When I wake up, Theo’s arm is wrapped around my waist in a steely lock. I can still hear his faint snores coming from behind me and already know he won’t be waking up anytime soon.
I grab the pillow from under my head and quickly tuck it into Theo’s broad arm in an attempt to make a substitute for my body and make a quick escape to the bathroom.
After last night and my questionable relationship with Theo, I already know I need some time outside of the apartment to clear my head. So I brush and floss my teeth quicker than I ever have before tip toeing to my room.
I manage to brush all my hair up into a quick and extremely messy pony before throwing on a hoodie representing our college and a pair of black sweatpants. I pair my outfit with my favorite pair of tennis shoes before grabbing Gracie’s leash and making my way over to her.
With a click indicating the leash has hooked onto her collar, Gracie and I make our way quietly out the door.
We walk for about 15 peaceful minutes before we find ourselves at the park. I should’ve known when she began whimpering in an over excited tone that things could only get worse from there.
The little pup sneakily wiggled her way out of the collar before I even try to stop it and darted all the way across the park. She was bolting directly to a huge, desolate garden and I immediately knew what was about to occur.
Gracie dives into the mulch and drags her tummy across it. She turns onto her back and with a puppy grin swishes back and forth making pieces of dirt get lodged deeper and deeper into her fur.
I already knew this was going to be a disaster to bring back to the apartment and to clean, and if Theo found out, which he definitely would, I would never hear the end of it.
Might as well get Gracie and take her home and wash her before Theo wakes up.
When I make my way over to where my dog is sitting in the soil looking happy as ever I immediately realize the absolute mess that she has made out of the plants that had been imbedded into the mulch.
A little, white sign that is drive into the earth by the plants is what makes my eyes bulge out of their sockets.
"Trees Planted By: Sam’s Environmental Group For Youngsters
These Little Trees Were Planted to Produce Oxygen For Our Environment.
PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB!!!"
Oh God please no.
Not only did I let my dog ruin some cute little trees, but I let my dog ruin something young children did for the environment.
I scramble to get a hold of Gracie’s collar and scolded her for her bad behavior before getting to work.
Immediately I try to pack the soil around the small plants roots once again and there’s no effect. The plant falls out of it’s old habitat and lays limp on the ground. I try again and again only to understand that there’s nothing I can do to fix this. There’s no going back now.
Upon my realization I knew I had two choices for further action.
1. Run to the apartment before anyone notices I ruined the trees that little children probably put their heart and soul into planting.
2. Find someone involved in this program and fess up.
I was about to make my decision when I heard someone shouting from behind me.
I instantly froze and sent a glare down to Gracie. She got me into this whole ordeal and I completely blamed her. She hung her head shyly which was unlike her usual rambunctious personality. I rolled my eyes down to her.
The voice was deep and oozed authority. With a nervous, quick bite of my bottom lip I spun around to find a tall man standing in front of me with his hands on his hips.
“Yes?” I smiled nervously hoping he couldn’t see the absolute mess the adorable menace made.
“Did your dog do this to the trees?” He asked.
“What?! No. Never! My Gracie is a little angel.” My voice was a few pitches higher than usual indicating my lies immediately.
Gracie was covered in dirt from head to toe and the look of mischief was still evident on her. The guy smirked as he looked from my face to my dog knowing very well who the true culprit was.
We stood there in an awkward silence before he crossed his arms waiting for me to spill the truth.
I glanced over my shoulder at the baby trees for a split second and sighed before turning back towards him. “Yes. My dog dug them up. I take full responsibility for all of it. I can pay for new trees if you’d like me to. I seriously am truly sorry, Mr. uh-um...I never caught your name.?”
“It’s Mulian. Samuel Mulian.” He held out his hand with a polite smile.
I shook his hand before quickly retracting my hand and covering my mouth to contain my surprise and embarrassment. He had to be Sam which meant these were his plants.
“Oh my gosh. You must be Sam. These trees must’ve been yours! I’m so sorry. It’s just that Gracie is just a pup and I know that’s no excuse but-”
I’m cut off by a series of chuckles and instantly stopped my banter. I dropped my eyes in embarrassment and watched my shoes and my troublesome dog.
“I’m sorry, but your rambling was hilarious.” He let out a few more laughs before clearing his throat. “Actually it was kinda cute.”
