I pulled into Deb’s yard to see her and Michael arguing, while another guy stood on the porch watching the spectacle. When I turned off the car Michael stopped arguing, when he saw me he came running to the car. I got out and put my hand up when he tried to hug me.
“Why are you acting like this?” He asked.
“Like what Michael?” I asked.
“As if I’m contaminated.” He tells me.
“I’m just making sure you know the boundaries. You can’t seem to understand that treating Justin like shit took away your rights to call me your friend.” I tell him.
“You came here to tell me I have to be nice to Justin if I want us to be friends?” He asked.
“I came here to check on Deb and make sure she’s doing okay.” I tell him.
“What about me, you didn’t plan on taking the time to see me?” He asks me.
“How are you still not getting that any friendship we had ended the last time I saw you?” I ask.
“He’s been saying shit to make you act like this, he’s the one who left without telling you about that kid.” He complains.
“That’s between the two of us, and really, you lost the right to worry about what Justin does or doesn’t say about you when what you say to him only makes me want to kick your ass. Of course, you’re not significant enough for Justin to care about.” I tell him.
“Really, then why did he hit me if I’m insignificant to him?” He sneered.
“You opened your mouth about our daughter, it’s the one area that Justin won’t let pass. It’s something you should know about me too, since you know Gus. I hear you say shit about my kids, and what Justin did to you will seem like a pat on the shoulder compared to what I’m going to do to you. Which I kind of owe you one for trying to use Gus to find me.” I tell him.
“It wasn’t right that you left Lindsay in the dark. She’s his mother, and has the right to know where you took Gus. I really have to say, bringing your son with you so you could screw Justin’s ass was…” I didn’t let him finish.
“Shit, did you hurt yourself?’ Deb asked, when I shook out my hand.
“You fucking hit me!” Michael screeches.
“Not hard enough, you’re still running your fucking mouth.” I sneer at him.
“You saw that didn’t you?” He asks the guy who came walking over.
“Deb, I’ll pick you up later.” The guy tells her, kissing her before walking away not paying any attention to Michael.
“He’s a fucking cop and he just leaves!” Michael yells.
“Carl doesn’t see the point in doing anything when he wanted to do the same to you for coming here this morning and ordering us to stop seeing each other. So he couldn’t see the point in listening to any more from you. If you can’t respect my choices then stay away. And if my being happy with the man who thinks about what I want first bothers you so much, you don’t need to come around me.” Deb tells him.
“Ma, just because someone finally asked you out doesn’t mean you have to say yes to them. It just screams at men that you're desperate for anyone.” He tells her.
“The only thing it screams to me is that I spent too much of my life on a son that only cares if it’s what he wanted me to do. I’m sure Brian could tell you the same thing about his supposed ‘best friend’. In your mind, if you're not the one we give all of us to, you aren’t going to let us be happy for the first time in our lives. I’m not wasting my life waiting for you to approve of the way I live it.” Deb tells him, walking into the house and slamming the door.
“I’m done with this shit. When you and Ma realize that your both fucking up your lives, I’m no longer going to be the one cleaning up your messes. It’s time I live my life without having to take care of all your asses.” He shrieks at me.
“I guess we feel the same way you do, we’re done wiping your ass too.” I tell him, going into the house to see Deb.
Deb was sitting on the couch flipping channels, and really, the remote didn’t do anything. I took it out of her hand and sat next to her, letting her lay her head on my shoulder while she cried.
“How did I raise him to be this way?” She asks me.
Normally I try to take some of the blame but it wasn’t anything I did, he came to me that way.
“You smothered him and never let him grow up.” I tell her.
“I wanted him to know that he was loved. He didn’t have anyone else.” She tells me.
“It made it so he couldn’t be happy if anyone wanted something he didn’t want. All those years, if anyone stepped away, he tried to handcuff us to him, the way you were doing with him. Deb, in the end it was up to him to grow up and away from it, but he didn’t because you expected all of us to handle his problems and we did. When I left, it made it harder to be blind to the things that we did to keep Michael happy. Now I only care that Justin and the kids are happy, so I won’t be able to pick up the pieces when Michael falls apart, and you need to stop trying. He’ll never do anything if you sit around trying to figure out what you could have done and then do it for him. It’s up to him now.” I tell her.
