1.7 The knock on the door
This chapter is Rated PG 13 Strong language.
Author’s note: Sorry this chapter took awhile to come out. Had some computer issues, that for once, had nothing to do with the game. Go figure. Thanks for sticking with this story, it means a lot. Already working on the next two chapters, so I wont make you wait as long to find out what happens next. Tee-hee 🙂
I felt like I was watching the UFC fights on television. Janice and Zoe circled each other like a couple of pro MMA fighters in a cage match. Janice had a couple of pounds on Zoe, but I’ve seen Zoe fight before. She played dirty, and was small in stature, and could hop on your back like a demented spider monkey.
“Get the hell out of this store or I’ll call the cops.” Janice narrowed her eyes, her fists were balled so tightly her knuckles were white, like skin stretched tight over bone.
Zoe laughed. “Call the cops?” She rolled her eyes. “Knock yourself out old lady. I haven’t done anything wrong. I’m a customer.”
“Then buy something and get the hell out.” Janice scowled. “Or I’ll throw you out myself.”
“I’d like to see you try.” Zoe laughed, merriment dancing in her grey eyes. She was enjoying this. “You might break a hip, you old bat.” She yawned and examined her nails with boredom. “Well I wouldn’t buy anything from this little dump of a bookstore anyway, besides I have somewhere to be.” She shot me a smug look, the meaning clear. She came here to gloat, to rub it in my face that Riley believed her over me.
“I doubt you even know how to read you stupid little twat.” Janice laughed leaning toward Zoe. For a moment I was scared for the older woman. Zoe’s face went white, like all the blood had drained from her face, leaving her looking more angry than I had ever seen her.
“I’ll see you around, Madeline.” Zoe said finally, spitting out my name like it was poison.
My shoulders tensed while Zoe gave Janice and I one last dirty look that could have turned a person to stone, then turned and strode out of the bookstore with her hips swinging. Janice flipped over the Closed sign, and locked the door behind Zoe. Janice hurried over to me her eyes wide with excitement.
“Wow you weren’t kidding! That Zoe really is a bitch isn’t she?” Janice’s eyes were wide with excitement. I felt a stab of guilt for drawing Janice into my crazy drama filled world.
Tension drained from my body leaving me feeling limp like a spaghetti noodle. I sagged into the nearest chair and lay my head down on my arms closing my eyes. I couldn’t believe that this was my life. I have had more drama in my short time in North Port then I had my entire life, and I was beyond tired of it. Some people got off on drama and fed off the excitement. I was not one of those people…
“I’m sorry for bringing you into this.” I mumbled into the wood of the table, my forehead pressed against the wood. exhaustion settled on my back like a heavy coat.
“Don’t be sorry. I’m a married broad with kids and a husband.” She laughed, the sound rich and warm making me feel slightly better. “I never get drama like this! This was better than going out to the movies. Next time, I’ll be sure to make some popcorn!” Janice exclaimed happily. I looked up from the table and saw the look of excitement on her face.
“Ha. Ha.” I said dryly. “I just hope there isn’t a next time. I’ve had more drama then I can handle.” I sighed into the crook of my arm feeling my eyes moisten with unshed tears.
“You ok?” Janice asked, her eyes looked concerned behind her glasses.
“Not really.” I sighed, still feeling rattled as I stood up and leaned against the counter. “Zoe is determined to make my life a living hell. I wish I would have never came to North Port. I’ve had nothing but bad luck, and have only made one horrible decision after another.”
“I’ve known girls like Zoe before.” Janice said leaning against the table. “They thrive off the misery of others, so they can make themselves feel better. If you stand up to her, she’ll fold like a card table.”
“I don’t know if I can.” I said honestly. I’ve seen Zoe in action, she was a force to be reckoned with, and I had never been a fighter.
“Girl, you need to get yourself a backbone and stick up for yourself. You can’t let a little piece of trash like Zoe beat you down like that. You are a million times better than she is, and she knows it too. That’s why she acts the way she does. You threaten her, and she doesn’t like it.”
I held out my arms wide. “What does Zoe have to feel threatened about.” I laughed bitterly. “My life is a pile of shit. I have a crappy minimum wage job–no offence. ” I smiled in apology at Janice. “I found out my entire life has been a lie, that my mom is a whore, and most likely is still hooking. What part of that is threatening?”
