The dark haired boy looked over her smiling, "mom, you never win."
"Never say never. One of these days, I just might.” Smiling, “come on."
Getting out of the jeep, the two walked into the diner. The place wasn't big or flashy or even busy. The little diner had become a ritual every Friday for years. Going to their usual booth, Mary came over with their drinks. Her short brown hair sprinkled with grays. Hazel eyes that always seemed to glitter with a secret joke. "Jake. How's school?"
"You and Greg better now?"
Nodding, "yep. Apologies done. I have my best friend back."
"Good, and how did you do on that math test?" She always made sure to check on his work.
The seven year old dug into his backpack. Slapping a 98% grade onto the table moved up on his knees, lifting his hand for a high-five, "aced it!"
Mary picked up the math test looking it over. "I am stealing this and it's going on my fridge. Proud of you. I'll tell Henry to add on some extras for you tonight."
Jake did an arm-pump in a silent celebration, 'yes'! "Thanks," he replied with a huge smile as she gave him a wink and walked over to meet a new customer.
"Okay pal, bring out the books."
Smiling, he sat back down. "Mom, if we had more Mary's in the world, we'd have a lot more A's to share." Mary had shooed Lisa out of the booth after seeing their frustrations the previous week. Simply handed over her apron to indicate she was to cover the diner, she took over.
"Agree. Mary is a smart one. So is Henry."
Jake smiled pulling out his spelling-packet for the week and started on it. Taking a sip of her coffee, she looked around the diner. Taking in the surroundings and customers that came in.
It wasn't long before Mary came back with their breakfast dinner. Henry had written 98% on his pancakes in whipped cream this time. Jake smiled, standing up on his seat he waved his hands wide catching Henry's eyes. Then gave him a big thumbs up. Then signed in ASL, ‘thank you’. Henry replied, ‘good job champ’, also in ASL.
Sitting down, he put his homework to the side and picked up his fork. "Ready?" With a small nod, "3….2….1…" They started their meal.
"I'm out." Lisa pushed back her plate.
"Told ya," he said with a teasing smile.
"One of these days pal." Looking at her half finished plate, then her watch. "Dad will be here shortly, pack it up."
With a small nod, he finished his fruit and put away his spelling packet. "Mom. There's a guy that keeps looking over here." He looked over her shoulder again, "gray shirt. Black ball cap."
Grateful that he was open with her, "trade spots." With a small nod, he went under the table, as she moved out of the booth. Her glock on her hip, highly visible with her blue jeans and a gray shirt. As she sat down, she noticed the man. About her age, broad shoulders. Light brown hair, as he turned his hat so the bill was backwards. Brow and lip piercing. "Spotted him." She waved down Mary, "how long has he been making you uncomfortable?"
"Just a little bit,” a shrug, “not a long time."
"Alright. Thank you for telling me. It was the smart thing to do."
"Smart enough for a sundae?" He asked, lifting a brow.
Smiling, she leaned forward elbows on the table, "yep." Giving the request to Mary, "just control your sugar. I don't want your father nagging me."
"Uh huh." He pulled out his library book and started to read. Sitting back, she looked her son over. He inherited his father's good looks and her brain. He was in competition with himself to be the best. The one question that every parent has had to say, she never has- is your homework done. Most of the time, it was completed before Lisa picked him up from school. Except on Fridays so Mary could see what he was working on.
Mary sat down the sundae, running a hand over his shoulder with a smile. Lisa passed over the bills quietly as he read. Letting her eyes roam the room, she spotted the few customers. Her eyes landed on the man again. He was sitting alone in his booth. Hand wrapped around his coffee. Their eye contact didn't bother her. He sat back, leaning one arm over the back of the booth. After a moment, he licked his lips, then dug out his wallet. Dropping some bills on the table, he stood and left the diner.
Lisa watched as he walked through the parking lot. Then getting into a black pick-up truck. A small glance back to the diner. He offered a small smile that made the side-lip piercing reflected the light and a wink before reversing out.
Just as the mystery-man pulled out, Jason's car pulled in. "Your father is here."