I looked up from the ground and back to Sam only to see a toothy grin on his face.
A smile appeared on my face before I remembered we needed to get back to the point of this talk. “So what would you like me to do to make up for all I did?”
“You did? I am pretty sure your little rascal did that, but you don’t need to worry about it. The kids might be a little disappointed, but I’ll just tell them an animal got into them and we’ll just replant in the spring. No biggie.”
“Really? Are you sure?” I asked confused that he was so nonchalant about this.
“Yes I’m sure.” He chuckles.
I take a closer look at this guy and notice he is actually very attractive. His dirty blonde hair that’s tucked messily into a beanie highlights his ocean blue eyes and olive skin.
“So...what’s your name?” He asked me.
I shook my head to get myself out of my trance and blinked a few times.
“Oh I’m Amaya, and this little rascal,” I said as I scooped the pup up into my arms. “is Gracie.”
He reaches out and pets her on the head for a little while and it seems to have no effect on her as she just looks at him curiously.
“So what kind of work do you do that involves you with kids?” I wonder aloud.
He didn’t look old enough to be out of college just yet but he did look a couple of years ahead of me.
“Well I go to college here and am planning on becoming a environmental science teacher since I’ve loved the subject as long as I could remember. I began volunteering at a local wildlife protection agency in my hometown. Since it’s so close to campus I usually make it back there every two or three weeks to help out with the kids and get them involved with the environment.”
“That’s amazing. I’ve never met someone who gets so involved. Good for you.” I said with a genuine smile.
Out of nowhere, a loud clap of thunder sounds across the sky with dark gray clouds beginning to roll in.
“Oh no.” I whined. “This day keeps getting worse.”
“I can give you a lift home.” Sam offers as it begins to sprinkle.
The idea of having to walk home in a thunder storm was awful, but I hadn’t known Sam for more than half an hour.
The sprinkle turned into sheets of rain and even some snow mixed in. There was no way I’d be walking home.
Screw instincts, am I right?
“Where’s your car?!” I yelled over the loud weather.
“This way!” He pointed towards the left side parking lot.
We ran as quick as we could with our hoods pulled up and after a minute we made it to his older pick-up truck.
As soon as we were in the car and caught our breath, I gave him directions to my apartment building.
“Is this the place?” Sam asked as he put his truck into park.
“Yep. I better get up there. Gracie needs a bath. You wanna come up? I can make you some tea and let you get all warmed up. It’s the least I can do.”
“That’s alright actually, but thank you for the generous offer. I really need to get home I was supposed to volunteer today.”
“Oh okay. Well I’ll see you around?” I left the question hanging as I reached for the door handle and opened it.
“Wait. Here’s my number,” He scribbled it down onto a piece of scrap paper before handing it to me.
I read it over and snatched the pen out of his hand and writing my name and number on his palm.
“See you later, Sam.” I winked before hopping down onto the wet concrete and into the pouring rain.
I sprinted as quickly as I could without slipping and eventually are it inside the apartment building.
I got into the elevator and clicked on our floor number. It was only a little after ten in the morning and I was hoping Theo was still asleep.
I unlocked our door and peeked my head in checking for my roommate. He was nowhere in sight and I crept in.
After I set Sam’s number on the kitchen counter I grabbed a bottle of water and drank it swiftly. I threw the plastic into the trash and made my way with Gracie to the bathroom.
I opened the door without even thinking to knock and there stood Theo in all his glory with the a tar black towel hanging loosely on his hips. The definition of his abs never ceased to amaze me. He had definitely just gotten out of the shower and looked to be fixing his hair.
“Good morning, princess.” He smirked.
“Morning, Theo. I’m sorry I didn’t know you were in here. I’ll wait outside till you are done.”
I began to turn around and leave but he stopped me with his voice.
“You don’t have to go if you don’t want to, ya know? I do have a towel on.” He stated before crossing his arms and leaning his back into the sink.
“No. No. You’re fine.” I said hoping he was going to put clothes on very soon.
“Amaya, Gracie clearly needs a bath, I don’t know what you two have been up to this morning but geez. Just go ahead and get started while I’ll go get changed in my room and then come back to help.” He said and then left the room.
“Okay, Gracie let’s give you a bath.”
I got her water ready and took off her collar before setting her into the tub. Gracie had grown to love bath time and was currently splashing and swimming like a cute, little fish.