“Well for one, you’re a lot smarter than she is, and could do so much more with your life then working here. Second, your gorgeous. If you weren’t so nice, I’d probably hate you.” Janice scowled at me, and laughed to show she was joking. “You’re the kind of girl who any guy could fall head over heals for, and Zoe isn’t. She is the type of girl who feels so terrible about herself deep down that she has to belittle others to make herself feel better. I could tell in an instant by looking at her that she’s the type of girl who will do anything to please a man, and give herself up to any man because she thinks that’s what will make them want her. It’s sad really… ”
“I just don’t know.” I sagged my shoulders my eyes staring down at the floor. I was exhausted, I wish I could just crawl into bed and pretend this day, and last night never happened. Janice’s words made sense, and I wanted to feel bad for Zoe, but it was hard to feel sorry for someone who went out of their way to make your life a living hell!
Janice seemed to read my mind. “Why don’t you go home. I can manage things here on my own. If the boss comes in, which is doubtful, I’ll tell her you had explosive diarrhea, and had to go home, nobody ever seconds that lie!” She laughed. “Go. It will be fine here. I’ve worked here so many years I could run this place in my sleep.”
I smiled at her gratefully, truthfully going home sounded amazing. I couldn’t wait to slip into a nice warm bath and soak away all my troubles.
“Thanks Janice.” I smiled tiredly, rubbing my eyes and yawning so loudly my jaw cracked sounding like a gunshot that echoed across the empty bookstore.
“No need to thank me. Just go would ya?” Janice laughed giving me a gentle shove towards the door.
I shivered as I headed outside into the rain. It may have been the beginning of summer, but it felt like the beginning of fall. I couldn’t wait to crawl under my blankets and relax, and maybe crawl into a nice hot bath if I was feeling ambitious.
Everything was exactly how I left it this morning. Mika didn’t rob me blind like I assumed he would. My cheeks flooded with color and shame. Janice was right, I shouldn’t have been so quick to dismiss Mika as just some guy from the bar I picked up after having a rough day. A flash of yellow on the ugly green fridge that clinked and made noise, and could hardly keep my milk cold, caught my eye.
A post it note from Mika. I ripped it off the fridge and looked down at his number. Would I ever be able to call him? What would I even say to him? Thanks for the one night stand, I hoped we used protection?
I sighed in defeat and sank into the couch, finding it hard to get comfortable with the springs poking me in the ass. I shifted around until I was comfortable and closed my eyes lost in thought.
I thought of Mika, and how good he felt. I remembered the way his lips felt against mine. Maybe I should call him? What would be the harm?
A quite knock on the door startled me awake. I guess I had dozed off. It was pitch dark outside, and the clock on the wall told me it was 9 pm. I had slept later then I thought.
I stared at the door like it would grow teeth and bite me. If it was Zoe coming to rub my face in the fact that Riley believed her over me then why bother opening the door. I had enough drama for one day to last a life time.
“Grow a spine and stand up for yourself,” Janice’s words ran through my mind. She was right. I was tired of Zoe treating me like shit. It was time to give her a dose of her own medicine. I was done with letting her push me around.
I walked toward the door.
I flung open the door and let out a string of curses that would cause my grandmother to light a candle for me in church and ask for the perish to keep me in their prayers.
“Zoe, you pathetic little shit. I’m so tired of your bullshit. Get the fuck out of my apartment building before I put my foot in your ass!” I swore, the blood draining from my face when I saw Mika standing their looking shocked, and maybe a little frightened.
“Mika?” I squeaked.
“This isn’t awkward at all…”Mika laughed rubbing the back of his neck and looking down at me with a sheepish grin. “Is this a bad time?”
“I’m so sorry. I uh, thought it was someone else.” I squeaked, feeling pathetic, and very aware of the fact I was dressed in sweat shorts with a hole in the ass, and an old nightshirt I’d had since I was a teenager, not to mention the ugly pigtails that made me look like I was five.
“Clearly.” Mike laughed, his dark eyes lighting up his handsome face. I smiled. He had that effect on me.
“Can I come in?” Mika asked giving me another one of his sexy little grins that sent shivers down my spine.
“Oh god, where are my manners, of course, come on in.” I moved aside to let him through the door, I breathed in his familiar spicy scent, and blushed remembering the way his naked body felt against mine. Yes, my grandmother was definitely going to have to light an extra candle for me tonight…
“I’m sorry for coming over unannounced like this.” Mika apologized. “I just wanted to give you these, and tell you I had a wonderful time last night.” He reached behind his back and pulled out a small bouquet of white roses.
