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In Search for Love

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“Kota, wake up! It’s important!” The soft whisper of Elena startles Dakota awake, so early it’s still pitch-black outside. Rubbing her eyes, Dakota says groggily, “What could be so important that you wake me up at 4’o’clock?!” “Just come on!” Elena says, dragging Dakota out of bed fiercely. The pitter-patter of their bare feet could be heard throughout the entire house. Making sure they stay quiet so they don’t wake Cruella up, they begin to tiptoe, being careful they don’t step on a squeaky board. Cars on the street can be heard honking at each other, angry in the morning traffic. Dakota opens the kitchen window, allowing Moolah to pounce in for his morning meal. The mattress of Cruella’s bed yelps as she hops out of bed, heading to her master bathroom for a shower. Hearing the shrill noise surprises Elena and Dakota and they shove Moolah out of the house, making sure the food goes with him. They clean up the mess carefully and head back upstairs silently to pretend that they haven’t woken up yet.
Dakota feels a cold, fluffy object smack her in the face, unaware that she had fallen back asleep. The other girls are awake now. She allows her eyes to travel over to Elena’s bed and finds her sloppily arranged in her bed, mouth wide open. She gradually picks her pillow up and throws it so hard at Elena that she falls out of the bed. “What in the world are you doing!?” Elena yells “I was trying to sleep, in case you don’t mind!” All the other girls begin to laugh hysterically.

Cruella bangs on the door of the bedroom, yelling “Girrrrrls! Get up and start your chores NOW!” Rolling their eyes and moaning, the girls jump out of bed and start preparing for the dreadful day ahead of them. Looking in the mirror, Dakota wonders if she resembles her mother in any way at all. She lets her mind wander, asking questions like “Are her eyes an icy blue like mine?, is her hair dark brown and wavy, too? Does she have a baby face and chubby cheeks? Is her complexion of a cream color just like mine? Even though she asks these questions in her mind every day, she still thrives to find the answers. The orphanage isn’t very big, so there’s not much cleaning to do, but Cruella always find something so that they are busy all day. As they drop down on their hands and knees, Elena whispers to Dakota, “I was up all night doing that research you asked me to do.” “Oh yeah, find anything new?” Dakota secretly asks. “Not really, just that she’s here, in New York!” Elena says, wide-eyed. Dakota can hardly hold in her excitement. She jumps up and tackles Elena, hugging her so tightly Elena gasps for breath. When they are finally done with the daily chores, Elena and Dakota grab their winter coats and run out side. They are shocked at the beautiful snow falling to the ground. Dakota has been at this very orphanage for nine years, and winter time never seems to amaze her. “Okay, so where should we start the search?” Elena asks. “Well, I guess we can start at the usual coffee shops, and then work our way around.” Dakota answers.
The coffee shop is about two blocks away, as they start down towards it Elena notices Moolah just a few steps in front of them. “We forgot to put his collar back on him,” Elena says, frightened. Just when they start to sprint towards him, a white van with the words Chambers’ Pound plastered to the side pulls up on the curb. A tall, sketchy man hops out of the driver’s seat and grabs a gigantic butterfly net. Dakota and Elena try to scream and tell the man that he’s their dog and to leave him alone, but it’s too late. The cruel dog catcher trapped Moolah underneath the net and was now dragging him towards the back of the van. “Oh my god Elena, we have to save him,” Dakota whispers, teary-eyed. Forgetting all about going to the coffee shop to interrogate the usual suspects, they charge towards the dog pound to try and spree Moolah. When they arrive, the man at the front desk says kindly, “how may I be of help to you ladies?” Because Dakota cannot speak from sobbing on the way there, Elena answers rudely, “we came to get our dog, if you don’t mind. Some evil man just brought him in a few minutes ago.” They beg and plead for the longest time, but the man says he can’t let them take Moolah back unless they have an adult with them to prove that he’s their dog. “Just forget it, we’ll come back later,” Dakota says, still shaken. The two girls head back to the coffee shop wondering what questions they will ask today. Maybe something like “Have you seen this woman around?” and pull out the old photograph her mother left behind.
When they arrive at their destination, there is a different boy behind the counter. He is young, and resembles Dakota in a way. His nametag reads “David”. Something about his name sends chills up Dakota’s spine. She glances in the mirror behind him and notices the color of his hair, dark brown, just like hers. He wears it shoulder length and it has a natural wave to it. Dakota and Elena just look at each other and run back towards the orphanage for lunch. Before the other girls and Cruella come down, Elena says, “That was the creepiest thing I’ve seen in a loooong time.” “I know, he looked JUST like me!” Dakota says, trying to be quiet. They decide to go back in about an hour or two because maybe he’ll be on break and they can talk to him.
When an hour and a half goes by, they grab their coats and head back out the door, not telling a soul where they are headed. On the way there, they let their minds ponder the incredible things this one boy could hold. Luckily, when they get there he is outside and on his break. He looks kind of distant; there is a blank stare in his icy blue eyes. Dakota recognizes this look because she has it all the time, when she’s thinking of her mother and what the future holds. “Are you guys stalking me or something?” David asks curiously. Elena answers hastily, “Are you being serious right now, can you not see that this girl looks just like you?!” Dakota just stands there, still in shock of his appearance. Finally she works up the nerve to speak, “Hi, I’m Dakota Graves but you can call me Kota. How come I’ve never seen you around here before?” David gives her look as to ask “Why do you care?” Dakota immediately picks this look up and answers, “I’m an orphan; my mother left me when I was about two and I’m trying to find her.” Elena just stares amazed at the young boy; she thinks to herself how he’s kind of cute in a weird, mysterious kind of way. Dakota continues, “Me and Elena come to the coffee shop everyday to ask the cashier if she has come in since the last time I was here.” David is surprised about this story and reminisces back on his own childhood. “Yeah, my mom gave me up too; I still have her number though. We meet up for coffee sometimes; she looks just like you and me.” Dakota can’t even process this thought. Could this boy whom she has never met be her brother? She thinks about this and asks, “Can I meet with you guys next time you go for coffee?” “Sure, she’ll be excited I have a new friend that looks just like me.” David says, thoughtfully. After a long, intense conversation, Dakota and Elena leave the coffee shop letting the boy’s words soak in. The two girls hardly speak on the way home, even though they are dying to scream with excitement. They spent so much time searching for Dakota’s mother that they almost forgot about Moolah. “OH MY GOD KOTA!!! Moolah is still in the pound, we have to go back and get David so he can claim him.” Elena says, shocked. They sprint back to the coffee shop and explain the story of what happened that morning to David.

