I didn’t have the best of starts in life but, at seven years old everything changed.
My mother died from a drug overdose and I was taken in by Hamish, a man who loved me like no other had.
When he married Blossom, I found out what it was to have a real mother. A woman who loved me unconditionally. Nursed me through illness, laughed when I laughed and soothed me when I cried.
I’m an adult now with degrees in Social Work and Psychology. Now I’m back in the ’hood giving those who need it, my help.
It’s here I meet Keegan. A woman who will test me and turn my peaceful life upside down.
I’ve been betrayed. I’m broken, lost the will to live, care about nothing and no-one.
I have no-one to turn to and nowhere to go. I risk living out on the streets at the mercy of criminals and gangs.
Then, I meet Steve, he steps up to help me. I have never known such kindness and caring. Slowly I learn to live and trust again.
Will fate intervene and tear the fledgling love they have for each other, apart?
Can Keegan survive the tragedy that befalls her at the hands of her two timing ex?
I slam on the brakes and skid to a stop. There is a fucking girl sitting in the middle of the road. I blast the horn and she gives me her middle finger. I’m pissed now, and people in cars behind me are honking their horns. I shut off the motor and get out of my car. I resist the urge to slam the door in frustration. I’m not going to wreck my car over some idiot girl. I storm over to where she is still sitting.
“What the fuck are you doing sitting in the middle of the road? Don’t you realize this is a busy road?”
“Eat shit and die.”
Okay, that went well. “How about you proceed with your sit in on the side of the road, so everyone else can go about their business?”
“I said, eat shit and die!”
I’m really getting pissed off with this girl. “I’m going to give you two seconds to move your ass, and then I’ll do it for you.” She gazes up at me, and for the first time I notice her eyes. The pain is deep. I wonder what the hell is going on. I’ve heard if you crouch down, you become less threatening. I’m six feet seven inches tall; I would present myself as very imposing.
I crouch beside her. “Look, I have no idea what’s wrong, but if you move off the road and let me park my car, I’ll try and help.”
“Why the fuck would you want to help a stranger?”
I take a closer look at her. She is dressed reasonably well in jeans and a colorful shirt. She has Nike’s on her feet. They’re not cheap, so I figure she isn’t homeless or destitute. So, what is she doing here in the ’hood? “I’m a social worker and psychologist. I can help you if you let me.”
Her expression is suspicious as she checks me over. Her reddish brown hair hangs in waves to the middle of her back. It’s clean and shines in the sun. Her face appears tired, but I suspect if she smiled, she would be very pretty. Her shoulders are slumped, as though she has the weight of the world on them. I place my hand on her arm, and her reaction is not what I expect.
She screams slapping my face with such force I am knocked on my ass, and takes off running through the ’hood.
Bouncing onto my feet, I brush down my pants and watch her disappear between buildings. My curiosity is peaked. Who the fuck is she and what was she doing?
Car horns draw me back to the situation at hand. Drivers are becoming tired of having to skirt around my vehicle. I sprint to my car, slide behind the wheel, and continue to the office I share with a man I met at college. Jeremy was one of my advisors who came in and lectured once a week. He was impressed with my “passion for those less fortunate.” I explained I had been a street kid until I was seven so I knew how some of these kids suffered. He asked me to join him and when I found out he worked with kids in the ’hood, I didn’t hesitate to accept.
He’s about the same age as my Dad, and has been a Social Worker for over twenty years. He has taken me under his wing and in the three weeks I’ve been here, I’ve learned so much. On one or two occasions, it’s been even tougher than I imagined.
Jeremy glances up from his computer screen when I step into the office. “Steve, you finally got here.”
“I got held up.”
“There was a girl sitting in the middle of the road as I turned in to the ’hood. She refused to move. Cars were veering around her.”
“What was she doing there?”
“I have no fucking idea. She wouldn’t talk to me except to tell me to get stuffed. When I tried talking to her, she slapped me across the face and ran off.”
“What, for just talking to her?”
“I crouched down like you taught me and laid my hand on her arm. It wasn’t the reaction I was expecting. I was only trying to reassure her.”
“Weirdo? Lights on but no-one’s home?”
“Hmmm, she didn’t appear to be stupid. She was wearing decent clothes and shoes, but she looked sad. There was a lot of pain in her eyes. I wonder who’s hurt her.”
“What the fuck was she doing in the middle of the road?”
“I have no idea and until I touched her, she had no intention of moving. I wonder if she’ll come back.”
“How do you know?”
“I mean, no. She’s not one of your lost causes. I know you had it tough for the first few years, but you can’t go around saving every lost soul you come across. We have enough on the books without you picking up extras that haven’t been referred to us.”
Jeremy lowers his head and peers up through his eyelashes. “Really? You are going to try and tell me, your co-worker, that you’re not drawn to those needing help? How many nights have we spent at the homeless shelter? How many kids have you taken to the store and bought clothes for?”
“It’s how I am.”
“I know, and I think you’re great for caring, but do you realize how much red tape is involved in taking on a case that is not officially referred?”
“They need saving when they need it, Jeremy. I can’t say sorry, I can’t help because you haven’t been officially referred.”
He claps me on the back. “You’re hopeless. You’ll probably never see her again, so I don’t know why we’re discussing it. What was she like? Pretty?”
“Sweep away the sadness and I reckon she’d be gorgeous. She had the most beautiful brown eyes. The color of melted chocolate.”
Jeremy laughs at me. “You really are a sucker for a pretty girl. What happened to the man who said he was never going to talk to a chick again, after Martha Kingston broke your heart? That was what, six weeks ago?”
“Yeah, well this is different. This girl needs someone. Martha turned out to be a spoiled bitch. I was tired of letting her have her own way all the time.”
“I tried to warn you about Martha but you wouldn’t listen.”
“I know. Some things you’ve just gotta find out for yourself.”
“Do you want to come with me while I check on Breccan Noble?”
“Yes. I wonder how the little fella is doing now. I know it’s hard for his mother since his father pissed off, but I really believe they are better off away from him and his alcoholic rages.”
“I agree. Marissa was telling me she has a full time job as a secretary at Beaumont’s. Her sister takes care of Breccan. Hopefully she will be able to get a decent place in the next six months.”
“Sounds like a success story.”
“I think so. I really believe she is on the right track and with support, she will stay there.”
We leave the office; lock the door and head down the street. The mysterious girl weighs heavily on my mind.