You can call it Home

Chapter 14

“I think this is the one!” Arizona exclaimed as she held up a little King Charles spaniel puppy, which was wriggling and squirming and trying to lick her face. The little thing was so incredibly adorable and a little ball of energy, it was perfect for us. I knew it would probably get hair everywhere and bark a lot, but it was all worth it.

“I love it!” Sofia exclaimed, and the lady who had been showing us each puppy laughed and patted the puppy’s head.

“So is this the one you’re going for?” She asked Callie and Arizona. They shared a brief look and a nod to each other before smiling and confirming that he was definitely the one we were taking home.

Half an hour later we had signed all of the forms, agreeing to certain things and being informed of what vaccinations he’d need, and we agreed that we would pick him on Monday afternoon after his quick vet visit, just to make sure everything was okay.

One the car journey back home the conversation has loud and many different names were suggested and tossed around, and with eve new suggestion Sofia got even more and more excited about the new member of our family. I was really excited too.

I still hadn’t heard anything from Grace, and by the way things were looking I wasn’t actually going to get a chance to even see her until school started back up again, and I hated that. She was the one who said we’d still be friends; she was the one who’d brought up the issue of splitting up. If she was just going to avoid me, why did she even say she would try in the first place?

Was she seeing someone else? It was too soon. We’d only been split up for, like, eleven days, and if she could move on that quickly then I had no idea what the hell our relationship meant to her. And I was also annoyed at myself for obsessing over it so much, because I knew deep down that things would be different. I was being stupid.

“Hey, since it’s nice weather and is supposed to be for the rest of the week, why don’t we take a drive and find a theme park tomorrow?” Arizona suggested from the passenger seat, and her question was answered with a chorus of ‘yay!’s. I loved theme parks. David and I would always ride all of the crazy rollercoasters while Sarah watched with baited breath and insisted that we were off our heads.

For the rest of the Car journey the topic of conversation drifted between the new puppy or our trip tomorrow, and I found myself forgetting about everything.

The next day came around quickly, and we decided to leave quite early in the morning so as to avoid as many long lines as we could. However, it seemed that they were unavoidable. When we arrived there, we had to wait about half an hour in the line before we could go to the d4esk and purchase tickets.

“This is boooooring….” Sofia sang as we shifted forward a few steps forward.

“Hey, can you see that rollercoaster over there?” I asked her, pointing over to where we could see the top of one above the trees.

“Oh yeah!” She exclaimed, standing on her toes. “That looks scary!”

“Well, Imma ride it!” I announced. “That is, if this line ever actually moves.”

“I’ll ride it with you!” Callie agreed, studying what we could see of it.

“I’d ride it, but they have rules against prosthetics and above knee amputations and stuff.” Arizona sighed. “Me and Tim used to do all of the crazy ones, it completely freaked my mom out. But hey, I’ll just hang with Sof, right?!” She nudged Sofia’s shoulder.

“Yeah, cuz I am not going on that.” She stressed seriously, making us all laugh.

By the end of the day, Callie and I had ridden almost all of the coasters in the place, and Sofia was hyper from the high amounts of cotton candy she’d consumed while waiting on us.

“We’ll get puppy tomorrow!!” She kept reminding us over and over in the car whenever the conversation drifted away from him. “And we don’t have a name!”

After a while the names started getting a little ridiculous, but it seemed that we all agreed on one.

“I like Charlie.” I decided with a note of finality.

“Me too! It’s cute!” Sofia chirped.

So, on Monday, we brought Charlie home. He was shy at first, but the minute we opened the bag of treats he snapped right out of it, and now he was sitting contently on the carpet just munching away.

What surprised me, though, was when Olivia showed up at the house just after dinner, accompanied by Grace. She said a quiet ‘hi’ and talked to everyone else like usual, but was cooler towards me and hardly said two words.

“I had to practically drag her here.” Olivia admitted as we watched her and Sofia trying to teach Charlie his name. It was amusing as whenever they called his name he would look around him, as if expecting this Charlie person to show up. “She kept looking at all of the photos you posted earlier, and eventually just told her to come with me.”

“So she’s just here for Charlie…” I conclude, whether to Olivia or myself I wasn’t sure. I mean, she showed up here, barely said a word to me, and talked to everyone else normally and played with the puppy.

“Oh, I don’t know…” She replied uncertainly, not even convincing herself.

“Hey, it’s okay.” I decided. “At least she’d being nice to them. And plus, he is pretty cute.” I added as Sofia hugged him for responding to his name for the first time.

Well, whether she was here just to see Charlie or not became clear after a very awkward encounter in the kitchen, which resulted in them leaving and me hiding out in my room for the rest of the night.

“So, he’s pretty cute, huh?” I said to her as I poured some Pepsi into a glass.

“Yeah.” She replied quietly, focusing on the squirming puppy in her arms.

“I’m surprised Sofia let him out of her sight.” I laughed, concentrating very hard on the level of liquid being poured.

“Mmmm…”

Seriously? She couldn’t even have a conversation?

“Can we have a conversation? Or is it just going to be like it’s been so far?”

She scoffed a little and looked up at me. “What do you mean, ‘so far’? It’s been two weeks!”

“You know what I’m talking about. You’ve been avoiding me.” I said, shutting the fridge door a little more aggressively than I had intended, and I could hear the contents of it rattling as I stood in silence.

“It’s not easy, you know!”

“You’re not even trying!” I accused. “I’ve invited you over; I’ve told Olivia to bring you shopping with us!”

“That’s exactly my point, Poppy!” She exclaimed, setting Charlie on the floor, clearly exasperated. “You’re trying too hard! I knew it wasn’t gonna work, even being friends, but you just kept trying! That’s why this is happening!”

Wait, what? So now it was my fault? For trying?

“Okay, so it’s my fault for trying to keep a friendship? Or for at least trying for Olivia’s sake? She’s your sister!”

She ran her hands through her hair, clearly trying to think of something to say. Eventually, she dropped her hand and relaxed, shaking her head.

“I know, Poppy. I tried to try, that’s why I came here… But I can barely say two words to you, it’s so awkward! And maybe it’s better for Olivia that we just call it, because it’s not fair for her to have to go back and forth!”

I studied her for a minute, soaking in her words and letting them hurt. So, she didn’t want it? Okay. Fine.

“Okay. Great. Well, I’ll see you around.” I said simply, picking up Charlie and walking out of the room. I didn’t bother stomping, or slamming the door, or saying anything to anyone. I just headed up to my room.

Not long later, Callie and Arizona knocked softly on the door and I told them to come in, hastily brushing tears from my face and sitting up straight.

“You okay, sweets?” Arizona asked, wrapping her arm around my shoulder

“Yeah.” I replied bitterly. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Olivia explained everything before they both left.” Callie informed me.

“Yeah, well, I guess I can stop trying so hard now.”

Just then, Sofia turned up at the door with Charlie, who had escaped my grasp pretty quickly, at her heels.

“Here, have a hug and a Charlie!” She said, squeezing me tightly before lifting Charlie up onto the bed. I pet his head softly and smiled.

“Thanks, Sof.” I smiled, pulling her in for another hug. “I feel better now.”

“Good, because no one gets to make my sister upset!”


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