1.14 This Ends Now
This chapter is Rated R (Strong language, adult themes, and drug use)
Author’s note: This chapter is pretty lengthy, but I’ve been suffering from writers block for a while now, and writing this chapter snapped me out of it, so I’m pretty happy about that. I know the last chapter left a cliffhanger with the whole Mika thing. The next chapter is going to be from his POV, so I’m pretty excited about that. I hope you enjoy this chapter as much as I did writing it. 🙂
When I left Mika’s the first thing I did was call Riley, and asked him to meet me at Crater Lake so I could finally manage to do what I had been putting off for so long. It wasn’t that I was having second thoughts, no, Riley and I were over, and it was about time that I got off my ass and made the whole thing official. I decided to meet Riley in a public area, figuring it would be easier incase he became unhinged, and decided to fly off the handle. Not that I expected him too, it wasn’t his style. Riley may have been a judgemental religious mama’s boy, but he wasn’t crazy.
I stared out over the lake feeling a sense of calm run through my entire body. The lake looked like a black void, the sun bouncing off its surface like a mirror. As the wind blew gently it caused the ripples to glimmer as they made their way towards shore. The trees across the lake reflected on the water’s surface seemed to ripple with a life of their own. It was a beautiful day, one of the last of the summer. Before long the trees across the lake would be ablaze in shades of crimson and orange, and not long after that it would be a sea of white, and this beautiful lake would be frozen over.
The sound of heavy footsteps crunching across the grass shook me out of my daydreams and dropped me cruelly back down to earth. My shoulders and back stiffened slightly, reminding me of the task I came here to do. This wasn’t going to be pleasant, and I really had no idea what I was going to say or how I was going to say it. I just had a feeling that Riley wasn’t going to be very impressed…Maybe it was a bad idea to tell him about the pregnancy. After all, it was really none of his business, and the last thing I wanted was him judging me.
“Well I’m here.” Riley announced, in his normal abrasive way. I can see that, asshole. I thought feeling a twinge of annoyance throughout my body, instantly making me feel better about ending this relationship.
“Thank you for coming.” I said instead. “We need to talk.”
“Yeah we do.” Riley smiled slightly, looking at me expectantly.
“Is this about your mom Madeline, because I already told you how I feel. I understand you want to wave your magic wand and act like everything is fine, but the real world is a cruel place. Sometimes people aren’t worth your effort.” Riley began, his mouth set in a thin line.
“How can you say that Riley?” I asked, feeling my anger surge like a tidal wave, threatening to take out a small island village. “You proclaim to be a man of god, to have faith and see the good in people, yet you can’t believe that people can change. Why is that Riley? What happened to make you so cynical.” I asked, staring ahead, even though the secret part of me wanted to tell him that he was right. The world was a cruel place, and sometimes people were beyond saving. But I would die before I admitted Riley was right. Besides, if Melody wanted me to get through to my mother, I had to try to keep an open mind.
“Because I’m a realist.” Riley said with a smirk. “And I don’t want to see you get hurt. I may not always act like it Madeline, but I do care about you. You’re a much better person then your mother, and I want to protect you from that hurt if I can.” I think it’s too late for that, I thought sadly, willing my eyes not to fill up with tears. “I’ve been calling you. And even knocked on your door a few times. I wanted to say that I was sorry, I should have never acted the way I did, but I can’t help the way I feel.”
My shoulders tightened. This was harder than I initially thought it was going to be. The last thing I expected was for Riley to tell me he was sorry.
“Are you going to say anything?” Riley asked scooting closer towards me on the bench, slinging his arm up and over the side of the bench.
I looked down at my lap, staring intently at the intricate detail of my maxi dress. I closed my eyes, and let out a sigh that echoed across the stillness of the lake. “I want to break up.” I said finally, willing myself to stay the course and be strong.
Riley shook his head like he had a bee lodged in his inner ear drum. “What?” He stuttered. “Why? Look if this is about your mother, I already apologized, what else do you want from me?”
