Pieces of Summer (A stand-alone novel)(3)

By: C.M. Owens

“What?” she bites out, glaring at me.

“I have to go to Hayden. Chase is—”

“A poor boy in your father’s hometown. Be glad you aren’t getting tied down to the scum that town produces,” she clips out. “That place is toxic.”

My shoulders square, and I step closer.

“I’m going to Hayden.”

The bottle slams against the wall, and wine explodes with the glass as my mother’s full-crazy mode comes into light.

“You don’t tell me what you’re doing. I tell you what you’re doing. Fuck your father. Fuck his barely-legal slut. Fuck Hayden. And if you even think about trying to go there yourself, I will call the cops. You’ll be arrested as a runaway, Mika. Don’t mess with me.”

Tears fill up in my eyes, but my mother only continues to glare at me with dismissive coldness.

“It’s a teenage summer crush, Mika. Get over it. It’s time to grow up. Things are changing, in case you haven’t noticed.”

She spins on her heel and stalks away as I sink to the floor. Picking up my phone, I try to call my father, but of course it goes straight to voicemail. There’s never any cell signal at the lake house, and there’s not a landline there.

Chase doesn’t even have a phone, and I’ve only met his friends a few times. None of them really like me, since they think I’m the rich brat that steals him away every summer. It’s not like I have their numbers on hand.

Our usual snail mail method isn’t good enough at the moment. I really thought Mom was going to let me go, but a letter will take too long to get to him to tell him I can’t come.

Deciding to take my chances, I sneak down to my car, hoping Dad still has my summer wardrobe at the lake house. But just as I get in my car and quietly close the door, the passenger side door opens and my plans get shit on.

“Where do you think you’re going?” Uncle Isaac asks me.

Did I mention the asshole from hell brother of my mother has been here since the divorce to make sure my father—who wants nothing to do with my mother—doesn’t try to get her back? Yeah. My life currently sucks balls.

“I’m going to Hayden,” I bite out.

“You’re seventeen. You can’t drive all the way to Georgia, Mika. Don’t be ridiculous. And why would you even want to? Your mother needs you right now.”

“My mother needs AA, anger management, and a damn good therapist. Not me.”

He glares at me, but he reaches over and jerks my keys out of my hand.

“Your mother does need therapy. I blame your adulterous father for that. She was fine until she married him. My sister isn’t the same person she used to be. Now I’m here to help out, and I’m definitely going to get her help. As for her sorry excuse for a daughter and uncaring shithead son, I’m going to raise you two to be respectful while there’s still a chance to right your father’s wrongs.”

“You’re an asshole,” I snarl. “And my father is a good man, so how dare you.”

“Guess that’s why the court awarded custody of you two to your mother.”

“No, that’s the backwoods court system in which the man has less to offer a child than a mother. That and the fact Mom’s overpaid lawyer made him sound like a drunk for having a glass of wine with his meal. Never mind the fact she’s the damn lush. Dad will get custody of us eventually, or we’ll get out of here soon regardless.”

“Well, you’re here for now. Consider yourself grounded indefinitely from your car. Go inside and try to be a good daughter. Your father killed her dreams and ruined their marriage. Not your mother. Your loyalty should be with her.”

“I’m seventeen! Their marriage has nothing to do with me. I’m sick of getting dragged into this like I have to choose a side! Mom fucked around too!”

He climbs out of the vehicle and I curse while following him. It’d be awesome to have an extra set of keys right about now.

“She’s messed up because of him!” he roars. “You will stay here and you will do as you’re told.”

“You’re ruining my life!” I yell, then roll my eyes at myself. “And I hate you for making me say that and turning me into a cliché like the both of them!”

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