1.9 Public Displays of Embarrassment
This chapter is Rated PG 13
Author’s note: This chapter is a little short compared to others, but a lot of things happen in it that are imperative to the story moving forward. Things should get very exciting soon! 🙂
It was hard to say goodbye to Mika, but he took the news better than I thought he would. I decided that honesty was the best policy after all, and it wasn’t fair to string them both along, as much as I cared about them both deep down. Mika didn’t even seem surprised when I told him that I decided to choose Riley. He just nodded, and smiled slightly as if he knew it was coming. Then he gave me a hug and told me he would always be there for me if I needed a friend. I picked up the phone on an almost daily basis to call him and tell him that I was wrong. That I did care about him, that I wanted only him. Then I would come quickly to my senses and realize that I had made my choice, and I would have to live with it. Riley was perfect, but he had a way about him that made me feel like anything but….had I made the wrong choice?
“Hey baby, you seem like you have something on your mind.” Riley said sitting beside me on the beach towel, he was dripping wet, and despite the hot temp outside, the water was cold as it dripped on me. I squinted against the bright sunlight and stared up at him, the water droplets dripping down his tanned and muscular chest.
“Yeah, I’ve been thinking a lot about my mother, and it’s been weeks and I haven’t heard anything yet from the Investigator. I wonder if I should give him a call.” I dragged my hand through the soft sand and watched it trickle through my fingers. Riley sighed, looking annoyed, as he always was whenever I brought up the subject of my mother and the investigation.
“This again?” He said crossly, crossing his arms across his chest, and looking annoyed. “I really think you should give it up.”
“Give it up?” I asked, my eyes wide, despite the hot glare of the sun. “She’s my mother, I want to find her! This is the reason why I came to North Port if you remember.” I said hotly, feeling my face flush from anger instead of the heat.
“And she’s also a prostitute. Not the kind of person you should be associating with at all.” He looked at me smugly, which angered me further. If he was so quick to judge my mother for her mistakes, then would he one day judge me for mine? I thought. I had still yet to admit to Riley the fact I slept with Mika, and I knew that if he found out he would be disgusted with me. Riley wasn’t a virgin by the traditional sense, but he had since found religion and classified himself as born again. I used to think that was adorable, but with how superior he had been acting lately, now not so much.
I turned from him and stared out into the ocean, feeling conflicted. Ever since I had ended things with Mika, Riley and I had practically been joined at the hip. We spent every waking minute together, and he even had a toothbrush at my apartment. As happy as it made me to be in a relationship, I found out little things about him that annoyed me deeply. He was very judgemental and had a black and white attitude about what is right and what is wrong. Every time I would bring up the subject of my search for my mother he would get noticeably upset, however this is the first time he had ever came right out and said it, and I didn’t like it one bit.
“She needs my help.” I said narrowing my eyes and flipping over on my back on the towel. I stared up at the sky, my eyes starting to water. “If you cared about me you would understand that. My mother needs my help, to know that people care about her.” I felt my eyes start to burn, not from the glare of the sun, but from the tears that threatened beneath my eyelids. I couldn’t believe we were having this conversation. Again.
“I do care about you, and I do understand how you feel, but I don’t want to hear the words ‘I told you so’ when all this blows up in your face.” Riley stood up, brushing the sand off his legs and headed back down towards the beach. I happily watched him go, grateful to be alone before I smacked him for being so judgemental yet again.
I should be happy, it was a beautiful summer day, probably one of the last we’d have as summer neared to a close. Before long, it would be fall, then not long after that I would have to dig out the thermal underwear out of my wardrobe, I wasn’t ready to let go of summer and the comforting warmth it offered.
I watched Riley windsurf along the waves, and briefly wondered if I should take off and leave Riley to himself. He would know I was mad, and we would fight about it later, and I would beg to be forgiven like I always did. Sometimes it was easier to just give in to Riley, and go along with whatever he said. It was easier than fighting. Riley gave one hell of a cold shoulder, and it wasn’t worth the effort. I decided to stay, and tried to swallow my anger like a bitter little pill.
I dug my hands deep into the sand, enjoying the feel of the cool sand beneath. I let it trickle through my fingers and began to think about my situation. I didn’t want to lose Riley, but I wasn’t about to give up the search for my mother. I just hoped that once it was all said and done, he would forgive me, and understood why finding my mother was so important to me.
My heart gave an almost painful lurch when I thought about Mika. I knew he would understand, and have my back no matter what decision I chose. It was becoming glaringly clear that I had made the wrong choice. How could I have been so stupid? I stood up and walked towards the water, almost running over the hot sand that scorched the soles of my feet.
I had made my bed and had to lie in it, I thought diving into the refreshing yet cold ocean waters. I swam out deep until I could hardly see the shore. I felt very much alone. I flipped over onto my back and started to float, closing my eyes and allowing my thoughts to wonder.
