A/N: The delay was a combination of work, and most of all, trying to decide whether or not I should cut some ideas/situations I want Lindsey and Aly to do as to not drag it out too much without getting into the "what happens around Aly and why" part more. But for now I think I'll include the Lindsey/Aly personal stuff, unless of course you readers sticking through the story would rather me skip some.

I feel bad it was a long delay so I'm posting the Dog as its own chapter to get something up, as I get together other parts (some are written, like I said it's an edit or not to edit, and how to edit situation.)

The prices of the Blue Blood Bulldog are legit, at least as of a few years ago when I knew someone who bred some. The Boxer I got off memory of when I got mine.


Before they left the apartment Lindsey made a last minute decision to put Aly's chair in the trunk even though he thought they would probably just be going to the club, and it ended up being a good call. He figured he should see how any dog would react to it, if it did at all right away. However, he already started carrying her away from the car before he realized he had to go to the trunk. His prior experience with having only one arm to use came in handy getting it out while holding Aly. To unfold it though he closed the trunk and set Aly on top. The day before when he took her out of the car to get into the apartment/building was at that point the only time he had put her in said chair but since he's mind was in a million places he was not focused on the task, not like this time. Being faultless did not stop him from feeling a sense of guilt about it. Ever the conflicted, contradicting guy, as irkingly confining he saw it as, after setting her down he pulled on each strap tighter –but not too tight- than Aly was used too, using all of them including the harness one she hadn't used the previous day; with all the diligence of someone securing a priceless antique for transport. "Munchkins need to be safe," he felt a need to explain after. "…and comfortable, are you comfortable?"

"Yea."

"You sure?"

"Uh-huh."

"You sure-ly must want to get started looking at puppies, huh?" He amended his question from asking his previous one yet again.

The second they entered the pet store they were greeted by a salesman. Mike was his name according to his name tag. "Hello, can I help you with anything today?"

Lindsey generally hated when sales people tried to attach themselves to shoppers right away, but considering handling animals were a large part of the job, he wasn't too bothered by it. "We're here to look at dogs, you do sell dogs here, right?"

Mike gave them a polite smile as he informed them they did. "We have a selection in all sizes. But our biggest selection is in the toy, lap dog breeds." Mike then focused on Aly. "Are you gonna get a puppy today? Huh?" he said to her using a 'baby talk' voice the whole time.

Aly scowled disapprovingly, and offended at the man who had committed the act that bothered her more than any other, that she had experienced often, then looked up at her father to make sure he saw her face. After her nice day with her father in which she thought at times he was treating her like a grown up even more than a kid, she let her emotions get the better of her and the usually overly polite little girl expressed her disapproval more for putting a damper on her day. "Y-yes," she answered giving her best shot at her most grown-up voice. "Oh, I..'m f-fo-ur," she held up for fingers to accompany 'four'. "N-o," she held up one finger instead of saying 'one' since she knew it often sounded like 'un' or "on" when she would try with her speech therapist, since she was talking at four so she learned that right around her fourth birthday, two was still new, and she wasn't about to be wrong in front of someone that had gotten on her bad side so quickly. She preferred to use fingers in front of people she didn't know, but was determined to say four to get the point across the best.

"We don't need you, we're going ourselves" Lindsey added after as he gave the man dirty looks once he was done watching Aly with pride, followed immediately by walking away and going towards where he had then heard barking and saw the large sign that said "DOG AREA". Lindsey had insults in his head, sure, but he figured if he said anything to the salesmen, it could under mind that Aly stuck up for herself, maybe make her think it wasn't good enough, and that was just not something he was willing to risk. /That's my girl, not allowing some random idiot to get away with that. ...Did I just call her my girl?/

To Lindsey that wasn't mean or rude, it was deserved so her reputation in his head of her being the nicest person he knows remained untarnished. "Aly," Lindsey said, seriously, on their way to the dogs, tapping her on the neck to look at him, "you're awesome," he finished. Lindsey's declaration got him the reward of seeing her 'blushing face' again but with an even bigger smile, completely changing her mood with one compliment. /Still adorable. Still feels weird to use that word, even in my head./ When they entered the dog room at first all the dogs seemed calmed and happy. A bit too calm to Lindsey because he figured they would all get excited at the sight of people. But it could be easily explained. "Like we can be fooled by any blanket 'take me home I'm reeeallly good' tactics," Lindsey said to Aly playfully, followed by a wink. She didn't quite understand what he meant, but it sounded funny so she smiled in return.

"Hello, may I help you with something?" another salesman, Matthew, asked approaching them at the door.

"We're here to look at dogs," Lindsey said.

The salesman looked the two over before responding. "Do you have a size in mind? Smaller perhaps? I call them child-sized," the young man offered up cheerfully.

