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 Good Dog, Madd City

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CaR_HoPPeR
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PostSubject: Good Dog, Madd City   18.12.15 19:24

"...Heavy downpour coming through the weekends again, but at least we could splash on some great puddles right? More on tonight at the six o'clock news..."

That line kept repeating in Melanie's head as she trudged through the Los Angeles ghettos and the accompanying storm. The wind ceaselessly pummels the palm trees and foliage, a stern reminder of her situation. The heavy incoming rain never seem to cease as her dog Tito hopelessly coughs and shivers. It's been raining too long just for a dry place like California. At least she doesn't have to see the patrons of the neighborhood slinging crack around the corners now.

She took her turn to cough too, arranging back her slings of her hiking bags and readjusting her tattered raincoat. It had been miles walking without actual rest, especially with the rain getting worse. She appears to have not slept for weeks and had become caught in the toils of surviving in abandoned buildings and sleeping in coach buses with her mutt. Her dog appears downtrodden as splotches of missing fur are prevalent on his body and his muzzle appears to be consistently bruised though even with his current posture had represented a burly figure in the past. Melanie and Tito has been doing this for years, the lack of a residence being a prevalent problem for her lack of financial stability.

Melanie looked up at the dreary sky, the drops hitting her face hard.

"Ay ay ay, why is it even raining in Los Angeles?" She muttered to herself as Tito agrees with his shivering.

"I know Tito, I promise we'll find a dry place to rest." She looked down at Tito and tried to smile to her dog. However even the dog knew that was a false promise as he shivered in place.

They kept walking until they were out of the ghetto and crossed the avenue, not minding the rampant traffic going through as the heavy rain and ringing horns kept pelting both of them out of frustration. The drenched woman and dog looked up at the equally drenched apartment complex, spotting the almost warm lobby with an receptionist answering the phone.

They then looked at each other, Melanie petting the dog's nappy head.

"Better than staying out here right Tito?" She meekly smiled as she lead her dog to the lobby.


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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   19.12.15 20:41

“Dammit.”

Brian scowled as he stepped outside the bar, fiddling with his umbrella momentarily before opening it with a click. He held it over his head and walked out into the rain, turning left at the corner and quickly making his way back home. He kept his head lowered to avoid getting any rain in his face, and side-stepped any puddles he came across.

It had been an incredibly long day. For some reason, it seemed to be the perfect day for the crazies to come out and harass anyone they could find. Brian had served several of them throughout the day, and it seemed each one became increasingly hostile. It was stressful, and it all seemed to culminate in an attempted robbery that was eventually decided against at the last possible moment. Brian could still feel that panic as he noticed the man standing in line, a barely-concealed gun in his jacket, as he forced himself to remain calm and collected. The next chance he had to phone the authorities came, but he noticed the man was increasingly uncomfortable and fidgety, and eventually left the branch.

Brian shivered at the memory, in addition to the dampness of the air, and trudged on. The rain pelted harder for a few moments, and he briefly wondered if his umbrella would last. It had rained heavily for the past few days and it didn’t seem to be letting up. Quickening his pace, Brian hurried towards the apartment complex, craving a hot drink and a warm blanket.

A strong gust of wind almost blew him over, and his umbrella completely inverted, soaking him through. He cried out in frustration before running the rest of the way and slamming into the door, flinging it wide open. He stepped through the threshold and shook his umbrella to get off the excess water before fixing it. He wasn’t pleased, and stomped through the lobby in a huff. He paused then, when he saw a scruffy-looking woman and her equally scruffy-looking dog seated in one of the large chairs. His brow furrowed in confusion, having never seen them before. They certainly didn’t live here.

Taking a step toward the duo, he stood there awkwardly for a few moments before clearing his throat.

“Um, do you need help, Ma’am?”


