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Chapter 1

On a sunny October day LJ pulled the red mustang convertible up to the side of the road in front of a busy little coffee shop. Once he was parked straight and parallel to the curb he reached out to turn off the ignition. He sat back in his set and looked around at the people eyeing the car, especially the women. A smile crept across his face and he turned around in his seat to look at Lexie who was sitting quietly in her car seat and looking around at all the excitement of downtown Chicago.

“What do you think Lexie?” LJ asked her with a smile.

“Noisy!” she responded while covering her little ears. She had a little bit of a pebbles hair style going on as some of her dark brown hair was pulled up on top of her head and tied together with a pink bow that matched her pink overalls.

LJ couldn’t help but laugh as he hopped out of his seat and walked around the car to unbuckle Alexis from her seat. While doing so he was very much aware of the hot girls who were walking by seemed to take a second glance at the car or the adorable two year old.

“Cookie!” Lexie squealed excitedly, remembering when LJ was taking her out he had promised her a cookie.

“Yes we’ll get you a cookie,” he said with a chuckle as he pulled her up into his arms and began to carry her over to the coffee shop. He walked onto the outdoor patio that was gated off by a short black-ironed fence and tall evergreen bushes. Over in the far corner table LJ caught sight of his friend Mark who had his back to them and was busy doing something on his laptop. Sliding on to a chair at the same table across from his friend LJ was all smiles.

Mark looked up at LJ who was holding Alexis on his lap and shook his head. “That’s a nice car you drove here in, where did you get it because as far as I heard your dad wasn’t letting anyone else drive that car.”

“What he doesn’t know won’t hurt him and besides that car is a babe magnet. I’m serious I’ve had so many girls checking out the car it’s amazing.”

Mark couldn’t help but shake his head and laugh. LJ and Mark had met back at Princeton during their first year of school; both planning on pursuing careers in medicine. LJ is interested in trauma while Mark was studying for cardio. They both felt drawn to the other when they first met and it had a lot to do with both of them understanding the loss of a parent because while LJ lost his mother, Mark’s dad died of a sudden heart attack. Over the years the two became very close and it helped that they were both from Chicago. As their friendship had continued to grow the subject of LJ’s family’s past had come up once or twice but Mark had assured LJ his past didn’t bother him and that he believed LJ and his family were good people.

As the two friends continued to catch up a waitress came around to take their order and even offered to get LJ a highchair for little Lexie, The waitress couldn’t help but watch the cute adorable little girl and found herself unable to resist talking and playing with the two year old.

Mark sat back in his chair and watched the scene in front of him as the waitress talked with LJ and played with Lexie. She left for a moment to get their order and then soon returned and gave Lexie her cookie that she had been waiting for. When they were all settled the waitress told them to just call her over if they needed anything and just before walking off she reached out and tickled Lexie’s stomach and was rewarded with a giggle from the little girl.

“She’s adorable!” the waitress added before walking off to assist the other customers. LJ watched the hot waitress walk away and turned back to Mark with a huge smile on his face to see Mark eyeing him.

“You should be ashamed of yourself,” Mark told him with a chuckle.

“What?” LJ asked a bit confused.

“For using your little cousin to pick up girls,” Mark told him as he took a sip of his cola.

“Hey it’s not my fault women find her adorable but let me tell you I think she’s even better then the car” LJ informed him excitedly. “Isn’t that right Lexie, you’re a babe magnet!”

“Bab Manet!” Lexie squealed with cookie all over her face.

Both LJ and Mark couldn’t help but laugh at Lexie’s response. Mark shook his head and leaned back on his chair and glanced behind LJ and at the pretty blond and brunette sitting at a high table and bar stools. “Hey LJ hot blond and brunette at 11 o’clock” Mark said with a wink.

LJ raised his brow in curiosity and slowly and casually turned his head to spot the two girls who looked to be in their early twenties as well.

“All right Mark, watch and learn how my babe magnet works,” LJ told him. He turned Lexie around on his lap so that she could look over his shoulder at the girls sitting at the table across the patio. “Okay Lexie reel them in!” he told her with a smile.

It didn’t take long for the girls to notice Lexie and when they were both starring at her, Lexie gave them a cute little smile and waved so that neither of them could ignore her and soon were getting up from their seats.

