She wasn’t quite sure how she got here or exactly what she was saying, but she was sure she was drunk. She heard the words, “stay, away, me, masturbate, you, me, right, wrong” and then she stopped listening to herself. Or maybe she had stopped talking. She felt something soft and rough, smooth and edged. She felt the graininess of pores. She felt like she was going to throw up. She felt the temperature change as she returned indoors from outside. The warm air, versus the cold.

Rose hurried through the party to the elevators. Whatever person planned a company party with an open bar inside the hotel where employees had free rooms was an asshole. Banging on the elevator button, Rose realized it had been her. She had planned this party. It was her job as the company marketing and events person. She went to bang her head on the doors for her stupidity when they opened, causing her to stumble in. She caught herself on the back wall, and went to turn around to press the button for her floor, but first she had to remember which floor she was on. The room whirled as the doors closed and they began to move upward. Hands reached out and grabbed Rose’s hips turning her around. She was facing Andrew.

She tried to focus on his eyes. There was so much movement. She had been talking outside with Andrew before she rushed off. Andrew was speaking now. Something about not being right for each other, dying out, her all along. Rose blinked a few times and steadied herself as the elevators stopped. She asked if he was talking about sea turtles. They were a dying breed and one of her favorites. Andrew laughed. He had been talking about Ana. His girlfriend. Ana was dying, or maybe it was their love. Andrew’s over simplified point was that for months he wanted Rose. He liked Rose. He had thought Rose was unavailable until tonight. Rose was not unavailable, though at the moment she felt as though she was coming back to a situation she from once had previously been removed. Things were getting better as they were walking down the hall, out of the elevator, away from everything else.

When Andrew opened the door, Rose realized they were going to his room to talk. He took a water bottle from the mini fridge and looked into her eyes again. He wanted to know if this way making sense to her, on any level, since it was all turning over too quickly in his mind. Rose shook her head and recapped the situation as best she could: the sea turtles are dying out, this has nothing to do with sea turtles, Andrew’s relationship with Ana was effectively a sham, Rose told Andrew in great detail the ways in which she thought of him – including how frequently, fingers used, and that one time at work after their conversation on animal activism, and that she was available both emotionally and sexually speaking. But Andrew wasn’t. That’s what had brought them here.

Andrew walked back over with two glasses of champagne and some aspirins. Rose had drunk the last water and at least the champagne was cold. Rose sat holding her glass and her aspirins. It had been a long night. With the passing of time, exactly how much she didn’t know, a lot had changed. The end result of which, remained to be seen. Rose knew Andrew to be honest and caring. He was smart, intelligent, and funny. He was what Rose had wanted from the first time she met him. The timing sucked. But here they were, coming back from a drunken kiss with a roadmap of knowledge and bottle of champagne. Rose looked around the room, trying to organize her thoughts. A towel sat on the dresser, folded into the shape of a dog. Rose grabbed Andrew’s hand and stood up, dragging him over to the towel dog sculpture. She told him to put his hand on top of the dog’s head. She knew how stupid this must seem, but she had to be sure. It was the only way she could think to do so under the circumstances. Before Rose could speak, Andrew assured her he wasn’t fully of shit. He swore it so against the lives of all the dogs, including his own. Rose looked up at him once more, raising her glass she poured back her champagne and stepped closer to him. “To the dogs then,” she whispered as the reached up to kiss him. “To the dogs,” he said as he put his empty glass down where the dog had sat, his towels now just a pile on the floor, their shape already in a heap.

Like the animals they had sworn to, Rose and Andrew licked, pawed, and howled their way through the night and into the early morning. Scratches and bite marks littered their bodies where their clothes would conceal their passions. Andrew called for a late check out as Rose took the emergency stairs up one more floor to her room to collect her things. When she returned downstairs, Andrew was ready for her. A tray a treats lined the desk, along with a brand new bottle of tequila. Rose looked back and forth between the goodies and Andrew. “We’ve waited long enough,” he said as he walked closer to her. Rose kicked the door closed. To the rest of the floor, they would swear someone on the floor had a dog based on the noises they heard. Only Andrew and Rose would know the truth, and maybe the rest of their departments at work. None of that mattered though, at least not to the dogs in Room 427.

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