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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   19.12.15 22:36

Melanie looked at him with conditioned furrowing brows from her drenched chair, the dog still shivering as his head laid on his owner's lap. The receptionist was still rather cross with her bringing a "stray mutt" to the lobby and even worse made most of the carpet wet from her entrance and her equally wet bags. She bought her dog's head closer to her as if Brian might do something to Tito.

"Are... you asking me?" She glanced at Brian carefully, her latin accent lightly touching her English. Even the receptionist began to look at Brian, awaiting his answer.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   19.12.15 23:30

Brian noticed her discomfort and glanced at the receptionist, Janet, and saw her clear look of disdain. He looked back at the woman and her dog, and took a second to really look them over. The woman definitely looked like she had seen better days; she looked dead on her feet and in need of something to eat, and a shower. The dog needed a bath and some food, and Brian noticed the missing fur and its sad demeanor. He felt bad for them; who knew their situation. 

"Well...I'm not asking anyone else," he began, glancing around the empty lobby. He paused for a moment before taking another step forward before adding, "And...it looks like you need some assistance. I suppose asking sounded foolish." 

He turned back to Janet and put his hands in his pockets. He asked, "Our policy on pets is still the same, yes?"

At her curt nod he turned back to the disheveled woman and gestured to her dog. 

"Your dog is allowed in here. Don't worry about that."




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 0:10

Melanie began to grimace as she took off her hood and wiped her face with a soggy hand. The hood appears to not cover the back of her head well enough, her nappy misshapen bun with strands of hair helplessly flayed around her hair.

"Sure the dog is allowed here, but after that I'm supposed to leave to the rain again when I'm done treating him?" She interrogated Brian as she turned her whole body to face him, her eyes been persistently sharp before she met him.

"While I respect such policies, I'm not a resident here so I don't think I apply whatsoever."

She looked at him with those tired yet persistent eyes, her face wet and filled with stains. Her grimace came from practice, as if to represent her defiance of anything especially her situations. The dog began weakly nipping on her coat, as if he was saying to Melanie to accept Brian's offer.

The drops dripped from both the woman and dog's bodies from the chair to the wet carpet, as if to punctuate the silence even further.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 2:06

Brian's eyes widened at her response. He supposed he should have expected such; maybe she was a proud woman who didn't appreciate handouts. She looked rough, and who knew how long she had been on her own. A part of Brian was wary of even talking to her, but he truly felt bad. It didn't help that she had a pet with her; a pet she obviously cared about.

"Look, I didn't want to upset you or anything," he started, rubbing the back of his neck. He sighed and tilted his head to the side as he thought about the situation.

He thought about just giving her money and sending her on her way, but he really didn't have much to spare at the moment, and he never knew if she was going to spend it on smokes or alcohol. Then again, who was he to judge without even knowing her?

"Perhaps..." he trailed off for a moment. Finally, he decided to ask, "You have nowhere else to go? If that is the case, then I'm sure I could do something for you. I have some leftovers if you need to eat, or..." Brian trailed off, feeling awkward again.




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 11:21

Melanie grew almost frustrated at Brian's hesitation that her impatience was apparent in her face. She bit her lip in her frustration and stood up. Even with the tattered raincoat her figure looked heavily built even with her continual malnutrition and her skin was marred by recent scars and wounds from her past military service.

While she was only a inch shorter than Brian, her posture still possessed a proud demeanor as she walked to the man and stopped an inch away from his face. The dog laid on the carpet now, his shivering now reducing to inconsistent coughs. She put her strong hand onto his shoulder and had this almost blank expression of disbelief.

"… If you're gonna lend people help, at least don't tell them they can have your leftovers guero..." She doted to Brian, shaking her head as if she was scolding her hypothetical children.

"... And do speak up guero. as much as you think you want to help me you wouldn't be this indecisive, at least the receptionist was direct enough to be disgusted by me and my mutt here."

