It was almost noon when Kennedy stretched and yawned and proceeded to drag herself out of bed. What a night. Hubert was already in the living room as if he had been waiting for years for her to awaken. “Morning, Hubert,” she said as cautiously made her way into the kitchen. There was enough light for her to see into the kitchen and her stomach let her know immediately it was time for her to put something in it. Cereal would suffice and thank the Heavens she still had half of a box of Frosted Flakes waiting for her at the top of the fridge. Hubert had snuck up behind and barked, causing her to nearly drop the cereal, letting her know that his bowl was empty. So before she grabbed herself a plastic bowl that she kept in one of the many cabinets that made up the kitchen, she went to the cabinet underneath the sink and reached for a can of Purina and opened it and dumped the contents into his food bowl. She then grabbed his second food bowl which she filled with some of his dry food and last but not least she grabbed a water bottle out of the fridge and gave him some fresh water. “There ya go Hubert,” she said. “Sorry about that…” It was then that she realized that Marisol was not there and being that her friend knew better than to leave a note, Kennedy thought best to give her a call. She didn’t mean to interrupt Hubert’s feast but she could not settle herself enough to eat without finding out what happened to Marisol. “Hubert,” she commanded. “Phone.” Slightly disgruntled but obedient Hubert went into parent’s bedroom and retrieved her IPhone 6 and after she took it out of his mouth she patted his head lovingly and said “Good boy. Now go eat.” Hubert wagged his tail happily and then greedily went back to his food. “Siri, dial Marisol.” Kennedy spoke into the receiver of Apple’s best -selling product. “Calling Marisol,” the operating system responded. Marisol picked up on the first ring. “Hey girlie,” she said cheerfully. “Hey Mari, I was just calling to check on you,” Kennedy said as she grabbed a bowl and poured the contents of the cereal box into it. “I know my friend and thank you. I left early this morning because my pops wanted me to handle some business for him. Are you ok?” “Yeah sure, fine I just wanted to make sure you were ok. We had quite a bit of wine last night,” Kennedy chuckled. “Girl I know…I was knocked out cold. I didn’t want to wake you but if it makes you feel any better Hubert escorted me to the door this morning.” Marisol said laughing. “Always the gentlemen,” Kennedy chuckled. “But anyways, Kennedy I won’t be back for another couple of days. My parents have quite a bit of work cut out for me and I need some time to get everything sorted. But call me if you need anything or if you just want to talk.” “Thank you and same to you. I am so glad you are back Mari,” Kennedy said with a sad smile. “Me too. But look I gotta go mamacita. Talk to you later.” “Later,” Kennedy said as she ended the call. “Well Hubert it’s just me and you again today,” She said to the golden retriever who was too busy indulging himself in his food.
It was evening by the time Kennedy had found the resolve needed to head to the market which was a few blocks away. With Hubert leading the way, and her trusty cane, she was not all too concerned with the journey. All that she needed was a few things: some milk, bread, body wash and a couple of T.V. dinners and snacks and then she would be good to go. Dressed in some DKNY skinny jeans, a pair of black UGGS, and matching turtleneck and leather jacket she was good to go. She allowed her braids to hang loosely and she covered her eyes with a pair of dark sunglasses she bought at the mall a few years ago. She did not feel like “looking into the souls” of passerby’s along the way. She just wanted to get in and get out without any hassles-not that she was anticipating anything in particular but the point it she wanted to be inside before it was too late.
