Royce hadn't thought anything of the Doc handing the phone over to Charlie. It didn't occur to him that this would be the first time that it ever had happened. There was nothing weird about her getting a call at the place she worked. Maybe it was someone with another pregnant dog and needed Charlie's sweet disposition to help with ... something or other. And he wasn't going to hone in on her conversation. He was kind of busy helping this stupid lady with her dumb finch. The old woman had interrupted his previous task of sweeping out the dirt and animal hair that was floating around with so many people coming and going and while that wasn't a big deal, he'd rather stick to his broom than trying to get the bird to take his meds.
Seriously. If the bird wasn't going to take it from the woman it had been living with for the past hundred years (what, they looked that old), what made the stupid lady think that the bird was going to take it from some complete stranger?
"Ma'am, if that bird bites me, you are on your own." Royce warned the woman as he held out his hand to the bird. Charlie had told him that the bird wouldn't take the tiny pill directly so he'd have to mix it in with bird food. Personally, feeding a bird was about as exciting as playing with a wet paper bag. The bird didn't look that excited to be in the clinic here. It squawked at him, tiny wings fluttering but the tiny orange head did reach out for his hand. He trusted the bird as much as he trusted Crowne and the bird was more likely to bite him too. Funny how a bird could be more dangerous, in a sense, than Crowne. It may not have teeth but those damn beaks were sharp! Like tiny knives! But the bird was eager to eat and his hand was empty in seconds.
At that moment, he picked up Doc's voice from the back. It didn't sound right. The normal tone was dampened by an undercurrent of worry. But what was he suddenly worried about? And then there was Charlie's voice. Not only did it not sound right but it sounded ... strained. Pained. Stressed. Yes, stressed.
That was when Royce remembered the phone. Doc had picked it up. it was his office, his business, but he had handed it to Charlie. Who was it that could be calling her that would leave her normally sweet voice so broken?
Instantly, he straightened up. Politely excusing himself from the old woman who was now plenty pleased, he walked over to where the Doc was now standing, a couple feet from his office where Charlie had disappeared quickly into. He was about to ask what happened when the Doc went a step ahead of him and asked him to eavesdrop. In so many words but pretty much, his boss was asking him to spy on his girlfriend. But it was for the sake of checking to make sure that Charlie was okay. The old man cared. It was an easy thing to forget, what with the way he talked to Charlie, but the man did care. The proof wasn't in his words but in his tone. Before and now.
Royce briefly wished that he'd had a father like the Doc.
He was quiet as he went to the door. There was no need to press his ear up to it so he just leaned against the neighboring wall. Thanks to his super-hearing, he'd be able to hear straight the door. When he got Abbey in his head, he remembered that his friend was also on the other side of the door. Good. Two ears were better than one. Especially when they were werewolf ears.
What was that she was saying? From the sound of it, she was going to meet someone. Who would she need to go see? And why bother with the secrecy of it? He listened as long as he could but the conversation was short and Charlie was coming back out so he jumped back in the nick of time before she came out.