Most Eligible Baby Daddy(6)

By: Chance Carter

“Let me guess,” Kelly said with a wink. “A guy? An ex-boyfriend, or husband?”

“An ex-asshole,” Elle said.

“I hear you, sister,” Kelly said.

Kelly left Elle alone to eat, but Elle kept an eye on her. Without really knowing why, Elle was very excited to see a girl her own age in the town. She secretly prayed that it would be possible for her to set up a life for herself there, not least because she didn’t have gas money to get back out of the mountains.

“So,” Kelly said as she cleared away Elle’s dinner, “are you just passing through?”

Elle looked up at her and smiled. She knew an offer of friendship when she saw it. “Actually, I don’t have anywhere to go.”

Kelly nodded. “Is that your car parked outside?”

Elle looked out the window at it. “The broken down wreck with an empty tank? Yes.”

“And you don’t have a place to stay?”

Elle laughed. “I’m staying at the five-star ski resort on the top of the hill,” she said.

“Right,” Kelly said. “That place is like a thousand bucks a night.”

“What is it?”

“Well, you might think you’re at the ends of the earth up here, but people actually come from all over the world for the pristine ski slopes. They usually come in and out by helicopter, fly up to the top of the slopes by helicopter, and rarely venture out of the grounds of the hotel. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever served a single guest of the hotel here at the diner.”

“They’re too exclusive for the likes of simple townsfolk?”

“Exactly. Too exclusive, too rich. They’re from New York and LA. They’re here for the ski slopes, not the local cuisine. Some of my friends work there. They say we’re not missing much. Rich foreigners and businessmen who don’t know how to have much fun, other than a glass of port by the fire in the evening.”

“It does look pretty cozy,” Elle said.

Kelly shrugged. “You want cozy? I’ve got cozy.”


“If you’re willing to work for it.”


“You ever waitress before?”

“Girl, I was born with a tray in my hands. I started as a dishwasher when I was still a kid. I’ve worked in more diners than you can imagine.”

“Well, as you can see, we’re kind of shorthanded around here.”

“You’re kidding me?”

“I’m not kidding, Elle. If you want a job and a place to stay, we could use you here.”

“You are kidding me,” Elle said, rising to her feet.

She could already feel the tears coming to her eyes but didn’t care. She was so relieved she wanted to kiss Kelly. Instead, she threw her arms around her and squeezed her tighter than was probably appropriate for a job offer of waitress at a small town diner.

“It’s not the Hilton,” Kelly went on, “but the local mechanic, Denny, rents some rooms nearby. Nothing fancy, like I said, but we could get you a room there.”

Elle just nodded. She was doing her best not to burst into tears. “Yes,” she said. “Yes, Kelly, yes. I’ll take it.”

Chapter 4


ELLE SLEPT BETTER THAT NIGHT than she had in a very long time. She felt safe not having to worry about Gris sharing her bed. Gris had always had a temper, but it had gotten a lot worse during the final year of the relationship, and the deterioration of her life had crept up on Elle a little at a time. If she’d realized all at once what kind of a guy Gris was, she’d never have allowed herself to get mixed up with him. But because it had happened little by little, over time, she’d allowed herself to build up excuses, one at a time, to explain his abusive ways.

She felt ashamed now for even allowing it to happen, and she realized the enormous emotional stress it had placed on her.

Just being in the little attic loft above some dingy bar owned by the local mechanic felt like a palace to her. Kelly had helped her light a fire in the ashy hearth in the corner. Then she’d showed Elle how to work the shower in the bathroom. There was no kitchen, just the bedroom with it’s own rustic bathroom, but there was a charred kettle that could be swung over the fire.