At The Edge Of Hopelessness

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The Spoiled Brat.

A Day Before Emmett’s Birthday

Donna was striding back and forth in her room. She was frustrated with her friends – they were good for nothing. All she asked Jousha and Krista was to arrange a few surfing boards, but they couldn’t even do that. Emmett likes to surf but he doesn’t have his surfing board, so Donna decided to gift him one for his birthday. She also wanted him to have fun surfing with her friends at the beach since she hardly doubts that any of his geeky friends could even swim. Donna asked Joshua for a reason, he surfs often and hence she believed that he would be able to arrange a few, but the audacity of that man. “I forgot,” he excused when she called him to ask about it. Donna wanted to throw her phone against the wall. She was very close to uninviting him to the party but stopped when she thought about Krista – his girlfriend and one of Donna’s close friends.

Till now everything was going as she planned, but Joshua’s indolence was close to messing up her plan for the perfect birthday party. She decided to ask Gia to meet her at the coffee shop they regularly visit. Since Joshua turned up to be a total useless loser, she will have to take everything into her own hands. There is no way that she was going to let one idiot ruin her plans. She was texting Gia when Donna’s mother knocked on the door before she walked in.

Donna glanced at her before gestured to wait for her mother with her hand. Her mother sighed and nodded while Gia wrote the text.

Donna: Joshua is an idiot. I want you to meet me at the coffee shop in an hour.

Gia: Can it wait?

Donna rolled her eyes and let out a soft groan. Her friends were seriously irritating her. One friend had already flawed the plan, she will not let Gia add to it.

Donna: No, it can’t. I will see you in an hour.

Donna didn’t even wait for Gia’s reply. She threw her phone on her bed and turned around to look at her mother, who was patiently waiting for her to avert her attention from her phone. “Yes, mom?” She asked her.

Lena, Donna’s mother, rubbed her hands together and smiled, “Are you all packed for tomorrow?” She asked. Her eyes fell over her messy room and sighed. No matter how much she asked Donna to keep her room tidy – she never listened. Donna sniggered, “Mom, we are only going for a night – I don’t need to pack anything except for a couple of bikinis,” She shrugged.

“Oh,” her mother expressed.

Lena didn’t seem comfortable listening to her daughter’s plan. She was not even in support to let her throw a birthday party for her boyfriend at the beach. Although Donna isn’t at the legal age to drink yet, Lena knows that no matter what she says or does – her daughter will be drinking. She is rebellious. They could get in trouble when drunk. Her worries included them going into the water while they are drunk. Although Emmett seems like a responsible young man, Donna’s other friends aren’t. They are troublemakers. Lena doesn’t trust them at all. She doesn’t even like them – she doesn’t know how her daughter finds pleasure in being around such fake and pretentious friends. Lena is not blind, she can see how her friends are around only because Donna spoils them with her father’s money. And even if they aren’t for the way she spoils them, she was around them because of their higher status in society.

Donna heaved a sigh, “God, mom – now what?” She shifted from one leg to another – already bored of her mother’s lectures that were yet to come. Lena knew how much her concerns irritate Donna, but she wasn’t going to stop vocalizing them. She is her mother and she has every right to be concern about her daughter. “Are you sure throwing Emmett such a lavishing birthday party is a good idea? I mean you have been with him for a year and well, that’s a lot of money you are spending for a birthday.” Lena spoke. “And that too on the beach and knowing you and your friends – you can get reckless while drunk and – I don’t know, I am just worried.” Her drawn eyebrows displayed her concerns.

Donna squinted her eyes, “Mom, what is your problem? You have issues with everything I do. God, I feel suffocated around you!” She let out an irritating groan in the end. Lena quickly shake her head, “No, I don’t want to make you feel like that – I just – why can’t you hang around with people around you? Why did you have to be friends with people like Gia? I know you don’t want to hear this but people like her and her circle can be very toxic.” Lena replied. “Throwing a party where all of them are invited – I don’t know, sweety. It doesn’t seem like a good idea.” She added worriedly as she rubbed her hands in a circular motion.

“Mom, the only toxic person around me is you. You are so pessimistic! You are the one that always asks me not to judge others and yet you are doing that to my friends!” She snapped at her mother. This was nothing new for Donna, she often argues and yells at her mother. The older she gets, the more suffocated she feels around her mother. “You know what? I sometimes think that dad was right, I should have gone with him!” She added. Her mother’s heart sinks whenever Donna tells her that. Lena’s eyes glossed. She felt a lump in her throat. She tries to give the best life, but each time Lena shows her concern towards something – Donna always throws it at her face.

