1.18 Home pt 1
This chapter is Rated PG 13
Author’s note: Hey guys, I’m sorry this chapter took me over a week to release. I had actually went in a different direction I wasn’t happy with, and started this chapter over from scratch. That ment new pictures, new everything. I think this chapter is much better then the other one I had originally planned on, and is more true to the characters and how they would really react in this situation. As a bonus I’m going to post an alternate chapter just for fun. Thank you so much for reading! If you would like to read the bonus chapter, please click HERE (Please keep in mind this chapter does not effect the current story line) Also–I’d like to add that I FINALLY put Mika up for download. Yes, I’ve been lazy, I admit it. You can now find Mika HERE
Thank you: To Sandybeachgirl, Seera, MrsOogieboogie, and Late Knight Simmer. Thanks for keeping me company on Aim, and make me smile while I’ve been going through a hard time recently. To Sandy and Seera, thanks for help with this chapter, your ideas and feedback helped me so much, without your help this chapter would be….a mess. Thank you. 🙂
“So this is where you grew up huh?” Mika asked turning off the engine in the driveway and turning around to face me, where I sat with my head against the window, fighting off the waves of sleep that battered against me like the waves against the hull of a boat.
I nodded quickly, feeling a lump in my throat rendering me unable to speak at that moment. Just seeing the familiar house where I grew up filled me with a mixed bag of emotions.
Mika opened the rusted drivers side door with a load groan and came around to my side to open the door for me, always the gentleman, even in the middle of a crisis. As I stepped onto the familiar driveway I stared up at the house I had grew up in. The front porch where I had spent many an evening with my grandmother watching the thunderstorms roll in off the ocean. I could almost see her sitting there with a younger happier looking me in her arms, sitting there enjoying the storm and breathing in the smell of ozone. So many happy memories in this house…
After Mika and I left the hospital he had told me about a little town in Maine that his mother always talked about when he was younger. She had said it was the perfect place to raise a family, and most importantly, it would have been the last place on earth Mika’s grandfather would have ever looked for us. We could be safe there. We could be happy.
As beautiful as that sounded, I couldn’t leave without seeing my grandmother, to see her face, and hug her one last time. She had been through so much in her life and I couldn’t do that to her again. She had already lost her own daughter, and I would not put her through that kind of pain again.
I don’t know why I expected Mika to be angry with me that I couldn’t just run off to Maine without seeing my grandmother first. He understood completely, making me love him that much more. He assured me he would do anything to make me happy, and he understood how much my family ment to me.
The house was silent as a church as I stepped onto the front porch. I looked through the windows. It was early, not even 6:00 am yet, and the house was dark. Grandmother always kept a spare key hidden under a rock in the hedges that lined the porch, but I felt it best to knock since Mika was a guest. I just hoped my grandmother would love him as much as I did…
“Madeline?” My grandmother yawned, rubbing her eyes in disbelief, cinching the robe tighter around her thin midsection. She looked much thinner and several years older than since I had seen her last. I remembered her waving from the platform at the train station, grief etched into her face, and how awful I felt to see her so grief-stricken. It became clear to me in an instant just how difficult it had been for her to let me go. Just another drop in the bucket to add to the well of guilt. It was close to spilling over. I thought, surprised to feel a tear trickle down my cheek.
“What are you doing here?” She brought her hands up to her face, her green eyes wide with shock.
She didn’t give me a chance to respond to her question, instead, sweeping me up in a big hug that made me gasp out loud. Her familiar perfume hit me, bringing instant tears to my eyes. It smelled like home.
“This is Mika.” I said politely when she released me from her crushing embrace. Anxiety swirled in my stomach as my grandmother turned to face him. I know how badly Mika wanted to impress my grandmother. But would she be suitably impressed by him as well? I hoped so. I tensed my shoulders and bit my lip. “My boyfriend.” I said finally.
“Oh?” Meredith Drake said with a small smile, her face breaking into a huge grin. “I didn’t know you were seeing anyone dear. He’s very handsome. Such nice dark eyes.” She took me completely by surprise and wrapped her arms around Mika in a big hug. He smiled, his eyes lighting up. I guess he had her approval after all.
