Chapter 1: First Time for Everything
Fiona grabbed the shoebox where she stored extra cash from her job, it was always stored away, not even the others knew where it was located in the house. She knew one of the younger siblings would be likely to blab to Frank. At least, they would if he was ever at home.
"Okay, Lip and Ian, you stay while Debbie and Carl go upstairs; it's time to talk about working." Fiona began as she sat down at the kitchen table with the teenage boys. "I said get upstairs now!" Fiona demanded, turning to see the two listening in from the top of the bottom half of the stairs.
Hearing two doors slam upstairs was the indicator that Ian and Lip could have this talk with her. "You two are going job hunting and need to have one by the end of the month," Fiona explained. Lip and Ian glanced to one another and remained quiet.
"Fiona how do you expect us to do that? We're high schoolers, we can't take on evening jobs too. No way," Lip tried to argue, however, all he got was a stern look.
"Do you want to keep your phone and the internet on?" Fiona questioned, her tone was stern and serious, her eyes set wife as she looked at the young man. He was seventeen, a junior in high school, and would be a senior later that autumn. As long as he was there, he was paying bills, that was the end of it.
"I think there's a convenience store hiring down the street," Ian spoke up, he had been thinking of working there, but only because he knew there was top-notch security there.
"What about tutoring?" Lip inquired about himself and a potential job idea. "I could go over to rich kids houses, charge fifty a session, and write papers on the side?" Lip suggested, his attention drifting away to the strange smell filling the house. Hearing the dryer make bumping noises, he jumped up to turn it off, and unplug it. The eldest brother opened the old dryer and started coughing, smoke filled the kitchen in a stinky thick grey haze, and Lip fanned his face.
"I guess I'm getting a real job this year after all."
"Oh yeah, by the hour; nothing unreliable either." Fiona stated as she grabbed the laundry to hang it out in the backyard. "If you finished your cereal, go on upstairs, I need to clean this kitchen up before we have another ant issue!"
Fiona out the shoebox back in its hiding place and started on cleaning; while her brothers used their shared laptop to get information on work in the area.
"Here's something tutoring based!" Ian exclaimed, Lip out his cellphone down, and walked over to his brother's bed across the room. He joined the freckle faced ginger and looked at the website, after realizing the site as the one advertised on the posters in the high school halls, Lip smirked.
"Okay, cool, let me see that and I'll make a profile!" Lip replied, yanking the computer from his brother's hands, jolting him enough that he fell against his phone. Moans could be heard from the ear buds next to them, and Lip chuckled until he heard two men. Not a woman. He wrestled with his younger brother, seeing two guys on the screen, having rough sex.
As much as Ian wanted to deny what was on the screen, he couldn't, and he just sat there in awkward silence as the eldest Gallagher brother tossed the phone down. "I was scared to tell you." Ian admitted, he quickly turned the phone off and Lip reached for the hidden bag of weed, then rolled a joint to share with his younger brother. Carl was passed out and deep into sleep, his own headphones on, to block out any noise the others could be making.
Lip lifted the window enough to let smoke out. He took a long first hit of the joint, feeling the burn in his chest and throat. Blowing smoke out, he passed the weed to Ian, and looked at his brother. "I had a feeling when you turned down one of the hottest girls at school. Mandy Milkovich, right?"
Ian nodded then he passed the joint back after a long hit. "Yeah, her brother still has an issue with me about it," Ian explained quietly. As soon as the weed was smoked up, Lip tossed the joint in the toilet, and returned to the laptop. He began working on his Tutor.Me profile:
Full name: Phillip Ronan Gallagher
Name preference: Lip
School: South Chicago High School
Are you willing to commute for work: Yes
How far will you commute: 20 miles
Hourly or Session Pay: Both
Hourly expense: $20 per hour, non-negotiable
Session expense: $50 for 3 hours of tutoring, non-negotiable
Best subjects: Science, math, technology, and history
"Are we going to talk about me being gay?" Ian questioned.
"Nope, you like banging guys; it's whatever you like dude, and I'll keep quiet about it."
"Have I ever let you down?" The ocean eyed boy asked his younger brother.
"Good point, thank you Lip!"
The eldest of the two got hired within half an hour once he was finished posting his profile. Sheila Jackson hired Lip for helping her daughter, Karen, with tenth grade chemistry. Apparently the two went to the same school yet the name didn't seem to ring a bell.
Lip responded that he would accept the job. That was the first offer out of three that night and Lip went to sleep knowing he would be able to tell Fiona he had a job. That was enough to keep him content for the night.
As for Ian, he could barely sleep, fearing his brother wouldn't keep his word.
Chapter 2: Spare Change?
If Ian Gallagher was anything, he was courageous, and it showed. With walking to and from school alone after turning thirteen to joining the NJROTC; he was always one of the bravest in the family, for sure.