“That’s just it, Riley. I want nothing from you.” I turned to face him, at least I owed him that. “We’re too different. You see the world so differently then I. You’re too quick to judge people and pick apart their flaws, and I look for the good in people. I know sometimes it’s not always there, but I believe that deep down all people can be saved, even when at times it feels hopeless.” Even as I said these words, I sent up a prayer that they were true. I hoped somehow I could reach my mother. For Melody’s sake, and for Mason’s.
“Your full of it Madeline. You have your head in the clouds. You think everyone can be saved, guess again. Have you ever had to go visit your father in prison, and see the face of evil? I have. I used to be like you once, stupid, believing in the good in everyone, just like a good church boy. But I learned quickly that some people just can’t be saved, no matter how hard you try. One day you’ll see that Madeline, and you’ll understand why I feel the way I do.”
“Your dad is in prison?” I asked, ignoring the fact that he called me stupid. Despite of myself, I felt my heart go out to Riley.
“Yes.” He said through a clenched jaw. “Now do you understand?”
“What did he do?” I asked, interested despite of myself.
“Why do you care?” Riley scowled, his brow furrowed over his golden eyes. “You dumped me remember.”
“Doesn’t mean I stopped caring about you Riley. If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. Believe me, I understand. But I’d very much like us to try to be friends.”
Riley laughed, bitterly, staring up at the sky for one brief moment. When he turned to face me once more, his face was hard and expressionless. “You friend zoned me? That’s rich Madeline. I’m not interested in being friends. So how about we just end things on a good note now, before I say something I’ll regret later.”
With that he stood, and walked away before I could say another word.
I didn’t turn around, and stared out over the lake feeling stunned.
My mother’s home, the last place I expected to find myself on a beautiful afternoon. The last time I had been here she had rejected me cruelly, and told me she should have aborted me instead of giving me life. I had to be crazy for doing this, yet here I was, staring up at the brick and timber monstrosity of a house like it was going to bite me.
A promise is a promise, I told myself. I had made a promise to Melody, and I owed it to her and Mason to at least try. What was the harm? My mother already told me she would have preferred to abort me, what else was there left to say?
Before I could change my mind, I forced myself to walk toward the house and knock on the door. Silence greeted me. It appeared nobody was home.
As I turned to walk away, the door swung open slightly on its hinges as if giving me an open invitation to just head on in.
You’re trespassing Madeline, I told myself as I stepped into the foyer, remembering when my mother told me if I didn’t leave she’d have me arrested for trespassing. Tough shit now, I had been invited by Melody, I laughed. I gave a small little jump of fright when something brushed up against my leg. I looked down to see a small orange cat staring up at me with big green eyes.
“Brrmeow.” It meowed up at me, as if asking what I was doing here.
“Good question…” I whispered looking around the house.
It was cold inside, obviously the central air pumping throughout the house. I shivered. This was a beautiful house, but it lacked the warmth and depth that made a house a home. There were no happy family pictures, no drawings from the kids. Nothing but room after room of expensive furniture that looked like it was better suited for the museum. What it must have been like to grow up in a house so cold…
“Who are you?” A little boy asked from the dining room table. His green eyes looked away from mine shyly.
“Mason?” I asked. “What are you doing home from school?”
Mason rolled his green eyes towards the ceiling like I was the most idiotic person he’d ever met. “It’s summer, duh.”
Of course. I felt stupid. Owned by a ten-year old, I thought blushing.
“What are you drawing?” I asked sitting down across from my little brother.
“Animals.” Mason quipped, the tip of his tongue slightly sticking out as he drew.
“My favorite.” I smiled, trying to be supportive. “When I was little, I wanted to be a vet.”
“Me too!” Mason grinned, his green eyes that were so much like my grandmothers lit up like mega watt bulbs. “What’s your favorite animal?”
I thought for a moment. “That’s a tough question.” I said. “A unicorn.”
“Unicorn’s aren’t real!” Mason laughed looking at me once again like my brains were full of popcorn.
“They aren’t?” I laughed, smiling. “I guess I like Tigers then. Or lions.”
“My favorite animal is a Lynx.” Mason continued drawing.
“Mason, where is your mom…” I asked concerned. The house was so silent and dark. Melissa didn’t appear to be home, and after what Melody had told me about my mother, I was concerned.
