Out of the Ashes(5)

By: Anne Malcom

Lexie shook her water bottle, which had pieces of lemon and cucumber floating around in it. “Don’t worry, this is vodka,” she deadpanned.

I put my hand on chest in mock relief. “Thank goddess. You are my daughter.”

I thought I heard a bark of male laughter as we closed the door. I quickly glanced over my shoulder to see all of the hot guys staring at my daughter and me with smirks on their faces. Well, not all. The intense, hot one was staring at me with a stiff look on his chiseled face, his eyes glaring like I was responsible for the Beatles breaking up. I quickly glanced back around, slinging my arm around Lexie’s shoulder. I had other stuff to worry about, primarily my only child. Hot bikers did not factor into the equation. Well, not until I got my vibrator out later on that night.

“Right, let’s get you to your necromancer-infested high school,” I declared, shaking such thoughts away.

I glanced into the red brick building. “You sure you don’t want me to come in with you?” I asked.

“Mom, I’m sure. I’ll be fine,” Lexie told me firmly, shuffling things around in her backpack.

I chewed my lip, looking at the various students filtering in the doors. They looked innocent now, but I knew how nasty kids could be. Especially girls. Especially when a new, beautiful, funny, and confident girl like my daughter came into such a small school. I narrowed my eyes at a crowd of them, hating them on sight.

“I could come in and establish myself as a crazy mom who has connections to the mob, so if anyone messes with you they’ll be sleeping with the fishes,” I suggested in an Italian accent.

Lexie stared at me.

“Or I could let you go in on your own and stop with the crazy mom thing,” I conceded.

“Thank you. Much appreciated. I’m assuming the mob thing will still be on the table if I choose to accept it at a later date?” she deadpanned.

I nodded. “Of course. The mob thing will always be on the table,” I told her reassuringly.

She grinned. I didn’t even know why I was worried. My kid was independent, confident, and comfortable in her own skin. How she was like that at sixteen I didn’t know. She was an old soul. She was content with her own company, whether she was reading a book or playing a guitar. She didn’t have a heap of close friends back in DC, but she didn’t need them. She was unique, an original. She knew her own mind. She had her own style down pat already; she was always decked out somewhere between Stevie Nix and Carrie Bradshaw. Today she was wearing a floral dress, which hit her mid leg. It had huge bell sleeves and nipped in at the waist. She was wearing knee high, tan leather high heeled boots and had multiple necklaces slung around her neck. Her ringlets were piled on her head in a messy bun.

Another thought popped into my mind.

I glanced back at the kids filtering into the building. My eyes zeroed in on a boy apart from the rest, leaning against a motorcycle in the parking lot. He was smoking and had aviators on. He was also a mini hot guy. The teenage version of what those men in the café were to me. In other words, trouble.

“Remember what I said about motorcycles.” I turned my attention back to Lexie. “I’ll do it. I’ll post the photo,” I promised.

Lexie leaned in and kissed my cheek, shaking her head. “Okay, Mom,” she said with sarcasm.

She hadn’t sprouted a proper interest in boys yet, not that I knew of, and she told me everything. I knew it was coming though, the day she discovered the opposite sex. She pulled back slightly. “Good luck today. You’ll do great. I’m so proud of you.”

I swallowed. “You stole my line, kid,” I said, stroking her face lightly.

Lexie smiled. “See you later.”

She climbed out and I rolled down my window.

“Remember, Lexie, just say no,” I called to her.

“To drugs?” she asked with a slightly scrunched face.

“To boys with motorcycles, things like math club and anything consisting of frog dissection.” I said then paused. “Well, and drugs also.”

She blew me a kiss and joined the steady stream of kids walking through the doors. I narrowed my eyes at the smoking man-boy, whose sunglasses followed Lexie’s journey into the school. Crapballs.

“You think we should get the women some coffees before we break the news?” Brock asked Cade as they swung off their bikes.

Cade stared at him. “I think we need to give them vodka shots. But considering it’s eight in the morning and my woman is pregnant I’m settling for decaf and pastries.”

Brock shook his head. “I thought Gwen despised decaf. I’m pretty sure she once referred to it as ‘decaffeinated bullshit.’” He finger quoted as they entered the coffee shop.

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