Hey! Geniemaster here! This is my latest fic, fulfilling a request from Ringa Ham to write another story about Howdy and Dexter. My first chapter's kinda short, but it'll get better as it goes along. Review if you please, flames welcome as always, and don't forget to check out my other new fic if you haven't already – "The Nagging Dark," starring Boss.

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Curtis sighed heavily, resting his head in one hand and slowly stroking the top of Dexter's head with the other.

"Oh, to be a fool in love," he sighed, then clicked the door of Dexter's cage shut, clasped his hands behind his back and began pacing back and forth across the room. "I can't stop thinking about her...I just can't think about anything else..."

Dexter rolled his eyes. They went through this every night, after the store closed. Before going home, Curtis would always launch into this nervous rant about his lovesickness and how only one thing would cure it but he hadn't the courage to do it. He never once mentioned her name, but Dexter always knew exactly who he was talking about. Wasn't it obvious? Ever since the ham-hams had worked together to rebuild their friendship, Curtis had been falling all over himself whenever he was around Goldie.

"You're lucky, my furry friend," he said, looking once again at Dexter, "not to have to worry about such matters, not to know the feeling of an aching heart..."

You have no idea, Dexter thought to himself, his eyes continuing to lazily follow Curtis' constant pacing.

Suddenly, Curtis paused. He walked over to the cash register and opened it. From a small compartment beneath where the money was stored, he took a small box.

He turned and said, "Dexter, there's something I want to show you."

Dexter's ears perked up a bit.

Curtis brought the box over to Dexter's cage and bent down so that they were at eye level with one another.

"I just bought this today, and I can't wait to give it to her," he said. Then he gingerly opened the box, revealing a scintillating diamond engagement ring.

Dexter's eyes widened, the glimmer of the stone reflecting in them. He had to hand it to Curtis - that was some rock. How could any woman say no?

Curtis sighed and closed the box again.

"But," he said, "I know I'll never have the courage...You just wait, I bet I'll take so long in giving it to her that she'll find another guy, and I'll have lost the love of my life..." He replaced the box in the cash register drawer, locked it back up and put on his coat to leave. "I…haven't even kissed her yet," he admitted, his back turned. "I don't think she knows I love her. I don't even know how she feels about me."

Poor guy, Dexter thought to himself. I wonder if there's some way I could help him out…

"See you tomorrow," Curtis said to Dexter solemnly, and headed out the door, locking it behind him.

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At about the same time, Goldie was finishing closing up the grocery store for the night. She seemed more distracted than usual, however, as Howdy noticed from his cage.

"C'mon, mom, let's go," Zach mumbled impatiently, grabbing her hand and pulling her towards the door.

"Be patient," Goldie scolded, escaping his grasp. "I ain't finished cleaning up just yet." Then she sighed and murmured, more to herself than to her son, "Sometimes we...just have to wait longer than we expect for the things we really want."

Howdy was tired but he quickly picked up on Goldie's meaning, although it went entirely over Zach's head. Goldie never talked about Curtis around Zach - which was why Howdy had never heard her mention him. But the two shop owners had been spending more and more time together recently, and from what Dexter had told him, Howdy knew that Curtis had it real bad for Goldie. He wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Goldie felt the same way, but as far as he knew the two were still at the "just friends" level.

Alas, it was a truly sad situation. Howdy sighed as he watched Goldie turn the "Open" sign to "Closed" and head out the door with her son. He wondered if things would ever change...

Little did he know that before long, things were going to change more than he had ever expected.

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