Becoming Christine -6-
Author Note: Sorry it has been so long since my last update. I came home safely from being over-sea's and have been going thru a divorce for the last 2 years.
We pulled up to Sam’s house and the reality of this situation was still somewhat of a dream. I was free of oppression but I have lost my parents in the process. “Was the price worth it,” I wondered as I unpacked my bags in what was to be my new room. “Chrissy, do you need some help unpacking,” asked Sam as the girls were still bringing in the last bits from the van. “Yes please, I’m just having a hard time thinking right now,” I told her trying my best to keep from breaking down again.
“It will be OK you’ll see. My mom should be home any minute. She’s already on her way home and got someone to cover for her; she wants to make sure your OK,” said Sam. “Oh she doesn’t need to do that I don’t want her to get into trouble with her boss.” “I feel like I’m already causing trouble for you and your mom,” I said as an escaped tear ran down my cheek then another until I was in full flow.
Just than Sam’s mom, Laura, came walking into the bedroom and said, “Don’t be silly Chrissy, everything will be alright dear now let’s dry those tears.” “Besides you’re going to be a good girl and mine the curfews, keep your grades up, and make sure your room is clean right?” I was not shocked by these rules, they were much the same as the rule I had at home, “Yes, Mrs. Brewer,” I said immediately.
“Oh call me mom or Laura, and Chrissy, I would like to meet your boyfriend before your next date,” she said with a little giggle. “Sam tells me he is very cute and just so you know I make Sam do the same. You will have the same rules she does.” “OK now let’s get you all unpacked and then we’ll watch a movie before bed. Nikki, Cindy, make sure you call your moms and ask them if it is OK for you to stay.” “We will Laura,” the two girls replied in stereo.
We unpacked all my stuff and it was either hung in the closet of neatly folded in a drawer. It was different seeing my cloths not in a gym bag and hiding them for dear life. “It wasn’t much of a girl’s room,” I thought, “well at least not yet but I do have a place to call home.” “What you thinking about Chrissy,” said Sam. “I was just thinking about how different things will be, that’s all, and that I will need to do some decorating,” I said with a smile.
Sam said, “I’ll be right back” as she got up and run out if the room. “Here this should make it better,” as she brought in a poster of Wilson Phillips one of my favorite pop groups. “Where should we hang it Chrissy?” “Humm,” I said “lets hang it here,” I said pointing over the bed. “I think this will do, what you think Sam.” “It looks like a good start now, let’s get down stairs for movie,” said Nikki.
We watched a movie with Laura. It was a surreal feeling until the girls left and Sam and I headed off to bed. I had a hard time falling asleep. As I stared around the room, I kept thinking about my mom and dad and wishing they would have finally of come to their senses and call me back home.
Sam came in to wake me up the next morning. She sat on the bed gently shaking me until I came to. Looking at her, I screamed and sat up fast looking around the room I realized that yesterday was for real. Sam looked every bit as scared as I felt. “Sorry”, I said. “I was not quite sure if this was a dream or not there for a minute.” “Well you better get a move on we have to get ready for school,” Sam said. I nodded and looked at my clock. Five-thirty she had to be kidding me. Did she really think I needed an hour and a half to get ready? Oh well I will have to talk to her a bit later about it.
We continued with getting ready for school be I wasn’t looking forward to it. I was still just a mess of emotions after yesterday. I still could not believe that my parents had basically throw me out, just like they did my sister. Well if that was how they wanted it then that was fine with me I told myself. I don’t need them anyways. I was trying to convince myself that I was a big girl and could do it on my own, but I was very buying it either.
School on the other hand did not change to much as I was just getting ready in a different place then before. It did have a few advantages as I was not only 2 blocks from the school and could get there in 5 minutes if I was running late. This also gave me a bit more time to spend with friends before and after school. The weekend came and I did get to talk to John which was nice and didn’t have to whisper and hide like I did when living at home always before I was worried about Mom or Dad overhearing me or just plan eavesdropping.
I was still grounded or so to speak as I was still under house arrest. Laura however has been very nice about it. She would try not to work every weekend so we could have our boyfriends over to watch a movie supervised of course but still it was nice to just lay down on the floor and snuggle with him. Laura had a good since of humor too about us being typical teenagers when she didn’t watch movies with us she would do random hand checks. She would sneak down the stairs or pear out of the kitchen and yell “Hand Check”. We had to make sure that our hands went straight up in the air within seconds. Needless to say we could only get away with minor touchy on top of cloths.
