What was Hattie up to? Alfie was a little suspicious. After all, nobody wanted to be out here in the mud and the cold. Especially, with Izzy, but him.
Izzy had mud all over her now, and he wasn't much better. In fact, he was thinking of going home. He definitely wasn't taking Izzy inside.
Nobody said how much work Izzy would be, but she was worth it. Honestly, he hadn't had this kind of fun with anyone but this mut..in a long time.
OK, so there was that one time he messed around on the piano with Liza. It was kind of intimidating. He played by ear. She definitely didn't. Yet, it made him smile, playing Heart and Soul with her. Except..it was just a song. And he could keep up with her.
Hattie petted Izzy as if they were old friends. She talked to her as if it might give him some time and space to say something to Liza. Instead, he just looked at Liza in her ankle length, dark paisley dress. She was wearing burgundy winter stockings and flat ankle boots. She hugged up in her itchy grey sweater. It was easy to see she wanted to go back in.
He watched as her curls slipped from the wind that were pulled back in a ponytail. She didn't look like she needed to be cheered up. Neither did he.
"So, how's winter treating you?" He decided to ask because maybe if he asked her for a ride, he wouldn't have to stick around and listen all this happiness going on. Like talk about Hattie and Timo's baby. Or a wedding or..well, somebody's baby. It would be a long night he'd rather not endure.
"I had bronchitis over Christmas." An ailment she caught from one of her students. She talked about more ailments. Stomach flu, just last week.
Alfie was getting nausea just listening to her. Yet, he felt a little sad for her. He bet she was alone. No one to check up on her, nor to bring her soup and favorite magazines. He imagined what she might like. He bet she liked broccoli and cheese soup. Maybe she liked Mother Earth News. He didn't take her to be up on fashion nor Martha Stewart. Yet maybe REAL SIMPLE was more her magazine.
"Look, I rode over here with Gavin," Alfie said. Of course, Gavin wasn't back with his pickup truck yet. "I need to wash Izzy off and feed her on time, or she'll...she'll be giving everyone the sad eye, hoping they'll feed her. Could you? Could take us home?" He winced thinking that was kind of a cop out. He guessed. "I could get us something to eat, at this little place on the way. My treat. But it might be best to get Izzy settled in first."
"I guess so." She shrugged. She looked as if she might be pleasantly surprised, but he thought it was more of her generosity on autopilot. Because, after all, Liza was a very nice person.
He commanded Izzy to come and told Hattie that Liza was taking them home. She waved to them. He then had to ask Randi if he could wash Izzy off. This meant he needed a few old towels to dry her off. It felt like an hour ordeal, but it only took ten minutes. Then he felt bad leaving the messy towels behind, but she said it was OK. So they loaded up in Liza's little compact car. Izzy made herself at home on the backseat of the Grey FIT.
"I really should get me a car." But he liked driving his scooter most days. Well, not in the dead of winter. It was still a pretty cold ride to Paul's. But then he had a car at Paul's to use for everything else, Paul's mother would not let her child suffer in the elements.
Alfie had kept it during the cold parts of winter. He wished there was a way it was his. It was a Neon Green KIA Soul and it was perfect. Sometimes, it did feel like it was his car.
He looked back at Izzy. Alfie knew Izzy would like it a lot, if he got a car.