“LJ their on the move” Mark said with a smile on his face. LJ smiled with a little nod knowing Lexie still was the ultimate babe magnet.

“Hey there cutie” the girl with blond hair and green eyes said as she touched Lexie’s small hand that rested on LJ’s shoulder.

“She’s adorable,” her friend with long straight brown and blue eyes said to LJ and Mark as her friend played with the cute giggling Lexie.

“Yep she’s something” LJ said, “Say hi to the pretty girls Lexie” LJ told her as he turned her around on his lap to the girls as they moved to stand in front of the table.

Beginning to play shy with the strangers Lexie kept her head down and only looked up at them for a second and gave a very small wave, “Hi.”

“Aww hi Lexie!” the blond said as she tickled Lexie’s toes.

“I’m LJ by the way and this is Mark,” he said nodding to his friend.

“I’m Laura,” said the blond “and this is Elisha,” she added gesturing to her best friend.

“So are you two babysitting or something? Elisha asked.

“Yep this is my cousin” LJ told her.

“Well she is just adorable” Elisha told him as she knelt down beside LJ to play with the two year old.

“Well Lexie thinks your very pretty” LJ said to Elisha and watched as she started to blush and then run her fingers through her honey brown shoulder length hair.

“She does, does she?” Elisha said with a smile.

“Yeah and thinks you have beautiful eyes” LJ added softly as he gazed into Elisha’s eyes.

“Well you tell Lexie I think she’s really cute too,” Elisha said without even taking her eyes off LJ to make it clear she was talking about him.

Neither of them said anything for quite sometime instead they just gazed at each other and seemed to forget the others were there. During the little moment Lexie was still sitting on LJ’s lap and the looked curiously between both LJ and Elisha as they both had goo goo eyes for the other.

“Well as amazed as I am about what a smooth talker Lexie is, we were wondering if you two would like to see a movie or something later” Mark chirped in and bringing LJ and Elisha back to reality.

“A movie sounds great, we have dance class tonight but we’re free tomorrow” Laura told them happily.

“Here’s my number” Elisha said with a smile as she grabbed a napkin and scribbled it down before sliding it in front of LJ. “It was nice meeting you” Elisha said while getting to her feet and moving to stand by her best friend. “You too Lexie” she added with a smile and then slowly the two girls waved bye and walked away.

Once the girls left the coffee shop and were out of sight a devilish smile crept across LJ’s face. “What did I say, she’s a babe magnet!”

“Bab Manet!” Lexie squealed excitedly clapping her hands together still having no idea what it meant.

“I can’t believe you used your own cousin to get a date. Your aunt and uncle are going to flip” Mark said with a laugh as he closed his laptop.

“They’ll never find out” LJ told him confidently. Laughing and shaking his head Mark packed his laptop away and got to his feet. He pulled the bag strap over his head to rest on his right shoulder so that the strap came across his chest. Mark watched LJ softly talk to Lexie while he got ready to leave and telling her how they were going for a ride in the car. For a brief second Mark glanced across the street at a little café and suddenly froze. “LJ don’t freak out but I think your uncle might be at the café across the street.”

“WHAT!” LJ gasped and began to freak out just like Mark had told him not to. Turning around in his seat he saw his uncle sitting at a table in the café right in front of the large window.

Quickly wrapping his arms around Lexie, LJ slid the chair back behind the tall bush so that Michael couldn’t see them. Slowly peaking his head out he gazed at the car and then at his uncle. He was trapped; there was no way they could get to the car without his uncle noticing.

“If he realizes I took my dad’s car I’m dead meat!” LJ whispered, “God this is bad.”

Biting his lip and watching as LJ moved to hide behind the bush again. As if things weren’t bad enough when Mark looked back at LJ’s uncle and saw a woman take a seat across from him. “Okay LJ I know you things are bad but they are about to get worse because I think your aunt is with him.” Mark warned him.

“Please tell me your joking” LJ begged. He could see his punishment now; he wouldn’t come out alive if his dad had his way.

“Well unless your aunt isn’t a hot brunette I think so” Mark told LJ as he watched the two talking at the small café across the street.

“Hot brunette, Huh?” LJ said as he stuck his head out from behind the bush to see his uncle laughing with the woman in front of him on what looked like a date. “That’s not my aunt.”





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