"Child..... Haven't you thought about getting married?" Linda asked.
Mia's jaw dropped. She soon recovered and began to laugh.
"No. Not at all. That's weird" She shook her head
Get married? That was the least she wanted at this point in her life. Why would she want to get married when she was still trying to map out her life? It was absurd!
And even if she wanted to get married. Mr Timothy's son? That was not possible!
"You are already 23" Linda reminded her. "And I am sure you do not have a boyfriend yet."
"Don't worry mum. I'll work really hard to pay off the debt. Do not worry too much about Mr Timothy. We've been able to pay it up all these years. We can still do so now." She assured her mother with a smile.
"There would be no need to stress ourselves too much if you just marry Mr Timothy's son. He is rich enough to take care of you for the rest of your life." Linda said seriously before standing up.
"Think about it dear."
"You must be joking." Mia said with a look of disbelief. She didn't want to believe her mother was serious.
"Why would I joke with something as serious as marriage?" Linda asked with a frown.
Mia stood up, totally speechless and baffled.
"You are really serious? You..... want to sell me for money now?" She asked angrily. It was the first time she was getting angry at her mother so openly.
"Are you crazy? How could you say that?" Linda asked with a yell and angry eyes.
"Then what does this mean? Would you have asked Mary to do this? Would you?" Mia accused.
"How dare you accuse me like that? Are you saying I hate you and love Mary more?"
Mia closed her eyes as she felt her cheek burn from the slap. She slowly opened her eyes again and tears dropped.
"This is Mary's debt. She played around and got herself in trouble. You borrowed more to pull her out of that trouble. Now, she ran away from home and I have been doing all I can to pay it up. Isn't that enough?" Mia raised her voice in anger.
"Look at me! Do you care to know the last time I took proper care of myself? It's as if I was born to pay off Mary's debts because that's what I've always been doing."
"Never have I bought myself a nice dress or an underwear? What about a nice meal? What about cosmetics?"
"I grew up wearing dad's clothes because I couldn't even touch your precious daughter's clothes. After everything I have done for you and this family, how can you ask me to do something like that?" Mia lamented bitterly.
Strangely, it was the first time she was pouring out her heart like that.
"Did I ever ask you to not take care of yourself? Did I tell you to slave away for this family? I didn't compel you to do so. But as a part of this family, you should take up responsibility. Do you want to see me dead before you realise this is serious? How dare you yell at me just because I asked you to get married? Do your mates still live in their parents houses at this age?"
At this point, Mia was already crying loudly. She was not surprised. Her mother had always been like this. In fact, she was surprised at herself for thinking her mother had treated her to a meal because she only wanted to give her a treat and not ask for something absurd in return.
"I will do anything for this family but not that. I won't get married." Mia said resolutely.
"Then get lost. I regret ever calling you my child. Leave!" Linda yelled at her as tears began to stream down her own face.
"And don't ever return here. I don't ever want to see you again."
For a split second, Mia contemplated her decision. Could she really live without seeing her mother again?
Linda quickly snapped at her,
"Don't call me your mother you ungrateful child. Ever since I had you, it's been one problem or the other. I should have listened. I really should have." Linda sat down in one of the chairs and buried her face in her hand as she continued to cry.
"First business sank, then my husband mysteriously disappeared, then my daughter. What else is going to happen. What else?" She lifted her head to see Mia looking at her with tear streaked face.
"Why aren't you leaving? Get lost."
For a few seconds, Mia quietly looked at her. But then she made a decision, and walked out.
"I wanted....to be a good daughter. I worked day and night to help pay the debts her daughter and herself had accured. I never bought something nice things for myself because I wanted her to be debt free. I never said No to her— today was the first time I said a no to her." Mia's subconscious narrated.
"I wanted her to love me. I wanted her to hug me. I wanted her to hold me."
"But now..... I can't live that way anymore. Now, I have to live for myself. Now, I'll do the things I want to do."
"Now, I'll abandon her."
Mia woke up with a new resolve. She was never going to slave herself for anyone again. As much as she was tempted to return to her mother and apologize to her, she refused to do so.
Leo woke up late that day. When he checked the time, it was past 9 in the morning.
He had slept late the previous night because of work and also because he was worried about the girl in the next room.
He left his room in a hurry to go check on her and his nose met a delicious smell immediately he opened his room's door.
He follwed the smell to the kitchen and saw Mia standing there, stirring something inside the pot on the fire.
She was wearing a white tshirt but this one looked a bit smaller than the ones she usually wore. She also wore a small grey short and her hair was tied together in a neat ponytail.
"Hi!" She greeted with a smile when she turned and saw him standing here. "Good Morning."
Leo looked at her in surprise. Now, this was weird. She was suddenly looking cheerful and happy.
"What are you doing?" He asked with an uncertain voice.
Just the previous night, she had been sick and looked broken. Now, she was all hyper.
"Cooking obviously. You also have a share." She said and winked at him, startling the hell out of him.