She almost wanted to laugh at this situation, not to particularly mock him but never in her travels has she seen someone to have the guts to help her and seem so pathetic at the same time.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 12:32

Brian swallowed nervously. He hadn't realized how strong she looked, and he did not doubt that she could pulverize him with minimal effort. Admittedly, some of that nervousness was pushed aside when she called him out on his hesitancy, and he felt an odd mix of shame and irritation. 

It was irrational to feel that way, he knew, but he couldn't help it. A knee-jerk reaction would be to just spit in her face, saying, "Beggars can't be choosers, now, can they?" But he didn't know her situation, and for all he knew this woman could have been through Hell and back. She had a dog with her, so she at least cared about something.

He blinked a few times in confusion. Guero? What was that? Based solely on her tone, it couldn't have meant anything truly pleasant. However, Brian decided that it wasn't worth questioning, not really.

He squared his shoulders then, not wanting to back down.

"I'm not disgusted by you, if that's what you're implying," he stated, his voice soft from his slight discomfort. He paused again, thinking for a moment before making his decision. 

"Come up to my apartment and we'll see what I can do for you. I'd...feel bad if you just left here only to go back into the rain. You can't exactly stay in the lobby forever."




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed


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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 13:08

Melanie looked surprised. She almost felt bad treating Brian that way. She put her hand away from his shoulder and her dog came by her side.

"No, I can't. I just need my dog to dry out a bit until this rain subsides." She simpered. She didn't want to keep her guard down in case she's about to be bound for trouble. But the man appears normal and was almost appeared naive to keep persisting to help her.

"If anything becomes a nuisance from me, I can leave after I take care of my dog. Would that be fine by you?" She inquired, moving away from Brian and getting her bags. Melanie was always too proud to ask for help. But with her dog's health at stake, Tito came first before her pride.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 13:51

Brian raised an eyebrow at her. Despite her circumstances, she was downplaying the kind of help she needed. Must have been a pride thing, he surmised. Before he responded, he turned back to the receptionist who looked to be politely ignoring, but really eavesdropping on, their conversation. Deciding that the snooty woman wasn't worth a second glance, and that what she thought didn't matter, he walked over to the woman and looked at her dog.

He sat on his heels and looked at the scruffy thing, and his nose wrinkled slightly from the wet dog smell. The state of the dog was more apparent now that he got a closer look, and he knew that the most likely homeless pair had been through some really rough patches.

"Not to assume anything, but I think your dog needs more than a bit of drying off," Brian commented, looking up at her. He stood up a moment later, straightened his damp jacket, and started walking towards the elevators. He pressed the button and waited for the doors to open.

"Are you coming?" he called out, shoving his hands into his pockets. He honestly hoped that the woman would take him up on his offer. It wouldn't hurt. And no matter what, he refused to believe that she would harm him unnecessarily. It was naive, and could end badly, but he had a feeling it would be alright.




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 14:56

Melanie grew silent and bought her bags with her, making clicking noises for Tito to follow. She followed Brian, her stubborn expression still persistent. She had no where else to go other back to the rain and she really needed to get Tito clean up so she can check him for any parasites or infections.

She'll trust Brian for now, not trying to take advantage of her situation. Many days out on the road made Melanie paranoid and extremely cautious of any assistance. This man's naivety was possibly for her dog than anything else, but Melanie wasn't too stubborn that Brian had pity on her as well.

She began to frown and grew more silent as her dog panted loudly for the elevator.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 15:32

The ding of the elevator was heard, and Brian stepped inside. When all three of them were in, he pressed the 7 button and saw the receptionist glaring at him from her desk just as the doors slid closed. He rolled his eyes, but otherwise didn't care.

It was a quick trip up, and when they arrived he led her down the hallway, fiddling with his keys the entire way.

"Alright, well, home sweet home," Brian announced as he unlocked the door and stepped inside. It wasn't an impressive apartment by any means; it was sparsely furnished, though the few items of note inside the small residence were of higher quality than most would have on a low budget. Brian threw his keys into a small key dish on a small table beside the couch and walked into the kitchenette, immediately pouring a glass of water.

