Write a Review

Mockingbird: a Songbird sequel

All Rights Reserved ©

One: Colt

I couldn’t help but laugh the second I entered the bar. The Judds were blaring on the stereo to all four of the regulars, but none of them cared about the damn song. They were too busy watching my bride-to-be grooving along to the music as she tidied up behind the bar.
“You always shake your ass when you’re mixing Jack n Cokes?” I asked with a grin, startling the shit out of her.
She jumped and gave me an unimpressed glare. “How do you think I rake in all the tips? Gotta give em something. Right, Phil?”
She turned to the haggard man at the end of the bar. He looked like Willie Nelson and Santa had a baby. Subtract twenty years or so and I might’ve been worried. In this case, I definitely was not. “Right, sweetheart,” his gravelly voice replied as he raised his beer in a salute.
“Watch it, Phil,” I stated, pointing a finger at him, “or I’m making you square up on that tab before we serve you one more drink.”
“Hey, can’t a guy appreciate a beautiful woman?” Phil retorted with a smirk.
“Appreciate all you want,” I replied. “Just keep those eyes in that skull of yours.” Lennie just laughed and planted her hands on the bar, lifting herself slightly to brush her lips against mine. “Now I know why you make more tips than I ever did.”
She giggled before kissing me again. “Maybe it’s just that I’m actually nice to people,” she retorted with a wink.
“I’ll vouch for that,” Phil spoke up.
I leveled him with a droll stare. “You planning on finding another bar to call home?”
“Lay off, Bossman,” Nina’s voice commanded as she emerged from the back. “We were having a good night til your crabby ass showed up.”
“I’m not crabby!” I argued with a laugh.
“There’s a first,” Nina muttered as she nudged Lennie with her elbow.
“Hey! I didn’t come into my own goddamn bar to be treated like this,” I stated through trying to stifle a laugh. “I get enough of this shit at home.”
“You poor thing,” Lennie chimed in, feigning sympathy.
“I’m going to my office. I don’t need this,” I chuckled, but then cast my fiancée a sidelong look. “‘Less you wanna get outta here? I could be convinced.”
“Sir, I am about to be married and this is NOT that kind of establishment.”
I let out a loud guffaw. “Fine. I’ll be in the office doing paperwork if you need me.”
“We won’t,” Nina told my back.
“Buncha assholes,” I grumbled. “Why do I pay you?”
“SHE GETS PAID?!” I heard Lennie shout.
I sank into my office chair and just laughed for a solid minute. Life sure was a lot more fun with that gorgeous nut case around.

I lost myself in paperwork and payroll. Lennie and I were leaving the next day for our bachelor/bachelorette trip to Key West and I wanted to make sure everything was as covered as could be. I knew Nina and Darren could handle it, but I was nervous. I’d never left the bar for longer than a couple days. Hell, since I moved back, I hadn’t even left Snyder for more than a long weekend.
As my nerves began to get the better of me, I heard a soft knock on the office door before Lennie stepped into view. Just like that, the nerves were gone. Just by her presence and that little smile on her face.
“Heya, Bossman,” she greeted, pressing a denim-clad hip into the doorframe.
“Ya know, I kinda like it when you call me that,” I grinned back, sinking back into my office chair.
She beamed. “I’ll keep that in mind. Everyone’s gone. You ready to head out?”
I blinked in confusion and looked at my watch. One am. “Shit. Didn’t realize how long I’d been back here.”
“It’s okay, baby. You had stuff to do,” Lennie assured as she sauntered in with those sinful hips and popped herself onto the corner of my desk. “But we do have an early flight tomorrow and I thought you might wanna get some sleep.”
I gulped as my eyes roved her delicious curves, sun kissed and dazzling even under her clothes. Those cutoffs were basically her uniform but goddamn if they didn’t do something to me every time. Yeah, sleep was the last thing on my mind. “I mean we could… or…”
“Or?” Lennie asked with a laugh.
I curved my hands around her backside and tugged her toward me. “Or we could find out just how sturdy this desk is.”
She released a bright “Ha!” her eyes twinkling even in the crappy fluorescent lighting. “Someone trying to live out their Boss-Employee fantasy?”
“Didn’t know I had one until now,” I practically growled as I ran my index finger along her thigh, just under the hem of her shorts.
“You can’t wait ten minutes for us to get home?” she asked, still chuckling even as I rose slightly from my seat to bring our faces closer together.
“Doesn’t really work for the fantasy,” I retorted before brushing my lips fleetingly across hers.
“You… are… silly…” she stated, punctuating each of her words with a kiss. “No self control.”
“Stop walking around lookin’ like heaven on earth and I might get some.”
“You’re the only one who thinks that,” she said with a giggle as my lips meant the curve of her neck.
“Good… even though you’re blatantly lying to me,” I retorted.
Just as I moved to bring our mouths together, my phone rang shrilly from the desk, and instantly the mood was ruined. “Dammit…”
“Who is it?” Lennie asked, eyes wide with worry, it being one in the morning and all.
“Is she okay?”
“I gotta feeling she’s just fine,” I said with a frustrated sigh as I picked up. Sure enough, my mom was just fine. Except for the fact that she’d caught my teenage son trying to sneak his girlfriend into her house in the wee hours of the morning. I hung up and rose from my seat. “We ain’t even fuckin left yet and he’s already trying to pull shit…”
“Colt, breathe,” Lennie stated calmly, placing her palm against my chest. “He’s fifteen. He’s supposed to get caught doing stupid shit.”
“So I’m just supposed to let him?”
“That’s not what I’m saying,” Lennie argued, “but going in there and flying off the handle isn’t going to help.”
“He wants me to trust him to stay at the house alone and he’s at my mom’s for a couple hours and pulls this shit,” I stated. “How am I supposed to trust him, Len?”
“I don’t know the answer to that,” she said softly, meekly.
“Come on. I need to go kill my kid.”
“What, Len?” I snapped, stopping halfway to the door. She just shook her head and slid off the desk, following a few paces behind me. Yep, that fun, romantic mood? Well and truly gone.