Lena and Donna’s father, Albert were divorced. Albert belonged to an affluent family while Lena belonged to a middle-class family. They were an unlikely couple, but somehow they fell in love and married – despite their family’s disapproval. They were two very different people, where Albert was peevish and waspish – Lena was a quiet and patient woman. Her patience towards Albert was the reason why they stayed married for almost ten years. Donna was born three years after their wedding and since she grew up she only saw her parents fighting. When she turned ten, her parents got divorced and her sole custody was given to Lena.

Before the divorce, Lena used to live in New York with her then-husband, but after her marriage ended, she came back to New Orlean – her hometown. Lena decided to let Albert meet his daughter since she didn’t want any bad blood between them and also because she believed that Donna deserved to be around her father, who might have been devilish to Lena but had a great love for his only child.

As expected, Albert showered Donna with all the luxurious that Lena could never afford. He made sure that Donna was enrolled in a private school. He gifted her, her first car. Every desire that Donna had – Albert fulfilled it. As the time passed, Lena watched her daughter spilling off her fingers. She couldn’t compete with Albert. He was giving her everything she ever needed – she becomes so materialistic that she went blind to her mother’s love for her.

Donna didn’t hate her mother for never fulfilling her demands like her father does, she knew Lena couldn’t do that – nor was she upset with her for leaving her father – they weren’t meant to be with each other. But her problem was with her mother being the barrier to her freedom. Things went downhill between the mother and daughter when Donna was forced to change from private to public school by her mother.

When Donna was in eighth grade, she and her friends were caught drinking outside her school by her teacher. Lena was called in and Donna was suspended for a week. That event scared Lena and decided to take her off the private school and put her in a public school. She had to. Lena doesn’t think she had any other choice. She already caught Donna sneaking out with friends once late at night – fit into a very revealing dress. She also caught Donna trying to steal alcohol from the cabin when she was in the seventh grade – now that she was caught drinking – she had to make a stop to it. She couldn’t let Albert or anyone get in the way. Albert couldn’t place an appeal in court for the custody either since Lena had a valid reason and she was a better parent than he could ever be.

Donna flared her nostrils, “I put on with your bullshit, mom! All the time! You made me switch to this pathetic school and now you expect me to change friends according to your taste as well? That is never going to happen, mom.” She spoke hotly. Lena smashed her lips together and looked away. So many times she has told her daughter that she only did what she did for her better future, but Donna only argues more so, this time Lena didn’t even bother to reply.

Donna closed her eyes and exhaled before she opened them to look at her mother. “Look, mom. I am eighteen now. I can do whatever I want. You can’t tell me what I should do and what I shouldn’t do. Please, you have got to stop bothering me with assertiveness.” She was no longer yelling at Lena – but her voice did hold bitterness.

“Don’t push me away, mom. I can only do so much. I swear, I will go and live with dad.” Her words were like a stab to Lena’s heart. This was the only reason why Lena put up with her daughter’s disruptive attitude. All her life Lena has only lost the people she loved, she doesn’t want to lose her too.

In the present, Emmett followed Austin out of the café. He huffed at Austin, who was hot on heels. Emmett huffed, “Seriously, Austin? Aren’t we a little too old for this shit?” Emmett commented – only for Austin to halt and turn around to look at Emmett. Austin had his eyes squinted as Emmett sighed as he glanced around the people who walked on the sidewalk, “Look, I want to talk to you. I am sorry, I left like that – I know I should have been –” Emmett was cut off when Austin rolled his eyes and turned around before resuming his walk to his car. He was so hot-headed to see Emmett that he didn’t even think about Leah, who along with others had walked out of the café.

Emmett huffed and jogged to Austin. He knew him too well and he knew how stubborn that man can be, but Emmett wasn’t less persistent. He put his hand over Austin’s shoulder and pulled her around, “Come on, Austin – what the hell, man? Can’t we just talk like two fucking adults?” He tried to reason with Austin.

Austin huffed at Emmett’s ridiculousness, “Maybe you should have thought about talking before you left like a wuss.” He insulted Emmett.

Emmett clenched his jaws together, “You don’t know what I was going through,” He exasperated.

“Don’t try to make this about you, Emmett. Just because I wasn’t shot that night, doesn’t make me less of a victim. I lost friends. My sister lost her sight. I had to deal with shit while you flee with your rich girlfriend. I had to deal with all the mess and the one motherfucker that I thought would be by my side left like nothing mattered to him.” Austin snapped and pushed Emmett by his chest. Emmett stumbled back but managed to keep his balance intact. The two didn’t care that they were attracting the audience.