"Here," he offered, handing over the glass. "You can sit down if you want." Brian did so himself and relaxed onto the small, yet comfortable couch, laying an arm on the cushions and crossing his legs.

"My name is Brian, by the way. I realize we never actually exchanged names."




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 18:46

Melanie took the glass of water from Brian and thanked him with a nod. She crouched down to her dog with the glass as he laps up the water quickly. As she was waiting for the dog to finish, she stood up and gave Brian the empty glass.

"The name's Melanie. At that situation I don't think exchanging names was a prerequisite nor was it necessary... After all I'm just another squatter in LA." She replied plainly.

"Besides, where is your bathroom?" She asked with a hint of politeness, taking off her bags and coat.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 21:48

Brian watched Melanie and her dog as she let him drink from the glass. He was almost transfixed, and was moved by how kindly she treated her pet. It made Brian wonder what having a pet was like, and if it really was about companionship like others had said.

He took the empty glass back when she was finished, and rolled it in his hands a few times.

"A squatter, eh? Well, I guess you could tell me a bit about that if you'd like," Brian said. Then he pointed around a corner close to his bedroom and answered her question. "Bathroom's right there. Can't miss it."

When Melanie left, Brian stood up slowly and went back into the kitchen. For a few moments, he contemplated what he should do. One glance at the burly, yet thin dog sitting patiently on the ground was enough of an answer for him. He opened his fridge and started rummaging around for something to eat. He took out a container of pasta, some home made tomato sauce, and half of a cooked, whole chicken. Placing the pasta and sauce on the counter, he opened the container with the chicken and ripped off some of the meat, putting it on a plate and squatting down to place it on the ground in front of the dog.

"I know it isn't that fancy dog food one can buy, but it's all I've got right now so hopefully it isn't too bad," Brian muttered, watching the dog. He stood up a moment later and made a plate for his impromptu house guest, waiting for her to come back.




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed


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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   20.12.15 23:19

Melanie nodded again as she walked to the bathroom and before closing the door,

"Please, Tito's not picky. If anything I'm the picky one." She commented as Tito already eviscerated the piece of chicken. He was on his all fours, awaiting another piece as he stared at Brian.


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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   21.12.15 16:50

Brian glanced up at Melanie when she spoke, but opted to say nothing. He simply nodded in turn. He went back to fixing a couple of plates, one for himself and one for Melanie, and looked down at the dog, Tito. She was right; that chicken was gone. Brian couldn't help but smirk a little.

"I guess you were hungry, then," he said. Noting that he still had some chicken left, he put the rest of it on the plate in front of Tito and watched the dog eat that as well.

Looking into a cupboard for a bowl, he grabbed one and filled it with water before placing that on the ground as well. Then he Brian took the plates and heated them in the microwave. 

As he watched the food spin around on the glass plate, he thought about how his day had changed so drastically. He went from anxious to panicked to awkward to finally feeling some strange mix of accomplishment and embarrassment. It wasn't everyday someone took in a homeless person and their dog and fed them. Brian supposed that things could be worse, but he honestly didn't mind Melanie and Tito. Maybe today wasn't so bad.




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed


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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   21.12.15 17:38

Brian could hear the bathroom churning with busy water, Apparently Melanie was already taking a shower to rid away the months of filth she had.

After his slaughter of his meal had already finished, Tito topped his meal off by lapping up most of the water bowl and began to pace to the bathroom door. He laid himself comfortably on the floor and panted heavily at the door, his fur still nappy from the rain. While his appearance looks shoddy and downtrodden, his pitbull-like traits are prevalent with his strong legs, beady eyes and a powerful snout.