Darkness had fallen on that September night, he had just finished homework, and decided to go to Kash and Grab; a convenience store two blocks to the west. Ian slowly walked through the neighborhood, noticing a young man sitting close to the store, he was thin with curly dark brown hair and thick eyebrows. Ian heard the teary-eyed young man speak up. "I can't keep this up," Ian heard him say as he looked over at the World's Inn Motel.
"Keep what up?" Ian asked, looking at the young man as he stood next to him. The tone changed, the curly haired guy stood up and leaned against the building. He was trying to look like he hadn't just cried over something that likely wasn't Ian's business.
"Got five bucks or spare change? I'll suck your dick for it," Ian was taken aback by how forward the other suddenly became without warning. "We could fuck for twenty."
Ian felt his stomach and heart sink to the ground beneath his feet. "Dude, you don't know me or my history and I think I can help you in another way, " Ian offered, the other teen shook his head then backed away.
"I gotta pimp; don't need another, sorry, " the younger of the two spoke back with snark and Ian smirked.
"What if I help you in a real way - I'm going to see about a job, I think taking you with, then getting food after, might be better." Ian offered, he could see fear but also a spark of hope within the other.
"Let's go before my pimp gets back," the young man spoke. "My name is Trevor; no last name after my family disowned me."
He just named one of Ian's worst fears. Disownment.
"Let's snag these jobs and go back to my family; you're going to be safe there." Ian commented with a sweet smile, Trevor smiled softly, and the two walked inside the store. A thirty-something man stood behind the counter. "You must be Kash? I'm Ian. I brought a friend to apply for a job here, too." Ian com as he greeted his potential new employer.
The man unlocked the plexiglass door, letting them step inside, then he waved them both to his office. The boys stepped in, while Ian looked cleaner, Kash assumed Ian's buddy was some hipster. "So I guess you're looking to be employed here out of desperation; fill out these yellow forms. All I need to know is your hours?" Kash asked, looking at the two as he awaited a response.
"Saving up for Westpoint, Sir," Ian stated.
"I need a car," Trevor admitted as he looked up from his clipboard. The application was done and the two nervously awaited feedback. Clean records, in state identification, and Social Security cards checked out.
"What hours do you want?" Kash asked, he reached into the uniform shirt cabinet, then tossed medium-sized shirts to both. "I will give you better fitting shirts on Monday."
"Evenings for me," Ian stated.
"Mid-day and evenings for me. Weekend mornings." Trevor stated, Kash nodded and started filling out training schedules. The two started at three the following Monday.
"Here are your schedules," Kash stated as he handed the two printed copies. "Have a good night, boys!" he added as he let them out the plexiglass door.
Fiona was more than stunned to see Ian returning with a mysterious young man. She knew he could read people, like an open book, but this was not something she expected.
"I love you, Ian, but what the actual fuck were you thinking picking him up - grabbing fucking Munchies - and bringing him back like a lost puppy; thinking this would do this guy any good?" Fiona finished complaining to be pulled aside by her brother.
"He looks younger than me and he was selling his body over at World's Inn; working under some pimp named Bone Daddy. He's homeless and doesn't want to be alone, scared, and having sex for what we can provide plus he can take Frank's room." Ian rambled, he was pleading with his blue green eyes, and Fiona caved.
"Yeah, if it keeps Frank's ass out of here then he can stay but no sex work on the streets," Fiona had laid down the law and stole two of Ian's fries out of the carton, right before him. "Make sure he gets a job!" she called out from the kitchen as she finished making spaghetti for the others in the home.
"Already done, he's going to work at Kash n' Grab with me," Ian replied noticing his friend eating like he hadn't seen food in a very, very long time.
"Feel free to have some spaghetti, you're staying. How do you feel about a new name? Trevor Gallagher?" Ian suggested, the other raised his eyebrows as he swallowed his food. "Trevor Clayton works better, I brought you here, and I don't know how the others will feel," Ian added.
"Clayton, yeah, I will save up for that to change it from Torres," Trevor commented. "Do we have clothes that will fit me?" Trev questioned, Ian already assumed he would give the hazel eyed young man some that he didn't want.
"I have that covered, once you're finished let's go upstairs and I will show you to your room. You can shower and I will get out clean clothes for you. Uh, I think we have lice killer shampoo if you want it?" Ian suggested, Trevor had a mouth full of a double decker cheeseburger, or he would have replied. Instead he gave Ian a nod and thumbs up.
"Welcome home, Brother!" Ian said with a smile.
"Thanks, you really saved me tonight." Trev said, trying not to get emotional.
"Only getting started. Are you in school?"
