Chapter 1

"Mom I'm home!" I called out, walking through the doorway. I walked into the kitchen and found a note with my name on it.

Dear Alecia,
I went out to the store to buy some food. If there is anything you need, call me. Tiger has been outside all day and he looks depressed. Maybe you two should go for a walk. Don't forget your homework though!
Love,
Mom

"Great. She remembers homework but if I ask her to buy something she will forget." I texted my mom a list of food we need then went outside.

"Tiger? Where are you?" I turned and saw him laying under the trees. He looked bored.

"Hey buddy are you bored? Me too. Want to go for a walk?" He stretched and yawned before straightening up and walking in the direction of the forest.

"Hey wait a minute. I have to go get my stuff." I ran into the house and grabbed my camera. Then I wrote a short note for mom, just in case, and locked the door.

"Why don't you lead again today?" It was kind of a pointless question, but I always asked him anyway. I let him lead most of the time, not really caring which way we went. I just liked taking pictures.

Tiger walked along ahead of me as usual. Ever since that night eight years ago. The night I got lost. He had come home with my family and laid with me all night. I remember it like it was yesterday, even though I was eight at the time. Now, at sixteen, he was still my constant companion. Though he wasn’t really a house pet, he still hung around.

As Tiger trotted farther ahead, I started taking pictures. It was a favorite hobby of mine, and the woods were my favorite subject to take snapshots of. Something always seemed to draw me to them. And I embraced it and turned it into art. The sun was going down and all the oranges and pinks and purples were laying all over the forest floor. It started getting dark and I looked up. Clouds were covering the sky.

"Looks like it's going to rain. We should go to the pond!" I ran towards the pond. It started raining right as we got to the pond. I took some pictures and then started to twirl and dance. Tiger ran around with me barking slightly.

"Achoo! Oops, I guess we better get home before I catch more of a cold.”

We ran home as fast as we could. By the time we made it back, it was a full blown thunderstorm. I went to the porch to grab the two towels that were lying on the table. I called Tiger over and started to dry him off. When he was dry I toweled myself off as well. Then we went inside. I looked around to see mom was still gone. Just as I closed the door my phone went off.

"Hello? Who is this?"

"Don't you ever check your caller ID?" A male voice teased, laughingly.

"Sam? Are you alright?" Instantly, I felt concerned. Sam was my best friend, so of course he called me quite often. But he was usually occupied at home at this time of the day.

"Yeah. Hey can I come over for a bit?"

"Yeah. I'm about to take a shower so come on in. You know where the extra key is."

"Awesome be there in a bit. Love you."

"Yes I am awesome. Love you too." I hung up and went to take a shower. When I was almost done I heard the bathroom door open.

"Close the door will you? You're letting all the cold air in." I heard the door close but no answer. I turned off the water and reached for the towel, but it wasn't there.

"Give me the towel Sam."

"And if I don't?"

"Then you die." I heard him laugh and my towel was thrown over the curtain. This type of thing was normal for Sam and I. We’d been best friends for years.

"Thanks." I heard the door open again. When I stepped out of the shower and looked around, he was nowhere to be seen.

I walked into my room and picked out an over-sized t-shirt that hung down to my knees and pulled on a pair of shorts underneath. I walked back downstairs and saw that Sam was asleep on the couch. His brown hair was tousled and messy and his closed eyes had giant, purple bags underneath them. Tiger was sitting right next to him. I poked him in the side to wake him up.

"Come on. How about you take a shower? Then you can go sleep in my room. I'll call mom and ask if you can stay."

"How did you know?" He asked, quietly, his hazel eyes full of embarrassment.

"You're my best friend. I always know."

"Thanks. I think I will. " He walked upstairs and I heard the shower turn on.

I went to the guest bedroom and grabbed the extra clothes Sam kept here for times just like this.

I climbed up the stairs after him and opened the bathroom door, setting the clothes down on the floor. I turned and walked back downstairs to call my mom.

"Hello?"

"Hi mom I need a huge favor." I paused.

"He got kicked out again didn't he?"

"Yeah, and it looks like he waited a while 'til he told us." I turned the phone on speaker so I could do the dishes.

I heard my mom sigh, "Of course he can stay. I just wish he wouldn't wait so long until he told us."

"Me too. Oh can you get some extra food? Sam looks like a twig."

A laugh. "Fatty foods it is. I will bring home dinner so no cooking."

"Okay, thank you mom."

"Of course. And tell Sam not to wait so long next time."

"Okay. I will. Bye."

I jumped slightly as I felt someone wrap their arm around my waist. A hand reached across my face and covered up my mouth. I struggled, but the hands held me still.

"I am not a twig." A laughing voice whispered in my ear.

"Mhmm mm mnm."

"What?" He released me.

"You meanie. You almost gave me a heart attack." I pouted and looked like I was about to cry. He just laughed.

"You should go to bed. You look about ready to drop." He hugged me.

"You are the bestest friend anyone could ever have. You know that right?"

I hugged him back, "Yeah I know. You ain't half bad yourself. No go on to bed. I will set up the guest bedroom and wake you when dinner is ready."

"You don't have to do that. I'll sleep on the couch."

"I don't think so. Now get!" He laughed and went upstairs. I finished the dishes and went upstairs to make the guest bed. After that was done, I grabbed my school bag and went to do school work.

***

I heard the front door open and I looked to see mom with her arms full with shopping bags.

"Where is he?"

"Asleep in my room. I said I would wake him when dinner was ready. I also made up the extra bedroom and did my homework."

"Good. Now help me put these up." We went into the kitchen and unpacked everything. Then I went upstairs to wake Sam up.

"Sam? Wake up." I poked him after a couple of tries.

“I'm up!" He shot up out of the bed.

"Took long enough. Now come on mom brought dinner." We walked down stairs to see three Burger King bags sitting on the counter.

"I think this should be enough food for a while," She paused to look at Sam, "Or maybe a week."

"Haha very funny. What kinda burgers you got there mom?" Sam always called my mom his mom because he was here most of the time.

"Your favorite, plus fries and a giant sprite."

"Delicious." He grabbed his bag and went to sit down. By the time I sat down next to him, his burger and half his fries were gone.

"Alright. Next time I find out you didn't call us as soon as you got kicked out I will hurt you. Look at you you're starving!"

"I'm sorry I just didn't want to be a burden."

"You’re not honey. You're like a son to me. You can come over whenever you need to." My mom told him, smiling.
"Thanks ma."

When we were finished eating I went up to my room and Sam went to his. I fell asleep worrying about Sam.

The End

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