AJ was walking around the park with his puppies in Orlando, Florida. He looked around, looking at all the other people walking their dogs. Okay, he was watching all the women who were walking their dogs. Then a thought went through this mind. What would Amanda think if she saw you? AJ just shook his head. It’s not like they were going out or anything. He just met her a week ago. While deep in thought AJ didn’t notice the woman walking in his direction with her chow puppy until WHAM!! He ran into her and they both went tumbling to the ground.

“I am really sorry,” AJ said hurriedly as he got up dusted himself off. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

“It’s okay. Really,” said the woman as she picked herself up.

AJ finally looked up at her and was totally stunned. Oh my god, I’ve never seen a more beautiful woman, he thought. AJ continued to stare at the woman as she dusted herself off. She had beautiful, layered dark brown hair with red highlights that blended perfectly. She wasn’t much shorter than himself. Probably 5’5 or 5’6, AJ thought. Finally she looked up at him and all thoughts flew out of his mind. The woman was more beautiful than he originally thought. She had a flawless, light brown complexion and gorgeous light brown eyes.

“Why are you staring at me?,” the woman asked.

AJ snapped out of his trance. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to. It’s just that you’re really beautiful and.....”

“Look, the last thing I need is you to be hitting on me,” she snapped. “I have to go.”

“Whoa,” AJ said, grabbing hold of her arm. “I wasn’t hitting on you, miss. For once, I’m not throwing a woman a line. I’m serious.”

“Oh,” the woman blushed. “Well, um, thanks, I guess.”

“But since we’re on the subject,” AJ continued. “Can I call you sometime?”

The woman stood there for a few seconds, thinking. “Sure.”

She took out a pen and little notepad, and wrote down her name and number. She was about to give it to him when she took it back. “If you’re gonna get my number, I think it’s only fair I get yours.”

AJ looked at her surprised, but pleased. “Sure thing. May I borrow that pen and paper, please?”

“Of course.” The woman handed it to AJ.

AJ wrote down his name and number, then handed it to the woman as she handed hers to him. He looked down at the paper for her name. “Destiny Morningdove”. Wow, that’s a interesting name, AJ thought. Destiny broke his thoughts when she spoke.

“Well, Alex McLean, I guess I’ll be hearing from you soon,” she smiled. The way she looked took AJ’s breath away.

Finally, he spoke, smiling back. “Count on it, Destiny Morningdove.”

The two of them said their goodbyes and walked in opposite directions, leading their puppies away. Right when he was about to cross the street, AJ heard the screeching of tires and a woman’s scream. He turned around just in time to see Destiny get hit by a car screeching to a halt. Without thinking, he ran in her direction, dragging his puppy with him. There was already a small crowd around her by the time he got there. AJ pushed his way to the front of the crowd and saw Destiny lying on the ground, looking like she wasn’t breathing.


“I GOT IT!! I GOT IT!!” AJ yelled out as he whipped out his cell phone and dialed 911.

Soon the ambulance arrived and the medics started going to work. AJ heard things like, “She’s got a pulse, but barely”, “Hurry! We need to get her to the hospital now!”. He watched as they put Destiny on a stretcher and in the ambulance. A few seconds later, the ambulance went racing down the street to the nearest hospital. The police went around talking to everyone who witnessed the accident, including AJ. After what seemed like hours, AJ started walking back toward his friend’s house, which was nearby.

On the way there, AJ noticed something walking behind him and turned around. It was Destiny’s chow puppy. As if being led to him, the puppy walked up to him and stopped right in front of him. AJ kneeled down and pet the puppy. He looked at the dog tag for a name. “Paris”, it said.

“Well, Paris,” AJ said taking hold of the leash. “I guess you’re going home with me.”

Paris barked as if understanding him. AJ smiled sadly and headed for his friend’s house.


The next day.....

“Are you sure you should keep her?” Brian Littrell asked AJ.

AJ nodded. “It’s only until Destiny gets out of the hospital.”

“Um, AJ,” Kevin Richardson said, Brian’s cousin. “I don’t think she’s coming home. Look.”

AJ looked at the TV, which had the news on. He saw a picture of Destiny on the screen and listened.

“Yesterday, at around 3:30pm, a 20-year-old woman by the name of Destiny Morningdove was struck by a drunk driver while walking her dog,” the reporter said. “Morningdove was pronounced DOA when she arrived at the hospital. Her family has told Channel 7 that she was attending Harvard, studying law and had hoped to go to Harvard Law School, and that she was here in Orlando on her spring break. The driver of the car, Samuel Danielson, is being charged with first degree manslaughter and felony drunk driving, and could end up doing prison time.”

“That’s such a tragedy for the family,” the other reporter said. “We’ll certainly be keeping them in our thoughts and prayers here at the station.”

AJ sat on the couch in shock as the news moved onto another story. Brian and Kevin looked at each other, then at AJ worriedly. Finally AJ spoke.

“I guess I’ll contact Destiny’s family and let them know I have her puppy,” AJ said, quietly. “Bri, can I use your phone?”

“Sure,” Brian said. He handed the cordless phone to AJ.

AJ dialed Information and got the number for Destiny’s family.

Chapter One
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