Vendetta(Legend of the Ir'Indicti,Book 4)(8) by Connie Suttle
"Good. That's what I was hoping for," Winkler nodded. "Now, what I really want to propose is this; take and pass the GED, start taking online college courses and work for me part-time, permanently."
"What?" Ashe stared at Winkler. "I thought you had to be eighteen or older to get your GED."
"There are conditions for a sixteen or seventeen-year-old to get one, but I can pull a couple of strings. We can get a waiver, but you have to pass the test on your own. Besides, young prodigies and geniuses get into college all the time. Take the GED, Ashe. Pass it."
"I can pass," Ashe muttered, staring at his hands.
"Yeah. I know that too," Winkler said. "But the college courses are a must. I want you to enroll in at least nine hours and pass with a B average or better. I'm paying."
"You're serious about this?" Ashe lifted his eyes. Winkler's dark-brown eyes were quite serious. "What about Mom and Dad?"
"I talked to your mother this morning while you were out running. And with the way things are going with your classmates," Winkler shrugged.
"Yeah." It still stung that Ashe had been ignored by Sali, both the night before and earlier in the day. "Mom was okay with this?"
"She didn't object. She said Aedan would have to agree, but there's really not much of a downside, in my opinion. I don't doubt for a second that you can do this, Ashe. It's like testing out of your junior and senior year. They give the GED test at a community college in Beeville—it's the closest place," Winkler said. "Think it over, Ashe. Talk to your parents if you want, but I think this is a very good solution. You can travel with me, too. Between here, Dallas and a few other places. I have meetings coming up in D.C. with Matt Michaels. I want to be in on the questioning of Jack Howard, as Weldon's representative."
"I see," Ashe said softly. Ashe's talents might get Winkler more information than normal questioning might ever get.
"I see the wheels turning, Ashe," Winkler said. "Go home for the day. You can let me know tomorrow."
"Thanks, Mr. Winkler." Ashe stood and turned to go.
"Tell your mother that we'll be settling on Victoria's restaurant earlier than we thought. She'll have it next week."
"Wow—you're buying a restaurant?"
"It came up for sale. It's a good investment," Winkler laughed. "Your mother will be managing two for me, when all's said and done. She's proven that she can manage a business and turn a good profit. It'll be fun and I don't have to pay for my meals if I show up in either place," he added.
"But there's COG to think about," Ashe waggled a finger at his employer.
"Ashe, I'm not surprised you know what Cost of Goods is," Winkler grinned. "Go home. We'll talk tomorrow."
* * *
"Sali, I didn't think you remembered who I was," Ashe grumped when he let Sali in the door fifteen minutes later. He'd just settled down to watch his mother prepare spaghetti sauce for dinner.
"I remember," Sali said.
"But what do you remember?" Ashe muttered despondently.
"Ashe," Adele gave the warning without turning away from stirring the sauce. Ashe figured she was cooking for Mr. Winkler and the others—the pot was huge.
"Who do you think we'll get as Principal this time?" Sali accepted the soft drink Ashe offered and took a seat at the island.
"You heard what Trace said this morning. The shapeshifter probably doesn't have a chance," Ashe said. "That's too bad. I think I'd like to see a shifter in charge of the school."
"What do you mean; the shifter probably doesn't have a chance?" Adele placed a lid on the pot and turned the heat down.
"Trace said a shifter would have to be capable of staring down the werewolves," Sali answered. "Can't see a bat doing that," he snickered. Ashe sighed helplessly at Sali's statement. He now had solid evidence that Sali remembered the bat—and nothing else.
"It may interest you to know that the Grand Master recommended this particular shifter," Adele informed Sali, who straightened up right away. "The letter was with his application."
"The Grand Master recommended him?" Ashe stared at Sali. Sali shrugged. "Mom, what is his animal?"
"We don't know, hon. How about setting the table for Mr. Winkler and the others?"
* * *
"Sali, things may be different this school year," Ashe said. He and Sali sat on the deck behind the house, eating plates of spaghetti and garlic bread. The others were eating and talking in the dining room inside.
"How?" Sali swiped the last of his sauce with a piece of bread and stuffed it in his mouth.
"Mr. Winkler wants to keep me on part-time and asked me to take online college courses. That means taking the GED and skipping the rest of high school."
