As soon as we step inside, a black fur ball starts moving between my feet. She peers up and meows at me, curiously. I kneel down and start rubbing her belly. She licks my hand.
"Hi baby, I missed you. Did you miss me?" I ask her, with my pet voice. Everyone has a pet voice and I don't trust the people who deny that fact. Juniper meows at me again, and looks outside."Do you want to go for a walk Junie?" She purrs happily and sits down near the door, dutifully while I go in to the kitchen to get some water.
"I missed you too." Eli says, running past me to the pantry, and getting Animal Crackers. She sure does love her Animal Crackers. She runs back outside, only to come back in with Juniper.
"I was talking to Juniper. My well-behaved child." I tell her with a smirk. As soon as I sit down on one of the stools at the island, Juniper jumps up onto the island. I don't know how, and frankly this isn't the most weird thing I've seen her do. She understands everything we tell her, has jumped over a fence and brings home leaves.
"I AM well behaved. I'm better than Leafy over on your lap." Eli and Junie have a very love-hate relationship. They get along fine, and then a second later Junie starts growling at Eli, while she calls her Leafy. I find it hilarious.
"Is she Junie, is she really?" Juniper looks up at me and purrs. "You're such a smartie, Junie. Ha, that rhymed."Juniper agrees with me." I taunt my fuming little 6 year old sister, who looks like she is going to throw the zebra cracker in her hand at Juniper. "Now, now Eli-"
"You're crazy and sound like a 70 year old who knits at 10 in the morning." She really is mad. She picks up the cracker and throws it at my foot.
"Hey! What was that for? And I am not crazy for agreeing with my very smart pet cat." My mother walks in, and gives us both a weird look as she goes into the pantry to get the stuff for dinner out.
"We know who's going to be the crazy cat lady with a gazillion cats." My cat jumps down and goes to my mom, who bends down to pet Juniper, while I look at my sister, who is crushing the little crackers into dust.
"I don't need a gazillion cats, because I have Juniper. The most perfect cat out there. And I'm not crazy." My dad walks in and goes to kiss my mom on the cheek. Eli and I, both glance at them in disgust, while Juniper just tramples over my father's feet with no care. Seeing as I finished my bottle of water and interest in this conversation, I head back into the living room, with Juniper happily trotting behind me.
"Mom, this is why-" I hear Eli whining in the kitchen to my mom.
"You wanted a pet dog? You were insisting on getting Juniper too." I smirk, because I know I won. I bent down and pick up Juniper and she looks up at me.
"I was not!" Eli comes running out of the kitchen with Dad in tow.
"Ladies, Ladies. Olympia, you're not going to become a crazy cat lady. Elia, your mom is right. Charissa, why are you encouraging them?"
"I am not encouraging-" Mom scoffs, while glaring at Dad.
"Thanks Dad! I knew I could count on you." I say happily, while stroking Juniper.
"Mom isn't right." Eli says, while crossing her arms over and looking in the opposite direction of us.
"Yes, I am. I remember you fighting Dad because he wanted a dog." Mom tells her calmly.
"Dogs are better." Eli announces and looks Juniper straight in the eyes.
"They are not. Juniper, my sweet little darling has the soul of a dog in her. She could literally be a dog. But, cats are better." I defend Juniper, who screeches and jumps out of my hands. We all look at her, confused. She walks to the kitchen and then we register the sound of something bubbling.
"Do you hear that?" My dad says while looking at the kitchen.
"The sauce?!" My mom yells and runs into the kitchen.
"Oh boy." My dad sighs and walks into his study.
Eli goes into the kitchen to help Mom, and I follow her. There was sauce running down the sides of the pot and my Mom was fussing around the pot."It's good. Dinner will be ready in 15 minutes. Go clean yourselves up."
"Whatever you say." I say as I walk to the stairs, I tread up the stairs to my room and put my phone on the night stand. I go to the bathroom and take a nice, soothing shower. Once I come out, I notice my phone ringing like crazy. It's Alyxandria. I put on some sweatpants and a pink shirt, and then answer her call.
"Hey!" I say, curious about why she's calling me.
"Why aren't you here?" Now I remember. The dinner. With her brother. And her mother. Which I was invited to but politely declined.