One Monday my probation officer came to check up on me and see how I was doing, which for me was great because I wanted to ask her if I would be able to get a part time job up town. I quickly found out that without an allowance it was hard to keep out with the normal makeup usage. Laura was nice and always picked me something up when she did for Sam but I really could not get over the feeling that I was a hinder. I would think her whenever she picked me up new foundation or eyeliner which ever was running low at the time. She would say, “Chrissy don’t worry about it, it’s no bother plus my house has never been cleaner.” With that I would respond, “Well just trying to earn me keep best I can”.
Mrs. Kim and I talked for just over an hour about my grades and how well I have been with checking in and not doing anything I was not suppose to. She said It might be a good idea for me to get a part time job however she told me the same rules would apply as if I was heading to or from school. I said, “thank you so much I just want to be able to help out more here and be able to get Laura and Sam presents for Christmas for everything they are doing for me.” “Plus it will get me some money for some new cloths and for when I get off of house arrest.” She told me Laura could take me out job hunting and then when I did get hired I would have to phone her with my schedule every week.
“Now Chrissy you must remember I will be checking up on you from time to time so if you say you are working you really need to be there. Also, if your schedule changes at all in the least you must call us right away. I would hate for you to get in trouble after doing so well this far. I am also to see your grades have not dropped considering what you have been through. I will let the Judge know that you have been doing very well both here and at school when I make my report tomorrow,” said Mrs. Kim.
“Thank you so much I have been trying my best plus it is easier to be myself and not worry about how bad I was ganna get beaten for trying to be who I really am.” “Well,” said Mrs. Kim, “You are certainly different honey but you have to admit it is not easy for parents to handle this big of a change even if they were told by your Psychologist.”
“Yeah I know but I just wish they could understand how I feel, in the since of knowing there is something wrong finally finding out what it was and being happy that I am finally happy with who I am.” I said as a small tear began to run down my cheek. “There, there it’s just going to take them time to adjust honey that’s all. I’m sure they will come around soon.” Through my sniffles I said, “Do you really think so?” I knew she was probably wrong but I had to hope. I did love them but I also needed to be me.
Laura as promised drove me around to put in applications around Crown Point. First at good old Mickey D’s then we moved along to the local movie theater, Rax, Taco Bell, Arby’s and finally Burger King. The manager at Burger king was there when I asked for and turned in my application. He introduced himself as Mike and asked if I had time to talk with him. I looked at Laura and she gave me that look of sure go for it, so in turn I simply said, “yes I have time now”.
Mike asked me many different kinds of questions like how good were my grades, how late I could work, was I in any special school activities, and most importantly how would I be getting to work. I his questions as easily as I could and with Mike being familiar with the area was sure I could make it to work on time to start the evening shift. I also had given him the emancipation papers the Laura had asked me to bring with.
She told me this would help because I would not be as restricted as others my age would be with later work hours and the number of hours I would be allowed to work in a week. Mike looked at the top of it where it said emancipation and didn’t look at it more than a second. I asked me for my Id and I handed him my School Id and said that was all I had. I this not exactly true since I did have a state ID to go with my driving permit.
I just didn’t want any confusion with having to be both Shawn and Chrissy while living in the same town. It was hard enough before but working with some other people from school would make it all the more confusing at school. Mike asked when I would be able to start, I look at Laura, and she took my confused look to come in for the rescue. She told Mike that I could start as soon as he could put me on the schedule but I would need to get something in writing to give to my probation officer.
He didn’t look surprised because I had already told him about having a bad fight with my parents and being put on probation for being a so called runaway. He excused himself for a minute and brought back a piece of paper filled with peoples name, date, and times. I knew it was a work schedule. He looked and then started to filling times and date right after writing my name on that line.
He said I would need to come in for two days just to cover all the training videos and then I would be on the floor working on the third day. He scheduled me to start working on Wednesday and Thursday night from 4pm till 9pm and Friday and Saturday from 4pm till Close. I would be off on this Sunday and the new schedule would be posted on Saturday for the next two weeks. He also reminded me that I would need to check the schedule to make sure I was not on it because it was my responsibility to make sure I knew my schedule even if I was not working the day it was posted. He also told me to make sure any days I wished to have off was done early because with the amount of high school people working here it was a first come first serve deal.
