Home > Sea Breeze #6 - Misbehaving(3)

Sea Breeze #6 - Misbehaving(3)
Author: Abbi Glines

“That you, Jess?” Momma called from the kitchen.

I might as well go tell her what I’d done. If the cops showed up, she needed to have her game face on. “Yeah, it’s me, and we might have some trouble,” I replied, walking through the small living room and toward into the kitchen. The five-room house I’d grown up in was cinderblock and nothing special, but the rent was affordable. No man had to help us get the bills paid. Momma had always taken care of things.

“What the hell have you done now?” Momma asked as I stepped into the kitchen. She was standing at the coffeepot with a cigarette between her red lips. Her favorite hot-pink satin robe was all she had on. She must have been getting ready for work and decided to stop and make some coffee.

I pulled out one of our vinyl-covered kitchen chairs and sat down. “I beat the shit out of Hank’s truck.”

Momma pulled the cigarette from her lips. “You did what?” she asked.

“He was at Live Bay with that whore he’s messing around with. He lied to me again. I’m done with him, and I wanted to make him hurt.”

Momma got rid of her ashes in the sink and, shaking her head, reached for a coffee cup. Her long blond hair was still pretty, but the face that had once been strikingly beautiful now showed hard lines from life. I was sure her smoking didn’t help things either. “Shit, girl. I need to go to work in an hour. What if the cops show up?”

I hadn’t thought of that. No alibi. I shrugged. “If they’re coming, maybe they’ll come before you leave.”

Momma took her coffee black and walked over to sit down across from me. “Did you at least get it good? If we have to deal with the poe poe, then you better have made it worth it. I ain’t in the mood for those bored shits tonight.”

I smiled, thinking about how good it had felt to see his pretty truck’s windows shatter. “Yeah, I think I got it good.”

Momma nodded and put her cigarette out, then took a sip of her coffee. “He’s a stupid, sorry-ass f**ker who you need to stay away from. You’ve got a life ahead of you, and I’ll be damned if you end up like me. Hank’s already knocked up one girl he ain’t gonna marry. I sure don’t want you to be his next victim. This life ain’t easy, and you know it. You got the looks to buy you a life outta this. I intend for you to do it,” Momma said, leaning back in her chair and crossing her long legs.

This was a conversation we had been having since I was old enough to understand things. Which was since I was about nine. When your momma is a stripper in town, you learn things a lot sooner than other kids. There is no time for innocence.

“I’m done with Hank for good this time. I promise,” I assured her.

Momma didn’t look like she believed me. I couldn’t blame her. This thing with Hank had been going on for years. I really needed to let him go. He was a one-way ticket to the life I’d watched my mother live. As much as I respected her for not leaning on a man to take care of us, I didn’t want that life. I knew how much she hated it.

“My escape car was a Porsche,” I told her with a grin. I still couldn’t get over that car . . . and the guy in it. Way out of my league. Way, way out of my league. He was so wealthy he reeked of it. He also looked at me like I was a strange bird he didn’t know what to do with. I had probably scared the guy to death. He wasn’t from here. He was just visiting and would have gone back to whatever mansion he hailed from.

“Don’t see many Porsches around here,” Momma replied with a skeptical look on her face.

“He wasn’t a local. I imagine he’s vacationing on the island. He looked like one of those.”

Momma nodded. She knew all about those kind. I had been warned off two kinds of boys my whole life: the ones like Hank, who were “nothing but sorry shits,” and then guys from the island, who Momma said were “only after you for the sex and then they split.”

“Don’t worry about him, though. I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m a crazy person,” I assured her.

Momma raised her eyebrows and leaned on the table to look at me. “You really think that? I didn’t raise you to be so damn naive. He’s a man, baby. That’s all that matters. One look at you, and he’ll be back. You just be careful.”

I had tried to land more than one wealthy local in Sea Breeze, but that had never happened. Marcus Hardy had been in my sights from the time I was a little girl. He was my cousin Rock’s friend, but he was different than us. He lived in a big pretty house on the beach. But Marcus never saw me as anything but a fun time. When he laid eyes on Willow, no one else stood a chance. Now he was married with a kid and completely off-limits.

“I should’ve pushed you to go off to college. You could have met someone there and gotten out of this place.” She said it like Sea Breeze was a bad place. I didn’t see it the same way she did. I loved the coastal town I had grown up in.

“I didn’t want to leave,” I reminded her. I had chosen to go to the local community college instead. I didn’t want to leave this town or my momma. We had been a team all my life.

Momma sighed and pushed her chair back and stood up. “I know, sugar. I let you stay because I like having you here. Still don’t make it right. Finding a man to get you out of this life is gonna be hard, and I’ll be damned if you fall into the life I’ve lived.”

I was starting to argue when someone banged on the door. Momma looked toward the front door, fluffed her hair, and pulled the neckline of her silk robe low enough to show her very impressive cle**age. “Go on and get in the shower. I got this, baby girl. Don’t worry ’bout a thing,” she said, slipping into a pair of red heels that only made her long legs longer. Smiling, I hurried to the bathroom and turned on the shower but kept my ear to the door.

“Well, hello, Officer Ben. You know I’m not the kind of girl who takes house calls,” she said in a low, sultry voice I had heard her use a million times.

“Good evening, Starla. I hate to bother you before you, uh . . . ,” He cleared his throat and I rolled my eyes. I already knew good old Officer Ben was a regular at Jugs, the strip club just on the outskirts of Sea Breeze. “. . . go to work. But I got a call about Jess, and I need to check into that. She here?”

“Not sure who called you, Ben,” Momma said, letting his name roll off her tongue as if she were about to strip just for him, “but my baby girl has been here with me all evening. She’s getting a shower now after helping me clean today. You can even check her truck hood—it’s cold. Hasn’t driven it all day long.” Momma paused, and I heard her heels click on the wooden floor as she stepped toward him. “And as much as I like the idea of you walking in on my showers, I don’t feel the same about you interrupting my little girl’s shower,” she said in a suggestive tone.

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