*I know, it's been like 5,000 years & this is only short :( I'm sorry but I hope this is okay for you guys...or whoever still reads. :/*"So, what the hell even happened? She's a damn wreck up there."
"They just had another one of their tiffs." Jelani rubbed his head as he sat at the table. "You know how they are, I just wanted to check she made it home. She wasn't answering my calls."
"She's upstairs feedin' Mica. She ain't say much when she got back, just that she'd had an argument." Max joined his brother-in-law and sat down. "So, what were they fightin' about this time?"
"Just Nic gettin' caught up in her own lies again."
"Lies?" Max raised his brow questioningly as his thoughts began to spiral. "What was she lyin' about?"
"She told Mom she was workin' tonight, but me and Kels drove by on the way. The restaurant was closed."
Max's mind ceased all thought for a spilt second before it began to reel. That meant that she'd been lying to him all day too. On top of all the other lies she was feeding him. Jelani was right, she was caught up in a viscous web of deceit.
"Max?" Jay's voice brought him back to the moment.
"I asked if you knew where she was at tonight? Havin' somethin' to tell my Mom will ease her mind a little. Underneath all that anger she's really just worried, I know Nic ain't seein' it that way but that's what it is."
"Yeah, I get it." He smiled sympathetically. "But she was with me all night."
Jelani's face scrunched up immediately. "What?"
"Yeah, I surprised her with dinner reservations but she felt guilty droppin' Mica off on your Mom without good reason. So she said she was workin'." He forced a guilty smile. "Look, this is one huge, big mess and it's all my fault. We shoulda just been up front, I ain't mean no harm."
"Oh." Jelani's face relaxed, the relief was beyond obvious. "Man, you caused a shit-load of trouble tonight but you have no idea how glad I am to hear that."
"Could you let Carol know I'm sorry? I'll explain to Nic and they can sort this out tomorrow when they've both cooled off a little."
"Sure, I'll let her know." He smiled with relief. "And thanks again, man. I was really worried about her." He paused briefly as his face saddened. "I'll never forget that night I found her the way she was, I'ont ever wanna be in that situation again." Standing up slowly he tucked his chair back in and threw his hat back on his head. "But anyway, I'll get outta your way. Let her know I came askin' 'bout her too, she needs to know we care about her."
"Of course." He smiled led his brother-in-law to the front door and watched him leave in his car before grabbing his own keys and heading out. He'd had enough of her lies.
Looking down at Mica as he fed she couldn't believe how well she'd kept this lie covered up. Every one of his features screamed "Drake". His eyes, his mouth, his everything. Although it wasn't so hard since Max and Drake did share an uncanny resemblance it made it that much easier to keep the lie alive, they looked like brothers. She felt guilty at first but what else was she supposed to do? Sabotage her marriage and tell the truth? Her past halted her from doing that. There was no way she wanted to go back to the way she was, especially not now that she had Mica. The cushy married life gave her stability, although she wasn't ecstatically happy she was appreciative of the fact the she and Mica were healthy and were never in need of anything. Drake however couldn't offer her that same sort of support and that's what scared her so much. He could make her happy though.
Returning her gaze to the window she frowned after hearing a car leave followed by another one after a couple of minutes. She'd heard her brother's voice earlier and already assumed he'd left but who else was here to follow his departure? Relaxing her face slowly she was only now just aware of how tight her skin had become with all the tears she'd shed. She was just thankful Mica had dozed off and she could return him back to his crib and finally wash the tears away with a second shower. As she headed to his room she noticed the silence filling the house. It was times like these she hated having such a large home. Even with Max here she still felt an element of fear in terms of how unsafe it was. After laying her baby down she pulled his door closed a little and proceeded to head downstairs in search of her husband. He was nowhere to be found. Calling out for him three times she checked every room before glancing at the key hooks. His car keys were missing.
"Max?" Looking into the dark garage she frowned when the lights flickered on and his car wasn't there. "The hell has he gone now?" Not having enough energy to care she shook her head and knocked the lights off before shutting the door and heading back upstairs to shower. She was ready to just lay in bed and sleep for an eternity. As well as the hurt, her anger was still very much present. Not only towards her Mother but Drake too. She'd called him 6 times and even left voicemail messages but he hadn't even bothered to get back to her. She thought he would have at least sent her a text after hearing how distraught she sounded in the messages but she'd heard nothing from him.
"So, what's different now?" She cocked her brow with a hint of annoyance and attitude. Drake had called her the previous day and organised a taping session with his other "co-star" but forgotten to cancel when Nicki came over.
"Please, Tegan. I'm just not in the mood to deal with any bullshit right now." Moving to shut the door in her face, her small hand stopped him.
"You have some fuckin' nerve callin' me out like this, Drake. YOU called me, remember?" She rested back on one foot as her bangled wrists clattered against one another when she crossed her arms.
