‘Simon Ellis and Dave’, Putting the pet carrier down on the floor, Simon announced himself to the dour faced bat behind the reception desk.
‘Ah yes’ she scanned the computer screen, ‘four fifteen with Mr Grant. Take a seat please’, she said, ‘and Mr Grant will be with you soon’.
Picking up the basket again, Simon made his way to the PVC covered bench by the window and sat down placing the basket next to him. Poking a finger through the wire door he tickled the nose of the ginger tabby crouching inside. ‘Poor old boy’, he crooned, ‘poor old Dave’. The tabby gave a rusty ‘meow’ and sniffed disconsolately at Simon’s finger. ‘I know, lad’, Simon addressed the cat again, ‘I don’t want to be here any more than you do but, well it’s only a quick injection and you won’t feel a thing, honest’.
Simon looked around the waiting room at the other pet owners. One old dear with her Yorkshire terrier, complete with bow in it’s ridiculous top knot, a spotty youth with a Staffie and a worried looking young girl holding a cardboard carrier on her lap. Can’t be a cat he thought, or at least not a full grown one. Any self respecting moggie would have clawed it’s way out of there in two minutes flat. At least Dave would have done so on a good day.
Sighing, he picked up a magazine from the table in the centre of the waiting area. Horse &Hound March 2001 Oh, so bloody typical of waiting rooms the length and breadth of England. Reading material so ancient the Photography magazines were still extolling the virtues of Box Brownies. But since Simon himself was a photographer he did have a high regard for the old Brownie. He’d had some good results from his own model, a bequeathment from his (still extant) grandmother, herself a talented amateur photographer and who was keen to encourage her favourite grandson.
Twisting round in his seat and looking through the window, Simon was able to glimpse a square of the North Sea through a gap in the buildings opposite. Green and turquoise, the noticeable swell reflecting the gold of glittering sunlight; it was a stark contrast to the dull shabbiness of the vets waiting room. Smelling of wet dog, animal fear and disinfectant it was no wonder most of it’s clients dreaded it. And Dave was no exception. Simon still had the scratches on hands, arms and thighs from this latest attempt to shove the protesting animal into his carrier.
But after a twenty minute battle he had managed it by turning the receptacle on it’s end and stuffing Dave in head first then slamming the mesh door shut on the first of a series of blood curdling yowls. Thank God he lived within walking distance of the surgery and hadn’t had to listen to the caterwauling for too long. He’d certainly earned a few questioning looks from passers- by though. He’d even heard one woman tut and mutter something about ‘cruelty to animals’. Silly cow.
He just hoped this vet, Grant, was able to handle obstreperous felines like Dave. As he’d only recently moved to Whitby this was Simon’s first visit to the surgery. A check up being part of the registration procedure. It was also time for Dave’s annual booster shot. Not a happy thought and Simon dreaded it.
Quarter past four. Then as if on cue, the door on his right opened a fraction and the sounds of general leave taking and the giving of last minute instructions could be heard plus a frantic scrabbling of claws on polished tiles, the door opened fully and a small dog of indeterminate breed pushed it’s way out followed by it’s owner, a young woman grinning from ear to ear.
Hmm, Simon wondered what had caused her to smile like that in a place like this. Then he noticed the guy standing just inside the door…….
Dressed in an open necked cobalt blue shirt, his long muscular legs clad in faded denim, and not a white coat in sight. But if there had been, it would have contrasted beautifully with the dark curly hair flopping untidily across his forehead, the lightly tanned skin and…….
The voice held just a hint of a Yorkshire accent, the flat ‘a’ in Dave was a dead giveaway. Mmm, now there was a combination to get his pulse racing, a gorgeous guy with an accent.
‘Mr Ellis?’ Gorgeous was looking at him, the corners of his mouth (lush, kissable full lips) upturned in a friendly, encouraging grin. ‘Simon Ellis and Dave?’. he asked, his dark eyebrows raised questioningly.
‘Ah yes, that’s me’, flustered and flushed by the apparent scrutiny, Simon picked up the pet carrier from the seat and followed Grant into the consulting room.
‘Ah, so you’ve just moved into the area I see’, Grant read from his PC screen, ‘and this is your first visit’. He turned to face Simon, ‘And this is…?’
‘Dave, my cat’, Simon said, ‘And he’s a bit cranky I’m afraid’. Simon felt duty bound to warn the guy of his cat’s propensity to use claws and teeth when stressed or frightened.
