Yes. Pretty sure her remembering me falls under the heading of Keep Going. So I do. “That’s what it says on my business card. Both those things, actually.”
“I enjoyed your emceeing.”
I try to rein in a grin. Compliments from cute women are the best thing ever. “I was up there doing my best Michael Buffer impersonation.”
Her brow knits in confusion. “Who’s Michael Buffer?”
“You don’t know Michael Buffer? Like, from boxing? Or MMA?” How could she not know who he is?
“Not a huge fan of watching men beat the crap out of each other.”
“That’s understandable. He’s a fight announcer. That’s literally all he does. Just announces the start and end of a fight. And he’s super famous and super rich for just that. You know ‘Let’s get ready to rumble’?” I say the catchphrase, but don’t perform it. She, on the other hand, dives right in.
“Oh yeah! Let’s get rrreeeeaaaadddyyyy—”
I cut her off, bringing my finger to my lips. “No, wait! Stop. You better not say it out loud. He might hear you.”
She scans the park, left and right, and drops her voice. “Oh, what? Is he like Candyman or something? Is he going to come through a mirror and get me?”
“It’s possible. You can’t be too safe.”
“Thank you so much for the warning. But it’s kind of hard not to say. Don’t you think?”
“True,” I concede. “It’s like ‘I’ll be back’ or ‘No, I am your father,’” I say, imitating Arnold and James Earl Jones in turn.
She laughs. “Those weren’t bad. So come on, let me hear your Michael Buffer . . .”
I’m pretty sure I’d do anything she asked me to. And I’m adhering to the keep going rule I just enacted. “I’ll do it for you, but if he hears me and sues for trademark infringement, you’re paying the fine.”
“Consider it paid. Now proceed.” She crosses her arms and gives me a playful I’m waiting look. I take a deep breath, when my blue-nose bruiser crashes into my knee. I steady myself, since now is not the time to fall, then I mix it up, meeting the brunette’s eyes as I imitate the announcer, saying to my pooch, “Someone is ready to rumble.”
My audience of one gives an approving nod, dips a hand in her back pocket, then pretends to fish out some money from her wallet. “For your fine.”
“Much appreciated.” I mime taking it from her and tucking it into my own pocket before I bend down to give my boy some scratches on the chin. “Hey, big guy. How you doing?”
He pants, then hops over to the teacup dog, gently nuzzles his ear, and flops down on his back. The little dog takes his turn and boxes my guy’s ears.
The 90210 fan joins in with the pack moment, stroking Bowie on the chin, and if I didn’t have a crush on her already, I would now. Women who love dogs are my kryptonite.
“And who is this adorable fellow?” she asks.
“This is David Bowie. He’s super friendly. Got him from the North Central shelter about six years ago. The second he looked up at me with that little streak of white between his eyes and that goofy grin, I was a goner.”
Her fingers graze mine as we pet him, and yep, Bowie is getting all the treats in the world tonight. I take back everything I said about his wingman skills. He’s showing them all and then some right now.
“I’d be a goner too. He’s a doll of a dog, and I love rescue mutts.”
Bowie takes off, glancing behind him like he’s daring the other guy to follow, and the little dog flies. We stand, and her gaze follows the dogs as they race in circles around the park, her expression saying she’s getting a kick out of them getting along.
“Love the name. Are you a Stardust fan?”
“Yeah. I’ve been trying to get him to answer to Ziggy, but so far, no dice.”
“You should try Rebel Rebel,” she says.
“Not a bad idea.” I test it out to no avail and shrug. “Worth a shot. So, who’s the little guy running with the big dogs?”
“That’s Mr. Darcy. We come here every Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon. Sometimes he goes to the small-dog side of the park, but even though he’s seven pounds, he’s convinced he’s a German shepherd. Hence, he insists on the big-dog side.”
“The man knows his mind. Good for him. Honestly, most tiny dogs bark at Bowie like they’ve got something to prove, but your little guy has some serious swagger. Of course, when you oversee the entirety of the Pemberley estate, you have to have some confidence.”
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