Out of the Ashes(7)

By: Anne Malcom

Bull felt himself want to smile. Kid was funny.

He had started his day with the same grim determination that he had every day. To make it through. To fight the demons. Keep the club healthy. Rinse, repeat. He hadn’t expected this shit. He hadn’t expected to be blown off his fuckin’ feet by some bitch who threatened his entire existence. Some bitch he didn’t even know.

“Thank goddess. You are my daughter.” Her playful voice carried as the door shut behind them.

Yeah, he didn’t expect some bitch to make his cock twitch, make his demons quiet and make him laugh all at once.

I sat in my car staring at the building in front of me. It was a beautiful wooden building, pure white with blue shuttered windows. The arch leading into the hotel was intricate and welcoming. The wrought iron sign that read ”The Cottage” was ironic, considering this seaside mansion was a little more than a cottage. This place was a successful, busy and hugely well-known hotel and spa. It was regularly featured in travel magazines and even had the odd celebrity come for a detox or escape from the circus that was Hollywood. And I was in charge of whether it ran successfully or not. Well, I wasn’t technically ”in charge” yet. I was “in charge” when I got out of my car and walked underneath that arch and into the place. Which was why I was sitting in my car. That and I was trying to banish the dark eyes and haunted scowl that was burned into my memory.

I jumped slightly as my phone rang. I clung to another reason to delay the weight of responsibility that would come when I entered the doors I was staring at.

“Hello, Mia Spencer speaking.” I greeted the blocked number professionally, just in case it was like, the president or something. It could happen.

“You’re sitting in your car right now too scared to go in, aren’t you?” a familiar voice greeted.

I sat up straighter as if he could see me. “No, I am doing nothing of the sort, I’m about to walk in the doors right now,” I lied.

“Bullshit,” the voice said. “You’re sitting in the car because you’re scared of walking through those doors. Let me tell you now, there’s nothing to be scared of. You’re going to do great. That place is going to blossom under your management. I know that. I believe in you,” the voice told me firmly.

I sank back into my seat. “You think so?” I asked weakly.

“I know so. I wouldn’t have hired you otherwise. I like money. And I have a feeling you’re going to make me a shit ton of it,” he said lightly.

I smirked. “I should have asked for a bigger salary then.”

“You make me half as much as I think you will, I’ll give it to you and a holiday to the Caribbean,” Steve promised.

“You should know Lexie and I only fly private,” I replied with a fake haughty tone. It was ironic, considering Lexie and I had never left the country. Being a struggling single mom, I couldn’t exactly afford vacations in Europe.

“Of course,” Steve said with a smile in his voice.

I smiled. Steve might be my boss but he was also my best friend, and the closest thing Lexie had to a grandfather. People might think it was weird being friends with your sixty-year-old boss, but whatever. Steve and his wife Ava took a sixteen-year-old girl and gave her a chance. Saved her life, more accurately. They were the reason I could feed, clothe, and house my child. Not only that, I could actually feed Lexie the superfood shit she grew into and fuel my makeup addiction without going broke. They were the closest thing I had to family. So when Steve announced he had bought a prominent beachfront resort and was making me manager, I had been blown away. I also didn’t want to let him down. He had done so much for Lexie and me already, I didn’t want to screw this up. Hence me deciding to take up residence in my car. There was no responsibility in here and I was sure I had a couple of Twinkies under the seat to sustain me.

“Get out of the car, Mia, and go and start your day being the best goddamned manager that place has ever had,” he demanded.

Something in his tone, maybe the faith, had me abandon the idea of living in my car and existing on Twinkies.

So I got out and walked underneath that arch.

“Mom! Come here quickly” I heard my daughter’s anxious command from the window.

“Mommy’s resting, sweetheart. Unless you’re bleeding from the head I’m not going anywhere quickly,” I told her.

I was lying on the sofa with a trashy magazine and a cold beer. It was late on Saturday afternoon and I was recovering from a long and stressful week of work. Steve was right. I could do it. Be the manager of a hotel and spa without running it into the ground. Well, for the first week anyway. Nothing had burned down and no guests had died under my care so I was calling it a win. Plus, the staff were mostly competent and nice and I got on with them all supremely well. I had a feeling that I actually might do well. It was a good feeling. I also had a feeling I might have to start a cocaine habit. That was the only way I could have enough energy to make it through the next week.

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