October 2007 40-Prompts Challenge - 37. Puppy Love - WCB

Puppy Love

Disclaimer: The characters of "The Magnificent Seven" belong to MGM, Trilogy, etc. and are used here without permission. No copyright infringement is intended.
Challenge: October 2007 40-prompts challenge - 37. Puppy Love
Universe: Weapons Control Bureau
Characters: Ezra, seven, OCC (original canine character)
Rating: Suitable for all ages Note: References events in the story To Your Health
Feedback: Email MMW

Puppy Love

“Tristan!” Ezra called as his dog bounded away from the car. “I swear that dog loses all sense of decorum when we arrive here,” he muttered, turning when he heard a soft chuckle behind him. “Mr. Larabee,” he greeted.

“Ezra,” Chris returned. “He’ll come back when he’s done,” he assured.

A sigh escaped Standish. “Was he like this the entire time he was here with you?” he inquired.

“After about a week he was,” Chris offered.

Ezra felt a chill race down his spine at the memory of the time he and Vin had spent in Sandusky, Ohio working on a case. A heavy hand clapping him on the shoulder drew him from his reverie.

“Brother Ezra,” Josiah greeted.

“Mr. Sanchez,” he returned, straightening. “How are you this fine day?”

“Very well, Ezra. Very well,” the older man assured, heading toward the bar-b-que pit at the side of the house.

Ezra simply nodded, looked once more in the direction Tristan had disappeared and followed his friend.

The afternoon passed pleasantly and boisterously, as did most of the Team’s days together. The food was surprisingly tasty and the desserts tempting. And every last bit of both met the dietary standards Ezra was to follow. He couldn’t really say what how much it meant to him that his team –no, his friends – no… his family had pulled together to help him.

They had started working out together four days a week; all food brought into the office or at the gatherings met the standards he had to follow. Even Vin and JD had given up their sugary snacks in the office. That sacrifice more than many of the others had touched Ezra deeply.

As the afternoon wore on, Ezra became nervous about his missing dog.

“What’s wrong?” Nathan asked, seeing Ezra shift nervously in his chair.

“Tristan’s still missing,” he confided when he realized no one else was listening. To some degree he felt foolish worrying over his dog, but Tristan had come to mean a lot to him.

“Where did he disappear to?” Nathan asked.

Ezra pointed out the area where his dog had disappeared earlier. He watched as a smile appeared on Nathan’s face.

“I’m not surprised,” the taller man confided.

“Oh?” Standish questioned, eyebrow raised.

Nathan’s smile broadened and his eyes began to sparkle. “Chris never told you?” he asked.

“Told me what?” Ezra demanded, straightening in his chair.

“Tristan is in love,” Jackson said, chuckling at the expression on the other man’s face.

“Excuse me,” Standish said, shaking his head. “Did you say love?”

“Yep,” Nathan confirmed. Then rising from his chair, he indicated for Ezra to do the same. “Come on.”

Ezra rose and followed his friend, not really paying attention when the others decided to join them.

It didn’t take long before they reached the property line that separated Chris’ land from his neighbor’s. The split-rail fence that defined the plot line was easily crossed and the seven men headed toward the small barn near the three-story house.

Chris called a greeting when he spotted his neighbor and moved over to talk to the man while Nathan led the others into the barn and to a stall in the back.

There, Ezra was met with a sight he hadn’t thought he would ever see.

In a pile of hay, Tristan was laying on his side, squirming and playing with several kittens of varying ages.

“What?” the normally articulate man choked out, looking at Nathan for an explanation.

“When you were gone, one of the barn cats gave birth to a litter. Tristan found one of the kittens and seemed to fall in love with it. When the kittens grew, most were given away, but a few stayed behind. Another litter was born just before we went to Sandusky after you two,” he explained.

“And that dog gives the mothers a break by playing with them. Seems he loves kittens,” Larabee’s neighbor explained. “He saw the first little bundle of fur and it was love at first sight. Of course, with each new litter, he seems to fall in love all over again.”

“Puppy love,” Josiah said aloud. When Ezra looked at him in question, he explained, “More of a crush than actual love. When the cuteness wears off, he moves on.”

“Wouldn’t it be kitten love?” JD asked staring at the interaction between Tristan and the kittens and not really paying attention to what he was saying. The comment earned him a smack to the back of the head from Buck and a few groans from the others. “What?” he demanded, looking around.


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