Walking over to the yellow ranch house on the block, I could feel my flip-flops slapping against my heels every time I picked up my feet. The brown paper bag I had in my hands felt awkward, but I knew that if I was going to stay here, I had to be a neighborhood diplomat before anyone else got a chance.
Climbing the steps to the door, I could hear the warning chuffs of a larger dog inside warning the inhabitants of my presence. I smiled, I love a good family pup.
I knocked lightly, not wanting to startle them with the sound of a new doorbell and soon an older woman with kind green eyes opened the door. I could see that she was dusty, presumably from unpacking, and I felt a little guilty, but I carried on, smiling brightly and sticking out my hand.
"I'm Sang, I live in the gray house just down the street there and I just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood!"
She took my hand in her warm grip and shook, "I'm Erica Lee! Thank you so much for the welcome. My two kids are around here somewhere and I'd love to introduce you..."
Just as I was raising the brown bags in my hands up, a boy came striding up through the entry to stand strongly behind his mom. The dog, a golden retriever from the looks of it, followed happily on his trail and gave me a long look that seemed like a cry for a good belly rub.
Erica turned at the arrival of her son and motioned towards him, "Speaking of, this is my son Dakota."
He stepped forward quickly, "Kota, please, it's nice to meet you..."
"Sang." I quickly introduced myself and averted my gaze back to the dog and started again, "Well, as I was saying, I live down the street with my two dogs and I just wanted to let you all know that this guy here," I stroked the golden on the head as he came over and flopped over onto his belly and groaned with doggy happiness, "Is welcome over anytime to hang out in our backyard. It's fully fenced in and everything so if unpacking gets too busy please let me know and I can help out!"
I gave the dog a good scratch behind the ears and he shifted, rolling onto my feet and causing me to fall onto my butt on their wooden porch. Kota looked mortified and Erica just laughed a little, "Kota, I trust you can introduce this troublemaker to Sang, I'll head back inside to help Jess. It was lovely to meet you, Sang!" She walked away with one more backward glance at my happy fingers trailing through the dog's coat as he squished my feet and she smiled at the sight, leaving me and this tall, green-eyed boy alone on an unfamiliar porch.
Kota cleared his throat, "I'm sorry about Max, he doesn't usually get comfortable so quickly..."
I laughed, "Oh it's fine, I love getting the stamp of approval from trained dogs." I remembered the bags in my hand, "I didn't bring cookies or anything but I did bring some tennis balls for Max? I noticed he was a golden retriever and thought he might enjoy it..."
It was Kota's turn to chuckle and I blushed lightly, "He'd love that. I might take you up on the offer for him to spend time with your dogs. Are they big enough to handle him?"
"Lulu is bigger than Max is and Sarah a bit smaller but she'll beat him in a race any day... They'd love a new playmate because Bogart doesn't come over enough anymore and Oliver's getting old. I'm just three houses down, the gray one. If you need anything just swing round."
I handed over the tennis balls to Kota, took the offered hand to help me up, and brushed off my backside, careful to remove traces of dust from the wooden porch. He glanced at me, eyes glinting behind his dark-framed glasses and his cheekbones were high and handsome, quite a sight for someone in a pair of jeans that looked to have been graffitied by a sharpie or two.
YOU ARE READING
Sang isn't a fifteen-year-old cowering at the hands of her stepmother. She's on her own. Eighteen and living in a house her father bribed her with alongside two faithful dogs, she's been paving her own way since the payout a year ago. When Marie di...