Authors: Jayne Blue
One entire wall
was devoted to hand painted signs about living by the lake. “We Don’t Skinny
Dip We Chunky Dunk.” “Life’s Better at the Lake.” “At the Lake We Do Beer
Thirty and Wine O’Clock.” I watched as Jules got lost in the lake like
philosophy slogans. I’d seen all of them a million times.
Her light reading
was interrupted by a grand entrance. From the back, separated from the front of
the store, by rows and rows of beads came a woman with wild dark hair, it was
streaked gray in the front. She had scarves around her head, her neck, her
wrists, pretty much anywhere she could find real estate, she’d draped a scarf.
Her dark hair was
so different from my own. But her smile, that’s what I got, that’s what most
people said anyway.
swept forward and hugged me hard. She also rubbed the prickly hair of my Mohawk.
” I said.
And Jules Maldonado’s
jaw dropped wide open.
My mom had that
effect on most people.
“I love this
hair!” The gypsy woman shopkeeper rubbed her hands, with so many rings I couldn’t
count, up and down Ryder’s center patch of hair.
“Yeah? I thought
you loved it when I have it long.” Ryder’s smile was her smile. Otherwise, the
two people couldn’t look more different. She was dark and curvy, he was long
and blonde. But that smile she gave him looked exactly like the one that Ryder
“I can see your
face. You have such a beautiful face!” And this woman pulled Ryder in for a
hug. He accepted it. To say I was confused was an understatement. What was this
“Who is this
pretty?” Ryder’s Mom peered around his shoulder at me. I’d been stuck to one
spot on the floor. Taking in the scene. Wondering about what it would be like
to be raised by this woman who screamed “free spirit” with every scarf and
“This is Jules.”
Ryder turned and put a hand out for me. His electric sex vibe replaced with
something that made me feel safe like he was leading me into something that I
shouldn’t be afraid of. His eyes were soft and so were his Mother’s.
Welcome. I’m Violet.” And her eyes were the color of her name. Purple. I’d
never seen eyes like hers. She was stunning. I wondered at what Ryder’s father
looked like. He must have been a tall drink of blonde water.
“Hello.” She took
my hand and turned it palm facing up. I didn’t draw away. It was the opposite.
Her kind smile and beautiful eyes had me moving closer. Violet looked from my
eyes to my hand.
“Oh, she’s an
artist!” Violet said. Had Ryder told her something about me already? I didn’t
“Mother.” Ryder gently
pulled his mother back a step by the shoulders, and she let go of my hand.
“What? I see what
I see, and she’s and artist.” She put a hand on her hip and gave him a defiant
“Sorry Jules. Mom
reads people immediately. It’s part of her business here at Light the Path.”
“Don’t be so
cynical young man,” Violet said.
“Nice to meet you,
Violet. And thank you for saying I’m an artist. I’m trying to be.”
“Aha! See? My
first impression is never wrong. Except for his father. I messed that up big
time.” She leaned back towards me and out of Ryder’s grasp and put a hand up to
her mouth as if she was sharing a secret with me.
“He was this
blonde Dutch behemoth I met in Saugatuck on a wine-soaked weekend. I mistook a
dark blue aura for a blue aura with him. Blue is calm and sensitive. Dark
blue’s a disaster. Shows real fear of self-expression. Well, he was so handsome
my readings were off. Otherwise, I am accurate as a Swiss Watch.”
“Ugh. Mother. Can
you dial it down one crazy notch?” Ryder was looking a little embarrassed, but
I loved this woman already.
she waved Ryder off and went on, “You’re a bright pink Jules, that’s artistic,
sensitive, passionate and pure. All excellent qualities.”
“Thank you,” I
said because it sounded like a high compliment.
“So, you’re here
to show me some of that art.” And I looked over at Ryder. He had put his hands
up in surrender.
reflexively put my hand in my bag. I had all the money to my name and the
jewelry that I’d made stashed in that bag.
“Actually, Mom has
hit the nail on the head. I thought you might try to sell some of your work.”
