A Game Called Love

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Chapter 8

By Wednesday Mason still hadn't told me about his upcoming date, and at this point I wasn't confused or angry anymore, I was hurt. I couldn't figure out why he felt like he couldn't tell me about it, and it pained me to think that maybe we weren't as close as we used to be.

"Are you looking forward to your date tonight?" Alyssa asked, her eyes bright with excitement. I think she was looking forward to it more than I was.

"I'm a little bit nervous. He's picking me up at five o'clock tonight but I have no idea what we're doing." I replied, trying not to think too much about the different ways I could mess everything up with Jacob. I already went through the possibility of spilling something on him, falling flat on my face, and many other embarrassing scenarios.

She rolled her eyes, "It's going to be fun, there's no need to worry. Maybe now that you and Mason are starting to date people you'll both finally lose your V cards!"

Mason gave her a warning look and it finally clicked in my brain that he didn't want me to know about his date. He was hiding it from me, that's why I never heard about it from him. It wasn't him just simply forgetting to tell me, or not feeling comfortable talking about it with me, he specifically didn't want me to know.

"I'm saving that for the right girl." He spoke up, completely avoiding my gaze.

"Same with me, I want to be in love with the person." I said.

"You two are so boring." Alyssa teased, poking at her half eaten salad.

We all went quiet for a few minutes as we continued to eat our lunches, and I was sucked back into my thoughts.

Why would Mason deliberately hide his date from me? Did I do something to break his trust?

I racked my brain for anything I could've done to lose his trust but I couldn't think of anything. Nothing out of the ordinary has happened with us, we haven't fought badly, I haven't lied to him, everything has been completely normal.

Except for the kiss. But that doesn't explain why he hid his date from me. The kiss obviously meant nothing to him.

Did he think I suddenly had feelings from him, and would get hurt if I knew he was going out with another girl? That seemed like the most logical explanation.

"Where's Jacob? Usually he sits with us." Alyssa broke me out of my thoughts.

"He's at basketball tryouts." I answered.

"He's hot, British, and an athlete, you hit the jackpot Jenny!" She exclaimed.

I laughed, but nodded in agreement.

Mason stayed quiet and that confused me. If I was right with my theory of him being worried that I had feeling for him, wouldn't he be happy that I was going out with a great guy like Jacob? Shouldn't Mason be hyping Jacob up so my "feelings" for him will transfer to Jacob?

Or maybe I'm thinking too hard about this whole thing and I just need to move on. That sounds like the smart thing to do.

"So when's your date?" I asked Mason, turning to look at him.

He cleared his throat, "Friday."

He didn't sound super enthusiastic with his answer.

"Are you excited?" Alyssa chimed in, picking up on how nonchalant he was being.

"Yeah." He replied, another one word answer.

"What's her name?" I pushed.

He looked between Alyssa and I, eyes narrowed, "Lilly."

I was getting pretty sick of his one word replies. Mason is a talker, this was so unlike him. Why doesn't he want to discuss this with us? He never, and I mean never goes on dates. The whole time I've known him, ever since we were kids, he hasn't dated anyone to my knowledge. This was a huge deal and he's being so secretive about it.

The lunch bell rang before Alyssa or I could ask any more questions and we all went our separate ways without so much as a goodbye.

Something was going on with Mason and both Alyssa and I could pick up on it, it was just a matter of getting it out of him now.

This was the first time in our whole friendship that Mason hid something from me, and I had a feeling that he was hiding even more things. I needed to get through to him that we were still best friends, nothing was changing, and that he could trust me. I only wanted to help him, and share his happiness at finding a possible girlfriend. We should be happy for each other, not tense and secretive.

I decided to wait outside for Jacob to avoid Liam and Emma. If they knew I was going out on a date they'd have a million questions that I wasn't ready to answer yet.

