“You can’t do everything at once.” Sebrina followed April into the kitchen.

“Who says I can’t?” April grabbed a coffee mug from the cabinet and filled it with the remaining coffee.

“April . . . think about this.”

April placed the lid on the mug and stuffed it in her bag. She sighed as she looked at Sebrina, “Someone has to.”

Sebrina slid the chair away from the table and sat down, staring at her sister. “Let someone else do it. I’m sure you’re not the only one wanting to put up a business. Let someone else buy something for a change.”

April shook her head. “I’ll be home late, eat dinner without me.”

Sebrina nodded and watched April walk out the door. Her sister owned or managed almost every business in town, while Sebrina couldn’t even keep a job. But of course, April didn’t know that. Sebrina sat up and poured herself a cup of coffee. She stirred a quarter teaspoon of creamer into the coffee and walked away as the teaspoon clinked against the kitchen sink. Sipping her coffee, she grabbed the newspaper from the desk, then circled every decent job available.

In a town of 10,000 people there should be more than two options. She didn’t like computers, so the mechanic shop secretary wasn’t an option. And that left only one place: the animal clinic. She promised herself she would never work with Celeb Johnson and that’s a promise she wouldn’t break. When she wouldn’t pay her share of the rent money, April would ask about Sebrina’s employment. But she planned on having a high-income job before her savings ran out—or at least a job. Her sister would need waitresses in her restaurant. But if April bossed her around at work, she’d start bossing her around at home and that wasn’t acceptable.

Sebrina stood up and swallowed the rest of her coffee. Then she set the mug on the counter and walked into her room to get dress for the day. I should have gone to college.

***

She hit the lock button twice and dropped the keys in her purse. Why would a feed store be empty in the middle of the day? Sebrina stared into the windows on her way to the door. She forgot about the curb and hit her tows, nearly stumbling over the fire hydrant. She reached for her tow, tempted to hop on one foot. But people already stared at her.

“Closed!” Sebrina balanced on one foot, reading the door sign. “Why would they close the store?”

“Bankrupted.”

“Huh?” Celeb Johnson stood beside her; arms folded across his chest.

“I said they closed because they went bankrupted.”

Sebrina slid her handbag over her shoulder, balancing on one foot. “Since when? Where am I going to get my coffee now?”

“The coffee shop is still open.”

“Their coffee couldn’t keep a puppy energized.” Inside the store everything looked like it did yesterday. “A store doesn’t go bankrupted in one day.”

“There’s been talk about them shutting down for months, I’m surprised you hadn’t heard.” Celeb dropped his arms and shifted his feet.

Another thing I didn’t know anything about. Sebrina sighed and slid her foot across the concrete. She winced as pain shot through her tow. She hopped closer to the building and leaned against the store windows. On the store floor laid a for sale sign.

Sebrina jerked her head up. “I could buy this place!”

Celeb lifted his head, his eyes focused on Sebrina. “I—uh, think there’s already a buyer lined up.”  Celeb slid his hands in his pocket and shifted his wait on one foot.

“If I buy it first the other guy won’t have a chance.” Sebrina shuffled through her bag; lifted her keys and unlocked her SUV.

Celeb scanned the street and glanced into the store. “Maybe you shouldn’t mess with someone else’s plans.”

“Anyone can buy a building if it’s for sale.” Sebrina opened the vehicle door and hopped inside. After a cup of coffee from the coffee shop, she would head to the bank. If everything went well, she would be drinking good coffee again within weeks.

***

“So, you want to buy the old feed store?” The banker dropped his pen on the notebook, leaned forward and folded his hands.

“That’s right.” Sebrina nodded, adjusting the handbag on her lap.

“What made you decide this?”

Sebrina sat up straight and set her bag on the floor. She lowered her head and used her elbow to steady herself on the arm rest. Biting the inside of her lip, she began twiddling her thumbs. She brushed her feet against the carpet, then crossed her ankles.

She blinked several times before she looked up and said, “I don’t know.”

“You’re asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars and you don’t know why?” The man leaned back in his chair.

“I know why I want the money: to buy the feed store.”

“The feed store closed because it went bankrupted, meaning it didn’t make any money.” The man leaned forward and rested his forearms on the desk. “How are you going to pay off the loan if you don’t make any money?”

Sebrina stared at the banker.

The banker shook his head. “People don’t need a feed store. They go to the city to get their feed in bulk for a lot cheaper, that’s why Landon’s Feed closed. How do you think that you can make money off of the same feed store that already went bankrupted once?”

“Everyone around here owns some type if animal. And animals need feed. The owners need tack for their horses, they need supplies; they need a feed store.”

The banker sighed and picked up a pen, ready to write. “How much is your average annual income currently?”

“I have some money saved up.” Sebrina nodded.

“Good.” The banker focused on Sebrina. “How much are you expecting to make this year? I’m assuming you have an extra source of income until you get your business on track?”

Sebrina lowered her head, twiddling her thumbs. Uh-oh. She lifted her head and said, “You’ll get your money back.”

“I’d like to have a laid-out plan of how I’ll get my money back. Where do you currently work at, Ms. Hutcheson?”

“I’m unemployed as of now, but I will have enough to make the annual payment.”

The banker dropped the pen, sighed and focused on Sebrina. “Unless you have someone to co-sign or you have a partner, I can’t loan you any money to buy the feed store.”

Sebrina scanned the room. She clapped her legs, then reached for her bag. Holding the bag on her shoulder, she said, “Thank you for your time.”

Where would she get the money from now? Her parents might lend it to her, but they would have the same point of view as the banker had. Since when did bankers care how they got their money back? If the customer says they’ll get their money back then why fuss over it? Sebrina fastened her seat belt, then put the keys in the ignition. Across the street April watched a local real estate employee unlock the door to Landon’s feed store. Why is April allowed in a closed building? Sebrina’s mouth dropped. Her eyes grew wide as she watched her sister examine the store.

“Nah!” Sebrina shifted the SUV in reverse. “April will not own this business.”

 

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