“So where are you taking me?” I asked getting excited.
“You’ll see. It’s a surprise.” Sam grinned over to me before returning his eyes to the road.
We had been driving for almost an hour and I had no idea where we were. I looked out the window and watched as trees passed one by one.
After our drive, Sam eventually pulled into a parking lot of a bowling alley.
“An arcade?” I asked not even trying to fight the grin climbing up onto my face.
“Yes. An arcade.” He winked before climbing out of his truck and walking over to my side. He opened the door for me and held out a hand for me to hold onto.
I grabbed onto it and hopped out of the vehicle.
The sign was a neon green and blue spelling out “FINN’S ARCADE” in all caps.
I had to admit I was a little nervous considering I was never much of a gamer, but I knew already that it was going to be a fun time considering I was with Sam, who seemed like the chillest guy I know.
“So why an arcade?” I asked curiously as he opened the door for me.
“Well when I was younger I spent most of my preteen years in the mall arcade and I had some of the best times there. I was there so often that all the employees and I were on a first-name basis.” He smirked as if this was something to be proud of.
“Awe. Little Sam was a nerd.” I laughed as I poked his arm playfully.
“No I wasn’t. I was just a gaming expert.” He chuckled.
“It honestly doesn’t seem that hard.” I said with raised eyebrows.
“Oh yeah? I bet you I can beat you at any game in here.”
“Deal.” I said shaking his hand as if we were agreeing on some important business contract.
He ended up beating me at every single game we played which was every single game in the arcade place. Probably because I convinced him I was going to be able to win at least once, but he had to prove me otherwise every time. I honestly wan’t surprised I lost so many time. Like I said before I was never good at video games, but I didn’t mind at all since I had an extremely good time with Sam.
We were now heading back to campus and I was humming along to a random song on the radio.
“Hey do you mind if we make a quick stop somewhere?” He asked breaking me out of my trance.
“Yeah. Sure thing. Do what you gotta do.” I smiled over to him.
“Thanks you’re the best.”
He parked in front of one of the sketchier apartment buildings that I had never been brave enough to go near.
“I’ll be just a minute. In and out. I promise.” He said as he unbuckled.
He must’ve noticed the almost scared expression on my face. I smoothed the worry lines from my facial features and put on a small smile to reassure him.
“I’m fine. Just a few minutes, right?” I asked noticing my voice squeak a little at the end.
“Yeah. Ten minutes tops.” He said as he opened his door and got out before shutting it behind him.
He jogged up the sidewalk and pressed the doorbell before waiting a few seconds before being buzzed in.
I watched from his truck as he went inside and disappeared from my line of vision. Now I was officially all on my own. The first thing I did was lock the doors before looking from left to right at the environment outside the car.
It was roughly around 11 at night and the only light that let me see out my window were the tall lampposts that only gave off a orange glow.
There were only a few people out at this time loitering around, but none of them had seemed to take notice of me yet. And for that I was thankful.
I was completely scared at this point and I was absolutely ready to go.
As if he had read my mind telepathically, Sam magically appeared beside the truck at the drivers side of the truck. He pulled on the door handle and realized it was locked. His one eyebrow rose and he pointed at the lock silently asking me to unlock the doors.
I did as he asked and he climbed back into the truck and plopped into his seat. He buckled up and turned towards me.
“Were you scared out here?” He chuckled.
“Psh no. I wasn’t. I was only taking precautions.” I simply shrugged as he put the vehicle into drive and we took off.
It wasn’t long before we made another stop at a random place that I didn’t know of and this time Sam asked me to get out with him.
We were at another apartment complex, but this one looked a lot less rough than the last neighborhood.
“Where are we?” I asked Sam as we walked side by side up the cement path.
“My apartment. I’m having a little get together. I hope you don’t mind.” He said as we got to the door which he held open for me as I walked in and we went straight for the elevators.
“No I don’t mind. I’ve got nothing better to do.” I chuckled nervously knowing deep down I should really be working on all my notes and homework.
Another part of me knew that I needed this sort of social engagement with other people my age rather than being all closed up in my room studying and trying to avoid thinking of Theo and his rejection of me.
When we got closer and closer to his apartment, music coming from within was growing louder and louder.
As soon as he pushed open the door I immediately realized this wasn’t a “small together.” It was a full-on party.
The room was packed wall-to-wall with people dancing, drinking or even doing what looked to be illegal drugs. My eyes immediately bulged out of their sockets. They couldn’t believe what I was actually seeing.
“A little gathering, huh?” I turned to Sam to see he had already made his way across the room and towards their makeshift dj stand.
He threw me a thumbs-up and grinned back to me as if this was an amazing way to end what I thought was turning out to be a fun day out. I sarcastically gave him a quick and cheesy smile in return.
