Chapter 55: Cheers to Timothy!
Ishaani let the breath enter and leave her lungs, refreshing her mind with nature's goodness. She could not remember when she had felt so satiated after a good sleep, but it didn't matter. All that did was the cold, pleasant breeze hitting her face merrily along with the feeling of being enveloped in a huge bear hug, a paw on her face.
Ishaani suddenly frowned, as she felt something lick her face, some sort of furry hair tickling her features. She waved her hands in the air, trying to shoo it away, before she fell asleep. She had nearly gotten herself fully comfortable in the same warm embrace before she felt something jump over her. She yelped, waking up from her sleep abruptly, dizziness immediately taking over for a few moments.
She looked around stupidly, wondering who it was that had disrupted her blissful sleep, when she looked groggily at Ranveer. He had the same mixture of disorientation and irritation over his face, before it clouded into confusion. Both of them stared at each other for a few moments before they heard a bark. Both of them looked around, sleep still clogging their senses when they saw it.
A snowy, furry Lhasa-Apso was sitting before them, watching the two of them intently, its tongue lapping continuously. Both of stared at the dog in a dazed manner, before it barked again. The bark sapped the sleep out of Ranveer and Ishaani as they stared at the dog, who had now begun to wag its tail. Ranveer slowly forwarded his hand and the dog walked forward, introducing a paw.
Ranveer smiled warmly at the dog and Ishaani chuckled as she did the same. The dog walked up to her and forwarded his paw once again, while Ishaani shook it happily. The dog quickly sprang up onto Ishaani's lap, while the latter ruffled its fur. The dog wagged its tail with much more enthusiasm while Ishaani gave the puppy a smitten look.
"Look at this neffy poo! Isn't he cute?" Ranveer looked at the dog curiously before nodding his head.
"He certainly looks like a dear. But who is he? Where has he come from?" Ishaani scanned the dog carefully before she noticed his collar and the pendant attached.
"Wait, there is something on his collar." Ishaani quickly took out the collar from his neck and read the tag in the center that had a name written over a bone pendant. "It reads ‘Timothy’."
"Alright, so we know that this tyke's name is Timothy." The moment Ranveer uttered ‘Timothy’, the puppy perked his ears up and jumped from Ishaani's lap, quickly going over to Ranveer and staring at him with a friendly look. "Well, we now know that this tyke's name is certainly Timothy. Good." Ishaani smiled gently as the dog looked at her curiously, before she voiced her next question.
"The next question that arises is that where is this neffy poo from?" Ranveer gave the question a brief thought before he looked at the pendant in her hand.
"Is there a cavity in that bone pendant?" Ishaani inspected the pendant closely before nodding her head. She realized that the pendant was like a miniature box and opened the cavity. Inside was a small neatly-folded note that Ishaani smoothed out hastily. The note was a simple contact information:
Belongs to Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Mallory
In case you find this note, please contact 210-935-7742
Ranveer and Ishaani stared at each other before the former got up, flexing his limbs. Ishaani followed suit and Timothy stood by their heels, waiting for them to take the next step. Both of them saw Timothy looking at them eagerly before Ishaani picked him up in her arms. He wriggled slightly before making himself comfortable and Ishaani couldn't help but laugh.
It had barely been 20 minutes with the dog and she had already felt a strong attachment building with it. She looked in Ranveer's direction and saw him staring at the two of them lovingly, and both of them shared a strong look. Ranveer took the lead and began making his way to the house, while Ishaani followed him quietly. Both of them reached the house, when Timothy gave a loud bark.
Martin and Claudine came out hurriedly from the dining room, a worried expression on their faces that almost instantly wore off at the sight of Ranveer and Ishaani. Claudine looked at them annoyed before her eyes fell over Timothy.
"Where have the two of you... why, who is this cute little angel over here?" Ishaani stroked Timothy's head lovingly, while Ranveer spoke fondly.
"We found him in the garden. Or rather, he found us." Claudine and Martin both stared at the puppy tenderly before the former put her hands on her hips, her expression close to a frown.
