1.2 Dirty Laundry pt 2
This chapter is Rated R, adult themes, language, and content.
My head feels like a cheap salvation army drum, I thought cracking my blood-shot eyes open, my cheek pressed against the cold floor. I picked up my head off the floor groaning in pain, my cheek making a sucking sound as it pulled itself free of the sticky substance it rested upon. I gagged, closing my eyes when I could only imagine what germs could be festering upon a public restroom floor. I shuddered, I couldn’t remember a time in my life that I had felt as miserable as I did that very second.
Never again, I thought closing my eyes as I pulled myself up to a sitting position, another wave of nausea almost making me vomit again. I looked up at the ceiling as if begging god, and asking for his forgiveness. I will never drink again. I’ve learned my lesson. Never again.
I rested my head on my knees and leaned my head against the stall wall, breathing deeply to stem off some of the nausea that crashed against me likes waves on the shore. I lost the fight, and bent over the toilet and vomited over and over again…
As I lay praying to the porcelain god to strike me dead, I heard the bathroom door swing open and heavy footsteps enter the bathroom.
“Occupied.” I moaned as the stall door opened. I looked up to see a pair of strong jean clad legs leading up to a handsome bemused face.
“You know you’re in the men’s bathroom, right?” He said looking down at me in concern. I squeezed my eyes shut in embarrassment. I could only imagine how pathetic and tacky I looked curled up next to the toilet, my tangled blond curls full of vomit.
“Oh kill me now.” I managed to mumble, feeling a tear slide down my cheek. “Could tonight get any worse?” I asked nobody in particular.
“Let me help you.” He reached out a hand, and helped me stand, leading me to the sink so I could wash my face and rinse my mouth out with water. In the mirror over the sink I caught a brief glimpse of my reflection. I looked ghastly, my eyes as red as stop lights and my hair was tangled and matted.
He put one arm around my waist and led me to the bathroom doors. “Is there anyone I can find for you, or call?” He asked. “Did you come here with someone?” He asked concerned. I thought of Zoe, and felt anger zip up my spine. “No,” I mumbled. “I’m all alone.” I felt a tear slide down my face.
He led me outside, the cool night air felt wonderful on my clammy skin. Despite how good it felt, I shivered. He put his blazer across my shoulders and I was grateful. Oh please don’t throw up again, I prayed, not wanting to throw up on his blazer. I had already embarrassed myself enough for one night.
With one hand around my waist, he hailed a taxi and gently loaded me into the back, sliding in beside me. “I don’t have any money, that bitch Zoe left me here all alone…” I mumbled pressing my head against the cool glass.
“I got it, don’t worry.” My savior in blue jeans said.
I was awake long enough to blurt out my address, and then I pressed my head back against the cool glass and passed out for the remainder of the trip home.
“We’re here.” A gentle voice shook me awake. It hurt to open my eyes, but I managed with his assistance to climb out of the taxi cab without falling in Zoe’s ridiculous high heals. He put his arm around me to keep me steady and led me to the front door.
He practically carried me up the stairs. I felt like a helpless baby, clinging to him so I wouldn’t fall down the stairs.
“You’re a godsend.” I babbled. “I’m sorry I smell. I don’t drink very much, ok, more like I never drink. I had a bad night, please don’t think bad of me…” I continued, embarrassed, but hardly knew what I was saying.
“You don’t smell bad.” He said, as we reached the top of the stairs.
“You lie.” I mumbled almost passing out. I heard him chuckle softly.
He gently lay me in my bed removing Zoe’s high heals from my feet. I closed my eyes, and tried to mumble a thank you that sounded more like a gurgle.
“Hey what’s your name?” He whispered, covering me with a throw blanket.
“Madeline.” I managed to whisper. I passed out before he could tell me his name, and distantly heard the sound of his retreating footsteps as they left my room.
“Make it stop!” I cried out the next morning as the bright morning light assaulted me through my window. “Oh god, please make it stop!” I closed my eyes shut. My head felt like someone had tried to give me a frontal lobe lobotomy with a screw driver. I moaned and burrowed under my blankets.
Twenty more long minutes of misery and suffering I finally crawled out of bed, shutting my blinds. I hopped into the shower, scrubbing my body until my skin was pink, the memory of the bathroom floor and the germs that probably teamed up on it still on the forefront of my mind.
I wanted coffee more than anything, not that I expected for it to cure my hangover, but I knew it would lessen some of the pain in my head. I had heard once good old greasy food was the cure for hangovers, and I would have killed for a big mac, but I didn’t have a car, and Zoe was the last person on earth I’d ask to help me out.
Downstairs, pajama clad with my hair piled high messily on top of my head, I poured a cup of coffee and popped two Advil. I tensed when I heard footsteps on the stairs. A minute later Zoe entered yawning, her hair still in its pony tail, but sticking up in odd little tufts.
“Good morning sunshine!” She said heading right to the coffee pot. I ignored her looking down into the dark liquid of my coffee.
She sat beside me like nothing had happened last night, like she hadn’t aired out my dirty laundry in front of two complete strangers, or maybe she just didn’t care.
“So was last night fun or what?” She winked at me.
I laughed, a bitter harsh sound. “Fun?” I questioned. “That is probably the last way I’d describe last night?”
“Quit being so dramatic Madeline. I heard you come home last night, I told you that you wouldn’t go home alone didn’t I? So spill the deets!”
“Deets?” I asked shocked, How could Zoe act like everything was fine after how she behaved last night.
