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"Maybe it is not used to this home yet and it is still nervous," Shi Shi said quietly. "It will get better over time. You have to get along with it."
"Maybe," Liu Sanlang forced a smile, "Maybe it is still young and naughty."
Liu Sanlang and Shi Shi thought Xiao La was playing with them, but in fact, it was trying to test their baselines step by step. It was like a smart kid who had never been to school yet tried to get the most benefits from the grown-ups. Loving in an incorrect way would not only spoil a kid but would also spoil a dog. However, Liu Sanlang and Shi Shi didn’t know about this yet.
Cats were independent. To them, other creatures would be categorized as either friends, neutrals, or enemies.
Dogs, including their close relatives, wolves, lived in groups. They strictly followed the hierarchy in their group. When someone intruded their territory, they would instinctively test the other party, no matter what they were: human, dog, cat or any other animal. It would toughen up if the enemy was strong; and vice-versa. If the owner didn’t show dignity or power, they would put the owner below their hierarchy. After the habit was formed, it would be very difficult to handle in the future.
Some people had both a cat and a dog at home. If they got along, they were either brought up together or the cat was in a higher position than the dog. If the dog was in the higher position, it would definitely hara.s.s the cat.
Xiao La loved the jerky, but two bags were a bit too much for it. It was completely full when it was done, so it left Shi Shi alone. It drank some water from its water bowl. After that, its little belly was like an inflated balloon. It was rolling around on the floor, showing its little belly and… its private parts.
Shi Shi covered up her mouth and laughed. Totally embarra.s.sed, Liu Sanlang walked over and turned it around. As soon as he let go, it laid back down on its side.
Shi Shi came over and said, "Come on, Xiao La, let me train you how to sit and lay."
Although Liu Sanlang never had a dog, he was not stupid so he reminded her, "It is easier to train it when it is hungry. I saw on TV and movies that people train dogs with treats in their hands."
"That’s true," Shi Shi agreed, "Oh, I had a perfect plan before I came. How come I forgot everything when I see this cute puppy? It is just sooooo cute!"
"Do you want to… take a walk?" Liu Sanlang asked courageously.
"Oh? Where to?" Shi Shi was confused.
"I mean… to walk the dog downstairs. People always walk their dogs. Look, it just ate and now it is full. I guess it would want to p.o.o.p or pee in a little bit." Liu Sanlang was forcing the words out. He had learned. Every time after he fed it, it would pee and p.o.o.p within half an hour and he had to pick up after it. If he was by himself, it might be okay. but now that Shi Shi was at his home, he would not let such an embarra.s.sment happen.
"That’s right," Shi Shi understood, "Xiao La, let’s go downstairs!"
"Wait, let me put Xiao La on the leash," Liu Sanlang found the leash and wanted to put it on Xiao La. This was the first time the puppy had ever been put on a leash, so it was very resisting. In the end, Liu had to hold its front paws and Shi Shi helped him put on the leash.
"Is it necessary? Many people walk their dogs without a leash," Shi Shi felt bad forcing it on a leash.
Liu Sanlang insisted, "We should put it on a leash. It is young and it will grow up before you know it. It will get used to the leash since it is a puppy," He was still thinking about Shi Shi getting bit a minute ago and did not want the puppy to bite anyone else while they were out.
As soon as they headed out, they saw a neighbor walking out as well. He was a college student in his early twenties. He was renting an apartment with two other friends. Liu Sanlang and him were acquaintances.
"Xiao Tian, throwing the trash out?" Liu Sanlang asked when he saw Xiao Tian with a trash bag in his hand.
"Yeah, Brother Liu…" Xiao Tian replied without thinking. He raised his head, saw Shi Shi and his eyes brightened, "Brother Liu, is this…"
"Oh, this is my co-worker," Liu Sanlang hesitated and introduced Shi Shi.
Shi Shi was never shy in front of strangers. She waved her hand and was very friendly. "h.e.l.lo, I am Shi Shi."
"Pretty girl! I am a neighbor of Brother Liu. My name is Xiao Tian, a senior at Binhai University," Xiao Tian introduced himself.
"Oh, you are graduating next year! Good luck!" Shi Shi was not interested in him, so she was just brushing him off. Holding the leash, she was following Xiao La around, who showed great interest in a newspaper ball in the garbage. It kept sniffing around it.
Everyone seemed like a compet.i.tor to Liu Sanlang. He affirmatively stopped the conversation, "We have to walk the dog. See you later," he said as he picked up that newspaper ball.
