A story about a tomboy who is on fire for God, but gives up on love.
|"Mrs. Steele you know that I would not rip you off," Krystal Meyers told the eighty-something year old. Mrs. Steele had a complaint for just about everything. Most people actually could not stand her snobbish, bossy ways, but Krystal did not mind. She knew that Mrs. Steele was lonely and lost without her husband. In reality, she was a really cheerful giver. Plus Krystal could be bossy and stubborn herself.
"I know dearie, but there are just so many scams out there," Mrs. Steele said in her raspy voice.
"But I wouldn't scam you. You know you can trust me to be brutally honest."
"That I can." Mrs. Steele then proceeded to recall one of Krystal's past escapades. Krystal knew she had been rather wild in her younger days. Not police-worthy wild, but just rather mischievous. In complete honesty, she hadn't changed much. She was still the same pushy, stubborn girl who always managed to get into trouble with or because of her brothers. Luckily, that experience also gave her lots of practice getting out of scrapes. Not to mention the quick thinking skills which allowed her to reach and help many kids who were struggling on the streets. It never ceased to amaze her the perfection of Gods plan. Thank you God for using my past, she prayed silently.
Currently Krystal was helping her churches community program called the Retreat. This program not only ministered to people living off the streets, but also helped them to survive and become successful. Thanks to her church body, over the last few years the Retreat had been able to provide resources, job training, shelter, child care, and tutoring for those in need. In fact, the Retreat was expanding beyond her wildest dreams. This was precisely why she needed to steer the conversation with Mrs. Steele from her younger days, to the problem at hand. Unfortunately at that moment, her phone began to beep. She hated to be interrupted while she was trying to work. Normally she would have ignored the incoming call, but it was from her younger brother Lee. He was an exception. "Hold on a minute Mrs. Steele. Lee is on my other line."
"What?" Ok so she was still a little annoyed and it was portrayed through her voice.
"I'm bored. And hungry."
"Where are you at?" Her dad was out of town on a cruise, so she and her siblings where taking turns watching Lee since he was the youngest of the bunch. Harry and Isaish are the oldest and twins. Harry is a police officer, and Isaiah is a doctor. Her sister Jade was born next. She is a complete girly-girl. They're parents were in complete shock when they found out that they were having another set of twins, Jeremy and Krystal. And lastly Lee, the adopted son. Her family was huge and extremely close.
"I'm at Jeremy's apartment, but he's not here yet."
"Well where is he?!"
"You know he's got that internship thing at the clinic. The hours might be crazy, but it is an honor since he is so young and everything so..."
"So nothing! I can't believe he just left you there alone! What was he thinking? Just wait until I get a hold of him," she ranted.
Hello! I'm 12 years old not a baby. I can take care of myself!" Krystal couldn't help but smile. She could remember the frustrations of being the youngest. Sure technically her and Jeremy were the same age, but he was born 7 minutes before her. Just seven minutes, but he never let her forget it. Her brothers were a handful, but then again so was she. Lee fit right in with his spunk.
"Well then mister why are you calling me? I was on the phone with an important client. I need to get things in order for my meeting bright and early tomorrow."
"Well I just called because I was hungry and Jeremy doesn't have anything edible in his fridge. But if you are busy then I'm sure I can find something."
"No, no I'll be there in a little bit. You know I never turn down food. Being thinking about what you want."
"Ok how hungry are you?"
"I'm a little hungry." It was a long standing joke in their family to ask how hungry she was. Krystal and Jade were about as different as night and day. You always had to ask how hungry Jade is to decide which restaurant to go to. She hated to waste food, and often times thought that some restaurants' proportions were just too large. Krystal on the other hand was like a huge vacuum cleaner. She could seriously pack away some food and she wasn't ashamed of it. At least most of the time she wasn't.
"Mrs. Steele, I'm back. I don't want to pressure you, but I'm also not trying to scam you. I give you my word that your donation will be a good way to use your money. With your help we will be able to reach and change so many more families. If you don't believe me, then call Pastor Mike. He will also reassure you. Think it over and I'll get back in touch with you tomorrow. I have to go pick up Lee now."