"Which brings me back to the point of discussion. Where were the two of you?" Ishaani gave Claudine an apologetic look, as she handed over the puppy to Martin.
"In the garden. We, uh, slept outside." Claudine nodded her head, her expressions relaxing, while Martin asked curiously.
"What's his name?" Ranveer smiled at the doting note in Martin's voice before he replied warmly.
"It's Timothy." Martin and Claudine played with Timothy for a few minutes before Ishaani spoke worriedly. "We need to inform his owners that we've found him." Claudine looked at Timothy keenly and Ishaani noticed that the former had made the same connection with the dog like she herself had done so. Both the women shared a look with each other, while Martin queried further.
"Is there any contact information on him?" Ranveer motioned his head in an affirmative bow.
"Yes, we found a landline number." Claudine looked up towards Ranveer and Ishaani before speaking softly.
"Alright. Give them a call. Meanwhile, I'll have one of the helpers give this fellow a shower. He looks downtrodden if you ask me." Ranveer and Ishaani nodded their heads as Claudine took the puppy in her arms, while Martin ruffled its fur. They took the dog and headed towards the servant's quarters to call for a helper, while Ranveer and Ishaani headed towards their room to freshen up.
Half an hour later, Ranveer, Ishaani, Martin and Claudine sat in the living room, each occupying their favourite seats, while Timothy sat on a cushion over the floor. Now that he was well-groomed, he looked much more homely and well-kept, even though Timothy looked slightly disgruntled at being exposed to so much water at once. Ishaani picked up the landline receiver and dialed the number on the note, while everyone eyed her with interest. The moment the call went through, the voice message played, before Ishaani spoke confidently.
"Mr. and Mrs. Mallory, this is Ishaani Vaghela speaking. My husband and I found your dog in our garden this morning, along with the note in his collar. Do please give me a call whenever you get this message." The phone beeped and someone picked up the phone from the opposite end. Ishaani gave a half-nod before she put the phone on speaker.
"Mrs. Vaghela, its Mrs. Mallory here." Ishaani sighed, before putting on a courteous tone.
"Hello, Mrs. Mallory. I hope you're doing alright."
"Yes, I'm doing alright, thank you. I hope you are doing fine, Ishaani, if I can call you by your name?" Ishaani smiled, before replying politely.
"Oh no, its fine, Mrs. Mallory." Even though Mrs. Mallory seemed friendly enough, Ishaani couldn't shed aside the feeling that things weren't as they seemed.
"Bella will do." Ishaani rolled her eyes and Timothy gave a loud bark as the voice of his mistress excited him. Claudine smiled at the enthusiasm that Timothy showed at the voice of Bella, while Martin and Ranveer gave the puppy fine looks.
"Yes, Bella. So as I was saying, we found little Timothy in our garden this morning. You must be worried sick about him." There was a pregnant silence on the phone before Bella gave a monosyllabic reply.
"Uhh..." Ishaani could hear the reluctance in Bella's tone before she questioned curiously, the feeling of something being off getting stronger with the passing moments.
"He is your dog now, isn't he?" Timothy barked louder and hopped over the sofa, trying to paw Ishaani to give him the phone. Ranveer quickly caught hold of the over-enthusiastic puppy, while Ishaani waited for a reply impatiently, that came after a prolonged time.
"Yes, he is our dog." Taking a deep breath, she rushed with her speech. "Actually we left him off some days ago. You see, we are moving over to Shanghai in the next few days and we couldn't have Timothy along with us. So we had to leave him." Ishaani's eyebrows contracted with confusion, as she questioned testily.
"Leave him? Where exactly did you leave him?" Another heavy silence over the whole, and Ishaani could smell a lot of guilt and foul play in the air. After what seemed like an eternity, Bella replied, her voice now barely audible.
"Somewhere between the, uh, Athens-Vari highway." Ishaani was robbed of her speech as she suddenly felt herself drown and froth in a rage that she had never known. Ranveer sensed it too, for he now took over the conversation, setting Timothy over the floor while Claudine rushed to sit beside her, holding her hand tightly, afraid that Ishaani would explode any moment. Ranveer quickly spoke into the cord line, hoping that the mistress of the dog didn't misinterpret the situation.
