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First pages

Chapter One

Family, Carnivals and Best Friends

My bedroom has always been somewhat of a sanctuary to me. It’s where I go to escape from the real world. Where I can swim in my own thoughts, listen to music, do my homework, read…anything really. It’s decorated perfectly for my tastes too. Which is good considering I started redecorating three years ago, when I turned fifteen. I began going to swap meets, antique shops, yard sales, Goodwill, and other second hand stores. My family is only middle-class. So, although we aren’t too tight for money, redecorating a room would be pushing it.

After years of hard work, I’ve finally turned a space that was once filled with pink and butterflies, into a bedroom any eighteen-year-old would be proud to call her own. The walls are a dusty pale gray-blue. The floor the same white wood it’s always been. A shaggy rug that matches the walls lies by my bed. The soft white cushioned headboard is tall enough for me to lean against it comfortably and my sheets are white with a green quilt on top. A purple crocheted blanket that Mom made for me while she was pregnant goes over the quilt. When I get cold, there’s a white and gray patterned duvet that is usually folded at the end of my bed until I kick it to the ground at night. Beside my bed, there’s a green nightstand that matches my quilt. On it, sit flowers I replace every week, a candle, and a clock. A lamp hangs down over the nightstand like a chandelier. My room is simple but pretty. I love it. Another thing I absolutely adore about my room is the slanted ceiling. The wall across from my bed, where my dresser and desk rest, goes up about 3/5 of the way before tilting inwards. It makes my rather spacious and empty room look cozy.

I’m lying on my stomach, reading a book for English class and listening to my iPod, when I feel somebody tap my foot. I jump and scream, turning to see who just tried to scare me to death. It’s my older sister, Lena. She’s nineteen and goes to a local art college. Even though it irritates me, I can’t even be mad at her when she starts laughing hysterically. I know how ridiculous I just made myself look, but I’ve never been good at handling surprises like that.

I sigh impatiently when she doesn’t stop laughing. “Did you come here for a reason, or were you just trying to scare me?” I ask, pulling out my headphones.

Once she can breathe properly again, Lena says “Mom and Dad want us in the living room. I think it’s time for the carnival again.” I nod and follow her downstairs.

Mom works at an elementary school teaching third grade. Every autumn they have a Fall Fun Fest. Mom always volunteers us kids to help. We’re usually happy to do so, until Mom goes crazy and thinks the carnival will fail if any of us are even a minute late. Eventually, she cools off and realizes how insane she is. Mom gets anxious under pressure.

“Hey guys.” I say, sitting down on the opposite side of the couch from my brother, Matthew. He’s fifteen, almost sixteen, and thinks he’s way too cool to have me as a sister. He’s probably right, but I don’t care that much.

“Hey Anna.” Matt murmurs, concentrating on the TV. There’s some sports event on. Football, I think, but I’m not sure if it’s college or professional. Does actual football even start in October? It’s clear from my body type that I’m not the most athletic, so I wouldn’t know.

Mom walks in the room with a few sheets of paper and hands them to us. They’re consent forms, basically telling the school that if we get injured, we won’t file a lawsuit against them. Everyone that works the carnival has to sign one.

“Okay guys. The carnival is next weekend so I need to know what booths you’re planning to work on.”

“Well, Smith and I really liked working the ring toss last year.” Lena says. Her boyfriend, Smith, helped her last year. The stand has about two hundred 2 liter bottles of soda laid out on the floor and children use swimming rings to try to catch bottle around the nozzle. If they hook one, they get to take it. The game is a big hit for little kids.

“Ro and I can take the bottle toss.” I offer. My best friend, Aurora, has no idea that I’m signing her up to help with the carnival, but she probably won’t mind. The bottle toss is a bunch of tin cans or glass milk bottles, stacked to a pyramid, and kids throw balls at it. They get three tries to get all ten bottles or cans down. Depending on the amount, and how many tries, they get a different sized prize. One throw that knocks down ten bottles gets you the largest. Three throws and one bottle get you a small trinket. Zero bottles and you walk away with one less game token.

