Soaring (Magdalene #2)
Author:Kristen Ashley

My son, Auden wrestled.

 

The instant he started doing that, my parents had lost their minds (quietly), horrified that he didn’t turn his attention to something like polo, archery or sailing.

 

Conrad, an athlete his whole life, had been beside himself with happiness.

 

As for me, I didn’t like watching other boys trying to pin my son to a mat. I found it distressing. And unfortunately, I was not good at hiding that.

 

In the end, Auden got very good. He also got to the point he didn’t like me at his matches, and not just because I usually took that opportunity to confront Conrad and/or Martine, but because I tried to be supportive. However, since I really wished he’d chosen baseball, I’d failed in demonstrating that support.

 

But staring at that placard, I knew that youth athletics programs were always needing money, doing fundraising drives, selling candy bars or moms setting up bake sales.

 

And I intended to have a massive house sale. Sell all the old in order to bring in the new. And since both sets of my grandparents, and my parents, had all given me substantial trust funds on which I could live more than comfortably, I didn’t need money.

 

I’d intended to give the house sale proceeds to charity.

 

Looking at that sign, I tightened my hold on my phone, grabbed my purse and threw open the door to my car. I got out, walked to the door of the gym, and before my courage could fail me, I pushed through.

 

I barely got in when I heard, “Nice ride.”

 

I looked to my left to see a man in track pants and a loose fitting tank top that had openings that hung low down his sides almost to his waist, this exposing the muscled ridges of his ribs. He was staring out the window toward my car.

 

I had a black Mercedes SLK 350. A beautiful car. A car I loved. A car that was ridiculous for a mother of two and in a few months might be ridiculous for a winter in Maine.

 

“Thank you,” I replied.

 

“Need help?”

 

This came from another direction and I turned my head again to see a man approaching me.

 

He was tall, taller than Conrad, taller than Mickey (who was also taller than Conrad). He was built. He was rough.

 

And he was gorgeous.

 

Men from Maine.

 

Who knew?

 

“Hello,” I replied as he kept coming my way. “I’m looking for someone who knows something about the boxing league.”

 

“Which one?” he asked.

 

In this sleepy town, there was more than one?

 

“The junior one,” I answered.

 

He stopped several feet in front of me and crossed his arms on his chest. “That’d be me.”

 

“Oh, excellent,” I mumbled, staring at him, thinking he was almost as handsome as Mickey (but not quite), which was a feat.

 

“You got a kid you wanna enroll?” he queried.

 

“No, my son wrestles,” I told him, straightening my shoulders proudly. A mom’s reflex action, the kind any mom should have (in my opinion), even if she wasn’t all that thrilled with his chosen endeavor.

 

He grinned. It, as well, was almost as devastating as Mickey’s. But not quite.

 

“Wrestling works,” he muttered.

 

“Yes,” I agreed. “Anyway, I was just wondering if the junior boxing league takes donations?”

 

“If you mean money, then fuck yeah,” he said, surprisingly coarsely. “If you mean equipment, and it’s new, then another yeah. But if you mean equipment that’s used, I’d have to take a look. Kids need good shit. Don’t like them sparrin’ in somethin’ that’s supposed to protect ’em but could end up hurtin’ ’em.”

 

I thought this was a good policy, but he obviously already knew that so I didn’t share my thoughts.

 

I said, “I mean money. In a way. Or not in a way, as it would definitely be money. What I mean is…in the future. You see, I just moved to Magdalene and I’m having a house sale. I thought, perhaps, the league could use the proceeds.”

 

At that, he smiled, which was also attractive, and he did this as he uncrossed his arms from his wide chest, planted his hands on his hips and decreed, “Great idea.” He then turned, started walking away from me and kept talking, “Come to the office. I’ll get you Josie’s number. Bet most the moms have shit they’d sell off. You get with Josie, you can make it a thing.”

 

“Josie?” I asked, deciding it best to follow him, something I did, the heels of the flats I wore that I was pretty sure my mother also had (in every color) making muted sounds against the wood floors.

 

“My wife,” he said, turning his head to look over his shoulder at me. “She’s taken charge of fundraising.”

 

Taken charge?

 

That gave the impression she didn’t get involved before, and I thought that was strange.

 

I thought this because no matter what Conrad was involved in, what he needed, I did it. For instance, me to give a fabulous dinner party, or show at a business dinner in an appropriate dress and be charming, or become involved on the board of a charitable organization.

 

I didn’t just do it. I gave it my everything.