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The Promise - Part 1

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Act I: Liam

For the past couple of months, all I could think about was kissing Alex again. But instead of Alex's sweet tongue and lips, I was exchanging spit that tasted like salmon and grain.

"Ugh! Lily," I called for my sister as I pushed her excited Jackshund, King, off my bed. Grabbing a handful of tissues to scrape my tongue clean, I yelled again, "Lil―!"

Her brown, matted, loose curls swung into my doorway. "King, there you are!" She scooped him up in her arms and kissed his blind eye. No one had mentioned Lily getting a dog for her tenth birthday, so coming home to a hairy brown lump curled up on my pillow was surprising, to say the least.

"I can't believe I made out with a dog."

"Alex is coming home today!"

I couldn't help but smile. "I know." I'd been counting the days, hours, and minutes. Except just now when I was napping. The excitement had kept me up all night so I decided to take a power nap after receiving his text that he was on the road.

"What time?"

"He left at 10, so after noon?"

Lily tilted her head. "It's 1?"

"What?!" I leapt out of bed, scrambling to get on my shoes, find my phone, run down the stairs, run back up to brush my teeth, then dash back down to the living room.

"Mom! Dad! Why didn't you wake me up?!"

They were in the kitchen, setting the table with vegetable and fruit trays. Or, Dad was. My mom was eating.

She snapped a carrot in half with her teeth. "Because you're a grown man?"

"Alex is coming!"

My dad let out a silent sigh but smiled. "He'll get here when he gets here, Liam. He, Crista, and Rosa will be right over as soon as they're ready."

What was he doing? It didn't even take two and a half hours to get to London from Toronto.

I marched past Lily and King to the front door and stepped outside into the cool April breeze. It was sunny and warm. What a great day. Any second now, I'd spot Alex's figure coming down the block, making it even better.

"Liam." Lily peeked her head out the door. "Mom said to help her set up the food."

I could feel my mouth twitch. "Coming," I said through clenched teeth.

Lily popped back in. "Mom! Liam doesn't want to!"

That sweet, innocent girl would get me into trouble. "I'm coming!" I called, opening the door and stepping back in.

  

I looked over the table. Fruit, veggies, homemade pizza, and Dominican habichuelas con dulce for dessert. A weird set up if you asked me.

"Alex!" my mom's voice called at the same time King started barking excitedly.

The Camejos entered the house as if it were their own and we rushed to the door to greet them. I made sure to rush faster than everyone else.

There he was, looking even better in person than he did through Facetime and very pounceable. He was smiling, ready to greet my parents but I managed to get to him first.

"Alex," I grabbed his hand, "come to my room. We need to talk."

His smile turned tense as he glanced at my parents. "I haven't greet―"

"We'll be right back!"

I pulled him towards the stairs, not bothering with everyone's confused faces.

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