Mom’s been nodding along with us, making notes. At the mention of Ro, Mom grins a bit and hands me an extra sheet of paper. Mom is all about self-expression and loves Ro’s outgoing personality and flaming purple hair. She says Aurora’s got charisma. I’m not sure my mom’s ever been more proud than when she found out I’d made a friend like Ro.

Mom’s been teaching at the elementary school since I was little. She absolutely adores children. When she sees babies or toddlers, she instantly becomes a jumble of baby talk and silly faces.

Dad is Mr. Fix-it. Our cars never get taken to a repair shop because he can do it all himself. He seems rough on the outside, but as soon as you get close to him, you know that he’d do anything for you. Matt and Lena tell me I’m his favorite, but I’m not. We just communicate better than the others.

Like I said earlier, Lena goes to a local art school. She’s always been in love with photography. I wish I was half as good at anything as she is at taking pictures. Lena met Smith in her junior year of high school and they’re coming up on their second anniversary. They make such a beautiful couple. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous. Lena’s always had everything I wanted; beauty, friends, talent. Maybe it’s sibling rivalry, but I feel like I never compare to her.

Matt is your typical little brother. He can be totally obnoxious and eating at my last nerve one moment. My sweet best friend the next. He doesn’t realize his full potential. He could do so much more with his life, but he’s fifteen and convinced he knows better.

Last year some things happened at school. Suffice to say, by the end of it, I was lonelier than I’d ever been before. That’s when I met Ro. She completely turned my life upside down and, for the most part, I avoid what others think now.

“Do I have to help?” Matt asks, still staring at the TV.

“Yes, Matty.” Mom replies in her ‘I’m not arguing about this’ voice.

“Fine, just sign me up for something easy.” He pauses for only a moment, “And that doesn’t mean watching over the kiddies playing Duck, Duck, Gray Duck like last year.” We all laugh, remembering how Matt whined for days after getting that station at last year’s Fall Fest.

Mom stands up, walks to the kitchen and says, “Alright, well I guess we’re done here. Before any of you go back upstairs, I want chores finished.”

We all groan but we know better than to argue.

***

“Hey Ro.” I say, walking up to purple haired girl I call my best friend.

“Hello Anna.” She says, laughing at me.

“So, guess what you’re doing this weekend.”

She gives me a look, “Going to work then going home to chill on the couch?”

“Nope! You’re helping me out at my mom’s Fall Fest!” I proclaim, making it sound way better than it really is.

“No, I am not.” She narrows her eyes at me.

I bite my lip, “I may have already signed you up.”

“Anna!” She practically yells, “Why would you sign me up for something like that?”

“’Cause I wanted to do it with you!”

She gets a perverted smile on her face and smirks, “Yesss, everybody does.”

I burst out laughing when she wiggles her eyebrows at a guy walking passed us.

“I think that kid just pissed his pants.” I say, watching him do a running walk to get away from us.

“Eh, what can I say? Sometimes the excitement gets to be too much for the young ones.”

She shrugs modestly as she loads more books into her backpack.

I purposely waited until now, at the end of the day on Friday, to tell her about this weekend. But I’d spent the week making sure she wouldn’t be busy. I’m just sneaky like that. I knew that if I told her about it before now, she’d make plans to get out of it.

“Anyways.” I say pointedly, “Please help out. It’s really not that bad and we got a pretty easy booth.” I say, pouting a little.

Her nose wrinkles and a sigh escapes her lips before she nods, “Fine. I’ll go, but I’m not looking forward to it.” I squeal and throw my arms around her shoulders, “You owe me cookies or something.” She adds.

I laugh and nod before backing up and heading down the hallway. “I will see you tomorrow morning.” I call out.

“Yeah, yeah. Just go.” She yells back, laughing.