Mika blushed adorably, his cheeks flooding with color, he looked down at the floor smiling. “It’s wonderful to meet you Mrs. Drake. I’ve heard so much about you.” He said politely reaching out his hand like a gentleman.
“All good things I hope.” My grandmother smiled taking Mika’s offered hand and shaking it. I sighed with relief. This meeting couldn’t have gone any better so far. I felt myself relax.
“Well come on, come in. Take off your shoes please, I just mopped.” Meredith Drake fussed, ushering us into the living room. We followed my grandmother into the living room and took a seat across from her on the sofa.
It felt a bit surreal being home again. Even though I hadn’t lived in North Port City long, so many things had changed, and I felt I was no longer the same naïve girl who had once dwelled within these walls only a few short months ago.
“So what brings you home Madeline? We just spoke the other night, and I thought I was coming to visit, not that I’m not happy to see you…” Meredith’s voice trailed off, she gave me an expectant look.
The real reason would probably give her a heart attack, so I spun the story in a more grandmother friendly version. “I missed you, and wanted to surprise you.” That much was true at least, I left out the part about running from Mika’s drug king pin of a grandfather, and my pregnancy, but I guess that would have to come out later. My grandmother could only take bad news in small doses. She had a tendency to over react and panic. If I told her everything now, she would be on the phone with the FBI within seconds.
“So tell me about yourself Mika. How did you meet my Madeline?” Meredith smiled at Mika, giving him her friendliest smile.
Mika looked at me quickly and gave me a small little wink. “I met her at work. I was coming off at the end of a shift when I saw this beautiful woman sitting there all alone looking like she needed someone to talk too. We hit it off right away, and as the saying goes-the rest is history.” Mika smiled widely.
“I’ve been so worried about Madeline, and knowing she has you makes me feel so much better.” Meredith expressed. I hated it when she spoke about me like I wasn’t even there. I cleared my throat and stood.
“We’ve been driving all night.” I yawned to show just how exhausted I was. “I think we better get some rest, we can talk more after we’ve slept for a few hours at least.” I laughed lightly, rubbing my exhausted eyes.
“Of course. Mika, I’ll make the guest bedroom up for you. Madeline, your bedroom is as exactly as you left it.” Meredith smiled, and hugged me once again, then left the room to spruce up the guest bedroom for Mika. She always fussed when she had a guest, and I had no doubt Mika would be sleeping on our best linens, and would have fresh flowers on the end table. I had to smile.
“I’m sorry the room is so small.” I apologized standing with Mika in the tiny guest bedroom that was rarely used these days. My grandmother used it now to store her sewing machine and arts and crafts.
“It’s fine. Honestly, I’m so exhausted I could probably sleep on the kitchen table if I had a pillow.” Mika laughed, his eyes were red rimmed, and the dark circles beneath his eyes stood out in stark relief against the paleness of his skin.
“Are you ok?” I asked reaching out to touch his face gently with my finger tips. All this stress had to be taking a toll on him mentally and physically. He was trying to be strong, but even the strongest of people had their limits.
“I’m fine. I’m just exhausted. It’s been a rough couple days. I’m so happy to be out of that car. It will be nice sleeping in a real bed.” Mika yawned, running his hands through his tousled dark hair.
“I love you.” I grabbed Mika in a fierce hug. “Thank you for this. I couldn’t leave without seeing her again. She’s been through so much with my mother, and losing me would kill her.”
“I love you too.” Mika murmured into my shoulder. “I understand. Your grandma is a sweet lady, she raised you, and for that I owe her a debt of gratitude I’d never be able to pay off…”
I stepped away from Mika, wiping a tear off my cheek. “Get some sleep, you need it.”
Mika stepped forward, gently touching my stomach. “Are you going to tell her about the baby?” He asked staring into my eyes.
