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Involvement; Cornerstone Mission, One-Shot
Topic Started: Feb 8 2016, 01:15 PM (162 Views)
Emprexx Plush
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Paige/EP/Plush, they/them pronouns pls thanks :3
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((Abby Floyd Continued From Prize Fighter))

Abby loved dog-sitting for Shelley. She'd only been doing it for a little while now, but Maxie was a lovable little pup and it always brightened her day to have him pounce up on her when she checked in with the other sitters. It made their relationship a little sad, since of course like everyone who came through the Mission Abby hoped she'd be able to leave and get on her feet just as soon as possible, but she'd miss the sweet woman and her silly dog so much when they left.

The pet site had been a personal project that Michael had helped her put together, so she tried to stop in as frequently as she could. While she was more interested in helping the human residents of the shelter, not having to separate them from their animals had been a milestone goal, something she was ecstatic to organize and help oversee even if it upped her workload quite a bit. That's why she came here first instead of checking in on Rose to make sure she didn't need an ear today and the meds were treating her alright, or Margaret to see just how that new interview went, or any of the other handful of regular in-and-outers she'd grown close to during their stay. It wouldn't take long to check on the sitters and make sure everyone was getting fed, that the boarding area was clean and changed, that everyone was getting walked or the litterboxes were being seen to or...

Okay. This might take longer than she thought, but that was okay. Anything to help the shelter run smoother!

She sat up off the floor and gave Maxie a fond scratch behind the ear. He tried to bounce into her lap and keep her down on the ground, but she was just a little too quick for him today. "Better luck next time, rascal," she said with a short wink as she dusted herself off.

"Having fun?"

Abby turned around to catch Shelley smiling over at her from the door. "Oh, don't you know it," she beamed back, "if I had my way I'd be down here with him all day." Shelley chuckled and held out the leash in her hand.

"Shame for you, he can't be here all day. I was just about to take him for a walk, since I-" She caught herself in mid-sentence, biting her lip. Abby had been working here long enough to recognize a moment of oversharing, and she didn't so much as flinch. Nobody had to say anything they weren't completely comfortable with, after all. That was an important part of establishing a safe space. She just nodded knowingly and patted her knees, helping Maxie wander over to his owner. Shelley smiled nervously and looked like she was about to say something, then twisted her face up in surprise a beat before the ringing of her phone became audible. Her expression turned embarrassed, but Abby just laughed and picked Maxie up. "Go on, I'll keep an eye on him."

Shelley shut the door as she answered the phone. Abby wasn't one to eavesdrop, of course, but she could hear the first words from her mouth through the thin wood. "Hey, Mom. Yeah, I just got back, they think I have a case, especially..."

Silence, with a little bit of shifting static. For some reason, Abby was frozen in place. Maybe it was the way Maxie was looking worriedly at the door, or the rush in Shelley's tone, or just some vague instinct of something's wrong that she had picked up, but she couldn't walk away.

"What do you mean you don't want to involve yourselves? Like, do you..."

More static, hurriedly now. She could almost make out a voice, a woman's voice, talking loudly and quickly. Like someone who really didn't want to be having this conversation.

"How can you even say that? You're my parents! Aren't you already "involved?" You're, you're not...tell me you're not taking his-"

This time, it was more clear that Shelley had be outright cut-off from speaking. She could tell from the creak that Shelley was leaning against the wall now. Abby could make out a few words. In the haze of static, she pulled out "unsure," "misunderstanding," something that could have been "family matter," maybe, and "nice boy." That one made Shelley burst out in the kind of sad, disbelieving laughter she'd heard way too often since she started volunteering here.

"Nice? You...you think he's nice? After what he did, after what you saw? Goddammit Mom, I could be in the hospital if I wasn't faster, and you think he's nice?"

Her voice was getting more frantic now. Part of Abby was ashamed she was still listening, but she couldn't peel away as Shelley's own tone began to mix with the fevered static in constant back and forth.

"No, no, shut up, I'm not going back there, it's not home anymore and you know that, you know that! Just...no, listen, don't tell me to calm down, just put Dad on, I want to-no, don't you lie to me, I can hear him! I want to talk to-Mom, Mom, don't you, Mom!"

There was no more static anymore. The room outside the door was quiet for a short time. After that brief interlude, the crying started.

She didn't fully register what came next. She remembered gesturing to one of the other sitters, Mark maybe, and handing Maxie off. When the door opened, Shelley didn't even acknowledge her, her face was buried in her hands as she sobbed quietly against the wall. Abby wrapped her arms tightly around the older woman and just held her there on the floor. Once, Shelley tried to speak, but choked up. "Shhh, shhh..." Abby replied softly as she felt the grip tighten around her, "you don't have to say anything. It's alright...no fighting, now. I'm not going anywhere until you're ready to get back on your feet..."

When the time came, Abby would walk her to one of the counselors. Or just help her get out to walk Maxie, if that's what she wanted. She understood her limitations. She couldn't solve Shelley's problems anymore than she could solve any of the larger, real world problems of anyone in the shelter. That wasn't her job. What Shelley needed wasn't someone to fix everything, though, not right now. She just needed someone to care.

That's what Abby did best.

((Abby Floyd Continued Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses))
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