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The Secret of Ella and Micha, Page 10

Jessica Sorensen

Chapter 9



  I've slept in my own bed for the past week, even though my body itched to do another maneuver up the tree and into Ella's window. She's been avoiding me ever since we made out in my car. I'm guessing she needs some time to sort through her thoughts; that I was overwhelming her.

  Ella has always had issues with intimacy and pushed people away, including me if I try to cross the friend line. I actually had to work to become her friend. We've always lived next door, but it took me bribing her with a juice box and a toy car to even get her to let me climb over the fence into her yard.

  But it was worth the time. Fifteen years later, we're still friends. I can't imagine my life without her, something I grasped that night when I found her on the bridge. Even though I knew she wasn't going to jump, seeing her standing on the ledge made me realize that I want and need her in my life forever. She challenges me, pushes me, and pisses me off, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

  It's late in the afternoon when I wake up. Blinking against the bright sun, I drag my butt out of bed and throw on an old tee and some jeans. Ethan and I are still working on fixing the blown head gasket on my car, so I send him a text that I'm up and ready to go. I head into the kitchen and drink the orange juice straight out of the jug.

  My mom walks in combing her hair, and scolds me. "Micha Scott, how many times have I told you not to do that crap?" She snatches the juice away and sets it back in the fridge.

  I wipe away the juice from my chin. "I think it's called selective hearing. "

  She does up the buttons on her jacket, dressed to head off to her day job as a secretary at the dealership. She also has a night job as a hostess at a cafe. "You are such a smart ass. " She holds up a red lacy bra. "Okay, so I know I've always been the cool mom, but finding this in my bed is crossing the line. "

  "Isn't it yours?" I grab a box of cereal out of the cupboard.

  She scowls at me as she tosses the bra into the trash behind her. "I have much more class than that. "

  Thinking of her trashy dress the other night, I can't help but laugh. "That's breaking news to me. "

  She gently slaps the back of my head and I laugh, rubbing it like it hurts. "If you must know, I had a date that night with a really nice guy, but he's a little younger than me and I was trying to make a good first impression. "

  "So that's why you had that trashy dress on. " I scoop a handful of cereal out of the box and stuff it into my mouth. "I was wondering about that. "

  "I didn't look that bad," she protests, grabbing her keys from the hook on the wall. "Did I?"

  I hate it when she asks questions like these; ones that don't have a right answer. I shrug and put the cereal back into the cupboard.

  She grabs a granola bar out of the cupboard. "So Ella's back for good I'm guessing?"

  I crunch slowly on the cereal. "Yeah, until summer's over. "

  She waits for me to embellish. "Are you going to tell me where she was for the last eight or nine months?"

  "College," I say. "In Vegas. "

  "Wow, I'm actually impressed with that answer. " She peels the wrapper off the granola bar. "Good for her. "

  I frown. "Why? She bailed on everyone. "

  "I'm not saying how she did it was right, but it's good she's going somewhere in her life. "

  "I told you I have plans. I just need to figure out a way to make them happen. "

  She sighs and pats my head like I'm still a child. "I worry about you spending too much time chasing her. You might have to realize that maybe she doesn't want to get caught, sweetie. Trust me. It was something I had to learn with your dad. " She hangs her bag over her shoulder and drums her fingernails on the counter. "Micha, did you think about what I told you the other night?"

  "You mean with that random text you sent me?"

  She sighs heavy-heartedly. "I'm sorry I broke the news to you like that. It's been sitting on my chest for a while and I just couldn't figure out a way to do it. I panicked. " She hangs her head. "I'm a terrible mother, aren't I?"

  I shake my head and give her a hug because I can sense she needs one. "Being a terrible news breaker doesn't make you a terrible mother. I've always had a roof over my head and food to eat. "

  She hugs me back. "Yeah, but sometimes it feels like I should have spent more time with you. I mean, every mother in the world gives more than what I do. "

  My eyes travel over her head to the window. Ella's house is right outside, looking broken and beaten. "Not every mother. In fact, some can't help not to. "

  She steps away, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. "Are you going to call him?"

  I eye my father's number tacked to the wall next to the phone. "I haven't decided yet. "

  She dabs her fingers under her eyes, fixing her makeup. "Just make sure to think about it from both sides. I know he's been out of your life for forever, but he sounded genuine on the phone. I think he really wants to see you. "

  I force a smile. "Alright, I'll think about it. "

  My father bailed out when I was six and we haven't heard from him since. My mom went looking for him right after he left, but she came back telling me she couldn't find him. I've always wondered if she did find him, but didn't want to tell me the truth.

  My mom leaves the house and I relax on the couch with my feet kicked up on the table as I wait around for Ethan to show up. I'm surfing through the channels when the home phone rings.

  "Hello. "

  "Umm. . . is this Micha?" A voice responds.

  "Yeah. . . why? Who's this?"

  A long pause fills the connection and I think I've lost the weirdo.

  "Are you there?" I ask, getting annoyed.

  "Yeah. " He clears his throat. "This is your father. "

  I nearly drop the damn phone.

  "Micha, this is you, isn't it?" He sounds old and formal and it pisses me off.

  "Yeah it's me," I say through gritted teeth.

  "I know your mother was going to have you call me, but there is something I need to talk to you about," he says. "And it can't wait. "

  I consider his request. "I've been waiting almost fourteen years to talk to you. I think you can wait a little bit longer. " Then I slam the phone down and punch the wall.

  The sheetrock crumbles to the counter top and the hook holding the keys crashes to the floor.

  "Fuck!" I collapse to the ground, hoping no one walks in and sees me falling apart.

  Especially Ella.