Chapter 16

Chapter 16

Carol and Marlon were kind enough to allow me to spend the night. I really hope Michael made it home safely last night. I hope he's okay, despite everything Mariah said to him. But knowing him, he took everything to heart and I'm not prepared for what he has to say about any of it. I arrived at our house kind of excited to know that Mariah isn't there. I don't know how long I want her to be with Joseph, but I'm sure Mariah is already ready to go. Not my problem. While I love my sister, I really do feel like she did begin to put a slight wedge between my marriage. With Michael showering her with gifts as a way to make her behave and me telling her she can't have them, definitely shows that we need to work on communication and making decisions together. Mariah began to figure out that Michael was always ready to give her anything her heart desires, meanwhile, I'm over here really trying to discipline her. I just hope we don't have these types of disagreements when we actually decide to have children. I unlocked the front door and opened it, "Michael," I called only to not get a response. Maybe he's asleep. He always comes back home late after a long night at the studio. I went upstairs to our room and opened the door to not find him there. Huh. I looked around, opening the door to the bathroom, Mariah's room, the guest room, the basement.... I checked everywhere in the house only to not find him at all. Where on earth is he? I instantly thought of the answering machine and hurried downstairs to listen to the messages. Nothing from no one. As I picked up the phone to call Carol, the phone began to ring. "Hello?" I answered quickly, hoping that it was Michael.


"Hey, baby, how's everything going?"


I sighed, realizing that it was only mom, "um, everything is okay, I guess."


"How's my baby, Mariah?"


"How's dad?" I asked.


"Oh, your daddy is doing absolutely well, Shayla! We've been working out together. He's just doing so well and I'm so happy because I have my husband back!"


"And I have my wife back!" I heard daddy in the background.


I smiled, "that is so good to hear. I'm glad you all are getting back on track."


"Now, how is Mariah doing? It's been a while since I've heard from her."


I sighed, "she is quite the force to be reckoned with. You really held back when you raised her, huh?"


"Well... your daddy and I were pretty harsh when we raised you and your brothers, Shayla."


"You really should have kept that up."


"How do you mean, Shayla?"


"Mariah is a spoiled brat. She doesn't listen. She always has something to say to authority. She's not going to make it in the world with the way you decided to raise Mariah, mom."


She sighed, "let me speak to her, Shayla."


"She's not here."


"Well, where is she? Go get her."


"I took her to stay with Joseph for a while."


"Joseph? Joseph who?"


"Michael's father."


She gasped, "Michael's father?! Shayla, if the stories are true, I don't want my daughter anywhere near that man! Are you kidding me?!"


I shrugged, "it's what she needs."


"Shayla-Elizabeth, I demand you go get my daughter back from that man and bring her back-"


"Hey, baby girl, how are you?" Daddy took over the phone.


"I'm okay... how are you?"


"Never better. Thank you for taking Mariah, sweet pea. You know, I always wondered if holding back on discipline with Mariah was a good thing or not. Now, I know it was never a good thing."


I sighed, "ya think?"


"I'm sorry, sweet pea. And I'm sorry you and Michael have to put up with that."


"I blame you both."


"And we wholeheartedly accept that blame. Now, where do you have Mariah?"


"I had to call Joseph. Mariah disrespected me and Michael to the point of no return, dad. She literally bit the hand that feeds her and then some. I couldn't take it and I didn't want to send her back to you. The girl needs discipline, so I sent her to be with Joseph."


"Now... he's not going to beat her... is he?"


"Dad, Joseph is almost as old as you. He's not going to beat her. All he has to do is shoot her a look and it's over."


He sighed a breath of relief, "that's good. I'm glad."


"But daddy, it shouldn't take another man to discipline your child. Y'all should have done that a long time ago."


"I know, Shayla. I know. It's just your mom was so adamant about her being the baby..."


"That's no excuse, dad. Y'all created a monster."


"A monster?"


"A monster. Even Joseph said it may take him a while to get through what you and mom created."


"I'm sorry, Shayla. Well... how's her schooling?"


"It's okay. She's doing well, but I have to tell Ms. Fine about her current housing arrangements."


"Gotcha... and how is Michael? Did she get him that bad?"


"I haven't seen Michael since last night. Hopefully, I'll see him tonight," I sighed.


"Okay, sweetie. Well, we love you. Your mother will get over this. Maybe she'll be grateful in the long run."


"We love you too. Talk to you later," I hung up the phone, looking around the house. What the heck do I do now?


VII


8:00 p.m. It is eight and I haven't heard a thing or seen Michael all day. After running a couple of errands, I figured maybe I'd see him back home tonight, but no. I came into an empty house with groceries in my hand, calling Michaels name only to not get a single response. I just need to know that he's safe. That he's okay. I want to tell him Mariah didn't mean it, but we all know good and dang well she did. I went ahead and made dinner for one. Two timing pasta with a glass of Pinot Noir. It's rare when I drink, but I suppose with how the day went actually calls for it. Turning on the television, I flipped through news, gossip news and finally settled on a documentary. This is going to be one lonely night. I refuse to go check on Mariah. And I can hardly wait until I see Michael tomorrow.

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