“Was he good in bed?” Zoe took a long sip from her steaming mug closing her eyes in bliss.
As usual, Zoe didn’t wait for my reply and instead decided to tell me all about her night, like I cared. “Tanner came home with me last night. I swear that man has the stamina of a bull. I am so sore today.” Zoe laughed, the sound making me clench my fists. I closed my eyes and smiled a little at the thought of punching her in the face. I would never have the balls to do it, but I had to admit that it felt good to picture in my head.
“What the hell is your problem Zoe? How can you even act like everything is fine this morning. You told complete strangers my personal business, and not only that, but made fun of me while doing so. What the hell were you thinking?” I could feel my eyes flashing angrily.
“You are such a Debby downer.” Zoe laughed. “I was just kidding around, I didn’t know you would take it so personally. Lighten up would ya?”
I glared at her, and opened my mouth to say something that would probably get me punched when Tanner walked into the room, wearing last nights clothes.
I was silent while he went to the toaster and dug around in the freezer like he owned the place, and made some toaster waffles. He sat down beside me with a wink. “Want to have a threesome later?” He asked calmly, like he was discussing the weather, or asking directions to the gas station.
I rewarded him with a look of complete loathing, standing up quickly, the sound of the chair scraping across the floor made me cry out in pain. The room titled a little, but I quickly steadied myself.
“What’s her problem?” I heard Tanner ask as I practically ran out of the room.
Alone in my room, I began to pace, back and forth, back and forth, before finally sitting down in my computer chair. I threw my head in my hands in frustration. How could Zoe act like everything was fine this morning? Was she really that stupid to think that she could say all those horrible things to me, and expect me to just take it?
I knew Zoe was selfish, and self-serving, and always had to feel like the attention had to be focused on her one hundred percent of the time, but I never expected her to stoop so low and betray me like she had. Zoe showed her true colors last night, and I didn’t think I would ever forgive her.
I stood up, full of anxious energy with nowhere to go and nothing to do. I threw myself down on my bed staring up at the ceiling, lost in my own dark thoughts.
I pulled out my cell phone. No missed calls, which made me cry harder. I was alone, and I didn’t have a friend in the world. I dialed home, needing desperately to hear a friendly voice. I needed someone to tell me that everything was going to be ok…
“Mom?” I burst into tears when the phone was picked up. I hadn’t called her mom since I found out she was my grandmother, but right now I realized that even though she wasn’t my birth mother, she was the one who raised me, who had given up everything to take care of me. Who had put my own well being in front of her own.
“Madeline? Are you ok sweetheart?” She burst into tears that ripped at my heart.
“No, everything’s not ok. I should have never came. You were right. I want to come home.” I sobbed, holding onto the phone like a life-preserver.
“It’s ok Madeline, tell me what’s going on.”
In a few quick sentences, I told her everything, leaving out passing out in the men’s bathroom with my face stuck in my own vomit. I was grateful that she didn’t judge me, just let me rant and cry.
“I raised you to be strong Madeline. I need you to calm down a little bit. Everything is ok. If you really want to come home, you know you are always welcome. But you need to do what is right for you. Its time I let you rest on your own two feet for a while Madeline, and be the girl I know I raised you to be.”
I flicked away a tear and sniffled into the phone. “I love you mom.” I said. “I’m sorry I was such a bitch to you.”
“It’s ok Maddy, I understand. Nobody knows how they will react when faced with such news. I should have been honest with you from the beginning, but I was so scared you would hate me. I’m always here for you, no matter what. You can call me any time, night or day, it doesn’t matter. You are my daughter in every sense of the word. No go wipe those tears from your eyes, and lift that chin.”
We said our goodbyes, and I tried my best to follow her advice. She was right, it was time to grow up a little. It was so like me to be defeated by one obstacle, and totally give up and throw in the towel.
I straightened my spine and walked to the window overlooking the ocean, and planned my next move.
Zoe’s Point of View:
I listened to Madeline cry on the phone with a slight smile. Deep down I felt a little guilty, but I buried the annoying feeling deep down. Madeline deserved it, I thought. I claimed Tanner first, and she had no right flirting with him in front of me. I thought with a scowl. Besides, she’s way too touchy, and needs to lighten up.
I sighed and walked back downstairs not wanting to be caught eavesdropping outside of Madeline’s room, even though It was my own house, and I could do what ever the hell I felt like. I was glad Tanner left. He was hot, and the sex was good, but I didn’t want him around Madeline. I didn’t want to admit it, but I was jealous. Madeline is way prettier then I am, even though I would never admit it. She was also kind and smart, everything a man could want. The kind of girl you would be proud to take home to mom.
Still in my pajamas only slightly hung over, I stepped out to check the mail, almost knocking over a glass vase of beautiful long-stemmed red roses. “Oh Tanner, you shouldn’t have!” I squealed, hopping up and down in excitement like a little child.
I stooped to pick up the roses, inhaling their beautiful scent and ripped open the envelope with an eager smile on my face. Probably wants to thank me for last night, and tell me he can’t wait to see me again, I thought grinning with anticipation as I started to read.
My smile froze on my face, and turned into a grimace. Madeline. I should have known. Everything was always about Madeline. I set down the vase, and ripped up the letter until it was nothing more but a few scraps of paper that fluttered away on the wind like snow. I smiled in satisfaction, grabbed the vase, and headed back inside whistling.
I sat down the roses on the kitchen table. Mine now, I thought crossing my arms over my chest. I had no clue who Riley was, but I would find out, and Madeline would only be a distant memory when I got finished with him…