"What?" Sali swallowed his food and stared at Ashe.
"What I said," Ashe blew out a breath. "He likes my work, I guess. Enough to keep me on."
"Dude, that's just, that's just—wow. No more high school homework? That's outstanding."
"But there's no graduation, either. Not from high school. College maybe, somewhere down the road."
"I'd be happy to give that up," Sali insisted.
"You can do me a favor, though," Ashe said.
"Drive me to the bookstore in Corpus, so I can buy a GED study guide."
"I'll go with them," Trace volunteered when Ashe walked inside to get permission from his mother. Marco went as well, and since Sali's car wasn't large enough, Adele allowed Ashe to drive Aedan's SUV. Ashe weighed different versions of the study guides later in Corpus Christi's largest bookstore.
"Here," Marco handed a frozen coffee drink to Ashe. "It's decaf."
"This is good—now I know why everybody gets addicted to these things," Ashe slurped at the caramel mocha concoction.
"Dude, aren't you done yet?" Sali walked up with an identical drink in his hand.
"I can't decide which one to get," Ashe said, tapping the books under consideration.
"Get both, Winkler's buying," Trace said, holding up a company credit card.
"Good. I can get the new book in my favorite series, too," Ashe laughed. "Winkler can get these," he handed both guides to Trace, "and I'll buy what I want."
"You read entirely too much," Sali grumped.
"Wait till you get in college," Marco teased.
"Dad won't let me out of it?" Sali begged.
"Don't give me pitiful puppy eyes. You're going," Marco said.
"Winkler won't hire you without college credit," Trace whispered beside Sali's ear.
"Really?" Sali sucked on his frozen drink.
"Yep. So get to work, slacker." Marco slapped Sali's back.
"Sal, your grades are decent so far," Ashe pointed out. "And if you worked at it, they'd be even better. That could get you into any school you want. Think of the girls."
"Yeah," Sali sounded bitter.
"Ixnay on the irls-gay," Marco made a cutting off motion with his hand.
"Huh?" Ashe stared at Marco.
"Let's go find that book you wanted," Marco hauled Ashe away from the reference section. "Sali and Wynn broke up this afternoon," Marco hissed when they arrived in the sci-fi section. Ashe pulled the new hardcover he wanted off the shelf as he listened to Marco. "You saw the bracelet Wynn bought Sali for his birthday? He didn't want to wear it all the time. She got upset and now they're history."
"Well, Dori might get what she wants after all," Ashe muttered bitterly.
"Ashe, you can't let this bother you. I had at least eight girlfriends before graduating from high school. And in a small paranormal school, that's a lot."
"But you were cool. Sali's cool. Ashe Evans?" Ashe pointed to his chest. "Definitely not cool. And I don't have wheels, so I'm doubly not cool."
"I wish you'd stop looking at yourself in that light. Coolness isn't measured by what you have or drive. Anybody who looks at someone else that way is too shallow to waste time on."
"I know. But you see where we are and all? I can't go anywhere without a bodyguard. What if I want to go on a date, Marco? Is Trace coming along for that?"
"That does present a problem," Marco rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably. "But you could always flash that tattoo you have and your girl might not mind going on a double date."
"It's all moot at this point, I don't have a girl," Ashe pointed out the obvious. "And not likely to get one, either."
"Chad and Jeremy don't have any either. And not likely to get any," Marco chuckled.
"Where are they?" Ashe asked. "I haven't seen them around."
"On vacation. Jeremy's parents went to Florida and took Chad and Jeremy with them. Those two won't head back to school until the end of August."
"And Mr. and Mrs. Booth are such nice people," Ashe said.
"You think somebody dropped a cuckoo's egg in their nest?" Marco grinned widely.
"It can happen," Ashe agreed.
"Yeah, you'd know, all right. Let's go; Trace is probably seeing double, surrounded by so many books."
* * *
"Dude, you don't like to read?" Ashe asked Trace as they loaded into the SUV.
"I'm a little dyslexic," Trace admitted. "I had a tough time getting through school."
"But you're a smart person," Ashe said.
"Yeah, but the words on the page? They just scramble when I try to read them. I listen to audio books," he said. "I enjoy good mysteries when I have free time."
Copyright © 2015 by Read Best Books Free Online