Edgar loves dogs and has always been wonderfully kind and affectionate to them. The dog he has loves him. Near the end of his life when nobody loved him at all, and his business partners were always smiling to his face but were really only in love with the money, his dog was the only thing he could go to to experience any tenderness and companionship
Edgar sits outside with his dog Pepper, throwing her a ball although he remains seated. He doesn’t feel well. He rarely feels well these days even though the doctors cant find anything wrong with him. His wife never talks to him and Edgar knows in his heart of hearts that he can’t blame her. He has plenty of people who call him his friends but none that don’t want something from him all the time. All he has is Pepper. He hugs her and asks her who’s a good girl. He tells her something. He tells her even though he’s always told people he’ll never bring his mother Annabel back, the truth is that he’s been thinking of it lately. A lot. Come so close. He just wants to bring her back as a doll, for 5 minutes. Just long enough to tell his mama how much he loves her. And then, he’ll take an axe and destroy her again.
Edgar’s burial was a surprisingly small affair. The public was barred from attending although crowds gathered around the church where the commemoration service took place. All those invited were sure to be seen attending. Even Fay begrudgingly went, little Byron in hand. However, the actual burial was another story. Fay did not go to that, nor did most of the people who attended the service. Edgar’s current mistress attended as did a couple of his longer term business partners. The mistress left with one of the business partners, as they decided to head somewhere more private to discuss an arrangement around their mutual interests and benefits.
But there was one who attended the burial who no one took much notice of, and unlike the few who came and quickly left, she did not leave shortly after. Pepper stayed there, laying on the freshly dug dirt beneath where her companion lay all that day and night. It wasn’t until the following morning that she finally rose and slinked off towards home.
Home was now a bit of a pickle. Fay hated the dog, absolutely hated it. In her more introspective moments she could admit that her hatred was a little irrational and unfair to the poor beast who had never actually done anything against her, but the fact was that the dog irritated Fay to no end. It reminded her of her Edgar and while she was not in any way grieving, she was in an inner emotional turmoil where hatred and guilt warred within her. On the outside she tried to be calm and reasonable, and so when the dog reappeared, she accepted that she had to do something with it, so she gave it to little Byron.
Little Byron was definitely in need of a companion. He spend too much time alone, caught in shadow of a strange turmoil of ugly adult emotions he couldn’t actually understand and retreating into a deep self absorption which he would spend the rest of his life in. He could really use a companion who would actually interact with him, emotionally and physically and teach him how to explore and express positive feelings. Pepper would be perfect for this.
Fay had up until that point filled little Byron with such loathing and distrust of both Edgar and his dog that little Byron was afraid of and utterly uncomfortable with Pepper. He shunned the dog. He left food out for it when Fay bothered him to do so, but most of the time it was the kitchen staff who actually remembered to feed the hungry thing. Pepper was left to fend for herself, and so she explored the grounds.
One day she made her way into the West Wing, a wing where very few ever went. Pepper could smell Fay’s scent lingering in the air, and 2 of the more senior servants telling her that these three people came to this part of the mansion, but no one else. Pepper explored quietly, knowing that if Fay caught her there, she’s probably subject Pepper to a tirade that pepper truly feared. And eventually, Pepper stumbled across something very interesting. A mahogany man.
It had metal bits, too. Pepper got up close. It was so odd. It has absolutely nothing biological to it, no blood, no living scent, and yet… Pepper was sure it was alive. She could smell a soul inside of it. A pleasant one at that. She gave it a lick. The taste of the mahogany was not terrible. She settled down next to it.
This is how Pepper and Jasper became friends.
Every day Pepper would sneak in and spend the afternoon with Jasper. They would sit together, staring out the window at the well maintained grounds and listen to talk radio. Sometimes Jasper would play a waltz channel. He loved waltzes and Pepper grew to recognize and like them too. If she lay her head on his lap he, with effort, learned how to pet her head just a littler bit. It wasn’t anything that felt exceptionally wonderful, but for Pepper it was the thought that counted.
One afternoon, as they were hanging out, Pepper caught a roach crawling across Jasper. Appalled at the indignity, she got up on her forepaws and tried to use her teeth to grab and crush the roach. She was mashing her head and teeth into Jasper’s torso to accomplish this when Fay walked in and saw her.
The screech was heard across the grounds.
Fay would absolutely have killed the dog then and there. She chased Pepper out of the house, throwing whatever she could grab, but holding onto a candlestick from within Jasper’s room so that when she caught up to Pepper she could beat the foul beast into its grave. They ran across the lawn and she screamed for the servants to help her, to get the gun and shoot the thing.
Pepper outran them but didn’t know where to go or what to do.
The cook had come out to see what all the fuss was about. The cook, who fed Pepper every night out back, caught the fleeing dog’s eye. The cook calmly went over the service entrance leading to and from the property, opened the door and stood there.
Pepper saw this, bounded over and was soon gone from the property, her only home, where she was never to return. As she ran through the door the cook whispered “Good luck”, then closed the door and calmly walked back into the kitchen.