I looked down at the floor. “I don’t know.” I said truthfully. “I want too, but I don’t want to disappoint her. She’s had such high hopes for me. I know that I’ll have to tell her eventually, but I don’t know how…”
“It will come to you.” Mika smiled his lop sided grin at me. “Your grandma seems like a strong lady. I think she’ll take the news better than you think she will.”
“You don’t know her very well then.” I laughed slightly. “I remember when I snuck out when I was 13 years old to go to the movies with a friend. I thought she was going to have a heart attack.” I smiled at the memory. She had grounded me for a month. No, my grandmother didn’t take bad news well…”Get some sleep. We’ll talk more about this later.” I kissed him again, and smiled as I watched him crawl between the blankets and close his eyes. I shut the door softly and walked the familiar path to my own bedroom.
The room was exactly the same as I left it, and still smelled faintly of my favorite perfume. I trailed my finger over the old light wood of my desk and sat down.
I smiled when I thought of the amount of hours I had spent at this desk, writing stories, and writing in my diary that I moved religiously so my grandmother couldn’t ever find it.
I reached my hand under the desk and felt along the under side for a small key I had stashed there long ago. I smiled wistfully. It was still there. The key went to a box I had stashed in my closet under a loose floorboard, where I kept all my secrets. Funny how when I was young the secrets I kept seemed so insignificant now. Who I had a crush on in the 5th grade was no match to the secrets I kept into my adult hood…
I grabbed the key and kneeled by my closet, pulling up the loose floorboard smiling at the contents. I picked up a loose sheet of paper on the bottom and laughed.
Oh how simple things were when you could figure out your future by playing MASH. The M standing for Mansion, the A for apartment, the S for Shack, and the H for House. I remember doing this repeatedly, choosing different numbers to give me the results I had wanted. In this particular game, the results were Marrying Matteo, the hottest guy in the 7th grade who didn’t even know I was alive. He was a doctor who drove a Green Camaro, with our 3 children in our mansion in France.
I laughed. Matteo, there was a name I hadn’t heard in ages. I wondered what happened to him anyways, I yawned.
I placed the game of MASH back into the box, and stuck the magnetic key back to the underside of the desk and laid down, my eyes closing instantly. Five minutes later I was asleep.
The smell of cinnamon and nutmeg woke me up from my deep slumber. My stomach let out a very un lady like grumble reminding me of how hungry I was. Feed me, it seemed to say. Voices carried slightly up the stairs and I tensed slightly, worried at the thought of Mika being alone with my grandmother. What were they talking about? Would I be coming down the stairs to find evidence of bloodshed?
The clock on the nightstand said it was about noon. Was it noon the same day, or had I slept all day and night? I hurried down the stairs pausing slightly outside the dining room listening to the sounds coming from the dining room.
“Look at this one.” Meredith laughed. “Madeline was such a cute little girl wasn’t she?” I leaned against the doorway, neither of them seemed aware of my presence. I smiled. My grandmother had the photo album out and was showing Mika pictures of me when I was little. I smiled, watching them smile over the pictures.
I cleared my throat, knowing I should interrupt their picture time before Meredith broke out the pictures of me toilet training. I had went through a phase when I was younger where I refused to wear clothes. My grandmother loved showing off those photo’s to anyone who would indulge her. They both looked up at once.
“Good morning sweetheart. You sure slept a long time. I know I probably should have woken you, but you needed the rest.” My grandmother said motioning to the stack of French toast on the table. “Come sit, have something to eat. You must be starving!” She snapped the photo album shut.
Mika smiled at me. “Morning babe. Your grandma’s a hell of a cook. She said I was too skinny, and was going to fatten me right up.” He laughed, the sound joyful to my ears. It was good to hear him laugh again, and see the smile on his face.
“Nobody ever goes hungry around here, that’s for sure.” I laughed, sitting down at the table and grabbing a plate from the middle of the table. My grandmother made amazing French toast, and the fact that she was making this told me she wanted to impress Mika, and cared what he thought of her, and her cooking. It warmed my heart.
“So how long are you visiting for?” Meredith asked setting down her fork and pushing her empty plate away. “It feels good to cook for someone again. I’ve been living off TV dinners, and fast food.” She commented, patting her mouth with a napkin.
