I know, I know…I've been AWOL for way too long. I'm sorry! Here's a cookie to make up for it!

Chapter 4: At Least She Got Something Good

"An' whaddya wan'?" Vince asked of Lucy the puppy as he climbed down the ladder. He laughed a little at how she just stood there staring at him.

He'd been trying to get done before Letty got home to avoid having to talk to her. It didn't look like she was outside though, even though the puppy was there.

"Where's your mama, huh?" he asked of the dog, trying to figure out how to get off the ladder without stepping on the dog.

Lucy barked at the hairy man. He was pretty for a human, in her opinion…and she'd seen some UGLY humans. She wagged her tail to show that she was a nice puppy. She wanted to be his friend!

"I'ma step on you if you ain't careful…" V mumbled, somehow managing to avoid the small dog. "Whatchu doing out here by yourself, chica?" He leaned down holding his hand out to her.

Lucy tilted her head to the side. What did he want her to do with hispaw? She barked and wagged her tail again.

"You're supposed t'smell new people, d'cide if they're a'right or not…" V muttered when she didn't do anything but bark at him again. He reached forward and scratched her between the ears.

Lucy's tail wagged faster when V scratched her ears. He scratched GOOD! She leaned into him, wanting more, her tail wagging in the dirt, making dust fly, which caused the puppy to sneeze when the dust hit her nose.

"Oh, you like that, don't chu?" V laughed, still scratching her head, laughing louder when she sneezes.

Lucy's tail wagged even faster, causing her to fart this time.

"Maybe I shouldn't do that no more, huh?" V was still laughing when Lucy sneezed again.

The tiny dog tilted her head the other way. She didn't understand what the hairy man meant!

"You gonna sneeze every time I pet you?" he asked, tugging lightly on her ears.

Lucy's tail wagged as she moved closer to V. He was hairy like Piggy!

"Yeah, you're a pretty girl, ain't you?" He laughed, scratching her head again as he moved down her back. "Probably make all the boy dogs want you…"

Lucy barked at him, licking his hand. She liked this man.

"Guess you probably don't see too many boy dogs 'cept f'r Piggy, though…" he laughed, shrugging. "Shit…maybe that was my problem…too many options around…"

Lucy just kept kissing his hands, her tail wagging just as fast as it could.

V couldn't help but laugh. He hadn't been this happy since before the Buster started coming around. Lucy barked, sitting on the man's chest, her tail still wagging.

"Oh, you're real proud'a yourself up there, ain't you, little girl?" V laughed, reaching up and scratching her ears again, playfully wrestling with her.

She pressed against his hand, loving the way he scratched her ears.

"Whatchu gonna do now?" he asked when she pressed closer to his hands, grinning at her.

Christ, if Mia had been this easy…

Lucy's tail fwumped against him. She panted her happy pant, grinning at him. It felt so good.

Shit, if Mia'd been this easy I wouldn't even be here, probably…I'd either be back at home, at the Fort, or shit, dead, probably.

She probably still would'a gone for the buster any way.

"At least Letty wound up with somethin' good outta all this shit…" he mumbled, still rubbing the dog's head and ears. Letty'd done good for herself, even though Vince knew she wished Dom was there with her. But it wasn't like she was going to admit it to anybody.

Lucy barked when she heard her owner's name.

"Oh, you know who that is, huh?" V laughed, shoving at the dog lightly, playing.

Lucy barked again and again. She knew her owner's name. She knew Letty loved her, Charley and Piggy.

Vince playfully barked back at Lucy. The small dog cocked her head, now thoroughly confused.