This is my first multi-chaptered story! wooOO haha, i hope you have as much fun reading it as i had writing it. Enjoy!

My stomach gurgled yet again. "Ugh, shut up stomach! Im going!" It had been grumbling all afternoon, most likely the result of a very busy day, one that usually leaves no time for eating. So once I finally got inside the front door, and it made noise for the hundredth time today, I headed to the kitchen.

As I rounded the corner I heard a voice coming from inside the kitchen. "Oh Baby, I love you so much. I want you to know, YOU complete me." I walked in the kitchen very confused, and saw my brother standing in front of the refrigerator, shamelessly flirting with a chicken leg.

"Ahem." I pretended to clear my throat, to make my presence known. He looked up at me and froze; he was very surprised to see me there. There was a look of shock on his face, I thought he would have been embarrassed, but instead his shock turned to annoyance.

"Do you mind, I was kind of having a moment." He said it matter-of-factly. I just laughed and grabbed an apple. He watched me as I left the kitchen. Once I reached the next room I shouted back to him, "You're a freak Mason!"

"Love you too Liz!" He answered. I could hear the smile in his voice.

And this is my life. I go to work and make adequate money, and my brother goes to school and then comes home and makes me think he needs therapy. We live together in our parents old home. Since they passed away a few years ago, we just take care of each other. He needs me and honestly, I need him to.

Mason walked into the living room and sat on the couch beside me. His face was turned toward the TV but I knew he wasn't watching it.

"I hope you let her down easy." I laughed, trying to lighten the suddenly heavy atmosphere.

He smiled. "Oh she went down REAL easy. A little barbeque sauce MM." He licked his fingers. I couldn't conceal my laughter. He always knew how to make me laugh, and he never hesitated to do so.

We just sat watching the television for a few minutes. I scanned the channels, but I didn't settle on anything, maybe because there wasn't anything good on, or maybe because nothing could hold my attention right now. I had much too much on my mind to care about anything on television.

"So how was work?" He asked at length. And I knew exactly what he was getting at. I didn't usually come home early.

"Good, good." I tried to sound confident, but as always, he could see right through my lies. Before I even got out the second 'good' he was giving me that look that means he knows I'm keeping something from him.

"What happened?" He asked like an experienced mother who just found her children in what looks like the aftermath of an apple sauce fight.

"Alright," I confessed, "So work didn't go exactly according to plan today. No big. Its not like there aren't a million other jobs out there."

"You got fired!?" he squealed. That voice hasn't completely matured I see.

"Why would you automatically assume that? That's not the only option." I defended myself, even if he was right.

"Then what happened?" He was getting smart now, and not the good kind of smart either.

"First of all…" I had nothing, what was I supposed to say? "…I don't have to explain myself to you." Hah, I forgot about that. Im older! "Therefore, there will be no second of all." I said rather smugly. He paused; I thought maybe I had him for a moment.

"You got fired." He called my bluff. Of course I couldn't fool him! I couldn't even distract him.

"It wasn't my fault!" I cried. "I was just doing my work like I always do and my manager comes over to me and says that my department is being downsized. Im a cashier! I didn't know that was a department!" I said almost crazy with confusion.

"That's the 3rd job this month." He said, distraught.

"I know. I don't understand what's going on, it's like someone has it out for me or something."

"We can barely afford to feed ourselves as it is." He said with more worry in his voice than a 16 year old boy should be subjected to.

"Believe me, I know." I said after just finishing off my apple; the only food I had all day.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, both too deep in thought to speak.

"…I wonder if it had anything to do with that man." I spoke my thoughts. "I kind of remember seeing him around." It made some sense so I kept going. Mason's eyes were on my face now. "Yeah, I saw him at the Laundromat, and then again at the supermarket and then I remember seeing him again this morning, before I got fired. He is a monster of a man, at least 7 feet tall, African American. You wouldn't forget seeing him." I was putting it together now. "Do you think he is following me?" I questioned.

Mason looked at me like I was crazy. "So you think a huge black man is stalking you and getting you fired from your jobs?"

"It's possible." I said still thinking it over.

"Im sorry to have to tell you this, but your not that interesting."

"Oh yeah smart guy, well then what do you think is happening?" I asked bitterly.

"I think you either have the worst luck in the world, or you're doing something wrong." He said it as if he knew everything.

"Im not doing anything wrong, I do everything by the book. I actually thought I would have been employee of the month by now." I was looking forward to the next staff meeting.

"They actually have that? I didn't know people still did the employee-of-the-month thing." He sounded kind of impressed, though it was completely off topic. He thought for another moment. "….well then it must be your rotten luck." He decided.

