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“No,” Uncle Trevor said, as he stood there, rubbing his hands roughly down his face while she watched the small black puppy that would make the perfect Christmas present for Aunt Zoe as it fell over, shook it off, and quickly got back up and ran as fast as its three legs would carry it across the large box so that it could attack the large ball the shelter volunteer had given it.
“She’d love it,” Sebastian pointed out with a shrug as Mikey shifted her attention from the adoption center that the local animal shelter had set up to the rest of the mall and started to regret not going to school for that geometry test after all.
“No,” Uncle Trevor said, dropping his hands away from his face with a heavy sigh as he took in the large crowd of Christmas shoppers filling the mall with holiday cheer.
“I was here first!”
“Wait your turn!”
“You’re not my real mom!”
“Why are you buying your secretary a gift card to Victoria Secret?”
“I found chocolate pudding in my diaper, mama!”
“Amazon it is,” Uncle Trevor said, nodding as he turned around and gestured for them to go back the way they came.
“But, what about the puppy?” Mikey asked, worrying her lip as she watched the small puppy fall over, jump back up and charge only to fall again and again, each time getting up with an excitement wag of his tail and he went after the ball that was almost as big as him.
“He’ll be fine,” Uncle Trevor promised with a smile as he put his arm around her and-
“Isn’t this a kill shelter?” Sebastian said, frowning as he looked at the name of the shelter.
“They’re not going to put down a puppy,” Uncle Trevor reassured them as Mikey stood there, staring down at the small puppy as it flopped over, got right back up again and-
“He’s already been with the shelter for forty-two days and its policy says that they can only hold them for thirty,” Sebastian said, frowning down at his phone as Mikey felt her stomach drop.
“He’ll be fine,” Uncle Trevor promised, once again gesturing for them to leave.
“They have him listed as urgent,” Sebastian murmured as he scrolled down the page while Mikey looked from the cute three-legged puppy with a huge smile to the boxes of perfect looking puppies all around her and noted the people walking past them, lost in their own world, their eyes glued to their phones, and completely oblivious to the world around them and realized what she had to do.
Slowly exhaling, she took the ziplock bag filled with the money that she’d been saving to buy tickets to go see the Yankees play the Red Sox at Fenway with her Dad. As she looked around for a volunteer, she told herself that she could earn it back and the rest of the money that she was going to need in order to pull this off. She’d do extra chores for her mom, ask Uncle Jared if she could get a few hours cleaning up again and maybe if she was lucky, she’d have the money in time or…
Or, she could sell the baseball cards that her father had left her, she thought, as she looked over her shoulder at the sports memorabilia store and-
“Merry Christmas, Mikey,” Uncle Trevor said as Mikey suddenly found herself holding the wiggling puppy determined to lick her face.
“Really?” she asked, smiling down at the adorable puppy in her arms and couldn’t help but wonder one thing. “Who’s going to tell Mom?”