CHAPTER SEVEN

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16 May 2015

46 days before . . .

We left the movie theater quickly, both of our bellies grumbling for one of Kooky's burgers. Sliding into my mom's car, we buckle up and head to the Kooky Shack, which is on the other side of town. After a ten minute drive filled with me obnoxiously singing songs on the radio and Logan yelling for me to keep both hands on the wheel, I pull into the Kooky Shack's parking lot.

Logan gets out. "Thank goodness."

I slam my door and round on him. "What was that?"

He walks in front of me, towards the Shack's entrance. He doesn't look back when he answers. "I said, thank goodness."

I grin and walk behind him. "Whatever. I know you like my singing."

In front of me, I hear him snort, but I ignore it. He makes it to the entrance and waits for me to catch up; when I do, he holds the door open for me, and I walk past him and inside. As I do, though, I feel Logan place his hand on my back for a few moments, before taking it off as he walks in behind me. My eyebrows furrow for a second, before my mind wanders and instead focuses on the wave of laughter, clinking glasses, and loud folk songs that hits me; along with that, the smell of fish and steak wafts toward me from the kitchen area, and my stomach growls loudly.

The Kooky Shack was a rundown-decorated eatery designated for just about anyone zero and up. The owner, Ralph Kooky, was an old man with a passion for food and family. His belief that families most enjoy their time at restaurants with homelike feeling inspired the hardwood oak tables and black leather furniture that covered the place. A hint of Old Spice and lemon ran through the air, adding to the effect. Smiling, I breathed in everything, feeling my stomach grumble again.

With Logan by my side, I step into the dim dining area that's on my right. On the left is the kitchen area, where your waiter or waitress takes your order and you have the option of watching your food being made. To the right of the kitchen is a huge gaming area filled with a pool table, air hockey, claw machines, and shooting games. Between the dining area and the kitchen area is a huge dance floor, where the folk band was busy playing a show tune medley.

Every time we come here it's crowded, and today was no exception. The dining area, kitchen area, and dance floor were all crowded with people of all ages, either talking, laughing, dancing, or enjoying their meals. Despite the crowd, however, there always seemed to be at least one table or booth that wasn't occupied.

After standing there for a second longer, we both see at the same time that our booth is open. Scrambling to it, we sit down and grab menus from the stack.

"What are you going to get?" I ask him as I scan through the fish options in the dim lighting.

"The porterhouse sirloin," he answers from across the table, and I immediately groan.

"Why not get something else for a change? Like pasta. Or a salad. You could use a salad every once in a while -- they're good for the heart and all that."

He places his menu down and smiles at me, his teeth looking extra white in the dim light. He pats my hand that's on the table. "I'll get a salad when you get a salad, Laynes."

Dramatically, I snatch my hand from him. "And what is that supposed to mean?"

He rolls his eyes at me. "Oh, calm down. You never get salads, that's all I was saying."

I smile and shrug. "I just like food, especially---"

I'm cut off by our waitress, who's just appeared at the side of our table.

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