Nick pressed himself back into the armchair vaguely remembering - through the fog of panic - that dogs could smell fear, or possibly that was horses. No, he was pretty sure it was dogs that could smell fear, in which case he must positively reek. Laura had stepped out of the living room to make coffee, and Sam had turned instantly from Lassie to Cujo, like Laura had flipped a switch on her way out. He seemed to be all teeth now, teeth and spit and pinned back ears which spoke to a part of Nick's brain so ancient he'd never even met it before. It told him succinctly that he was to stay still, preferably still enough to pass for dead. He was doing his best, because he had never seen so many teeth in one mouth, and he really didn't want to
find out if they were as sharp as they looked. He was too scared even to call out to Laura, in case Sam took that as an act of aggression. He probably wouldn't use the word scared to Laura, they just hadn't been together that long yet, and he liked her, far too much to make himself sound like a big wuss over her dog. To be fair, Sam had never really warmed to Nick, but both he and Laura had assumed that it was merely a matter of time, of Sam getting used to Nick, but he was beginning to doubt that now. In fact with each passing date, and weekend, and night stayed over, Sam seemed to hate his guts even more.
"Okay, here you…Oh God, Sam get down, get down," Laura commanded ineffectively when she returned to the room. She set the coffee down on the mantelpiece and dragged Sam away by his collar. She manoeuvred him, still barking blue murder, into the kitchen and shut the door,
which muted the snarling a little. She turned back to Nick and smiled nervously. "Um…I…he's never done that before," she said.
Nick raised an eyebrow, and held out a hand, pulling Laura onto his lap when she took it. He buried his face in her long blonde hair.
"He's never liked me," he muttered into it.
"Well, well, no, I know," Laura agreed reluctantly. "But then he's never had to share me before. I think he's jealous, that's all."
Nick sighed gently. He was finding himself dreading the end of every date because of Sam. It was really only because the good times were so good that he hadn't already jumped ship, that and his bloody-minded determination not to be beaten by a damn dog. He tightened his hold on Laura's waist, and she responded by resting her head on his with a sigh of her own, running her fingers through the hair at the nape of his neck. The cacophony from behind the kitchen door had not abated at all and the pleasant euphoria of their successful date was leaking
away with every angry bark.
"Just ignore him," Laura suggested but Nick could tell from her tone that even she knew that it was ridiculous advice. "Do you want your coffee?"
She didn't wait for an answer, just stood and retrieved the two cups from the mantelpiece, switching the television on as she passed in a vain attempt to counter the noise from the kitchen. She handed Nick his cup and perched on the arm of the chair again, smiling ruefully at
him over the edge of her own mug.
"How long do you think it'll take him to get bored and shut up this time?" Nick shouted over the combined noise, and Laura's face crumpled and she shrugged.
"I don't know," she said, sounding close to tears. "But he sounds to me like he's planning to try and beat his personal best of four hours without taking a break."
"I think I should probably go home," Nick suggested. "This is not going to work."
Laura's face closed off at that, her eyes hard and cold. She nodded, a tight small movement and levered herself up off the chair with little of her usual grace. It took Nick a moment to understand what it was that had upset her and caused the change.
"Just tonight," he said. "I just mean I don't think a night of lying awake listening to Sam barking is a good idea on a school night. For either of us."
This is rotund writing. You've got a dog barking like crazy, but these long ass sentences and paragraphs make the pacing glacial instead of urgent. The rhythm and pace of your writing has to match what you're talking about or it's like swimming in mud.
My comments for the hook said you'd have to show me great writing. This isn't there yet.