I was uncharacteristically nervous while walking up to her house. Max was on his leash next to me, sniffing around every few seconds with great interest in his new environment. Sang's house, only just across the street from mine, seemed much further away than it had looked before I left and I pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose in a nervous gesture.
The steps leading up to her porch seemed more like a mountain than a molehill but Max bounded straight up and triggered a few barks coming from inside the house as we shuffled around the door.
I was sure Sang knew someone was here, given the living alarm system, but I knocked on the door anyway and started counting to pass the time.
I had reached thirty before her voice called out, "Coming!" and I could hear some thumping as she rounded a corner and met my eyes in the windows on the upper quadrant of the door.
Her hair was wet and she had a small limp as she hustled towards me with a smile and she shoved both her her dogs back gently as she opened the door to step out onto the porch.
"Kota! And Max!" She bent down and scratched him behind the ears and he keened with satisfaction.
"Hey Sang, I hope I'm not interrupting anything, I was just wondering if Max and I could hang out in the backyard while we get some of the furniture moved around?"
Nathan, Silas, North, and Gabe were coming around tomorrow to help move the heavy stuff, and so Gabe could put in his two cents about arrangments, but I really just wanted an excuse to see her.
She nodded quickly and stepped off the porch and into the yard, barefoot, I noticed, as she gingerly made her way around the ungroomed area.
"Come around this way. I know my dogs are fine with others, but Max will probably want to explore the house before he comes outside and that'll take a while." Her voice was soft but strong and I admired her ability to think through the situation so quickly.
It seemed my own brain was failing me as I struggled to come up with something to say, but then again, she didn't have to look at anything as distracting as her own face during this conversation.
"Yeah, of course."
Come on, Kota... The voice inside my head was berating me for letting a waif of a girl like Sang distract me now. It was quite rude.
She lead us around the house and to a rickety wooden gate before unlatching the locking mechanism and waving Max and me inside. I unclipped Max from his leash and he took off at a steady jog to explore the periphery of his new environment before ending up right back at Sang's side with a doleful look just begging for more attention.
She laughed, a beautiful sound that made my stomach flip over as I processed this new feeling of... Joy? Attraction? Desire? I had been attracted to people before, but nothing like this. Nothing that made my insides feel ways that could be described by poetic clichés.
I wanted to hear more of that laugh and, as she turned to her back door to let her dogs out, I tried to think of ways to bring it back.
And it came back - not from anything I did - but as her two yellow dogs wrapped around my yellow dog, she chuckled at the wagging tails and eager noses of all three animals as they attempted to find out as much as they could about their new companion(s) without any verbal clues.
Sang took a seat on the deck with her arms stretched out behind her to keep her propped up.
I settled myself next to her, giving her a long sideways glance to absorb the sight.
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...