Blog · Cleansed with Blood · Sneak Peeks

Cleansed with Blood

(This is a first-draft, unedited sneak peek at a work-in-progress)

Chapter One

Ingrid had put up red, white, and blue celebration streamers in the little kitchen in the back of the gymnastics academy. Lena smirked. A little over the top, she thought. But not surprising since it was for Clint. Certainly, Ingrid wouldn’t have gone through so much trouble for the rest of them. It has been in no way a secret that Ingrid had a thing for him. And if they were being honest, they all had tiny crushes on him. 

Clint was the only dad at the weekly Monday morning Moms and Tots playgroup. He had one of those smiles that made everyone swoon. It was going to be the last Monday they’d get to see his smile and enjoy his laid-back and funny self. Lena’s stomach flopped when she thought about the ways in which the group’s dynamic would change without his presence. She crossed her fingers that it wouldn’t get too catty.  But there was no reason for him attend anymore since his daughter, Marigold, was starting pre-k the following week.  

Ingrid hopped up and stood just a smidgen too close to Clint.  Were he to glance in her direction, her large—and very fake—breasts would be right in his face. Her nipples stood erect from her very thin tank top. Her pale pink velour hoodie unzipped at just the perfect inappropriate spot to display them fully. Lena wouldn’t have been shocked to find out she gave them a few pinches to get them firm before starting her little good-bye speech. There was always some element of strategy when it came to Ingrid’s actions. 

“And to give you a proper send off—” Ingrid circled around to the fridge, bent over entirely at the waist so her ass was sticking out for all to see, and quickly snatched out of bottle of Moscato. “Ta-da.” She raised it up and shook it over her head. 

“It’s ten o’clock in the morning.” Clint smiled. It was dazzling. His eyebrows raised. 

“Oh come on. It’s not like we’re gonna get drunk. We all got kids to drive home. It’s just a sip for a toast. Our only dad needs to be sent off in style,” Ingrid said. 

She poured a glass for Clint and herself. 

“Mind pouring the rest of those, Lena-hun?” Ingrid motioned to the remaining glasses. “I’ve only got two hands.”

“Sure,” Lena never could get over how bold Ingrid was as she watched her deliberately lowering her cleavage into Clint’s face as she handed him a glass.

“Thanks.” He held it up to the rest of the group as Lena handed out the remaining glasses. 

“To Clint. May he never forget about us and I hope he knows that he can stop by anytime to hang out.” Ingrid put the glass her lips and drank. Some spilled down her chin and between her breasts. “Oops!” Ingrid’s glance shot to Lena. “Where’s your glass? Don’t you wanna toast Clint?”

“I’m nursing,” Lena said.

“It’s one drink. That’s not going to make a difference. If you’re so worried, just pump and dump.  Get over there and get yourself a drink.”

Lena slowly rose and trudged over to the glasses and bottles.

“Oh, and get me a refill, would you? Clint, more?” Ingrid held her empty glass out. 

“No, no thanks,” he said.

Lena filled the glasses and handed Ingrid hers. 

“Thanks, hun.” She sipped some more of her drink. “I guess I better be careful or I’ll need a ride home.” She grinned at Clint.

He smiled but his eyes darted away from hers. 

Lena had to fight hard not to roll her eyes. Ingrid was piling it on especially thick. Even more than usual. I guess it’s her last chance, Lena thought as she glanced over at Sarah Beth who slyly pumped her fist toward her mouth as though giving a blowjob. 

Lena pursed her lips and closed her eyes to try and stop herself from laughing. She diverted her eyes from Sara Beth and took a slug of her wine. She swallowed it down hard to try to contain the laugher and also because she never really did like wine. She wished it wasn’t somehow this thing that moms were supposed to love. Ingrid pulled out a bottle whenever she got an opportunity. 

“Speech, speech, speech!” Ingrid clapped her hands and bounced up and down. 

Clint stood and raised his glass. “Uh, I don’t really know what to say.” He smiled and smoothed his russet brown hair. Wavy. Messy. Perfect at the same time. His blue eyes scanned the adoring faces of the ladies surrounding him. “Well, I’m gonna miss you all, that’s for sure. But with Mari in school and Alecia off to work, I’m gonna enjoy having some time to brew. I’ll invite y’all over when the first batch is ready. So. Yeah. It’s been great. Thanks for having me as part of the group.”

Ingrid threw her arms around him. “We’re gonna miss you, too. So much.” 

Everyone took turns giving him hugs. Ingrid put her arm around him tightly. Her eyes welled up. “It’s not gonna be the same without you.”

“Ah, you’ll be fine,” he said as he side-stepped her embrace. He walked over to the foam pit where Mari was jumping off the springboard with the other kids. “Well, Mari. Say good-bye to everyone.” 

Mari hugged cried as she hugged all her friends. “But why do I have ta go ta school?” 

He smiled  and took her hand, leading her toward the door. “We talked about this, remember? You’re a big girl now and pre-k is gonna be a lot of fun, you’ll see.” Tears streamed down Mari’s face. Clint scooped her up in his arms, rubbing her back as he left. He turned back once more and waved before walking out the door. 