Trevor shook his head as he got up to toss out the food wrappers and grab a bowl of spaghetti. "Got my GED a while back when I was in a shelter in Springfield; second one, my first was out of Missouri which is where I am from." Trevor admitted, impressing the ginger. "You're still in though, I guess?" Trevor questioned, earning a nod, as he watched his friend take a bite out of the gyro he ordered.
Ian swallowed and decided to ask another question. "Are you gay, gay for pay, or what?" the ginger inquired.
"Transgender and queer, I don't label my sexuality per say, anyone's fair game if we like each other."
"Like a crossdresser?" Ian asked. Trevor took no offense to the ignorance; he saw his friend as uneducated.
"No, like, when I moved my former pimp in St. Louis paid for me to have a top surgeon remove my chest, ovaries, and uterus. Essentially, I am mostly male, just lacking a dick and balls."
"Well, I'm gay and you as well as our brother Lip, both know so don't out me. Alright?"
"You have my word, Ian, it's not my place to do that to you."
Ian smiled, it felt nice to have an ally there with him. It felt amazing, in fact. It also felt awesome to Trev to finally have something that resembled a family.
The others piled into the kitchen, noticing Trevor, and Lip spoke up. "Who the actual fuck are you?" Lip asked, Trevor dipped out a bowl of pasta once everyone was done, just as Fiona walked down the stairs.
"Everyone, this is Trevor, we're taking him in because Ian needs some sort of pet project." Fiona exclaimed to the family, Trev's heart sank again then Lip spoke up, dropping the tough guy act.
"Come sit by me and away from Fiona; she's gotta be on her period," Fiona gave Lip a death glare then faked a sweet smile.
"That explains why I am getting dressed to go out with Veronica and maybe meet a guy!" Fiona replied in her customer service voice from working two jobs. Fiona also filled in for friends for a cooked meal for the family, half a day's worth of pay, or even a bottle of laundry detergent - anything helped. Food stamps barely went far enough anymore.
"Trevor makes three new incomes, too, since Lip started tutoring today. Helping Karen Jackson from school in chemistry, right?" Ian commented.
"Fifty a session and I work with her twice a week; two from a private school in Deer Park and Oak Forest, pay the same. Algebra and Biology for those two." Lip admitted, Fi I will give you half of that, but no more until this is a full-time thing.
The oldest of the Gallagher clan sat down as she was handed twenty-five dollars. "Shoebox money, put it back for the bills, and take five out for a drink; if you can get the bartender to believe your fake i.d.!" Lip carried on.
"I knew I could count on the two of you and thank you Trevor!"
"I just want a roof over my head and I am grateful to be here; it's not a problem!" Trevor commented before he began to eat again. He truly was starving that night.
"Are you our brother now?" Debbie asked innocently.
"I hope not he smells awful!" Carl commented rudely.
"Carl! Go to bed, right now!" Fiona demanded. The ten year old dumped his empty bowl in the sink along with his milk glass and stormed off.
"Well, make yourself at home, Trevor." Fiona concluded. "And yes, Debbie, he is our brother now but he's primarily Ian's responsibility."
"Goodnight, Fi." Ian spoke up sounding annoyed.
"Be safe out there!" Trev called out as the eldest girl trotted off upstairs to put her dress on, do her hair, and apply more makeup because any minute - Veronica, her best friend, would arrive.
Chapter 3: The Difference Between Girls and Women
Fiona danced to the remix to some remix of Lady Gaga's "Monster"; swaying her hips and butt to the music, arms in the air, and a grin on her face. Jimmy watched on in awe, he was amazed that he had to watch out for someone like her, but he was patrolling the area undercover.
He and other officers used this club as a 'honeypot' of sorts, it was their start to catching criminals in Southside, and Fiona - unbeknownst to her - was the starting point to catching Frank and his estranged wife Monica.
As the song ended, Veronica reappeared and began looking at the time on her phone, and she made a face. "Close to midnight and I have a seven o'clock shift at the nursing home," Veronica spoke over the music. Fiona nodded then agreed to grab one last drink.
Jimmy headed down to the ground floor and smacked his black MasterCard on the counter. "I'm buying," Jimmy spoke up, "I will buy for both of you - pick your poisons!"
"Rich boy here is feeling generous!" V commented as she looked him over. Though she felt suspicious of his motives, she couldn't speak up, before Fiona bought the new limited edition Candy Apple martini. "Godiva Cupcake with chocolate vodka whipped cream for me!" Veronica ordered with a smile to the bartender.
"Nothing else for me Bryson!" Jimmy called out, pulling out five dollars to place in the glass tip jar. Finishing his beer, he handed the bottle to the muscular man behind the bar.
"You know Bryce? Are you from the area?" Fiona asked, sounding impressed as she was handed her fourteen dollar beverage. V took a long drink of her own expensive Godiva Cupcake martini; she always managed to save some web-camming money for at least two of these on a rare night out.
