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Priest - Innocent by May Ball, Alice (1)

Chapter 2

DRIVING BACK FROM A visit to Tucson, my tiny denim skirt and a thin t-shirt with no bra was fine for driving. I hadn’t expected to be out of the car any longer than it took to buy gas, why worry? That was way back when I still thought I could buy gas.

The little diner looked like it was almost all of my available options. I parked out front. In the dusty lot were two cars. They didn’t look in any better shape than my little brown Honda. There was a big, shiny motorcycle, too. A Harley with high bars.

And the diner was open. I saw somebody bustling inside. I could get a coffee and sit. Take a rest from driving. Then some miraculous idea would pop into my head out of nowhere. I knew better than to try and think more than a few minutes ahead. Life with Laurent had me primed for emergencies.

As I stepped in, the smell of fresh coffee was a welcome greeting and a little bell jingled over the door. The hot guy who was serving didn’t seem to mind one bit how I was dressed.

He was wiry and trim, about nineteen. His hair was razored into tribal swirls that matched the ink on his arms and his neck. His skin was tanned and smooth. The little white apron looked out of place, hanging below his lean, bare midriff, but not in a bad way.

He watched as I took a seat inside, facing the window.

His rolling gate brought him slowly to my table and I looked up a second time to check. Nope, the little apron looked just fine as his big thighs slid behind it. I didn’t expect any attention from him. I never expect hot guys or cute guys or cool guys to notice me. That’s maybe one reason I always wind up with the Laurent’s of this world.

I took a slow breath. The sun streamed in through the window, I caught the warm smell of fresh coffee and a super-hot guy stood next to me. Given the way the morning had gone up to now, I figured this was going to be a high spot in the day, so I wanted to taste it and savor sas much as I could.

“Hi,” he said, pencil and pad in hand, “I’m Beanie,” he grinned a little as he jabbed the pencil at a name tag on his broad chest. I carried on watching his midriff. Make sure nothing bad happened to it, you know? I watched the tilt of his hips, too.

His soft gray eyes lit when I lifted mine. “Coffee,” I said.

A tight smile waved through his lips. As he turned to walk away, I turned to watch his ass. He was too young for me. I thought probably I ought to tell that to myself a couple more times. Maybe he was only a little too young. Could be borderline.

What did it matter? He wasn’t going to be interested in some flat-broke blow in loser like me. So, why not let the fantasy roll. I had nothing else to do. Yeah, some pretty pictures of him, Beanie,  images in my head, they brightened my mood some.

I waited for the coffee, tried to keep my mind off the yawning black hole that was my immediate future. I watched the traffic, what there was of it. A truck lumbered by every few minutes. Occasionally a car. Once a biker thundered past and ducked his head to peer through over his black shades into the diner. He was on on a big, black Harley. I guessed he was Beanie’s buddy.

The bike out front was likely Beanie’s, then. I thought about Beanie’s ink. imagined all the places he could be tattooed that I hadn’t seen. I was getting to feel right at home. Just as well, since there probably wasn’t anywhere else I could say was ‘home.’ Not just right at that moment.

Other than that, I watched out of the window while a whole lot of nothing happened. All of the mass of great ideas for how I was going to turn this situation around were taking their sweet time to show up, too. If I didn’t think of something fast, I would have to do something anyway.

That was bad. I could only think of two things that I could do right then.



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