So I sat on the front steps to my house and tried to suppress the excited fluttering in my stomach. I didn't expect to be excited, nervous maybe, but it was a pleasant surprise. It showed that this date meant something to me, that Jacob meant something to me.

The butterflies intensified when I saw his familiar silver car pull into the driveway, and I was making my way over to him before he was even parked.

"Someone's excited." He teased when I got into the passenger seat.

I rolled my eyes as I bucked my seatbelt, "Aren't you?"

He nodded, "I am." And then flashed me cute smile before pulling out of the driveway.

"So where are we headed?" I asked, hoping he would tell me before the curiosity ate me alive.

"It's a surprise." He replied me, chuckling when he looked over and saw my unimpressed expression.

I didn't expect him to actually answer my question, but it would've been nice.

About ten minutes later we pulled into the parking lot of an unfamiliar building.

As I got out of the car I read the block lettered sign on the front, which spelt out 'Humane Society'.

"Why are we here?" I asked, completely confused.

Jacob gave me a sheepish smile, "I asked Alyssa if you liked animals and she told me you love dogs so I thought you might like to walk one with me."

My eyebrows shot up in surprise, that was a very thoughtful idea.

"We can do something else if you want, I don't know what I was thinking." He added, doubt clouding his grey eyes.

I gave him a small smile, "This was a great idea, I'd love to walk a dog."

I absolutely love dogs. I've always wanted one but Liam and Emma are always working and I have school so I just never thought the animal would get enough attention from us. It made me sad to think about a dog sitting at home all alone every day.

I know it isn't a big deal for a dog to stay home by itself, and it's unrealistic for someone to stay home with it every day, but the idea always made me sad. And I was worried that we wouldn't walk it enough.

"Let's go in." Jacob suggested, holding the door open for me.

The inside of the building was a lot nicer than the crumbling brick exterior. Everything was white, modern, and clean.

My eyes scanned the place until they landed on two blonde women, probably in their early to mid twenties, sitting behind the receptionist counter.

"Hey Jacob, back to walk some dogs?" One girl greeted him.

"Oh you brought a friend." The other one added before Jacob could reply.

Their words took me by surprise, they know Jacob? How? He only moved here a couple months ago.

"This is Jenny, and yes we're here to walk some dogs." Jacob replied, then turned to me and added "This is Charlotte and Caroline."

"Nice to meet you." I told them, shyly tucking my hair behind one of my ears, suddenly glad that I didn't dress up for the date. I was just in my regular white t-shirt and black jeans, the appropriate attire for walking a dog.

"Nice to meet you too, this is the first time Jacob has brought someone here, we were beginning to think he didn't have any friends." Caroline joked, earning a scoff from Jacob.

"You guys can go back and pick out your pups." Charlotte told us a moment later.

"Follow me." Jacob said, starting towards a door on the far side of the room.

"Do you come here a lot?" I asked when we were through the door and out of earshot from Caroline and Charlotte.

He nodded, "I've been volunteering here since I moved to town. I want to go to college to become a vet and this will look great on my applications."

"You love animals." I mused, smiling at the thought of him being all soft and mushy with a kitten.

"I love animals." He confirmed, pulling another door open.

Loud barking filled my ears as we entered a room filled with large cages lining two walls, each containing a dog. The sight broke my heart but at least they weren't being starved or abused.

"Every time I hear someone thinking about getting a pet I tell them to adopt from a pound or humane society so these animals can have loving homes." Jacob said, walking further into the room to pick out which dog he wanted to walk.

I watched in awe as he bent down and greeted each dog, knowing them all by name. I could just tell how much he loved them all.

"Hey Blue, I haven't hung out with you in a while, do you wanna go on a walk?" He asked a small scruffy grey dog, which barked excitedly in reply to him.

Jacob opened the door for the dog and grabbed the leash hung up beside it, hooking it to Blue's collar a moment later.

"This is Blue, he's nice and calm so you shouldn't have any problem with him." He told me, offering the leash for me to take.

