Imagine

When Maggie's case worker finds her a relative to live with, she is moved 10 hours away from Jacksonville, North Carolina to Apollo, Pennsylvania- a very small town in the backwoods of Western Pennsylvania. Maggie has trouble settling in: she doesn't fit in at school, she is uncomfortable around her aunt, and she doesn't like the cold weather. However, a Friday Night Football game turns Maggie's world upside down.

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4. Chapter Three;

I awake to my aunt repeatedly pushing on my shoulder, saying, "Wake up, Maggie. It's time to get up." I turn over sleepily, and mumble something unintelligible to both myself and Lisa. She laughs slightly, "Come on. Or else you have to walk to town this morning." At this, I sit up in bed and mumble a good morning to her. 

As I open my unpacked suitcase, Lisa gasps. "Is that all you have?" Embarrassingly, I nod in response. "Oh, honey. After you fill out an application, you can take my car and the jeep over to the mall. I know that a lot of girls hang out there. You can maybe make some friends. And pick up some new clothes." 

I shrug, agreeing to do so. Lisa gives me a quick tour of the house, saying that I'll become more accustomed to the house as I continue to live there. At roughly 8:45 a.m. we get into the car. She parks the car by her shop and points to the music store, Eddie's Music, unaware that I met Nathan and Matt there last night, and tells me to just walk back up and get the keys off of her when I am ready to leave. 

As I look toward the store, I notice the same group of boys- Nathan, Matt, Adam and the other boy whose name I had not learned, or just could not remember- sitting inside the lobby of the store.  As I walk in, the door bell rings. They all look over and wave. "Hey, Maggie." I laugh to myself at the sight of Matt, who must have been very ashamed this morning, me leaving with his protest last night, when he normally kicks girls out of bed.  

"Hey, guys," I smile. "Do you, like, work here, or something?"

Matt speaks up, "Not during football season. And even then, only Nathan and Vinny do." 

"You all play football?" I ask.

A chorus of confirmations arise, and I smile, unsure of what to say next since I don't like football. 

"Do you like football?" the boy, Vinny, asks.

"Whoa. Did you have that accent yesterday?" I ask, and pull my lips together after saying it, to show that I did not intend to ask the question aloud.

"I suppose you were too drunk to notice," he laughs. "What are you in here for anyway?" he asks, disregarding his original question.

I shrug, looking around at the different instruments, to which half I was unable to name. "My aunt told me that they're hiring, and I should get a job in case I'd like to go out with friends," I say, air-quoting the word friends. 

Nathan stands, smiling at me, "I'll go get the manager, then."

Nathan returns a moment later with a short, plump woman who reminds me of Helen following him. The only major difference being that she is of African descent, while Helen is as fair as if she herself comes from Ireland. "Hello, honey. What can I do for ya?"

I smile and reach out my hand to her, with her accepting it. "I'd like to apply here. My Aunt Lisa told me that you're hiring." 

"Why, yes we are. Would you like to fill out the application here, sugar? Or would you like to take it home with you?"

"I'll fill it out here. So long as you don't mind." 

She hands me the small application and a pen. I fill out the mundane questions, applying my best qualities to the personal questions, and hand it back to her after about ten minutes. To my shock, she tears the application in half. A mixture of shock and disappointment appears on my face. Did she really just tear it up? She could have just said she wasn't looking for my type in the first place, I think. Out loud, I say nothing.

Instead, noticing my face, this woman laughs. "Oh, nobody else wants the job here. You're hired, sweetheart." 

I smile now, laughing at her. "Thank you, Miss.." I trail off, realizing that she had not given her name.

"Call me Karen," she says, still slightly chuckling. 

"And I am Maggie." 

"Great to have you on board with us, Maggie. Now, why don't we get training down before school starts up. You're in school, right?" 

"Yes," I say. "I'll be going to the local high school- whatever it is called. I'm a senior now." 

"Great. If you come down here the next few mornings, at opening, Nathan and Vinny will train you. After all, once school begins, they won't be back here until after football season anyway. So we'll need you."

I thank her and she returns to her office, giving me her number in case I should have any questions before tomorrow morning. As I exit the store, I say goodbye. "Hey!" I turn around and Nathan walks over to me. "Hang out with us, why don't you?"

"I'm going clothes shopping. My Aunt insisted I go. Could you tell me where the mall is?" 

He pulls his keys from his pocket, "I can take you." 

 

As I exit my Aunt's salon, I insist once again that if he just gives me directions, I'll be fine. I had been given far too much money by Lisa to be driving around with a kid whom I had known for roughly sixteen hours. In addition, my Aunt promptly asked me roughly seven hundred- by that I mean 4 or 5- questions about Nathan before allowing me to ride with him. Only narrowly allowing at that, as the majority of my answers were "I don't know." 

Returning my attention to Nathan, he says, "It'll be fine. Besides, I could use some new clothes anyways. School starting next week and all. It's only like 20 minutes away, anyways."

"Okay." 

The ride to the mall is mostly quiet, filled with only the sound of Nathan's off-hand questions about my old life. Unsure why I care about his thoughts on me, I neglect to answer his questions. This being that I don't want him to realize how pathetic my life actually is. 

"Why do you need so many new clothes? That's quite a pile of money that Lisa gave you," Nathan comments, nodding his head toward the stack of twenty dollar bills resting in my hands. 

I come from a drug addict mother who couldn't afford to buy me clothes, I think. But aloud I say, "Oh, you know. New school. And it's cold here. It's not cold in North Carolina. I don't own like any sweaters or jeans or anything. Like, three maybe." 

He laughs at this, and the rest of the ride to the mall is silent. But comfortable.

 

When I arrive home later that evening, piling out shopping bags filled with clothes he had helped me choose out, Nathan asks me for my cell phone number. I laugh, "I don't have a phone." 

He looks at me sideways before turning to face me head on. "What do you mean you don't have a phone? Everyone has a phone." 

"I'm sure my Aunt has a house phone. But I mean, I just got here. So I don't exactly know what the phone number is." I trail off, unsure what to say to that.

"Do you have social media?" 

I nod my head, "Yeah. As a welcome gift," I explain, air-quoting the words welcome gift, "My Aunt got me a Mac. So I created like Facebook and Twitter and stuff. I don't know how to use it, though."

Nathan cocks his head slightly and laughs.

"What?"

"You're something else, Maggie. Something else," he smiles and adds a wink.

I laugh as well and we say our goodbyes before I shut his truck door and he pulls off into the night, leaving me alone in the dark once again. Feeling like an entirely different person than I was 48 hours ago.

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