This chapter is Rated R: (Slight nudity, although nothing shows, Language, and adult themes)
Author’s note: I’m truly sorry this chapter took forever to come out. I had some CC issues that thankfully I figured out, thanks too Ashley who commented to try the Delphy Dashboard tool, to help figure out my corrupt CC problem. I spent ages trying to figure it out, and that tool fixed the issue in like 5 minutes. So glad to have my game back and running like a champ again. Anyhoo…I know this chapter is a little lengthy, but I have a lot of stuff I need to cover.
Someone had asked me a few chapters back in one of the comments if I was going to have a Character casting call eventually and I said I would think about it. So I thought I’d ask. Is that something you guys would be interested in? The last time I did one of these I had one entry which was kind of soul crushing. LOL. I’m not sure if I will or not, but just thought I’d ask for some feedback on that. 🙂 Things are about to get pretty exciting for the rest of this generation! I hope you enjoy the chapter. 🙂
To say I was exhausted was a bit of an understatement. My apartment building was only five stories high, yet I found my eyes nearly shutting on the short ride up the elevator. I had never been so relieved to see my own doorway, then I ever had until this moment. More than anything I looked forward to a hot bath, and a quiet night alone with a good book if I was feeling ambitious.
Today had been mentally exhausting. Between telling Mika about the pregnancy and sending my mother to rehab I found myself needing a little bit of me time. Time alone to pamper myself and let myself unwind and relax from all the stress I’d been under as of late.
Once inside my apartment, I dropped my purse down on the coffee table, the loose change in the bottom of the purse making a clanging sound, and made a bee line to the bathroom. I couldn’t wait to sink under the hot water and close my eyes for a while. I had bought some great smelling bath oils recently, and I couldn’t wait to relax, and feel some of that tension disappear like dust on the wind.
As the tub filled, I dumped in a generous portion of Jasmine scented bath salts, and sat down on the edge of the tub my hand swirling in the water to test the temperature. Once the water was high enough I turned off the spigot and climbed in, submerging myself up to my neck in the hot water. I sighed with bliss and closed my eyes. This was a perfect ending to a long mentally exhausting day…
I leaned back, the porcelain cold against my skin, staring at the wall letting my mind drift to Mika, and hoped he was able to get some sleep. I felt a pang of sympathy when I remembered the dark circles around his eyes and how stressed he looked, and once again I was reminded that we were far from ready for this baby.
For a brief moment, panic surged in my gut making my eyes bulge slightly. What the hell are we going to do? I thought my mind whirling like the tilt a whirl at the carnival. Mika’s house is tiny, and the one small bedroom has no room for a crib, as far as this apartment, it’s not suitable for a baby either.
In the water my hands gravitated towards my stomach, resting them on my flat belly, that wouldn’t remain flat for too much longer. Moments like this, when I wasn’t nauseated and throwing my guts up I couldn’t even believe I was pregnant. If hadn’t taken a few pee tests I wouldn’t believe it myself.
So much for relaxing, I thought crossly after I toweled myself off and dressed in pajamas. I found myself sitting on the edge of my bed beating my lumpy pillow into submission, no more relaxed then I had been this morning. Still on pins and needles, I knew I would never get to sleep. It was like a vicious cycle that was doomed to repeat over and over again.
Damnit Madeline, you’re going to relax if it kills you, I told myself sternly, forcing myself to lay back against the pillow, and relax my tense muscles. I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was wrong. I couldn’t explain it, since as far as days go, this had turned out to be a pretty decent day. Not only did I finally reveal the pregnancy to Mika, he took it like a champ, and even seemed a little excited at the thought of being a father. As far as my mother went, Melissa was where she belonged, and I could only help she got the help she desperately needed for Mason’s sake.
Mason, I smiled at the thought of my little brother. Such a great kid, smart as a whip, if not a little small for his age, with sad eyes that pulled at your heartstrings. I loved watching him and Melody together, how they interacted with each other was inspiring. Meeting my mother may have been a horrible experience, but getting to know my half-sister and brother had been amazing.
With a small sigh, I began to sort through the small stack of books I had bought from the bookstore on discount. I chose one at random and began to read, hoping that would calm me enough to fall asleep.
