Magna by Nicole O’Dell

Barbour Publishing
ISBN:  978-1602608443
Paperback
$7.97

Copyright © 2010 by Nicole O’Dell

Chapter 1
Class-Act Wardrobe
“Purple and yellow polyester gym clothes? This school needs a new wardrobe!” Molly looked at the locker-room mirror in disgust as she pulled her shirt off. “They’re so ugly and we have to wear them every single day.”
“Plus, it’s so gross that they only let us take them home once a week to wash them.” Jess wrinkled her nose and pinched it with the tips of her fingers. She dropped the sweaty gym uniform into her duffel bag, careful to touch as little of it as possible.
“I know.” Sara gestured over her shoulder to an unkempt girl seated on the bench down the row. “SOME people should wash their clothes a lot more often than that.”
Molly looked at the girl—her clothes way too small and her hair obviously unwashed. She has more pimples than I have freckles. But, still, why did Sara have to be mean? Molly turned away to swipe some gloss on her lips and changed the subject. “Forget about gym clothes for a sec. What about the rest of our clothes? You know, we’re in high school now. I don’t know about you, but I’m having trouble finding cool stuff in my closet. Everything is so Junior High.” Her voice trailed off in a whine as she tied her long, blonde hair back in a ponytail and fluffed her bangs with her fingertips.
Sara nodded as she ran a brush through her dark, silky hair. “I kn—”
“I’m having the same—“ Jess said and laughed.
Molly zipped her bag shut. “Okay, well I see we’re all having the same problem, then. We should do something about it.”
“I’ve been thinking…We need to get jobs.” Jess slammed her locker closed and spun the combination lock.
“No way anyone would hire us. We’re not old enough.” Sara slipped in step with Molly and Jess as they walked out into the hallway and blended in with the student traffic.
“Besides, we’re not trained for anything.” Molly shrugged, dismissing the issue.
Jess jumped in front of them and turned in a half circle, walking backward. “Well, I’ve thought of all of that and I have solutions.” She grinned and put up her hand to stop the flood of protests. “Just hear me out a sec. Okay?”
Molly closed her mouth and nodded and winked at Sara. Jess was taking over. Something interesting would happen whether they wanted it to or not.
Sara scowled and shook her head, then sighed.
Jess’ eyes grew wide. “Okay, we need new clothes, so what better place to work than a clothing store? On top of a paycheck, we’d also get a discount.” She looked at them with raised eyebrows.
“Now that’s a good point.” Molly nodded.
“Hadn’t thought of that, huh?” Jess teased. “Sure, we’re not sixteen, which makes it more difficult to actually get the job. But, we all get good grades and have an impeccable school record with lots of service activities and extracurricular things.”
“I don’t know if that’s enough.” Sara’s eyes narrowed. “Lots of people have all that, plus they’re older—some even with work experience.”
“I made some calls,” Jess continued, unfazed. “Here in Wisconsin, all we need in order to get a job at fifteen is a work permit. We’ll need permission from our parents and a letter of recommendation from the school principal and a few teachers.”
“But, why would a business want to hire us?” Molly asked when Jess stopped for air. “I mean, Sara’s right, they could get an older girl with more experience and a later curfew.”
Jess paused at the door to her math class and turned to face the girls. “They can get someone older than us, sure. But, why would they? We’re not attached at the hip to a boyfriend, we have nowhere else to be and we’re highly trainable because we don’t have any bad habits yet.” She entered her classroom without another word.
Molly and Sara looked at each other and chuckled. They shook their heads as they walked away. They would probably be getting jobs—Jess would see to it.
