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She tossed her coat over the lamp, staining the room black, and fell to the floor.

She patted her small dog, who found her there, while her voicemails played.

“Hey girl, it’s Courtney. Can’t wait to see you tonight. Don’t forget the cheese. Remember. We love Sargento."

She deleted the message, rolled onto her stomach. The schnauzer licked the wax off her ears.

“It’s me, your mother,” the next one began. After a few heavy sighs, it ended with, “Well, I love you. And miss you. Why don’t you call me sometime?”

She deleted that one, too, did ten pushups in the dark—the dog increasingly interested in the way she moved.

He started tentatively, sweetly, then climbed on top of her, pushing down on her body.

She swatted at him. He skirted around the apartment for a while. But the sound of his paws on the wood floor eventually stopped, where he stared at her from some unknown spot in the darkness.

She knew she wasn’t going to go to any party. She sure as shit wasn’t bringing cheese. And she wasn’t going to call her mother back, either.

Probably because the jacket slipped off the lamp, she saw the pain in his eyes.

He whimpered when she approached.