David walks with them to the pound and tells them to stay outside. “If the guy at the front desk sees you guys, he might not let me take Moolah,” he says. He strolls in the pound and about ten minutes later runs past with Moolah in his arms. Dakota and Elena run after him, calling out to him the whole way back to the coffee shop. Apparently when the man brought Moolah out, he handed him to David. Since David wasn’t old enough to sign for a stray dog, he ran out of the pound carrying Moolah not looking back. They thanked David and headed to a pet store to purchase a collar so a dog catcher couldn’t pick Moolah up anymore. After they bought it, they headed back to the orphanage, laughing all the way. As soon as they walked through the front door, Cruella starts her evening rant. She was mad that Dakota and Elena skipped out and left the other girls with their daily chores. They didn’t even get the chance to explain themselves before Cruella started screaming about how nobody wanted them; she didn’t know why they were still looking for t heir mothers. Crying, Dakota and Elena headed to the “dungeon” where Cruella instructed them to go. They weren’t allowed to eat dinner and they slept there for the remainder of the night.
The next day, Moolah scratched at the window with a note tied around his collar. Elena opened the window, grabbed the note, and handed Moolah a piece of cheese before sending him on his way. She shakes Dakota until she’s awake and hands her the note, which she’s already read. Dakota opens the paper, reading aloud: Dakota, mother is coming down to the coffee shop at 12:30 for some coffee and a scone. If you’re still interested in meeting her, come down. Signed, David. “ELENA! Did you read this?!” Elena looks at her, rolling her eyes, saying “Dakota are you serious? Of course I read it!” At 12:00 sharp, they grab their coats and head over to the coffee shop, wanting to be extra early so they could guess which woman is Dakota’s mother. When they get there, they take a seat by the window and make eye contact with David, who nods in acknowledgement. While in deep conversation with Elena, someone catches Dakota’s eye; she is tall, has a cream-colored skin tone, icy blue eyes, and dark brown hair, just like Dakota and David. “Lena, I think that’s her, look!” Dakota says stunned. Elena turns her head, to look over her shoulder at the woman. “Wow, she looks just like you Kota,” says Elena in awe. The woman takes a seat across from David and grins widely. Dakota hops down from the barstool and trots slowly over the table inhabited by David and his mother; she can hardly contain her smile. As she approaches the table, the identical woman looks up at Dakota and a gasp escapes her perfectly thin mouth. David rises, walks over to another table, and pulls a chair over for his sister. Dakota takes a deep breath, squeezes her eyes shut tightly, and takes the seat to finally meet her mother.





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