"Where are you taking me?" Mariah continued to ask as I only continued to ignore her. Words hurt. They truly do, but I feel like not only did Mariah intend to hurt our feelings, but also to make sure she wouldn't be with us again. While Joseph and Michael might not be all that close, I've actually begun to form my own relationship with Joseph. Despite the rift between him and Michael or the wrongs Joseph has done against his family and his marriage, he's still a good man at heart. He, like my dad, takes the role of "father-in-law" seriously. So, it was nothing for me to call him and tell him everything only for him to give me some sense of comfort. I just want my sister to be a kid, not this horrible monster my mother has somehow managed to create. I only want Michael to be okay after all this because Mariah's words were meant to hurt and nothing less. I pulled onto the Hayvenhurst residence, punching in the gate code and waited for the gates to open. "Why are we going to see Mrs. Katherine?" Mariah asked as I parked in front of the house. Mariah watched as I walked up to the house, but quickly got out of the car to follow me, leaving all of her belongings in the car. She's going to be needing them shortly.
"It's Shayla!" I called, my voice shaking from all the crying I had done. It hurt me to see Michael so upset and for him to ignore me only made it worse. I made my way to the library to find Joseph sitting in front of the fireplace. "Hi, Joseph," I wiped yet another escaping tear.
"Shayla?" He got up to face me.
"Don't you ever let a little girl make you cry," he looked at me.
"It's not her, Joseph. It's Michael. He was so upset. He ignored me when he left. I don't even know where he is right now," I pulled myself together.
"Well, you're letting her think she's the reason why you're crying. Fix your face, baby girl," he told me. After watching me pull myself together, he pulled me in for a hug I didn't expect. I was hesitant, but I brought my arms up to hug him as well.
Mariah finally made her way into the library, looking around at her surroundings, "she's been crying the whole way here," she scoffed.
"Do you know why?" He asked her.
"Yeah," she shrugged. "I said a couple things that may have hurt her and Michael's feelings," she shrugged, folding her arms across her chest.
Joseph knelt down before her getting down to her level, "let me tell you something, little girl. Whatever rules you were used to at your parents' house, has caused your father to have two heart attacks. The rules Shayla and Michael have implemented, clearly weren't enough because she's bringing you to me. Now let me tell you, you're not about to drive me crazy like you've done everyone else. Whatever you're used to is about to change now," he looked her in the eye.
She looked back at him, "you don't scare me. You're not my daddy."
"Go outside and bring your stuff in," he ignored her comment.
"No," she continued to look at him.
"I'm not going to tell you again. Go outside and go get your things."
She looked up at me, "Shayla, you're making me stay here?"
"You heard what I said, Mariah," Joseph said.
"Shayla..." She whined. I couldn't even bear to look at her. Now all of a sudden, she wants to be a kid. Now all of a sudden, she wants to be the little sister looking to me for help. How funny is it now that the tables have turned? I guess the reality of her staying with Joseph finally hit, "Shayla, you can't let me stay here. I don't even know him. That's stranger danger, Shayla. You cannot let him take me," she followed me outside as I opened the trunk to get her stuff out. "What are you doing with my things? Stop it!" She picked her bags up and put them back in the trunk. "I'm not staying here," she said as we went back and forth taking out her bags and putting her bags back in. I'm not about to continue to play this childish game with her.
I stopped taking her bags out, "Mariah, whether you like it or not, you are staying with Joseph. You have not only managed to give daddy several heart attacks but now you have somehow managed to run my husband out of the house. If no one can contain you, Joseph will. I've tried all I can. I've tried being reasonable with you, but you just don't get it. You are too grown for your own wellbeing and that's going to get you into trouble someday."
"Okay! Well, I'll be good! I'm sorry, but you can't leave me here with him. That's dangerous, Shayla! You don't know what he's capable of! He could literally do anything to me, and you don't even care!" She started to cry. "No one cares! You're all always trying to pawn me off to somebody. What kind of family does that? You all hate me!" She dropped her bags and ran off towards the front gates.
Joseph came walking down the steps, "don't worry about her. She'll be fine once she gets hungry and sick and tired of crying."
I looked at him, "you're going to let her stay out here all night?"
He shrugged, "if she wants to be grown, she can be. She'll be tired of it eventually. I don't chase after no kids."
"But what if she gets away?"
"You see this compound, Shayla? The whole area is surrounded by fences. She's not going nowhere. Security is up there. They're not letting her out. You go on home and find Michael."
"Are you sure?"
He chuckled, "what do you mean, 'am I sure?' Go on and find Michael. I'm sure he's around the city somewhere."
"Thank you, Joseph," I went to hug him.
"Don't thank me yet. Clearly, I have years of attitude to work through in your sister there."
I sighed, "blame my mother."
"Next time I see her, you know I will," I looked out into the dark abyss that Mariah had managed to run into. She'll be fine. I know I'm making the right choice. I got in the car, starting it up as I looked at my reflection in the rearview mirror. I've literally been crying the whole way here. I've never seen Michael so mad that he decides to ignore me... Meout of all people. I just want to be sure he's okay.
I made my way over to Marlon and Carol's house, after going over to everyone else's houses to no avail of finding Michael, this house would be the last. I got out the car and knocked on the door. Carol came to the door and opened it, "Hey, is Michael here?"
"No, why? Is everything okay?" She asked me.
I shook my head, "no. Mariah said something so hurtful that Michael left."
"He left? Like, left you? Here, come on inside," she led me to the living room, locking the door behind us.
"No... He may have left to take a breather or something. I don't know. He's just not home and I don't know where he is."
"What did Mariah say?"
I sighed, "oh, she only said how much she hated us and how Michael is weird and how he looks like a cow. The way she talked about us was so horrible, Carol."
"What happened? What did you do? What did Michael do?"
"I told you he left. What could I say to that? I never even expected her to say something like that. You know I can't come up with the best comebacks until after the fact... I ended up calling Joseph."
She gasped, "Joseph?" I nodded. "Well," she shrugged. "At least Joseph will be able to do something about it."
"I sure hope so. Before I left, Mariah had run into the dark and Joseph said he was leaving her there."
"Leaving her?! He can't do that! She's a kid!"
"Who am I to judge Joseph's parenting? I have no right, especially since I left Mariah in his care. He may be able to undo this mess my mother has somehow managed to create."
"My gosh. I knew Mariah was a brat, but I didn't think it was that bad. I'm so sorry, Shayla."
I shrugged, "at least I know Mariah is in good hands. I just want to know about Michael. I've been everywhere. I don't know where he is and it's killing me inside. He was so kind to suggest we even bring Mariah here. We bring her here, he showers her with gifts and her spoiled ass pulls this?!" I wanted to cry again. Not for Mariah. I could care less about Mariah at this point. I'm upset about Michael. I have no contact with him. I don't know where he is. I just want him to be okay.