AN: Chapter title also a song featured in the film. Ya know the one.

Beautiful Inside

Something Familiar

Time passed. Jen entered high school and continued earning excellent grades. After graduation, she majored in Computer Sciences at the University of Kansas and met some people who were as "geeky" about computers as herself. She made friends, but she never really clicked with anyone the way she did with the broken boy with the face of an angel back in sixth grade.

Jen moved out to California after college. She loved being near the ocean. Growing up in Wichita, Kansas, she'd never seen it in person, so the first thing she did when she got to Santa Cruz was take a long walk on the beach. She loved how she felt so free out there in the hot sun, the fine sand squishing warmly between her toes, and the ocean crashing powerfully against the rocks. It was beautiful. Even the sunburn she got was great.

She found work at a sandwich shop after convincing the surfer-hippie owner that he needed a website for his business and that she'd be happy to make it for him…for a job. They shook on it.

Trucker was a fair boss, and when she asked him later why he'd hired her without so much as an interview, he simply said, "You fit the job." Then he added, almost as an afterthought, "But we could do interviews if you think we should. The hiring of new employees could be a democratic process."

It seemed like a sound idea. The vote, which included the shop's two regulars Mr. Julius and Lucille, her dog Bam-Bam, and a random customer, was unanimous.

**********************

One day the door opened and she turned from her computer, ready to take the customer's order as usual. She had to blink a few times before her brain caught up to what her eyes were seeing. She'd never seen anyone dressed so…she couldn't even think of a word for it. 'Punk,' could maybe work. Whatever it was, it was eye-dazzling.

The young man swaggered into the tiny shop with confidence, dressed in a neon-pink t-shirt with

IF YOU CAN READ THIS

Stop Ogling My Chest

printed on it in bold lettering, baggy black shorts with ragged hems, and biker boots. His hair was carefully sculpted into a tricolored mohawk and tattoos covered what was visible of his body. Piercings dotted his face and ears and he wore heavy black eyeliner around long-lashed eyes. Spiked black leather cuffs adorned his wrists and his slender hands ended in black-lacquered nails. In addition to all that, he sported stylized sideburns and a close-cropped beard.

And for some weird reason, she had a good feeling about him. Nothing scary or off about him at all, despite his looks. "Hi," he said. His voice was friendly yet shy, matching his smile.

Jen jumped and closed her jaw. "Oh, sorry." She cleared her throat. "Uh, what can I get you?"

The young man bit his lip in a strangely familiar gesture. The piercing in his lip bobbed. "I," he cleared his throat, "I need a job." He jerked a thumb at the door. "Saw the sign. I'm not normal." He smirked and glanced up at his hair. "Not that I was afraid you'd think any different."

The corners of Jen's lips twitched up. "Okay. The owner's out back. Let me go get him."

"No need," Trucker said, walking through the door connecting the shop to the back. "I'm here." He took in the eye-bewildering sight before him with nary a judgmental look on his face. "So I hear you need a job…"

"Priestly," the young man said. "M' name's Priestly."

Oh, so that's why he looked so familiar. How long ago had she known him? Fifteen years ago, at least. Boy, he sure had changed. There was no trace of the timid, bashful Priestly in this loud-looking man. Or maybe there was. There was no hiding that vulnerable expression in those green eyes of his if you looked close enough.

Trucker examined him with a critical eye, as if he was looking past the noise displayed on Priestly's skin and into his insides. "Alright, interview." He crossed his arms. "Uh, what do you think we should ask," he asked Jen.

"Is your hair real?" That was Mr. Julius. In response to the others' odd looks, he added, "What? I thought we agreed that the hiring process here is going to be democratic."

Everyone shrugged and waited for Priestly's answer. He grinned. "Good question, my man. Yes, it is all me. Some guys have a crisis and get a toupee, I got a mohawk." He put a hand up to touch the spiky strands and shrugged.

Jen laughed. "Okay. My turn." She had to make sure. She took a breath and plunged in. "Elvis, dead or alive?"

Priestly frowned and blinked at her. His black-rimmed eyes widened when he realized who she was and he broke out in a pleased grin. "Jen?" He let out a sharp laugh. "I can't believe it!"

She grinned back, elbows planted firmly on the couner. "Hey Priestly. So. Elvis."

He shook his head. "What? Are you nuts? Haven't we gone over this already? Alive, definitely. And," he held up a finger, "I can give you nine pieces of evidence that'll prove it."

Trucker laughed. "You're hired. Welcome to the family, Priestly."

**********************

AN: That's all I've got for now. I'll write the rest but I thought I might as well post what I have, right? I mean, this isn't a cliffie or anything, so I guess you can stand to wait a while longer.