I WOKE UP early and got dressed in some comfy and presentable clothes. Then I grabbed my phone and bag and headed out the door.
It was still pretty early and since I didn't want to wake any of my parents, I quietly tip-toed downstairs and made myself a toast with a cup of black, sugar-free coffee-just the way I liked it. I quickly ate the toast and downed the coffee which burned my mouth in the process and then I proceeded to leave the house.
It was still pretty dark outside as I sat on the front porch waiting for Asher's white SUV to pull up any minute. And sure enough, he pulled up at exactly 6:30am.
I stood up and dusted imaginary dirt from my jeans as I got into his car. "Morning."
"Morning," Ash responded with a small smile on his face. "Are you ready for an incredible morning looking for the best puppy ever?" he beamed as he began driving.
"Of course. Steph will totally be all over you today," I mused.
Asher took a quick glance at me as he shook his head with an incredulous look. "That's the whole point."
"So Captain huh?" I said after a while of silence.
"Yeah, coach made me Captain last week and I would have told you but you know how things were," he trailed off at that and I knew he was referring to what had happened between us after I told him of my decision.
We spent the rest of the drive to the shelter singing along to Taylor Swift's songs until Asher pulled up in the shelter's parking lot. We got out of the car and walked side by side to the front door which had an open sign.
The place was filled with all kinds of animals, ranging from mice to fish to lizards to spiders. The man at the counter looked up when he heard our footsteps and smiled. "Good morning!" he hummed with a thick Australian accent. "How may I help you?" he asked, smile still plastered on his face.
"I saw a video on your website showing puppies that were available for adoption," Asher said fidgeting. "I would like to adopt one."
The man smiled whole heartedly. "She sure is a special one," he said staring at the both of us weirdly.
"No! I'm not his girlfriend. I'm just his friend here to help him pick a puppy for his girlfriend," I said just to clarify things.
The man's smile flattered for a bit before it fully returned. "Right, I'm sorry for the assumption. But you both would look wonderful together," he said. "Follow me."
We followed him to the back of the shelter where the puppies and kittens were. They looked too adorable that I wished I could adopt one as well.
"You can pick which one you want from them," the man said.
I took a closer step towards the crate filled with puppies wagging their little tails and panting. I picked up the little white Maltese. "She's perfect and I know Steph will like her."
The man nodded, "Ahh yes, the Maltese is a very smart dog and loves people. But it can be a bit territorial every so often."
"Great we'll take her," Ash who was oddly quiet finally spoke up.
"Would you like to get one for your friend here?"
"Do you want one Alexis?" Asher asked turning to face me.
I shook my head, "my parents would never allow me to own a dog."
"Very well then. Thank you for adopting her," the man said as we walked back to the front room. "Just fill in these forms and you're good to go."
Asher hastily filled in the paper work before thanking the man and heading out the front door. We got into the car with me rubbing the puppy on its belly. "She's so adorable and cute. But where are you going to leave her? Because you know, pets aren't allowed at school," I said.
Asher seemed to think it over for awhile before sighing. "I didn't think this through. Maybe I can just drop her off at my place and then give her to Steph there," he said as a thought as he drove us back to his house.
"Fine by me. Just as long as I'm not late again."
By the time we reached school, it was 7:50am which meant we had only about ten minutes to get our things and be in class before the first morning bell rang.
We quickly rushed inside and made our way to our respective lockers. I found Kai, Jake and Nick waiting by my locker. "What are you doing?" I asked as I opened my locker and grabbed my books.
"We wanted to see you," Kai said. "And this one wouldn't shut up about you," he said pointing to Jake.
"C'mon, it wasn't like I was the only one," Jake said defensively. "And besides, she reminds me of Hayley." Nick tensed at the mention of her name but didn't say anything.
"And whose Hayley?" I inquired with a raised eyebrow.
"She was my cousin."
Jake didn't say anything after that and I assumed he wouldn't. So I began making my way to my first class of the day.
"I'll see you later then," I said.
"Let's meet up in the parking lot after school for the assignment okay," Kai shouted from behind me.
I didn't respond as I quickly dashed to my history class with Mrs. Briggs. That woman would send me to detention if I'm even a few seconds late for her class. I wonder how her husband copes with her.
The rest of the day went by in a blur. I didn't see Asher but I figured he was busy with football practice or Steph, either way I didn't get to see him.
When the bell rang signalling the end of the school day, I made my way to the parking lot as instructed and waited patiently for the guys to show up.
"Took you long enough," I said as I saw them approaching.
"What can we say, the ladies just love us way too much," Kai said with an annoying smirk.
"Whatever makes you sleep at night Kai," I said rolling my eyes but deep down I knew it was true. "Can we go?"
We walked to Kai's black Audi and Jake immediately called shot gun which left me and Nick to take the back seat. Nick glared daggers at the back of Jake's head the entire ride.
"Where are we going?" I asked after five minutes of not knowing where we were headed to.
"You'll see," was all Kai said as he continued driving and tapping on the steering wheel bopping his head to a Rock 'n' Roll song that was playing on the radio.
I kept quiet after that and stared out the window until we pulled up into a huge parking lot that was filled with different cars. I glanced at the sign that hung on the store. "You brought us here?"
"Yes, now come on, the coffee isn't going to wait for us forever," he said as he got out the car and everyone followed suit.
I couldn't believe that Kai had brought us to Starbucks of all places. But I wasn't complaining either.
We took a seat by one of the booths in the far corner and Kai turned to face me. "How do you take your coffee?"
"Black and sweetless like my soul," I said.
He scrunched up his nose in disgust. "Why are you both so disgusting?" he asked. "Who in their right minds drinks black coffee with no sugar. That's not socially acceptable."
"Whose we?" I asked.
"You and Nick. Honestly, I don't get you both but whatever, Jake and I will go order the drinks."
I turned to face Nick who was sitting right in front of me. "You also take your coffee black?"
"Because it's as black and sweetness as my soul," he said my words with a straight face.
Just then Nick bursting into laughter. "You should have seen your face, it was priceless."
I couldn't believe him but I joined him in laughing. "Yeah two black souls feeding them with nothing but black coffee."
The laughter died down and we were engulfed in silence once more. "Do you also own an expensive sports car just like your friends that I happen to not know about?" I asked because it had been nagging me for a long time.
"No I don't," he said and then paused, "I'm not rich or have rich parents like you guys do. I just have that black motorcycle you saw a few days ago."
"My parents aren't rich," I retorted.
"Sure they aren't," he said rolling his eyes. "Your dad is a lawyer and your mum looks like a runway model."
It was all true but that didn't mean it was again. Twisted logic, but whatever.
Before I could reply, Jake and Kai came back with two coffees in hand and a white disposable bag.
"What did we miss?" Jake asked as he plopped himself next to me and Kai took the space opposite him next to Nick.
"Nothing really," Nick said.
Jake glanced at the both of us suspiciouslu. "Okay then," he said as he passed me my coffee. "We bought bagels as well."
We sat there drinking our coffee and eating the bagels in a peaceful silence before I decided to speak up. "I'm beginning to think we're not here to do the assignment."
Kai laughed, "of course we're not doing the assignment. What kind of human being would I be to do that to someone who was just hostiplised a few days prior."
"A horrible one," I agreed as a small smile appeared on my face.
We spent the next hour talking and getting to know each other better. But what truly surprised me was the fact that Nick was actually talking and laughing along with everyone. It made me feel like I had known them for a long time and not just two weeks.