Out of the Ashes(2)

By: Anne Malcom



I came face to face with Lexie, who was holding a shoe in one hand and a coffee in the other. I sighed in relief. “I knew there was a reason I keep you around,” I said, taking the coffee and the shoe.

“I thought it was because you gave birth to me,” she replied with a smirk, sipping her own cup. Caffeine addiction was genetically transferred.

I waved my hand while inhaling the liquid needed for me to be a functioning human. “Yeah, that factors in there somewhere, but the fact you are handy at finding things, namely my favorite pair of heels is the frontrunner today,” I told her, trying to hop and not spill my coffee while I put on my other shoe. “Plus you give me coffee,” I added, waving the cup.

I stared at my daughter, turning serious. “You nervous, Dollface?” I asked her quietly.

She shook her head, smile still in place and her blonde ringlets swung with the movement. “No, actually I’m not.”

I raised an eyebrow at her. “You’re seriously not anxious at the prospect of starting a new high school where you don’t know anyone?”

Lexie shrugged her shoulders. “I assume the school isn’t filled with Satan worshippers and necromancers. There’s gotta be at least some decent humans in there somewhere. I’m sure I’ll survive.” She linked her arm with mine, directing us toward the stairs. “Plus, I’m too busy being proud of my mom for being in charge of a freaking hotel to be thinking about something as trivial as high school and the possibility of a Mean Girls situation,” she declared as we descended the stairs.

I gave her a sideways glance. “Do not so casually joke about such a work of cinematic genius,” I told her with mock seriousness. “The fate of your high school survival depends on this one piece of advice.” I paused for dramatic effect. “On Wednesdays we wear pink.”

“Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll only wear sweats once a week,” she replied just as seriously.

My daughter and I had a lot of conversations spoken purely in movie quotes.

I laughed at the prospect of Lexie actually going to school in sweats. I didn’t think I’d ever seen my daughter leave the house in sweats, apart from when she left for exercise purposes. And even then she wore cute ones that looked better than half the people in regular clothes.

I stopped at the bottom of the stairs and turned to face Lexie, putting my hand on her cheek. “You sure you’re not harboring some secret resentment for me yanking you away from your school, your friends, and you’re not going to make it known one day by declaring you are into the black arts and demanding to be called Moon Shadow?” I asked.

My daughter gave me a look. “No, Mom. I promise I’ll make new friends. And thanks to the wonder that is the Internet and the creation of motorcars, I’m still going to see the old ones. I’ll get used to the new school, and if it does somehow scar me for life, it’ll just give me more material for my memoirs.” She waggled her eyebrows.

“That only means I get a cut of the royalties,” I countered.

She scowled at me. “You wish.”

I turned serious and shook my head with pride. “How’d I get such an awesome kid?”

Her face turned solemn. “I think someone seriously screwed up at the hospital.”

I laughed. But I seriously regarded my daughter. My kid was the freaking shit. I was lucky as hell my sixteen year old was who she was. I was so proud of her some days I thought I’d burst. She was beautiful, not in the “she’s my kid so I’m genetically programmed to think she’s stunning” kind of way. She was just growing into a spectacular young woman. It frightened me slightly. With such looks like the ones she was growing into came boys. I so wasn’t ready for that yet. Her blonde hair fell long in ringlets down her back, her skin was yet to realize it was a teenager and was blemish free and flawless apart from a light dusting of freckles. Her blue eyes mirrored mine, as did her heart-shaped face. She was also short like I was, but her muscles were lean thanks to the fact she actually exercised, the weirdo. Me, on the other hand, I was petite and was blessed with a fast metabolism so I was reasonably slim. I had no muscles to speak of. That was due to my fear of any form of torture disguised as exercise.

“Okay, by some miracle of the gods we aren’t actually running late, so how about we start the recon of the breakfast situation in this burg?” I suggested, scouring our half unpacked living room for my purse.

Lexie bent over the sofa and handed it to me. “Sounds great.”

Sometimes I thought she was the one taking care of me, not the other way around.

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