BENNETT - Part 2 of the HMB Doggie Series

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Chapter 1

“It’s absolutely perfect,” I smile at the realtor from over my shoulder and I think I see him swallow his tongue just a little.

“Try not to lay on the charm too thick there, Fu,” my best friend Kim whispers in my ear, “You may give the old dude a heart attack.”

I tamper down a smile as I continue to walk around the open floor plan of the little house I know I will inevitably buy. I’m not just trying to butter the old geezer up; it really and truly is perfect for me. A single story bungalow with hardwood floors, huge windows and high ceilings, there’s no way I can’t see myself not living here. And it’s two bedroom, two bath. A little extra room never hurt anyone…I’m envisioning an art studio/office of some kind, complete with a love seat when the realtor’s voice breaks into my reverie.

“The whole house, as you can see, is centered around the living room,” he gurgles out, “The master suite and guest room are just down that little hall to the left.” He’s not telling me anything I don’t already know though. I’ve practically memorized every stat on this house ever since Kim sent it to me last week.

I just recently came into a bit of money, thanks to being mowed down by a guy with too much money in his account and too much beer in his system. Not something I ever wish to experience again and if I could trade this money for never having blinding migraines again I would, but since I’m stuck with the hand I was dealt, I figured I may as well invest in something I want.

I’m moving from the city of San Jose, where I lived in a shit-hole apartment with three other women above a Chinese restaurant and an animal shelter. That combination of odors was enough to give anyone a migraine. Kim just recently moved to the quaint little town of El Granada, about 30 minutes south of San Fransisco and I’ve probably spent more time at her place then my own over the past two months. So when she emailed me this little gem and said it was going for a bargain price, I knew I had to take it. There was just something about it; the white paint and blue trim screams tranquil. The little yard in the back will be perfect for a dog. And the house is on a quiet, dead-end street surrounded by trees. The land surrounding it is protected by something or other and no builders can develop on it, making this my perfect getaway.

I turn to the realtor and plaster on my winning smile. I even go so far as to toss my long sheet of blonde hair over my shoulder. I hear Kim snort. “Really, Mr. Trant. This is perfect for me. The asking price is $565 grand, yes?” I already know that but I figure I’ll make the guy feel useful.

He physically starts tugging at his tie knot, like he can’t breathe and I see a bead of sweat track down his temple. Fu’s Full Charm never fails. “Uh…uh, yes. That is the asking price,” he’s trying to keep his eyes focused on my face but I see them wander every few seconds to my legs, boobs…fingers? Um, weird. “It just came on the market so we need to act fast.”

“Agreed,” I swagger around the living room, letting my ass do all the talking. Kim’s silent laughter is turning her face a shade darker then Mr. Trant’s. “Lets start with the asking price and just go from there?” I make it more of a question, “Maybe we can even come in a little under?” I twirl a lock of hair around my finger and look at Mr. Trant with my best “lets-have-sex-but-not-really” eyes. He drops his briefcase on his foot and doesn’t even flinch.

“I’m on it, Ms. Lacy. Let me work my magic.”

He whips out his cellphone like a wild-west gun-slinger and ambles for the front door, for privacy or fresh air I’m not sure. Once the door closes behind his generous rump Kim all but busts a gut.

“Oh my God, Fu! You are incorrigible!”

I can’t help but laugh with her. “Hey, babe. If you got it, work it.”

“We should really set an age cap for all your wily charms. Anything older then 50 and you have the potential to give someone a massive coronary.” Kim is snort laughing in her most adorable way. She gives me endless amounts of crap for using my girlie charms to get what I want, but the truth is she and I have been playing that card ever since we met in college. Kim is your quintessential Amazonian goddess: 5’11” with long black hair, skin the color of mocha and eyes like emerald diamonds. She’s absolutely arresting. Toss in the perfectly proportioned features and generous curves in all the right places and you have a recipe for instant fender benders, to which I can account three. No joke…the girl literally stops traffic.

And where Kim is all dark curves and mystique, I’m all straight lines and California Girl; blonde, blue-eyed and white as any white girl could be. We are as different as night and day but that hasn’t stopped us from being each others backbone and right-hand-man for over a decade. I think she was more crushed then I was when I had my accident last year. I was in the hospital for four weeks and she didn’t leave my side that whole time. Friends like that don’t just grow on trees.

“So what do you think, Kim? You see me living here?”

“Absolutely,” she nods her head emphatically, “This is a Fu house through and through.”

My real name isn’t Fu, by the way. It’s actually Cindy. Fu is a nickname my parents gave me when I was a kid and for whatever reason it’s stuck with me for 30 years. It suits my personality though: Since I can’t walk down the street without tripping over my own feet and have been know to walk into walls, I’m the apotheosis of Fu-ism.

“I just love this place. Like, it feels safe.” I sigh as I lean against the kitchen counter, taking in what will soon be my new house. “There’s character here, ya know? I bet these walls could tell me some interesting stories.” I don’t know why I say this but it feels true. This is not a new house. It’s certainly not centuries old but you can tell it’s been lived in and that character is just what I’m looking for.

“I know what you mean. That’s why I sent it to you. It has a…quality. Kinda like you,” she adds with a wink.

I run my hand through my hair, imagining all the potential. The motion brings forth an inkling of a headache that I can feel right at the base of my skull. I groan, more in annoyance then pain, and Kim is instantly at my side. “What’s up?” Concern laces her features as she rests a well-manicured hand on my arm.

“It’s amazing the stupid crap I do now that can bring on a headache,” I lean into her, “I can only hope that moving to the coast will maybe help that.”

“If nothing else, Fu, I’ll be here for you,” she kisses my temple and we hear a clatter from the front door. Mr. Trant is staring at us, his phone laying at his feet and a shell-shocked look on his face. I guess when you see two beauties kissing each other and cuddling your mind may go a little haywire.

He stumbles over his tongue and finally manages, “I’m sorry for the intrusion. I spoke with the seller and I was able to finagle her down to $560…what shall I tell her?” He says all this while staring at Kim’s ample breasts and my legs. If he’s combining the two is some weird, pseudo-erotic lesbian porn musing he’s not doing a very good job hiding it.

Dirty old man aside, he’s just done me a solid and I can’t help but give a large “whoop!” Kim and I start doing a happy dance around the kitchen. It does nothing for the headache that is growing rapidly but I just don’t care. I’ll medicate later.

“You tell her YES, Mr. Trant! This house is mine!”

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