“Ah ho,” Patrick mumbled, while Leah stood by her side confused with what was exactly going on around her. She could feel people standing close behind her and she could hear his brother and Emmett arguing in the middle of the sidewalk.

“What happened?” She asked Patrick as she placed her hand on his shoulder. Patrick turned around to look at Leah, whose eyes were wandered around. He held her hand and with his eyebrows drawn he replied, “Austin just pushed this dude,” He replied. “Who is he?” Patrick asked Leah, but she was too worried that a fight might erupt between the two that she didn’t even bother to answer.

“Okay, stop it you both!” Leah’s voice went deaf to their ears, while Patrick, Jo, Nathan, and Paris looked at her.

Emmett gritted his teeth, “I did not flee, Austin. I had to go. She was my girlfriend – I didn’t want to leave her alone!” He argued back.

Austin sniggered, “Oh right, your girlfriend. You left because you loved her so damn much.” His voice laced with sarcasm. “How is your wife-to-be, anyway? Oh, wait –” He taunted Emmett, who didn’t look please with Austin’s derision.

Leah groaned at her bother’s words, “Oh God, Austin. Shut up!” She tried to move forward by was immediately held back by Patrick as Emmett flared his nostrils and instead of answering him back with words, he decided to get physical and threw a punch at Austin’s face. Austin let out a deaden groan and fell on the sidewalk with a thud.

At the sound of Austin’s groan and his falling– along with a couple of gasps – she gulped nervously. “What is happening?” Leah asked worriedly.

“Austin just got punched,” Patrick told her.

“Oh God, Austin.” Leah tried to move forward again and but once again Patrick pulled her back when Austin stood up and threw a punch at Emmett. The two fell on the sidewalk and in the middle of the busy sidewalk they wrestled while throwing insults at each other. Emmett was below Austin and was blocking the punches Austin was trying to throw at him while Austin was straddling over Emmett – groaning and trying to hit Emmett as hard as he could. Leah was continuously yelling at them – asking to stop, while Austin’s other friends were just too stunned to see him fight. Some of the pedestrians had stopped to watch them wrestle – some even had their phones out as they captured the fight on their phones.

Josephine, who was staring at two men fighting and rolling on the sidewalk gaped. “I swear to God if these two start to kiss, I might squeal so loud – the birds will fall off the sky.” Her ridiculous comment made them stop grappling instantly and glare at her.

In New York, Donna sits on her bed in her room. She had her laptop opened – trying to stalk on Emmett but as much as she knows him – he doesn’t use social media. He might have accounts on social sites but it was only because Donna forced him to make them, he hardly ever posts anything on them. She huffed and searched for some of his old friends to see if they had posted something about him, but as she expected – she couldn’t find Austin on social media either. She let out a frustrating groan and leaned back on the pile of pillows behind her. She opened her laptop and placed it at the side, just at the time her phone started to ring.

She leaps to it – hoping it was Emmett, answering back to her messages and voicemail. It was an unknown number, with a hope to hear Emmett’s voice she answered. “Hello?”

She heard a heavy sigh before the other person spoke, “Hello, Donna.” A man spoke from the other side, who was not Emmett.

She brought her eyebrows together, “Yes? Who is it?” She asked the person on the other side.

There was a brief pause before the man spoke again, “It is your uncle Brandon.” No wonder Donna recognized the man’s voice. She hasn’t heard from him since she came back to New York to live with her father.

Brandon was her mother’s only brother. He was younger than her and all the time that she spent with her mother, she had seen him by her side. Donna didn’t like him, not because he was a bad person, but because of his dislike towards her living standards and her father. He was the only family her mother had. He never calls her – never, so when she heard his name – she felt uneasy.

“Oh, hi.” She didn’t know what else to say.

“I wasn’t supposed to call you nor did I want to.” He told her after another pause.

Donna rolled her eyes, “Then why did you?” She shot back.

“Because it is about you mother,” He replied instantly.

“Although she made me promise not to tell you, what are promises made to the person who is dying,” His words sent a chill down her spine.

“What?” She mumbled – she started to feel her fights getting numb while she felt as if her heart had fallen to her guts.

“She has been battling with cancer for the last year and a half, Donna. It has unfortunately spread. The doctor has given her less than two months to live. Maybe you should come and meet her one last time,” He informed her.

Donna was dazed as Brandon hang up on her after the revelation that shook her world.

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