Willow & Aiden After Forty

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Chapter 6

I walk into The Outline and head straight to my table. Leslie, the waitress in on my tail. As soon as I sit, she places down a glass of water. “What can I get you to drink today, Mr. Markley?”

“I’ll take a Guinness. Thank you, Leslie.” I remove my phone from my suit jacket. My hands are freezing. I walked from the office today to meet Lamar for lunch. Last week, I was sweating my ass off. Now the weather has changed, and we seemed to have skipped fall entirely and gone straight into winter. It’s the first week of October, the leaves are changing, and the air should be crisp with a touch of a chill in the air, not this fucking cold. The last two nights, the temperature has dropped below freezing, and next week it’s going to be back in the seventies.

Lamar joins me at my table, “Goddamn, it’s cold outside.” He removes his gloves and takes a seat. I don’t reply; he thinks it hilarious that I bitch about the weather all the time.

“How’s the Stewart case?” I ask as Leslie sits down water for Lamar and my beer.

“What can I get for you today, Mr. Johnson?”

“I’ll take a Guinness too. Thank you, Leslie.”

I sip my beer and check for notifications on my phone. “The Stewart case goes to trial January seventh of next year. Nixon keeps calling me to settle but no fucking way, we have them, it will be a short trial.”

“Good, glad to hear that. They deserve whatever they get for scamming people.”

Leslie sets his beer down, “Are you guys ready to order?” she asks.

“Yeah, I’ll have the crab cake,” I order.

“I’ll have a burger and fries today, hold the mayo. Thanks, Leslie.”

“Got it, it will be out shortly.” She smiles at Lamar.

The dog, Lamar, watches Leslie, who’s young enough to be his daughter, walk away. She a pretty young woman, I know she’s a recent college graduate. “What other cases are you working on, did you take on the Kaiser Family?”

“You know, if you are so curious, why did you pass them on to me?” He rolls his eyes and checks his Rolex watch.

I shrug, “I like them. They need someone who is going to fight hard for them. I told you that I informed my partners, and they agreed we are swamped. I’m not taking on any cases, so we all decided to recommend your firm for the time being.” Lamar shakes his bald, shiny head, and his white teeth appear.

“First, thank you. I plan to have my secretary send a nice holiday gift to your firm for the Kaisers. Second, my friend, are you really going to take a hiatus for a couple of years? There is no fucking way you will make it that long, what the fuck are you going to do with your ADHD self?”

I chuckle, “Don’t worry your pretty little bald head about what I do with myself. I’ll be just fine. I’ve fucking earned this break; I haven’t had one, ever.” I take a gulp of beer; the cold, thick brew feel nice sliding down my throat.

“That’s true, fucker, but I’m laying down money on six months until you return to work.” I ignore his comment; he has no idea how much I’m truly prepared for this break.

“Hi, gentlemen,” Lexi Reed greets and stops by our table. I look behind her to see who she is having lunch with; it’s a pregnant woman. It’s not her pretty friend, Willow, who has a love of pale-pink running gear and jogs every day in the park.

I spot her almost every day now. She has never, not once, spotted me, but I watch and see her daily. I still can’t figure out why I haven’t approached her. The green-eyed woman with brown, bouncy hair and a body that you can tell after one glance has been taken care of and respected. She has muscle tone in her legs, ass, and arms. But nowhere near what some of the other women our age who have exercised until they are all hard planes and angles. Willow’s body is toned but soft, and there is no doubt she’s in good shape. She runs three miles a day at a hard, steady pace; each mile takes her eight minutes, which is an excellent time.

“Hey, Lex, is this Sarah?” Lamar asks, and the woman who looks ready to give birth any day now steps up to the table and shakes Lamar’s hand.

I stand like Lamar and offer her my hand. “Aiden Markley, nice to meet you.” Then I look to the woman next to her, “Hi Lexi, nice to see you again.” I take my seat and listen to them talk about the damn swim club.

“I promise to tie Willow down and make her come to a football Sunday soon.”

“I’m still looking forward to it. I’ll see you this Sunday. Nice to officially meet you, Sarah.”

Sarah smiles, and Lexi’s eyes swing to me, “Aiden, it was nice to see you. You have an open invitation, any Sunday to come and hang out and watch football. You guys enjoy your lunch. See you soon.”

They walk away from the as Leslie places our food on the table. “You should come over one Sunday. Lex puts out quite a spread. Al’s media room, hell, the whole basement is all decked out for drinking, cursing, and football watching.”

I shrug my shoulders, “We’ll see. So, you haven’t met Lex’s friend Willow yet?”

He cuts his burger in half like a pansy. “Not yet, but, man, I wasn’t lying when I said I am looking forward to it. She has an unusual story, and she sounds smart as hell.”

“Really, how so?” I dig into my crab cake, curious about Miss pink, heart-shaped ass.

“She and Lex have been best friends since kindergarten. They were inseparable, yadda, yadda, yadda. They lost touch because Willow got pregnant at sixteen and married her high school sweetheart. She has five fucking kids!”

Damn, I didn’t expect to hear that. “No shit. How many fathers?” I ask, and Lamar shakes his head.

“Your view of life is fucked up and skewed. You know that, don’t you?”

I nod my head, “Answer the question.”

He chuckles, “One father, all five of her children are with the ex-husband. They are all grown. It sounds as if they are all doing well, so if we hit it off, I won’t have to worry about raising any more kids. By the way, how’s Ryan?”

“Good. I don’t want to talk about him, he hasn’t fucked up in a few days, and I don’t want to jinx anything.” He laughs, and we both eat our lunches.

We decide on coffee and to settle back to watch the lunch crowd start to thin out for the day. Lexi Reed stops by our table on her way out the door. “I was just texting with Willow, and she will be at our house this Sunday.”

“Good, I’ll be there,” Lamar smiles.

Lexi raises a thinly-plucked, blond brow, “Aiden, please join us this weekend. The more the merrier.”

“I’ll do my best,” I smile too.

They leave, and Lamar knocks on the table, “Give me a heads-up if you go. I was planning on wearing jeans and a football jersey, but I know there is no way you’d ever dress your stuffy ass down.”

I look at him like he’s crazy, “What the fuck are you talking about?”

“Competition man, for Willow. I don’t think I’m the only one Lex has in mind. I plan on wearing jeans; there’s no way you’ll show.” He takes a sip of his coffee.

Usually, he’s right, and I wouldn’t. Lexi has been inviting me for two years. I like and respect Lexi and Al Reed, but I’m not stupid; they like having relevant people in the city to their house. They want to cast a wide net to different people who all have one thing in common other than sports. Success. I smirk at Lamar, “If I were you, I’d plan on wearing a suit.”

“Fuck,” he chuckles under his breath.

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