“She’s still sleeping…” Mason said with a slight frown. Obviously my question upset him.
“At 3:30 in the afternoon?” I wondered out loud.
“She’s always sleeping…” Mason rolled his eyes, looking back down at his paper, his thin shoulders stiff. He was trying to be strong, and clearly didn’t want to show any emotion. My heart broke, and shattered into a tiny thousand pieces. This ends now.
“I’m going to go wake your mother up now. Ok Mason?” I smiled at him reassuringly.
“Sure, ok.” He went back to his drawing.
The carpeting was thick and luxurious as I ran up the stairs eager to lay into my mother. What kind of mother slept all day and ignored her ten-year old? Didn’t she make him lunch?
Melody was right. My mother was a piece of shit, and I was going to tell her so….
Glass doors led to my mother’s suite, and I pushed open the doors revealing a sitting room with a bedroom off to the side. Such a big beautiful house, but the family who lived between its walls was anything but happy….
“Melissa?” I hissed not wanting to upset Mason. “Wake up!” I didn’t move from the doorway.
I stepped closer, my heart thudding like a cheap hammer. “Melissa?”
As I stepped closer the objects on her end tables came into view. Melody was right! My mother was definitely into drugs again. Prescription pills were scattered across the table tops next to two empty vodka bottles, and two lines of coke lay next to a credit card and a rolled up dollar bill.
Anger made my cheeks flush an angry crimson, and I leapt forward.
“Oh god, Melissa, don’t do this to me. Wake the FUCK up. You can’t be dead. Don’t do this to Mason and Melody. WAKE THE HELL UP!” I shook her, her skin felt cold to the touch, but also clammy, as if she had been sweating. “Common…” I urged her shaking the hell out of my mother.
Suddenly she coughed and cracked one eye open at me, it was as red as a stop light. The smell of unwashed hair and morning breath hit me like a punch to the face.
“I’m sleeping. Lemme sleep.” Melissa murmured, trying to roll back over. I forced her to sit up, worried she would aspirate.
Her eyes suddenly widened like she seen a ghost. “Mom?” She asked, her eyes bulging out their sockets.
I was puzzled. Then it hit me suddenly. I had seen enough pictures to know that when my grandmother was young, she looked a lot like me, and even wore her hair in a similar manner when Melissa would had been a child. She thought I was her mother. Maybe I could use this to my advantage!
I threw out my hands angrily. “What the hell are you doing Melissa, seriously, it’s almost four in the afternoon and your still asleep! You have a little boy down there who depends on you. He needs you. What the hell kind of drugs are you taking. Do I need to call an ambulance?” I yelled. “Might do you some good to lock your ass in rehab for a while.”
“I’m fine. I’m fine.” Melissa mumbled, scrambling around on top of the blankets inching towards the nightstand. “I just need one hit, then I’ll be fine. Just let me have one hit.”
She grabbed the credit card off the table to cut the line of coke and bent over the table. I scrambled across the entire bed and grabbed her around the waist pulling her back from the table.
“Just one hit…” Melissa begged sobbing, trembling like a leaf in the wind.
Melissa hit the floor in a mangled heap, her skin pale with a sheen of sweat decorating her brow. She looked much older than she was. The drugs had taken its toll on her body and I felt nothing but pity for the woman who gave me up without a second look back. As much as I wanted to tell her to go to hell, and leave her to rot and possibly die from her filthy habit, I couldn’t. And it wasn’t simply because of the promise I made to Melody, it was for that young innocent boy downstairs who needed me to at least try.
I helped her stand, trying to breathe out my open mouth instead of inhale from my nose. She smelled like she hadn’t bathed in a month. Her hair was greasy and unkempt, and her skin was ashy. As I guided her into her reclining chair I noticed the slight chemical smell from the drugs, oozing out of every pore. She smelled like a damn crack pipe.
As I sat across from her, I couldn’t help but feel a surge of anger at my mother. I was out of pity for the woman who abandoned me, now I just felt disgust. How could she of had ignored young Mason all day without a bite to eat, and just let him fend for himself?
“What drugs are you taking Melissa?” I asked finally, watching her tremble from withdrawals. I watched a bead of sweat make its way down her forehead. It was a damn icebox in this house, yet she was sweating like she was in a sauna, an obvious effect of the drugs she was taking.