"Lee is such a sweetheart. Nothing is wrong is it?"
"No, he's just hungry, bored , and lonely. And of course he misses his awesome older sister." Mrs. Steele just laughed and they said their good byes.
Krystal grabbed her purse, which some of the girls she was mentoring at the Retreat called the backpack. It was huge and plain just like her. She was over 6 ft tall and did not like to dress up. Her normal look was a t-shirt, loose jeans, no make-up, and her hair pulled back into a ponytail. If she didn't have so much stuff to keep up with, she probably wouldn't even have bother with a purse. Once she found her missing keys she headed out the door.
Her father did not approve of the neighborhood she lived in. Not that she really blamed him. She picked about the most run-down part of Sterlite possible to live in. Lets just say that you would have to be pretty brave to leave your doors unlocked, or have some kind of protection with you while walking around. Not that she was afraid or anything. Or rather she didn't let anyone believe she was anyway. If her brothers thought that she was even the tiniest bit scared, they would never let her live it down. Anyways, her apartment was cheaper, and near the Retreat. So she was thankful. Really she was.
"Well what took you so long?", Lee asked impatiently as he opened the door and followed her to the car. Jeremy lived in the same apartment complex as she did. They weren't next door, but they were walking distance.
"Excuse me, I told you I was on the phone.
"Nosy much? With Mrs. Steele."
"Is she going to donate the money yet?"
"I don't know, but when I mentioned you, she got all happy."
He smiled a very smug smile. "I could be a walking commercial: A success story. I am very charming. It would be my contribution to the cause."
" No need. I'm sure I can win her over." Krystal and Lee were extremely tight. She understood at times, he felt like he had to prove his worth to the family. Which was not true. Everyone absolutely adored Lee. "The only thing you need to contribute is the follow your brothers around and make them miserable. They sure did that to me enough. Oh and gross out Jade while you are at it." She reached over and ruffled his hair. At first he laughed, but then he got serious again.
"But nothing. Lee you are a kid. Relax and enjoy life. Trust me you will have plenty of work and stress experience later. You focus on your grades, and making my dad's life joyful and happy. You know that dad had a tough time handling Mom's death. You made that time easier for him. We appreciate that from the bottom of our hearts. Plus we love ya kiddo. Don't mention to any of the guys that I got a little emotional or else I will have to kill you."
By this time they had arrived at the Pizza Shack, and placed their order. They sat down in their normal spot. Krystal loved comfort food. Actually she loved food in general, but pizza was like her stress reliever or celebration food. And between having a large successful family, and working with the Retreat, Krystal had lots of reasons to indulge in pizza. The Pizza Shack was her favorite. The atmosphere was so comfortable and casual that it felt like another home. She knew everyone who worked here, and almost everyone who ate here. Of course knowing everyone wasn't always a good thing. In fact, at times it was plan out tiring. Take for instance Jack, who happened to be here waiter for the night. She liked Jack, but sometimes he could be a bit much.
"Well, well, well, I should have known it was you Krys. When they told me that a table of two ordered as much pizza as I have right here, I should have connected the dots" he said.
"Yep. Its me again."
He just laughed. At the Pizza Shack, it wasn't unheard of for the waiters to stay at your table and talk to you. In fact, it probably would be more of a scandal if they didn't. "Hows everything going with your plans for the Retreat." It was also inevitable that everyone here knew all your business.
"Good. Slower than I would like, but good all the same"
"Never could call you patient. I would love to stay and chat longer, but we are a little busy today. Plus you probably don't have enough pizza to offer me. I'm not sure how your parents fed all of you. Growing boys must have been bad enough, but throw in you and Wow!"