The dog begins to yawn as he waits for his owner, unusually silent and laid his head on his paws.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   21.12.15 18:35

Brian's ears perked up when he heard the shower running. Well, if she needed one, he wasn't going to stop her. He looked at the two, now-warm plates of food in his hands and shrugged, placing them on the table along with a knife and fork for each place-setting. He poured two glasses of water and then sat down in front of one plate, drumming his fingers on the table. 

He sighed and sat back in the chair, waiting for Melanie to finish.




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   21.12.15 19:33

The bathroom door opened a few minutes after Brian sat to his chair, steam being letting out from a warm shower. Tito perked up to the sound first and began to walk to the table where Brian is as her owner accompanied her dog.

She picked her ear for any loose water and stood near the table. She had frazzled wet hair that wasn't from the rain and was wearing her old dirty tank top and fatigues.

"Sorry for commandeering your shower Brian, But it's been approximately five and a half months of actually having clean water on my skin..." She frowned at the warm food and pulled her hair with her rubber band to create her old yet messy bun again.

She looked almost disappointed to Brian. She didn't expect this hand of hospitality to go this far. Melanie felt almost uncomfortable to be treated more equally than she was in the streets. Sure, she had a home once, but it was when systems were in check and nuclear fire wasn't so close to burn everything...

She looked hesitant now as she studied the food. It wasn't anything special and even then shelter food was worse than this. Melanie looked at her dog for any confirmation, his happy panting an indication of nothing suspicious. After all, this Brian person actually fed her dog a bit as well. His naivety was more or less welcoming yet it made Melanie's nerves jumped slightly.

"... So are you expecting me to stay here or something? I was just gonna go clean up myself then Tito here and be on my way." Her look turned serious, as if she was detaining Brian for information.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   23.12.15 21:47

Brian turned in his seat and watched Melanie walk towards him. He started to eat then, twirling some pasta onto his fork and taking a large bite.

He then shrugged and said, "It's fine. It would have been nice if you asked, but it's fine."

Taking a few more bites of his meal, Brian took note of Melanie's expression. He supposed it was an odd occurrence for a complete stranger to take someone in, especially someone who was homeless, but it didn't faze him. If he didn't help her and Tito, who would? Homeless shelters were always at capacity, and Brian figured it would be difficult for her to get any help.

He mulled over her question then, unsure what to say. If she was going to do anything to him, she would surely already have done so. He wasn't exactly sure if he wanted her to stay, but she had nowhere else. He glanced down at Tito sitting patiently by the table, his tail wagging a little. He couldn't help the small smile that formed.

"Well..." Brian started, stirring the remainder of his food around, "I thought you didn't have anywhere else to go. I don't know what your plans are, but I do have a couch..."




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   24.12.15 4:10

"Oh great, you have a couch. Fantastic." Melanie rolled her eyes, walking to the table and began scratching Tito's ears.

"Tito is not a puppy, nor am I. So do not treat me like one guero." She sighed. "Even though I like to thank your generosity, I rather not overstay my welcome." She began to simper again.

"... Besides I was just gonna clean up Tito here and be on my way. Again I thank you for helping my dog have some scraps, especially serving dinner for me and even give me permission to sleep on your couch."

She almost smiled at the meal then to Brian, but turned stern again. She still stood there defiantly to Brian. Melanie didn't particularly know why she's doing this to the man. Perhaps with all of the scrounging, abuse, and cynicism has gotten into her deep within those three years. Especially most of those years enduring and treating her dog rather than taking care of herself.

The dog appears oblivious to his owner's attitude, poking with his nose on the back of her weathered brutish hand. Tito was becoming impatient and was staring patiently at the plate of pasta.

"So I have to inquire something of your interest really... Why exactly are you doing this?" She asked kindly for the first time, her face softened a bit for a moment. But it was a fleeting moment regardless.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   24.12.15 23:12

There was that word again. Guero. Brian's eye twitched at Melanie's tone, though he took a breath and looked down at his mostly empty plate.

