Clara’s heart pounded as she was drawn closer into his embrace. With his head tilted at the perfect angle, he leaned in closer to her lips. She thought she would surely faint from the pounding of her heart, and inability to breath properly. As her mysterious suitor leaned in to kiss her, a sloppy wet tongue licked her on the nose.
Her dream evaporated in a shower of wet kisses as Sparky covered her face with his slobbers. There was no use in trying to finish the wonderful dream. Sparky was ready for his morning jog.
“Oh, if only you had waited just one more minute, you awful spoilsport!” She mockingly scolded her boxer as she went to the bathroom and soaked a washcloth to clean her face. Then in dreamy tones she added “I might have actually seen his face this time.”
By this time Sparky was bouncing up in the air and twisting around in excitement. He knew it was only a matter of minutes until he could go running.
“Morning Mom, Morning Dad!”
“Good morning, honey,” her parents chimed in as she hurriedly made her way to the door munching a granola bar.
Propping one foot at a time on the third step of the staircase, she tied her running shoes. All the while Sparky stood excitedly, shifting his weight from foot to foot in his enthusiasm.
“All right boy, I’m going as fast as I can!”
Sparky’s eyes twinkled in his excitement. He was a large boxer and heavily muscled. His coat was brindle in color, with four white socks and a bold white patch on his chest.
Outside on the front steps, Clara finished up her final stretch before she and Sparky took off on their morning jog. He matched her stride perfectly as they made their way toward the city’s park and it’s running paths a few blocks from her home.
About ten minutes into their run, Clara felt loose and relaxed. She knew it was time to kick it up a notch and increase her speed.
“Okay buddy-boy, my endorphins are starting to kick in. Are your ready to roll?”
Sparky read her perfectly and increased his pace. She was sure he loved the rush of working his body hard, just as she did. She filled her lungs with the sweet morning air, embracing the beauty that surrounded her as they made their way along the path before them.
Another jogger was running along an adjacent path, but Clara didn’t pay much attention. Every morning it seemed they would meet along this stretch of the paths. They would run along side each other for a short distance before the path he was on took a turn down the hill.
Sparky on the other hand, always paid close attention to their fellow jogger, and chose this morning to do something about it. Without warning, he lunged toward the other jogger’s path, taking Clara by surprise. Sparky’s muscles bulged from the effort he was making to reach the other jogger. Panting and straining, he continued to pull the unwilling Clara down an embankment toward the unsuspecting target.
Sparky lunged in front of the man and then ran around to Clara. His leash wrapped around both Clara and the unsuspecting jogger, causing them to tumble headlong into the soft grass beside the trail. Once the couple fell down, Sparky calmly sat down to watch them.
Looking up, Clara found herself staring into startled deep green eyes of the man who had landed on top of her. His black hair was unruly with a lock falling rakishly across his forehead. A ruggedly handsome face outlined a wide smile revealing even white teeth. His muscular body moved with the ease of a panther as he rolled to his feet and extended his hand out to Clara.
“Ummmm…… thank you. I’m, ahh….. I’m sorry about Sparky. I just don’t know what got into him. He‘s never taken off after someone like that before. I, oh… I’m so sorry, where are my manners? My name is Clara.”
“Hi Clara, I’m Todd.” His voice was deep, and sent a shiver up Clara’s spine. “I noticed you jogging here before, and I was hoping some day I would get to meet you.” He paused for a moment, then with a soft laugh said; “ I just never dreamed it would happen like this.”
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