The first time Ava had aired the idea of getting a pet, Odin had refused.
He had allergies, you see; cat hair would get up his nose, and dog hair would be found all over the floor and the clean washing. Reptiles were more trouble than they were worth, and fish were to be eaten, not put in a tank.
The second time Ava considered getting a pet, Odin had declined.
His allergies were still a concern; he didn't want to live on hay fever tablets and antihistamines for the rest of his life. He didn't like the idea of sharing a house with a reptile. Lizards freaked him out, and he was scared of snakes. No, animals like that were better off a long way away from him.
The third time Ava asked for a pet, Odin answered as a voice of reason.
They were planning a family, and their first child was due in a few months. It simply would not do to get a cat or dog settled into a routine, only to have a baby come along and disrupt it. No, the baby was a certainty, and would certainly take some time to get used to the big wide world. Surely it would be more reasonable to first settle their child into a routine, and then introduce an animal into the household?
Ava didn't consult Odin a fourth time.
Their son was fourteen months old; he was a strong happy little boy who was eager to go out and explore the world quicker than he could learn to walk. The pet shop was a particular favourite of his; Ava would often take him in there after grocery shopping to calm him down. When he took more than a passing interest in one of the puppies, Ava took it as a sign.
The puppy was exploring the house before Odin got home that night.
Ava was thinking of naming the puppy Daisy, for its golden yellow colouring. She'd bought the basics that afternoon; a dog bed, food, dog litter. Toys could wait until tomorrow at least. When Odin walked in, Ava was fixing up the dog bed, and Daisy and their son had fallen asleep together on the floor. Ava looked up once she finished fixing the bed, and smiled. Odin smiled back, and pulled her in for a hug. They stood there for a few minutes, simply enjoying each other's company, and when Ava eventually pulled away, Odin planted a quick kiss on the top of her head.
Ava slid a small box of antihistamines across the bench towards Odin.
"You're the most amazing woman I've ever met," Odin said with a relaxed smile on his face.
Ava laughed. "I was a little worried how you'd react, coming home to a dog I'd told you nothing about."
Odin frowned good-naturedly. "If you feel happier with a dog, then I'm happy. I don't think I've seen you smile so big for a while."
"I smile a lot!" Ava pouted. Odin laughed at her.
"You do, and I love your smile. But you haven't been smiling as much since I've gone back to work."
"I know," Ava sighed. "I love this baby, I love being able to spend all of my time with him. It's just exhausting having no other form of contact for most of the day."
Odin grunted understandingly. "You know, I was actually thinking of getting you a pet for your birthday, but I guess you guys beat me to it."
Ava raised an eyebrow at him. "What about your allergies?" she asked.
Odin shrugged. "It's worth having the odd antihistamine every now and then to see you happy." He wrapped an arm around Ava and looked at their son and their dog, asleep together on the floor. Their family finally felt complete.