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Chapter Seven: The Airport Discovery

I am the unluckiest pug in the entire world.

Lauren was pushing me head-first into my pet taxi, despite my leg-kicking and whining. Igby was already nesting into his freshly cleaned bedding. "Nacho.. just... go in the crate," Lauren pleaded, pushing my butt. I had a firm grasp on the outside of the door of the crate and I was not about to lose it.

"You gotta give him Beggin' Strips," I heard Nick say as he thundered by with a heavy load of bags.

I lost my footing at the words Beggin' Strips.

"If he has many more of those things he's gonna not fit in the crate," Lauren grunted. She pushed and my lost footing did me in and I slid into the crate. "Aha!" She cried. The door closed and locked behind me.

Damn it.

She lugged the two pet taxis out the front door and I caught a swinging glimpse of Nick's backend sticking out of the car as he piled in the luggage. "Here's the dogs," Lauren said, holding us out.

"What the hell did you pack?" Nick asked. I felt the crate shift as he took hold of the handle from Lauren. I slid into the wall and pressed my face against the grated door, staring out. "Everything but the damn kitchen sink? It's only a week, Laur..."

"One week, the wedding, and then the honeymoon. Don't forget the honeymoon," Lauren said, "That's a second whole week!"

"We don't need clothes for that."

"Nick!" Lauren laughed.

"Well we don't."

"You plan to go sightseeing in the nude?"

"That would be a sight to see," Nick shoved the two crates into the car and directed his hand at his crotch. Lauren had her eyebrow raised. "It's a damn fine sight to see."

"Uh huh," she muttered, covering her mouth, trying not to laugh.

Nick reached for the car door and slammed it shut.

"Where are we going?" I asked Igby, shuffling in my crate so I could peer through the breathing holes into his.

He was yawning. "Haven't you been listening to the humans? We're going to Florida."

"Is Florida far?"

"You've been to Florida plenty of times," Igby replied, like that was the answer to my question.

"Is it further than Tour?"

Igby sighed. "For the millionth time, you do not go TO tour, you go ON tour. Tour is not a place, it is an activity."

I curled up, turning my back on the old man. If he was gonna talk nonsense I was gonna just ignore him. I tucked my paws under my chin and waited, trying to remember when I'd been to Florida before so I could gauge how far away it was compared to Tour.

The ride was pretty much really uneventful. Nick and Lauren listened to music, interrupted only when Nick barked at the other cars and Lauren barked at Nick for barking at them. When we got to there, Nick jumped out and started unloading all the luggage onto a cart.

"Florida was really close," I said to Igby.

"That was just the ride to the airport, dumbass," Igby answered, "We haven't even started the trip yet. We still have a plane to ride and another car ride when we get there too."

I sighed.

Suddenly the crates were airbourne and Nick was pushing us onto the top of the cart thing and securing us down, and we were being pushed into this big crazy building that smelled like lots of new people and I looked around wondering if I'd see the mailman, but there was too many foods and people to smell and I didn't really know what the mailmain looked like.

Nick pushed the cart until we were standing in a long line. Lauren was digging in her bag when suddenly a voice rang through the airport that I knew I recognized from somewhere...

"Lauren, hello!"

Lauren stopped and turned. Her face turned red. "Oh boy."

"What?" Nick turned around and as he turned, I saw -- it was the Producer-human, and he was coming towards us all from across the airport, waving at Lauren. I growled instinctively at the sight of him. "What the hell is he doing here?" Nick asked.

"Be nice," Lauren commanded.

"Only if he is," Nick replied.

Lauren gave him The Look as the Producer-human arrived at their sides. "Well imagine running into y'all here," he said, grinning, still staring at Lauren. "What are the odds!"

"Murphey's Law is a bitch," Nick muttered.

Lauren elbowed him.

Nick shrugged.

Producer-human either didn't notice this exchange or didn't pay attention to it. "I was hoping to get a chance to talk to you more," Producer-human said, grinning. "I've been wanting to talk to you for quite some time."

