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Living on a Prayer

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CHAPTER 1 - ANY OTHER DAY

"Here it is. Two cheeseburgers with fries, two milkshakes and a cup of coffee. Would you like anything else?" Gina says as she settles the plates on the table. 

"No. That's okay! Thank you Gina." 

She nods and walks back towards the counter, barely feeling her feet. She's been standing for over four hours attending customers. Billy's Diner was always crowded, especially during lunchtime. It was a small town, people always ate there. She feels her stomach growling as a sign that she’s hungry. It’s almost time of her lunch break but she still has a lot of customers to serve.

After another hour of work, it’s finally her break.The good thing about working at a diner is that the food is good and the meals are for free. She’s sitting at a table in the diner’s kitchen, hidden from the customers. She's so glad she could finally sit. 

"May I join you milady?" Gina laughs as she turns around to see Joey. 

"It would be an honor milord." She replies, giving him a funny face. Joey is Billy's son, and her manager, but to her he’s just Joey. They've been friends since kindergarten and he was the one who helped her get this job. 

He sits across from her as he settles the plate on the table like he always does. Burgers. Again. "You eat burgers everyday, don't you get sick of it? And how in the world do you keep in shape?" she asks him. 

"You ask me this question everyday, don't you get sick of it? You know I love burgers, and still I don't eat it everyday. Actually, yesterday I had salad for lunch." he replies with his mouth full of food. 

She rolls her eyes and gives him a smile, he's the only person who can always make her laugh. She never thought of Joey as anything more than a friend. Even though he was tall, good looking with a beautiful dark hair and deep eyes, he was like a brother to her. Of course she once had a crush on him, when they were kids, but after they grew up Joey’s taste for girls were nothing related to Gina. He always liked tall, blonde girls, and Gina was short, with caramel skin and the darkest of hairs. 

Gina’s parents died when she was only three years old, so she was raised by her grandmother Judith. Even though they didn’t have much money, life was good. Everything was great until two years ago, when her grandma discovered pancreatic cancer and they acquired loads of debts trying to pay for treatment. Judith died two months after she discovered her disease, and once again Gina was all alone.

“So, how are things at home? Is it cool living with Jean?” Joey asks. 

Gina had just moved in to live with her friend Billie Jean. After the bank took her grandmother’s house, she had nowhere to go, so Jean offered to help since she had a spare room in her apartment. 

“Well...You know how Jean can be sometimes. With guys and everything... But things are cool, in general. It doesn’t bother me, she was really kind in letting me stay with her.” Gina replied, hesitating. “Yeah, it’s cool. We’re getting on well, no major problems.” she adds firmly, trying to avoid any further questions. 

Billie Jean is a great friend, but a woman with a lot of issues. She works at a pawn shop during the day and as a nightclub dancer during the night. Gina understands that Jean wants to have fun sometimes, the only thing that bothers her is that there’s always a man at the apartment and she feels like she doesn’t get a lot of privacy when this happens. Besides that, everything is great. 

“Talking about roomies” she started “When are you and Dotty moving in together?” Dorothea is Joey’s girlfriend. The most serious relationship and the coolest girlfriend he has ever had. She knew how much they loved each other, she couldn’t wait until they finally decided to tie the knot.

 “Woah, slow down there sweetheart, what are you trying to tell me?” Joey replied, nervously.

 “Oh c’mon man! You two are so in love! It’s beautiful to see. Dotty is nice and funny, plus she’s the only girlfriend you’ve ever had that truly likes me. I can’t wait for you to get married, have kids so I can be their godmother. You know I’ll be their godmother, right?!” Gina says while she chews, her eyes glimmering in excitement. 

Joey laughs and she knows he’s been considering this for a while now. He truly is in love, and she’s so happy for him. 

As for her, she has never believed in true love for herself. Things have always been complicated with men, and she had never loved anyone enough to feel like she had found the right person. She always thinks of herself in the future as a lonely person and, actually, she’s completely okay with that. During her life, she’s only had three boyfriends. Two in High School - Pete, the quarterback; and John, some weird punk who she dated for a few weeks - and one recently, that lasted for only two months. Gina never truly loved them, and she believes she’ll never be able to love people besides her family and Joey. The sparks were never there. 

“Okay, let’s wrap this up and go back to work. We’ve still got a whole day ahead of us.” Joey says as he stands and pick up his plate. 

“Yeah, we should get back to work.” she agrees as she goes through the kitchen and back to the restaurant. The days are always long, and today’s just like any other day in her life, at least she thought so...