"Mrs. Mallory, this is Mr. Vagela here. Sorry, my wife had to leave urgently." Ranveer could have sworn that he heard the woman give a distinctive sigh of relief as she replied only too happily.
"Uh... it's alright." Ranveer scowled over the line, as Martin caught Timothy in his arms securely, who was making another dash for the phone, his barks at a peak.
"So, what do you want us to do now?" This time, Bella spoke immediately.
"Look, I am really happy that Timmy found you and your wife. Honestly, the two of you seem like lovable people. But as much as I appreciate it, we cannot take him back. It took us a lot of effort to get rid of him in the first place." Ishaani and Claudine both fumed over her statement of 'getting rid of him', but Martin signaled them to remain silent. Suddenly, Timothy's barks stopped abruptly, and he slowly settled himself over the couch once again that only fueled both the women's anger against the cold Mrs. Mallory. Ranveer looked at the dog's dispirit and spoke quickly.
"But, uh, given that you don't need Timothy, is it alright if we keep him?" Four sets of eyes stared at him intently and he felt slightly uncomfortable, before Mrs. Mallory spoke hurriedly.
"Yes, Mr. Vaghela, I think it would be wonderful if you did so. And I'm so sorry to cut the conversation short, but I have to make a dash for work now. It's my last day, you see." Ranveer nodded his head, before speaking politely.
"Thank you so much, and goodbye, Mrs. Mallory." Ranveer disconnected the line quickly, his face steadily contracting into an outraged look. Ishaani looked at him once, the few controversial statements getting the better of her, before she exploded violently.
"HOW DARE SHE! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS! SHE PRACTICALLY LEFT THE DOG TO DIE!" Martin and Ranveer both cowered under the murderous look that Ishaani had over her face while Timothy quickly scampered and hid under the sofa, afraid of the sudden outburst. Claudine had a similar look of anger on her face before she spoke vehemently.
"I can't believe how heartless people can be these days!" Ranveer and Martin both looked at each other in question, before they made communication through their eyes, mutually deciding to concentrate on the heartbroken and abandoned dog rather than over their ballistic wives, who were beyond their control at the moment. Both of them bent below the sofa to see Timothy quivering inside.
Ranveer slowly reached out for the dog, who refused to leave its hiding place, before Martin managed to bring it out. Martin held him in his arms and rubbed the dog's back soothingly before speaking to Claudine and Ishaani reproachfully.
"As much as your anger is justified, please mes cheries, no yelling so loudly. The poor mite is afraid of such loud noises." Ishaani and Claudine looked at the dog guiltily before they apologized.
"We are sorry, sweetheart. It's just... fate has been so cruel to you now, hasn't it? Being abandoned by the people you love." Ranveer smiled at Timothy, before speaking softly.
"Well, he found the right house now, hasn't he? We have all been abandoned by the world at some point of time or the other. I and Martin were social outcasts because of our status. Ishaani was a social outcast because the world tagged her illegitimate. Claud, you were an outcast to the world and your profession in particular because of your theory papers on memory repression that the world considered impossible, before it was proved otherwise and the world accepted you back, with awards and accolades. So well, it was obvious that Timothy here would have a newfound connection with us." Ishaani stared at the dog devotedly.
"From now on, we are your family, Timmy. And we will always love you and care for you like our own. Yes, you will certainly miss your old family, but we will make sure to give you as much happiness as we can." Timmy looked at Ishaani with wide-eyes, before he slowly jumped over the couch once again and licked her hand lovingly. Ishaani smiled, and Martin, Claudine and Ranveer made similar declarations to him, with Timmy walked up to them and giving them a sniff and a lick happily, the dog's happy spirits returning from before.
All the four of them stared at Timothy with a love that they had never known before, while Timothy gave a loud, booming bark. Claudine looked at all of them staring at the puppy’s antics with a new interest, before speaking aloud.
"Cheers to us." Ishaani looked at Claudine and smiled, as she continued.
"Cheers to the newest member of our family. Cheers to Timothy!"