"Andrews! My office, now!" The authoritative bark of Captain Dunbury boomed throughout the lobby.
A short stocky woman with coffee-colored skin passed by Jack causing him to turn in her direction as she swept right by him, unstoppable. Before following her back, he signaled a quick gesture over to his K9, Easton, who was laying on the white linoleum, head propped on paws. The dog saw his handler motion for him and he immediately jumped on all fours, now at the ready.
Jack crossed the few feet from his desk all the way to the captain's office, earning him a few side-eye glances from his fellow officers and a quick cool-guy handshake from his close buddy, Officer Enrique Raymond before reaching the familiar solid white double doors. He glanced down to see Easton, loyal as ever, at his side before turning the handle and stepping inside the small room.
Most of the space was being overrun by a large desk and sitting down dead set in the center was no other then the person Jack respected the most, and to be completely honest, even the slightest bit terrified of, Captain Patricia Dunbury.
"You wanted to see me?" Jack asked apprehensively, waiting for the captain's response.
"Yes. Please, shut the door and sit down."
Jack did as he was told. He gestured for Easton to come into the room before shutting the door and taking a seat in one of the two leather chairs sitting across from the captain. He took the chair on the left while his loyal sidekick took the one of the right, jumping up on the smooth surface and sitting down waiting for his next instructions.
The room rang out by the distinct sound of Captain Dunbury clearing her throat. "So...", she began. "...do you know why I called you in here?"
Jack shrugged and thought for a moment. He had never been one to go against the rules and regulations of what was expected of him. He never felt the need to deceive when honesty and integrity was one of the main reasons he wanted to become a cop in the first place. That and besides doing his best to help people and make a difference in his community any way he could. He cared. One could say he had a big heart.
"Jack?" The captain spoke after a few seconds regaining the full attention of the man sitting across the desk.
Jack realized he had zoned out. He still remembered what was asked of him and immediately said the first thing that came to mind. "You wanted to give me some kind of reward?" He joked, catching the gaze of his captain who remained stone-faced, unenthused.
"Not at all." Captain Dunbury stated before opening up the manila folder laying in front of her. Looking down she continued to speak, "I'm actually glad you brought in Easton because this concerns him too."
Jack shot a glance at Easton who in turn looked back, like he understand everything that was being said so far despite him being a dog. "What does Easton have to do with anything?" He said turning his attention back to the Captain.
"You and Easton." Captain Dunbury clarified.
"What about me and Easton?" Jack shrugged, confused.
"That's just it." The Captain said, tone serious. "I fear you and Easton have gotten too close."
"What do you mean?" Jack asked.
"I've had many reports saying how you've been treating Easton how you would any other normal run-of-the-mill mutt." The Captain stated before catching herself and the harsh words, and apologized. "Sorry."
"So what...you're just going to fire Easton because why...he's too friendly?" Jack looked over at Easton and Easton looked back at Jack and then back in front of him, cocking his furry head slightly to the right as he starred at the Captain as she spoke.
"You have to remember that, yes, the handler and the K9 need to know they can trust each other but I fear you're making Easton a little too...domesticated." Captain Dunbury continued causing Jack to entangle his fingers and squeeze his hands together. "I want K9s who will be loyal and know how to take down difficult criminals and you treating them like any ordinary kibble-munching fur thing is not going to work out in the long run."
"It will. Easton is smart. And definitely loyal. He knows how to distinguish between home life and work life and what's appropriate at certain times." Jack tried to reassure but by the stone-cold look on the Captain's face he knew she didn't believe it and wasn't going to anytime soon.
"I wish I could believe that Jack because honestly you're one of my best officers but..." she trailed off, looking down at a piece of paper in front of her. "Long walks around the department?"
The Captain looked up at Jack and he answered, "Dogs have to do their business sometimes."
"Handing out treats?"
"I want to make sure Easton knows he's appreciated for his work." Jack stated.
"Do it on your own time then!" Captain Dunbury spoke sternly causing Jack to look down at his hands.
"Look, Jack..." Captain Dunbury spoke and Jack met her gaze. "I love Easton but the way you have been handling him lately..."
"Yes." Jack interrupted and he couldn't help but roll his eyes.
"...I'm afraid Easton will soon get confused as to what's expected of him."
"He doesn't get confused!" Jack stated a tad bit too harshly. "Sorry."
Jack looked over at the dog, his tan ears stood upright completely in contrast against the rest of his sleek black fur.
"You can go now."
The Captain didn't say another word as Jack stood up and Easton jumped down from the seat and headed for the door.
"Oh and Jack..." The Captain said from behind causing both man and dog to look behind them. "Remember what I said..." Dunbury spoke. "...I'll see you tomorrow but Easton stays home."
Jack nodded and as soon as he was on the other side of the door, Easton right at his side, he breathed a sigh of relief.