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Chapter 43 – Nancy

Looking up from my perch behind the family pc, I watch in fascination as Greg passes by, muttering to himself and looking very much sleep deprived. Turning back to the screen in front of me, I scroll through all the different college programs and their requirements. Scribbling notes on the notepad beside me, things I need to ask the guidance counsellor for the courses I am interested in, I tap the pen thoughtfully against my lip. Hoping that all this preparation will help me when I get to make my choices for college in the next few years.

Surprisingly, Rafa looks as fresh as a daisy every day.

I muss as I heard Greg stomp up the stairs, most likely to hole up in this room and begin to prepare for his exams.

Then again, Rafa's parents have him nicely set up with whatever he will end up doing.

Trying not too much to think of the easygoing attitude Rafa has towards his exams, I fear he might underestimate who minimal his current scores are and how negatively they impact the scores he needs to get on his exams to get into Uni.

Luckily for me, my phone makes a sound, taking my thoughts away from all the negative thoughts. Smiling my fingers race across my phone's keyboard as I message Sasha back for a shopping spree this coming weekend.

Maybe I should work on my resume and have a look around the mall and see if they are hiring.

Clicking the browser closed, I go to documents and open my resume file and start updating it.

"Thinking of a part-time job Cookie?"

I am jolted back into the present as Dad's voice lilts in my ear as he leans against the chair.

"Yeah, I thought now might be a good time as any to look for a part-time job to add to my finances as I am planning a shopping spree with Sasha this weekend. Thought I might as well have a look around and see if they are hiring. I don't care if it is just for the summer holidays, I am getting restless and a little bored."

Clicking on the safe button, I wait for the document to be saved and when I am sure it has, I shut down the pc and look hopefully to the dining table. The fact Dad was standing behind me usually means that dinner is ready. Only to be shocked to see it empty, no steaming pans, plates or cutlery.

What is this?!

Dad chuckles at the shock on my face as he pats my head lightly. "I thought it might be a nice change to order something in, so I have your mom and Lo pick it up at the local."

Sure enough, a pair of headlights sweep the driveway as the family hatchback turns up and the engine is not even turned off when Lo jumps out of it holding a plastic back with the logo of our local on it. Mom follows not much later, clutching the rest of the bags as he locks the car. By the time he is inside, Lo is running around the room like a little tornado.

Shaking my head, I make my way over, in time to see Greg coming down the stairs looking like a zombie. Picking a little bowl, I scoop in some fried rice with chicken and pinda sauce and top it off with a small plate with chunks of the prawn crackers. to use as a spoon.

School dragged on and to end a terrible day, there was P.E. to deal with at the very end.

"I am sooo done with today." I groan as we drag ourselves to the gym building. Sasha just raises a neatly plucked eyebrow at my admission. "I just want this day to end."

"So you can go home with your boyfriend?" She snickers as she waggles her eyebrows making me laugh.

"Well, no." I giggle as we enter the building, "He has a study session with Ty about his dismal grades and probably a row about it forwards before giving in and does some actual studying."

"I thought he was doing just fine?" She looks at me in question as I sigh, dropping my bag on the bench and bend down to untie my shoelaces.

"From what I have heard is that 'just fine' might not get him into the Uni he wants to go to and I am pretty sure he hasn't told his parents yet."

Tugging on the gym uniform, which consisted of a pair of shorts and a white Tshirt with our school logo on it, me and Sasha head out to the gym. Thankfully the lesson was relaxed and a little painful (had a bad tumble when doing a cartwheel) but no nasty bitching from the cheerleader squad because they were too busy focusing on their new cheer for the upcoming football game.

The end of the week couldn't come fast enough and on Friday at lunch hour, I was stuffing m face, wanting to get on with the afternoon lessons. Going so fast had its drawbacks, I nearly choked as a piece of bread went down the wrong way. Thankfully Rafa was there and rubbed my back until I stopped trying to cough up my lungs.

"You really need to slow down sweetheart, it will not do for my wife to choke to death."

It was a good thing the bottle of water stopped halfway towards my mouth when he said that, cause I am sure I would be spluttering again. "What did you say?" I manage to croak after taking a slow sip of water.

He gives me a beaming grin as he leans forward to me, "I said, it will not do for my wife to choke to death." His blue eyes bore into mine, telling me that he is dead serious.