"And I apologize for messin' you around, now I wanna get some sleep so goodnight." Successfully shutting her out this time her slid the chain across the door and rested against it whilst sighing. He could both feel and hear her pound the door angrily before walking off and cussing him out. Her vocals faded as she reached her car and sped off. He felt a twinge of regret for treating her that way but they both knew what they had was just sex. No strings attached, but treating her like that was uncalled for.
It was only after Nicki had left he realised it was never going to change. He'd had a solid few hours of thought after she'd gone. No matter how many times she promised to make a decision, he knew deep down she was too afraid to. Not that he could blame her for feeling apprehensive, she had a lot to lose whereas he didn't but he was growing frustrated with the situation. He loved her and she loved him. Wasn't that all that mattered? He scratched his head as he yawned and gathered the dirty plates from his lounge room. His phone was vibrating constantly on the TV unit but as always it would be the same old story. Nicki messaging him to say when and when not to call her and thanking him for his attention. Balancing the dishes in his grasp he stared at his cell until it stopped buzzing. A part of him was desperate to check the messages and answer this call but another part of him wanted to just ignore her same old excuses and just retire for the night. And that's exactly what he did.
Back in her quiet and lonely mansion, she was sat biting her lip worriedly. Her frown increasing when he didn't pick up for the seventh time. He always answered her calls. Sitting in silence, the empty space around her in the bed made her look even smaller and more vulnerable than ever. She had no idea where Max had vanished to either, but it only infuriated her even more when she realised that she was used to him disappearing on her. That didn't signify a normal marriage. She was no marriage expert but she was definitely certain that the way he treated her and Mica wasn't what one would call the perfect father or husband. Feeling the sadness washing over her again she placed her phone on the nightstand and moved Mica's baby monitor closer to her head before turning the lamp off and settling into the sheets. The silence around her emphasised the loneliness she was trapped in.
This was the lowest she'd felt in a long time.
The next Morning, Drake was hit with a bunch of missed calls and messages from the night before.
"Can you please call me back when you get this? I need to talk to you."
He grimaced listening to her sobs as she spoke. His conscience was screaming at him for ignoring her calls and messages last night. By the sounds of it she was completely heartbroken. About what? He had no idea but she needed him there and he ignored her.
Setting his slice of toast down he glanced at the clock before opening the next one. It was 8:40am.
"Aye, Drake I'on wanna bother you so late but Nic's got herself into a state and she ain't answerin' my calls. I'ma head over to hers now but could you call her please? I know she'll listen to you. A'ight, thanks."
Now his heart really was pounding. Something must have happened last night. Not bothering to finish his coffee he grabbed his jacket and keys before heading out. His mind was focused primarily on getting there as fast as he could but he couldn't stop all the random thoughts popping into his mind. Most of them being scenarios surrounding the events he missed last night. He had an inkling it was something to do with Carol and Nicki but he wouldn't know for sure until he got there.
When he finally did roll up their driveway he parked his car in front of the garage and headed to the front door. After knocking and waiting twice he tried the handle and let himself into the quiet house. There was something eerily off about the atmosphere.
He called her name and proceeded to check all the downstairs rooms, including the garage. Standing still in the doorway he noticed her car was still there, Max's wasn't though. Maybe they went out together? He frowned, that didn't explain why the door was left open. Shutting the door again he headed back into the kitchen and shouted her again before a note on the side caught his attention. Picking it up slowly, he read it aloud.
"Taken Mica out to the office, I didn't want to wake you. Sorry about our day, we can do it tomorrow I promise. Call me as soon as you're up." The tiny note was finished with an unfeeling and insincere "Max" followed by an "x". He shook his head and placed the scrap of paper down. So, Nicki was home and if the night's events were in any way related to a verbal altercation between Carol and Nicki, he knew she'd be upstairs wallowing. He headed back towards the stairway and called her name again, this time more quietly. "Nic? You up there?"
Only silence met his ears, the apprehension he felt was becoming more obvious as the seconds ticked by. He didn't know how long ago Max had left, or when he would be home, but the strange atmosphere and abundance of missed calls and messages last night had him worried. Throwing his doubts to the side, he began climbing the stairs slowly before stopping when he reached the second floor hallway. Mica's room was unoccupied as he'd suspected, so he made his way towards the master bedroom and knocked politely.
"Nicki?" The familiar sound of silence was still lingering, he knew she would be sleeping but he wanted to know that she was definitely in there and that she wasn't too upset. He turned the handle slowly and quietly before pushing it open, to his surprise the bed was unoccupied. It wasn't made up or tidy as it usually would be, which made him think she'd only just got up. "Nicki, you in the bathroom?" Heading over towards the bathroom door, he pulled his gaze away from the bed and looked at the door handle. It wasn't shut all the way and he could hear the faint sound of running water, it was too quiet to be the shower. "Nic, can I come in?" He waited patiently, not really expecting an answer. The likelihood of her being angry with him for ignoring her calls last night was very high. "Look, I know you're mad but please, talk to me. I'm worried about you." He paused again. "What happened last night?"