“Just a couple of days. Mika and I were heading north actually. We both need a vacation.” I said in between bites.
Meredith frowned, a crease forming between her eyebrows. “I was hoping you’d be in North Port City when I meet Melody and Mason. I need you there.”
I was worried this would come up.
“Can’t you delay this for a little bit?” I asked pushing away my empty plate suddenly feeling quite ill. “Melissa is in rehab, now is probably not the best time for a visit.”
“It most certainly is a good time to visit. Those kids need me. Melissa needs me.” Meredith expressed, looking worried. Her face set in a grim look of determination. She was stubborn. I know nothing could change her mind when it was made up.
“What if they came here to visit?” I said, an idea starting to form. “Melody and Mason need to get away for a little while. It will be good for them to get away, especially Mason. What do you think?” I asked hopefully, turning my eyes into wide green orbs of sorrow.
“Well that would be better for me.” Meredith fussed. “But I don’t want to put that poor little boy through the stresses of traveling. Poor little dear is going through so much right now.”
“Are you kidding me? Kid’s never been on an airplane. He’d love it.” I smiled hopefully.
“If you really think that’s for the best.” Meredith said slowly.
Yes, I thought. Victory is mine! “Yes, I think it’s for the best. I think a change of scenery would be good for Melody and Mason.”
While Mika and my grandmother went about cleaning up after breakfast, I went out to sit on the front porch. I took a deep breath, inhaling in the scent of fresh-cut grass and the smell of ozone signaling the hint of an oncoming storm.
How I loved the feeling of sitting out on the porch listening to the wind rustle through the trees as the storm gained momentum over the ocean. Pretty soon it would arrive, and the sound of the rain pummeling the roof would drown out my troubled thoughts.
I looked up to see the dark clouds gathering above and my whole body could feel the electric charge in the air. I couldn’t wait for the storm. It reminded me once again of sitting here in this very spot, on this very same bench with my grandmother. We would count in between the thunder and lightning to find out how many miles away the storm was. She would make us a mug of hot coco and we would sit and watch the storm in silence, just enjoying one another’s company.
“Remember when we used to sit here watching the storms come off the ocean?” My grandmother said from behind me. I jumped slightly, I hadn’t even heard the front door open.
“I was just thinking about that actually.” I smiled lightly.
“Those were good times.” Meredith said sitting down beside me on the bench. “I’ve missed this.”
“Me too.” I said honestly, feeling tears prick behind my eyelids. I brushed them away quickly before she could see them.
“We have new neighbors finally. The house across the street finally sold. They were asking such a hefty price for that old house, I’m sure it’s a relief to the realtor to have finally sold that house.” Meredith said motioning through the rain at the old house across the street.
“Oh, that’s nice.” I said lost in thought.
“That Mika seems like a nice young man. He’s so handsome, I can see the attraction there. What do his parents do?” Meredith inquired politely.
It was a good thing I wasn’t drinking anything because I could have choked. “His parents are dead.” I said carefully, hoping she wouldn’t ask to hear the specifics.
“That’s a shame.” Meredith sighed. “That must have been very hard for him.”
I nodded in agreement. She didn’t even know the half of it…
“Does he make you happy?” Meredith asked turning towards me on the bench, leaning forward and resting her hands on her lap.
I smiled, turning towards her. “He does.” I confirmed.
“Do you think he’s the one?” Meredith questioned back, her eyebrow raised slightly.
“I know he is.” I said softly.
Meredith smiled in return. “I’m happy for you. Mika seems like a great guy.”
We were silent for the longest time listening to the sounds of the rain drum upon the roof. I closed my eyes breathing in the refreshing smell of the rain. How clean and new everything smelled after a thunderstorm. How I wished my own life could be washed clean like that.
I jumped slightly when my grandmother picked up my hand in hers and held it, raising it to her lips and kissing it gently, her thumbs rubbed comforting circles along my palm. “So are you going to tell me what you’re really doing here?”