When I realized I had read the same chapter over ten times not recognizing a single word, I realized once again, sleep was futile, and I was faced once again with the thought that something bad was going to happen…
With a loud groan I pushed off my blankets and walked out to the living room my cell phone in hand. I knew it was late, and my grandmother was probably in bed, but right now I just needed to hear her voice.
I sat down on the couch feeling a strange mix of guilt and anxiety. It had been more than a week since I had found Melissa, and I had been putting off telling my grandmother the news that not only was her daughter alive, but she had more grandchildren. How it would kill her to know how her own daughter treated me, and I couldn’t bear to hurt her more than she already had been. Maybe it was better to let her think Melissa was dead. No, honesty was always the best policy, and besides, she would never forgive me had I not given her the opportunity to know her grandchildren Mason and Melody. I had to do this.
“Madeline, is everything ok?” My grandmother asked in ways of greeting. She sounded like she had just woken up. My grandmother had always been the type that went to bed early, and woke up at the ass crack of dawn. Hearing her voice brought an unexpected flood of emotion, and I tried to keep my voice from wavering. I blinked away the tears that trembled in my lashes.
“Everything’s ok.” I lied. Everything wasn’t fine. I was pregnant, with a shitty job and little prospects, but I was ashamed to tell her this, so I bit my lip and forged ahead. “I have news, about Melissa.” I said carefully, feeling a pang of guilt when I heard my grandmothers breath halt momentarily.
I gripped the phone tightly in my hand bringing my knee up to my chest. “Melissa is alive.” I said finally.
Quiet sobbing erupted over the phone on the other end, and I felt my own eyes moisten with hot tears, not at all surprised when I felt a tear trickle down my cheek. I listened to my grandmother sob with happiness, feeling my heart-break, for what I told her next would be heartbreaking. “Are you sure?” My grandmother cried, I heard her fumbling around for something in her room, and it sounded like she dropped the phone. A second later, I heard her nose blowing into a tissue.
“Very sure.” I said quietly, not knowing where to start.
“How is she? How is my baby girl? Is she ok? Why hasn’t she got in touch with me after all these years? Oh god, she isn’t in jail is she?” It sounded as though Meredith Drake was hyperventilating into the phone. I had never seen her in such a panic before, my grandmother had always been if nothing but the picture of calm and collected in all situations.
“Well she’s not in jail.” I said carefully. “And I don’t want you to freak out but you have two more grandchildren. Melody is 18, and Mason is 10 years old.”
Another round of happy sobbing ripped my heart to shreds and my face was literally drenched with tears. I sniffed into the phone wishing I was home to hug her, and give her the support and love she had given me all these years.
“Tell me about them.” Meredith Drake sobbed into the phone.
“I will, in a second, but I have more to tell you.” I chose my words carefully. “When I first met Melissa she had no idea who I was, and when I introduced myself she was shocked and extremely upset, it was like I had interrupted her life. Her husband has no idea I was even born, and she wanted to forget I ever existed. She told me she wished she would have aborted me. She completely neglects Mason, and Melody is basically the caretaker of that house. Things would fall apart without her, if it wasn’t for Melody, I don’t know what would happen to Mason…Today I knocked on the door to find Mason alone with no supervision and Melissa was passed out upstairs smelling like she bathed in alcohol and drugs. I know this hurts to hear all this, but I didn’t want to lie to you. You deserve the truth, and I’ve come to realize that the truth…well…it fucking sucks sometimes.” I let out a little laugh, flicking a tear off my cheek.
“Madeline!” My grandmother gasped, and I had to smile. I just told her that her daughter was a drug addict piece of shit, and she was worried about my language. God I missed her. “There is so much to do, I gotta call work tomorrow, and take a leave of absence. I gotta call the airport….” Meredith said in a rush.
I was worried this would happen. I had a feeling once my grandmother knew Melissa was alive, and that she had grandchildren that needed her, nothing short of a miracle would prevent her from hopping on the first flight to North Port City.
