1954 Dodge M37 V41

Glen woke up at seven-thirty in spite of having been up until one in the morning, and was on his way to Late Apex‘ offices by eight.  Molly planned to meet him for lunch, as they’d done every day this week, and looking forward to that got him out of bed early.  He was finding himself able to relax around her for short stretches, which was refreshing. 

His phone rang as he was going out the door.  That was odd.  The only person who might be calling him was his editor, who would have waited until he got there to talk to him, or Molly, who was almost certainly still asleep.

He was wrong on both counts; it was Lexi.  “Hi!” she said, chipper and cheerful even from halfway around the world.  “Do you have any idea how hard it’s been to wait for a decent hour to call you?”

“Your impatience is duly noted,” he said with a smile in his voice.  “What’s up?”

“I got cars,” she said.  “They might want rescuing and I might could use the kids’ help.”

“Everyone?”  He was perversely glad she remembered that “the kids” meant the Road Associates.  Lexi was a natural with secret languages and codewords, though.

“Whoever’s available to come to Ile du Soleil on short notice.”

“Sounds intriguing.  How soon?”

She sighed pleasantly.  “Oh, whenever.  Wanna know what kinds of cars we’re talking about?”

“It doesn’t really matter.  I’ll ask around.”

“Oh, I love you guys.  How’s Roger doing?”

“Last I heard he’s up and about, but they aren’t saying much about his chances, so I don’t think it’s good.”

“We should have a party for him.”

“We should,” Glen agreed. 

“And you should have told me sooner.”

Her admonishing tone was half kidding, half serious.  The excuse that he didn’t know exactly where she was or what her phone number was rose in his head, and he automatically struck it down, realizing as he did that it was because Molly wouldn’t have accepted it.  “You were on vacation,” he said.  “I didn’t want to bother you.”

“My friends never bother me.  Except sometimes for Cygnet.  But I’m allowed to tell her so, so it’s okay.”

“I can see that.”

“See what?”

“Cygnet being bothersome.”

“Oh, shut up, you hardly know her.”

“We had dinner the other night.  I’m getting to know the family pretty well, I’d say.”  He had been more social in the past few weeks than he’d been in six months last year, in fact.  He was meeting endless strings of her friends, and many of them were mutual friends of Lexi’s as well, like Cygnet.

Lexi sounded horrified.  “You had dinner with Cygnet?”

“Yes, the three of us.  And a couple of other women, too.”

“Oh.  Oh!  A group dinner.  I’m sorry, I’m an idiot, I thought you meant you and Cygnet alone.”

“This would be a problem, if I did?”

“Huge problem.  Cygnet’s a nice enough girl–and only just nice enough, truth be told–but the guys she goes out with should come with the same warning that insulin needles do:  Use Once and Destroy.  And I didn’t make that up, she did.  I can tell by your stunned silence that you think I’m being all catty about Cygnet, but there’s nothing I’m saying to you that I wouldn’t say to her face.  In fact, she’d probably tell you, if you asked.”

Glen smiled.  He had to admit that he enjoyed being around Molly and her friends.  “I don’t think I will, thanks.”