"A bottle of beer," Kathryn thought, her eyes drawn to Paul's muscular arm giving Cody's weathered tennis ball one more toss. "I'll take him a cold beer, and then I'll tell him." Kathryn rummaged through the fridge, shoving aside milk, orange juice, and several bottles of Chardonnay chilling on the shelf. There must be at least one bottle of Corona, left from last weekend when Paul had helped her spread mulch in the garden.
Yes! there it was. She grabbed it quickly, pried off the cap, and threw open the back door.
"You thirsty?" she called out.
Paul looked up and grinned. "You bet!" he said, dropping the ball and rising to meet her.
Kathryn gazed appreciatively at his long legs, jet black hair and olive complexion, the slight swivel to his hips when he walked, and the radiant 1000-watt smile he always greeted her with.
"Thanks, friend," he said, raising the bottle in mock salute.
"My pleasure, " she replied.
Friends like Paul certainly didn't come along every day, Kathryn thought. Since they met two years ago at Lyon Oaks dog park, he had become an amazingly important person in her life. He and Rosie, his Akita, were like family. Paul was always there to lend a helping hand with projects around the house, to watch Cody when she had to travel on business, and had even proven invaluable while she cared for her mother during these last months before death.
"That one's a keeper, Kath," Treesa would say, her sallow complexion and hollow eyes brightening at the sound of his voice. "You'd better not let him get away."
"Mom, we're just friends," Kathryn insisted, busying herself smoothing the sheets on the hospital bed or checking the medication dispenser. "I'm sure Paul has much more interesting prospects than an almost- 40 year old professor."
"Friendship can turn into something more, you know," her mother would respond slyly.
"Not this time," Kathryn stated. "Now, are you up to taking a walk around the yard before it gets too chilly?"
Darn her mother, Kathryn thought, sitting down on the porch step next to him, she had been right as usual.
Both dogs came to join their respective masters, Cody flopping down on the grass and rolling onto her back, her red tongue lolling from the side of her mouth. Rosie was more refined, and positioned herself next to Paul like the perfect sentinel, blue eyes fixed on him with reverence.
For most of her life, Kathryn's dogs had been her best friends. Having this friendship with Paul had been a marvelous new experience for her. She loved hanging out with him, joking around or talking seriously, working on projects around the house or playing with the dogs. It was great having a human best friend for the first time. She took a deep breath, and glanced over at him sitting companionably beside her in the sun.
How was her best friend going to feel when he found out she was having his baby? ~this friendship story will eventually end up in The Wedding Dress, the novel I'm writing for NaNoWriMo. For other thoughts on friendship, go here