“I don’t get you, kid,” I stated, pacing the wood floor of what used to be our home but was now my mother’s. “You beg me to trust you. You beg me to let you stay on your own, and you’re not even here for three fuckin’ hours and you’re already pulling some stunt.”
“It’s not like that,” Beau mumbled, his eyes not leaving the floor.
“Yeah? Well tell me what it’s like then, Beau, cuz it ain’t lookin’ real good for you right now.”
Beau’s eyes lifted to a silent Lennie, sitting silently in a chair across from him. “Will you tell him to…”
“No, Beau. Talk to me. Not her.”
“I’ll talk to you if you calm the fuck down!”
“Watch your mouth,” I snarled. “You may think your grown, but I promise you, you ain’t.”
“Maybe if you stopped treating me like a kid!”
“MAYBE IF YOU STOPPED ACTING LIKE ONE!” I caught Lennie wince at the tone of my voice and took a breath. “Talk.”
“Maggie got in a fight with her parents,” Beau began, his eyes once again on the slats of wood. “I wasn’t trying to sneak her over here to mess around or anything. She was sad. She just needed to talk. That’s all we were doing, Dad, I swear.”
“Explains why your grandma caught you in your room with the door locked, huh?” I retorted. Beau rolled his eyes and I bristled. “Lose the attitude, kid. It ain’t doing you any favors.”
“Why does it matter?” he asked, raising his shoulders to his ears. “Anything I tell you, you don’t believe anyway, so why the fuck do I bother saying anything?”
“Curse at me one more time, Beau. I dare you.”
“Enough,” Lennie’s voice interrupted, hard and firm. “You two bickering like children isn’t going to solve anything.”
“Tell him that,” Beau mumbled.
“Look,” Lennie continued, “I’m sorry Maggie is having issues with her folks, but I kinda doubt this little situation is gonna help that. Regardless of your intent, Beau, sneaking around makes you look guilty…”
“What was I supposed to do?!” Beau cried, flinging his hands into the air. “I just wanted to hug her. I just wanted to tell her it’d be okay and get her to stop crying.”
“And that’s incredibly sweet,” Lennie stated, softly. “But, sweetie, all you had to do was tell your grandma that. She would’ve understood. All you had to do was talk to her, talk to us. We’re not as cold hearted as you seem to think.”
“He is,” Beau argued, tipping his chin in my direction.
My fists clenched, but Lennie went on before I could snap. “He’s not. He just acts like it sometimes,” she stated, though she wasn’t looking at me. She climbed out of her chair and crossed over to my son, kneeling before placing her hand gently on his knee. “Honey, if you want us to trust you to be at the house alone, we’ve gotta be able to trust you when you’re here, first.”
“I know.”
“Next time just talk to your grandma. Or me. Or your dad…” He scoffed, but she didn’t stop. “If you want us to trust you, you gotta communicate, okay?”
He nodded and sniffed and finally met her eyes. “Okay. I’m sorry.”
“I know you are, sugar,” she said, brushing his sandy curls from his forehead. “Go get some sleep. Tomorrow will be brighter.”
“What time you guys leave?”
“We gotta be in Atlanta by eight.”
“Okay. I’ll see you when you get home,” Beau stated before wrapping his arms around her shoulders and squeezing. “Love you.”
“I love you, too, sweet boy,” she practically whispered, stroking the back of his head and pressing her lips to his cheek. “Be good, okay?”
“I will.” He rose from his seat and barely looked at me, muttering a quick “Bye” before turning toward his room and disappearing.
Lennie and I stood there in silence before my mom made her way back in. “Sorry I bothered you,” she said a bit sheepishly. “Just shocked the heck outta me.”
“Of course it did. We needed to know,” Lennie smiled sweetly. She hugged my mother tightly. “We’ll see you in a week.”
“Have a good trip.”
“Bye, Ma,” I stated, planting a kiss on her cheek.
“Get home safe.”
I gave her a nod and held the door open for Lennie, who just walked past me and straight to the truck. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath before I followed, anticipating the fight I knew was coming.
We rode in silence for a few moments before I couldn’t take it any more. “You mad at me now, too?”
“I’m not mad,” she insisted, though not very convincingly, as her eyes stayed locked on the window.
“Yep. That’s why it looks like you’re about to tuck n roll at any given moment.”
Lennie sighed heavily and shook her head. “I just don’t understand why you have to talk to him like that.”
“Like what, Len?”
“Like he’s a total screw-up,” she answered. “I get that he messed up, but what kid doesn’t? You’d get farther if you gave him a bit of understanding.”
“Like you do when you’re coddling him?”
She went stick straight. “I do not coddle him. I just don’t blow my top the very second I talk to him.”
“I don’t either.”
I rolled my eyes. “Glad you got this parenting thing all figured out, Len,” I muttered under my breath, though judging by the glare she shot me, she definitely heard me.
“Glad you’ve got the condescending thing down, COLT,” she retorted mockingly before going silent once again.
The only sounds the rest of the drive were the tires crunching the gravel and our breathing. The second I put the truck into park, Lennie hopped out, heading to the house without so much as stopping to pet the dogs who were giddy over our arrival.
“Len, come on,” I groaned pleadingly as I got out and shut the door. “This isn’t how I want to start our vacation.”
“Try not being an asshole, then,” she snapped before disappearing into the house, the screen door slamming like we were in a hurricane behind her.
“Fûck!” I shouted, delivering a swift kick to the tire of my truck. Hurt more than I anticipated so then I jumped around a bit. I looked down at Randy and Milo who were staring at me whining. “What? You guys wanna be mad at me too?”
Randy gave me a bit of a bark, but Milo just leaned forward and licked my hand.
“At least someone likes me,” I mumbled, scratching his head a bit before I headed inside. I could already hear the shower running, which I knew meant Lennie wasn’t interested in continuing our conversation. Really screwed the pooch on this one, Hayes.