"No. Large," Lindsey answered immediately. Right after he said it however, he realized that he hadn't actually bothered to ask Aly what she would like. "Ah, I mean, do you want that, Aly?" he then added. Aly looked up at him and gave a tiny one-armed shrug. "So we can look at bigger sizes?" She agreed. "Are you sure?" She agreed again. Lindsey addressed Matthew again, "I'm into something for protection, but obviously would make a good companion for a kid."

Matthew nodded. "I can help with that." The three started around the room. "Boxers have an excellent reputation with children, though they can be quite rambunctious." He showed them two fawn and white boxers. But they didn't fully grab Lindsey or Aly.

Over in a corner was a white dog with brown ears, brown ears and brown over the eyes area, and a couple of large brown spots/markings on the body and a brown and white tail. Aly pointed at it and "oooh'd". So that's where they went next.

Lindsey read the title on the cage. "Alpalaha Blue Blood Bulldog. I've never heard of such a breed."

"Well, they are extremely rare," Mathew explained, "that's why we only have one. She's six months and two weeks old. We usually don't get them in that old but the owners have a hard time decided who they want to sell and who should be kept for breeding because of the rarity. We just got her in the last few days. They are excellent with children and do grow to medium to large size, females tend to be more medium that large but still a good build, great for protection even in appearance."

The name of the breed alone (except for the first word which he'd never heard before in any way) appealed to Lindsey greatly. "Twenty-three hundred dollars?!" he had to question when he noticed the price listing.

"I said they were rare," Matthew replied.

Since Lindsey had never heard of the breed he wanted to make sure it wasn't a scam. He excused himself and Aly, called the best dog expert he knew, Samantha, to ask. She informed him the name was familiar but then she looked it up on her computer for him and found out everything appeared to be correct and the price was fair, but others that age had been bought for less. She also demanded he call her later to let her know just how they ended up in a pet store.

"Aly, are you really interested in this dog you think?" Lindsey questioned on their way back in. Aly said yes, there was just something that made Aly want her. Being four she didn't know that it was just sense of knowing when you've found the perfect four-legged companion for you. "Okay then. But don't act like you do too much, please. Just trust me on this, it'll make it easier to get her. It's key in negotiation and bargaining. Consider this your first official lesson, Kiddo," Lindsey then explained, as his plan was of course to bargain.

"Well I think we would like to see the dog first of course before we make any decisions," Lindsey told Matthew when they returned. They took the dog into the meeting room and immediately she took to Aly, circling her, sniffing her, and then gave her hand a lick. Aly started to giggle but then stopped remembering what her dad told her to not do.

Lindsey was pleased with the dog himself to the extent of just having to pet it a few times and give her something resembling a cuddle. He had always wanted a dog as a kid. "She is a good dog. But I don't know, this is our first time looking…"

"You might not find another in her breed so easily," Matthew countered.

"Perhaps. We haven't looked at any other breeds either though. So the Boxers, what do they run?"

Matthew hesitated for a minute but the man in front of him have off the impression he was smart, not someone to try to pull standard salesman tactics on. "Young puppies are about fourteen hundred. Six or seven months you're looking at around seven", he admitted, since he was an honest person who perhaps was in the wrong line of work. Lindsey thought to himself he wouldn't have said the cheaper price so soon. "But there are very few dogs as rare as the Blue Blood."

"But there are a lot of cheaper but high-end breeds," Lindsey countered. This time it was Matthew who excused himself to go talk to his boss. "Told ya," Lindsey told Aly as he left.

When he returned he made Lindsey an offer of eighteen hundred. Lindsey countered with seventeen, just so it would be on his terms. The deal was made then and there. As the paper work was being filled out by Lindsey, Matthew had brought over various dog items to show them such as collars, leashes, toys. Aly of course picked a red collar. "Bet you're excited to be taking her home?" Lindsey heard Matthew casually comment to Aly followed by offering her a high-five, it was the "wrong" hand technically on Aly's part, but her right accepted it. Lindsey made sure he slipped the man a very generous tip. He did not know if that job was the kind were tips are expected, but his main goal was the hope Matthew would somehow share the information Mike, who then might really think twice before doing to another kid what he did to Aly, as perhaps that tip could have been his had he not botched the meeting right away.

As they were leaving Lindsey and Aly had one big decision to make. "So what should we name her?" Lindsey asked. "Remember, Elmo is a boy's name," he couldn't help himself, he really couldn't.

"Hmmm," Aly thought. "El?"

"Elle, E-l-l-e," Lindsey said and spelled, "is a girl's name and it is like Elmo I guess." /I knew she was thinking Elmo. Sorry kid, I wouldn't walk an Elmo even if we got a male./

"Yea, Elle," Aly declared.

Lindsey, Aly, Elmo and Elle headed home with only three instances of Lindsey having to yell to the back, one time stopping and turning to the back, to get Elle to not chew on her namesake. It was enough to silently irritate him anyway. /This is why I'm generally selfish…./


TBC

Thanks to everyone reading. Hope you liked this quick chapter!