The more time that went by, the more addicted to Riana Stacey became. She felt that Riana was the one she should have been with all along and would do just about anything to hang on to her. This meant that when Emma became more of a problem, Stacey became more determined to set things right. She just wasn’t sure what to do at first, and when the obvious solution finally did come to her, she was less than thrilled with the idea. But she had to do what she had to do, didn’t she? Especially with the strain Emma was putting on her relationship with Riana.
“Why do you always choose Riana over me?” Emma whined one day, voice filled with frustration and hurt. “You already said you’d go shopping with me, yet she has to come first?”
Stacey tried to remain calm. “Emma, this isn’t a competition.”
“Then why do I feel like it is? Why do I constantly have to fight to get any time alone with you? Why can’t we go shopping before you two go out to eat? Mom, she’s always here! Why doesn’t she have a life of her own? Why isn’t she in her own house with her own family?”
“Because not everyone has one.”
“So she has to invade ours instead?”
“She’s not invading our family,” Stacey said, feeling her cheeks grow warmer. “You get the same amount of time and attention you’ve always gotten.”
Stacey’s lid burst. “Get up to your room!” she screamed. “Now!”
Emma spun around, but instead of going upstairs to her room, she ran out the front door, slamming it shut behind her.
For the first time since the girl had been born, Stacey didn’t care where she went or what she did. She was tired of her coming between her and Riana. How did her own child come to be such a spoiled little brat? She gave her plenty of time. She was sure of this and that Emma was being unreasonable.
She once again thought about the only solution she could come up with that would solve the problem. She didn’t like it at all, but what other choice did she have? It was either Emma or Riana and as far as she was concerned, she’d certainly had enough of Emma.
She was suddenly aware of Riana descending the stairs. “What’s going on?” she asked.
“Nothing, just another spat with Emma. I’m really getting tired of them, too!”
Riana, who had been in the shower, was towel-drying her hair. “Somehow I get the feeling it had to do with me.”
“Don’t worry about it, Ri.”
“It’s not that easy. I do worry. She’s your daughter. I’m just your combination friend and fuck buddy.”
Stacey walked over to Riana and gathered her into her arms. “I consider you a lot more than that, babe. You know I love you.”
Actually, Riana hadn’t known that. “Wow,” was all she could say. “Even so, I wonder if maybe I should return to the guesthouse for a while and give Emma more time to adjust to losing her dad. She needs you now more than ever and I don’t want to be in the way of you giving her the support she needs.”
Stacey looked down into Riana’s eyes and said, “Nonsense. She has all the support she needs. I’m not any less there for her than I was before you moved in. Emma’s just spoiled at times and she needs to learn that just because she’s going through a rough time, life still goes on and people can’t always drop everything for her and conform their lives according to her preferences.”
Riana was still plagued with uncertainty. “Are you sure?”
“Absolutely,” Stacey said.
Riana simply nodded, wishing she could feel the same confidence Stacey felt.