Ben Fraser bounded up the stairs to his apartment and took the steps two at a time as he unbuttoned his tunic as he moved. He charged full bore down the hallway to his apartment door. He stopped, took a very deep gasp of air and put his hand on the doorknob. He pulled his shoulders back to strict military correctness and entered his own apartment.
Dief sat up and errfed loudly as Ben entered the door. The animal stood and paced nervously around in front of Ben.
"Yes, I know I'm late." The red tunic came off as Ben glided gracefully across the room to this closet. Taking out a hanger he hung the red serge up and turned to the wolf. He shook his head and waited for Dief to stop pacing.
"Wrwoof." Dief sat still and gave a wolf glare at Fraser.
Ben slid the suspenders off of his shoulders and prepared to remove his Jodhpur's. "Well, naturally. I do apologize for being late. It was necessary."
"Well, strictly speaking, it could have waited. But the Inspector required it done today." Ben stood in front of his wolf in his white Henley, which he was pulling off over his head and his socks and starched boxers. He quickly pulled on an old pair of jeans and a clean T-shirt. "Let's get started shall we?"
The wolf trotted over to his water dish and pawed at it disdainfully.
"What? That dish is certainly good enough. I won't put another one down. I cleaned that just this morning." Ben quickly wiped off his kitchen counter and picked up a wet rag. He marched over to the kitchen table and wiped it down quickly and efficiently before picking up a broom and working away on the floor. In several minutes more he was damping moping the kitchen area and laying down a fresh small rug for Dief.
Dief wandered out into the main area of the apartment and nosed around. He stopped once in awhile to woof at his Ben as the man worked quickly and efficiently to pick up miscellaneous items that were out of place. Once the room was shipshape, Ben damp moped the entire floor and moved on to the next small area of the apartment. He made sure his bed was without 'Dief' wrinkles and fluffed his pillow.
"Well, that didn't take long, did it?"
"WARRAF," Dief answered.
"Don't be in a snit, it's not comely on you."
Dief hung his head and 'errffed' as low as his vocal cords would let him.
"You want me to what?"
Dief just looked back at Ben, his eyes pleading.
"Yes, this is an important occasion, but I will not cater to your whim."
Dief shook his head in disgust and plopped down on the floor.
"Oh, I see. You think I am not giving this the attention it deserves. Well, I'll have you know I am nervous too. It's not a date, exactly. Though I am sure we will pass muster."
"Oh Dear," Ben put a hand up to his hair. "Yes, I see, it is sticking up again." He licked his fingers and pushed the unruly lock of hair down. "There, now do I pass?"
There was a knock at the door and Ben whirled around on his feet glancing everywhere as he turned. "Everything's in place." He took in a deep breath and marched barefoot to the door. "Sit up. You want to look welcoming don't you? I won't be responsible for bad manners."
Dief sat up and perked his ears, his tongue lolling out his mouth.
Ben raised his eyes to the ceiling and then opened the door.
Dief rose and trotted over to stand next to Ben as looked at the tallest visitor.
"Thank you for bringing her over." Ben took Maggie's leash into his hand. "Won't you come in for a moment?"
The lady with the long, dark hair smiled and turned to her son who was carrying a box of puppies. "Go get the other box." She turned to Ben again with a smile. "We'll stay for a moment. I can't thank you enough for helping out like this. Not many people would take in someone else's dog and puppies for a weekend."
Ben smiled one of his widest smiles. "Maggie is family. Dief has been looking forward to this all week."
The humans looked into the apartment to see Dief and Maggie watch one of their children climbing out of the box. The lady's son returned with the second box and set it down next to the first one. The first puppy escapee headed right for Dief's blanket and began chewing on it. Dief gave a stern errf and then looked at Ben.
Ben turned to Maggie's owner and said, "What time did you say you were returning on Sunday?"