‘Oh we’ll manage between us, I think’, Grant said, ‘Lets have him out then shall we’.
As Simon undid the straps of the flap, Grant turned back to the PC to read Dave’s notes, and appraise himself of the animal’s medical history. ‘Hm, I see he’s due for his annual boosters, Mr Ellis’.
‘Mm, yes, that’s right, he is’ Simon puffed with exasperation as he tried in vain to extricate the cat from his basket, while Dave crouched and glowered, eyes mere slits in the big orange face.
‘Having problems’, Grant turned back to the table again, ‘Here, let me try’. Swivelling the basket round, he reached inside as Simon braced himself for the yowls of protest from Dave and yelps of pain from the vet.
It didn’t happen. Mere seconds later, arms emerged unscathed, the bemused cat sliding out pulled by firm but gentle hands.
‘How….how did you do that?’ Simon laughed with astonishment. ‘You made it look so easy’. He laid his hand on the cats head and chuckled, barely able to believe what he’d just witnessed.
Grant grinned again. (Oh God, that smile. It could melt ice) ‘I like cats, Mr Ellis, and they seem to sense it somehow’. He rubbed his finger against Dave’s furry cheek as he spoke. The movement having a hypnotic effect on both cat and owner and Simon found himself wishing he was the one being caressed by that long elegant finger instead of his pet.
‘He’s just a big softy aren’t you boy? Grant continued to sooth with voice and digit, and if Dave wasn’t exactly purring, he was certainly enjoying the experience if his half closed eyes were anything to go by; and Simon was glad he had the table for support as his legs were in imminent danger of buckling under him. God, this guy was a miracle, gorgeous, liked cats and
Dave obviously liked him. Talk about ticking all the boxes. Hmm, but there was one extremely important box still to be ticked…….
‘Right, little chap, let’s see how you’re doing’. Spell broken, Grant proceeded to give the cat a thorough sounding and announced to be as fit for his age as possible. And except for a little squeal and the lifting of a big ginger paw the injections were a breeze.
‘Bit of tartar on his teeth but that’s to be expected at his age’. Grant was saying.
Mmm, your teeth aren’t so bad either
‘And just a slight murmur of his heart, but again it’s age related’.
And my heart rates up as well thanks to you
‘Er, Mr Ellis, are you ok?,
‘Sorry, what?’ Simon hadn’t been listening of course. He’d been totally lost in those amazing eyes which were the colour of the blue flag irises in his gran’s garden. A glorious deep blue fringed with long dark lashes and framed by beautifully arched brows. One which was now quirked upwards.
‘You were miles away, Mr Ellis. I was saying he has a little tartar on his teeth, and a slight heart murmur which I’d like to keep an eye on’.
Oh thank you God
‘So, I’ll make another appointment then shall I?’ For tomorrow perhaps.
‘Yes, just see the receptionist on your way out and, er, in the meantime, um, perhaps you’d call me if you have any problems’.
Now why was Grant acting awkward all of a sudden. Could it be that he…….
Picking the carrier up off the table, Simon made towards the door followed closely by Grant. There was a split second of contact as both reached out to grasp the door handle. The effect was electrifying and instantly Simon knew without doubt that the attraction he felt was mutual.
And, oh hell, that one brief touch had jolted his nether regions into life as well.
Reddening to the roots of his spiked blonde hair, Simon started to stammer a ‘goodbye and thank you’ when Grant turned and walked quickly back to his desk.
‘You forgot something’, he said.
‘I did?’ Simon asked, ‘What?’
‘This’, he said, thrusting a card into Simons hand. On it was written his mobile number and email address. ‘Call me, ok’.
Hardly able to believe his luck, Simon began to stammer all over again, ‘Call you, b,but why, I mean what, are you er, is this……’
‘Well, goodbye Mr Ellis, and I’ll see you and Dave at the next appointment’. The door now fully open, Grant was immediately back in professional mode. And as Simon made his way to the reception desk he turned just as Grant called the next patient. As the woman and her Yorkie entered the consulting room, Grant looked back over his shoulder and winked at Simon.
Yeeeesssss! Box well and truly ticked.
‘Dave’, he said to his uncomprehending pet, ‘I love you’. And the old bat behind the desk actually smiled.
Top and centre, Google images
Below, ‘Dave’ by Alexandra Christoforou
In memory of Dave. Sometimes irascible, sometimes stroppy but always loving
He left a gap in our lives which will be hard to fill