kissed him on top of the head lol

  • Ahna Lewis6 months ago

    haha, loved this one Caroline! It took me a while to realize what was up...definitely was fully invested in this being a tragic love story betrayal. Even with the clue in the title, it wasn't until the "pacing around the room and looking out the window" that I really started to catch on. Thanks for the great read! 😆

  • Harmony Kent7 months ago

    Wonderfully done, Caroline! Love it. Yep, definitely a ‘love me, love my dog’ is so important 😂💕🙂

  • Test8 months ago

    Haha, brilliant! Every little nuance, every detail.... just so well done and heartbreakingly beautiful. Well deserving of Top Story💙Anneliese

  • Kristen Balyeat8 months ago

    Absolutely LOVED this, Caroline! I was just aching the entire time, feeling the pain and so freaking angry at her! lol! What a great twist! Your writing is brilliant!

  • omg awesome

  • Babs Iverson8 months ago

    Yes!!! Loved this!!!❤️💕

  • Mackenzie Davis8 months ago

    Omg I was so totally strung along. 😳 I didn’t even suspect! Damn. I feel dumb. But this was so good! Well done! And congratulations on TS! 👏👏👏

  • Yetunde Kannike 8 months ago

    Interesting story, congrats on your top story

  • Sandra Matos8 months ago

    Ha! Super clever! Entertaining and, can I say, suspenseful? Top story is well deserved!

  • C. H. Richard8 months ago

    Oh I loved this❤️ Max is still number one! Well done. It made me smile 😊 Congratulations on Top story too! 👏 ❤️

  • Mark Gagnon8 months ago

    You had me fooled right till the end. Great writing! I would like to see him close the blind though. Congratulations on TS.🐕‍🦺🐶

  • Catherine Dorian8 months ago

    Brilliant. At first, I thought that Max was a child. Then, you make the ending a surprise without making the readers feel tricked. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Adam 8 months ago

    Congratulations on Your Top Story!

  • Cathy holmes8 months ago

    Aww, this is great. Congrats on the TS

  • Dana Stewart8 months ago

    ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐I absolutely love this! I kinda thought I knew where you were going with the story but it only kept my attention. Great writing, Caroline! Congratulations on Your Top Story!

  • Naveedkk 8 months ago

    Congrats to you TS

  • Dana Crandell8 months ago

    I picked up the hints in the title and subtitle, so I knew who the narrator was going to be, but it didn't detract from the story one bit. A dog-lover's must-read. Congratulations on Top Story!

  • Donna Fox (HKB)8 months ago

    Caroline this was so clever! I love Max, the dog, as the narrative voice! It was fun cute and relatable! This is exactly how I imagine pets think and feel when their owners meet a new human. My cat was like this with my now husband, he would sit between us on the couch and sleep between us on the bed to try to block him out. It was funny until one day he started cuddling my husband instead of me and started blocking me out! 😻 Congratulations on Top Story, this was well earned!! 🎉

  • Caroline Jane8 months ago

    Awwwwww!!! Love... love...love this. ❤️

  • Aaliyah Madison8 months ago

    Congratulations on Top Story. 🥳🥳🎉

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