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Sonora stopped, her restless eyes searching for that small bit of blue water she could sometimes see from this window. The clang as she dropped the bin of dirty dishes on the table waiting to be cleaned caused a few customers to look her way.

There it is. Sonora let out a slow breath, and the tension in her shoulders eased.

The ocean was Sonora's one and only true love. Not the beach, as so many people would say, but the ocean itself with its many moods and mysterious creatures. Its familiar motion was a comfort and its secret ways a fascination.

She blew out a sigh stirring the blonde hair that had strayed from her ponytail and wiped her arm across her glistening forehead.

And I'm stuck here.

The sound of clanking dishes brought Sonora back to the trendy cafe and aggravated her migraine. This was her fourth day of double shifts since they were short-handed. So her headache of epic proportions that wasn't going away anytime soon. She took a moment to swig down some water and a couple of pills before her next order was up.

Is this it then? If I can hardly take this now, I'll be a disaster in a decade or two, and it isn't likely to be a beautiful one!

Three years ago she'd had a plan, a detailed, inventive plan for college, for a future. She was going to be a marine biologist.  It'd had to be inventive because money was short, her parents had regretfully informed her, and they couldn't pay for her schooling.

So her plan had included being a server at the highest paying cafe on this stretch of Carolina coast, and that would pay for classes. But then, the classes were full. Since then, it seemed a vicious cycle of getting enough money, trying to get into a class, and losing the money to car troubles and other expenses.

After two years of trying to get into any college that had the program, she'd almost given up. She looked around at the busy restaurant, her heart sinking, as she realized this might indeed be her life.

Her head jerked up as Bob bellowed out her name for an order pick-up. The food sat toward the back of the window causing her to bend under the upper shelf, and as it turned out, too close to a neighboring table.

A smack to her backside startled her causing her to hit her head on the bottom of the shelf. Jerking herself upright, she stiffly turned to the table of the offender and glared at the group of snickering college boys.

"Hey, sorry about that," one of them confessed, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly, "I couldn't help myself. But don't worry, I'll leave you a big tip. Make up for my offensive behavior." He drew out the last two words to continue the entertainment for his friends. It worked. Sonora felt the steam rise in her as their snickers turned to roaring laughter.

It wasn't the first time a customer had behaved inappropriately, and she was sure it wouldn't be the last. That was what angered her. Her glare left the table to scan the rest of the restaurant as the many heads turned toward her.

"Sonora!" Bob called again reminding her of the order pick up. Their order. 

Her body tightened further and her headache spiked. "I can't," she whispered and then stronger, "I just can't."

"What did you say?" Bob asked as he strained to hear over the clatter he was creating.

"I can't!" She started for the front door, apologizing to the other servers as she went.

"Sonora!" Bob said again as she sped by him.

Usually a reserved girl, she was pushed beyond her limits. She did something she would never, in a million years, have done on a normal day. On reaching the front doors, she yelled out for everyone to hear, "I'm sorry, Bob, but I cannot deal with such idiotic, know-nothing, brainless cretins today!"

Sonora half-ran to her car and wrenched open the door before falling into the seat. She slammed the key at the ignition, finally succeeding in hitting home on the third try.

Looking at the cafe's windows, she saw all the eyes, some amused and some sympathetic, following her and she slumped.

This can't be it for me. It just can't be.


A/N: I hope you enjoyed the introduction of our female lead, Sonora. If so, please press the star below. :)

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