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Sad brown eyes stared back at me, as if to say: “Give up already!” I thought every day about heeding the plea that hid somewhere deep in my soul, but I couldn’t. There was only one thing in my life that was worth living for and I wasn’t about to give up on it. Not ever…

I sighed softly as I studied the smattering of light brown freckles that had graced my nose since birth. Barely visible from an arms length away, they were still my curse to live with and I hated that they made me look so young and naïve. My growling stomach reminded me that I could almost pass for a homeless young teenager, desperately in need of a warm meal and an even warmer bath.

“Tomorrow is a new day,” I murmured as I slid the mirror under my pillow.

Tomorrow… I would find something positive to say about myself.

***

Chapter 1


“Shut up!” I groaned again, this time rolling over as I pulled the comforter even further over my head, tucking it around my face so that the shrill beeping from the alarm was partially blocked out.

Every morning for the last few months had started out like this: me not getting enough sleep the night before, worrying about bills into the wee hours of the morning, until finally drifting off to the sound of gentle snoring coming from the pillow that was always tucked just under my arm. There was no ignoring the insistent beeping any longer, and if I didn’t get up now, I would be late once again for the 9-5 that I didn’t want, but needed desperately. $10.50 an hour, eight hours a day, five days a week was barely keeping the rent paid, and my search for a free babysitter was the same as it had been two months before when I’d decided to get a second job –nonexistent-.

There was no stopping the disdain that crept through me as I reached for the half broken flip phone that vibrated in protest across the nightstand as the internal alarm continued to shriek it’s announcement of the ungodly hour. My fingers reach instinctively for the switch on the rusted brass lamp I knew was there, turning once before remembrance took hold, furthering the chill that now crept across my skin from the cold in the room. We hadn’t had power for weeks, and even though I knew that payday was today, no relief came as my mind picked up where it had left off adding up the bills I could and couldn’t pay with this paycheck.

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