“It’s hard to watch him struggle, but I don’t want to ruin the new life I’m building. Carl’s really a great guy and he loves me. It’s nice to have that.” She tells me, drying her eyes.
“Yes it is.” I tell her.
“I’m sorry for being less of a mother to you than you deserved.” She tells me.
“I wish I still had it in me to lie to you and say you were. After what happened with Justin, Emmett, and you, I could no longer say you were the mom we all thought you were. You knew Emmett well enough that he never saw hurting people as an answer. Instead of asking him, you ignored the man you knew and blamed him, as if he did this all the time. You did the same with Justin, when Michael got hurt again. Never questioning why, but ready to blame anyone but Michael. Then you involved my son, by trying to say Justin would hurt Gus. Yet when Ted and I told everyone we were going to help you, Justin and Emmett understood, even after you had thrown them out. Your mom card was tarnished in our eyes, but we still love the woman who made sure we were fed, and loved us as much as she could, even though we weren’t her sons. Hopefully someday it will shine back to the woman you could be.” I tell her.
“I’m working on it, but it’s not something I can do overnight. Jen’s really been great. I went to see her when I met Carl. She let me in and let me gush about it. I left her house for the first time without it being me complaining about Michael. She called and invited me to do things and it’s been great to doing things that were just for me. She kept me from trying to talk to you and Justin, but it was because I need to give you time and the respect of not feeling like I’m pushing to get involved in your lives.” She tell me.
“Justin and I don’t want the life we were living. Everything here is just a reminder of what went wrong. We managed to find a balance by not falling back into the same pattern we were in. I asked him to marry me.” I tell her.
“Be happy with him.” She tells me.
“I already am. He left it up to me to tell you and invite you. I wouldn’t mind if you came, it’s my offer for a new start with us.” I tell her.
“I won’t if you really don’t want me there. Justin shouldn’t have anyone there if it makes his day less than he wants it.” She tells me.
“Come, but don’t expect too much from Justin or Emmett.” I tell her, kissing her head and leaving.
Charles and Emmett came over and the kids spilled about the marriage. Emmett told me that Brian and I were going to have the best wedding he could do in three days. We had to wait for the license before getting married. I tried to tell Emmett that we were just going to do it at the courthouse, but he told me I needed to do so the kids could see how special it was that we were getting married. I left Emmett, Mom, and the kids to plan a small wedding. Charles and I went to see the building that was going to become Hawthorne-Kinney. Mom told me that she thought Brian would like it. I stood in the old bathhouse and almost wanted to laugh that my mother picked it. Charles told me it was perfect because it was so open. I got a phone call from the gallery and went outside to take it while Charles finished touring the place.
I hung up, ready to go to Chicago and kill Lindsay. Brian pulled up while I was trying to calm down. There was only so much anyone could expect me to put up with.
“I’m going to stand out of the line of the explosion.” Charles tells Brian, when he looked at me.
“I want someone to tell me why that crazy bitch is still on the street.” I yell.
“What did she do now?” Brian asked, standing in front of me.
“She went to the gallery where my show is, trying to tell the owner that I was cancelling the show. He called after having her escorted out to find out if I really wanted to cancel, since we just talked about a second show if this one does well.” I tell him.
“Let me guess, they couldn’t do anything because there was nothing illegal in what she did.” Brian asks me.
“Nope, she was smart enough to leave without acting like the crazy bitch she is. Although I can have her barred from coming. I wish it wasn’t so important, I’d put a big fucking sign on the building that said anyone welcome but Lindsay Peterson, there’s failure in anything she fucking does.” I tell him.
I stopped when Brian was trying not to laugh, and really, it was just too ridiculous not to laugh. Charles ended up snickering and I walked into Brian’s arms and let out my frustration by laughing at the idea of putting a sign like that up.
“I know it’s not funny, but if you want a billboard like that I’d do it. Anything it takes to see you smile.” Brian whispers, as I smile at him for being serious.