Just as I was about to start rinsing the dog off Theo walked in and immediately rolled up his gray sleeves outlining his strong arms. Just at the sight of Theo, Gracie was already whimpering with excitement.
She did this almost every time she saw him or me, but to no one else. I had to admit it was pretty cute.
Theo stepped over to the tub and knelt beside me. “How is my Gracie girl?” He asked in a baby-like voice already starting to rise her off with the shower hose. It was cute to see how attached to her he had become since I’d never seen him adore much of anything.
I got up from my knees and grabbed a towel from the closet to dry the pup off. I handed it to Theodore and he wrapped our dog up in it right after draining the tub.
The three of us walked out of the bathrooms and I went into the kitchen and Theo went to the living room to give Gracie her food.
I was starting to get out some ingredients needed to make lunch when Theo came in with Gracie’s dog bowl. He filled it with water and as he turned around he was about to leave when his eyes caught sight of something.
I was watching from the corner of my eye, but couldn’t see what exactly caught his attention so much. He walked around the corner of the counter and I turned around to see what exactly he was up to.
That’s when I remembered I had left Sam’s number on the countertop as I came in and I forgot to pick it back up.
“Who’s Sam?” He asked with a lifted and suspicious eyebrow.
“Um...just some guy I met at the park.” I said nervously.
Why was I nervous? It’s not like Theo was my boyfriend and I was cheating on him.
“Some guy?” He questioned with a weird and almost worried tone.
What would he have to be worried about?
“Yeah. Sam is a guy. Gracie totally wrecked a tree garden him and his students planted and he was totally cool about it. It started to rain, he gave me a ride home, and we exchanged numbers.” I shrugged before turning my back to him.
“How many times do I have to tell you to watch out for yourself, Mya? You just met the guy and immediately got into his car?” He sounds a bit irritated.
“Sam’s not like that.” I said as I began to spread some butter into a pan.
“You don’t know that. Then you gave him your number and showed him where you lived?? What were you thinking, Amaya?”
I slammed down the stick of butter and spun back around to see him staring at me with an angry expression on his face. With a deeper look you would almost think he had traces of disappointment evident as well. Probably because I wasn’t careful enough or blah blah.
“I can do whatever I want, Theo. I think I can spot a crazy person on my own without your help. You don’t need to look out for me.” I rolled my eyes.
“You don’t even know. The simplest looking guy could be a psychopathic serial killer. They can hide their true personality easily. You don’t know people just by one look at them.”
“Yeah. Yeah. I’ve heard this speech a thousand and one times. Sam isn’t a psycho. He’s perfectly normal. Now back off.” I sigh before rummaging through the drawers trying to find a spatula.
“It’s kinda hard not to back off knowing your roommate is leading herself into a death trap.”
“Why do you even care so much?”
“Well. I thought I made it clear last night that I cared but-...” He shook his head as he cut himself off without even attempting to finish his statement and with a loud scrape of his stool he got up and left the kitchen before I could even get another word in.
I turned off the stove and sighed in defeat. I walked to Theo’s room slowly while I thought of all I needed to tell him. I needed to apologize and explain myself. He needed to know the what was really going on.
When I got to the door and lifted my hand to knock I could hear himself talking. Probably on the phone.
“Oh yeah, baby. Be sure to wear that and I’ll see you in a little bit.” He said with the most seductive voice I’d ever heard come from him.
What was happening?
I could hear him making his way toward the door and within seconds his door was flung open and he noticed I was standing there.
“Oh good. Just the girl I wanted to talk to. Yeah, Amaya, you know how I told you last night how I liked you and all? Well I was just kidding. The booze really got to me and it has always been a true hobby of mine to toy with girls’ emotions.”
I felt my eyes begin to water. How could he be so cruel?
“Oh. It seems as though I have been successful once again.” He took a quick look down at his watch. “Would you look at the time! Looks like I should go get ready. Wouldn’t want to leave my lady of the hour waiting.”
He brushed past me and an unfortunate tear leaked out of my eye before I could stop it. I quickly wiped it and ran for my room.
I slammed the door after I got in and locked it. I flopped down on my bed and I intended on staying in here for the rest of the day.
I had made a lot of mistakes in my life but the biggest two right now we’re believing Theodore Thompson and falling for him.