Only Yours #SYTYCW Entry

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Chapter One

Nothing freaks me out more than walking into a crowded place and drawing attention to myself. The only other option is to actually pay the copy of the newspaper I'm dying to read. Not because I have an interest in current news affairs nor do I care about whose screwing who but because of the job classified section.

"Can I have a look at that?" I ask a guy who's just finished ogling pics of babes in bikinis on the back page.

His eyes sweep over. "Yeah."

I grab the folded, well-worn edition of the paper and walk away before he says anything else.

RESEARCH ASSISTANT TO COMMENCE IMMEDIATELY. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. APPLICANTS MUST CURRENTLY BE STUDYING TOWARDS A DEGREE IN MARKETING MANAGEMENT. PLEASE EMAIL YOUR APPLICATION WITH TRACEABLE REFERENCES TO hr@denterprises.com

The ad catches my attention even though I've never trusted miniscule adverts in classifieds mostly because I believe if an employer cannot afford a proper advertisement then they cannot afford pay their employees.

Desperate times call for flexible measures. College tuition fees are overdue. My current contract with "Coastal Temp Placements" ended today and my fridge, save for a piece of week old cheese, serves little purpose. Lucky I'm already at an internet café and there's a vacant booth. The internet connection is slow and my resume takes forever to upload.

"Miss, your time's up." A youngster - he can't be more than thirteen - glares at me. Half an hour at Harry's Internet Café cost me twenty bucks and, I'm not leaving here without creating a little hope. Something that will keep my mind of the impending doom if I fail to find a job before the end of the week.

"Give me a second." My fingers fly over the battered, greasy keyboard. "I'm nearly done."

"Hurry up," the kid whines. "I've already paid for a full hour and you're eating up my time."

"Sorry." The poor kid probably saved up for weeks for a chance to spend a full hour surfing the Net. I hit send. "Thank you."

"Whatever," he mumbles and pushes past me.

I have a major assignment due, I remind myself on my way out. If I don't complete it I'll lose half my year mark. I can't afford a poor grade - not when my education is all I have to fall back on. Lucky I've joined a study group and tonight we will try and complete the assignment. Failing third year marketing is not an option - no matter how tough life gets.

It's barely six p.m. and it's as dark as midnight. Winter's settled on the coast mid-season. I pull my beanie low over my forehead and tuck loose strands of hair beneath the beanie. The gentle sound of the ocean soothes away my financial worries and restores some calm to my thoughts. Ballito's pretty safe - I've always wanted to live here even though I barely make it to pay rent. The east coast of South Africa is incredibly laid back and postcard scenic. I head for the community center my study group uses twice a week. It's near the clinic, about ten minutes from the beach. Walking doesn't bother me. I have a body most gym fanatics would starve and work years for. Mostly because unhealthy snacks cost a fortune and I don't have one.

"Hey, Riley." Justin, my best friend and confidante greets me with a smile that reaches his crystal clear, aqua eyes. He hugs me before I sit.

"Hey. Did I miss a lot?"

He adjusts his gold emblazoned silk scarf. "Nope. We're still discussing Liam David."

"Liam David?" I'm totally blank.

"Riley?" Justin places his palm on my forehead. "You okay, Girlfriend?"

"Yeah." I take his cold hands off. Really, who is Liam David? The rest of the group is fascinated with this mysterious man I've never heard off.

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