We talked for twenty more minutes, and when I hunt up the phone I sat slightly stunned, staring down at my cell phone. It would be good to see her, but I was worried she would take one look at me and instantly know I was pregnant. Would she be disappointed? Heartbroken? I was only 19 years old, with a shitty apartment and a minimum wage job at the bookstore. A far cry from the once college bound student I had been only months ago. How quickly life could change…
A knock at the door caused me to flinch. I set the phone down on the coffee table and looked through the peep-hole. Janice. What was she doing here? I opened the door, brushing the last few traces of tears off my face and forced a smile on my face.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, as Janice stepped into my living room carrying an adorable toddler I only assumed to be her youngest son Luke.
“You forgot, didn’t you?” Janice laughed, rolling her eyes slightly.
“Forgot what?” I asked puzzled.
“Our girls night…Damn girl, you’re too young for Alzheimer’s.” Janice laughed.
“Girls night?” I repeated like a parrot.
“We planned this last week. Remember, you told me to not forget the junk food. Told me that if I didn’t bring chocolate covered pretzels there would be rioting in the streets.”
I distantly remembered making plans, but with all the drama that had been going on in my life, I had completely forgot. “I’m so sorry.” I said guiltily. “I’m the worst friend in the whole wide world.”
“Oh please.” Janice rolled her eyes. I smiled at Luke as he buried his face shyly into his mothers shoulder. “He’s flirting with you. You know what his first word was? Boobies.” Janice rolled her eyes. “You can blame my oldest for that one. So don’t be worried if he grabs a handful, he may only be 3 but he’s a typical boy. Sorry for bringing him to girls night. My asshole husband felt he would die if he had to skip poker night with the guys, and all the baby sitters in this town have banded together and boycotted my family, none of them will enter my house because of my little monsters. But Luke will fall right asleep, wont you Luke?” Janice cooed at the curly-haired little boy who yawned into her shoulder.
“I’m kind of tired…” I began, feeling like the worlds worst friend in the entire world.
“It’s 1o pm.” Janice pointed to the wall clock. “And neither of us have to work tomorrow, and it’s Friday night. I’m going to force you to have fun even if it kills me.”
“I have a lot on my mind… I might not be good company.” I tried again. I guess it couldn’t hurt to have company, to take my mind off my troubles.
“Bitch, please. I sit around all day with 3 young boys under the age of 13. Even if you fell asleep you would still be better company then my little monsters. I’m staying.”
I bit my lip as Janice set Luke down on the floor. My apartment was far from childhood friendly and I would feel like complete shit if little Luke stuck his finger in the light socket or something. Once again I was reminded that I was nowhere near ready for this baby I would bring into this world. I guess making sure little Luke doesn’t electrocute himself or choke to death was my first test run at being a responsible parent. Maybe I should have started with a pet, or even a house plant.
“He’s cute.” I commented watching Luke play with his stuffed toy on the floor. I wondered what my own child would look like. Would he look like me, or would he have Mika’s features and coloring. I hoped so. I smiled at the thought of a baby Mika.
“He is. But you’ll change your mind right quick when he starts screaming. Babies, oh they scream when they are hungry, they scream when they are tired, they scream when they are bored….Just wait Madeline.” Janice laughed, staring down at her youngest with a look of pure love and adoration.
“I have something I have to tell you.” I began.
“Oh? Some juicy gossip I hope? Do tell?” Janice cocked an eyebrow at me looking interested.
“I’m pregnant.” I said simply, turning away from Janice and staring down at the floor watching little Luke chew on his doll’s ear.
“Whaaaaaaaat?” Janice screeched the sound probably carrying over into the next apartment through the paper-thin walls. Even little Luke flinched.
“Yeah…That was my reaction too.” I said glumly.
“What. How. When. Who?” Janice stuttered looking shocked.
“Well I’m pretty sure it was the usual way. I know you don’t need the whole birds and the bees story.” I smiled grimly.
“Who’s the father.” Janice asked knowing the whole situation between Riley and Mika.
“Mika. I never slept with Riley. Don’t worry. I’m not going to have to do the whole Maury Povich thing and have a who’s the daddy episode. Mika is the father. 100% positive.”
“Does Mika know? Damn girl, you have more drama in your life then Lifetime television.” Janice leaned back into the couch looking at me with concern behind her glasses.
“Yeah, I told him today. He’s so hard to read, but I think, or at least I hope he’s excited, maybe even a little at the thought of being a father. He told me he’d support me in whatever decision I made.” I smiled softly.
