Among the stars, p.8
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       Among the Stars, p.8

           Tiffany Allen
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  Chapter 7

  “Can you bring me those shoes over there?” I ask Canis.

  Canis, in dog form, trots happily over with my shoes. With our combined efforts, packing has gone by quickly.

  As soon as Orion dropped us off I got to work preparing to leave. First I took care of the house stuff then I told the Montgomerys I would be leaving early. I think back to earlier tonight. Canis and I had driven over for dinner where I told them that my plans had changed.

  “But why? I thought you were going to wait until after I left?” Stacy was distraught when I told her.

  “I know and I’m really sorry but there’s a festival in California that I really want to go to. I just heard about it and if I don’t leave now I’ll miss it,” I told them. Stacy was the only one who was upset at the news. Mr. and Mrs. Montgomery said they thought getting a head start was a great idea. John was okay with anything I planned especially now that I had Canis. When I had shown up with a dog John was ecstatic.

  “You got a dog?” He asked when he opened the door. He crouched down and petted Canis while Canis wagged his tail happily.

  “Yep. Thought it would be good to have a travel companion,” I told him.

  “What’s his name?”

  “Major.” At my words, Canis barked.

  “He seems to like it. Come on, Major.” John called to him and we went inside. Everyone had loved “Major” and they were happy I wouldn’t be traveling all by myself. We had all sat down for dinner, Canis laying at my feet, when I broke the news to them.

  “But there’s stuff we were gonna do,” Stacy grumbles unhappily.

  I feel bad for hurting Stacy like this but Orion’s life could be in danger and we have to start the search as soon as possible. It was important and even though I couldn’t tell Stacy the truth I needed her to know I wasn’t just ditching her. I love her like a sister and I didn’t want her to be hurt.

  “I know but I was thinking maybe I could-” I start to explain but Stacy cuts me off.

  “Just do what you want, it doesn’t matter anyway.” Stacy stands up and storms out of the dining room.

  “Stacy, wait!” I go to get up but John stops me.

  “I’ll talk to her,” he says. He leaves and it’s just me and their parents.

  “I’m sorry you guys. I didn’t mean to hurt her feelings.”

  “We know, dear,” Mrs. Montgomery says, “I don’t think she’s mad so much as she’s afraid of losing you.”

  “Losing me? Why would she think that?” If anything I’m afraid of losing her. She’s going off to college where she’ll make new friends and have new experiences. She’s moving on with her life and I’m staying behind.

  “I think she thinks you won’t come back. Stacy feels that this town and all of us are just a reminder of a life that you no longer have or want to be a part of. She’s just scared you’ll figure out that you would rather start completely fresh somewhere without her,” she explains.

  “But that’s not what I want at all,” I exclaim.

  “Are you sure?” she questions.

  “Of course I am.” But was that really the truth? I always planned on coming back but this trip was all about getting away. I wanted time away from the life and plans I had when my parents were alive. It wasn’t supposed to be a fresh start, just time to figure myself out. What if I wasn’t able to do that? Would I have wanted to leave everything behind for good? Was the reason I still hadn’t told Orion about my parents because deep down I planned on starting fresh? No, that can’t be it. I don’t want to leave everyone behind, I just want a break. I wouldn’t do that to Stacy and everyone else, that’s just not me. No matter how painful those memories might be I would deal with them, not run away.

  John comes back in the room and I look at him expectantly but he just shakes his head. I don’t want to leave town without fixing things with Stacy but I might have no choice. Maybe in the morning she’ll let me talk to her.

  “I think I’m going to head home. Thank you for dinner, it was really good.” I got up and everyone hugged me goodbye. It was harder leaving than I thought; I wouldn’t be seeing them for a while. After we said our goodbyes, Canis and I headed home.

  We started packing as soon as we got back and we were just finishing up. Canis can do so much in dog form it’s like he still has thumbs. He’s opened doors, drawers, gotten coats, makeup bags, zipped suitcases, and he even brought me a bottle of water out of the fridge. He’s so expressive that I can pretty much hold a normal conversation with him too. I didn’t know what all I would need on this trip so he helped me with picking a variety of clothes and gear. I only packed the essentials and the extra stuff he told me to. Orion was bringing camping gear just in case our search took us off the beaten path. It’s hard packing for every situation but if I needed anything I could buy it on the way.

  “I think that about does it,” I say to Canis. I take my bag downstairs and set it by the door. “Are you hungry?”

  Canis shakes his head no.

  “Is there anything else I need to do?”

  Another no.

  “Then I guess I should get some sleep?”

  This time he shakes his head yes. I head upstairs and get ready for bed. When I come back to my bedroom Canis is lying on the foot of my bed.

  “Oh come on, really?” It’s one thing for an actual dog to do it but he’s actually a person. Canis nods yes and gives me puppy dog eyes. I guess he should be in the room with me in case Alex pops in and I can’t let him sleep on the floor. “Alright, but you stay down there okay?”

  He nods and snuggles in to sleep. I get into bed and turn off the light.

  “You’re lucky you’re a cute dog,” I grumble. He lets out a couple yips that almost sound like laughter.

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