Previous – Everything Happens for a Reason
For the hundredth time, I’m looking outside my door, hoping Misa opens hers. A piece of cardboard covers the hole in her door since she refused to answer when the guy came to replace it.
She hasn’t come out of her apartment since this morning.
I slump on my couch.
My heart feels odd. Strange liquid is leaking from my eyes.
“What’s the matter, Mili?” Mom has the audacity to ask.
Her and Dad stare at me from their seated positions at my dining room table. In the sunlight, Dad’s scruffy hair looks reddish brown, wearing his regular black t-shirt and jeans. He hung his cowboy hat up beside the door.
Mom is bare faced and curly haired after her shower, swimming in my new black t-shirt and basketball shorts.
My head pounds.
“You are.” I growl at her.
“Emilian.” Dad warns.
“You couldn’t wear any of your own shit?”
“My bags at the hotel—”
“Then go get it.” I snap. “Go on, get out. I don’t want you here.”
“Emilian!” Dad growls.
Mom’s eyes tear up. “I know you’re upset. I’m so sorry. I’m begging you; I didn’t mean to mess up that girl’s door or car. This smooth talker gave me—”
Here we go.
“I don’t fucking care. Get out!”
“Just wait outside Khiana. I’ll get your stuff.” Dad reaches out for her, but she slaps his hand away and runs out sobbing.
I see her purse on my counter and throw it at the door. Bunch of stupid shit goes flying out everywhere.
“Unnecessary.” Dad scolds. He looks at me with his hard blue eyes. “Now you’re gonna pick that shit up.”
This is stupid.
I walk away.
“Get back here.” His voice is venomous.
I stop walking but don’t turn around. Clearly, he’s on Khiana’s side.
“You’re gonna pick it up, then your momma and I will leave. Sometime later, when you cool down, call her. Video, so she can see your face when you apologize.”
I keep walking.
“Hey!” He whistles. An authoritative, swift one that makes me feel like a dog.
I remember what Dad can become if he keeps whistling…
I glance over at mom’s stuff scattered across the floor and pick them up. Dad hovers around me, still talking.
“I know you don’t hate her, Emilian. She’s been going through stuff. Last night was the tipping point. She traveled to see you but got bamboozled by some punk at her hotel who fed her wine and pills she thought were headache medicine. Khiana was pitiful enough to take them. She told me she’s been feeling like she wants to die.”
I set her purse back on the counter.
“Who’s the punk?” I ask.
“I’ll know once I access that hotel’s camera. Whatever she took activated a special type of crazy though, and she sped here with her resentment for me, crashing into parked cars and beating down doors. It’s unlike her.”
It is unlike mom. But because of her actions, everything I had with Misa may be over.
“Well, we’ll get on here. I’m going to bring Khiana down to the ranch, convince her to stay. Maybe marry her again.”
“Dad, seriously? Aren’t two wives more than enough?”
He shrugs. “We were happy for a time, all three ladies. Even after your momma caught me cheating. Once she started working for that damn Crown after she had you, then the accident with Lux, ah, everything changed. Everything. I still love her. It’s high time I let her know. Because I know she loves me, too.”
Dad’s words sink in. I look out the window, wondering if Misa still likes me.
If only I could talk to her.
“Are you okay, son?”
“No. Misa hates me now because of mom.”
“Hey, none of this was your fault. None of it. Once she’s past being upset, she’ll realize that and come around. Trust me.” He winks. “Chin up.”
My brother got me that car. I hear Misa’s small, sad voice in my head repeating.
I’m losing my mind.
Misa hasn’t spoken to me, nor have I seen her in days. She hasn’t returned my calls or texts, even though I’m waiting to hand the keys over to her new car that arrived. I want to bust down her door, but mom already tried that.
“Good day, Mr. Grim.” Instructor Inga says, watching me with hawk eyes as I enter class.
“Ma’am.” There’s nothing more I wish to say to that woman. I still didn’t get over her slicing Misa’s face with our ripped-up quizzes.
I scan the room. Misa is sitting at a different table.
How did she get to class? Did Timothy give her a ride?
My blood boils. “Why are you sitting over there?” I blurt, realizing I’m talking to her across the room.
She looks at me, then looks away.
This is torture.
“Misa…” I approach her, quieter this time. “Can we talk after?”
Her eyes are puffy and red behind her big circle glasses. Even when sad, she’s still beautiful. She’s in her black sweatshirt and white shorts, just like the first day we met.
Instructor Inga clears her throat in a reprimanding tone. “Mr. Grim, your seat is over there.” She points at the table by the window. “Since you two like to cheat.”
Misa slinks down in her chair, embarrassed.
I sit at my table. My heart is racing.
I watch Misa across the room. She looks fragile, depressed.
“Mr. Grim.” Inga scolds, staring me down. “Eyes forward, young man.”
I stare down at the table, dying to put my fist through it, but I can’t. This is the new table I bought to replace the last one I destroyed. No wonder Inga has it out for me now.
Sigh. It’s going to be a long class.
My phone vibrates. New texts. Maybe it’s… No. It’s Dad.
It’s the one you asked me to look into. Timothy Hollow. He gave momma those pills.
We need to talk. After class.
I put my phone down and stare straight ahead.
Perfect. Now I get to execute Timothy.