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Christian

Ah shit, Alex

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Ah shit, Alex...

His hands immediately shot up to his mouth as if he could back pedal on the words that had already been said. He looked absolutely mortified.

The room remained quiet for what felt like an eternity. I couldn't recall a single moment during my existence where anyone had cut my mother off.

"Care to elaborate?" My mother finally spoke, breaking that silence. Her words cut through the air like daggers, and I could literally hear Alex's breathing hitch.

"It- It's n-not- I didn't mean-" he stumbled over his words. "Absolutely no disrespect to you, I just didn't-" he paused again. My mother remained silent as she looked at him expectantly. She wasn't going to let him take back those words now. She was demanding an answer.

His eyes closed for a moment as he took a deep breath.

"I've been with this company for three years now. As an employee here, I can tell you with complete and total honesty, Christian is a total dipshit."

I looked at Alex, eyes bulging straight out of my goddamn sockets as I heard those words leave his mouth.

"Like and I mean the, "I'm not sure if I'll still have a job tomorrow" type of dipshit. He's hot headed. He's easily angered. He likes to keep the offices in sub zero temperatures regardless of the weather outside-"

Brad tried (and fucking failed) to stifle a laugh that broke out unexpectedly. I shot him one icy glare.

"He's late to the meetings he schedules, and has a blatant total disregard for anyone else's time-"

"Alex..." I started, but was interrupted.

"Let him continue." My mother cut me off almost immediately. When I glanced over at her, I realized she was listening intently to every word Alex was saying.

Lord Jesus Christ almighty please tell me there's a "but" somewhere in there.

"But-" Alex continued. Halle-fucking-lujah. "-As crazy as it sounds, the guy has a few redeeming qualities."

A few?

"We didn't meet on the best of circumstances." Alex explained, "He actually heard me cussing him out over the phone to a coworker because I had to work some unexpected overtime... yet he still offered me a job.

"He's shown genuine interest in my concerns with the company, and what he could do to improve. He's included me in projects I thought I had no business being a part of, and I've surprising learned a shit ton-"

"Language." My mother interjected almost immediately.

"Yes ma'am." Alex nodded gingerly. "I've learned a lot from him. Yeah, he's not anywhere near as stable as most of his employees would like him to be... but he knows his shi- stuff. He knows his stuff, and it's clear he wants to move this company in the right direction." Alex took another deep breath before continuing. "The bottom line is, I don't think you made a mistake here... you don't peg me as a woman who makes any."

His gaze held my mothers as they looked at each other.

I stared at Alex myself, unable to peel my eyes away from him.

I was at a loss for words.

And for the first time in my entire life, I saw my mother at a loss for words herself. She just stared at him. I couldn't tell what was running through her mind but I was really hoping it wasn't homicide.

Like really hoping.

"I'm sorry." Alex rushes out a few seconds later, as if that apology was going to smooth over whatever hell had just erupted at this dinner table.

"No apology necessary." My mother said with a smile. Both Brad and I glanced her way, then exchanged glances with each other.

That was maybe the first genuine smile we'd seen our mother give in quite some years.

-

Dinner, for the most part, went by as best as it could. Surprisingly enough, my mother didn't take anymore jabs at anyone at the table. Instead, she bored Alex with our companies history for the next hour.

Crazy enough, Alex looked legitimately interested. He asked my mother questions about the how business was started, and her early life during the start up phase. My mother seemed happy to have someone to talk to about all this.

Brad and I had heard the same speech over and over again throughout our childhood to the point where we generally ran in the opposite direction whenever the topic arose.

Well, I ran in the opposite direction.

Brad still tried to entertain this bullshit. Over the years, however, you could see his disinterest start to show.

It was finally time for Alex, Brad, and I to say our goodbyes. Brad had an early meeting tomorrow, while Alex and I had our flight to catch.

Before we could leave, my mother did something completely unexpected. She gave Alex a hug.

Brad and I were still waiting for Ashton Kutcher to pop out behind a couch or something and inform us that we really on an episode of Punk'd.

She gave Brad and I a goodbye kiss before walking us out towards the entrance of the home. Steve had pulled both cars back around and was waiting patiently for us.

"Come visit again soon." She spoke to me as Brad and Alex walked further ahead. "We have a lot to discuss." I gave her a nod, but my eyebrows furrowed in confusion. I wasn't sure what she had meant by that.

-

As soon as Alex and I settled in my car, and started pulling out of the large entrance gates, I turned to him.

"You almost got us killed tonight." I more or less stated. He was very clearly avoiding my gaze at this point.

"Yes." He finally admitted.

"That could have gone a number of ways." I continued. He gave me another nod.

"But you did well." I settled on. His head turned towards me, and I saw his face visibly light up. "What do you say we go for a little drive? I think we can spare an hour or two."

He bit the inside of his lips like he usually did when he was contemplating something...

...But eventually, he gave me a nod.

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