The next morning, I woke up in Michael’s bed with his arms wrapped around me, his nose in my hair, and his husky voice in my ear. “Morning,” he mumbled, pulling me closer. I took a deep breath, opened my eyes to stare at the slightly open window, and smiled.
After our conversation last night and after crying my eyes out some more, I finally felt good about us. It was so difficult to trust him after what Dad had done to Mom and I and after what Mason--I was almost sure of--had done to me too. But Michael had proved to me time and time again that he wasn’t like Dad or Mason. He actually cared about me. And it was refreshing to wake up with someone who didn’t smell like another girl’s perfume.
“I need to go see Mom today,” I said.
He kissed just below my ear. “Let me take you out to breakfast first.”
I rolled over to face him and smiled, watching his tired eyes flutter open. “How about we get breakfast on the way?” I asked, pushing a strand of his hair off his forehead. I didn’t want to waste much time anywhere else. This was the longest time I had spent away from Mom since she went back into the hospital and I didn’t like the thought of Mason getting there to tell her what I did before I did.
Something in the pit of my stomach told me that Mason was about to freak out--more than he already had. Maybe it was that he left text message after text message on my phone last night calling me a slut and whore and saying that I would never find someone else like him. Maybe it was that deep down I knew he was a terrible guy. He always had been and he always would be.
And, besides, I didn’t want anyone finding out about Michael and I yet. All that had to happen was for one frat guy or sorority girl to see me out with Michael and Melissa would find out. This city was big, but everyone seemed to know someone here.
His fingers curled into my hips, and I felt so warm. “One day, Mia.”
“One day.” I held out my pinkie, and he wrapped his around it and chuckled. “I promise.”
After I dressed in some clothes that I left in Melissa’s bedroom for sleepovers when we were in highschool, I hurried to the car where Michael was waiting for me. I stared down at my phone during the whole ride, my stomach tightening in knots, and sipped on my coffee. To my surprise, Mason hadn’t texted me this morning and I didn’t know if that was a good thing or a bad thing.
When we drove into the hospital parking lot, my stomach dropped. Mason’s car was parked in one of the spaces. Michael parked right goddamn next to him, and I tried so hard to shrink down in my seat so--if Mason was still in his car--he wouldn’t see me.
“Relax, Mia,” Michael said. “He’s not there.”
I placed a hand on his shoulder and sipped my coffee. “Let me go in first. Come in five minutes after me or something. If we go in together, he’ll be suspicious,” I said. Michael looked at me, giving me that Let-him-be-suspicious look. But I shook my head. “If he finds out, he’ll tell Melissa and I want to tell her myself.” Though… I didn’t know how the fuck I was going to do that or if it would happen anytime soon.
Michael tensed for a moment, his jaw twitching, but then he sighed. “Fine. I’ll wait.”
I took a deep breath, readying myself to face the devil himself, and walked into the hospital. I didn’t know what I was going to say or do when I saw him, but I knew that he was about to start a fight with me.
After stepping onto the elevator, I squeezed my eyes closed and tried to steady my breathing. It was hot in here and my breaths were coming out in short little gasps. The doors opened, and I immediately locked eyes with him.
Sitting in the waiting room with Melissa and Serena, he clenched his jaw and stood up. His eyes looked like pure fire, blazing and trying to burn me. He snatched my upper arm roughly in his hand and pulled me into the hallway. “What the fuck?” he seethed, nostrils flaring, eyes hard. “Who the fuck were you with last night?”
I pressed my lips together. “Nobody that you need to worry about,” I said more confidently than I thought I would. But I was getting damn tired of Mason treating me this way. “We’re over.”
“We’re not fucking over, Mia.” He tightened his grip around my arm until it started to tingle. “Who the fuck was it? I’m going to kill the bastard with my own two hands.” He growled, not even giving me time to utter a comeback. “You know I didn’t know you were such a whore, sleeping with another man while you were with me. Taking my money for your mother. Using me to get what you wanted.”
I swallowed hard and tried hard not to think of Dad saying all these things to Mom and me watching helplessly when I was just a child. Mason wasn’t good for me. He really wasn’t good for me. I had to make sure I repeated that over and over and over so I didn’t become just like Mom.
“I’m not a whore,” I said.
He chuckled menacingly. “Yes, you are. You fucked me for the past four years for money.”
“I never asked you to spend money on me. You offered to help my mom.”
“Because I fucking loved you…” He shook his head as if he did nothing wrong. “And you had to go to cheat on me with someone else. You’re a gold-digging whore, Mia. Nothing more. No other guy would ever put up with all of your shit.”
I bit my tongue and held back my angry tears.
“I am the only one who could put up with all of your nagging and all of your crying and bitching. All of these damn bills you have.” He shook his head again, glaring down at me and trying to turn this back on me.
And if I didn’t know any better, then I would’ve let him. But… I now knew how I wanted to be treated, and it wasn’t like this. It was how Michael treated me: with respect. I ripped my arm away from him and narrowed my eyes. “Well, maybe if you paid attention to me and showed me some respect instead of flirting with a bunch of other girls, things would’ve been different.”
“Maybe if you didn’t fake it in bed, I wouldn’t have to flirt with other women just to get off.”
My eyes widened. I stepped closer to him, my jaw clenched hard so it wouldn’t twitch in pure rage. “If you could actually get me to cum, I wouldn’t have to fake it!” I shouted at him.
Everyone in the entire hallway froze and looked over at us, but I didn’t care. I was angry and sad and so fucking stressed out. And this man was driving me absolutely insane. I didn’t want to deal with this right now… Hell, I didn’t want to deal with his stupid sorry ass at all.
Mason grabbed my arm again, fingers digging harshly into it. “Your mother won’t have a place to stay when she gets out of the hospital. You’ll be living on the streets without fucking food or a place to clean yourself. A dirty fucking whore. You know, I was actually thinking about giving you a second chance, Mia. I don’t want to see your mother with no place to live… but you won’t stop being a bitch and I don’t need that in my life.”
I raised my brows at him and stepped back. “Well, then, leave. I’m not stopping you.”
He slammed his fist right into the wall beside my head, turned on his heel, and stormed toward the elevators. “Have fun being a homeless fucking bitch,” he said and walked right into the elevator.
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