Authors: Melissa Rolka
Tags: #Love Found in California
LOVE FOUND IN CALIFORNIA
Copyright ©2014 by Melissa Rolka
All Rights Reserved, including the right to reproduce, distribute, or transmit in whole or in part by any means.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events portrayed in this book are the product of the author’s imagination or are either fictitious or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Interior design and formatting:
Cover Me, Darling
Photo Credit: Photography Shutterstock
To my closest girlfriends, who at times have felt like sisters to me. We’ve all had dark moments we felt we couldn’t get out of … yet here we are years later, always finding the light, still friends.
To: Mikaela Washington
From: Dad’s Work Email
Subject: Response card
I know things have been difficult and strained between us, but I was wondering if you had given some thought to my wedding. I haven’t received your response card and want you to know that I’d really like you at the wedding. It’s important to me that I have you (and your sisters) there on this day. Losing your mom was hard on all of us and I know that marrying Janet has probably come as a shock to you.
I’d like to get back to being a family and for you to get to know Janet. Explaining why and how things have happened with her will help you understand my decision. I know the last several years I’ve been distant, but I want to talk to you and make changes going forward.
Please come to the wedding and call me so that we can talk through all of this. It would mean the world to me to have you there.
I love you.
Red and blue.
Red and blue and purple.
Those were the colors I’d often feel running inside of me, streaming fast through my blood and filling the empty space in my mind. Red representing the anger that boils up in me and blue is the iciness that coats me after the rage. Now purple … purple is when the two overlap and bleed into each other, creating the darkness that overtakes all of me. This is when I become completely closed off, leaving me a prisoner in my own body and mind. Edgy, sharp and distant from all. Purple is rare, but the memories of it invading me will never be forgotten. Purple makes me who I am today.
Now those colors are slowly fading out, turning into washed out reds, blues and purples. Brightness invades more often than not these days. It didn’t happen overnight, in fact, it took years. Only one person I know could’ve ever brought out the happiness in me. Sometimes I still question if that’s what this is …
Then I remind myself it can come in all colors.
The sun begins to set, blending together those yellows and oranges just over the horizon of the Pacific Ocean. Those are the colors that run through me more and more each day. I dig my heels a little further into the sand, not really ready to leave, as I read the words on my phone over and over again. My dad is getting married in six weeks. Red starts to cloud my vision, flooding my feelings with a familiar anger, but then strong arms encase me from behind in a hug. The only arms I’ve ever felt completely safe and secure in … other than my dad’s and it’s been too long. So much of my life has come together, but the relationship with my dad continues to be strained.
Of course, I’m sure an email has been not only sent to me, but to my other two sisters, Marisa and Mya, as well. Being a triplet has not always been easy for me. Marisa, who has always been the good girl, does everything right … the best grades in school, even in college, she’s never late, and is always the most polite. I could have been the good girl too, once upon a time, but that was taken from me. Then again I could have been the bad girl too, like Mya. She was always being bold, pushing her limits, sticking out like a wild flower in the middle of a vast field. But no, I was neither. I made sure that I didn’t stick out anywhere; in fact, I’m positive that put me in the position that ruined me for years.
I push people away; that’s what I do, especially those who are closest. Things have shifted in a good way for me though. For once I’ve made decisions for myself, leaving my home to better myself. Putting the protection of my sisters and Dad aside. This wasn’t some whim or rebellious decision, it was mine and for me and only me. The darkness that always consumed the empty spaces in me, like a shady vacant room in a motel waiting for anyone to take up residency, is finally beginning to fill with warmth, healing and forgiveness. Yet something else I still can’t name on its own looms in the background.
Two things that I struggle with daily are confrontation of the past and confession to my future … meaning my present is somewhere unstable. Staring at my dad’s words and that he’s marrying in six weeks has me itching with the urge to swallow myself in a lonesome cocoon. Then I feel soft lips brush against the bottom lobe of my ear, arms tightening around my waist and hot breath bringing me back to my present.
“Mik, you okay?” Ryan asks, gentle smoothness coats his words like always. From our first day of knowing each other he’s shortened my name from Mikaela to Mik. Fondness of his shortening settles on me because it reminds me of my mom.
Pushing my head back against his firm chest, warmth seeps through his loose shirt onto my cheek; I close my eyes and remember how I got here. It’s a brief memory that has my words choked up in the middle of my throat. Ryan reaches further to grasp my hand and runs my cool knuckles across his lips. It’s still foreign feeling how those lips, his words, can race my pulse like no other.
Ryan waits patiently for me to answer; he never pushes me or asks too much of me. Lately though, I feel more and more everyday that I’ll have to explain the way I am … and well, explaining is never my strong suit. My strong suit is listening.
The sun continues to set, sinking further into the ocean and the air begins to cool even more. “It’s an email from my dad,” I start and then suck in the ocean air before I continue; “he’s getting married in six weeks.”
His hot lips press into my temple leaving a wet imprint. The feeling lingers on my delicate skin and I wish I could have more imprints elsewhere, but I force myself to draw out more. “I
I’m not ready for this. My mom’s only been gone for about six months. I don’t—” My tongue knots into the corner of my cheek and I press my molars into it, waiting for the taste of blood.
“You can. I’ll go with you.” He doesn’t even know what he’s agreeing to. All he knows is that my relationship with my sisters is strained and that I’m angry with my dad for moving on too quickly. The secrets of my past bubble up into the swell of my lungs every time there’s more to reveal and breathing becomes tight, wheezy even … red then blue rushes through me, but I won’t allow myself to retreat into the darkness.