The cheerful sounds around me add to the ambiance of the restaurant and the warmth of the sun’s rays feel soft and gentle against my arms as I sip from a tall glass of ice water. A wooden boat moors at the dock that is not more than three meters from me as I wait for my lunch of cheese fondue to be served.
Whizzy plans on joining me soon. This morning when he and I parted he was off to finalize the contracts for Fred and George to secure a shop location in the heart of Magische Markt, the premiere Wizarding shopping district in the Netherlands. Situated on over a dozen barges floating on a tributary of the Amstel River, Magische Markt is safely tucked away from the prying eyes of Muggles and student tourists in warm and cold weather. In good weather the market unfolds into an open-air district permanently anchored at the secret Wizarding waterway. During the winter and poor weather (and after closing time) the shops and cafes close up inside reappearing walls that protect and shelter the best interests of the merchants.
The icy liquid soothes my parched throat. I just hope I don’t have to take another piss any time soon…I might miss Whizzy. I swear I have to pee all the damn time now…
A cold, wet nose nudges my arm, causing me to spill some of the water from my glass on the arm of my chair.
“Miss, I am so sorry,” the clipped accent of a young blond woman apologizes. “She is still so young, so much to learn, I am terribly sorry.” I look down at the canine owner of that cold, wet nose.
“Oh my goodness,” I choke as I look down into the eyes of the young Mastiff. “How old is she?” My hand runs along the great dog’s back and my heart clenches. “She’s absolutely beautiful.”
“Sit Baby, sit, good girl,” the woman rewards her dog before turning to me. “She is eleven months old.” I scratch Baby’s chin as her massive tail thumps against the cobblestones. Then just like that, the woman and Baby are gone and I am left drowning in my memories of Little Bit. Little Bit would be six months old soon, nearly full grown for a puppy. I’ll bet she doesn’t even look like a puppy anymore.
And I’ll bet she doesn’t even remember me anymore. Oh dear Merlin, I miss her so much… I feel the clawed hand of loss plunge into my chest to grab my heart as I watch Baby amble away from me. It hurts; my heart physically hurts. I know Aveline has replaced me as Bit’s mum. I know Aveline has replaced me…
But I just miss my Little Bit so much…
The tears are running down my face when I feel a pair of tender, soft smelling arms encased in fine Italian wool wrap around me from behind.
“Dorrie, Dorrie,” Whizzy begins with panic in his voice. “Dorrie darling, are you unwell, whatever is the matter, love?” He sits at the table with me and grabs my hands in his. “Dorrie?”
I look into his concerned face and I know my own has contorted in pain. Whizzy looks frightened.
“I MISS MY LITTLE BIT!” I bawl and I know the café patrons at the surrounding tables have been distracted by my emotional outburst. But I just don’t care. I suck in my breath as I sob violently. “I just miss my Little Bit so much!”
“A little bit of what, Dorrie, what is it that you miss?” he asks as he leans forward and wipes my cheeks with his bare hands.
“Not a little bit, I miss my Little Bit!” I bark at his confusion. “I MISS MY PUPPY DOG, LITTLE BIT!”
Whizzy sits back suddenly as if I have slapped his face. “Your dog?” he muses. “You miss your dog?” I blow my nose on my linen napkin and nod my head quickly as Whizzy chuckles at my discomfort. “You miss a dog?”
“Don’t act as if I’m stupid just because I miss a puppy dog!” I say loudly and Whizzy clutches my arm and looks around the terrace, shushing me. “Don’t SHUSH me just because you never had a dog in your entire life. I love Little Bit! And I’m missing her, her, hiccup, she’s growing up without me! I’m not her human mum anymore!” Whizzy pulls me to him and hugs me, comforts me, as my snotty nose runs onto the lapel of his fine suit. But he doesn’t pull away or attempt to clean himself off.
“Oh Merlin, darling, I had no idea!” Whizzy’s face is flushed with bewilderment. “Your puppy? Is it your dog, the one you cared for with Charlie, is that Little Bit?” I nod again at his question. “Well, darling, if it is a puppy you want, then it is a puppy you shall get. The most purebred dog of any breed your little heart desires…”
“NO!” I push away and a fresh deluge of tears overtakes me. “I don’t want just any puppy! I want my Little Bit!”
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m never like this. I just can’t stop crying…and I can’t stop thinking about Little Bit. Oh dear Merlin, I can’t stop crying! Whizzy searches my face for some type of answer. But money isn’t the answer this time.
“I am sorry, Dorrie,” he caresses my cheek. “I did not mean to suggest that your feelings for the puppy that you and Charlie cared for together could be so easily replaced.”
I calm down and wipe away the last of my tears. “I’m sorry, Whizzy. I don’t know what came over me.” I can feel his hand cover the back of my head as he kisses my lips and our foreheads touch.
“I love you, Dorrie,” he whispers. “When we return to England we shall make arrangements for Little Bit to spend some time with us in our new home. You said that Charlie was not adverse to the idea, did you not?” I nod. Great gods, I’m either crying hysterically and babbling or I’m nodding mutely. “Do you feel better now, darling? You frightened me for a moment.” He smiles, but a flood of relief supports his smile.
“I’m fine now,” I whisper before I stand hastily as another wave of discomfort washes over me. Whizzy looks puzzled again, very concerned.
“What is wrong, Dorrie?” he asks as he takes my hand.
“Um,” I stutter. There’s nothing for it but the truth, no matter how awkward that blatant truth is going to be for Whizzy… “Er, Whizzy? I have to go pee…”