1.10 Who Are You?
This chapter is Rated PG 13. Some strong language, although mildly used.
Author’s note: Please note that I updated my credits page to reflect all use of custom CC, houses, and poses. I find that its easier then a list on every chapter. 🙂
The wrong side of the tracks, that term could best be described as Mika’s neighborhood. I was pleasantly surprised that Mika’s house was the nicest on the block, I don’t know why I was slightly comforted by that fact. I stood outside staring up at his small one story double wide, like I thought it would open up and swallow me.
What are you doing here, Madeline? I asked myself, willing myself to take a step forward. I wasn’t sure how Mika would react. I had ended things with him, and chose Riley. A mistake. But would Mika be willing to forgive me for it?
Why are you even here Madeline? I berated myself. You chose Riley, for better or for worse, you made your decision and should live with it. You don’t need to drag Mika into your fucked up world, he’s better off without you.
I shook my head as if chasing away my bitter troubled thoughts. I was here because I knew Mika was the one person I could depend on right now, and I needed him to tell me that everything was ok, and that I could be brave and stand face to face with my mother, the woman who had abandoned me without a second look back.
With small hesitant steps I climbed the porch steps which creaked and groaned under my weight. Before I could turn coward and run, I forced myself to knock.
I hugged myself for warmth in the fading light of the day, my bathing suit was still wet from my swim beneath my tank top and skirt. I shivered, more from the nerves then the temperature.
The door opened, and I froze like a deer caught in the headlights, wondering just exactly what I was going to say.
“Madeline?” Mika asked, his tone shocked. “What are you doing here?” His expression softened when he saw the look on my face. “Hey?” He said tenderly. “Is everything ok?”
I stood out on the porch unable to speak, and just stood there like a cold statue.
“Come on in Madeline, everything will be ok.” He stepped aside allowing me to come in.
Inside his house was cleaner and more spacious than I had initially given him credit for. I don’t know what I had expected his house to look like, but this wasn’t it. Once again, I had assumed the worst about Mika, that because he lived in the bad part of town, that his house would be messy and one step away from being condemned. I was truly ashamed of myself. When are you going to learn to quit judging people, Madeline, I thought, feeling the tears run down my cheeks.
“Shhhh…” Mika whispered stepping close like he was going to hug me, and at the last moment backed away. He knew I belonged to another man, and Mika wasn’t the type to steal another man’s girl right out from under him. His integrity was one of the things I loved most about him, but right now, a hug sure would feel nice.
I raised a hand to my chest and looked away not knowing where to start. The air was thick of words left unsaid, and I wanted nothing more but to fling myself into his arms, and feel his lips against mine, but that would be wrong, and I knew it.
“My mother has been found.” I began brokenly, feeling the lump in my throat dissolve into tears that streamed from my eyes. I hugged myself for warmth, suddenly feeling very cold despite the warmth in Mika’s home.
“Have you seen her yet?” Mika asked, his face that looked down at mine, was concerned.
“No.” I admitted looking up to meet his dark eyes. “I came right here. You were the first person I thought about.”
“But Riley?” Mika looked puzzled, and scratched his neck absently.
“Is an asshole.” I finished. “I made a huge mistake. Please forgive me.” I whispered feeling my shoulders slump with defeat.
Mika stepped forward. His expression was unreadable. For a minute I thought he was going to tell me to go to hell. I braced myself for the impending hurt his words would cause. I closed my eyes. Instead, he took me into his arms, and kissed my forehead gently. I grabbed a fistful of his red sweatshirt and leaned my head against his chest and sobbed as if my heart was breaking in two.
“Lets sit.” Mika suggested. “Tell me all about it.”
I sat across from him on the surprisingly comfy sofa, and propped my chin up with my hands. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I just started blabbing it all to Mika, starting with my fight with Riley, and ending with the phone call from the PI.
“Wow.” Mika said sitting back looking slightly stunned.
“Yeah.” I murmured looking down at the floor, blinking away my tears. “I’m scared.” I admitted, biting my lip. “Scared that after all this time of searching for my mother that I’m going to be disappointed. Aren’t you going to tell me I told you so?” I asked tearfully. “And tell me that I’m stupid for pursing this?”
“Never.” Mika said with a decisive shake of his head. “Do you want me to go with you?”
I looked up at him. “You would do that?”
“Of course I would. I would do anything for you Madeline.” He said quietly, looking into my eyes. My heart skipped a beat.
Emotion filled me to the brim and threatened to spill over, even after how I treated Mika he still cared about me. I didn’t deserve him. I closed my eyes and began to cry softly.
I heard him stand up from his seat and sit beside me. His familiar scent washed over me, instantly making me feel calmer, like everything just might turn out alright. I lay my head on his shoulder, grateful for his support. I don’t know what tomorrow promised, but maybe with Mika by my side, it wouldn’t be as awful as I thought….
Saying goodbye to Mika was hard. I wanted nothing more to stay with him, wrapped in his arms, forgetting all my problems. But Mika was firm. Until I ended things with Riley officially, all he could offer me was his friendship.
It was a hard pill to swallow, but I understood. Riley may had been acting like a jerk as of late, but he deserved better, and I would have to end things with him. It was the right thing to do.
I went home and crawled into bed, not that I expected to sleep, but I was surprised that when my head hit the pillow I was out like light. All the stress and excitement had taken its toll.
I woke up the next morning with a start. I sat up suddenly overtaken by nausea. Shoving the covers aside hastily, I jumped from my bed and ran to the bathroom, doubling up in front of the toilet and vomiting into the porcelain bowl until my stomach contents had been emptied.
