“Good boy.” Bailey gave a slight woof in response as if to say ‘thank you’ before Alex scratched him between the ears again. His pet eventually laid his head down on his paws and noticeably groaned. Likely out of pleasure. “Yeah. I’m glad to be back home too.”
A while later, the sound of an engine turning over sounded outside. Figuring Hill was finished talking with his folks, the front door opened shortly afterwards, making Bailey lift his head. “Stay, boy.” Although Alex was already preparing himself for a talk with his parents, he hoped he could convince them to let the issue slide for the night.
When they came to the doorway, his mother spoke first. “Alex, do you...”
“No, Mom. I don't.” Alex replied without hesitation.
“Son, you can talk to us about it.” David said. “You two did the right thing.”
“I know Dad, but just humor me. Tomorrow I'll talk.”
“Isn't Nathan talking to his parents about this?”
“I don't know. Maybe after I left, but...let's just leave it for now, alright? I really don't want to talk about this.”
“OK. Tomorrow, then.”
Nodding his thanks, Alex hugged his folks and settled into bed soon after. Although he didn't want to think about what had happened, as he lay in the bed, stroking Bailey’s pelt, the thoughts didn’t leave him. They were too recent to do so, and even thinking about playing a game or two didn’t help.
Looking over to his phone, Alex decided to text Nathan and ask if he was OK. He was currently online and not busy. At least according to his icon. “Are you OK, man?” While waiting for a reply from him, Bailey took the opportunity to move up the bed, closer to where his head was laying.
His dog’s hot breath blew in his face for a bit before he rested his huge head on his paws again. Bailey then let out a few short groans, his large brown eyes barely looking away. As though he could tell something was wrong with his owner.
“Nothing gets past you, does it boy?” Alex said. Scratching his dog's ears again, the telltale sound of a message reply got him to look at the screen. “I'm fine. You?”
“I'm managing.” Alex texted back.
“Good. I'm gonna sleep. Talk to you later.”
“Same here. Later.” Turning off the phone, Alex wrapped up for the night, hoping some sleep would help him vent or restrain some of the sadness he still felt.