Krys laughed at this and played along, but really it was like another jab at her wound. She knew in her heart that Jack didn't mean anything cruel by his barbs, but sometimes it could get alittle old. Plus it was mainly her fault. Jade had warned her time and time again to stop acting like a boy. Well it was too late. Now she was just one of the guys. She can take a joke. Or she gives as good as she gets. Oh well, so what. She had a lot of other things going for her. She really did. Despite her family's tendency to belittle her as a girl, they were really supportive. Plus she had the Retreat, her plans to expand. As if all those things weren't special enough, she had God, her Lord and Savior. Yeah, that was good enough. She could handle the barbs. Most of the time they really didn't bother her. But when they did, she wouldn't let everyone else know. People would just feel bad and sorry for her. She could not allow that to happen. So she would just grin and bare it.
"You know, you don't eat all that much," Lee said after everyone had finished socializing. Krystal just looked at the empty pizza box and back to Lee. "Ok, maybe you do have a large appetite, but it's not like you're fat or anything."
"Look, I'm just saying you're cool the way you are. You shouldn't let what people say bother you. In fact, you shouldn't let them say it at all!" Krys could visibly tell that Lee was upset. See, she told herself, I do have a great family. I should be extremely thankful.
"Its ok," Krys said while opening the door to the car.
"No its NOT! It's not ok for them to hurt you!"
"Yes you are. Every time they make a comment like that, your smile becomes more and more strained. It does hurt you."
Krys was shocked. She thought she hid her true feelings pretty well. She knew that Jeremy could pick up on her emotions sometimes, but they were twins, so that was pretty much inevitable. She hadn't realized that Lee knew too. "Well they say truth hurts."
"Lee, I appreciate what you are trying to say and the fact that you care, lets just drop it ok? I'll get you home and then drop some stuff off by the church." By this time they had made it back to their apartments. She had parked the car, was about to look for her papers in her purse, when a blur came by and took her purse.
Most normal people's first reaction would be to call the police. But not Krys, she took off running after the thief. Meanwhile, Lee was in complete shock. He had heard of Krys doing some stupid things, but really! He didn't know what to do, so he ran to Jeremy's apartment. He figured Jeremy would know best what to do. He knocked, and knocked erratically. Once the door opened he blurted out what happened. "Jeremy, she ran off before I could stop her! I didn't know what else to do I.... oh." By this time Lee realized that he wasn't talking to Jeremy. "I'm sorry. I guess I got the wrong room."
"Wait," the stranger said before Lee could run off, did you say Jeremy?"
Lee nodded impatiently. He didn't have time for this. He needed to find help for Krys ASAP!
"Then you have the right room. Jeremy is at the clinic right now."
In all the commotion, Lee forgot that Jeremy was staying at the clinic late tonight. "Oh no, no, no, no, no, no, no! He HAS to be here!" Lee was in such shock that he didn't know what to do.
"Hey, kid. Calm down. My name is Keir, I'm Jeremy's roommate." Keir was new in town, and he didn't know a lot about anyone. The only reason he was rooming with Jeremy was his hometown pastor recommended that he attend Pastor Mike's church. Pastor Mike in turn suggested he room with Jeremy. He saw Jeremy around campus some, and they were both interning at the clinic. He liked Jeremy well enough to live with him, but he didn't really know much about him personally. But that didn't matter. They were roommates, and members of the same church, Keir would do all that he could to help Jeremy. Helping this kid would be included. That is, if he ever told Keir what the problem was or why he was alone here. "Tell me what happened and I'll see if I can help you. But first start off with why you are here alone."
"I'm not, or rather I wasn't." By this time Lee was so worried and frustrated he wasn't making much sense, and he had tears in his eyes.
Keir was getting nowhere. "Calm down."
"I can't," Lee screamed, "my sister went after him!"
"After who?" Keir was confused.
"Some guy took her purse, and she ran after him."
"Aw man. Ok look, you come inside and call the police." Keir could not believe this was actually happening. "which way?"
Keir took off running in the direction Lee pointed. He was not familiar with the area, and he didn't know what Jeremy's sister looked like. But none of that matter. All he knew was that if his sisters were in trouble, he would want someone to help them. He heard a gunshot, and sped up.