A/N: This was originally a non CSI fic, but then I thought it would go well with a little DL thrown in. Here's your first taste (it tastes like chocolate). Enjoy!


I keep looking at the land laid out in front of me. There's plenty of green grass and blue sky, our little Volkswagen Beetle the only car parked in the parking lot. I hear Mom in the kitchen, making us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. There's not a lot to do around here, so when I don't have school I like to sit in the front of the door and watch the day go by. If there's a thunderstorm I'll sit by the window and watchthe lightning flash across the sky.Sometimes I'll watch the cars on the highway, other times I'll draw what I see, but nothing is really interesting.

It's just me and Mom. We live in a two-bedroom apartment, out in the middle of nowhere. We're about 3 miles away from the nearest town, so when we have to go shopping for groceries we have to take the bus. We don't drive the car that much, Mom says cars are just too expensive, and the walk to the bus stop will do us some good.

So that's what we do. We take the bus, except when Mom has to go to work. Even then she usually asks her friend Stephen to come and pick her up. I don't really know Stephen, but he's always bringing me presents. Last time he came over he brought me a new pair of shoes. The white ones with the pink trim, like the ones I asked for for my birthday. Mom said she couldn't get them for me because they were too expensive, and regular tennis shoes would suit me just fine. They were on sale, two pairs for the price of one, so she could get some for herself too.

I don't like that Mom can't get me nice things, but she does the best she can. She was able to get me the glasses I needed so I could see the blackboard at school, and there's always food in the cupboard and in the fridge. The clothes she gets for me are plain, but I don't like all those funny designs all the other girls at school have. Sometimes, when she has time, she makes me my own clothes. Sometimes, when Grandma comes over, she brings clothes for me.

Mom calls me in for dinner. I get up and go in the house, slamming the door behind me. I don't mean to, but the wind is strong. Mom and me sit in front of the TV. We watch a game show, guessing the answers, eating our peanut butter and jelly. I like spending time with Mom; when she's not crabby after coming home from work.

Sometimes she complains about her boss, Mr. Elkins, at her work. She works at a restaurant, and that's why she has to take the bus. We ate there a few times, the food was yummy. Mom works as a waitress, bringing people their food. Last time she took me to work with her I wanted to help. She let me carry a plate of spaghetti out to an older man, and I dropped it on the man's lap. Mr. Elkins yelled at her, so she said I can't come to work with her anymore. Grandma has to baby-sit me. Mom leaves early in the morning, and works till late at night. When she's home on weekends I ask her why she can't just get a new job if she doesn't like Mr. Elkins.

No Madison, she says, it's not that easy.

Well I wish it was. If Mom liked her job she'd be so much happier, and she'd work harder, and we'd have more money. But that's not fair to Mom. She works hard, and she loves me. If she didn't love me we wouldn't be Mom and Madison.

"Tomorrow we'll go to the store and see if we can find you something nice," she said suddenly, bringing out a few extra dollars from her pocket. "The tips were good today."

I've never seen so much money in Mom's hand before. I want to say that I would love to go shopping with her for something nice, but just yesterday I heard her talking about needing a new transmission for the car. When we went to the shop the repairman said it was going to cost $500 to fix it. Last night she sat at the kitchen table, adding and subtracting numbers on pieces of paper, trying to find the extra money.

"No Mom," I said, pushing her hand away, "you need to keep it. For the new transmission."

"Are you sure, Maddie?" Mom asks, putting the money back into the pocket of her jeans, her shirt getting in the way. "With this much we could get you that sweatshirt you were asking for."

New sweatshirt? Oh, yeah. I asked Mom for one of the sweatshirts that my friend Margie has. Some girls have one or two, but only Margie has a light pink one. It has a picture of a butterfly on the shoulder. When I first asked Mom for it she said no. She had too many other things to spend money on besides a sweater with a butterfly on it. She said I could easily get a light pink sweater with no butterfly on it for half the price and it would be just as good. Now that I look at the money in Mom's hand I realize that she needs the money so she can get to work, and I don't really need that sweater all that much.

Nearly forgetting her question, I nod.

"Okay," she gives me a quick kiss on the forehead, and we hear a knock at the door. I put down the crust from my sandwich and go open the door. It's Stephen, and he has a plastic bag in his hand. I smile up at him and let him in.

"Hey Lindsay," he calls to my mother, slipping his shoes off and going into the living room.

"Hey there," she gets up and gives him a quick hug, "what's in the bag?"

"Oh, uh, just some groceries and a shirt for Madison," he pulls out the sweater. It's the light pink sweater with the butterfly on the shoulder, just like the one I asked for. I am so excited over this addition to my closet that I run over to him and hug him around the waist. He's so tall; that's as far as I can reach.

"Whoa there, squirt!" he pats my head, attempting to steady himself on his feet. "You're welcome."

I'm so excited that I want to model it for them right away. I pull it on over my head, getting stuck on the hole that my head is supposed to go through.

"Here," Mom helps me get my head through the hole and my arms through the sleeves. I giggle as I twirl around, my skirt flaring out.

"You look very pretty," Stephen says, smiling at me. "Oh, uh, Lindsay, someone called for you just after you left the restaurant today." I see him turn to talk to Mom.

"They did? Who was it?" she asks.

"Some guy named Danny."