“I do like the idea of a discount,” Molly admitted. More bang for the buck.
“I just hope we can work at the same place, at the same time.” Sara brushed her hair out of her eyes. “I’d hate to have a job with no one I know to work with.”
Molly snorted. “Oh no! I feel sorry for anyone who hires the three of us together!”
***
“Let’s make a list!” Molly jumped onto Sara’s fluffy, pink bed, crossed her legs, and poised her pen to write. “Where do we want to work?”
“Claire’s—good jewelry,” Sara suggested.
“Old Navy—great jeans,” Jess added.
“What about a department store?” Molly tapped the tip of the pen on her chin. “I mean, think about it. Everything we could ever need would be in that one store.”
“Yeah, but those stores are so big that we might have to work in different areas.”
“That’s true, Sara. But a big store like that might be the only place that has three spots to fill at the same time,” Jess countered.
“I’ve got it! Come here.” Sara jumped up and scampered to her older sister’s room with Molly and Jess close at her heels. She ran right to the over-stuffed closet. “This,” Sara said as she pulled out a very cute sweater. “These,” she grabbed three great shirts and started to pile the things on the bed. “These!” Sara showed the girls the coolest pair of jeans they had ever seen.
“I get it. Your sister has great clothes. So what?” Jess rolled her eyes.
“What do these clothes all have in common?” Sara looked from one to the other, waiting for an answer.
Molly stared at the clothes and tapped her lip with her finger. Then it hit her. “Magna.” She grinned. “They’re all from Magna.”
“Right! That’s where we need to work.” Sara gave one confident nod.
Molly nodded and watched Sara and Jess’ smiles spread across their faces.
Perfect! Molly fingered the clothing. Magna, the most popular clothing store among the older girls, was the perfect place for them to get jobs. But, now that they knew where to get jobs, they needed to figure out how to get jobs.
“Get out that trusty paper of yours, Molly.” Jess turned on her heel and led the way back to Sara’s room. “We need to plan. Let’s make a list of what we need to do.”
“We need to get our parents’ permission otherwise nothing else matters,” Molly reminded them. “That might be a deal breaker for me.”
“True. Put that at the top of the list,” Sara said. “Then, we need letters of recommendation.”
They brainstormed, schemed and planned for over two hours about how to get their dream jobs.
1.Get a letter of permission from parents.
2.Get letters of recommendation from the Principal and at least one teacher.
3.Figure out hours available to work.
4.Get a ride to the mall.
5.Pick up applications.
6.Fill out applications and turn in to the store manager.
7.Find a really cool outfit to wear to the interview.
8.Find three other places to apply for jobs, just in case
9.Find someone to teach us about interviewing.
10.Find out how much of a discount there is!
“About number eight, I hope we’re not sorry we decided not to look at other places.” Molly shook her head. It couldn’t be wise to limit their options so much.
“We can always make adjustments if things don’t work out.” Jess unfolded her long body and stretched her arms high above her head. She rolled a curl between her fingers.
“Yeah, I think we’ve got a good plan.” Sara’s eyes brightened when the garage door opened. “In fact, I’ll go talk to Mom as soon as you two are gone. A single mom of two teenage girls is never going to mind the idea of one of them getting a part-time job.”
“What about you Jess?” Molly chuckled. “Do you even have to ask your parents?”
“Of course I’ll have to ask. But they won’t care.” Jess shrugged. “Mom and Dad don’t say no to much.”
“Well, I might have a problem.” No way they’ll go for it. Molly chuckled. I’ll have to be very careful how I ask. “We’ll see. For now though, we’d better go. My mom is probably waiting for us outside.”

