Chapter 1a

Chapter 1a

A Chapter by Leslie Flemons

Matt tries to find a job, but didn't find one at the church cafe because, well, it's a CHURCH cafe. And Matt swore to himself that he would never go near a church again.

Matt - Sunday, December 5

I thought I would never step foot into a church again. I even vowed myself never to go back to one. I have been telling my best friend Lenny that, but he wouldn’t listen. He kept telling me that the church’s cafe is hiring. 

“You don’t even need to go to the church. You could just work at the cafe,” he told me. He also explained that there have been plenty of people that worked there, but never attended the church. Even though that were true, I didn’t want to even work anywhere near a church. Lenny knew about my experience with church, but he was insensitive enough to suggest a church job.

“Lenny, you know about my past with the church.”

Lenny gave me a small smile. “I know, man. But, this is actually a good start for a job. I promise you!”

“You being a janitor is a good start?”

He shrugged. “They pay good enough.”

“Like how much?”

“Ten dollars an hour.”

“Pssh! You call that a good start?” We kept walking past yet another ad from the cafe. It was basically useless for Lenny to pester me about this job since I have been seeing the ad everywhere: 

Come work at Harvest Cafe! Here you will be serving some of the best dishes: cornbread, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese and a whole lot more! You’ll miss out if you don’t! 
$10 an hour 

They post this ad everywhere on store windows, poles, and of course, social media. Like, can’t these people give it a rest? All week, I have been trying to find other jobs that were more interesting. None of them were available. Not even Game Stop across the street.  
“Sorry, man,” the cashier around my age said. “All positions are taken.”
I sighed. “Do you know any jobs that are available, then?” 
He clicked his tongue as he scratched his dark hair. “Well, there’s this church that owns a cafe. They’re open for positions.” 
Of course. 
Everywhere I went, people kept suggesting that I apply for the cafe. Why? What was so special about it? We lived in Oakland, a small part of Chicago, but apparently, this cafe seemed to be the most popular in the area. Everyone kept blabbing about it.
If I didn’t have to look for a job, I wouldn’t. I could have just sat around playing video games with my guys. But no, I had to get a job so I could have more “responsibility”, whatever that means. Mom wouldn’t leave me alone about it. Whenever I would take a break from the job hunt, she would give me her coldest stare and guilt trip me. “Matthew, I am very disappointed in you. Don’t you think you should have more responsibility?” There goes that word. “If you’re not planning on going to college, the least you could do is get a job.”
I did have a plan after school, though. Playing basketball. It was my only passion. It allowed me to escape from the pain of reality for a second. My coach, however told me that I needed to go to college to play basketball, but I didn’t believe that. Dad taught me how to play when I was a kid. He was like a best friend to me. But then he changed. That church changed him. And that is why I am reluctant to going near a church again. But after weeks of job searching, I gave up and took Lenny’s advice. I went to the cafe this Sunday. How convenient.
That day Mom wouldn’t stop harassing me on my choice of clothing (a white wrinkled T-shirt with denim shorts). She went into my closet (talk about privacy) and picked out a white button down shirt with a light brown leather jacket. It would take forever to get out of the house with her checking on me every time. 
While jumping into my Mustang, I used the Bluetooth to call Lenny. I asked him more about the restaurant, since I might have to work there, anyway. 

“It’s a soul food restaurant called Harvest Café.” Lenny’s voice was booming through the speakers. “It’s named after the church, Harvest Church.”

“Pretty catchy.” 

I leaned back on the leather seat and stared blankly at the road. The afternoon sun was shining into my corneas, almost blinding my vision. I should have brought my sunglasses.

“I’m tellin’ you, man. They got the best cornbread! And I don’t even like cornbread. You should try out some of their food before taking the job.”

“Why?” I peered down at my phone, ensuring I was making the right turn.

“Just to see if you’ll like working there.”

“I don’t care how good the food is. I love Pizza Patty’s food, but I wouldn’t work there.”
Plus, considering that this was a soul food restaurant, I was probably going to be the only white person there. Perfect. I’ll fit right in. 
“Just trust me, man,” Lenny said. “You’ll like it.”
“Alright, I’m almost there. See ya.”
Good thing the place wasn’t too far from my house. Fifteen minutes is good enough. When I arrived, I was expecting a small group of people. Instead, the place was packed. People of different ages and ethnicities. Yes, the majority were African American, but there were a also few Latinos and Caucasians mixed in. I wonder if the church itself is the same way. 
The sweet smell of macaroni and cheese and cornbread welcomed me, pulling me in. The dining area was lined with about sixteen or so tables, but half of the people were standing, either in line, or just talking with others. There was a faint sound of jazz music playing. I looked around to find some empty tables I could sit, but to my misfortune, they were all taken.
I hopped in line and luckily, it got quicker. The next thing I knew, I was next. 
Then, I saw her. The girl that stole my heart from day one. The girl that I didn’t deserve to have.

© 2022 Leslie Flemons

Author's Note

Leslie Flemons
What did you think about the hook? Did it pull you in at all? What about the characters and the dialogue? Anything at all would help.

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Added on May 16, 2022
Last Updated on May 16, 2022
Tags: teens, love, romance, Christian, Christian fiction, fiction, God, Jesus, young adult


Leslie Flemons
Leslie Flemons

Louisville, KY

Hello, everyone! My name is Leslie and I am nineteen years old. I just finished my freshman year of college today. YAY! I can be pretty quiet and shy around people, but I also can be pretty funny .. more..


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