Chapter Two

Fall Fun Fest

I think my greatest pet peeve is waiting. I hate having to be patient for people. And yet, I’m sitting here, tapping on the steering wheel of my cherry red Toyota Corolla, waiting anxiously for Ro to come downstairs. She lives in a little two-bedroom apartment with her alcoholic mother who regularly has strange men over. Which I guess is why Ro spends a lot of time at my house.

I called her twenty minutes ago to meet me downstairs and she told me to give her five minutes. Ro’s never on time, no matter what. I know that, her professors know that, her boss knows that. Everybody knows to depend on Ro showing up late. I think most of us have learned to tell her things a few minutes, or hours, early in hopes she’ll be ready by the real deadline. This morning that clearly wasn’t happening.

After another ten minutes I honk my horn. Finally, a flash of purple darts out the door and into my car. “Oh my god, you were supposed to be out here, like, an hour ago.” I complain, pulling away from the curb.

“Oh hush, it was hardly that long,” She says, pushing down the visor to look in the mirror.

I roll my eyes.

“It took you forever and you’re not even ready?”

“Um, does it look like I’m ready?” She asks, turning to look at me.

I burst out laughing when I see that she’s only got makeup on one eye.

“You look so pretty!” I grin.

Ro grumbles something under her breath and turns back to the mirror.

After fifteen minutes, and the completion of “flawless” makeup, I pull up to the large courtyard the school rented for the fair. We get out and head off to find my mom. It doesn’t take long since she practically attacks us, going on and on about how late we are and that the Fall Fest officially begins in less than twenty minutes. Ro and I laugh as we follow her to our booth. There are three boxes full of cans and bottles stacked along the side. We also spy a few garbage bags full of stuffed animals and other small trinkets. Prizes.

Aurora and I immediately begin stacking everything and setting out the prizes. Within ten minutes we’re finished and looking on proudly. A little boy around seven years old walks up to us, carrying a crate full of whiffle and softballs. It probably weighs more than him.

“Do you need any balls?” He asks in a squeaky voice.

I elbow Ro before she can come back with a dirty response and nod my head, “We definitely do! Thank you very much.” I give him a large smile as he hands six over.

Time passes quickly and before we know it, the carnival is in full swing. Unsurprisingly, the line for my side of the booth is longer than Ro’s. Not only am I pretty good with encouraging children, but Ro looks like she’d rather be anywhere but here. When there’s finally a pause in customers, she walks over to me.

“Everybody likes you best.” She pouts.

I raise an eyebrow. “Aurora, you have bright purple hair, piercings, and a shit ton of makeup on. Do you honestly expect children to just automatically warm up to you? You’re not even smiling. I’d be afraid of you too.”

She huffs, “Well sorry if we can’t all be Mary freaking Sunshine with happy rainbows arching out of our asses.”

I’m about to respond when another voice cuts in, “Whoa, ladies… Sorry to interrupt this cat fight, but my nephew wants to play the game.”

We both turn to see someone who is possibly the most gorgeous someone I’ve ever seen. He’s got slightly shaggy dark brown, almost black, hair. His eyes are nearly as dark as his hair, but you can see the energy in them. I think the most brilliant thing about him is his smile, his teeth are perfectly straight and white and his grin brightens his entire face. Much to my horror, I can feel myself start to blush.

“Yes, of course. Sorry about that.” I grumble, looking down.

I notice a little boy holding his hand so I bend over the counter a little.

“Hey there, what’s your name?” I ask, feeling some of my awkwardness dissipating.

“Zandew,” he murmurs shyly.

I put my hand out for him to take.

“Well Hi Zander, I’m Annie. Are you going to knock some bottles down today?” I ask happily.

He nods his head, a little smile growing on his face.

“Yeah! Yeah! Unca’ Bway’s gonna hewp me!” He says excitedly. “Idin’t dat wite, Unca’ Bway!”

“That’s awesome!” I tell him genuinely. “How about we get you up here?”