“I never, uh, I
don’t really know where to start with that.” I was feeling nervous, and my face
was getting hot. Being an art student is one thing but actually selling something
for cash was something else. It was business. And I didn’t know a damn thing
about selling my jewelry.
“Here’s as good a
place as any. I get a lot of people in all summer. It’s my busy season,” Violet
said, and I looked around. She did have jewelry along with her new age fair and
the tourist trinkets. Maybe my stuff could fit in here.
“Okay, well, I
don’t have my pottery but can I show you my jewelry?” I was usually not this
shy but putting my pieces out for anyone to judge scared the shit out of me. I
could hear my Dad’s mean voice saying my projects were a waste of time and that
it was ridiculous. He’d done such a good job of undermining my degree that I
was feeling very vulnerable. What if they were terrible?
“Stop listening to
the negative voice Jules and let’s take a look.” How did she know what I was
listening to? Ryder may be annoyed with his mother, but I was quickly convinced
that she was, in fact, reading me like a Swiss Watch!
I opened my bag
and pulled out the case of jewelry that had been my senior project. I had half
a dozen rings, bracelets, and amulet style necklaces. They were hammered metal
and semi-precious gems. And they were my heart on a ring.
Violet guided me
to her display counter and had me place each piece on a black velvet cloth.
said as I put out the bracelets. I felt my apprehension disappear as she picked
up my ring and turned it around.
“I tried to show
the colors of the river near my school with these.” There were blue stones
mounted on hammered silver bands.
unique. Substantial,” Violet said, and Ryder looked at me and nodded his head.
It looked like some sort of I told you so gesture. Who were these people?
“Thank you. You
really like them?” I was trying to hold back the urge to hug Violet. I was so
grateful for her enthusiastic reaction.
“Of course. And
you four-pointed that art school didn’t you?” Again she’d read me.
talk turkey, enough of your tricks. She’s going to get scared that you’re
boiling a stew with the eye of newt in the back.”
Here’s my offer Jules, I’ll give you one-thousand dollars for, what do we have
here, one dozen pieces.”
“Uh, you want all
selling each piece to me for slightly under one-hundred bucks. I’m going to
triple that. And I foresee it happening before tomorrow night.”
going in the display out front. You’ll see.”
“It’s a deal.”
Part of me was scared to part with my precious project, but then that was the
point. If I wanted to support myself without Daddy, it meant producing and
selling. Not holding on to each piece like it was my baby. Even though when I
created the jewelry that’s exactly the connection I felt.
“So, what do we
call this jewelry of yours?” Violet asked me.
“I don’t know what
“Well, Mom maybe a
psychic, aura-reading, Fruit Loop, but she’s also got an MBA in marketing,”
“You people are
really hard to peg?” I said, and it was the truth. I had stumbled into a biker
hero and a psychic business woman in my flight away from Daddy and David
“We get that a lot,”
Ryder said, and he put an arm around his mother. Their easy banter and clear
affection opened something in my heart for Ryder that went beyond the hot
moments we’d shared just a few hours ago. The way he was with her was more
dangerous than that smile. He loved and respected Violet. This woman who raised
him. And in my entire life, I’d never seen a biker do anything like it.
Ryder had helped
me turn my passion into a little profit. And he’d also shown me a family in a
way that had me speechless.
“So, what do you
think, name-wise?” Violet asked again.
“How about Julery?
Add r and y to my name?”
Violet grabbed me into a tight hug. Just as sure as I’d made a huge turn in my
life when I left my Daddy and the Devil’s Hawks it felt like another step was
happening right now. I hoped like hell the pieces would sell. If they didn’t, I
hadn’t the first idea on how to support myself. On how to live without the ties
I’d cut to my Dad.
Ryder and his
mother talked a bit more. I tried to process all that had happened and the two
made arrangements on how to connect the next day on his way out of town.
The next day. I
couldn’t think about it. I had to keep making one step at a time, or I’d be
crushed under the weight of the grown-up decisions I kept making at every turn.