I melted like an ice cube in the desert.
I took the flowers from him, my hand grazing his and sending ripples of pleasure up my arm like I had stuck my finger in a light socket. I inhaled the sweet smell of the roses. How thoughtful, I thought setting them down on the table.
I looked back up at him, not knowing what to say. “Thank you.” I finally murmured, my face turning beet red with embarrassment.
“Don’t mention it.” Mika smiled down at me, the light from the lamp making his dark eyes sparkle. His long dark lashes casted a shadow on his cheeks. I stared at his full lips, and bit my own remembering the way his lips felt crushed against mine.
I gestured to the couch to be polite. I sat as far away from him as I possibly could, not trusting myself around him. He made my hormones flare up like a teenager, and in his presence I felt like I was one second away from flinging myself on him.
“So about last night.” Mika began.
I blushed. I guess this was the morning after talk I had been dreading. I was starting to wish that maybe it would have been Zoe at the door after all. A dozen thoughts ran through my mind at once, causing me to panic. I was sure he could hear my heart racing in my chest. Was I terrible? Could he tell it was my first time? God I was awful wasn’t I?
“Last night was amazing.” He finally said with a gentle smile.
“Amazing?” I squeaked, my voice sounding like the noise a new tennis shoe makes when it rubs against a gym floor. I quickly recovered. “Thanks.” I said lamely, not knowing what to say. It wasn’t like I had much practice in the morning after talk.
“I wanted to apologize.” Mika began.
“Apologize?” I repeated. I sounded like a parrot. Great, he probably thinks you have the brain capacity of a turnip.
“I’ve never been the one night stand type of guy, nor am I really the type of guy that hangs out in bars, even though I do work in one.” He laughed. “I didn’t want you to think that I was that guy. The type of guy that would pick up some girl at the bar and sleep with her.” He blushed. “Even though that’s what happened.”
I bit my lip not knowing how to respond.
“I had a terrible day yesterday and had way to much to drink, and I just didn’t want you thinking that last night ment nothing to me. It did.”
“Last night was out of character for me too.” I whispered. “I had a really shitty day yesterday, I guess we have that in common.” I tried to laugh but felt my chin tremble and my eyes glimmer and burn with tears that I didn’t allow to fall.
Mika scooted closer to me on the couch. I closed my eyes and inhaled his intoxicating scent. I felt his arm go around my shoulders and I leaned into his embrace grateful for the warmth and support he was offering me.
I felt him kiss the top of my head gently. “Is this ok?” He murmured into my hair. “I don’t want you to think this is all I want from you. You just looked like you could use a shoulder to lean on.”
“It’s ok.” I whispered turning my head to face him looking into his eyes, amazed by the look of depth in his eyes.
I leaned forward, my nose rubbing against his, not at all surprised when I found my lips crushing against his, soft and gentle. I parted my lips, and felt his tongue sweep against mine. He tasted amazing, like wintergreen gum.
His arms went around my neck, deepening the kiss. I found my hands in his hair, the strands thick and soft.
A knock on the door sounded. “It’s open.” I yelled out, taking my lips off Mika’s for one second, before meeting them again.
Someone cleared their throat. Riley. What was he doing here?
I scooted away from Mika as quickly as I could, wiping my mouth off with the back of my hand. “Riley! What are you doing here?” I asked my eyes wide, my cheeks red with embarrassment.
“Is this a bad time?” He asked, crossing his arms across his chest. He looked directly at Mika, then back at me, his golden brown eyes looked slightly hurt, or maybe that was wishful thinking on my part.
“I’ll go.” Mika stood giving me a small smile. He bended down and kissed the top of my head, and said nothing else. I felt bad watching him go, wondering what the hell he must be thinking.
Riley didn’t move from the doorway to allow Mika to pass without bumping shoulders. Mika turned as he passed through the door and turned back to look at me, with his eyebrow raised. “Madeline, if you need anything, give me a call.” With that he was gone leaving me alone with Riley.
I stood, feeling nervous. I touched my lips feeling a little sleazy for having made out with another man in front of another. That was something Zoe would do. Not me. My cheeks flooded with color. “What do you want Riley? Why are you here?” I said a little bitterly, still feeling hurt for him choosing Zoe over me.
“I wanted to say I was sorry.”