“Tiergan! Are you nuts?” she whispers loudly as she approaches.
I yip a greeting and wag my tail. I turn to look intently over my shoulder, towards the hill, then back to her. There is a dense bush around the other side that would give us some needed cover.
She rolls her eyes. “I am not fording the river in these shoes!”
So take them off, I want to tell her, but . . . well, the only thing riskier than being a wolf out here during the day is being a naked human out here during the day. Talking is out, for now.
“Why don’t you head back to the house, and I’ll join you there?” she asks.
I feel my tail drop before she even finishes the question. I shake my head.
She nods sadly. “More trouble, eh?”
Nothing new there.
“Tell you what,” she says as she looks south along the path. “Meet me down by the old pump house. We can have some privacy there.
“And give me five or ten minutes, okay?” she adds. “I’m not running in heels. Not even for you.” She smiles at me—a sad, “I feel for you” smile—then walks away.
And I had been feeling better. Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
Okay, that’s unfair.
I watch her as she rounds some bushes and disappears from view. I head east.
The wind is coming from the side, now, and will be of no use at all in a minute when I turn south. Actually, it will be worse than of no use. There’s a bit of a ravine I’ll follow, which should keep me out of sight, but there’s a grassy area directly south of it where people walk their dogs. And the wind is going to be telling stories about me, now.
Hopefully, no one has their dog off lead. I’m not in the mood for either doggy love or doggy hate, right now. The former is embarrassing. The latter invariably ends in tears.
Definitely not in the mood.
Just in case, I pull out of the ravine a little early, and take my scent westward, back toward the river. It’s a risk, but I think it’s the smaller of the two.
Unless there is somebody on the bridge, looking north.
I get down low and slink up behind a small copse to wait.
Finally! He moves on.
Tara is already inside the pump house when I arrive.
“Took you long enough,” she says and winks at me.
“Well? Get in here!”
I step through the door and she pulls it shut behind me.
“It’ll be dark soon, we can go for a run, then.” She sits down and taps the ground beside her. “So come on. Tell me about it.”
I change. And immediately regret it.
“Can I borrow your sweater?” I ask. “It’s really fucking cold in here.”