Baby Maker(10)

By: Jenny Jax

“God, it feels good to be back,” I murmured, half to myself. “Thanks for staying over again.”

“Hey, as long as you’re paying me.” She shrugged. I felt a little stab to the gut—even though I knew it was stupid, I had kind of hoped she would have been doing this no matter what the paycheck was. She didn’t seem to notice the little flicker of doubt on my face, and carried on making herself her coffee. She handed me a cup—made perfectly, as though she’d been watching like a hawk all those times I’d made it in front of her in the last few weeks—and leaned up against the counter.

“So, get up to anything interesting last night?” she asked brightly, and I had to stifle a yawn—I was so just freaking exhausted.

“I was just spending some time with the club,” I replied. “Getting our jobs in order for the next few weeks, you know.”

“What kind of jobs do you do?” She leaned forward excitedly. “Are they dangerous?”

“Not really.” I shook my head. “Just body-guarding, that kind of thing. It’s pretty banal but it pays the bills for most of the guys there.”

“Oh, right.” Her face fell a little bit, as though she had been hoping for some insane tales of derring-do. “I guess I just thought…”

“Yeah, I hate to break it to you, but motorcycle club stuff isn’t exactly the way they show it on TV,” I teased gently. “Seriously, I’m not some kind of criminal living outside the law or some shit. It’s just what I do.”

“I guess I thought any job that required you to stay out all night must be pretty exciting,” she remarked, peering at me over the top of her coffee cup. Those eyes—I could get used to waking up to those every morning. The piercing blue-grey of her irises sparkled in the morning light, and I couldn’t help but smile at her.

“So, how was Ella last night?” I asked, changing the topic before I leaned over to kiss her. My coffee breath was nothing to be scoffed at, and anyway, I didn’t want to mess up whatever it was we had here by making it uncomfortable for her. As far as she was concerned, she was just doing a favor for a single dad because she loved kids. There was no reason for her to think there was anything more to this, and I certainly wasn’t going to press the issue.

“She was great.” Mona smiled fondly. “It’s weird, I’ve never spent this much time around one kid before. Not even my family.”

“Really?” I furrowed my brow at her. “Maybe it’s just my family, but I don’t know how on Earth that’s possible.”

She shook her head with a small laugh. “I know, no one can believe that I didn’t grow up around kids, especially considering what I do for a living,” she commented. “But…I just didn’t.”

“So how did you get into this line of work, then?”

“I wanted to help people, I guess.” She glanced down at the coffee in her cup, as though trying to come up with a satisfactory answer. “But being around Ella…it makes me see why people love kids as much as they do.”

“She’s a little charmer,” I agreed. “But not all of them are like that. She’s special.”

“Oh yeah, and what father wouldn’t say that about his daughter?” she pointed out teasingly. I opened my mouth to protest, but she held her hand up before I could. “I know, though. She really is just so precious. You should be very proud of her.”

“I am.” I grinned. And then, there she was—at the top of the stairs, rubbing her eyes and heading down the steps in a slightly wobbly fashion.

“Hey, baby!” I placed my coffee cup down and hurried over to greet her as she reached the bottom of the stairs. “Time to get ready for school!”

And so, the day kicked off again—me dropping Ella off down the road and watching as she made her way to her little cluster of friends and then into her classroom, then driving back home to catch some shut-eye. When I came through the door, I pulled off my jacket, my shirt, and my boots, and made for the stairs.

“Oh! Uh…”

I turned around, and found Mona standing next to the kitchen counter, frozen. Shit. What was it with us and accidentally getting half-naked in front of each other?

“Shit, sorry,” I apologized, reaching for my clothes. “I was just going to bed.”

“No, no, I’m sorry, I should have been out by now.” She let her eyes linger on my body for a second, before averting them towards the ground in front of her feet. “I was just making a few calls. I’ll go now.”