4: “Even your dog is in love with him”

Luke’s girlfriend Rachel broke up with him and he was pissed about it. His reaction to most things was anger. He was furious roughly eighty per cent of the time. Dylan and Godfrey made fun of him all the time for it, mostly because they claimed he was only capable of expressing emotion through his eyebrows.

“Having angry eyebrows is so ridiculous,” Godfrey once told him. “No one else in the world has eyebrows as emotional as yours.”

It didn’t make Luke feel great about his life.

Rachel broke up with him for several reasons, as she outlined clearly in great detail. She was very Type A. Luke had told her he found her extreme attention to detail endearing, but he was beginning to rethink that. Rachel sat him down gave him a verbal list of everything wrong with their relationship. As it turned out, most of it was his fault.

“You’re incapable of expressing emotion,” Rachel began, sitting opposite him at his kitchen table. He thought about telling her what Godfrey and Dylan said about his eyebrows and how overly emotional they were, but then thought better of it. It didn’t make him look very good. Besides, it also suggested that the only emotion he was capable of expressing was anger and he wasn’t sure that was what she was looking for.

“You will never love anything more than your dog,” she continued. Luke didn’t bother even contemplating refuting that point. It was absolutely true. His dog, Gus, was an eight year old hound mutt that he’d rescued from the humane society two years previously. No one else had wanted him because he was prone to wandering. He used to live on a farm so he was used to being able to roam the neighbouring farmland. As such, he had a wicked sense of direction. He liked to wander around the neighbourhood during the day, but he always returned. He got out of the apartment by pushing open the sliding door that opened onto the balcony. Then he would clamber down the fire escape. They had tried locking the sliding door, but Gus had worked out a way to unlock it. At that point, Luke had decided that he would just let Gus do as he pleased because it would be far too much work to stop him.

“And you never pay enough attention to me,” Rachel concluded, literally ticking her points off on her fingers so that he could visibly understand how many things were wrong with him. “I can’t be the only person who’s ever told you this.”

Unfortunately, she wasn’t. Luke had been told by several women that he wasn’t nearly as attentive as he should be. It was possible he should’ve learned something from that by this point in his life, but clearly not. He wasn’t sure he had learned something even now. Instead, he let Rachel leave his apartment and then spent the rest of the afternoon grumbling bitterly to himself about being dumped. When Godfrey came home from work early that evening, Luke was sitting on their hand-me-down brown leather sofa with Gus, watching a home renovation show and drinking a beer. It was his third beer and, with each passing drink, he became less and less forgiving to the people on the television. In his opinion, all of them were stupid. The wife wanted to paint the crown moulding in her 19th century red brick brownstone black.

“You seem happy,” Godfrey remarked, putting his backpack down on one of the kitchen chairs and coming to join Luke in the living room. He sat down in the hand-me-down navy blue corduroy wingchair perpendicular to the sofa and put his socked feet up on the coffee table. The coffee table was the only thing in their living room that wasn’t a hand-me-down. Dylan had made it during the time in his life when he’d thought he’d be a carpenter. That hadn’t panned out for a whole bunch of obvious and faintly hazardous reasons, but the coffee table had actually turned out alright.

“Rachel dumped me,” Luke explained in a dark grumble. Godfrey nodded, like it made sense to him, which wasn’t at all the show of support Luke felt he should be offering instead.  Although, after considering what kind of support he would actually want, he wasn’t sure Godfrey could’ve done something better. Being offered some kind of emotional sympathy seemed hellish.

When Dylan came home from class, he didn’t even bother asking Luke what was wrong, which was also irritating, but ultimately probably for the best. It wasn’t until the three of them were sitting down to dinner together that Godfrey brought it up again. Luke had made them enchiladas because he was nice like that. Godfrey had demanded that they all eat dinner together at least four times a week otherwise, as he claimed, they would never speak to one another. Luke felt that was overly dramatic. He also didn’t think it was remotely true. He largely suspected that Godfrey had only said it so that Luke would cook him dinner at least four nights a week, usually more.

“I’ve given it some thought and I don’t think you’ll ever find love,” Godfrey told Luke casually, as if he wasn’t telling him something incredibly cruel. Luke stared at him in surprise for a moment as Dylan did the same.

“Wow,” he said. “That is so abrupt. I haven’t even finished dinner yet and you’re throwing that in my face. Really kicking me when I’m down. Thanks.”

“No, honestly,” Godfrey pressed. Luke stared at him again.

“Bro, I don’t think anyone doubted your honesty,” Dylan interjected, snorting in laughter. At least he had managed to find joy in Luke’s pain. Although, to be fair, Luke wasn’t all that upset by Godfrey’s remarks. He wasn’t even angry, just stunned.

“I just mean that I believe there’s someone out there for everyone,” Godfrey explained.

“Soulmates are bullshit,” Dylan cut in.

“You literally just said I won’t ever have someone to love,” Luke pointed out indignantly.

“No, I think your person is Dylan,” Godfrey clarified. “Even your dog is in love with him.”

Luke looked over to find Gus sitting beside Dylan’s chair, his head on Dylan’s leg. He was looking up at him with his big, woeful eyes. Dylan looked down a t him as well, petting his head gently and looking mildly guilty, which Luke appreciated.

“Traitor,” he hissed to Gus, who merely wagged his tail, keeping his head firmly in Dylan’s lap.

That night, Luke woke up in the middle of the night needing to go to the bathroom. When he was on his way back to his bedroom, he noticed that Gus wasn’t in his usual place on the sofa. The sliding balcony door was closed so Luke knew he wasn’t off having adventures on his own. And then he saw that Dylan’s bedroom door was open slightly. He walked over and pushed it open to find Gus sleeping at the foot of Dylan’s bed. Dylan had covered him with the extra blanket that normally sat at the foot of his bed. Luke glared at both of them. Then he grabbed a rolled pair of socks from Dylan’s floor and chucked it at his face. Dylan shot up in bed like he’d been struck in the chest with a cattle prod.

“Fuck you,” was all Luke said to him before he turned and went back to his own bedroom.

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