"Not exactly, I used to be but I moved when I was a teen to Wilmette." The mysterious yet handsome man explained. Veronica and Fiona were both impressed with him already. "So, what are your names?" Jimmy asked.
"I'm Fiona Gallagher and this is my best friend, Veronica Fisher!" Fiona replied as she introduced them while V practically chugged her third, final drink of the evening.
Fiona took her time drinking her beverage only to be nudged by her best friend. She glanced down at the Samsung in her friend's hand, her deep brown eyes widening, as she looked up at the stranger. "I know this is awkward but could I get your number before we leave? I have to go in a few." Fiona explained, Jimmy motioned for her cell and put his number in. She sent a quick text and once his phone buzzed, he took it out, and placed Fiona's number in his own contact list.
"Thanks, Steve, I will text you soon!" Fiona spoke up once the last bit of her drink was downed. She followed Veronica out into the night, not realizing "Steve" was watching from far off.
Something about the area was off-putting and he decided to go to his silver Tesla, get in, and drive them to their destination. As he rolled up beside them, Steve rolled the window down, then called out to the two. He pressed a button to let the two in as the doors on both sides of the vehicle opened around back. "I'm not letting any young woman risk walking out here on a cold Autumn night, while there could be creeps lurking near by." The man explained, Fiona and Veronica shared a look, then V motioned for them to get in.
"Hopefully you're not the creep and how can you afford a Tesla?" Fiona asked as the doors shut; the seats immediately became warmer and the two felt relief from the cold washing over them; like the ocean tide against a sandy beach.
Jimmy debated his answer in his head; thinking engineering work would be the best near white lie he could tell. "Definitely not a creep and it was well earned after working so hard!"
"What do you do?"
"Information technology and hardware design for a local tech company," Jimmy admitted, even if he was still not telling the whole truth, since he couldn't. "What about you two? Also, where do you ladies live?"
"I have odd jobs; mostly waitressing or pet sitting, some hotel housekeeping. Right now I'm doing housekeeping for a motel and working at a hotdog stand at the baseball stadium!" Fiona spilled, V gave her a cautious look then sighed softly.
"We're going to show you how to get there from here! I hope the Southside neighborhood doesn't scare you!" Veronica chimed in, Jimmy shook his head then smiled.
"I'm not afraid of much." He replied softly; ending the conversation.
The car pulled up in front of the two-story light blue house; Jimmy pressed the same button to open the doors to let the two young women out, and took one last good look at Fiona. "I'll talk to you later! Have a good night!" Steve called out before driving off. Veronica decided to go inside with Fiona for a few minutes, only to be met with a crying ten year old Debbie, with blood on her hands and pants.
"Debs, what happened?"
"I - I think I need a doctor. I'm bleeding and my belly hurts!" Debbie cried, Veronica lead Debbie inside and Fiona went next door to Kev and V's house. As she knocked, Kev answered with a towel around his waist and he was still dripping with water.
"We have an issue next door. Can I take a look in the bathroom for a sec?"
"Yeah, go ahead." Kev replies then pointed at the stairs. Fiona hurried, as she looked through the cabinets in the steam filled bathroom. She grabbed some panty-liners and a couple regular pads. Along with spare Midol.
"Shouldn't you have this stuff?"
"I only use tampons, Kev."
Fiona darted back to her house. She shut the front door behind her as Trevor appeared from upstairs with pads of his own. "I, uh, thought these would help." Trevor spoke softly, placing a few pads wrapped in various neon colors on the coffee table with Naproxen. "I'm almost period free but I keep a box or two for emergencies."
Fiona placed the liners and pads along with the Midol down, too. "Thank you, Trevor." Fiona spoke softly.
"No problem; goodnight!" He rushed back up the stairs to go to bed. Fiona explained to V who that was and V quickly accepted him as a Gallagher.
After all was said and done, the two helped Debbie change and get cleaned up, while Veronica gave Debbie a more educated talk than Frank's "No sex until you're fourteen and no getting pregnant. Use condoms; steal em' when you need to!" spiel.
"Look at it like this Debbie. Think of your uterus as a beautiful red rose, that is ready for a bee to pollinate it, but if that doesn't happen it's beautiful petals fall off. Which is why you bleed; you have teeny tiny eggs that will make a baby when you're an adult, with the person you love. Your uterus will shed its lining once a month until you're ready for a baby. Like a rose blooming again after winter." V explained beautifully to Debbie.
"Congratulations, you're almost a woman Debbie!" She concluded with a grin.
The night came to a close, Debbie went to bed and calmed down, while Veronica went home to sleep for work. With one final text to thank V, Fiona shut the lights off, and went to bed.