Chapter 1

Mike had no problem with the way his life was progressing. He had enough money with a nice job, had a nice house, dare he say he had good friends. He'd consider himself lucky to have all this with his twenty-three years.

So how did it come he was annoyed this morning? He lost a bet with his friend Bryan, and had to try out volunteer work for a month. Thus, he was sitting at the desk, bored out of his mind, wondering what exactly he should do when someone called. Hey, it was bad enough he already had a job next to this! If this went wrong, he'd probably have to hurt someone, and that someone would probably be Bryan.

But then again, it was his own fault for agreeing to the bet. He should've know, deep inside his conscious, that his friend wouldn't get rejected when he asked two women at the same time if they wanted to go out with him on the same night. Damn, he was the one that always pointed him to his popularity!

He groaned and refrained from drastic measures that would probably make him seem like a freak.

"Poor, poor Michael."

Mike raised and eyebrow when one of his new colleagues leaned over the walls of the small cabin he was sitting in.

"I don't need your two cents, Poppy."

"But you're fresh meat and I have no one else to bully!" She grinned widely, reminding him of a happy child. She did look young but it fitted her normal job as a primary teacher.

Suddenly the phone in her cabin rang, and she jumped off too answer it. He wondered if she'd actually do a good job with that attitude.

He'd been on this job for three days now and could positively say he was never again taking such a thing on again.

Oh, the basic term for this was a suicide hotline operator. He wasn't very good with people, and at first he thought there would be numerous phone calls where he would have to listen and read off some facts, give them some sort of short-thought conclusion and that would be that. But all he had done for three days was to listen to several bored people and prank calls. Lovely.

"If someone calls your line, they'd jump of the bridge even sooner with that attitude of yours!" One of the passing 'colleagues' said with a chuckle.

Suddenly his phone rang and he put down his newspaper with a sigh.

"Hello, suicide hot line here. How can I help you?"

There was some controlled laughter… or well uncontrolled seeing he heard it. Mike twitched and slammed the phone down again, disconnecting it. No one would know if he kept it this way for two hours or so.

The moment he connected his phone again was the moment someone noticed it, he got preached at for not doing his job while he should even though he's not getting paid for it. He did this of his own free will, or so they believe.

After being reprimanded Mike sat back down at the desk again and stared at the phone obnoxiously. Who ever created such things.

It started ringing after a while and he looked at it timidly, not hesitating to pick up when the same guy who just reprimanded him gave him a dangerous glare. He could handle being fired, but he hated to look like a fool in front of everyone.

"Yeah?" He answered in hopes it'll scare of prank callers. Of course it was his luck that right now there wasn't a prank caller in sight (or hearing).

"…Hello?" Was randomly heard and he was met with silence for a while. He heard some shuffles and realized whoever talked might hang up (thus receiving more reprimanding, damn it!) and quickly spoke up.

"Hey there. Can I help you?" when he was met with more silence he considered throwing the phone back anyway.

"Uhm. I didn't dial the wrong number did I?"

"Depends on who you want to speak I guess."

"I'm normally met with the dialogue of how bad someone wants to help me." The girl (he figured out it was a girl from her voice) replied sarcastically and he grinned.

"Oh. In that case, I would love to help you to prevent the increasing suicide rates and listen to your problems to find a solution both in and out of this phone conversation. I strive to make your life better!" She snickered amused. "That good enough?"

"You forgot to ask how you can help me. Very lame. How long have you worked there?"

Wow, touché. Mike smiled at the new experience; now this was something amusing.

"You probably know the introduction from the back of your hand, don't you?"

"I'm not a regular!" The girl defended quickly. "I'll just hang up, there are other's waiting, I guess."

"You called and now I'm waiting for your problem… so in terms you are right."

"What makes you think I want help from you?" That sounded awfully weak. She had to train in lying if she wanted to keep that up. He didn't reply because they both know how stupid the question was.

"Unless you're having problems with the machine called a phone I deduce you have a problem. Are you feeling lonely?"

He heard her snort. "Very observant jerk. You need to bring these things carefully."

"Yeah sure. What's wrong?" He continued, deciding to be a little more serious. He didn't want to anger her in case something was really wrong with her.

He was rewarded with silence and another sound of movement, before silent tapping. She was probably walking up some kind off stairs.

"Parents abuse you?" Silence. "Are you being bullied?" More silence and he heard a door shut softly. "Look kid, why did you call?"

"I'm…" She tried but halted and he shook his head.

"Are you depressed?" There was another silence for about five seconds before he heard a soft hum in agreement. "Okay, why's that?"

"Many reasons."

"I have time." He was met with a huff and decided a different approach. "So kid, how old are you?

"Seventeen." She replied normally.

"So you're in high school then. How are your grades?"

He heard hear think for a while, as she made a humming sound. "Average, I guess. I get enough F's to be a healthy teenager." She chuckled.

"Having fun at school with your friends then?"

"It's normal not to have fun at school." No mentioning of friends.

"What about your parents?"

"She's dead." She, probably her mother?

"Your father?"

"I don't know him. He's dead to me, in a way. That's not why I'm depressed if that's what you're thinking now."

"You're going to have to give me some leads though." He replied, nodding his head in thanks as Poppy put a cup of coffee on his table. He frowned a little, he was out of things to ask.

What else could make a teen depressed? Hell, as far as he knew every teenager had problems with life, even he, so might it be just something small like a rejection?

"I have to go." The girl suddenly said. "You suck at your job anyway."

"Someone's home isn't there?" He grinned widely at her irritated 'yeah' and chuckled softly. "Goodnight then."

"Sure, bye."