"Brother, is that trash? I will throw it away for you. I am heading that way anyways," Xiao Tian grabbed the newspaper ball and stuck it into his own trash without getting a response from Liu.
"Oh… okay… Thank you then," Liu Sanlang said. He had seen Xiao Tian before when he threw out trash yet he never helped out. Today was a special day because Shi Shi was here.
Seeing that Shi Shi was walking downstairs with Xia La, Liu Sanlang was about to catch up when he was dragged back by Xiao Tian.
"Brother Liu, does Shi Shi have any single friends? Can you hook me up with her friends?"
Liu Sanlang was amazed, "Well, you are too young for a serious girlfriend. The girls in our company are all older than you."
"It doesn’t matter. An age difference is not a problem!" Xiao Tian claimed, "Honestly, I prefer girls that are a bit older than me because they are gentle and know how to take care of me."
Liu Sanlang was speechless. Is this kid looking for a girlfriend or a mom?
He was perfunctory. "Okay, I will keep an eye out for you."
After Liu Sanlang left, Xiao Tian murmured to himself, "Even Brother Liu found a girlfriend. I have to work harder… Ha-ha, he lied to me that she was a co-worker. Who would believe that?"
It was evening time, so everyone was rushing to get home from work or school. The aroma of food preparation lingered in the air.
"I am home! I am starving! What is it for dinner?"
"Dad, I am not going. I have stuff to do. Could you tell uncle?"
"Okay. Don’t forget to eat. I love you too."
Shi Shi and Xiao La were walking on the path. Liu Sanlang followed. Some residents walked by. It was a time when the villa was the liveliest.
After a while, they both got tired so they stopped to rest on a bench. Liu Sanlang took out his handkerchief, wiped the bench clean and had Shi Shi sit down.
Xiao La seemed to be very interested in a small tree next to the bench. It kept sniffing at the tree.
"Good boy, Xiao La! You didn’t bark the entire time!" Staring at Xiao La, Shi Shi was truly happy.
Liu Sanlang hesitated, yet he asked, "Didn’t you worry about coming up to my home alone? I mean, I am really happy about your visit, but… it is quite dangerous to visit a single man alone, isn’t it?"
Everything happened perfectly as planned, but now he started to worry. If Shi Shi believed in people so easily, she was highly likely to be scammed or… who knows! He knew that as soon as he asked her, the answer might be something he didn’t want to hear. He made up his mind to ask her because he truly cared about her.
"Nope," Shi Shi laughed. "If it was a different guy, I wouldn’t have come. Or maybe I would have come with a friend, but you are different."
Stunned, Liu Sanlang’s heart began to race, "Me… different?"
"Yeah. Everyone in the company knows you have a Lolita complex and so do I. You bought this dog for your sister, right?" Shi Shi looked at him with a smile. "Honestly, I thought you were boring before. It was unexpected that you would care about your sister so much. That is cute. I wish I had an older brother myself. You can’t be a bad person if you care about your sister so much."
Well that was totally unexpected. Liu Sanlang was embarra.s.sed. What did the noisy pet shop owner say? Now his reputation in the company was going to be ruined. However, if it wasn’t for him, maybe Shi Shi would not have come today. Maybe he should thank him instead.
Was that fate?
"Hey, where is your sister? Is she cute? When can I meet her?" Shi Shi was interested and asked.
He didn’t know how to respond.
After sending Shi Shi home, Liu Sanlang’s cell phone rang
"Hey, Mom. What’s up?"
Over the phone, his mom kept talking as usual. She was telling him about a new girl she had set him up with, her education background, occupation, family, height, appearance, contact, etc… He could even imagine the way his mom reading all those to him with her reading gla.s.ses on.
He was waiting for his mom to be done. He wasn’t listening to a word.
"Mom, I want to tell you something."
He was silent for a bit, then he said affirmatively, "There is a girl I like. She is my co-worker. She is not in love with me yet… So please don’t arrange more blind dates for me please."
His mom kept persuading him to go on the date.
"I know, mom. You are right, but I still want to give it a try," he replied. "Mom, I promise. If I can’t get her to love me back, I will start going on blind dates again."
His mom sighed, and hung up the phone.
As he grew older, he gradually understood how much his parents loved him, yet he wanted to follow his heart at least once.
Putting his cell phone back in his pocket, Liu looked at Xiao La and said, "I am sorry. I got you with malicious intent. However, I will never send you back. Even if she won’t love me back in the future, at least you gave me time with her this evening"
Xiao La seemed to be happy with that tree, so it raised its b.u.t.t and started peeing.