“Hey wait,” I could hear Hayden calling out behind me. I didn’t stop. Instead I kept walking until I reached my car. “Airee.” He called again.
“Yes?” I asked, my voice sounding perfectly innocent. Innocent in the way as if I’d said, Oh were you calling me? I’m so sorry; I must not have heard you. I opened my car door, and sat inside. Hayden, only just walking up.
“What’s our career?” He sighed. I didn’t answer, and then he rolled his eyes and asked again. This time I answered. “Please Airee, oh won’t you tell me what our career is?”
“All you had to do was ask.” I said playfully. I could see his muscles tense in his jaw like he wanted to scream. Then he relaxed, and threw an arm around my door. “Meet me tomorrow at six o’ five, at the Wal-Mart.”
“Why?” he asked, his arrogant, jock tone of voice coming out strong. “Tomorrow is Saturday.”
“Exactly.” I smiled not letting him get to me. I had slipped up back in class, and let him make me blush. Truthfully it had been a while since someone openly called out my scar in front of anyone. Sure people whisper about it here and there, but never openly to my face like he had done. I hadn’t been expecting it. Next time I will. “Just do it or don’t, either way it doesn’t affect me.” I smiled.
“What’s your problem?” He shouted. “You’re being a-”
“Tomorrow, if you show up, leave your potty mouth at home. Okay?” I interrupted him. Truth was I was being a little mean. He didn’t know me yet, which means normally what I consider humor, he is seeing as being a B. I. T.C.H., I spelled the word in my head. I seriously hate cussing. My mother always said that people who cuss only do it because they’re not smart enough to think of anything else to say. I totally agreed. Only Hayden was smart, you could tell by the way he held himself.
Hayden threw himself off my door, and turned back to the school. In the distance I could hear the release bell going off. For a second I sat watching the muscles in his back flex, his wispy brown hair catching in the wind, and I wondered something. What was Mrs. Goldblum thinking when she paired us together? Then, I closed my door, and pulled out of the school lot. I didn’t go to the clinic to see Count; I was too tired for that. Rather than making a big deal about it, Gavin came over, and we spent the night watching Gigit. A movie about a girl who fell in love with a surfer (someone totally opposite of who she should love), and though they fight and argue. In the end, no matter what they always find their way back to each other. Sometimes all they needed was to be reminded of that.
The movie ended, and Gavin left. I fell in bed and tried to sleep. Hayden and I were completely different in almost every way. When I drifted off, I dreamt about Hayden and I. He was moon-doggie, and I Gigit, and together we spent our days on a board in the ocean. Surfing for hours, while we fell in love. The next morning I woke up in a cold sweat. What the heck kind of dream was that? Even dreaming my asleep self should know that would never happen. Hayden and I were like pickles, and cucumbers. We are both created from the same plant; only one of us has been, well, pickled.
Reluctantly, I pulled into Wal-Mart, and pushed the dream from my mind. It didn’t mean anything so why waste time thinking about it. Of course, Hayden was late. At six twenty he pulled in. I should have known he wouldn’t care about being punctual. “Choose one.” I smiled brightly as he got out and walked over to where I was leaning against my car.
“What is it?” he asked. I could hear in his voice he was still asleep. So rather than wasting any more time than we already had. I shoved one of the two coffee cups at him, and threw him the shirt I borrowed for my brother, Mick, when he used to come with Gavin and I, and motioned for him to get in the car. Surprisingly enough, Hayden followed.
Ten minutes later, we pulled in the clinic’s empty lot, Howie’s Pet Clinic. Hayden had drifted in and out along the way. Right now he was in one of those “out” moments. “Wake up.” I slapped a hand playfully against his arm. It was then I noted just how strong he must be. His bicep didn’t even seem to budge.
“We here?” he asked sleepily.
“Yes, now change your shirt, and let’s go.” I said and got out of the car. Hayden, again, followed. Though after he stepped out, he paused, and slowly pulled the bottom of his shirt up and over his head. His stomach flat, his chest tan; he even had one of those six packs. You know, the ones those Abercrombie models have. I use to have a billion of their bag hanging up in my room. I had a crush on one of the models. Silly but, true.
“What are we doing here?” he asked taking a sip of the coffee I’d given him. After swallowing he looked unexpectedly at the cup as if he hadn’t expected to like the taste. I smiled feeling pleased with myself. “This is a pet clinic.”
“Thank you Captain Obvious. I know that.” I laughed, and started walking to the entrance. “This is what I want to do for my career.”
“I don’t do animals.” He said firmly.
I hesitated for a moment. Laughed, and then said, “I sure hope not.” Hayden rolled his eyes, and then took another sip. It took me a second to unlock the door but, once we were inside I took off down the hall. I had something I needed to do before Hayden and I got busy. Someone I needed to see. “Hey buddy,” I smiled when I reached his door. The dog inside had been asleep but, when he saw me, his tail began wagging a mile a minute. Quickly I unlocked his latch and pulled the door open. The midnight colored terrier jumping without knowing into my arms. “Ouch.” I said, and bit back the quick burst of pain. I had, for the moment, completely forgotten about protecting my chest.
“Hey, get off of her mutt!” I heard Hayden yelled from down the hall. In no time he was by my side, and helped me up. His arm slipping around my waist for support as I gripped my chest.
“He’s not a mutt.” I corrected him. “He’s a terrier, and his name is Count. Count Pees A lot.” For a second Hayden stood there giving me his “what the heck look”, like I was from a different world, before he shrugged it off and went back to helping me up.
“So you don’t like to be saved, got it. Next time I’ll remember that.”
“He didn’t mean to.” I said plainly, and stepped out of his grip. “He didn’t know I’m injured.” “What he can’t see the-” I watching Hayden as he caught himself.
“No he can’t but, apparently that’s all you can see.” I snapped at him. Count was licking my hand, so I bent down to pet him. “No, he says, "he didn’t know any better".” I said in my Count voice. (It’s the voice I gave him since it’s what I see him sounding like if he were, you know, able to speak.) It sound a little bit like a weird Australian/British mix because I can’t choose between the two.
“Why is his name Count Pees A lot?” Hayden changed the subject. Obviously trying to get it away from the fact he had just made a jerk of himself.
“Count because of Count Dracula, and Pees A lot because, well, he pees A LOT.” I said, and was caught off guard when Hayden laughed.
“Why is he Count because of Count Dracula, he isn’t a vampire.”
“So, it doesn’t fit.” He laughed again. This time, he bent down as he did, and began petting Count behind the ears. I looked at him then, and laughed.
“I thought you don’t do animals?” I said. Just then, his eyes met mine, and I saw close up just how blue they were. Like frozen water caught in glaciers. It was an icy pale blue around the outside, which deepened the closer it was to his pupil. My stomach clenched.
“Well Counts not a normal animal now is he? He’s a vampire dog. Completely different.” I looked back to Count.
"I really missed you buddy." I smiled. Count gave off a quick bark and licked my face.
"I guess he missed you too." Hayden said.