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Brody took a deep breath and ran his hands down his carefully pressed dress pants one more time. It was the best he could do for the moment, he decided nervously. Surely, no one would knock him back for an interview just because the creases in his trousers were a bit crooked or his shirt cuffs and collar were looking a little worse for wear. He certainly hoped not anyway. He had to get a job, and soon. He just had to.
He pulled his wallet out and rummaged through it again. Unfortunately, there wasn’t any more in there now than there had been an hour ago, or the hour before that, or when he had arrived home from job hunting last night.
Looks like I’m walking from now on. Brody sighed and ran his hand through his hair. Or at least until I get hold of a paycheque.
Pushing his wallet back into his pocket and readjusting his pants around his thin waist, Brody began to pray the weather held out.
Just long enough to get a job and get back on track, he begged, with very little hope that anyone would be answering his pleas—either on the weather or the job seeking front. No one had ever given him an inch before. He’d had to earn each and every lucky break he’d ever come across. Usually the hard way. He didn’t see why things should be any different now just because he and his brother Wolf had moved halfway across the country—Illinois to California in one long, harrowing road trip of hitching, hiking and flat out begging for rides.
But it had been a good move. The only move they could make really if they wanted to pull themselves out of the hole they’d been born into. Being in a strange place, not knowing anyone, with no job and nearly no money...that wasn’t so good. And Wolf...well as much as he loved Wolf, he couldn’t deny that his brother definitely complicated matters.
Glancing up, Brody took the time to scrutinise his face in the bathroom mirror. Thick dark blond hair—slightly longer than it should be for job hunting because he couldn’t afford a decent haircut—fell over pale blue eyes shadowed with worry. And there was every reason to be concerned. Things were getting pretty desperate when you couldn’t even afford bus fare into the city.
He’d have to try looking for a job somewhere in the local area, he realised. Perhaps the little row of restaurants and cafés down by the pier would have something. Anything would do. Even casual work would be better than what he had at the moment—absolutely nothing. And it wouldn’t be the first time he’d worked as a dish pig.
At the mere thought, sweat broke out across his brow and he felt his chest tighten with anxiety. Working in a kitchen always reminded him of his first job, the one he’d picked up right after one of his mom’s deadbeat boyfriends had kicked him out at fourteen. And hadn’t it been a glorious start to his working life.
Shit! Just thinking about it made him sick to his stomach. Leonard. What a complete and utter bastard. He’d been the owner of the little grease pit Brody had finally managed to scrounge up work in. He’d also reasoned that because Brody had been desperate enough to work the low paid, loathsome job, he’d be willing to do other, loathsome things as well. The fat, pompous prick.
Of course, what happened next was my own stupid fault, Brody acknowledged grimly.
He’d been so naïve. He couldn’t believe now that he had actually gone to the cops. It had been one of the biggest mistakes of his life. Because instead of arresting his boss, the police had listened to Leonard’s bullshit story—and ended up charging Brody with soliciting and assault.
Brody still wasn’t exactly sure how it had all transpired. Maybe Leonard had friends on the force or something. But regardless of how it happened, there ended up being just one short court appearance between Brody and his first stay in a juvenile detention centre.
Brody snorted and glanced away from the mirror. A hollow pain started up in his chest. He’d certainly learned some ‘tricks’ there.
Fuck! Now was not the time to be thinking about that shithead. Or the shithole juvie centre he’d ended up in. Or the numerous crappy foster care homes he’d continually run away from after that.
Grabbing the towel still draped over the sink where he had thrown it after his shower, Brody dabbed at his forehead and firmly pushed the memories away. Leaning forward against the cold, chipped porcelain bowl, he took several deep, calming breaths.
That was a long time ago now, he reminded himself. Nearly eight years. And over the last four years he had completely turned his life around.