Chapter Eight

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[NICOLE]

It has almost been a week since I came to LA and five days since I started working in Cool Kat. Carter gave me the privilege of having the first two days off saying that it takes a little while getting used to the heavy air in LA unlike in Sunny Oaks where the air was crisp and fragrant. In those two days, I had a little chance to explore this side of LA yet I still have more to explore. Jordan and Natasha often came to Cool Kat after their classes have ended usually to check up on me as they drink Cool Kat Coffee. The three of us had made the closest of friends in spite of only knowing each other for a little less than a week. We would take off at night, venturing into the streets of Los Angeles going into different shops and nooks the town had to offer.

Today, I worked my usual morning shift while Natasha and Jordan were busy with their exams. The café was slow in the morning but it wasn’t too busy at night either compared to the one in Sunny Oaks where the place would be bustling with regulars the whole day. Instead of working up the cash register, I would play the piano in the middle room since no one really came by this time of the day. When I first played the piano for Carter and Marilou, Mar shrieked in excitement saying the room finally felt alive whereas Carter was just surprised that I could actually play the piano.

I was still in the middle of Edward Elgar’s Salut D’Amor when the café bell rang telling me that someone had entered the shop. When I spun around to see who it was, my eyes widened in surprise as a familiar set of eyes stared back at me. My heart was filled with happiness and curiosity. How did he end up here, I pondered on my mind. “Nicole?” the boy said as he walked towards me. I stood up immediately and rushed towards him to give him a hug. He had arms wide open and a smile formed on his lips. “DALTON!” I shrieked as we hugged, overjoyed to be united with a good friend again.

We laughed as we broke from the hug. “What are you doing here in LA?” Dalton said with a soft chuckle. “Nothing much, really.” I answered but he just raised his eyebrow, a questioning look on his face. “Last time you said ‘nothing’, you ended up in some small unknown town and I didn’t know until three months later.” Dalton accused, “So what are you doing here?”

I hesitated before answering, thinking of what Dalton would do if he found out I came to this city just to take my chances in finding a guy I’ve only known for one day. “I wanted to see what LA is like.” I lied. He thought long and hard about it then shrugged. “Nicole, stop lying to my face.” Dalton frowned. He caught me, he always did. I could never pass a lie to Dalton because he’d always figure it out in the end.

I raised my hand in surrender, “Okay. You got me. I came to LA to look for someone. Please don’t ask for the details right now.” I pleaded. He smiled, “Fine. But you should’ve told me you were coming to LA. I could’ve picked you up or something.”

I smiled, “Don’t mind that. How about you? What are you doing in LA? Shouldn’t you be in Texas? That wild look fits you but I could use some tutorial on the eyeliner. It’s unfair that you can do it better! What eyeliner do you use?” My questions came after another like a machine gun constantly firing.

Dalton laughed as he pulled me in for a hug, “Damn. I miss you.” He released me from the hug and looked at me, his blue eyes twinkling. “I’ll get coffee and we’ll talk. Okay?” He said and he did exactly that. We talked until my shift ended. No one came by anymore so we got to talk a whole lot. Dalton told me about his band called Fly Away Hero and how they ended up doing shows here in LA like Bravefest. He promised to introduce me to his bandmates and that I should jam with them just like how Dalton and I used to sing together when I was back in Texas. I missed the knucklehead and I was so glad that LA brought us together again.

“Nicole, you’re done with work right? I’ll show you around.” Dalton offered and I agreed easily. The few hours we talked made me realize that I haven’t caught up with Dalton in a long while. Going around town would help me catch up with my childhood friend. I changed from my work clothes to my casual go-to clothes.

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