When Mia left, Melissa snatched her keys from the coffee table and stormed past me. I grabbed them from her and shoved them into my pocket. “You’re not going anywhere,” I said through clenched teeth, the anger bubbling inside of me.
Since I heard her say Mason’s name, I had been holding myself back from snapping. I didn’t want any trouble in front of Mia or for Mason to hurt her. She was too stressed already, but I would deal with Mason later. Melissa, on the other hand… I couldn’t tell Melissa to leave without punishing her for what she’s done.
“Give me back my keys,” Melissa said, glaring at me with her mother’s piercing blue eyes. All I felt was pure anger for letting her get this way. She reached for my pocket but I stepped away. “They’re mine.”
“I bought you the fucking car, Melissa. They aren’t yours. Now sit down.”
After huffing to herself, she stormed over to the couch and sat down on it, crossing her arms over her chest. “How about we start with how you’re fucking my best friend?”
“Your best friend?” I asked, eyes wide and brows furrowed. “If you were friends with Mia, you wouldn’t fuck Mason behind her back and you wouldn’t pressure her into sleeping with Victor at a party.”
Melissa’s eyes widened, and she suddenly got quiet for a moment. “I didn’t pressure her into sleeping with him. We have threesomes all the time. I didn’t see the problem, especially because she complains about Mason all the time.”
“The problem is she called me to come get her because she didn’t think she was safe. She called me because you couldn’t be a good friend to her and watch her when you knew her mother was in the hospital. You wanted her to go to the party and you fucking ditched her!” I slammed my palm against the wall and tried so desperately to hold myself together. After taking another deep breath, I said, “The problem is you slept with her boyfriend for months.” I shook my head, feeling so betrayed for Mia. “I thought I raised you better than that.”
She crossed her arms over her chest and glared at me without saying a word. “You don’t have any room to talk. How long have you been sleeping with Mia? Was it while they were dating?”
My jaw twitched, my heart pounding against my chest. Melissa was acting like her mother. Going behind her boyfriend’s back, going behind her best friend’s back, betraying her closest friends to fuck someone who didn’t know the first thing about sex. She was just like her but I couldn’t tell her that. So, instead, I pressed my lips together.
“We’ve been seeing each other for a few weeks. Not months.” I clenched my jaw. “How long have you known that Mason treated Mia like shit and you let it happen?” I asked her, anger boiling inside of me again. “How long did you take advantage of your friendship to sleep with her boyfriend?”
“That’s different,” she said. “I love Mason.”
My eyes widened. “You love Mason? Are you serious Melissa?” I shook my head. “You’re not seeing Mason. I will not allow it. He will do the same thing he did to Mia. He will cheat on you time and time again.”
“No, he won’t,” she said, standing up and crossing her arms over her chest. “He loves me. You know nothing about us.”
“I was you,” I shouted at her. “I let your mother cheat, just so we could stay a family for you. I believed that she loved me but she betrayed me over and over. Don’t fall for his lies or his stupid fucking games, Melissa. You’re smarter than that.”
My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I pulled it out to make sure Mia was okay. But instead of seeing her name on the screen, I saw Melissa’s mother’s name and I shut the damn thing off. Why’d she always call at the worst times? All I wanted was for her to leave me the fuck alone. I shoved the phone back into my pocket and glanced up at Melissa who had her arms crossed over her chest.
“Is that your girlfriend?” she asked. “Mia, who you’ll probably love more than you ever loved me.”
I closed my eyes and sighed through my nose. It broke my heart hearing those words come out of her mouth because she knew that I did everything for her and that I would do anything for her. I had given her everything she could ever want for the past twenty-two years and now I was paying for it.
Was I a fool to let her take advantage of me? Was I a fool to let this happen to me again? Yes and yes. But she was my only daughter and I wanted to give her the world. But she needed to be punished for this. I couldn’t let her get away with it so easily.
“Until you learn respect, you can’t stay here anymore. No more coming to use the pool. No more asking me for money. I’m done with paying your rent or any of your other bills. I’m sick of it.”
Her eyes widened. “Are you serious?! How am I supposed to afford my apartment?”
“Get a job. Work hard. Learn respect.”
“Dad, you can’t do that to me. Not after what you did with my best friend.”
“My relationship with Mia has nothing to do with this, so don’t bring that into this argument. When you’re really ready to talk about Mia and me, we can talk but for now I want you out.”
When I didn’t back down from her menacing glare, Melissa stomped upstairs, packed a bag of her stuff, and hauled it to her car. Without saying goodbye to me, she slammed her car door and sped down the road. I watched her tail lights disappear and frowned out the front door. Something about it was unsettling.
We had never fought before, especially not like this. And I hated seeing her so angry, but she needed to learn a lesson. I couldn’t have Melissa turn into her mother--a drunk who tried hard to hurt whoever she could whenever she could.
But what was worse than the thought of Melissa’s mother was that our secret was out… in the hands of my furious daughter and the man who I knew could ruin Mia’s life. And I needed to make sure she wasn’t in harm’s way. Mia had been through too much these past few weeks. I wouldn’t let Mason make it worse.
A/N You can read the complete trilogy on Patreon now! Click “Support Me” in my bio <3