I assured him I would keep that close in mind. Mike made me a copy of the schedule and gave me my new uniform complete with polo shirt, pants, and a sporty cap supporting the Burger King logo. Laura called Mrs. Kim and asked if she was still in the office and if we could stop by. Mrs. Kim said she would be there for another hour and she would wait for us even if we were a little late. We pulled up, walked into the LCJC building, and went into Mrs. Kim’s office. I was a little nervous as all the memories of being locked up in here were flooding my mind. I proudly handed my schedule to Mrs. Kim and she looked it over carefully. She asked how I would be getting to and from work and I told her it was not too far to walk but Laura said she would be able to take me but with her work schedule she wouldn’t be able to pick me up. Mrs. Kim said we would need to time how long it took to walk from work to home and she would meet me there after work and follow me home while timing me. I knew this wouldn’t be such a problem and just looked at it as another condition of earning my freedom.
The next day I went to school and it passed much like every other day except for the little jeering I received about flipping burgers. I took it in stride because I knew I would finally be earning my own money and be able to buy things I needed without depending on Laura all the time but much more was to be able to buy things I wanted. I spent part of the afternoon making a list of what I was going to buy first and so on.
I was surprised at how much I wanted to buy then I trimmed down my list knowing I would want to get a car too. I knew I would never be able to get the car of my dreams but if it worked and got from point A to B then it would be good enough for me. I suddenly realized I would have less time to spend with John but he would just have to coop with that, besides it not like we have had much time together since the house arrest anyways.
The last bell rang signaling the end of the school day and the girls and I chatted on the walk back home so I could get change and off to my first day at work. I rushed into the house changed for work and then did a quick touch up on my makeup. Laura came up and said I looked fine but if we didn’t hurry I would be late for my first day. I was kind of shocked because I had a full thirty minute before I need to be there. She assured me that with the traffic from school getting out it would take longer than it would on the weekends or coming home. I asked Sam to let John know I was working tonight and I would call him if I got home before 10pm. She was right instead of the usual five-minute drive it took almost fifteen. She told me to hurry and get inside and being early was a good trait that employers look for in a good worker.
She was right Mike was surprised to see me and praised me for being early, as I would need to train on logging in. I looked at him with a confused look on my face and asked, “Mike where is the time clock?” I smiled and took me over to the register with was not being used. “Here,” he said, “push clock in,” I did as he instructed. “Now type in the last four digits of your social security number and hit enter.” I did and a small receipt printed saying Shawn Christine Hanzal in at 3:55pm. I took tore the receipt off and put it in my purse. Just then Matt a guy from my history class started me by calling my name.
“Chrissy hi your first day?” I nodded with a week smile and he continued, “Well it will sure be nice to have you here with the right of us school aged slaves.” He chuckled apparently trying to give Mike a hard time. Mike interrupted him and said, “Well this slave driver says you need to get logged in before you are late for the third time this pay period.” Mike was not mean about it and gave me a little smile as he teased Matt about not being on time.
Matt asked me if I could move over a bit so he could log in and then headed to the back. Mike gave me a brief tour introducing me to everyone who was working that night and then led me to the back break room. The break room was rather small and had a small TV with a VCR setting on top. Mike took four tapes off the shelf and placed the first one in the machine. “Each one of these movies rules and regulation on what we expect from our workers and are about an hour long. When this one finishes just rewind them and the put the next one in and so on. After the second video come and see me and I will show you how to log your break times on the register.” I nodded and he left for his small office I suppose to do some paperwork.
The movies were boring stuff about working as part of a team to make sure that the customer was always satisfied with the service they received. I was a whole bunch of common since stuff that made me wonder if there were people really out there that did not know the customer comes first rule. That was a disturbing thought. Matt came back there a few time trying to make an effort as if he was looking for something and to ask how I was enjoying the videos. “Well Matt I really can’t believe they would take the time to make something that was so much of common since, “I told him.
“I guess they think it is better to be safe than sorry when a customer complains,” Matt said. “You would be surprised how many people try to complain just to get a free meal.” I looked at him with a look that said “Yeah right” but he continued, “No I’m not kidding just yesterday this guy said the Michelle rang he order up wrong just to gut the 35 cent up-size for free.” It is truly amazing I tell you, but I had better let you get back to those videos and get back to making the orders before Mike comes after me.” Matt smiled and left me to put in the next video. The next video was about how if you were a hard worker you could advance up into management.
I was glad when that video was over. I still could not see myself still working in Burger King after school. I was going to be a computer programmer making good money with a big house and lots of wonderful cloths. I started the video rewinding and started to walk out of the break room when I heard Matt say my name again. He was talking to two other guys but I heard him clear as day say, “Dudes wait till you see her she is so drop dead sexy it just give me all kinds of problems if you know what I mean.” Then I heard the other guy say, “Well I’ll be the judge of that beside she can’t be all that.”