I pat the counter, knowing that the little boy can barely see over it let alone throw something, “And we’ll get you started.” I move to grab the bottles and begin setting them up in a way that should be easy for him to hit. I grab a foam ball that’s bound to bounce off of something and knock them down.

I hand him the ball and lean down a little to talk to him, “Okay, you get five chances to knock down three bottles, alright?” I ask, holding up my fingers when I say five and three. Zander nods and looks doubtfully at the pyramid.

“Unca’ Bway! You do it, I’w miss.” He pouts sadly, trying to pass the ball over to his uncle.

It nearly breaks my heart and I have to stop myself from saying “awwwwh”.

“No way kiddo, this is your shot. I know you can do it!” Mr. Gorgeous encourages, his smile widening even further.

Zander looks nervously at the pyramid. He takes a deep breath and throws the ball with all his might. I nearly cry when it misses. I grab it and hand it back.

“It’s okay, Buddy. That happens to everybody on the first try. I’m sure you’ll get it this time,” I promise emphatically.

His little lower lip is puckered out a little, but he takes the ball anyways. This time he doesn’t chuck it quite as hard and it goes a bit lower, taking out the top three bottles. I yelp with joy.

“Way to go, Bud. You did better than I ever do!” I tell him, slightly embarrassed that I’m telling the truth. “Which prize do you want?” I ask, pointing to a line of the medium sized animals. Zander was just too sweet for a little prize.

“I wanna munk-wee!” He exclaims.

I nod my head. “Then a monkey it is.”

I lift up onto my toes and struggle a little to reach the animal that I somehow hung up so high. When I finally get it down and turn to Zander, he’s in the arms of another guy who’s nearly as gorgeous as the first one. His eyes are grey and he looks a little older, but I can certainly see the resemblance.

Zander is talking animatedly about how he got the bottles down on his second try and the guy is smiling proudly and nodding along. I feel warm from the adorableness and walk over to hand the monkey to the kid’s uncle. “Here you go.” I say politely.

He stares at me for a moment and being scrutinized was more than awkward. I already know I’m not his type. Guys like him go out with petite cheerleaders with tiny waists. I am definitely not that. I clear my throat, still holding the monkey out to him. He blinks and his smile returns before he takes the animal. “Thanks.” His voice gives me goose bumps over my entire body.

“I’m Brayden, by the way.” he leans forward to rest his arms on the countertop.

“You’re welcome,” I murmur, mute with shock.

I didn’t expect him to actually talk to me.

“Oh, and this is Zander’s dad, Landon,” Brayden adds when a tanned elbow finds its way to his ribs.

“Nice to meet you,” Landon says.

“You too. Your son is great,” I tell him honestly.

“Yeah, he takes after me,” he brags.

I snort a little, but try to cover it up as a cough.

“Well it was nice meeting you all. Enjoy the rest of the Fall Fest, okay?”

I’m not trying to push them away, but I don’t really understand why they’re still here. Landon and Zander turn to leave, in search of new entertainment but Brayden lingers a moment, fiddling.

“I know this is sudden, but could I call you sometime?” He’s flustered.

My eyes widen in shock.

“My, uh, my… my n-number? W-why?” I stammer.

“To call you, or if you don’t like to talk on the phone, maybe we could text?” He offers quickly, blushing at the end. Landon has stopped walking and is laughing hysterically, making me nervous. Is this a prank?

“N-I, um, I-uh…” I can’t complete the sentence; I’m honestly too surprised to respond appropriately.

Before I can reject him, Aurora, whom I’d completely forgotten about, steps in and hands him a piece of paper with my name and number on it. “If you hurt her, I’ll break you.” She warns sincerely before disappearing back to wherever she’d been.

Brayden smiles in relief, “Okay. I’ll talk to you later,” He glances at the paper, “Anna.”

As soon as he walks away, I turn to Ro and smack her arm. “Ouch! What the-” She cries out, rubbing the spot I hit.