He opened his mouth to respond, the promptly shut it. He knew why he took in Melanie and Tito, despite common sense telling him otherwise. It felt like it was something he needed to do, and he couldn't help seeing a scruffy woman and her equally-scruffy dog, dripping from the rain, and wanting to help.

He looked up and stared straight at Melanie, not intimidated by her size or stern expression, which curiously looked a little softer than what he had already seen. Brian decided to be honest.

"I wanted to help you. It's as simple as that."




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   26.12.15 0:18

The woman’s face began to recede from her stern look to a face of exhausted defeat. She began to slowly grimace at his response and felt something she hadn't felt for years. The vulnerability she had resisted for so long began to rise slowly, the feelings of regret and guilt creeped on her slowly but surely like venom. She almost wanted to hate him. Maybe with all of her feelings she’s been bottling up, almost consuming her being.

Melanie open her mouth and shut it promptly from Brian's remark. Her mind fully jammed and had no ammunition to shoot at him now. How does such a simple phrase already crumbled her? What is she, a teenager? She began boiling in her mind and wanted to interject her frustration to this naive man, as if Melanie was gonna scream to the heavens.

Of course, she wouldn't do that. She wouldn’t even admit anything in her insecurity. Melanie didn't survive what she's been living through all her life to feel such emotion over a man who gave her and her dog a simple handout. It might have been the gesture that got her. Regardless she was resisting to break like she’s done outside in the rain and even here in Brian’s apartment.

Tito whined about the pasta, which Melanie automatically got the plate and put it on the floor. The dog loudly ate the pasta as his owner took a seat with Brian. She rubbed across her wet hair and sighed. She looked at Brian with a smile. A smile that has never seen the light of day until now.

“Maybe I’m trying too hard to find answers.” She chuckled warmly to herself, putting her hand to her forehead in exasperation as she leaned in her chair.
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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   26.12.15 0:36

Brian tensed slightly, observing Melanie closely but ultimately unsure how she would react to his truth. He wasn't about to lie to her, he had no reason to, but from what he gathered, Melanie was a proud woman who despised appearing weak. He supposed that this day had shown her that being weak and accepting help when needed weren't synonymous, and that, perhaps, there were still good people in this world.

He scoffed at himself at the thought. He didn't particularly feel like a good person, and some of the things Miguel had said...

Brian shook his head. This wasn't about him right now. His dark gaze returned to Melanie, and he tracked her every move as she put her plate on the floor for Tito and then sat back down.

At the woman's latest statement, he was ready to respond in the affirmative, but he thought about what she said. He suspected that there was something beneath her words, something that wasn't just the here and now. She had a history, a past that maybe she wasn't able to confront just yet. It really piqued his curiosity, and Brian felt the need to ask. However, he refrained. It wasn't his business, and offering this woman a place to stay considering her shitty situation did not grant him access to her private thoughts, feelings, and her past. Instead, he would stick with honesty.

"Maybe you are," he said in his usually soft voice, staring at the table. "Just know that I'm not trying to trick you. I'm being honest and open."




I don't care about what happens to you // But maybe I need you

I will destroy you, if it is the last thing I do // You've worked too hard to have your happiness destroyed


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PostSubject: Re: Good Dog, Madd City   26.12.15 0:50

"Well if you were trying to trick me the whole time Brian, you have done such an awful job doing so." She began to smile wider, still chuckling. She looked content as she scratched her dog's head softly.

"... Thanks for bringing us in Brian. I wouldn't really know where to go here in LA." She looked back at him warmly with that large grin. "I could've just slept in a ditch with Tito here and be complacent about it but now..."

She glanced around his apartment. "... It's nice to stay somewhere warm. Even for a moment's rest." She then looked down at her dog as Tito rested his head on her lap.

Drips of water came from somewhere, dropping to her dog's head. The dog glanced at his owner and loudly barked for the first time. Somewhere Brian could've hear the smallest sniffle between the loud yelping from Tito as she grew silent and wiped her eyes defiantly.
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