“Nice night, huh?” she said to nothing.
As if someone would call back, she kept her ears pricked. All that could be heard in reply was a low, innocent growl, and her eyes flickered back down from the deluded stars above.
There was Brutus, with his large snout pressed into the ground, at the base of the large wooden fence that caged them both in. He grunted, and slapped his heavy paw against it.
Her thin lips tugged into a frown. “What’re you up to?”
In reply, he gave a whined growl and lifted his head to look at her. Brutus was a ruddy-colored Chow with beady black eyes, and was forty pounds of rippling muscle. For being such an intimidating dog, though, he was playful and loving to the people of the O’Hara residence, which was herself, her father and their on-call butler, and begrudgingly civil to those let in through the gates. Otherwise, he was made for destruction.
She huffed a great sigh and placed her face in her hands. “You’re a dog. What’re you gonna say?” A portion of her dark blue lit up, and she focused on her dog again. “Wouldn’t that be cool, though—if you could talk?”
Her dog focused in on her for a few more seconds, as if comprehending what she had said, but then decided to give a yawned growl and return to his incessant pawing.
Robin laughed at herself and shook her head. It was only when she came home that she wished for such strange instances—when she formed great fantasies and prayed to the forces that be that they’d come true. Being back in Maine brought reality to how mundane her life was. When she was at school, she had friends to be with and to run rampant with, but in Maine, she had herself and her dog. She wasn’t allowed outside of the gate; not without the ultimate supervision and consent of her father.
It wasn’t in her nature to rebel; if it was, she would have long ago. That didn’t necessarily mean she always followed the rules, though—in fact, she had a nasty streak of breaking the rules quite often. Ninety-eight percent of the time, though, it had been completely unintentional, and had been the result of compulsive, carefree actions.
Robin had a very linear thought process, and what she did best was acting; not thinking. She strived for enjoyment, and when the moment struck, she’d often bound out after what she wanted without second thought, and it wasn’t until she was too deep in the situation that she realized she’d probably done something wrong that she’d regret later. It was something that had gotten her into quite a bit of trouble at her boarding school, back in California—sneaking out when the urge struck her with friends, or throwing secret dance parties in the dormitories late at night when they all decided it’d be a blast.
All Robin wanted was to like what she was doing. In Frasier, Maine, though, that was impossible.
It was several large, powerful thuds that broke her from her thoughts. Her head turned back down to Brutus, and she saw him butting his head against the stubborn fence. Her frown came back again.
“Brutus, stop it!” she chided. It did nothing to calm him, though—and this time, he knocked his thick shoulder against it. Robin stood. “Brutus! No!”
Just as she took the first step to grab him and (try to) yank him away, the latched door gave way, and it fell flat to the ground. Then, at what seemed like the speed of light, Brutus was out of the yard and down the street.
If her feet hadn’t already started moving for her, she would have stood there dumbfounded for a solid minute. Her body was acting on its own, though, and cutting out her conscious entirely.
By the time she’d travelled a block and a half, bolting and almost tripping over herself to catch her psychotic dog, she realized she had gone too far this time. This was too over the line for her father to accept, and there was no doubt in her mind she’d be severely punished when she got home, because leaving the protection of their large home was the greatest sin of all.
Her father had always told her that it was dangerous. He was the mayor of the city (an expanding harbor city with a population over two-thousand), and he knew of the inner-workings far better than she did, he’d said; it wasn’t safe for her to travel outside of the home without him or their butler and lifetime family friend, Nicholas. And, because Robin tried her best to be fairly behaved, she’d never asked question. It’d never needed explaining.
The more she ran, the further she was led into the foreign city. She had grown up there, but after she’d turned nine she had been sent off to an all-girls boarding school near the shore in southern California, and from then on she came back to Maine for a total of twelve weeks throughout the year. Now, she was seventeen, so very near eighteen, and she didn’t have a single clue about where she was or how things went. It frightened her, but even more than that, it excited her. It was giving her the adventure she’d pined for in this place ever since she’d been a small girl.
Still, exciting as it was, it was growing harder to run after Brutus. He was like a freight train, plowing through side streets and back ways, and she could barely keep up. Robin wasn’t much of a runner (in fact, she wasn’t much of anything athletically), and she was all legs behind him, nearly tangling up in her own long limbs with each pounding step.
“Brutus,” she panted desperately, “stop!”
There was no doubt in her head she looked ridiculous. The only reason she’d been out in the yard with him so late at night in the first place was because she’d wanted some fresh air, and Brutus was happy to join her. Therefore, she’d thought nothing of her black short-shorts and the baggy purple sweatshirt that she was nearly swimming in. Her brownish-blonde hair, untamed and chocked full of curl, was tied up into a ponytail, but strands were wrestling themselves free. The fact that she was wearing nothing but a pair of worn, dirty old flip-flops helped give the image that she’d indeed just rolled out of bed—which she had, after an hour of restlessness.
To her relief, Brutus pattered to a stop, and he proudly forged into the depths of an alley.
Breathing heavily, Robin trudged to a gradual stop and stayed close behind. They were pressed between two high-rising buildings, and it was then that she realized how lost she really was—and if the city was as horrible as her father had said, she was surely in for some narrow misses.
But, she was strong, and she was brave, she reminded herself. She’d be just fine. It didn’t keep her from uncomfortably shoving her hands into the pouch of her sweatshirt and shuffling behind, though.