“Why would you do that? Couldn’t you see how hard that Landon guy was laughing? Clearly it was all just some kind of joke or something!” I cut her off angrily.

I can feel myself getting emotional. In my life, I learned the hard way not to trust people. In fact, Ro is the only person I’ve trusted since junior high and now she just helped those guys tease me. To say I feel betrayed is putting it lightly.

“Come on, do you honestly think that if I thought they were joking, I would have given it to him?” She asks with a roll of her eyes.

“I don’t know. It seems like you would.” I cross my arms, my low self-esteem filling my mind with doubt.

“Seriously Anna? Get over yourself. Of course I wouldn’t. You’re my best friend and I would never ever hurt you intentionally. Stop being a brat.” Her words get through to me and I lower my head. Suddenly, she was the one feeling betrayed.

“I’m sorry, but what the hell do I do if he calls? I hate talking on the phone, even to you. I’m sure as hell not going to do it with a stranger.”

I can see the perverted little smirk take over her face. After years of being friends, I’m still unprepared for what she’s about to say.

“But doing it with a stranger is awesome, Doll.”

I groan and roll my eyes. I should have seen that one coming.

“You’re a pig, Aurora,” I tell her fondly.

“Yes, but you love me.” At least she doesn’t try to deny it.

“That I do, Pig. That I do.” We both laugh at my cheesy reference and move on.

“Really, I think that you just need to be yourself. I mean, nobody would expect that somebody like you could be the way you are.” She affirms.

I wrinkle my eyebrows. “That made zero sense.”

“Yeah, but you know what I meant.” She rolls her eyes.

“Um, actually, I’m not sure that I do.” I admit.

“You come across as Anna; this shy, quiet, sweet girl, but as soon as somebody gets to know you, they get introduced to Annie; the loud, funny, strong person that you truly are,” She ends fondly.

“Awww, you love me. You really love me!” I squeal, pulling her into an obnoxious hug.

We’re both giggling; knowing that, even though I’m being sarcastic, what she said is true.

“Of course I do, Shrek.” She says, using her exclusive nickname and I flash back to how it started:

One night we were stretched out on my couch watching Shrek “Yo, Annie, you’re totally like Shrek! You’re all fierce and never let people get close to you.” “Okay,” I retaliated with, “If I’m Shrek, then you’re Donkey.”

“I love you too, Donkey.” And I laugh as she tries to escape my hug.

The carnival is technically open until ten at night, but by 9:30 all of the games have closed down and everyone is waiting for fireworks. Well, I’m not. Aurora and I got out of there as soon as Mom came to tell us we could go.


Chapter Three

Miscommunication and Coffee

Since Ro is working the night shift at Starbucks, I’m home alone watching Roseanne re-runs on the ‘TV Land’ channel. Roseanne is my guilty pleasure. I’ve loved it since I was little; long before I realized how obnoxious her laugh is. I realize how tragic it is that I’m so into the episode that I barely register my phone ringing. “Hello?” I ask, still distracted by the TV.

It actually takes me a few seconds to realize it’s not Ro on the other end. “Wait, what?” I ask.

“Um, this is Brayden…” He pauses, clearly waiting for me to say something. I can’t though. I am too amazed that he actually called. He starts talking again.

“I don’t know if you remember me but I was at the carnival and you helped my nephew, Zander. He, uhh…he wanted a monkey?” He sounds uncomfortable, nervous even.

I shake my head and nod, only to realize he can’t see that. “Uh, I remember you.” I answer brilliantly.

The voice on the other end of the line perks up. “Wait, you do?!”

I let out a small laugh.

“Yes. I remember you. You were there with your brother, Landon, right? You wore a green hat with an “A’s” symbol on it…” I smack my forehead. Wow, I sound like a total stalker.

“Yeah, that was me!” He actually sounds happy, which makes me blush and somehow feel relieved. I’m not sure what to say now, so we just kind of stay silent for a moment. Brayden starts talking again.