He stopped cold when I walked out of the break room and gave him a little smile as I walked to Mike’s office. I could still hear them whispering as I knock on Mike door. He smiled a genuine smile and jokingly said, “Well after all that teamwork you must be ready for break.” “You bet, I never would have imagined how important teamwork and customer satisfaction would play in my getting promoted to being the next manager,” I said feigning shock. “You’re going to fit right in here I can tell,” has said while trying to suppress his laughter. “Here let me show you how to log your breaks.”
Mike walked me thru the steps once again but it was easier since the was just one button to push and my four digit code. Mike also let me know that while we were allowed to drink as much pop as we liked meals we still had to pay for all be it at a discounted price. I went out to the payphone and called John. “Hello is John there,” I ask his mom when she picked up the phone. “Hold on Chrissy I’ll get him for you,” then I heard her say rather loudly, “John Chrissy is on the phone,” then to me she said, “He will be right here dear.” John then picked up the phone, “Hey babe wants up?” “Oh just thought I would call you but I only have a minute I’m on my break and it is almost over,” I said with a little sadness in my voice.
“Yeah Sam said you got a job when I call there earlier. So how is it going there at Burger King,” he asked. “Well,” I said, “Probably as well as I can expect for my first day training. The manager has me watching a bunch of training videos today and tomorrow. Friday will be the first real test when I am out doing real work.” “Oh before I forget I will be working Saturday too, then I will be off Sunday and I won’t know about the next two weeks till the new schedule till Saturday when Mike posts it.”
“Wow not much time for us then will you always be working the weekends,” he asked sounding a little depressed. “I don’t know but I hope to be, I would like to get some spending money and save up for some Christmas gifts. Besides its better than being stuck in the house all night with this house arrest,” I said while looking at my watch. “Oh crap John I have to go I only have a minute before I need to clock back in, I’ll call you when I get home if it is before ten.” “OK I’ll be waiting,” was all I heard before rushing a quick goodbye and ran back inside to punch back in.
Mike was waiting for me and watched me nodding his approval for remembering to punch back in and for not being late. I walked back into the break room and started the next video. The next two videos were you basic health and safety videos. I was so happy to be finished watching those videos word could not begin to explain. Not to mention that my butt was getting sore again from sitting on that hard plastic chair. I waited for the last video to finish and then put them back on the shelf were I saw Mike get them and went back out to let Mike know I had finished. I was surprised to notice that the last two videos were longer than the first two and it was already 8:45.
“Well did you learn anything new about safety?’” Mike said with a chuckle. “As a matter of fact yes I did,” I said in a sincere tone. Mike looked at the clock and said, “Chrissy why don’t you mingle around and watch what is going on and then when it’s nine you can grab you things, swing by here and we’ll make sure you punch out right and you can head home.” I nodded and walk out to see what everyone was doing. I was amazed at how they seemed to move around each other and how fluid the process seemed to go. I was starting to hope I would be so fluid when my turn comes on Friday.
It was one minute to nine; I walked back to the break room, got my coat and purse then knocked on Mikes door right at Nine. He walked me to the front and watched me log out for work, I took my receipt, put it in my purse, said goodbye to everyone and started heading for the door. “Where might you be heading Miss?” said Mrs. Kim. “I was heading out to call you, I forgot you said you would be here,” I said. “I forgot you were coming to well you know.”
I was getting so weird looks from some of my co-workers. Therefore, I nodded toward the door and Mrs. Kim seamed to catch the hint. We walked outside and I said, “I really don’t want anyone to know because that would just start all kinds of question I’m not ready to share with my co-workers if you know what I mean.”
“I can understand that Chrissy,” she said, “so why don’t you start walking and I will pull down the street and wait for you to catch up and we’ll play like a game of leap frog till you get home.” “OK” was about all I could muster before she began her stopwatch and I began my walk home. I didn’t walk slow but I wasn’t walking fast either. I was wondering how long this walk might feel after working nine plus hours on the upcoming weekend.
The walk didn’t take as long as I had thought it would. I was home in 45 minutes with Mrs. Kim waiting for me. We talked for a bit and then she told me she would give me an hour just to make sure I made it home. She also reminded me to call when I was leaving work and to keep my time receipts this way there was no mistake when I left work.
The next few day seem to fly past in the blink of an eye. I slowly woke to a stream of light coming though the window. ‘Wow I thought Sunday already. I just can’t believe how fast this week went.’ I walked down stair and Laura and Sam were setting at the table eating lunch much to my surprise. “Well hello there sleepy head,” said Laura in a motherly tone. “Bet you didn’t think it was ganna be this hard did you”. I looked at her with a week smile and said, “No I sure didn’t but I am really looking forward to getting that first check next Friday.”