"Didn't your brother tell you? I have plans with my family." Maybe he has the memory of a goldfish, that's why he forgot to tell her. He wasn't very welcoming and I bet he didn't want me there.
"Oh, sounds nice." Her voice loses the enthusiasm, she previously had in her voice.
"You have plans too." I remind her, hoping it brightens her mood.
"Well, Mom bailed out. She had last minute plans. And Alessandro got invited to a party. He just called me." That has to suck, I mean you're alone on a night meant to be sent with your family. Just then I had an idea.
"Why don't you come over to my house?" I ask her. The line is silent for a few seconds before I hear her sigh.
"But you had plans." She whispers as if she were on the verge of tears.
"And you don't. My parents won't mind. They'd be actually happy to have someone over. Plus, you could meet Juniper." I get excited that my friend is coming over. I let that sink in for a second. Ugh, my friend is coming over. I start thinking how to bribe Eli into not saying something embarrassing.
"I'll be there in 10 minutes." I can sense the happiness in her voice. Maybe this was something often, causing her loneliness.
"I didn't give you my address?" I ask her wondering how she knew where to come.
"It's a knack I have." She said cockily.
"Powers? Of course." I roll my eyes and walk out of my room to the kitchen.
"I'll explain it to you once I come over."
"Bye." I say as I enter the kitchen.
"See you in 10."
"Hey Mom, is it fine if my friend came over. She was supposed to have dinner with her mom and brother but they ditched her." I ask my mom as she is cleaning the kitchen up.
"That sounds awful. I'll set up an extra plate." She walks over to go get the extra plate.
"Thank you Mom!" I say as I begin to head towards my darling sister.
"El, I have a friend coming over." I tell her in my nicest voice.
"A friend? You have those, crazy cat lady?" Boy, she has an attitude today.
"You better shush it if you want some ice cream later." Juniper comes walking towards me, looking at me expectantly.
"You want some too?" She purrs but I ignore her.
"What do you think I am? A four year old? Just ice cream isn't going to work." Children these days, so demanding.
"Fine how about another scoop?"She glares at me, and knowing her, she'll want more.
"Homework for a week?" I negotiate.
"Now we're talking." She says happily, giving her my hand to shake. We firmly shake on it and Juniper scratches my leg softly. We hear a bell and Juniper runs towards the door.
"I'll get it!" I yell and everyone 'resumes' back to what they're doing. By resume, I mean acting like they're doing something while being excited on the inside to meet Alyxandria.
"You're here." I check my phone."In 8 minutes. Come on in." I invite her in and turn behind to see Mom and Dad standing five feet behind us. I almost jump, but take a deep breathe remembering that they're my parents.
"You're house is really nice." Alyxandria says shyly while looking around.
"Thank you. Mom and Dad, this is Alyxandria." I introduce them and they both shake her hand while smiling way too much.
"You're in my third period right?" My dad asks her while my mom sighs, already bored with the conversation
"Stop talking about school. Hi, I'm Charissa." My mom shakes her hand again and giggles. Alyxandria seems nervous but a happy nervous and I know that they have thoroughly freaked her out.
"And I'm Hermes." She nods and looks at me like a helpless puppy.
"Dinner is almost ready. Why don't you go upto Pia's room?" Mom says, looking at the both of us.
"Thank you!" She says as they both walk towards the kitchen.
"You're welcome." They yell back.
"Now I will introduce you to my favorite family member." I say as we walk towards El and Juniper. Eli jumps out of her seat, waiting to be introduced.
"This is Juniper." I pick up Juniper and Alyxandria pets her, but looks at Eli and smiles.
"I'm standing right here. I'm Eli, co-owner of Leafy and sister of Cray-Cray over there." Juniper whips her head towards Eli and stares at her.
"She definitely is a cutie. And my favorite family member." I say as I hug Juniper closer to me. I then go and hug Eli with one arm.
"We can hear you." My mom says from the kitchen.
"Well if you stopped eavesdropping, you would stop hearning me." I reply, as Eli and Alyxandria both chuckle.
"Dinner's ready. I hope you like spaghetti and meatballs, Alyxandria." My mom says, as she walks right out glaring at Eli and me.
"I do." Alyxandria says happily.
"Great!" My mom starts leading her towards the kitchen, but Alyxandria turns around to look at Juniper warily.
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