I cautiously took it, suddenly very nervous. I'd never actually walked a dog before, what if I messed up? What if I accidentally dropped the leash and the dog ran away?

"I'm going to walk Sparky today." He told me, nodding in the direction of a fully grown Dalmatian. "Him and Blue are best friends so they'll walk well with each other."

Jacob must come here often if he knows all the dogs by name and who they get along with best. My heart swell at the idea of Jacob coming here multiple times a week to visit and take care of the animals.

Once Sparky was on a leash Jacob led the way through a different door than the one we came in through, which led right outside.

Blue, I quickly learnt, was just as easy to walk as Jacob had said. He didn't pull on the leash at all, he stayed right at my side, looking up at me every once in a while with his tongue hanging out in the cutest way.

But not a minute after we got outside he suddenly stopped on the grass. At first I was confused but when he squatted down I knew exactly what he was doing.

"Please don't tell me I have to pick that up." I groaned, screwing my face up in disgust as I glanced over at Jacob.

He chuckled, "It wouldn't be very gentlemanly of me to make you do it. I'll pick it up."

I smiled at his response, happy that I didn't have to pick up dog poop, but my smile dropped when the smell wafted over to me.

"Damn Blue, that stinks!" I exclaimed, laughing like the immature girl I am. The same one that laughs at fart jokes.

"His always stink the most." Jacob said, laughing along with me as he bent down to pick up Blue's poop with a doggie bag.

Once that whole thing was dealt with Jacob and I chatted as we let the sidewalk lead us down road after road, and I was having an amazing time. Something about going on a walk with someone was so intimate, all there was to do was talk. There was nothing to distract us from each other, apart from the dogs, and by the time we got back to the humane society I felt closer to Jacob than I ever expected to.

I was sad to leave Blue and Sparky when we put them back in their kennels, but Jacob distracted me by taking my hand in his and leading me to another new room that I quickly realized was lunch room, complete with a table and chairs, microwave, and everything else a typical lunch room would have.

"I just have to get something before we continue our date." He told me, letting go of my hand to open a large fridge.

After grabbing a couple containers and some other things, he stuffed them into a backpack that was sat on a chair, and rejoined me by the door, taking my hand again.

We made our way through the building and out the front door quickly, and soon we were walking into a large park across the street.

"I thought we could have dinner out here." Jacob explained, taking a seat at a picnic table.

"Great idea." I said, sitting down across from him.

I watched as he took the containers out of his backpack, followed by a large bottle of Fresca, two paper plates, and two red plastic cups.

"Alyssa told me your favourite drink is Fresca, and that you love pizza, especially when it's cold." Jacob explained when he saw my shocked expression, taking off the lids of the containers to reveal several slices of plain cheese pizza.

I nodded slowly, blown away by how much thought he put into this date.

"This is amazing." I breathed when the initial shock wore off.

He gave me a bright smile that sent butterflies fluttering in my stomach, "I'm glad you think so."

I returned his smile with one of my own, suddenly realizing how much I'd been smiling throughout the whole date. Something about Jacob just made me happy, and giddy even. My heart felt light around him.

We spent the next hour eating, talking, and laughing, and by the time our date was coming to an end my cheeks hurt from all the smiling I'd been doing.

When he finally dropped me off at home I was so disappointed, I didn't want the date to ever end.

"I had an amazing time." I told him once we were outside my front door.

"Me too. Can I take you out again sometime soon?" He asked, to my delight.

I tilted my head up to get a better look at him, "I'd love that."

His lips pulled into a cheeky smile, "It's a date."

I laughed, loving our little inside joke, and leaned up to peck him on the cheek.

"I'll see you tomorrow." I said as my goodbye.

"See you tomorrow." He replied, taking a step back towards his car.

I reluctantly opened my front door and went inside, smiling like an idiot once it was closed behind me.

Tonight was perfect.

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