“So, uh, your name is Anna, yeah?” He asks.

“Yeah.” I echo.

As soon as the word left my mouth, my elbow accidentally bumps the ‘mute’ button on the remote and suddenly my whole room is filled with laughter from the TV.

I hear his soft snort of amusement before he asks, “Is that Roseanne?”

I blush darker and bite my lip, wondering if he’d just give up on me and hang up if I admit this to him. “Yeah, it is.” I say, mortified that the hottest guy in the world knows my secret.

“That’s cute,” he says finally.

That throws me for a loop, but I don’t have time to contemplate his words to much when he continues with, “I’m actually watching it too. TV Land, right?” He asks.

My eyes widen and my jaw drops, “You watch Roseanne?”

“Well, generally only when nothing else is on, but yeah.” He admits softly.

“So, what else do you like to watch?” I blurt. Somehow, I can tell that he’s smiling.

“I like watching sports, and that one tattoo show. Uh, I’m not gonna lie… sometimes I find myself watching cartoons too.” His voice is laced with sincere amusement at his confession.

“I love cartoons,” I reassure him.

“Really? Which ones?” He asks.

“Um, well as a kid I loved the Rugrats, and that’s still on my top. I like Scooby Doo, and Looney Tunes are good too.” I say, smiling at the onset of childhood memories. “You?”

“I was always a huge fan of the Flintstones and the Jetsons. Uhh…Spongebob is always great.”

I laughed, “You like Spongebob?”

“Of course! Who doesn’t?” He scoffs playfully.

“The only time I watch it is if my brother makes me. But I have a TV in my bedroom, so that isn’t often.”

“You have a brother?” He asks, his interest swinging suddenly.

I find myself flattered by his curiosity. “And a sister.”

“Cool, how old are they?”

“Lena is nineteen and Matt is sixteen.”

“And you?” He asks softer this time.

“I’m eighteen. How about you?”

“I’m twenty-one,” he sounded as though he was admitting something awful.

“Oh God, you’re so old!” I say sarcastically. Silently, I wonder how I could be so bold with someone I don’t know.

“Hey! I’m not that old!” He protests. “Why, is it too old for you? I mean, I understand if it is… I mea-”

“Brayden, I’m not freaking out. So you, stop freaking out.” I assure him gently. Why does he care what I think? I can’t help but smile when I hear his relieved sigh.

“Sorry,” He takes a deep breath, “I’m not usually like this.”

“Like what?” I wonder.

“A total dweeb?” He offers.

I laugh. “I don’t mind, it’s kind of adorable, really.”

“Adorable. Cool, because that’s what I was going for.” He huffs, making me chuckle. “And she laughs…” He grumbles, sounding amused but still surly.

“I can’t help it!” I cry, trying to stop my giggles.

“That’s okay, I like the sound.” He sounds sincere and it makes me stop immediately.

“Why do you keep doing that?” I ask suddenly.

“Doing what?”

“Well, you keep saying things like that.” I tell him.

“Like what?” He asks cautiously.

“Like, well, like saying it’s cute that I watch Roseanne, and um, that you like my giggles.” I grumble, blushing profusely. This was ridiculous.

“Well you are cute, and I do like your giggles,” he tells me.

I’m immediately irritated…I know a lie when I hear one. “I’m not cute.” I huff. I can’t believe that I almost fell for that. It’s one thing to talk and laugh, but it’s another thing completely to lead me on.

“Whoa, I’m sorry.” He says quickly, “Um, do you prefer beautiful?” He amends.

I scoff, roll my eyes, and hang up on him. The last thing I need is to be played the fool…again I learned my lesson the first time.

***

I keep my phone in my bedroom the next day while I watch TV in the den. By Monday morning, I’ve gotten five texts and three calls from Brayden, all of which I delete without reading or listening to. Ro catches up to me on my way to class.

“Hey Doll, so did that hottie call like he said he would?”