“Well, shit.” Ingrid threw back the last of the wine in her glass. This time not dribbling a drop.  She pushed her empty glass at Lena, who wasn’t sure if it meant she wanted more or if she wanted her to put the glass away. 

Either way, Lena had take a deep breath to put out the small flame that ignited in her. “I’m not your maid,” she muttered.

Lena had been friends with Ingrid since High School. Always the side-kick. And Ingrid was the main character. She’d never really minded, though. Ingrid adored being the center of attention and Lena liked to stand in the shadows. Unnoticed. But that doesn’t mean she liked to be treated like a personal assistant. And as close as they’d always been—and two girls could have been any closer—Lena had never really spoken up when Ingrid got on her nerves. She knew Ingrid’s heart was good, even if she could be a little bit of an insensitive bitch sometimes.

Lena gulped down the sour twang of the wine she had remaining. A little dose of medicine for dealing with her overly high maintenance friend. She looked at Ingrid and out of the side of her mouth muttered to the door “Clint, come back.” 

Lena didn’t even want to imagine what kinds of things they might have do now that Ingrid didn’t have him to focus on. Hopefully, she wouldn’t get back on the exercise kick she got on from time to time. It wasn’t enough that Ingrid’s body was perfect. She wanted them all to have perfect bodies. She was somehow convinced that she’d be even hotter if she was surrounded by other milf”s. Never threatened. Always certain that she was—and would forever be—the hottest. 

David fell off the side of the springboard, missing the foam and started to wail. 

“Oh, you’re alright,” Ingrid said as she went over and scooped him up by one arm. She kissed his forehead. “Oh, you’re alright. Don’t be cryin’ over a little bump like that.”

He accepted his mother’s assessment. His wails hushing into whimpers. He soon went back to playing with the others. 

Silence, other than the occasional gulping of wine, swept over the room. Lena looked around at the new Moms group—now consisting of all moms. The five of them had known each other since high school—been in the same grade. Clint was in the year ahead.  His wife Alecia was in their class. She was class president. Pretty, popular, smart, and determined. She was now the Blaine County Sheriff. Lena was never close with Alecia. A friendship with her would have been impossible. Ingrid and Alecia had always been bitter rivals. Even though Lena had been sworn to hate Alecia, she always secretly thought she was very nice. 

Lena was surprised when Clint joined the Moms’ group. Sometimes she wondered if Ingrid flirted with him just because he was Alecia’s husband. It could have also been because of the fact that Ingrid adored—and was used to—the attention that her looks brought her. 

Klara sat near the edge of the foam pit. Her head was facing in the kids, but she didn’t seem to be looking at anything in particular. Her normally smiling face was drooping. She just kept blankly playing with her necklace.

When Lena noticed her, she went over and sat next to her, letting out a grunt and she plopped to the floor. Sitting criss-cross had never been the most comfortable position for her. She’d swear she was the least flexible person on earth. And carrying extra pregnancy pudge on her thighs and belly made it extra uncomfortable. 

Klara’s eye barely drifted to her. She forced a smile. “Oh, hey.”

“Hey, Klara. Are you alright?”

Klara sighed and kept twirling her necklace. She appeared on the edge of saying something. Lena waited. In the slightest of ways, Klara shook her head from side to side.

“What’s wrong?” Lena put her hand on Klara’s shoulder.

Klara rolled her neck, dropping the necklace. 

“You know how we were going to be getting a new neighbor? On that side the Petersons used to rent?”

“Yeah?”

“Well, the landlord is letting her son move in.”

“Have you met him? Is he an asshole or something?”

“He’s a sex offender. A paedophile.”

Klara didn’t look at Lena. She just returned to twirling her necklace and looking into a void.

“Oh, Klara. I’m so sorry.” Lena’s stomach dropped. She didn’t know what else to say. 

“You know how I found out?”

“Huh?”

“An alert. A fucking email alert. I opened it up and it was the address next door.”

“But I thought the Sheriff had to notify neighbors.”

“Yeah, I did too. Nope.” Klara’s face turned red and her lips curled. “I called Alecia, furious that she didn’t tell me. She said it was her duty to notify school superintendents, preschools, and daycares. I called her a Bitch and hung up on her. I almost didn’t come today because I’m sure she told Clint what happened. How could she have not called me? I mean, we’re friends. Or we were. What kind of friend finds out a child pervert moving in next door and doesn’t tell them? Laws or not. Legally required to tell me or not. Don’t they care about Piper? I mean, if it was Mari, you can sure as shit bet that she’d go above and beyond to keep her safe. Well fuck them!”

Klara had gotten loud. Everyone—even the kids—were staring at her. She stood up quickly and walked over to her daughter. “C’mon, Piper. Let’s go home. Or somewhere.”

She took Piper’s hand and led her out the door. She didn’t even stop to put Piper’s shoes on. She just swung her up on her hip and flung the glass door open, marching straight to her car. Her tires squealed as she took off out of the parking lot.  

“God, the only man in our group leaves and there’s already drama in taco town,” Ingrid said as she stepped up next to Lena. Her arms crossed. Her blonde hair covered one side of her face so Lena couldn’t tell if she was joking. She smoothed the hair back behind her ear and smiled.

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