I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand feeling sweaty and weak. I lay my head against the cool bathroom tiles and closed my eyes willing my stomach to settle. I was so nervous about meeting my mother, that it was no wonder I was throwing up.
I hadn’t been taking care of myself as well as I should have been. My grandmother would be so disappointed in me, and if she were hear right now, she’d be force feeding me hot loving spoonfuls of her homemade chicken noodle soup and dumplings.
The thought of her dumplings should have made my mouth water, but instead it caused another round of vomiting. Lucky me.
I crawled over to the sink, using the counter to pull myself to a standing position. Filling the basin with cold water, I splashed cold water on my cheeks, and brushed my teeth vigorously, to rid my mouth of the sour taste. I stared into my reflection. I was pale, with dark circles under my eyes. Even though I had slept well the night before, the stress had taken its toll on my body.
I raised a hand to my cheek and examined my face. Would she recognize me? Would she take one look at me and instantly feel a connection between us? Or would I just be an annoyance to her, a long-lost memory that has come back to haunt her…
Mika picked me up an hour later. I was a bundle of nerves as I sat down in the front seat beside him, almost ready to call the entire thing off. This was a mistake, I was sure of it. I opened my mouth to tell Mika that when his hand settled on my leg. I turned to look at him, feeling my eyes burn with nervous tears.
“It’s ok Madeline.” He said. “I know your nervous, but you don’t have to do this if you aren’t ready. No matter what your decision is, I’ve got your back. No matter what.”
Unable to trust myself to speak, I just smiled tightly and nodded. “I can do this.” I said finally, clutching a piece of paper in my hands that contained my mothers address. How could one tiny scrap of paper change your entire life?
“Thanks for coming with me.” I leaned back against the head rest as Mika pulled away from the curb. “I don’t think I could do this without you.”
“Yes you could.” He smiled. “You’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. Not a lot of people would uproot their entire lives to move across the country with nothing more than a dream. No matter how this turns out now you need to know that you are very brave.”
“Or stupid.” I mumbled shifting in my seat and staring out the window. “I don’t feel very brave right now.”
“I have feelings for you.” I blurted out, instantly wishing I could take back my words and stuff them back down my throat. I wasn’t sure where that came from. I was so nervous about meeting my mother that I guess I wanted to think about something else for a while. Anything else.
“I have feelings for you too.” Mika stared straight ahead as he drove. “But I’m not the type of guy to ruin another man’s relationship. I don’t know Riley, or what’s going on between you two, but I’m not the type of guy to steal another man’s woman.” He gave me one of his lopsided grins that made my heart melt like butter on toast. “Even if I want too.”
“I know.” I whispered. “I don’t know why I told you that. I guess I just needed you to know that I was sorry.”
“For being so judgemental. I chose Riley because he has a good job, he volunteers, goes to church, has wonderful family values. He was the type of guy I always envisioned myself with someday. I was so wrong into thinking all those things mattered. Truthfully, you scared me a little.” I admitted. Mika raised his eyebrow slightly, but said nothing. “You scared me because you showed me that all those things don’t matter. That all that matters is how you make me feel inside…”
“And how is that?” Mika finally said, his voice husky with emotion.
“Like you could be everything that I always wanted, but never knew I needed.”
“Sorry.” I apologized again. “I just wanted you to know that I think I’m falling in love with you.” I smiled slightly, laying all my cards out on the table.
“I love you too Madeline.” Mika said with a soft smile. “Is this the road?” He changed the subject so quickly that it made my head spin. He loved me?
I looked down at the piece of paper and found my voice. “Peninsula drive?” I asked looking out the window, watching the houses on the side of the street get larger and more opulent as we drove.
Mika pulled the car to a stop in front of an impressive Tudor style house. I looked down at the paper, and looked at the numbers on the mailbox. This was it. Wasn’t it? The numbers on the mailbox matched those on the paper. Had I written it down wrong in my nervous rush this morning?
“This has to be a mistake.” I said my brow furrowed with confusion. “Detective Hardy gave me the wrong address.”
I stared up at the house in awe, a feeling of unease making my stomach tighten like it was being squeezed by icy fingers. This couldn’t be it, it just couldn’t.
Mika turned to face me once again. “You can do this.” He took my hands in his, his thumb circling over my palm to settle my nerves. “Do you need me to come in with you?”
I blew out my breath to steady myself. “No. I can do this. I need to do this alone. I need to look into my mothers eyes and find out why she gave me up.”
“I wont go anywhere. I’ll wait in the car no matter how long it takes.” Mika smiled. “It’s ok. You can do this.” He said again, sensing my anxiety.
I climbed out of the car on shaky legs staring up at the gorgeous house like it was the gateway to hell. With the little I knew about prostitution, I never once imagined you could make the sort of money that would be needed to afford a place like this.
I had dreamed repeatedly of the place my mother lived, and what I pictured in my head was closer to looking like a crack den next to an adult bookstore then this lovely two-story sprawling Tudor and brick Estate. How could I have been so wrong? Did that mean I was wrong about everything? What had my mother been doing this entire time if she wasn’t prostituting? Was that a lie too?
My vision dimmed slightly as I reached toward the antique knocker on the old wooden door that probably cost more than anything in my crappy apartment.
The door was pulled open by a pretty young blond, who stared at me popping her gum loudly in her mouth. “Yeah?” She asked in ways of greeting. She stared at me expectantly, cocking her head to the side slightly when words failed me.
“I’m looking for Melissa.” I said, my voice barely above a whisper, I cleared my throat, and tried to relax. “Does she live here?”
“Mom! Someone’s here at the door for you!” The blond turned and shouted down the hallway, she turned back to me with a distrustful glare. “Who the hell are you?”
Sorry about the cliffhanger. I’m slightly evil. >.<