"Wife??" I repeat weakly, feeling numb and a little scared.

So I did hear him correctly.

"Yeah," Rafa grins impishly "I am going to marry you one day. You can take my word for it."

I don't resist the goodbye kiss as the bell sounds, signalling the end of lunch. The hand on the back of my head is new and feels slightly possessive. Blinking owlishly, I watch him wave and leave with a noticeable spring in his step.

"Did that just really happen?" I look at Sasha as she comes to a stop beside me. As she raises a brow, I feel my stomach twist in an uncomfortable knot of anxiety.

The heavy mood continues to haunt me the rest of Friday night and well into Saturday morning when I am busy printing off several resumes to leave in stores.

"Your heart isn't really in it today is it?" Looking up, I stare into Sasha's concerned face. "You have been looking at that shirt for the last ten minutes."

Feeling foolish, I re-fold the shirt and put it back, fully ignoring the fact it is the same colour as Rafa's stunning blues. Or as close one can get with shirt dye.

"You should buy it," Sasha says, fingering the fabric and looking critically at the colour. "It makes your skin look like porcelain and brings your eyes out more ironically."

Seeing as it could do no harm having another good button-down boyfriend shirt, I bought the one in Rafa's eye colour.

"So what now?" Sasha asks while slurping her smoothie from our usual haunt at the food court, staring dubiously at the amount of paper on the table between us. "What are you planning with those?"

Sighing, I look at the pile, absolutely sure it will be a waste of paper. "I was hoping a few stores would have help or wanted posters in their windows so I could leave my resume behind to get a part-time job." I rub my face since none of the stores we visited had the help or wanted posters in their windows. "Even if it is just for the summer, I would like a part-time job. I don't care if it is only a few hours a week."

It doesn't help that this is another mall than that we usually go to, so I have no idea who works were like in our usual mall.

Sipping the last of her smoothie, Sasha gets up and gathers her bags, "Come on, I might know a place where you can get a summer job."

Scrambling to get my own bags and papers together, I scuttle after her to a part of the mall that is completely different from the rest of the mall. It gives me a bad feeling that it is in a separate building altogether, smaller and more dilapidated looking. What's more is that the people walking and shopping are the type of people that are totally different from the building we just left.

It is the smell that hits me first, a distinct scent of cinnamon and lavender.

An aromatherapy shop!

I stare wide-eyed at Sasha and she just smiles at me and nudges me forward. The shop is everything I would hope to run one day. There are all different scented candles lined on the shelves, underneath those are small satchels of dried herbs that one could put in a bag or under a pillow.

"I thought you might like this."

I am too absorbed in the merchandise to be overly bothered with her smug tone as it is true that I like this shop. Correction I love the shop. It is no surprise that I leave the shop with more than necessary bags full of goodies and I am very happy that the woman behind the counter Allesandra had accepted my resume when I finally managed to pluck up the courage to offer it.

Once we return, I only get a raised eyebrow at the amount of stuff from mom and dad just chuckles, shaking his head as he asks Sasha to stay for dinner. As usual, she politely declines, since she is on a carb counting diet, and she knows dad when he cooks, he really doesn't care about the number of calories. With a cheery wave, she leaves, promises to text me later when she is home.

Putting my purchases on my bed, I root around in my goodie bags and take out the scented candles and replace the window that are finished. Coming downstairs, it seems that there is still some time before dinner, so I ask if I could use the pc to check my balance, hoping against hope that there is enough money left in it to let me buy Lo his birthday present next month.

Groaning in defeat, I am dismayed, but not surprised at the measly amount left in my bank account after my unplanned shopping spree.

It is going to be a tough next couple of weeks if I don't get a job soon.

Sadly, my phone stays stubbornly silent after the number of resumes I left in multiple shops after school.

All of the shops I went to had all wanted posters in their window, so why haven't I been contacted yet?!

Before the dark thoughts that have been swirling in my head since the beginning of the week, my phone rings, an unknown number flashes across the screen. From the area code, I can tell it must be from the mall, the question is which shop is it.

Taking a deep breath, and thinking here goes nothing, I release the breath and answer the call.

"Nancy Chambers speaking. Who is speaking?"

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