Chapter 12 iAm So Confused

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Keeley yawned while she stood in front of Nicky's front door, waiting for her best friend to answer. Her overnight bag slipped off her shoulder, and dropped to the ground, but Keeley was too tired to care. She had stayed up till one in the morning talking to Talon, and then Zach had called her at three am to pick him up from the bonfire. She would have slept the day away except Tucker had been exceptionally energetic and kept barking for her to play with him. Reluctantly, she dragged herself out of bed, and spent most of the morning and afternoon playing Frisbee with him at a nearby park.

The front door opened and Nicky raised an eyebrow. "Was there a hobo convention in town that I wasn't aware of?" Her eyes lingered on Keeley's messy hair bun, baggy sweatpants and stained sweatshirt.

Keeley yawned again and thrust a white box into Nicky's hands. "Didn't you hear the homeless look is all the rage this year?"

"Uh-huh," Nicky muttered, not looking convinced. She stepped aside and let Keeley enter the house. "Is smelling like a dog also part of this new fashion trend?" she asked wryly.

"Yup. It's my new perfume," Keeley replied over her shoulder as she headed toward the family room. "Toilette de la Tucker."

"How generous of you to let me experience that wonderful scent," Nicky said dryly as she trailed behind, the box still in hand.

Keeley flopped into an oversized chair in the corner of the room, her feet dangling over the armrest. "It's the least I could do for my best friend," she answered cheerfully, while grabbing the remote control off the coffee table.

Nicky huffed and dropped into the leather sofa on the opposite end of the room. "The least you could have done was shower before coming over," she muttered under her breath.

Keeley turned on the television and started flipping through the channels. "What was that? I couldn't hear over your loud grumbling," Keeley teased.

"Nothing," Nicky answered innocently as she opened the box in her hands. Her eyes widened when she saw the contents. "I take that back." She pulled out a large red velvet cupcake topped with a mountain of cream cheese frosting. "You smell perfectly fine."

Keeley shot her a triumphant look before turning her attention back to the television. She rested her head against the back of the chair and suppressed the urge to yawn. Maybe she should have bought an iced coffee along with the cupcakes. She really needed a jolt of caffeine.

Nicky tore off the paper lining from the cupcake and took a huge bite. "Best. Friend. Ever," she managed to say through a mouth full of cake and frosting. She swallowed and took another large bite.

"Jesus," Keeley muttered as she watched Nicky devour the cupcake. "Slow down there, Scooby-Doo."

Nicky sent her a glare before pulling out a peanut butter and chocolate cupcake from the box. "You try living with a mother obsessed with healthy eating."

Keeley snickered. It was well known that Nicky's mother was a health food nut. She was constantly prattling on about organic and all natural food.

"She's now on this gluten-free diet," Nicky added, her voice laced with exasperation. "Do you know how gross gluten-free bread tastes?" She shuddered at the memory. "I managed to eat a quarter of it before I pretended I had to go to the bathroom and threw it away."

Keeley grimaced. "Sounds nasty. You know you're always welcome to eat at my house," she reminded her. Her parents adored Nicky and viewed her as a second daughter.

Nicky shrugged and shot her a brief smile. "I know," she said, her tone wistful and little sad. "But I feel bad when my mom has to eat alone." Her eyes turned bleak as she licked the peanut butter frosting. Nicky's father had died from a brain tumor when she was twelve. The tumor had grown too large to operate by the time it was discovered, and he died shortly thereafter. His death devastated Nicky and her mother. It took them over a year to finally regain some normalcy in their lives.

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