“Promise.” I assured Liss as I clutched her tighter. There was no way I would ever leave her. Liss was my life. I would go anywhere and do anything for her. Even go back to the orphanage. However, there was no way I would let her back in there. I loved her too much to see her imprisoned that way again. We had barely survived in there!

As I clutched Liss tightly against my, resting my chin on her head, I looked around the moldy remains of the room. Even this place wasn’t really good enough for Liss, but by comparison to the orphanage…well, it wasn’t far from heaven. Suddenly I had an idea: if we saved as much of our money as possible, then maybe we would be able to buy an appartment of our very own. With clean furnishings that were still in good shape! We both got $7.99 an hour. We worked from 8 AM till 3 PM that was seven hours a day, five days a week. That meant we got $559.30 a week! The sandwiches at the supermarket cost us around $1 each and we ate three a day, each. So that was $42 a week. The condos here that I had seen had all been priced around $200,000 so if we saved up for 387 weeks, we should have almost enough.

I grimaced…maybe we should rent…I had seen a nice-looking condo as we passed by that was for rent. The sign had said $660 a month…we could do that right? We got $517 a week so in we made roughly $2,050 a month. “Liss,” I whispered softly, “We’re going once we’ve gotten our paycheck.”

“What?” Liss asked incredulously.

I grinned, “I said we are going to rent a condo when we get our paycheck…I saw one nice-looking condo available for rent at $660 a month. I think we could handle that, and it’s like you said last night, this place isn’t exactly paradise.”

Liss immediately looked guilty. “We don’t have to rent a condo just –“ I cut her off with a kiss.

“It’s not just for you Liss,” I told Liss when we broke from the kiss, “it’s for both of us.”

Liss smiled hopefully, and I hugged her close again. “I love you Liss, don’t you ever forget that.”
”I love you too Kian,” Liss whispered into my chest.

I closed my eyes happily, I could have stayed like that all morning long if it wasn’t for work…WORK!! My eyes snapped open. “Liss we gotta get to work! Come on or we’ll be late!”

We hurried off to work and managed to get there only five minutes late. I sighed as we went in the door. “Good to see you two!” our agent greeted us jovially as we came through the door. “Today we are going to do an advertisement in time to a song, you guys up to it?”

“What song is it?” I asked curiously.

“Just the Way You Are by Bruno Mars. Have you heard it?”

Both Liss and I shook our heads, but quickly followed the agent to the filming room. He moved over to a laptop and clicked a few times. A song started playing over the sound system and I grinned as I listened to the lyrics. This guy, Bruno Mars, nailed it exactly, Liss reduced to believe she was beautiful…she was…she just refused to believe it. The second time through I began to sing along with Bruno. I grinned, but kept on singing as Liss realized I was singing it to her, not just singing along. Suddenly the music stopped and I hurriedly stopped singing as well, looking embarrassedly to our agent.

“Why didn’t you tell me you could sing like that!” the agent exclaimed surprised.

“Well sir, I’m sorry…it just didn’t occur to me…if I hurt your ears or something I apologize…” I didn’t know what else to say…I had no idea I could offend him so much by singing along…

“Hurt my ears?! No! You were absolutely amazing! If you just had some voice training you could have a very good chance of becoming popular!”

That took me aback completely. “I-I I don’t know what to say!”

“Can your girl friend sing as well as you?” the agent asked excitedly then turned to her. “Sing for me!”

Liss shrunk into me shyly. “I don’t know…”

“Oh come on! You guys could do so much better than just acting in commercials for barely above minimum wage! And I can get you there if I can just gauge your skills!”

Liss sighed heavily, and then began to sing one of our favorite songs that they had us test at the orphanage.

By the time she finished the song our agent was positively beaming. “You two just continue on today like you normally would, I’ve got some business calls to make, I’ll see you in a couple of hours!” he said as he turned and hurried out the door.

I looked at Liss and shrugged at her questioning expression. We went in to work and actually took much fewer tries to satisfy the director than we had for the previous commercial. During the break I pulled out the Bible that James had given to me and began to read: “In the beginning…”

I soon got so enthralled by the stories of Adam and Eve as well as their sons Cane and Abel that it took Liss three tries to get my attention. “KIAN!” Liss called loudly by my ear. I startled and looked up sheepishly a t Liss. “It’s time to get back to work,” she informed me as she attempted to make a grumpy face at me, although I saw the laugh in her eyes.

It wasn’t much later that our agent came back and waited excitedly at the door of the filming room for us to finish the part we were working on. As soon as we finished, he rushed up to us, “I’ve got great news! I’ve scheduled you up for a five-month voice apprenticeship with one of the best teachers around! If you two can manage to pass the course, then you will be able to sing with just about any band you want! Or even start your very own!” he told us excitedly.

“Wait a second,” I slowed him down, “I’ve got two things to add to this. One, don’t apprenticeships take up all your time? Because Liss and I are broke, we wouldn’t be able to provide for ourselves during that time. Secondly, what is in this for you, that you would do this for us?”

The agent grinned, “I’ll answer your question first, if you were to start your own band, or if you wanted to find the right band to join…you would need an agent…like me. And if I set this up for you, I would only do that if I were assured that place. As to your money problem…this apprenticeship will take you entirely into the care of your teacher, he will feed you, clothe you, and generally take care of you while you learn from him. It is his belief that people learn the best when they have nothing except music to worry about. The course will be very hard and intensive however, and you will both be expected to devote all your time to it.”

I looked at Liss. “What do you think Liss? Shall we?”

“He will see you today, directly after you finish your work here for the day,” the agent put in quickly. 

The End

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