After another 10 seconds of agonising silence, he lost his patience. Pushing the door open forcefully as he began speaking. "Can you please answer me?" What started off as harsh words soon trailed off into nothing as shock and panic began to kick in.
His leg hadn't stopped bouncing for the last half hour, his mind racing as he kept his head rested in his hands. The image of her laying on the floor wouldn't leave his eyes and his conscience was screaming at him for having ignored her pleas last night. He could have stopped all of this.
"Where is she?" The stern voiced was laced with love and concern as it fast approached but that didn't match the look on her face. It was Carol, the last person he wanted to see right now. Nevertheless, he stood and let her take the only free seat. They were at the hospital, waiting for the others to arrive.
"They're still....workin' on her." His voice was hoarse. Anybody could see he was falling apart right now. Trying desperately to hold it together. "I don't know how long they'll be." Glancing down he stepped back and leant against the wall behind him.
"Working on her?" The little voice that escaped her lips was small and quivery making him look at her apologetically. She had tears balanced on her bottom lid, ready to fall with what he was about to tell her. Deep down she knew though, it didn't need to be explained. "It's all my fault."
"No, Carol." He jumped forward to rest in front of her as soon as she began to sob. "It's nobody's fault. You can't put that sort of blame on yourself, no matter what happened last night."
"That poor baby."
"My grandson, where is he?" The moment those words left her mouth he raised to his feet in bewilderment. Where was the concern for her daughter? She was merely a few feet away from her lifeless body as they tried to bring her back to life and she couldn't give a shit.
"Carol, you do understand what's going on right now don't you?" The wrinkle in his brow relaxed as he attempted to stay composed.
She snorted. "Of course I do. As always, Onika has tossed aside her care for anybody else but herself. They're all the same, addicts." The look on her face was one of pure disgust. "They don't care about anyone but themselves. As long as they're good, nothing else matters." She was spitting venom in the most heartless way. These were words he honestly never thought he'd hear being uttered by this woman before him.
"That's not true and you know it." His breathing hardened, he was feeling a mixture of undesirable feelings all at once. The guilt, anger and grief all threatened to consume him before her voice sounded out again.
"Stand by her all you want, I don't care. As soon as Max gets here I'm taking Mica back with me. She's not fit to be a mother." Those words hit him hard, why was she acting so coldly?
"You're daughter is laying in there fighting for her life!"
"Life?" She scoffed. "She's nothing but an empty shell in our lives, just getting by. Waiting for her next fix." There was a hint of sadness starting to show. "The person behind those doors is not my daughter."
"She needs help, Carol. You can't just give up on her! Mica needs his Mother, you can't take her away from him."
"And what do you think you are? Hm?" She stood up. "The superhero in this messed up story?" Shaking her head angrily she moved closer to his tensed up frame. "You only ever helped her to get as bad as she did. You encouraged her, whether it was conscious or not you made her this way. You've done this to her."
The iciness of her words washed over him like a cold wave of hatred. He couldn't speak or move as he watched her step back again.
"Tell her I don't wanna hear from her until she's cleaned herself up. And as for seeing Mica? I decide if and when she can, I don't want him anywhere near her when she's like this." She threw her bag over her shoulder.
"What is this? Some sort of tough love method?" His face screwed up harshly, he was struggling to contain his anger. "She needs our help and support! Not some sort of punishment!" No matter how loud his yells were, the sentences seemed to glide over her head. However unfazed she appeared there was a single tear that managed to escape.
"I'll send Max in when he gets here, I'll be waiting outside."
He couldn't muster the energy or the courage to call her back as she walked away. She was right. Slumping back into the seat he exhaled shakily. This was all his fault. It started off as innocent experimentation when they were teens but somehow became a hobby for him and a crutch for her. Of course, she always had the opportunity to say "no" to drugs but with his encouragement it didn't take a lot of persuading. They were just having fun but none of it seemed fun at all right now. His memories carried on haunting him, both from the past and earlier today. He never thought he'd eve have to perform CPR on anyone. Especially not on her. His fists were balled, he could only feel anger towards himself.
"Drake?" The out of breath voice startled him. It was Max. "The hell happened? I came as soon as I got your message, please tell me she's she okay?"
"I don't know, I don't know what's happening. Nobody's tellin' me anythin'." He sighed frustratedly.
"But you gotta know somethin'!" His yells echoed through Drake's hurting head.
He snatched Max's arm and pulled him forward. "I found her in the bathroom, Max! She fuckin' overdosed!"
*It's only short, but the second part won't be far away :) Thanku to those who commented on the previous chapter :) I hope this was okay for you guys :/*