Out of the Ashes(4)

By: Anne Malcom

I hadn’t had any contact with gangs or motorcycle club members in my life. My knowledge came from the news, TV shows and the odd romance novel I read with a biker in it. I obviously couldn’t rely on fictional depictions to form some kind of opinion; neither could I use what I saw in the news. I was not one to judge anyone without knowing them. My eyes flickered around the café. It was reasonably busy with a breakfast crowd, mostly locals from the way they interacted with the waitresses. A couple of them smiled at the bikers who did chin lifts back. No one was cowering in terror or giving them sideways looks. The surfer guy was joking with Shelly, AKA my new best friend, thanks to her superior coffee making skills. He looked to be friendly and not like he was going to shoot anyone.

On that thought, my body jerked as I made eye contact with him. The dangerous one. The beautiful one. I stilled as something inexplicable passed through me with the weight of his stare. I was locked in place as his dark eyes settled on mine, and for a split second everything else melted away. Intensity I had never felt jolted through me. As quickly as it came it was gone, and the man scowled at me then looked away.

I flinched slightly at such a harsh look from a stranger. A freaking hot stranger. No one liked it when people scowled at them. It double sucked when the person in question was like Adonis. I tried to inspect just what the heck that look was.

A snapping in front of my face made me jump.

“Earth to Mom.”

“What?” I snapped at Lexie’s amused gaze.

She smirked at me. “As much as I would like to watch the hot guy show this morning, I’ve got to go and get an education.”

I focused on her, tearing my gaze away from the scowling male.

“You don’t need an education. You’re pretty. Marry rich, you’ll be fine,” I said, peeking back in his direction. I inwardly flinched when I got a searing scowl as dark eyes locked with mine. I swallowed. “Plus, this is an education,” I nodded my head at the males at the counter. “You are seeing your first real bad boys. You can look, drool, take a mental picture, but do not touch,” I instructed, waggling my finger. “And under no circumstances do you get on the back of a motorcycle. If you do I’ll post that photo of you with a baby mullet on Facebook for the world to see,” I warned her in my mom voice, although I may have been talking more to myself than my daughter.

I may not judge, but no way in hell was my daughter going anywhere near a motorcycle.

She screwed up her nose. “I’m still mad at you for that. Who let’s their own flesh and blood, a defenseless baby, get a mullet?”

I shrugged my shoulders, peeking a glance at the hot guys over my coffee cup. “It wasn’t my fault. Blame the hairdresser,” I answered on a white lie. I had wanted to see if a baby would look cute with a mullet. I reasoned my baby could. I was wrong. I was also eighteen and slightly dumb. What can you do?

Lexie stared at me in what I was sure was disbelief and started to get up. “Come on, I like to eat, therefore I need you to get to work so you can bring home the bacon.”

“Don’t you mean tofu?”

Lexie shriveled up her nose. “You know I don’t eat tofu, Mom.”

I raised my eyebrow. “You’re one step away. Lettuce is a gateway food. Before you know it, you’ll be drinking kale smoothies and having tofu instead of steak. Then I’ll have to disown you.”

I left cash plus a generous tip on the table. This was going to be our new haunt, I couldn’t under tip the people that held my life/morning coffee in their hands. We gathered our things and I gave a warm smile and a wave to Shelly. She smiled back and the gesture made the men she was talking to glance over in our direction. I gulped as three pairs of male eyes settled on my daughter and I. It wasn’t menacing or leering, just curious.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to get you a muffin or some form of solid food to constitute a proper breakfast?” I asked her, deciding to try and ignore the hot guys, even though our current trajectory had us heading straight past them. There was nothing for it; they were right by the exit.

Lexie rolled her eyes at me. “I’m sure, Mother.” She seemed more cool and calm at the prospect of coming so close to such male specimens. I glared at her for not being more teenagey and awkward. It totally made me look weird.

We walked past the counter where there were various pastries and delicious goods displayed. I held out my hand. “Come on, last chance. Sugary, bleached flour perfection going once, going twice....”

Lexie just stared at me.

I shrugged my shoulders. “Your loss. Although how you are going to sit through classes like math and English Lit without a sugar high is beyond me,” I said seriously as we walked out the door, surviving the brush with the world’s hottest men. My ovaries didn’t explode or anything.

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