Today's snippet takes place as Dani sees Alex for the first time in 2 decades, and gets a little shocker...
I walked around to the side steps, and stopped cold. I had to grip the rail to stay upright.
Leaning casually against my car, in his usual all black and wearing sunglasses, arms folded across his chest, was Alex. Talking to Riley.
Talking to Riley.
My head said to walk forward, but my feet went numb. Then he looked my direction, and suddenly I was head-to-toe buzz with my heart beating in my ears. I took a deep breath, chewed my bottom lip, and attempted normal as I made it down the steps without tripping and walked slowly toward them.
Riley had her usual folded-arms-with-one-hip-jutted stance, looking annoyed as hell. Alex took off his glasses and locked his blue eyes in on mine with that arrogant little smile of his. I felt heat radiating out of my ears.
“Dani,” he said, low and smooth, and all the breath went out of me to hear his voice again. “My God, look at you.”
I opened my mouth to say the same thing, that after 20 plus years he still looked exactly the same, hot enough to melt my shoes. But then the mommy gene stood up and waved and I remembered Riley was there.
He laughed, a deep throaty sound, as he pointed at Riley.
“I knew it had to be.”
A nervous noise squawked from my mouth. Nothing profound like I always pictured it would be.
“The eyes were the first clue.”
He winked at me as he said it, his expression telling me hey, well, she looks like you and can see me, so it wasn’t rocket science.
Riley frowned, her expression a mix of disgust and wariness.
“God, you know this perv asshole? He was sitting here on our car watching me and wouldn’t tell me who the hell he is.”
He smirked. “The sweet gentle nature was the clincher.”
I couldn’t quit staring. I could not believe he was there again, standing in front of me. My whole past poured down over me in a whoosh, locking eyes with the one person that had made it all bearable.
Riley’s voice jolted me back and I jerked her direction.
Her face screwed up in disgust as she studied me. “Ew.”
My eyes widened, as I imagined boogers on my face or something. I was already red and sweaty, why the hell not.
“God, Mom, could you be more obvious?” she said under her breath as she glanced from me to Alex. “What, did y’all date or something?”
Alex laughed, and I felt my jaw drop a little, and I briefly wondered if my deodorant would hold up to the nervous breakdown coming on.
“Not exactly, sweetheart,” he said, his gaze hard-wired into mine.
The disgust came back again, as I knew it would.
“I’m not your sweetheart, you freak, and you can do googly eyes with my mom all you want but stay away from me.” She turned to go and then threw back over her shoulder, “By the way, it’s summer, you moron. The all black thing is a little Goth.”
I stared after her, trying to process it, then closed my eyes and willed it all away. I had never once had a three-way conversation with Alex. No one had ever seen him but me. That whole circus act with Riley had my brain spinning.
His voice was soft and low and when my eyes popped open, his expression had gone just as soft.
“Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”