Finding “A Lady What Has Kids With Her”

read the previous post about landon (below)

Landon took one more look out the window and then sank to his bottom, deflated. He was really, really hoping that Mom was out there now, even though he was really sad at her. He was always sad at her cuz she said stuff that she didn’t do all the time. Like today, how it was posta be fun and then it didn’t. It wasn’t being fun today at all.

He climbed down from the box by the window and looked around the tiny motel room. His mom wasn’t here and he wasn’t supposed to be alone. His heart was beeping big. Maybe he should go find somebody, a big person. What did Gramma always say? When you’re lost find a lady what has kids with her.

He creeped real quiet to the big door that goes outside and listened; it was really quiet. Slowly he turned the handle. It wasn’t as hard as he thought it would be, but the door was kinda heavy. He held on with both hands and pulled as hard as he could, shuffling his tiny feet backwards inch by inch and one by one. He slid in front of the door and onto the sidewalk. The concrete was warm on his toes, the last remnants of yesterday’s heat. It was big and dark outside and spooky quiet; then swoosh-CLICK, the door closed behind him and his heart beep got bigger. But the air smelled fresh and warm; he began to calm. He pressed his back to the door and stood for a moment, catching his breath. He could see the plastic playhouse in the light from the parking lot, and beside it, a big white truck with a giant bucket. And a dump truck! With a giant dirt mountain! I know what thems are for, oh boy!

Forgetting his plight for a moment, Landon pattered across the sidewalk toward the parking lot and the big trucks. His eyes were fixed on the dirt mountain as it beckoned him to play. At a sharp stab to his heel, he jumped back, hopping and then sinking quickly back to safety on the sidewalk . Owie, owie, owie. Tears stung his eyes as he pulled his foot to his lap and groaned. I know it’s blood, I know it’s blood, owie,owie, owie! His eyes moved from the mean gravel parking lot back to the motel building. There were lots of doors now, all the same with chipped blue paint and numbers way up high. His face was sweaty; he was getting hot and the bugs were buzzing him. He liked the crickets, but only in daytime when he could see ’em not just hear ’em. And it was really big dark out here.

The doors; which one was Mom in? Maybe Mom went home to Gramma. Or maybe she went home to Dad. It was hard to pick which home, there were lots of them and they always changed. That’s how come Gramma’s house is where I live. His foot was throbbing now and he knew it had blood but he was scared to look. Hopeless, he began to whimper as he rocked onto his knees and then gently stood, trying his best to be brave.

He hobbled to the closest door and knocked timidly. One, two, three, four. Same as his age. Turning his head, he waited, listening. It was quiet except for the humming box. And his beeping heart. With growing fear, Landon moved on to the next door. Tiny knuckles tapped the door; one, two, three, four. Again, nothing. His sobs consumed him as he ran to the next door. Clenching his fists, he pounded the door, screaming, “Gramma, help me! Gramma! Gramma! I’m SCARED! GRAMMA, PLEASE!

He nearly fell as the door opened to a pair of big hairy legs and plaid boxers. Landon caught his balance with a startled step back, then tilted his head up, his eyes following the boxers past a big bare belly to land on a big gray beard; he froze. Before he could inch away, the big gray beard shifted, revealing a very sleepy face with some very angry eyes. That’s not a lady what has kids with her.

Landon took another step back as the man came toward him, out the door and onto the sidewalk. He watched, paralyzed with fear. As the man quickly realized he’d been awakened by a frightened little boy, his eyes softened and concern took over his face. He bent to one knee, reaching out a tanned and calloused hand. His voice was raspy; in almost a whisper he said, “Hey, hey, hey little dude. It’s okay. You lost? Need some help?”

Landon hesitated and tugged at his pajama top, his shoulders slumping forward. He liked the way the man smelled, like cigarettes and the man soap his Grampa used. And his eyes were nice now; they were shiny bright blue with a twinkle that made it seem like he was laughing even when he wasn’t. But Landon wasn’t sure; his Gramma always said to find a lady. A lady what has kids. He looked from side to side but there was no one else around. He tried to peek past the man to see inside his room; maybe there’s a lady what has kids in there. Exhausted and tired, he burst into tears and slowly backed away.

Before he could run, he was snatched into the crook of an arm, like a tiny car attaching to a crane. Kicking and screaming, Landon began to fight for his life.

Meeting “Chase”

It was obvious from the beginning; what she showed on the outside didn’t mesh well with her internal demons. She tried to appear sweet, and motherly and could even be fairly well-spoken; but her hardness had its way of shining through. She wore it like a badge that she wanted simultaneously to hide and shove hard in your face.

She was conflicted; had been for as long as she could remember. Never feeling capable of being who she should be, she became someone she hated. But now she embraced it, clung to it even, like a child holds onto her favorite blanket. It worked for her, most of the time, allowing her to keep at bay those who were capable of breaking through that nasty, hardened shell to touch the little girl heart she hid so well from the world. The same heart she couldn’t quite hide from herself; until she met Chase.

She didn’t really want to go to the bonfire that night, but she was dragged along by her sister. They were Jen’s friends and Bryn knew how it would go; Jen would be the center of attention and life of the party and Bryn would be left by herself, as usual. But she had nothing better to do and Jen was relentlessly begging. She pulled her hair into a loose ponytail, grabbed a hoodie off the floor and snatched the car keys from Jen’s hand. “I’m driving,” she said, knowing there’d be no argument.

She didn’t mind being at the party, once they got there. Jen’s friends were nice and they seemed genuinely happy that she was there. But after 20 minutes, Bryn grew tired of the conversation and wandered off to smoke a cigarette. It was a new habit for her, a self-declared right of passage that had come with getting her driver’s license that summer. She enjoyed it from the start, unlike most kids her age; didn’t even cough much when she learned to inhale.

She was nursing the burn on her hand when she noticed him approaching. He held out a beer and she shook her head, “No thanks.” With a knowing smile he replied, “It’s for your hand, silly.” He pulled her right hand into his and gently placed the cold can against it. “You know, I can show you how to flick a cigarette without burning yourself.” He had been watching her.

He was handsome and rugged, like Jax from Sons of Anarchy. His dirty blond hair was cut short at the sides, with a perfectly messy spike above blue eyes that seemed to know too much. He wore a diamond stud in his right ear, a smaller one on his chin, almost hidden in a short, thick stubble. Manly and boyish at once, mischievously smiling at her, tipping his head in an attempt to see her eyes. And when he did, he seemed to look right through to her soul; to her heart. Her little girl heart.

Eventually, he would give her the greatest gift of her life. And then he would nearly destroy them both.