I shake my head, having already decided to lie to her. “No, but I didn’t really expect him to anyways.”

“What an asshole! If I’d have known, I never would have given him your number, Annie. Promise.”

“It’s okay Ro. I know you didn’t mean for me to get hurt,” I assure her. “And I wasn’t.” I add, figuring the last thing I need is for Ro to think he’d gotten to me. I try to smile but the entire time I’m calling myself a liar. Because I definitely did get hurt. To hope that somebody like Brayden had an interest in me just to find out it was a joke…well, that sucked.

“Well, Doll, we’re off to capture the hearts of far better men,” Ro proclaims theatrically, weaving my arm through hers. She always seems to know what to say to make me smile.

***

Morning comes far too early in the day and I’m running around my room to get ready. I slip on my skinny jeans by jumping up and down to get them over my hips. Some people, mainly my mother, tell me that skinny jeans are only for skinny people. I disagree. I have long enough legs that the jeans actually accentuate my curves rather than make me look larger than I am. At least that’s what Ro said and she never lies. I also pull on a blue and orange loose shirt, leather flip flops, a dusty pink beanie, and my golden locket. My hair is down in loose waves as usual.

Even though there’s nobody in my life to dress up for, I still like putting effort into the way I look. I guess I want to somehow prove to people that I’m not just the weird, quiet girl people see me as. It doesn’t always help but I do it anyways.

Downstairs, I run to my car and speed to school. It’s weird driving alone since I used to carpool with Matt. Now that he’s becoming popular, he’s involved in so many sports, he prefers riding to school with his friends. I don’t mind; I get enough of the kid at home and it’s nice not having to drive by the high school to drop him off on my way to class at the community college.

Last night I got to thinking and I came to the conclusion that I’m eighteen now and I need a job to pay for my own things. I don’t want to rely on my parents for everything; it makes me feel dependent and immature. That’s why today I’m going to talk to Ro about seeing if there are any job openings at Starbucks. I get to school just in time to talk to her before my first class. Luckily for me, she’s waiting in the parking lot and I don’t need to find her.

“Hey Doll, you’re looking gorgeous as usual,” she says, knowing I hate it when she tells me that. If she wasn’t so amazing, I’d despise her. But instead of getting irritated, I just laugh it off.

“Yes, I know. Hey, I have a question…” I figure I better cut to the chase.

“Hey, I might have an answer.” She grins.

“Are there any job openings at Starbucks?”

As soon as the words leave my mouth, she bursts out laughing.

“Hey, it’s not that funny! I would be a good worker!” I exclaim, almost wounded by her laughter.

“No…” She gasps, “It’s not that.”

When she finally calms down, she regales me with how, the night before, one of the baristas threw hot coffee in the face of an ex-boyfriend and was fired. They’re trying to fill her place as soon as possible.

“Dude, talk about fate,” I smile, feeling hopeful.

“Totally. Just follow me to work today and you can talk to my boss.” She says as we head off towards our class.

Luckily for me Ro and I both decided to get some of our basics out of the way at community college, before heading off to university for our real degrees. So since we are both just studying the basics, we can take a lot of the same classes.

***

I really hope it’s this easy to find a job in the future. Although, I seriously doubt it will be. I talked to the manager, Jon, and he basically hired me on the spot. I’m taking home some forms to fill out for legal purposes, but I start on Friday. I don’t really know how my parents are going to handle me having a job. But I’ve been eighteen since September third, two whole months, and it’s my decision.

I pull into the driveway and sit there for a minute, suddenly more nervous than I have been in a while. Dad’s car is filling the garage space mine occupied this morning, so I have to leave my car in the cold. Inside, I can already smell Dad’s spaghetti.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Amelia Whitmore, graduated as a librarian and has worked for a few years in one of the biggest libraries of her city, but her long lasting dream has always been to publish the stories she has been writing ever since she understood the meaning of love and romance. At the age of 26 years old, she finally managed to accomplish her dream.


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