"Take the one on the top right, then you’ll reach the final stone, guaranteed!"
Satisfied, Jennifer watched the girl who was hanging on the climbing wall and after some hesitation dared to take the last step.
"I did it, I did it!" she cheered.
"Great, I'm proud of you." Scarlet laughed.
"Ready to abseil?"
"Yes I am."
The young woman loosened her grip on the rope that was securing the girl and in no time she was back on solid ground. She ran up to Jennifer and fell in her arms.
"Thanks Jen, that was fun."
"Maria, are you coming?" a voice came from behind them.
"This is my mom, I have to go."
"All right, Maria."
"Can you braid my hair next time?"
"Of course." Jennifer helped the girl out of the climbing harness and then waved to Maria's mother.
“Mom did you see me up there? That was sooo high.”
“Oh yes I did, you’re so brave!”
She smiled and waved back.
B.A. had told her the story of how the two of them came to the USA from Mexico. Maria's mother had been very lucky, the A-Team arrived just in time. After her recovery she was offered a job as a housewife and Maria was able to go to school.
As soon as she had enough money saved they moved to Los Angeles, where Maria had better educational prospects. Eventually she found the youth center again to visit B.A.
Jen soon became like a big sister to the girl, who had grown up quite a lot and now didn’t take shit from anyone anymore. She definitely knew what she wanted.
Jennifer watched them walking away and chatting and was once again sure that she had made the right decision.
The short training to become an A-Team reserve member had been tough and Hannibal did not tolerate weaknesses but it had been worth it. After the training she had returned to the youth center in order to continue working there.
Face had organized an ID for her and now she officially existed under the name Jennifer Matthews.
So she was a rightfully staff member, received salary and could finally get a driver’s license.
Though B.A. still didn’t let her drive the van, not even for errands.
She would have liked to keep the alias Scarlet, but since Murdock had baptized her Squirrel it had been impossible for her to change the Team’s mind.
So she had dyed her hair brown and was in the process of growing it out. Somehow she had to live up to her new name.
"Hey Jennifer, can you help me out here?" That was Frank, he was in charge of the boxing ring.
"I'll be with you in two minutes.” She collected the climbing equipment as the center was closing soon and put them away.
Frank was a good-natured, middle-aged man who had worked in the center for half his life.
In fact, of all employees, he was there the longest and knew every speck of dust.
"I can't reach up that high with my arms anymore, I think I'm slowly getting too old for all of this. Maybe I should retire."
"Then what will you do all day? Working in the garden? Playing cards with your friends and sitting on the porch?"
Frank laughed out loud. "Doesn't that suit me?"
"No, not really. But maybe I just don’t know you well enough."
"No, you're right. I would probably stop by again after a while anyway."
She grinned and tied her hair up so it wouldn't bother her while working. Just as Jennifer was a sister to Maria, Frank was almost like a father to her.
They tidied up for a while and then said goodbye to each other. When she had locked the large door from the inside, she heard a soft rustling behind her. She turned abruptly and peered into the darkness of the hall. Something moved behind the big box where the different balls were stored.
Jennifer walked slowly towards it until she saw a familiar mop of bright blond hair.
"Michael, is that you? What are you still doing here?"
A boy of about twelve years crawled out from behind the box. He had only been coming to the center two months after moving within California with his father. Some other boys from his school class had him introduced to their favourite place in the neighbourhood.
"Why are you not at home, your dad must be worried about you. Hey, what's wrong?"
Michael looked sad and scared.
Jennifer smiled. Whenever the children had a problem they asked about him. He seemed to reassure them, even though he looked so dangerous.
"He is.. busy at the moment."