Distantly I saw Mika’s dark almost black eyes, and could almost feel his hands stroking the side of my face gently. Our time together had been short, but somehow I knew he would understand and support my decision to find my mother.
Suddenly I felt ashamed, more so then I had ever felt in my life. Mika may not have been perfect, but he was everything Riley was not. Understanding, and patient, and knew that people made mistakes, and didn’t judge them for the wrongs they have made. How could I have missed that? I was so caught up in how “perfect” Riley was. Good job, responsible home owner, volunteer, religious man, who talked about his mother like she was the second coming of Mother Theresa! How could I have been so incredibly stupid? I really was no better than Riley, just as quick to judge people harshly as he was!
I turned towards shore and out of the corner of my eye saw Riley waving at me from the beach. I sighed, and began to swim towards shore, anxiety making my stomach turn.
“You had me worried out there.” Riley said his golden eyes soft as I approached him. “You went out past the buoys.”
“So? I’m a big girl, I do know how to swim.” I said crossly.
“They are there to keep you safe. There is no life guard on duty today. Madeline, you need to use your brain a little more.”
I opened my mouth to tell him exactly what I thought about that, and shut my mouth when I saw my phone flash which signaled that I had a missed call and a new voice message.
I stooped picking up the phone, my heart beginning to race when I recognized the Private Investigators phone number on my screen.
I entered in my password, and listened to the message.
“Detective Hardy here.” He said in his quick, gruff tone. “I’ve got some good news for you. I’ve found your mother. Please give me a call, or come into the office at your earliest convenience, so I know how you want to proceed.”
With shaking hands, I pressed the end call button. I felt like I was going to vomit, and faint all at once.
I pressed my hands to my face, feeling my eyes widen. I couldn’t believe it. After all this time, effort, and money, I finally accomplished what I set out to do. Find my mother. She was alive. I had known it all along.
My legs shook as I looked up to meet Riley’s slightly annoyed expression as if he knew what the voice message was about.
“They found my mother.” I said simply. I sounded tired. Exhausted.
Riley said nothing, but by the set of his shoulders I could tell he was angry and frustrated.
“Riley, this is good news. My mother is alive. Aren’t you happy for me?” I asked my voice growing louder with every word. “This is important to me. Why are you so upset about this?”
“You really want to know why?” Riley spit out, his face flushing red.
“Of course, I didn’t ask just because I love the sound of my own voice!” I yelled, ignoring the annoyed looks from the other beach goers.
“It’s embarrassing” He looked down at the sand. “I’m embarrassed.” He looked up to meet my eyes.
“Your embarrassed of me?” I whispered, feeling my hope float away like a balloon.
“I’m sorry my life isn’t as perfect as yours.” I spit out. “Sorry that my mom isn’t as perfect as yours!”
Riley looked around, embarrassed, raising his hands as if he was telling me to keep my voice down. He looked around wildly, looking like he wanted a hole to open up in the sand and swallow him whole.
“Oh do I embarrass you?” I yelled, beyond the point that I cared how he felt. I didn’t care that I was making the problems between us worse, all I cared was how good it felt to finally get some of this anger off of my chest.
“I’m sorry if my mom being a prostitute embarrasses you!” I glared up into Riley’s shocked face.
I felt my shoulders slump in defeat, and I began to cry. “You think I like this?” I sobbed. “Do you think I asked for this to happen? I’m not happy at the fact that my mom abandoned me, and chose instead a life on the streets, but I at least thought that you as my boyfriend would be supportive of my decision.”
“I don’t want to talk about this here.” Riley said, stooping to pick up his shirt off the beach towel. He faced me again, his eyes glinting angrily. “I’m not going to talk about this here.” He glared at me once more. “I’m leaving. Call me when you can think rationally.”
I watched him go, feeling a strange mix of sadness, and elation. Maybe this was for the best.
“Grow up Riley. People aren’t perfect!” I yelled out, wanting to get in one last parting shot. I watched him pause, then his back stiffened, and then continued walking away.
My mother was alive, I couldn’t believe it. I turned and stared out over the ocean feeling a strange mix of excitement and fear. Finally after all this time, I was going to get to meet the woman who had given me life, and then abandoned me choosing to live a life of drugs and prostitution. I would finally get to ask the questions that have haunted me since I found out about my mother. I wasn’t sure if I would like the answer….
I know there were a lot of you that were on Team Mika, and are probably a little upset that she chose Riley, for all the wrong reasons. I promise you that I’m not finished with Mika yet, and that he’ll be back. Madeline is definitely a very flawed character that often doesn’t think things through, and tends to make the wrong choice. I know she can be frusterating at times, but I enjoy writing about deeply flawed slightly annoying characters who end up growing in the long run from the problems they over come. I hope you will continue on with this story, even despite the fact that Madeline, is, and can be a total pain in the ass! ROFL.