Jogging down the final street that would get you to your house, you pushed through the growing heat of the morning and glanced down at your watch. The timer had nearly reached 18 minutes. Picking up the pace a little bit, you ran through a barren horse trail that would complete your three-mile course. About halfway through the path however, you slowed to a walk.
A dog was trotting towards you.
Not something insanely peculiar seeing as a lot of people walked their dogs down the path. What bothered you was the fact that you couldn't find the animal's owner.
You lowered yourself to the ground and called the hound over. When he happily made his way over to you, you pat his soft, dark brown pelt and grabbed his collar.
Relieved, you saw the number and searched through your pockets for the phone you had left in you jeans from the day before. Standing, you firmly gripped the collar and began walking back home.
Though, you didn't need to hold on. The dog seemed very well behaved. He stayed at your side even after you let your fingers slip from his dark fur.
Finally reaching your home, you had the dog sit by the door as you grabbed your house phone and carried it, as well as a bowl of water, back over to the dog. You took off his collar so he could drink while you called his owner.
"Hallo?" a deep and accented voice picked up
You gulped dryly, already terrified of the man on the other end of the phone. "Um, hi. I'm just calling to inform you that I found your dog."
The man's voice seemed tired, but concerned, "Which one?"
"The collar says Berlitz?"
He sighed, "Alright. Danke. Could I have your address to pick him up?"
"Of course!" you rambled off the street name and your house number before the German man muttered his thanks again. You were just about to hang up when he brought up a small problem.
"I'm actually at work right now, would it be alright if I send my bruder over to pick Berlitz up?"
You looked over at the dog who was staring up at you with big brown eyes. "Yeah, it's fine."
Hanging up the phone, you stared down at the German shepherd sitting by your door. He tilted his head to the side.
Turning around, you shouted back at him, "Alright, fine."
The moment you threw yourself down on the couch he was on top of you. The eager dog jumped onto your lap, causing all of the air to escape from your lungs. You looked down at the animal, who had stretched his upper half over your legs, and playfully scolded him.
His heavy tail wagged behind him and you sighed, a smile present on your face.
After 20 minutes of watching TV, Berlitz was asleep on your lap and you were reading a book, bored with the show playing on the screen but unable to grab the remote. Then the doorbell rang.
The dog continued to snooze on your lap so you shouted at whoever was at the door, assuming it was the owner, to come in.
Craning your neck around, you saw a lean man with silvery-white hair slowly shutting your front door. He stepped closer. It was only after you noticed how attractive the tall man was that you remembered what you were wearing.
A sweaty tank top, an unzipped hoodie, and high school PE shorts. And a dog. You groaned inwardly at your luck. When he reached the couch you gestured him over to see the reason why you weren't being a very good host.
Curious red eyes examined the scene before him and, though they lingered on the rising and falling of your chest as you breathed, he rested them fondly on his brother's dog.
You were still absentmindedly stroking the dog's head when you noticed the pale man's grin. Transferring your (e/c) gaze to him, you wondered what he was so smiley about.
His ruby eyes caught your stare and he blushed a bit before apologizing. "It's just," he paused and gestured at the dog, "he doesn't really act so friendly with strangers."
"Well I didn't get that impression at all," you laughed quietly, "He's a very good boy."
Berlitz's ears perked up a bit at the words and both you and the man shared a laugh as the dog lifted his head from your lap. Slowly, he lifted himself from your lap and jumped down from the couch, allowing you to properly greet the man in your home.
Pushing yourself from the couch, you held out a hand, "I'm (F/n)-!"
When you had put your weight in your legs, they tingled before giving out under you and sending you crashing into the German man. Laughing again, the man held you up in his lean arms.
"Nice to meet you, (F/n). I'm Gilbert."
You stared into the bright red irises of his eyes a bit longer than socially acceptable before Berlitz barked, snapped both of you out of your dazes. Blushing, you pulled away, slowly regaining feeling in your legs again.
Gilbert smiled confidently at you and pulled a pen from his coat pocket. Patting down his clothing, you assumed he was searching for paper and, when he seemingly gave up, you went to grab him a scrap. Though, instead, he grabbed you.
With a gentle hand, he lightly scrawled a number on the palm of your hand. It tickled where the pen touched, though it tingled where his hand held your wrist.
"There," he grinned, pulling away, "Now if Berlitz runs away again you don't have to bother West at work."
You tilted your head to the side, "West?"
A far off smile lit his face as he answered, "Mein Bruder, Ludwig."
Grinning back at him, you nodded. "Alright. Well, I guess I'll see you later, Gilbert." You followed him to the door, and the dog followed you. Kneeling at his level, you cupped his dark muzzle in your hands and planted a heavy kiss on his black nose. "Be good!" you whispered to the dog. You stood and watched the lanky man lead the heavy shepherd to an old sports car.
Gilbert opened the car door and gestured for Berlitz to jump in before he climbed into his own seat and waved at you. Grinning madly, you waved back, then went back over to your spot on the couch, still fingering the black fabric of Berlitz's collar.
Frantically, you ran outside, but Gilbert was long gone. You sighed, worried, before remembering the number scrawled on your hand.
Pulling out your phone, you punched in the number before pressing call.
"You noticed too?"
"Well do you mind-"
"I could care less!"
"Yeah, of course."
"Yep. See you soon."
Hanging up the phone, you sat back down on the couch and waited for the doorbell to ring again.