Baby Maker(6)

By: Jenny Jax

“Fair enough.” She gave me a slightly odd look, and I realized how crazy that must sound to someone like her. Someone who didn’t know an ounce of what was going on in my life.

I knew I should have just kissed Ella goodbye and headed out the door right then and there, but I found myself lingering. I just wanted to make sure they were okay together before I dumped them in each other’s company for a full evening. Mona made her way towards Ella, and sat down at the kitchen table with her. Ella didn’t look up from her coloring, so Mona just sat quietly in her company for a second, letting her get used to her presence.

“So, uh, you’re okay to stay the night?” I asked, lurking awkwardly.

She nodded. “My place is getting fumigated so this works out fine for me,” she said, shrugging. “The guest bedroom is upstairs and to the right, yeah?”

“Yeah.” I nodded, and watched as Ella finally glanced up.

“Hey!” Mona greeted her with a grin. “What are you coloring there?”

“A dinosaur.” Ella turned the picture around so she could see it. Mona examined it with apparently genuine interest.

“That’s awesome!” Mona exclaimed. “I love dinosaurs. What’s his name?”

A few minutes later and the two of them were embroiled in a full-on conversation about this dinosaur that Ella was coloring in; my daughter had always had a kind of crazy imagination, so it wasn’t hard for her to get lost in her own little world. It was just good to see someone else who got that, and was willing to indulge it completely.

“Uh, I think I’m going to head,” I cut in quietly, and walked around the table to give Ella a hug. “Be good!”

“I will!” I could tell she was already keen to get back to her conversation with Mona. The two of them seemed to have hit it off already, and I would just be third wheeling if I stuck around.

“I’ll see you both tomorrow.” I nodded at them, and Mona flashed me a brief smile. I felt my heart flip in my chest. Oh, come on, she’s the babysitter—could it be any more of a cliché? I went to grab my helmet from where it lived in the coat cupboard, shot one last look over my shoulder at the two of them, and went to wheel my bike out of the garage. The rain was falling again, but for once, it didn’t bother me—because I could trust in the fact that my daughter was safe, and that was the only thing I gave a damn about.

Chapter Five

I woke up the next morning, stretched out in the unfamiliar bed—even though I was here to do a job, it still felt outrageously luxurious to be spending a night away from home.

The night had gone well—or at least I thought it had. Ella and I had spent most of it coloring, eating, and talking about dinosaurs. She was a sweet little girl, and now that I’d had the chance to spend a bit more time with her, I was almost certain that there wasn’t anything untoward going on in that house. So what was the deal with the first time I’d come around? I couldn’t put my finger on it, and couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something off about the situation.

I climbed out of bed, and tugged my nightdress down to cover my legs—well, I say nightdress, it was really more a long shirt that one of my exes had abandoned at my place years before that I had started sleeping in because it was just so damn comfortable. It barely covered my ass but I didn’t really care—that wasn’t what I wore it for. I yawned widely, and made my way down the stairs, hoping that Ella hadn’t beaten me awake before I could make a coffee.

“Uh, good morning.” A voice that decidedly wasn’t Ella’s came from the kitchen, and I practically launched myself out of my skin in shock—what the fuck!

“Oh, hello.” I tried to sound casual as I met Jazz’s gaze, but it was hard when I was wearing nothing but a long shirt. I grabbed at the hem, trying to yank it down, and backed a little up the steps in the hopes he wouldn’t notice my indecency. “I didn’t hear you get back,” I commented, knowing how ridiculous this must all sound coming from someone who was hurriedly running away before they accidentally flashed their employer everything below the waist.

“Yeah, you were both asleep when I got in, so I was quiet.” He shrugged. “I’m surprised you got her off to sleep to easily—she usually wants to stay up all night when she meets someone new.”

“Oh, she tried,” I assured him. “But I managed to convince her otherwise.”

“Good, good,” he laughed. “Oh, and if you want to go get dressed, I won’t hold it against you.”