“Did you know they stayed open till 1am on the weekends, cause I sure didn’t. Then it took use almost an hour to finish cleaning up and get everything ready for the day shift to come in. I had no idea what was involved in being a closer.” Her and Sam both just laughed at me. “Well sweety look on the bright side you have worked 29 hours this week and at the $6.30 an hour you will have about a hundred and thirty dollars on your first check after taxes.” Wow, that is great, I didn’t realize that. Maybe I can get a new CD this weekend,” I said with a new skip in my step. “Yes I’m sure you can but it will depend on if you are working next weekend or not, but I’m sure we can find some time to get it for you,” Laura said with a smile.
“That reminds me here is my schedule for the next two weeks. I need to get it to Mrs. Kim. This week I am working Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. The following week I will be working Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and All of them 4pm to close,” I said while placing my schedule on the refrigerator. “Are you sure you will be able to handle that and your school work, Chrissy?” “I plan on taking any home work with me so I can finish it on my breaks and,” I turned to look at Sam. “Sam would it be OK If I used you bike so I can get home quicker? Also could you let me sleep in till six thirty I think I’m ganna need all the sleep I can get.”
“No problem Sis, however you might need to leave me a note on your door in case I don’t remember.” I then looked back to Laura, “I will see how it goes and if I need to back off a few nights Mike said he could try and read adjust the schedule. It is kind of my fault though because, I asked him to work me a lot so I could save some money up.” Laura nodded and I assumed my answer was good enough since she did not push it issue farther except to say, “I just don’t want you grades slipping, so if you can keep them up then it will be fine.” I promised I wouldn’t let it interfere with my grades and that made her happy enough.
Then I looked back at Sam, “Sam what do you want to do today since I’m off?” Sam seemed in thought for a bit and then said, “We can’t go to the movies but we could call the girls and have a movie day here, there is the new Christian Slater movie that came out on video if you like. I’ll call the gang and see if Stacey can pick it up on the way over.” With that Sam bounded out of the room and hit the phone. “Chrissy, said Laura, John called for you this morning.
I told him you were still sleeping since I knew you didn’t get home till almost 3:30 this morning.” “Did I wake you; I asked her, I’m so sorry I was trying to be very quite.” “No honey I just couldn’t sleep, you might not be physically mine but you are still my little girl, if you catch me meaning.” I walked up to Laura and gave her a great big huge and said, “Yes I do and think you so much,” I paused the continued “Do you need a hand cleaning up?” “No I have everything here go on, shoo, have some fun and don’t forget to call John back.”
I walked into the living room just as Sam was hanging up. “Everything is set they should be here in a hour or so. You know if you keep this up, I might have to trade you in for another sister who is around more. It has been so boring with you not here,” She said with a playful smile. “I wish I didn’t have to work but I need to, it not like I get an allowance anymore, Plus you mom is doing so much for me it feels wrong to ask her for to get me anything.
"Beside look at it this way you will never know what I will be getting you for Christmas, Humm maybe since you are going to replace me I should get you a lump of coal,” I said as Sam threw one of the couch pillows at me. “OK, OK maybe two lumps of coal then,” I said as she batted me again with another pillow. It was nice to have some fun after working so much this past week and I genuinely missed not spending much time with her.
After our small pillow fight, we picked up the living room and I plopped down on the couch to called John before the girls got here. “Hi honey how are you doing,” asked John. “Fine a little tired, work last night was so hectic and I was having a hard time trying to keep up. I never would have suspected it would be like that, or that hard.” I finished telling him about my last two nights of work and giving him my next two weeks schedule. “So,” John began, “when do I get to see you next?” “Why don’t you come and see me at work I usually get my break around eight or nine. I can’t leave but I can at least spend a little time with you.”
“I’m sorry things are difficult right now but it will get better I just have to get off of this probation.” “It’s not that Chrissy, but with you working I can’t even come and see you at your house either.” “John I won’t be working every weekend but I am the new person and get put on all the crappy shifts you know and it is my fault a bit cause I really would like to get some money saved up to buy Laura and Sam a few really nice presents for everything they are doing for me. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have a place to call home.”
“You know you never really told me why your parents made you leave yet.” “John I am just not ready to talk about that and I am not sure when I will be.” “I just want to be here for you that’s all, if you ever do want to talk about it just let me know.” "Thank you that’s very sweet of you and I’ll think about it I promise.” We talked for a bit longer until the girls came over and said our goodbyes and he promised he would try and make it by sometime this week to have dinner with me at work.
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