Ryder helped me onto his bike, and we rode back to the campsite. It was sunset.
Our bellies were full from dinner, and my mind was racing with the hope that
Violet bought my jewelry and thought she could sell it.
There was a chill
in the evening air. Somehow retreating into my mind and the events of the last
two days had pulled me away from Ryder, from the pure pleasure it was to be
near him. But he didn’t push me. He busied himself making a fire.
It was watching
him work that brought me out of my head. He was beautiful. He’d exchanged the
jeans and leather he’d worn in town for his camp uniform of sexy tight t-shirt
and board shorts. He really was a hybrid biker beach bum.
As he worked on
the fire, did something or other in the tent, and generally let me be I
realized I didn’t want him to anymore. It was suddenly very lonely on the
emerged on his knees from the little pup tent.
“For what this
time?” And he raised an eyebrow at me. It was true, though. My poorly planned
escape would have died in the first ten minutes if he’d not been there.
“Well, this time,
it’s for introducing me to Violet.”
“Not sure if you
should be thanking me or I should be apologizing.”
“You saw. I was
raised in crazy aura.” Ryder waved his hands in the air to indicate what he
really thought of the auras.
“Well, she bought
my stuff. Is that because she’s crazy?” I was a little hurt at that thought.
“She may be a nut,
but she’s a hardcore business woman. Running a profitable new age shop in small
town Michigan for the last 25 years and making enough dough to survive takes
brains. She’s debt free, she’s independent, and she paid for my mechanic training
when I was done with high school. So while she’s nuts, she also wouldn’t buy
your stuff if she didn’t think she’d make money on it.”
“How did you know
she’d like it? She could have shot me down. Crushed my fragile dreams?”
Ryder closed the
distance between him and me on the picnic table bench. He looked very serious.
talented and your stuff is gorgeous. Just like you are.”
It seemed like
days since we’d kissed. And I thought back. It was hours when he’d kissed me in
the ally. May as well have been days if felt so long ago.
I leaned forward
and put my lips on his. I reached around and slid my nails lightly across his
back. This time, it was his turn to moan as I dragged them across the muscles.
He put his hands on my hips and lifted me to his lap. The contact of our lips was
never broken. His arms surrounded me.
I wanted to really
explain how I felt about what he’d done for me. About how I shouldn’t trust
him. But did. Completely.
But when we kissed,
I couldn’t think about anything else. I couldn’t form words. I could only reach
for more of him. His fingers on my skin turned me into a creature driven by
need and sensation.
Ryder pulled my
t-shirt over my head and unsnapped the button on my shorts. He popped me up on
my feet for a second and pulled them over my hips and down to my ankles. And then
he paused. He had his hands on my hips, and I watched his eyes scan from the
white panties up to the bra that covered me.
gorgeous as fuck,” he said, and I smiled. I loved his eyes on me almost as much
as his hands and lips on me.
He lifted his
fingers up and slid down both of my bra straps at the same time. The cups
barely covered me. He leaned forward and put his lips on the juncture between
them. I couldn’t help but sigh at the sensation of his lips as he slid them to
my nipple, moving the fabric out of the way as he went.
He paused again
and stood up in front of me.
“Get in the tent,”
he said. It wasn’t a request. As sweet as Ryder was to me in the last two days
he was as serious as hell. And right now he was in charge of me. He meant to do
whatever he wanted to me. And I couldn’t wait.
I did exactly as
he ordered me to and lay down on the sleeping bag that was open wide for the
two of us. Ryder climbed in on top of me. His hard edges fitting perfectly with
my soft curves.
“I love the way
you feel,” he said. And in my heart, I loved way more than just the touch of
We spent the night
exploring each other. Discovering each other. And ignoring everything else even
When the sun came up,
I would have hard decisions to make.
As he had the day
before Ryder woke before I did. He had a campfire, coffee, and food for me. He
was totally self-sufficient out here. I suspected he was even more so in his
auto body shop and with his club.