I woke up the next morning with my hair in knots. I grimaced at my reflection and ran a quick comb through my tangles. I glanced out my window and noticed mom’s car parked next to Ben’s. I smiled.
    Ben’s home.
    I swung my door open and jogged down the stairs. The smell of coffee and eggs (the only thing Ben can cook) engulfed me and I automatically licked my lips. “I smell scrambled!” I sang. I jumped on the stool next to the island and turned around.
    “Want some?” He smiled. He had the frying pan in his hand and was stirring the golden yellow eggs around.
    “Hmm looks scrumptious. Yeah I do.” His smile grew even bigger. Once the eggs were served, he sat across from me and sipped his coffee. He grabbed the paper and flipped through it. As I ate, I noticed how his smile still hadn’t faded. “Hey Ben…”
    “Hm?” He didn’t look up.
    “Did something good happen between you and Kim last night?” He coughed loudly as he choked on his eggs. I raised an eyebrow. I finished my eggs and took the dishes to the sink.
    “Uh um…” He cleared his throat. “Why do you ask?” I leaned closer to him and smirked.
    “You’re glowing.” He pursed his lips and blushed a deeply. I giggled. I pecked him on the cheeks. He was still frozen and flushed. “Good luck, ma bro.” I walked away. Ben just took a breath and shook his head.
    “Yeah well… so are you.” I gasped.

    It was Sunday and I had no plans for today. I grabbed my phone and noticed I had two unread text messages. The first one was from Matt. I MISSED U. I smiled. SO DID I. I replied. The second message was from James. I LOVE U. WANNA HANG OUT TODAY? JUST YOU AND ME? I thought about it for a minute. SURE. I replied.

    I was sitting on my front steps again waiting for James. I sighed and kicked some leaves when I heard my name. “Jade?” I looked up and saw Nick, our neighbor and Ben’s best bud, walking his monster-of-a-dog whom I just happened to love.
    “TACO!!” I jumped up and Taco wagged its tail. I had to hand it to him. Nick is a genius. To name a Rottweiler Taco is just epic. Especially with Taco being such a sissy-of-a-dog, I swear. I bet cats laugh at the poor thing… if cats could laugh, that is. Nick dropped his phone and used both hands on Taco’s leash to stop him from running over me.
    “Gawd. This dog goes nuts for you, girl.” He slowly got closer and kissed me on the cheek. “Hey, Jade.” He looked back. “Mind getting me that?” He nodded at his cell phone. I grabbed it and slid it in his pocket. Taco began barking angrily for his release. “Shut up, you oversized bag of drool.” Nick laughed. Taco panted and licked its nose. I giggled.
    “What’s up?” I asked.
    “Nah just waiting for your brother. I made a bet, he lost, and now it’s payback time.” I raised a brow.
    “What kind of payback?” He smiled mischievously.
    “Okay. Okay. I’m ready.” Ben said as he stepped out. He was wearing his old running sneakers, his lucky tee, and mailman pants...?
    “You sure?” Nick asked him.
    “Just give me a sixty-second head start, ‘kay?”
    “’Kay.” Ben dashed away and still confused, I turned to Nick who was counting. Taco was going berserk at the sight of the blue pants.
    “and SIXTY! GO!” He released Taco and off he went. In six second, he was out of sight. Nick was laughing so hard, his face had turned red. I just hope Ben doesn’t get hurt. Heck! Poor Taco.

    Nick tried to catch his breath and when he finally calmed down he sighed in satisfaction and wiped his golden, blonde hair out of his forehead.
    “So uh… now what?” I asked.
    “Huh?” He turned to me surprised, as if he had forgotten I was even there. “Oh. Yeah.” He went inside our house and into the kitchen and pulled out Ben’s car keys. “Now, I’m going to find them.” He said matter-of-factly.
    “That sounds like fun!” He beamed.
    “Wanna come with?”
    “Totally!” We got inside Ben’s Montero and backed out of the driveway.

    On our way back, me and Nick couldn’t stop laughing about the day’s event. After we found Ben and Taco running around the park, we went to KFC for lunch and hit the beach with Taco. It was now six and Nick was turning on our street. The entire way, Ben hadn’t stopped cussing on the backseat each time Taco licked him from the trunk. “You know what, Nick?” Ben began. “You better watch out ‘cause if Tampa Bay wins next time, I’m going to make you run around the park naked with two friggin’ patties stuck in your butt cheeks. Let’s see if ANY dog stops for that one.” I giggled though “friggin” and “butt” weren’t the words he used exactly. And oh, by the way, the mailman pants Ben had bought last halloween no longer existed. Good thing he had a pair of dirty, old jeans in his car.
    “Whatever you say, Ben. Whatever you say.” I laughed and looked at our house and froze. James’s Cherokee was parked there. I swore softly and Nick turned to me. “What happened?”
    “I forgot I was going out with my boyfriend today.”
    “Is that why you were outside today? Where you waiting for him?” I nodded. Nick looked back at Ben.
    “James’s the screamer type.” Ben said. “And also like seriously jelous.”
    “You guys stay inside and let me handle this first.” I told them. Even Taco went quiet. When the car came to a stop, I got down and slowly closed the door.

    “James?” I called around and saw him leaning on his car.
    “Oh hi, Jade.” He said awfully calm. “Did you have fun?” He glared at me and I swallowed loudly.
    “Listen, James, I’m really, really, really so-”
    “What, sorry?” He cut me off. “You’re sorry? So, it’s okay now because you’re sorry?” He laughed. “It’s okay now, people, Jade is sorry.” I hadn’t noticed Nick was standing behind me. I heard a car drive away. I’m guessing Ben’s taking Taco to Nick’s yard and then coming back.
    “Hey man, calm down. She didn’t mean it.”
    “SHUT THE ******** UP!” He yelled as he aimed an angry finger at Nick. “YOU WEREN’T HERE ALL ******** DAY WAITING FOR HER! YOU WEREN'T HERE ALL ******** DAY CALLING HER WITH NO ANSWER!!” I remembered I'd turned off my phone before lunch because we were going tot he beach. I heard Nick began to breathe heavily.
    “James, please-”
    “Dude, don’t scream. It was my fault, okay? I invited her somewhere--” James lunged at Nick with a fist straight on the face and he cussed out loud. The crunching sound sent a shiver up my spine.
    “I said SHUT THE ******** UP!!” Nick regained his stance and in no time, he and James were fighting. Meanwhile I was yelling at them to stop. James pushed Nick down to the floor and grabbed his collar with one hand and punched him with the other. In between cries, I grabbed James by the waist and tried to pull him back. He pushed me away. “I’m going to break this b*****d’s face.” He muttered. Nick’s face was bloodied. I tried again and grabbed James by the waist. “GET OFF OF ME!” He turned and pushed me back with brutal force. I fell back and before I knew it, unbelievable amount of pain shot through the back of my head. I yelled and everything went black.
    “Oh my God! JADE!!” was all I heard.