It was the first barbecue Amber’s parents threw in their neighborhood. They had moved so many times for her father’s job and now they were here to stay for quite some time. Not only was Amber feeling a bit down because she never had any steady friends, but her mother felt the same way as well. She never thought they had a house to call home.
Now they lived in a quite neighborhood where they were guaranteed to stay for the next few years – at least, until Amber graduated high school and that was at least four years away.
They were officially moved in and (mostly) unpacked from the move across country. Amber’s mom was so excited to meet the neighbors and make some new friends that she had decided to host a block party, much to Amber’s father’s dismay. He didn’t think it was a bad idea, but he thought it was too soon. They had only been living in the neighborhood for two weeks.
On the other hand, Amber’s mother thought it was the perfect time for them to mingle with other adults and Amber could meet kids since freshman year of high school began the following week. Also, her mother said the house was clean because they had just decorated and put their stuff away. It would never be this clean again. It was now or never.
This wasn’t a bad idea in the beginning. However, Amber’s parents had also bought her a puppy when they arrived at their new house. While they were staying there for a few years, Amber’s dad was still nervous his boss wouldn’t keep his word. They decided to buy Amber a dog so she had a steady friend and also hoped it would help ease her into yet another new transition through a new home, new neighborhood, new school, and new friends.
Amber thought this was the greatest present she had ever received. The only problem was that she had no idea what to do with a dog. Her father signed them all up for puppy training classes, but the class hadn’t started yet. In the meantime, they were winging the training.
So, you can imagine Amber’s surprise during the block party when she suddenly couldn’t find Cooper. She panicked, but didn’t say anything to her mother or father. She didn’t want to worry them. She had brought Cooper outside to show a kid in the neighborhood. Their yard was fenced in but there were so many people coming and going, someone was bound to leave the gate open. She knew she should have put Cooper on his leash, but… well, she didn’t think.
The kids she showed Cooper to didn’t seem to notice. Maybe they assumed she had brought him back inside the house. She thought herself he might have gone back inside as well. Maybe the party was too overwhelming for him.
Amber checked the entire house, including her bedroom since that was where Cooper enjoyed spending the most of his time. But she couldn’t find him anywhere.
There was some commotion outside and when she made it back into the yard, her mother and father looked panicked by the grill.
“What’s wrong?” she asked them.
Her mother smiled at her. “Oh, don’t worry about it, honey. It’s nothing.”
Amber raised an brow. Did they find Cooper? He got out and was hit by a car, wasn’t he…? Her eyes filled up as she assumed the worst.
“Oh, Amber,” her father sighed. “It’s no big deal, really. Your mother has more sausages inside. They’re just frozen.”
Amber sniffled. “What?”
“We had a lot of sausage links sitting out here ready to grill but they’ve gone missing,” Her mother explained.
Amber’s eyes grew wide. Uh, oh.
“What’s the matter?” her mother asked. “Are you not having a good time?”
Her father narrowed his eyes in confusion and then a realization suddenly hit him. He let out another groan. “Cooper got out, didn’t he…?”
Amber nodded. Her mother gasped.
Lucky for them, at that exact moment, Amber looked over her shoulder and noticed some sausage links walking away to the other side of the house. She pointed to it and her parents and her ran over to the meat. Her father went around the house in the opposite direction in case the pup decided to run.
When Amber and her mother turned the corner, they found Cooper happily munching away on a sausage – at least, he tried to. It was thawed out for the grill but it was still rough on his teeth.
Amber and her mother laughed, taking the food away from Cooper. Amber took Cooper by the collar and lead him back around to the other side of the house bringing him inside. She got him a treat and lured him upstairs to her bedroom where she closed the door.
He hopped up on the bed and Amber stroked the top of his head. “I’d love for you to stay outside and mingle with us, but you can’t be trusted yet.”
Cooper panted happily before lying down and closing his eyes. Amber snickered and left her bedroom, closing the door behind her. Hopefully, he slept for the rest of the afternoon. She didn’t know what her bedroom would look like after a while of him being stuck in there all afternoon.
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