one.

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Breathe.






Alright, just like I rehearsed. Deep breath in.

"My name is Alana Davis."

Deep breath out.

"I just turned eighteen. "

Deep breath in.

"And on my eighteenth birthday I received a letter from my grandfather."

Deep breath out.

"This letter. Reading it once. Twice. Then over again with my grandfather. Entails that this tavern, that I now stand in, is a piece of a much larger puzzle."

"And what, pray tell, is that jigsaw puzzle?" The woman who stood behind the bar in front of me, asked. She stood with one eyebrow up to the sky and in her hand held a short glass of Bourbon.

I took a deep breath in, closed my eyes, and said, "The puzzle to find my mother." I opened to find the woman mid-sip then suddenly choking.

"WHAT?!" she said, coughing really loud into her hand. "WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!"

"What?" I asked stepping away from the bar.

"You said you came here to find who?" She crained her neck at me.

"My...mother," I squinted. Never in my life have I seen this woman and she's acting like I'm calling her my mother. Is she my-- "are you...my mother?" I asked low enough, even I couldn't hear it. But she did.

Pppffffffftttttttt HAHAHAHAHAHA

A hearty ass laugh erupted from this woman. She giggled and said, "little girl-" She picked up the half empty glass next to her and continued, "-if I was your mama, you think you'd be here in the fuck ass tavern?" She pointed around me. "This rinky dink, abandoned, funky ass tavern." She chugged what was left in her glass. "No. Girl. You wouldn't. In fact." She leaned over the marble green bar, "I have no idea where you'd be, because you wouldn't be able to find me," she rolled her eyes and poured more brown liquid into her glass. She's gotta be drunk now. So don't take her brash words to heart, Alana. I cleared my throat.

"Well I...uh... got this letter that said that--"

"Lemme see that," she waved her hand asking for the piece of paper that held secrets. Probably. I gave it to her and she mumbled to herself for a minute.

"Oh. My." He eyes got big. And she put down her glass. "Fuuuuucck," she looked up at me. "Bubblegum," she breathed out. "Your mother," she hurried from around the bar. Now I can get a better look at her.

This woman is beautiful. Almost like a doll that has gotten better with age. She was a middle aged women, about mid forties. Her hair was a short brush cut, the color of life at 1am. And two shaved slits in her right eyebrow. Life has carried her here to this abandoned tavern, but with the light that sparked in her dark brown eyes, you could tell she made life her bitch. Although beautiful, she was...intense - is the best word for her right now. I dropped my gaze. It almost felt like looking at her was against the rules.

"Look at me, little girl." She crossed her arms. Muscular. Broad. Gorgeous. "Where did you get this letter?" She squinted.

"My grandfather," I looked up at her. She's tall. Athletic built. Solid. Gorgeous.

She bit on the inside of her left cheek and turned away from me in thought. Exposing a dimple I didn't know she had. "Get rid of it." She said stale.

"What?!" I shrieked higher than I'd like. She turned to face me again.

"Nothing good has came from that woman. Nothing at all." She said quickly. Is she? Holding back- tears? "I suggest you burn that piece of shit. Before you get in a world of trouble you can't get out of."

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