Of course Hubert was the center of attention in the local Safeway. All of the clerks knew him and random customers could not help being drawn to the laid back retriever. Hubert took all of the attention in stride and Kennedy could not be more proud. Once her groceries were paid for, she was out the door with Hubert leading the way. She was minutes away from her house when the catcalls started, and it was not long before she could sense the presence of more than one man looming behind her. “Hey baby, looking good tonight,” one shouted loud enough for the world to hear but close enough for her body to tense up. Hubert could sense her uneasiness and stopped where he was and turned around and growled and snarled at the assailants who simply laughed in devious glee. “Awww wook at da widdle doggee,” A man with a deep voice teased. “Baby girl wanna have some fun tonight?” Came another deep voice. Kennedy began to nervously tug at Hubert’s leash hoping for an easy retreat. “Its ok,” she said nervously. “We don’t want any problems.” Hubert’s barking became more incessant as she could sense the perpetrators move in closer. “Man fuck that dog,” one of the men snapped. “Get her!” Before she knew it she dropped her bags as one of the men kicked Hubert sending him whimpering. “Hubert!” She cried as she used her cane to swipe at the men. They laughed when they realized she couldn’t see where she was going. “This is going to be easy,” one man said as he grabbed ahold of her cane and snatched it out of her grip. Another came from behind and grabbed her by the waist when she heard the violent scream of another and sounds of flesh being torn from flesh. The man who grabbed her cane knocked her to the ground and she hit the pavement with a hard thud. “Hubert!” she called completely terrified and only slightly dazed. She cursed herself for being blind and she felt the familiar nuzzle of her wounded pet letting her know she was ok. “Hubert we have to get out of here.” But the dog wouldn’t move and when she tried to get up he used his 150 pound weight to sit on top of her to keep her down. She knew instinctively that Hubert was protecting her but she couldn’t help but wonder what made him do that. She could hear more screams and the crack and snap of bones being broken and she covered her ears. It felt like an eternity before Hubert got off of her and as she remained crouched low on the ground she felt another presence staring down at her. “Please don’t hurt me,” she whimpered. “I won’t,” came the silky deep voice of a man that sounded nothing like the perverts that attacked her. “My name is Damien,” he said. “Take my hand.” She reached up to the dark shadowy figure’s outstretched hand and he hoisted her up with no effort on his part. “Do you need medical assistance?” He asked with concern. “I-I-I-I’m ok,” she stammered. “Some punks attacked me and my dog and-“ “They shall hurt you no more. They are gone. Are these your groceries?” It took her a second to process that question. “Yes, yes they are. But could you hand them to me please? I am blind and-““ No need to explain. I can see that. I will gather them for you. Here,” Damien said handing her her cane and Hubert’s leash. “Here is your cane and your dog’s leash. You have a good dog. He is very brave. He risked his life for yours.” She gladly took the cane and his leash. “I owe him my life,” she said reverently. “How injured is he? I heard the bastard kick him.” She started to cry. Hubert nuzzled her, communicating that he was as shaken as she was but otherwise ok. “He is just fine. No visible injuries. I think he is just a little shaken but he is fine. Let me walk you guys home.” “No! That is fine,” she stammered. “We can take it from here…” “I can understand your apprehension but believe me if I wanted to hurt you I would have. I cannot walk away without making sure that you and Mr. Hubert are ok.” Damien gave her a minute to allow what he said to sink in and when it did, Hubert barked in agreement and she meekly gave him the ok with a slight nod. He grabbed both of her bags and motioned for Hubert to lead the way, in which of course of he did.
“By the way what is your name lovely lady?” Damien said as he walked side by side Kennedy the rest of the way to her home. “My name is Kennedy. Thank you so much for doing this.” “Where is your husband Kennedy?” “I am not married.” “Then where is your boyfriend?” “I don’t have one.” “Girlfriend?” Kennedy had to laugh at that one. “I’m not gay.” “Well lover?” “Uh no.” “Escort?” Kennedy laughed again. “Uh-uh.” “Confidante?” “It’s just me and Hubert in the world.” She said softly. “Oh, do you have any friends that could comfort you in this moment of crisis?” What an odd question, she thought. “Yes, but they are busy.” “I don’t think you should be alone.” Damien said plainly. “Yeah well, sometimes a person doesn’t have much of a choice.” “Well do you want me to call your family?” He said with increasing concern. Kennedy sighed. “My parents are dead. I have no one.” Hubert came to a stop right in front of her two story home. “Well this is it,” she said with a sigh. My parents are dead… Damien could not let that last statement go. She was really alone in the world. “This is your home? It looks quite lovely. I love brownstone houses…” Damien said unsure of what else to say. “Thank you. I guess the appropriate thing to do is to invite you in for some coffee. Hubert seems to have taken a liking to you. I guess he is as grateful as I am,” she smiled. And that is when he noticed her perfection: her smile. It was so big and welcoming and made him feel…whole. Strange. “I would love too,” he said with an all too big grin. “In exchange for your coffee I could help you put away your groceries.” Damien gently patted Hubert on the head. “Good boy,” he said to the dog who barked in acknowledgement. “You don’t have to do that. Once inside I know my way around and Hubert helps me. But, come in and have a seat.” Kennedy said as she dug for her keys and opened the door. Damien smiled brightly as he was thankful that she could not see blood stains on his powder blue top. He followed them inside and shut the door.