***
“This is a wonderful dinner, Kay. Will you please pass me the potatoes?” Molly’s dad rubbed his trim stomach.
“You’re awfully quiet tonight, Molly. Something wrong?” Mom peered intently at Molly.
Uh oh. This isn’t how I wanted to bring this up. She sat up a little straighter. “No, not at all.” She smiled and she took the bowl of potatoes to pass on to her dad. “I’m just thinking about something—nothing bad, though.” Oops. Judging by her expression, Mom’s not buying it.
Mom pressed a little harder. “Why don’t you run whatever it is by me and your dad? I’m sure we can help.”
I’d better tell her before she gets too worried and assumes the worst. Molly tried to sound straightforward but casual and confident. “Well, it’s just that Sara, Jess and I are thinking that we might want to get jobs. The thing is, we obviously need our parents’ permission. I’m just thinking about the best way to go about getting that.” She took a forkful of meatloaf and rolled it in her puddle of ketchup, hoping to look casual.
Mom pulled her head back like she’d been slapped. Her eyes open wide, she said, “Wow, this came out of nowhere. Hmm. Well, you’re going to have to give us a little time to talk about this.”
Molly’s dad held up one finger. Antsy, she poked at her food while she waited for him to finish the bite he’d just forked into his mouth. For the next fifteen minutes, he peppered Molly with questions about where she wanted to work, how much she wanted to work, how she’d schedule everything important in her life without letting school or church suffer, and, most importantly, he wanted to know why she wanted a job.
Molly squirmed. Her answer would sway their decision one way or another. She couldn’t just say she wanted money for clothes. They’d never go for that. Oh, they might offer to buy her a new outfit, but that would be it. Somehow, without lying, she’d have to come up with the perfect answer.
“Well, there’s more than one reason.” Elbows on the dining room table, Molly ticked off the reasons on her fingers. “A job looks good on my transcripts. Working would be a really good experience for me. It will give me extra spending money for activities, clothes, and other stuff that comes up. I can help you guys with my expenses—“
“I’m not sure I’m liking the sound of this so far, Molly.” Mom’s worry wrinkles knit together between her brows. “Your dad and I have no problem paying for the things you need, and even a few wants every now and then. I don’t know if I like the idea of you having a job now. You’ll be working the rest of your life. Why start now?”
Don’t sound whiny. “The things is…I don’t do much. I go to school and church, and I hang out with my friends. Why not hang out with my friends at a job? I have the time and it’s better to spend my time that way than to just shuffle around the mall aimlessly…isn’t it?”
“In theory, yes,” her dad nodded. “It’s not the working itself that’s the problem. It’s the commitment to the job and what that will require from you. Your mom and I are going to need to talk about this. We’re not saying no. Just give us a chance to talk.”
Molly opened her mouth to argue but had second thoughts. “Sure, Dad. Thanks for thinking about it.” She stacked the dinner plates and headed off to the kitchen to wash them.
Several times, she thought of ways to make her case stronger and turned to run back in to make her argument, but she refrained. Some things were better left alone.
A few hours later, Molly put her math book down and rubbed the creases from her forehead just as she heard a knock at her door. “Come on in.”
The door opened and Mom and Dad both entered her bedroom.
“Whoa. To what do I owe the pleasure?” They’ve come to tell me I can’t get a job. Oh well. Worth a shot.
“Your mom and I have reached a decision and we want to talk to you about it.” Dad pulled up her desk chair and sat backward on the seat. His red tie draped over the backrest in front of him.
Mom sat down on the edge of the bed, bouncing Molly’s book to the floor with a thud. No one bent to pick it up.
The suspense is killing me.
“Well, we don’t really think it’s going to be easy to find one, but if you’re serious about wanting to—“
Molly’s eyes grew wide and expectant, her heart double timing.
“—we’ll let you get a job. After all, the early bird catches the worm.”
“Reeeeally? Are you serious?” Molly slapped her legs and jumped off the bed. She ran to her dad and threw her arms around his neck. “Thanks, Dad!” She gave her mom a huge hug, too. “Thanks, Mom.”
“Hold on, before you get too excited.” Her mom’s expression was very serious. “You have to agree to a few things first, Moll.” Splash. Mom threw a bucket of cold water on the excitement.
“A few things? Like what?” Did she really want to know?
Mom looked at Molly. “Now, don’t get all defensive. These are just some basics you should expect anyway.” She looked at Dad as if asking him to take over.
“You’re going to need to keep your grades up. You’ll have to stay as involved at church as you are now—no skipping youth group for work and no working on Sunday’s at all so we can go to church together.”
Molly cringed. “Youth group—I totally agree. But, Sundays?” She tipped her head and stuck out her bottom lip.
“Just because you think it’s boring to sit in church with us, doesn’t mean we’re going to cave, Moll, We’ve had this talk before.” Mom lifted her chin and crossed her arms.
Oops! Now’s not the time to cause a problem. “No big deal. I didn’t want to work on Sundays anyway—because of God, not church.”
“God is everywhere, every moment. Sunday mornings, we’re in church. Period.” Dad continued after a slight pause. “You can only work two weeknights and one weekend shift. No more. And we get final approval on the type of job you get.” He raised one eyebrow in a question mark and looked at Molly.
“That’s it?” Molly breathed a sigh of relief. “No problem. I pretty much expected those rules anyway.”
“Well, okay then.” Mom smiled. “As long as we’re clear on those things, you can go ahead and try to find a job somewhere like the mall, but I don’t want you working at a restaurant.” She rose to leave the room and Dad followed.
“Wish me luck,” Molly called after them as they pulled the door shut. I’m going to need it..❖
________________________________

Buy Nicole’s Magna at:
Amazon

Barnes & Noble

indiebound.org

Cristianbooks.com

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Nicole O’Dell, mom of six, including toddler triplets, youth leader, speaker and author of the Scenarios for Girls interactive fiction series.

Website: http://www.nicoleodell.com
Sign up for my newsletter:  http://ymlp.com/signup.php?id=gejjymsgmgj

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About Vicki Hinze
USA Today Bestselling and Award-Winning Author of 40+ books, short stories/novellas and hundreds of articles. Published in as many as 63 countries. Featured Columnist for Social N Worldwide Network and Book Fun Magazine. Sponsor/Founder of ChristiansRead.com & CleanReadBooks.com. FMI visit www.vickihinze.com.

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