The dog.
CHAPTER
1
I am not a dog person. ‘Wanna pet my dog?’ ‘No.’ Anything having to do with dogs is a ‘no’. My parents have asked my since I was six if I wan’t a dog. Obviously the answer was always ‘no.’ I’m a cat person but for my parents that is a ‘no.’ So that leaves us with no pets but Billy the goldfish, and all he does is swim around in circles. Exciting. So you can guess how surprised I was when my Mom turned into town instead of out of town where we live. She had just picked me and my little twin brothers up from school.
“Um... Mom? Home is that way.” I say, pointing behind us. She gives my a ‘Duh’ look and continues driving forward.
“Yes, I know, Hannah. I just thought it’d be a good idea to go visit the pound dogs. Because... you know, because.” Mom says, looking forward the whole time. I groan and put my face in my hands. My Mom really wants a dog and my Dad really wants a dog. I just wan’t a cat. Is that too much to ask? My best friend has four! And Rob and Bob (my brothers) only want a T-Rex and that’s impossible so we’ve never really agreed on a pet other than Billy and that was before the Double Troubles were born, as Dad likes to call them. I agree but Mom thinks they are sweet little angels. Ha. They only did this in six years: changed out my shampoo for shaving cream with hair dye in it. It was green. Also they ‘decorated’ my used-to-be-perfect room with silly string, glue, glitter, glitter glue and Cheetos (Mom said “It’s so creative and beautiful.” HOW?) and they eat. My. Homework. I’m not even kidding. Have you ever had to tell your teacher ‘My brother ate my homework’? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Anyways, since my parents want a dog so much they end up taking me to the pound once or twice a year to see if there is the ‘right dog’ there. I try to tell them that there will never be the ‘right dog’ for me because there is no dog out there that is a cat. End of story. But, apparently they do not agree. My Mom pulls up to Toby’s house and as we unbuckle the Double Troubles, Toby and Mack come out with their Mom. Toby and Mack are homeschooled but ever since each of our Mothers met in college our families have been BFF’s (Best Friend Families). Actually I shouldn’t call it Toby’s house. It is actually Shelby’s (his Mom), Gil’s (his dad), Winnie’s (older sister), Tyler’s (older brother), Jill’s (older sister), Toby’s (him), Lucy’s (younger sister), Luke’s (younger brother) and Mack’s. They have a lot of kid’s apparently. Seven of them plus two on the way. Every time Toby says ‘trust me, you get used to it” and I’d say back ‘since when do I trust you???” and then he’d laugh his head off with his special Toby laugh. Mom flashes me a five meaning five minutes as she goes off to talk with Mrs. Gibson. I rush to Toby and whisper in his ear,
“Hide me!” He laughs at me and I glare.
“What?” I reply to his laughter, still glaring. He stops laughing and finally talks.
“Pound day?” He asks.
“Yup.” I sigh, plopping down onto his lawn and picking at the grass. Toby starts arguing with Jill about something. Thankfully his cat, Rudolph, comes up and plops down in front of me staring at my right in the eyes.
I start petting him and he starts purring. See? Cat person. All the dogs I’ve met growl and yip at me if I walk within two hundred miles of them. Okay, that might be an exaggeration but you get the point. Mom walks back out of the Gibson house, having dropped the Double Troubles off. I reluctantly pick myself up and make my way to the car waving at Toby. He waves back, mid sentence. I buckle up into the front seat and put my head back, dreading what was yet to come.
Ding! Ding! goes the bell above the door as we walk into the local pound. Mom is glowing with hope that ‘this will be the time’. Ha. Yeah, right. Mom talks to the lady at the front desk as I slouch against the wall with chipping yellow paint. Mom starts walking to the wall with two doors on it: one labeled ‘cats’, the other ‘dogs’. We start walking to the right to the door marked ‘cats’ but Mom grabs my arm and pulls me into the ‘dog’ room. Rats. We walk past dog after dog with my Mom asking me ‘what about this one?’ as I basically cowered behind her as the dogs growl and bark at me. Dachshund, poodle, lab, french bulldog. It doesn’t matter. They all hate me. As we pass an empty cage a voice calls out.
“Hello, there.” I turn around in a circle, but there is no one there.
“Hel-Hello?” That was me.
“Hannah! Did you find one you like or are you gonna keep looking with me?” Mom calls, hopefulness in her voice. Sorry Mom I think.
“No, I’m coming.” I say as I shake my head. That was weird I think as I catch up with Mom and pass the last of the dogs on this side of the room. This side is the big/medium sized dogs. We cross over to the other side of the room and I see the first dogs ever that didn’t act like they hated me. In the cage there is five of the tiniest dogs I’ve ever seen. Tiny white blobs of puppy sleeping with their mom. The mom looks up at me and gives a warning growl that wakes two of the babies. They look up at me with very unfocused eyes and give the tiniest bark ever known to mankind. It almost was cute. Almost. But it was still scary. I go back to cowering behind Mom. After that torture is over the lady at the front desk asks Mom if we found any pets we were interested in and she says no Mom sits down in one of the cracked chairs and a call comes in. She picks up and becomes so occupied with that phone call that I go into the ‘cats’ room. I go past cat after cat this time but instead of being scared (because who’s afraid of cats?) I reach through and pet each one.
Mom comes into the room and says it’s time to go. I notice some pieces of paper sticking out of her purse as I crawl back into our car and curl up in my seat, tired as ever. Mom starts calling my name a few seconds later and I wake up without realizing I even fell asleep. I look up to see that were at Toby’s house. Toby, Mack, Rob and Bob all come out. Mack and the Double Troubles are chasing each other in a circle. Mom is whispering something in Mrs. Gibson’s ear. As she continues a mischievous smile stretches across Mrs. Gibson’s face. I pop open my door and swing my legs out of the door, onto the sidewalk and walk across the lawn, up the three porch steps and up to Toby who has his hands buried deep in the pockets of his dirty blue jeans. He probably just came from his garden in his backyard. He takes his hands out of his pockets and opens the door for me, bowing. I curtsy and walk into the house. “Be right back.” Toby says, pointing at his jeans. I nod and smile, my annoying dimple popping in. Toby comes back down the stairs a minute later with clean jeans. We walk to the backyard and I sit myself on a swing and pull my hair up into a high ponytail. Toby leans against the slide, his blonde bangs falling in front of his green eyes that, when he laughed, sparkled as much as my tiara I wore every day when I was five. Honestly he is an angel compared to me. He has a strong tall build, blonde hair, green eyes and tan skin. I’m tall and muscular but that’s not the most attractive thing to guys apparently, brown hair with natural blonde highlights that goes halfway down my back but it’s still boring (it wasn’t boring when it was green though), blue eyes, and tan skin. Actually we have a lot in common in appearance but it does NOT look good on me. Trust me. I twist myself up on the swing and let it go.
“So, did you find the right dog?” Toby asks as I spin. When I stop I glare at him.
“_No__.” I reply in a ‘duh’ voice that makes Toby smile. He sits down on the swing next to me and starts pumping himself up, up, up into the air.
“Betcha I can get higher then you!” He calls sounding slightly winded. He knows my weak spot.
“You’re so on.” I say pumping my legs in rhythm with his. As I go higher and higher my grin gets bigger and bigger. Eventually I am going higher than him, and he is scowling. It looks funny on his face, so I laughed. That made him scowl more and that made me laugh more...and that went on for a long time until we ended up sitting next to each other in the gravel me laughing as hard as physically possible and him scowling as hard as physically possible which was completely the opposite of normal. But you know what? I’m totally fine with that.

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