Much to my surprise, Michael arrived at the house at the same time we did. I kissed him, and we made our way into the house to find dinner already ready for us at the table. We all took our seats at the table. Bubbles sat beside Mariah with his own dinner of just vegetables. Michael prayed over the food and we all ate. It kind of felt like we were one big happy family. At least, I have a glimpse of what life would look like when Michael and I have children.
"So, how was your day, Mariah?" He asked her as he began to eat his dinner.
She shrugged, "it was good. I met your monkey... I mean Bubbles and I met Valencia and Brittany."
"Did you have fun?" He asked her.
"Yeah. We played monopoly and I beat them. Brittany didn't know how to play, so that was an easy win."
"Did you at least teach her?" I asked.
"No, it was too late in the game and she didn't want any help. Like, I said. Easy win."
"Well, that wasn't nice," Michael told her. "I think you should teach her how to play the game that way it would be a fair advantage."
"Valencia should have taught her. Not my problem."
I sighed, "anyway... When we went to pick up Bubbles from mom's, I was telling her about how Mariah needs to be around some kids and guess who she brought up for Mariah to hang around?"
"Who?" He looked at me.
He cleared his throat, "so, Mariah, do you like Bubbles?"
Eyebrows furrowed, "Michael?"
"Yes, baby?" He looked at me.
"Your mom recommended that Mariah should hang around Joh'Vonnie."
He blinked, "and?"
"And... what do you think about that?"
"I don't think about it."
"Well, don't go dismissing me when I bring up your sister."
He shook his head, "that's not my sister."
"But she is, and your mother wants you to have a relationship with her."
"Honestly, you know I love my mother and you know I respect her to the highest degree, but truthfully, I would never have a relationship with Joseph's other child. Whether mom wants me to or not."
"Okay, well, don't ignore me when I bring her up. I'm just trying to have a conversation with you about what your mother said. I don't understand why you have to be so mean about it."
He swallowed his food, " as I said before. She is Joseph's other child. She has no relation to me as far as I'm concerned. Please do not bring her up in this house again."
"Don't bring her up in this house again," he looked at me. I couldn't believe this. If mom can get over it, so can Michael. But he's taking this personal as if Joseph stepped out of the relationship with him and not his mother.
"Uh, oh," Mariah smirked. "Trouble in paradise?"
"Go up to your room," I pointed upstairs.
"For what? I'm just observing the obvious."
"Go upstairs and go to bed. I've had enough of the attitude and the smart comments today and I will not listen to you judge my marriage. I will see you tomorrow morning." Mariah scooted back in her chair staring at me and stomped upstairs. "And if I hear you slam that door, we are going to have some serious issues," I called after her. Once she got upstairs, she screamed and shut the door softly. "What was that?" I asked him.
"A preteen not getting her way," he continued to eat his food.
"No. What's wrong with you? Why are you so upset whenever I bring up Joh'Vonnie. And yes, I said her name again, because it needs to be said. She's your reality, Michael, whether you want to believe it or not. What is your issue with her?"
He sat back in his chair and wiped his mouth, "do you know what it's like to watch your mother cry every day because she knows her husband is cheating on her?" He asked me.
I shook my head, "no."
"Then you will never understand what it is like to witness your mother being told that out of that affair a child was produced. My mother was mortified, heartbroken and all. I have never seen her as upset as I saw her that day she found out. And to top it off, his mistress doesn't live too far away from her. Not only is it a slap in the face to my mother, but the disrespect is highly uncanny."
"But I don't understand what that has to do with you not wanting to have a relationship with Joh'Vonnie. Explain that to me."
"You know I've never been able to call Joseph, 'dad,' right?"
"This girl is treated better than Joseph ever treated any of me and my siblings. She gets everything we ever wanted. It's like she's Joseph's favorite or something."
"He's older now, Michael, maybe he realized the error in his ways and wanted to change."
He shook his head, "that's not an excuse. It's one thing to right your wrongs, it's another to flaunt your mess in everyone's faces," he rose from his seat and threw his handkerchief down on his plate. "I'm going to bed. I'm tired. I've had a long day at the studio and I'm done having this conversation," he said as he began to make his way upstairs. I looked at Bubbles who looked at me as he ate his broccoli.
"Trouble in paradise, huh?" I asked him, knowing good and darn well he wasn't going to answer. I hope all these attitudes don't get the best of me because I'm already over it. Having to deal with Frank, Mariah and now Michael? Oh, no. Something has got to give.