(Obviously, I have a thing for prologues:)

Carlos Brennan checked himself out in the mirror. A nice faded cut, with a design on the side, completed the look he'd gone for this morning. He smiled, loving himself. He was quite handsome for a young man of thirteen years old. One of great features- with charcoal gray eyes, a long, narrow nose- made slightly plump at the end, and medium sized lips. Round, full cheeks and a circular head completed his structure . A small, muscular body, that hadn't grown into itself yet, clothed in a dark green polo shirt, with the collar turned up, and black blue jeans, which hung just below his waist. The jordans he sported, finished the ensemble with black and green colors.

He smiled again, this time to check out his teeth. Squeaky clean. Sighing, he grabbed his bag, and went into the bathroom, where his brother Michael was brushing his teeth. Michael Brennan was a deep chocolate brother, with a large round head, and deep set brown eyes. His teeth were a little jutted out when he smiled, but what he lacked in looks, he made up for in personality. Michael was a funny man. He lived to see the light in others eyes. This, Carlos thought was a gift. When Michael caught him staring, he turned to him and laughed. "Don't hate cause I look fresh."

"What are you talking about? I invented fresh." Carlos pulled on the collar of his shirt, ( this is known as collar popping)- and said. "So fresh and so clean, clean!"

Michael rolled his eyes, "About as fresh as your shit."

"Compliments to the chef."Carlos retorted, refering to their sister, Amanda Brennan's cooking. Both brothers laughed, and made their way to the first floor of their home, where their sister Amanda, a mixture of Hispanic and African American, was slaving over breakfast. The aromas of bacon, eggs and toast could be smelled.

"What twelve year old do you know, can fry up some stuff like her?" Carlos questioned as he sat down in his usual spot- the chair at the south end of the wall, facing the back door.

Amanda sighed, "What choice do I have, mom's not here." Her tone was disgruntled.

"She'll be here." Carlos stated in a firm tone.

"You said that three days ago. It's the fourth day, we are running out of food, and I still need some supplies for school. Why did she get you and Mike something, but not me? That's screwed up."

Carlos looked down at his empty plate, and tried to think of an explaination. Their mother hadn't brought them clothes in almost two years. She was too busy getting high. So, Carlos had taken the initiative to go out and buy the clothes they needed for the past two years now. When they'd asked where the clothes came from, he usually told Michael and Amanda their mother bout them. They didn't know that he was the one providing everything they needed. Sighing, he wanted to think of something, anything other than what was real, to tell her, but no ideas would come. Giving her a hint, he pulled some cash from his pockets and handed it to her. "Here."

Amanda took the wad of bills. "Where'd you get this?" Her eyes bulging at the amount.

"Don't worry about it. Just make sure you get what ever's needed for the house and your personal stuff. Take a cab home if necessary."

Amanda looked at her brother. Not sure she liked where this was going, but respecting the fact that he was looking out for the family. Greatful, she leaned in and kissed his cheek. "Thanks Carlos."

Carlos nodded. "We gotta look out for each other, right?"


"And, as long as I'm here, we'll be doing that."

Amanda turned the burner off, and lifted the skillet. Looking at Carlos, she said, "You get the first batch."

Carlos patted her back. "Thanks."

Amanda scraped some of the eggs into his plate before giving Michael some, and then herself.

Brenda Woods, turned to face her mom. "I don't want to go here."

"I know."

"So, if you know that, why do I have to?"

"My job's transferred us."

"Why, if you're supposed to be a nurse practioner, do we always get placed in the dumpiest of dumps, the raggediest of schools, and the damn worst cities in the neighborhoods?"

Indiana Woods glowered at her daughter. "Don't be smart mouthing me, or questioning why things are the way they are, when you're not even old enough to understand what's going on."

"I don't mean any disrespect mom, I'm just sick of moving. We've moved to three different states in the last six years. There is no company in the world that transfers as much as you do."

"I know baby."

"That's all you ever say!" Brenda was furious.

"Don't raise your voice at me. Don't think that just because you're in the seventh grade, I won't spank your butt."

Brenda sat in her seat, sulking. "This isn't fair mom, and you know it."

"I know, but this is just how things are for now."

Brenda stared out of the car window, staring at the bleak, dark skies. She was so angry. Her mother had come home one day, told her that her job was transferring her, and they were moving. She'd been confused at first, but then, her mother coaxed her into believing it was to make a new life for them. Gullible back then, she believed the woman she'd grown to look up to. This had been when she was five. When she was seven, they'd moved from Ohio, to Tennessee. When they were eleven, they'd moved from Tennessee to New York and stayed there until a year ago, when they started moving every six months. This time, they were in Boise Idaho, and she hoped they'd be staying. Somewhere in the middle of all the shuffling around, Brenda became indignant toward her mother. The love and trust she'd had for her mother, years ago had dwindled into bitterness.

"What ever mom. I'll see you when I get out of school."

Brenda exited the car, with out so much a goodbye. She looked up at her new school and sighed with irritation. Another school, in less than a year. Great.

Carlos pulled out the small screwdriver. It was the perfect tool for getting what he wanted. The screwdriver, was one used to tighten the screws on eye glasses. He grasped the lock on Orion's locker, and fiddled with it. Orion had a habbit of free loading on credit and never paying for the service. As a method of solution, Carlos decided to take the kicks Orion had gotten with the money that was his. He was tired of the boy getting over him, especially when he was the one who had to pay out of pocket to make up for whatever amount of drug Orion decided to use. The last time he'd chosen Glass. Though Carlos hated the stuff, he had to make ends meat somehow. That was how he'd been able to give Amanda the money she needed this morning.

"Mr. Brennan, what are you doing?" Carlos paused. Didn't Mr. Vance have anything better to do than pick on him? Pushing the object up the hand of his sleeve, Carlos thought of something to say.

Brenda didn' t know why she did it. Especially, when he deserved what ever his theiving hands got, but there was a note in the sound of the guy's voice, that made Brenda feel sorry for the young person standing at the locker. She walked slowly, as not to attract attention, all the while, waiting for the student to answer. When he didn't, she went up to the locker and interveined. "He was helping me with my locker."

The man stopped in front of the two. "He was helping you with your locker?"


"That's funny, considering I've never seen you at this school before."

Brenda held out her schedule to the man. "Brenda Woods?"

Brenda sighed, "That's what it says."

The man looked down at her. "And this is your locker?"


He looked back at the paper. "Hmmn, it says right here, that your locker is number 415."

Damn it! She had to think of something quick. "That's weird, I got here this morning, and they told me that it was 710."

Carlos shook his head. They both were dead meat now.

"Welcome to Brentwood Middle School Brenda Woods. I'm Mr. Quincy Vance. Your principal. Both of you follow me to the office please."

Carlos looked at Brenda, as they were following behind Mr. Vance. "You a bad liar."

"Hey, I did it to save your butt."

He smirked. "Thank-you. It takes a real sista' to do somethin' like that."

"Does it now?" She grinned.

Carlos nodded toward her. "You down?"


"You down?"

"What do you mean am I down?"

Carlos shook his head. This girl had a lot to learn. "You cool. You need a friend or somethin' like that?"

"You want to be my friend?"

He flashed a lopsided grin. "Why not?"

Brenda smiled even harder. This was one sexy guy. And, he wanted to be her friend!