Out of the Ashes(9)

By: Anne Malcom

Lexie shook her head and smiled. It wasn’t her cute little innocent smile, though. It was one evil geniuses got when they were hatching a plan. “Fine. I’ll check, but you have to do laundry for the next two weeks.”

I glared at her. “You’re an evil little person.”

She winked at me. “Love you too, Mom.”

She slowly rose up from the window, like directly up.

“What are you doing?” I hissed. “Don’t stand straight up, slither across the wall! Otherwise it’s totally obvious you dropped to the floor after he caught you perving,” I whisper-yelled, still unsure as to why I felt the need to quiet my voice.

My frenzied commands were in vain. Lexie had already straightened and was standing in front of the window, casual as anything, like she was birdwatching or something.

I shook my head. “Wipe spy off your list of potential careers,” I told her with disappointment.

She ignored me and stepped away from the window, walking to the sofa to pick up my abandoned magazine.

“He’s gone?” I asked from my spot on the floor, feeling a tad ridiculous now.

“Yep,” she answered distractedly, reading the magazine.

I let out a breath of relief and stood. I stretched slightly, then glanced back out the window. I let out a little scream as my eyes met mirrored shades. I quickly darted away from the window and snatched the magazine from Lexie, hitting her in the shoulder with it.

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you lying gives you ulcers and makes your nose grow?” I snapped.

“Yes, my mother did. But she also told me a little man lived under my bed and he would come and eat me if I ever talked to strangers,” she replied, rubbing her shoulder.

I put my hands on my hips. “That was for your own safety.” Little did she know.

“Yeah, well, I didn’t feel very safe lying in bed at night waiting for a little man to come and eat me,” she shot back.

“Well, you obviously had been talking to strangers, therefore you should have been scared,” I said, plonking down on the sofa next to her. “Now what are we going to do? Our hot neighbor thinks we’re crazy pervs,” I moaned.

Lexie gave me a look. “Not we. I’m just an impressionable young teen with a Peeping Tom for a mother,” she teased with a twinkle in her eye.

I slapped her with the magazine again.

She crawled away from me with false pain in her eyes. “Stop! You’ll maim me!” she cried dramatically.

I threw the entire magazine at her and she caught it with a grin.

I shook my head. My daughter was a total nut. I, however, was completely sane.

“Ouch!” I cursed as I tripped over yet another ill-placed box. I again managed to catch myself before I ate carpet luckily, considering a trip to the emergency room would make me later than I already was. Lexie and I almost had the house unpacked but there were a couple of rogue boxes that seemed determined to be a part of my demise.

“Lexie! Get you A into G—we are totally late. If we don’t leave soon you’re going to have to have Pop-Tarts for breakfast,” I threatened as I descended the stairs. “Pop-Tarts full of dangerous and delicious things, such as sugar and added preservatives,” I added, feeling hungry.

“Coming!” I heard her yell from her room.

I made it to the bottom of the stairs and scanned the room for my jacket. I spied it lying across an ottoman and slipped it on.

“Ready, ready.” Lexie came rushing into the room, packing her bag full of books.

“Okay, let’s go,” I said, making my way out the door.

“Mom,” Lexie called.

I turned to see she hadn’t moved. I waved my hand, “Come on, kid, I haven’t had coffee yet and I need some in my veins. Stat.”

The plan was to head to what was now our local breakfast spot for a quick caffeine fix and a muffin before work. I hadn’t had time to make some this morning and Lexie had uncharacteristically slept in, which meant we were both running sans caffeine. The Spencer girls did not do well without caffeine.

“You don’t have shoes on,” Lexie informed me.

I glanced down at my bare feet to see I had indeed forgotten footwear. The most important part of an outfit, no less. “I hate Mondays,” I muttered.

“It’s Wednesday,” Lexie pointed out.

I scowled and thrust the keys to the car at her. “Wait in the car. I’ll be down in a second.”

I struggled to think of a pair of shoes that would go with my pencil skirt and floaty blouse. “The blue pointy heeled ones,” Lexie called to me as she walked out the door.

It seriously freaked me out how much of a connection we had sometimes.

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