The dog barked with increased ferocity as Rex rolled down his window. “King, quiet.” Bernie saw the dog’s ears fall, heard it start to whimper at Rex’s command.
Rex turned back to Coach Dan, waiting patiently in the driver’s seat. “Coach, I wouldn’t be comfortable with being captain of the fencing team.”
“Nobody’s going to make you do anything against your will, Rex.” Outside the sedan, King resumed its wild barking. “That’s not how we run things. We’re all captains of our own fates.”
“Huh.” Rex turned his head, looked at his family’s trailer, silent and dark in the winter night. King’s barking paused. “Wish I could agree with you, Coach. It’s just that — things seem to follow me, my family. And I don’t want any of that stuff following the team.”
Coach Dan quickly objected, causing King to resume barking. Rex raised his left hand. “I’m sorry, Coach. I need to go.” Coach Dan nodded, said he’d see him tomorrow. Rex opened the sedan door, King rushing to the door before stopping short upon seeing Rex’s long body unfold from the passenger seat. Now wagging its tail, King pranced around the metal door, lifted its snout up to Rex, licked the back of the tall teen’s hand.
From the back seat, Bernie watched Rex patting King’s head. King turned, its black eyes catching Bernie’s glance — ROWF! ROWF!
“King!” Rex called, taking two brisk stepss away from the car. He turned, placed his hand on the door, leaned in and looked back at Bernie. “Getting in front?”
Bernie looked at King, who caught his glance and growled. “I’m — good. Thanks.” With a wave, Rex closed the door, walked with King at his side to the wooden steps leading up to his trailer’s front door.
End of third ride