Melissa scowled at me like a petulant child who got her favorite toy taken away. “I’m not a drug addict. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. “Oh so the drugs on your nightstand just magically appeared right?”
“Yes, that’s right. They aren’t mine.” Melissa cried.
“Where is your husband?” I asked. It was clear he hadn’t been around in days or even weeks.
“Probably out fucking his secretary. That asshole. Fucking limp dick anyways, I don’t need his ass…” Melissa slurred, one arm reaching towards the drugs on the end table that was just a tad bit out of reach.
“You need to go to rehab.” I said quietly. “And before you say you don’t need to go, and you’re not a drug addict, can the shit. Your going to kill yourself one of these days, and if you don’t give a shit about me, then at least do it for Mason, and Melody because they love you and need you. Do it for them.” I said looking down at the hands in my lap which trembled slightly.
“I don’t need rehab!” Melissa shouted pointing at me angrily. “And fuck you for turning my own kids against me. You just want to steal them away from me.”
“That’s not true, Melissa and you know that. I simply want to see you get clean, before you OD one of these days. How would you like Mason coming into your room and finding you dead. Think how that would affect him for the rest of his life. How can you be so selfish? Don’t you care about him at all?” I asked, feeling like I could burst into tears at any second.
Melissa turned away from me, but I could tell my question got to her. Her eyes were shining with unshed tears that she didn’t want me to see. Maybe there was a spark of hope after all.
“He’s better off without me.” Melissa said sadly. “I’m a shitty mom.” Can’t argue that, I thought.
I stood, and took two large strides to the end table and started sweeping the drugs off the end table and into the garbage bin.
Melissa curled her fingers into talons and started swiping at me, screeching angrily. “You fucking bitch, don’t you know how much that shit costs? Are you fucking crazy?” She screamed and tried to lunge out of her chair, but ended up tripping over the step stool and almost sprawling onto her face.
Whistling, I tied the garbage bag, and strode out of the room. “I’m calling rehab.” I announced. “And your going even if I have to call them and have them take you out in restraints. This ends now.”
I smiled as I exited through her bedroom door, the sounds of her throwing things and screaming like a banshee delighted me in some sick perverse way. I just hope Melissa took rehab seriously, if she cared about her children at all.
“She’s angry, isn’t she?” Mason asked from the floor where he was playing with a toy. His green eyes looked sad as they met mine, his mouth set in a thin line.
I kneeled down so I was level with him. “She is, but she’s going to a place where they will help her get better.” I smiled, and reached out to ruffle his fine dark hair.
“I just got off the phone with your sister, she’ll be home in a couple of minutes, she’s going to bring you home something to eat. How does that sound?” I smiled even though my heart-felt full. This day had taken its toll on me, and I just wanted to lay down and cry it out. That’s what I needed.
“I hope she’s bringing pizza.” Mason grinned his eyes lighting up. “I love pizza.”
“Me too Mason, pizza is my favorite.” I smiled, and my heart warmed when I saw him smile back, filling me with the hope that everything would be ok.
Everything seemed to happen at once. Melody came home with the pizza, and occupied Mason, taking him into the back yard so he wouldn’t see Melissa leave kicking and screaming as they took her to rehab.
I watched her board the van looking vacant eyed and defeated, like an abandoned sailboat adrift on the sea, all the wind lost from her sails. Her eyes briefly met mine as the man in the white coat lowered her head into the van, her eyes were full of rage, and for a moment I shuddered, the look of hatred piercing with its intensity. Then I thought of Melody and Mason out in the back yard, and knew that things could only get better for them. I had to hope for the best.
As the sun set, I watched the van drive away, and I felt lighter. Free. I tipped my head up to the sky and smiled at the beautiful sunset, the pink sky gave way to orange that blazed across the sky. I heard Mason laughing from the backyard, the sound beautiful to my ears. He seemed like such a solemn kid, and more than anything I wanted him to be able to experience childhood like a kid should, like I had. I really had a good life…
Smiling, I went out to the backyard to join Mason and Melody, happier then I had been in months….