"I bet you have," Nick mumbled.

I was still growling lowly.

Lauren was red-faced as she reached in her purse and shoved two pieces of paper at Nick. "Go get us checked in, sweetie?"

"But --"

Lauren raised her eyebrow.

"Fine, gimme the tickets." Nick took the papers and stared at the Producer-human. I could feel the tension in him. I doubled my growling.

"Nacho stop it," Nick muttered, and he walked away carrying the paper.

Lauren turned back to the Producer-human. "I told you that you are not to bring up the past during this project. I thought I made myself clear about that?"

Producer-human shrugged, "What can I say? I changed my mind about the agreement."

Lauren bit her lips, frustrated. "Look. I'm getting married, I am in love with that man, and I don't care what you think or what you want..."

Producer-human was grinning. "You still haven't told him about us yet have you? What, are you afraid Nick won't marry you if he knows you slept with me?"

Lauren stared at the Producer-human and the tension in her eyes was so great that even Igby started to growl a little bit.

"There isn't an us," Lauren snapped, "There was never an us. All there was was a terrible mistake made on a drunken night over four years ago that didn't mean anything. I was in a very, very bad place at that point, Nick and I were on a break, and you meant nothing to me then, and you mean nothing to me now."

"I don't think that's quite true," the Producer-human said, chuckling. He reached out his hand and leaned it on the suitcase directly beside me.

Big mistake.

I launched myself at the wall of the crate so hard that the crate shifted a little and started to slide off. My noise was great enough - even if all I managed to do was bounce off the wall of the crate a little - that it scared the shit out of the Producer-human, though. He leaped back, clutching his heart. "Jesus!" he shouted. He glared at me, then pointed, turning back to Lauren, "That dog... that dog is vicious."

"He's not vicious, he's just protective, and he knows an asshole when he sees him. Have a good day," Lauren replied, and she reached for the handle of the cart.

He stepped up and put his hands on her waist. "You really should tell Nick before I let something slip..." his voice was low.

Lauren whispered, "You cannot hold something from so long ago against me."

"There's a lot of things I wanna hold against you," the Producer-human whispered back.

Lauren stared straight ahead, her jaw set. Then, very slowly, she mumbled, "If you don't get your fucking hands off my hips right fucking now I will kick your ass into the next dimension."

Producer-human backed up, holding his hands up so she could see them. He smirked. "I'll see y'all on the plane, then," he said, winking, "I think we may just be seated together."

Lauren closed her eyes as the Producer-human disappeared among the crowd of the airport. "He can't ruin the wedding," she whispered. "He just can't."

Ruin the wedding?

Panic went through my veins.

"Igby, what does she mean, ruin the wedding? Like stop it from happening?"

"That's what it sounds like," Igby said, a stunned tone to his voice.

"Well shit, we can't let that happen!" I gasped, "We gotta tell Nick!"

"And how do you propose we do that? All they hear of us is barks and groans, remember?"

"Somehow! Or else... or else we gotta stop the Producer-human ourselves..."

"You've officially lost your mind. We're dogs in case you haven't noticed," Igby replied with a barking scoff.

"There's gotta be something we can do!" I cried.

Nick came back and grabbed the handle of the cart. "Gotta check the bags," he said. He looked around, "Where's Oscar the Grouch?"

"He went to go check in," Lauren answered stiffly.

"You okay?" Nick questioned.

"Yeah," she replied, "Yeah. I'm... it's great. C'mon." She helped him steer the cart through the people crowded around the check in area.

I have never wished that I was able to speak human more than at that moment.

I wanted to scream to Nick everything we'd just heard.

Especially the part where the creepy Producer-human wanted to ruin the wedding.

Looks like I was gonna have to take matters into my own hands. But how? I was going on several years of tryng to catch the mailmain and I was presented an opportunity to get that guy every single day. What could a little pug like me possibly do to save the day against the Producer-human?