Author's Note: This is the preview of my nano story. The rest will be posted starting in December. I'm posting this so that you can bookmark it if you want to. I must say, seeing how many people put this story on alert will really encourage me as I endeavor to write my nanowrimo story. For more information on nanowrimo please visit their website.

Disclaimer: Criminal Intent belongs to Dick Wolf, et al. I am using them without permission. I am making no money from this. Please don't sue me.

Title: The Ivy Green

Chapter: 1

Ivy looked at the camera.

"This is Ivy," said the woman behind the camera. "Ivy, what do you want most for Christmas?"

The little girl tilted her head, as if thinking about her answer. "I want a place to call home. And a family … Mrs. Bell, this is stupid." She turned away from the camera.

"Ivy," called Mrs. Bell. "Ivy! Look this way." She waved from behind the camera.

Ivy rolled her eyes. "I don't want to be in the video," she said.

They were sitting in Mrs. Bell's office at the Stuyvesant Foster Care Center.

"Oh, Ivy, don't be silly. Don't you want to help get the word out about foster care?" asked Ms. Bell.

"Not by lying."

"You're our best speaker, Ivy. We need you to be the speaker for all of the foster kids in the city," said Mrs. Bell.

"Yes, you need me to pull on the heart strings of the populace," said Ivy. "But what happens when well meaning people decide to be foster parents, then realize its really hard work. They send the kids back to this dump and leave them even more bereft of joy than they already are, being wards of the state."

"Ivy, you're so gloomy," said Mrs. Bell.

"And I don't want a family. I have one. My dad's in prison but he's still my dad," said Ivy.

"Please, Ivy. Just do the TV spot. You'll be helping a lot of other kids and we really don't have time to get another speaker," pleaded Mrs. Bell.

Ivy sighed, giving the woman a sour look. "Why don't you hire an actor for this? Its an act, anyway."

"Please, Ivy."

"Oh, fine."

"Thank you. Now, pull your hair behind your shoulders. Sit up straight," said Mrs. Bell.

Ivy did as she was asked. "Good. Now look right here. Are you ready?"

"Yes," Ivy said grumpily.

"Smile, Ivy."

Ivy put on her best 'I'm a poor little orphan' smile.

"Great. Roll camera." Mrs. Bell paused. "This is Ivy. What do you want most for Christmas, Ivy?"

Ivy tilted her head thoughtfully. "I want a place to call home. I want a family to love me. And I want homes for all of my friends, too," she said sweetly. "That's my Christmas wish."

"Really, Ivy? Don't you want a present?"

"Well …" Ivy pretended to think. "I would love a pony." She smiled brightly.

Mrs. Bell chuckled. "Thank you, Ivy." She turned off the camera. "Ok, we're done."

Ivy scowled. "Don't say I didn't warn you when people start returning foster kids in January like unwanted Christmas presents."

"Yes, thank you for the warning, Miss Doom and Gloom. Go play."

Ivy hopped up and jogged back to the common room at the foster care center.

"How'd it go, starlet?" asked Shyné, Ivy's closest companion at the center.

"I feel like a cheap whore for the system," said Ivy.

Shyné laughed. "Whores get paid," she pointed out.

"Good point," said Ivy. She took her glasses out of her pocket and put them on. "I'm going to go to the bell tower to read. Come get me in time for dinner, please."

The Stuyvesant Center for Children had annexed an old church when they expanded a few years back. The girls were housed in that building. Shyné and Ivy had found the trap door to the old bell tower about a month back. It was off limits, but it was Ivy's favorite spot. The only quiet place she had to read.

xxx

"Where's Ivy?" asked Mrs. Bell, the director of the center, walking over to Shyné.

"I don't know," Shyné lied.

"Right. You don't know. You always know. Go get her. Her uncle is here to see her," said Mrs. Bell.

"Ivy doesn't have an uncle," said Shyné, getting up from watching TV in the common room. "But I'll see if I can find her."

Shyné went straight to the bell tower.

"It can't be dinner time yet," said Ivy.

"No," said Shyné. "Mrs. Bell is looking for you."

"Great. She probably wants to shoot her little promo ad again," said Ivy.

"I don't think so. She said your uncle is here to see you."

Ivy's eyes widened. "I don't have an uncle," she said.

"That's what I told her."

Ivy set down her copy of Alice and Wonderland. "Curiouser and curioser," she said, getting to her feet. "Let's go see who my mystery uncle is."

Author's Note: What do you think? I am really looking forward to writing this story. Reviews and setting this story to story alert will deeply encourage me. Wish me luck. 50,000 words or bust!