“Good.” Janice said, pressing her lips into a thin line. “Or I’d have to hunt him down and remove his balls.”
“I’m not ready for this.” I admitted, feeling the tears prick beneath my lashes once again. “I’m not sure I’m ready to be a mom.”
Janice smiled softly, resting her hand on my shoulder comfortingly. “I felt the same way when I first found out I was pregnant with my oldest. It was the scariest moment of my life. Nothing can ever prepare you for being a mother, but I promise you, it will be the most wonderfully rewarding experience of your life. Yes, there will be times where you feel you are going to die, that you’ll never make it. You’ll feel at times like you are the worst mother in the world. You’ll cry. You’ll laugh. You’ll think you have gone insane, but you will love that child more than you will ever love anther human being in your life. You can do this Madeline. You can. Trust me.”
“Look at this shit hole of an apartment.” I gestured around me. “I hardly have enough room, where the hell am I going to put a baby crib?” I laughed bitterly. “Mika’s house is even smaller than this.”
“You should have seen my husband and I’s first house.” Janice laughed. “It was smaller than this. We had the baby crib shoved into the corner of the living room.”
“I’m not ready.” I said again, feeling tears stream down my face.
“Life doesn’t ask you if your ready, sometimes life throws us a curveball we aren’t prepared for. But you have Mika, and you have me. My husband and I have been through it all. If we can make it, so can you.”
We were silent for a long time, and watched Luke play on the floor, his smiles and giggles were like a soothing balm on my frazzled nerves. Maybe Janice was right. I could do this. I would be a good mother, and I would love this baby more than life itself….
Eventually Janice popped in a DVD, and much to my relief I passed out within the first 2o minutes of the chick flick that I had never seen, but could already predict the outcome. All the chick flicks were the same. Girl meets boy, boy and girl fight. Boy and girl make up again, end of story. Happily ever after. I could only hope that my story had a happy ending…
When I woke, the house was silent and Janice was gone. Janice had thoughtfully put a pillow under my head and turned off all the lights so I could get some sleep. Through blurry eyes I looked at the clock. Two AM. Wonderful. Now I was going to be up the rest of the night and be completely exhausted tomorrow.
However, I felt a little refreshed, and I had to admit, my ‘Girls night’ with Janice, had been just what I needed. It had felt good to talk out my problems with someone who had once been in that situation.
A flash of white on the coffee table caught my eye. I picked up the piece of paper smiling.
The note read:
Didn’t want to wake you. You looked so peaceful. Luke was getting antsy so I figured It was time to get him home. If you need anything. Anything at all. Don’t hesitate to ask. I promise everything will be ok!
The cell on the coffee table vibrated suddenly causing me to jump. I frowned looking at the phone like it could bite me. No news was ever good news at two in the morning. Who on earth could be calling me this late?
I snatched up the phone jumping to my feet as I read the name on the caller ID. Mika. I smiled, my fear instantly dissolving.
“Hey Mika.” I smiled into the phone, always happy to hear from him, no matter what time it was. “Feel like coming over and watching a movie?”
“Madeline. I need you to listen to me.” Mika said seriously into the phone. I frowned, this wasn’t like him. He sounded….afraid.
“Mika? What’s going on?” I bit my lip, squeezing the phone tightly in my hand. It felt like someone had an icy grip on my heart, the feeling of dread I had earlier, suddenly intensified ten fold.
“I’m on my way to pick you up. Listen to me, ok Madeline? I need you to pack your clothes. Quickly.” Mika said through the static on the phone, his voice sounded so distant.
“What? Why?” I stuttered. “What’s going on?”
“I don’t have time to explain. I’ll be there in less than ten minutes. I need you to hurry. Please trust me. Ok? I need you to hurry, ok Madeline. Can you do that for me? I love you.” There was an audible click. I stood there stunned with the phone pressed to my ear.
“If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again, if you need help, hang up, and then dial your operator.” The recorded operating system said in my ear. Annoyed, I flicked off the phone, dropping it onto the carpet and sinking to my knees as if all the strength had left my body…
A cramp tore through my stomach and I cried out in pain, curling up into a fetal position on the floor, and then I thankfully, mercifully passed out…