"Yeah, it must have been that mirror I broke last week." I said sarcastically.

"You broke a mirror!?" He yelled with obviously as much sarcasm as I used. And even though I really wasn't in the mood, I laughed. Curse his powers of farcicality.

"I still think that man has something to do with it though."

"Well whatever it is, you need another job." He finished our conversation and stood up to leave.

"Where are you going?" I asked.

"Homework." That was all the answer I needed. With that he left down the hall to his room.

I just sat back and continued thinking. That man had to have something to do with this. But what does he have to do with me? And why would he want me to be broke? What could he possible gain from getting me fired? It all made no sense.

"Liz?" my brother called from his room, breaking through my train of thought.

"Huh?"

"How much do you know about physics?" He asked sheepishly.

I just rolled my eyes and stood up. "Im comminnggg."


Once it was finally my turn, I walked up to the counter and looked at the choices. There were so many, lots of things I couldn't pronounce, but I decided that today was not a risk taking day. "I'll have a small cup of coffee and a blueberry muffin." I told the lady, who looked rather unhappy to be there.

"Sugar?" She asked in a voice that went with her face.

"Yes please."

She pushed some buttons on her little computer screen and sighed. "That'll be 6.47." She droned.

That seemed a little high for what I ordered, but I took out my wallet to pay. I opened it and I thought moths would fly out. I had 4 dollars and…32 cents. Fabulous.

"Um," I wanted to run away and not look back. "Forget the muffin." I grinned through the humiliation.

She just stared at me for a moment and then pushed another button on her computer without looking away from me. "4.25." Her apathy was almost amusing.

"Thanks." I took my coffee and plastered a grin on my face. It probably looked fake, but that's exactly how I wanted it to look. I walked over to a booth to enjoy my coffee in peace.

I lifted the steaming cup and inhaled deeply. The sweet, familiar aroma filled my lungs. Even when the rest of the world was in chaos, I knew that I could always find comfort here. Its amazing how something as simple as a cup of coffee in a small café can make you feel eons better, no matter how unfriendly the service. I took a small sip and I felt the warmth of the coffee spread through me. I sighed, I always loved that feeling.

I set my cup on the table and looked down at the newspaper before me. I guess its time to get down to business… literally. I was getting kind of tired of looking at the same old Help Wanted section. I scanned over the familiar ads, the ones I had seen the past 3 times I had looked for a job. But then I saw a new add.

"I can't believe this." I said under my breath, both rage and shock evident in my voice. The store I had just been fired from, the one that was being 'downsized', is now looking for cashiers. The good feeling I had gotten from my coffee was suddenly and completely gone now. I was furious. But what could I do about it? Nothing, that's what, I was completely powerless. Very annoyed, I turned the page.

I browsed the page looking for anything that I might be able to do. Then suddenly one of the ads caught my eye. Lee's Garden: no experience needed. Hmm, well I always have liked Chinese. I looked over the details of the job. It didn't seem too bad, the pay was decent and plus, I was desperate. I took out my pen and circled the small section of newspaper.

"Looking for a job?" A strange male voice asked. He startled me and I jerked my head up to look at him. He was just standing there, leaning against the booth across from me, staring at me with a smile on his face. He couldn't have been more than 30. He was wearing a suit, and his hair was slicked back. He was very corporate looking, it was kind of scary.

"Uh, yeah." I just mumbled. This man was entirely too intimidating to look at so I returned my eyes to the newspaper, all of the sudden very interested in the sale on salami. But my evasion tactic was in vain. The man walked over to my booth and sat down across from me.

"I noticed you're havin money problems." He had a southern accent that I didn't notice before.

"Well, I don't mean to be rude sir, but I don't really think that is any of your business." I hated being assertive, but I hated strange people being in my business more.

He laughed heartily. "You're exactly right, it ain't my business. But," he added like he was a car salesman, "If you let me help, it could be my business." He gave me an inquiring look then reached in his jacket and pulled out a small white card. "The names Dave, Dave Cunningham." He handed the card to me. "If you're interested, we can help with all your money problems." I just looked at him. And without a word, he stood up and left. I stared after him.

"Well that was nice." I said to myself while still looking in the direction he left. Then I looked down at the card he had given me. "Nice and creepy." I stated with more emphasis. I don't know who that guy was, but I definitely didn't trust him. Besides, I didn't need his help. I was going to apply to Lee's Garden, where apparently I don't need experience; which is good, because I don't have any.

That's it for now. I will update soon. Review if you feel moved to do so.