Apparently the length of her shower wasn’t long enough away from me because she kept herself locked in the bathroom long after the water turned off. Finally, I had enough of laying in bed in the silence so I got up and tapped the door with my knuckle.
“Will you please stop ignoring me?” I asked, my voice soft. “I’m sorry.”
“You can’t just say I’m sorry because you want a fight to be over, Colt. You have to mean it,” her voice came back. I could tell she was trying for it to be angry, but it came off more sad than anything else.
“I do, baby. I am sorry,” I insisted. “I shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have snapped at you.”
“You shouldn’t have snapped at Beau either.”
“I know.”
She cracked open the door a bit, and steam billowed out. “We were literally telling him the same thing. Notice how he heard me, and argued with you? Why do you think that is?”
“I get it,” I groaned. “He just knows how to push my buttons.”
“He’s supposed to. He’s your son. It’s your job not to let him,” Lennie stated. “He wouldn’t react like that if you didn’t come at him in the same way.”
“I know. I’m trying. I just… I don’t want him to mess up his life, ya know?” I stated. “He’s already got colleges scouting him for baseball. If he goes and knocks her up or… gets arrested at some party or something, that’s all shot…”
“Not necessarily,” Lennie contradicted. “But banning him from having sex and partying sure ain’t gonna stop it from happening, Colt. It’ll just make him get better at sneaking around.”
“You think it already has?” I asked, my face contorted with concern. “You think they’ve…?”
She shrugged. “Hasn’t said a word to me. But let’s not pretend like you were an angel at his age. How old were you when you lost it at summer camp?”
“Fourteen,” I mumbled. She just stared at me. “Okay, okay. I hear you.”
“If you want him to talk to you, Colt, you gotta be willing to listen.”
“I AM.”
“You don’t act like it sometimes.”
“I know,” I sighed, hanging my head. “I honestly don’t mean to be such a dick, I just…”
“Baby, I know you don’t,” Lennie assured, her voice now soft and sweet like it usually was. She reached up and brushed her hand against my cheek and I gratefully leaned into her touch. “I know you’re trying. And I know you get frustrated with him, hell, I do too. But you’re the adult here. You’re in control.”
I chuckled a bit at that. “Sure doesn’t feel like it sometimes.”
“I know.”
“I’m sorry,” I stated, putting a hand on her towel-covered hip and pulling her toward me to plant a kiss on her head. “Despite how I act sometimes, I really don’t want both my kid and my wife to hate me.”
“I ain’t your wife yet, Cowboy.”
I cocked an eyebrow. “Yeah? Fairly certain I remember marrying you in the fourth grade…”
She let out a laugh that sounded a bit like a wind chime. “I hardly think our grade school playground wedding counts. Pretty sure you pushed me off the slide right after.”
“I did not!” I said with a laugh as she pulled back and headed toward our bed. “I tripped!”
I watched as she plucked a Tshirt of mine from the dresser and shrugged it on, tossing her towel on a nearby chair. “Am I forgiven?” I asked, still posted against the doorframe.
She gave me a sweet smile as she grabbed her lotion and sank into the mattress. “Always, Colton. Always.”
Thank God for that.
Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.