I found my way to the kitchen and got myself a new red solo cup out of the bag and filled it with water from a brand new water bottle I dug out of the fridge.
I sat down at the small table and drank swiftly until something caught my attention. A yellow plate full of brownies was giving off a beautiful aroma and could hardly resist. My eyes flitted around the room making sure no one was watching and grabbed one off the stack.
I ate it quickly since it had been awhile since I actually ate something today and I was starving.
The brownie was the best I had ever tasted. It had just the right amount of chocolate and we’re still warm as if they had just come out of the oven.
“Oh, hey there you are!” I looked over to see that the voice had come from Sam.
“Yeah just me here.” I said staring down the plate of deserts in front of me.
I was so tempted to eat another one, but knew that I didn’t need another.
“I’m sorry for dragging you here. I can tell you don’t want to be here, but I kinda have to be here since it’s my apartment and if anything happens to it I’ll be held responsible. You understand, right Amaya?” He stepped closer to me.
“Yeah. Whatever. I understand, Sammy boy. Just give my compliments to the chef!” I said pointing to a bunch of perfectly placed brownies. “They’re the best ones I’ve ever had.”
“Wait. Amaya. How much did you have?”
“One, why? Are you the frickin’ brownie nazi, now?” I asked getting irritated.
“Amaya. Those brownies are filled with pot. There’s enough in one brownie for about five or six people!”
I looked over at the squares of delight and immediately knew I was definitely in a bad situation.
It gives me no pleasure in saying it, but maybe Theo was right about Sam.
It had been an hour since I ate the brownie and I could finally feel it starting to kick in. Everything was becoming blurry and I was literally laughing at anything.
I was in a vulnerable state in front of a bunch of people I had never met in my lifetime, and it was the last place I wanted to be.
“Sam!” I called out for him with my speech already slurring.
“Amaya. Keep it down. What is it?” He asked looking down at me.
“I want you to take me home, homie.” I burst out laughing before throwing up a peace sign.
The apartment seemed like a prison earlier today, but right at this moment in time it seemed like an absolute safe haven.
I watched as Sam sighed before running his hand through his hair.
“Fine. Let me go grab my keys and I’ll take you there.” He went off to get his car keys and I sat down on the floor and started tracing flower designs all over the kitchen tiles.
“Oh, how pretty!” I exclaimed clapping my hands at my newly found artistic abilities.
I giggled and laid on my back on the floor.
“Preparing for takeoff in three, two, one!” I shouted and hallucinated I was launching a spaceship into the sky.
“The moon is so pretty this time a year, and don’t even get me started on Mars.” I sighed in complete serenity.
I acted like I came to vacation in space at least once a year and was a pro astronaut for another ten minutes before Sam finally decided back to get me.
“Come on, Amaya. Let’s get you home.” He said sounding bored.
“Are we heading off to Jupiter? I hear there’s so many more moons to vacation on there.” I excitedly exclaimed clasping my hands together.
“What the fu-..” He cleared his throat before shaking his head. “I mean of course we’re going to Jupiter, silly! Let’s hurry before we miss our flight!” He held out his hand for me and I gladly took it.
“Bee-bo-be-bop!” I said as I clicked on every button on the dash of Sam’s truck...spaceship.
“Amaya, could you please stop doing that?” He asked sounding a hundred times more tired than he was when we left his place.
“I’m trying to get in contact with the mothership. Hush now.” I shushed him and went back to work.
He eventually must’ve blocked me out because he just kept his eyes trained on the road.
When we got to my apartment complex, I scrambled out of the truck and for the front door. Sam ran after me and held onto my arm so I wouldn’t wander off.
He eventually corralled me into the elevator and got me to my door.
“Sam. Sam. Sam. You think I don’t know how to make it to the gift shop on my own?” I cracked up at the thought.
“Amaya! Keep it down. People are trying to sleep.” He whispered-yelled at me.
“Sorry. Grouchy pants.” I rolled my eyes before plopping down on my butt in front of my door.
Sam knocked hurriedly on the door and when he heard footsteps coming towards us he scrambled back to the elevators and got in as quick as possible. Now, why would he do that?
I heard the locks of the door unhinge from behind me and when the door swung open I fell flat on my back with it. I was now staring straight up into Theo’s confused face.
“You look like a tall tan carrot.” I said before I started hysterically cackling like a witch.
Theo immediately scooped me up into his muscular arms with ease and brought me into the apartment. Even though I was trapped somewhere in my la-la land, I could still tell that he was angry. He was more upset than I had ever seen him. I was surprised that steam was pouring out of his ears like in all the cartoons.
But the real and important question was: