Mother's Day

BY : Cat_Eyes
Category: +M through R > Miraculous LadyBug
Dragon prints: 318
Disclaimer: I do not own Miraculous Ladybug. Miraculous Ladybug is the intellectual property of Thomas Astruc and released by Zag studios. No profit was made writing this story.

Chloe sneered at the pink ribbons and banners festooning windows and doorways of the stores down the street. They were gaudy and inelegant, no matter how the shop owners tried to display them.

All week, her classmates had been nattering on about what they were doing for their mothers on Mother's Day. She was sick of hearing about it, sick of having it thrust in her face at every turn. To Chloe, it felt like sitting in raw sewerage.

'I got my Mum a new bracelet,' Sabrina prattled, as she walked beside Chloe. They had just exited a jeweller's shop where Sabrina bought her gift, the third one that day. 'She loves jewellery. Dad wanted to get her gardening supplies. Can you believe it? We don't even have a garden, just a flower box on the window. Dad can be such a man, sometimes.'

Chloe hummed, and rolled her eyes. 'You don't say.'

'I know, right? I'm going to have to give Mum breakfast in bed to make up for his shortcomings. Dad's always been bad at gift giving. But he seems to be exceptionally clueless on Mother's Day. He's lucky he has me to find some things for him.'

'Uh-huh.'

Sabrina hung the straps of her shopping bags from the crook of her elbow, looking up at Chloe. 'Are you all right?'

'Fine,' she replied, through gritted teeth.

'You don't look fine. Do you want to stop somewhere and get something to eat?' Sabrina asked, looking hopefully at a café boasting a plethora of pink bunting and Mother's Day specials.

'No,' Chloe replied, shortly.

Sabrina bit her lip. 'Are you sure?'

Chloe balled her fists, hunched her shoulders, and kept walking. 'Yes, I'm sure.'

Sabrina trotted beside her, trying to keep up. 'Why are you mad?' she panted.

Chloe felt she had been exceptionally patient that day. However, Sabrina's question tipped her over the edge she had so carefully balanced on for the last ten years. She stopped walking, the people behind her swerving suddenly to avoid colliding with her back. She stood up straight, her face blank, but her fingernails were digging viciously into her palms.

'Why am I mad?' she responded. 'Maybe it's because everywhere I look, there's some cheap, tacky Mother's Day paraphernalia, my best friend can only talk about what she's getting her mother for Mother's Day, and maybe because I don't have a mother,' she went on, her voice getting louder.

People stopped to stare, but Chloe ignored them.

'Not everyone has a perfect little life, not everyone has both their parents. Some people's mothers just walked out on them when they were kids. Some people have mothers who aren't fit to be mothers. Tell me, Sabrina, how am I supposed to be happy on a day that only reminds me of how much my mother didn't love me?' she shouted.

Chloe stood, red in the face and heaving for breath, as her eyes began to well. More people had stopped to watch, and were whispering behind their hands.

Sabrina gaped at her, her complexion ashen. 'I'm so sorry. I got so caught up that I - '

'Save it,' Chloe interrupted. 'I'm going home.'

She hitched her purse strap higher up on her shoulder and spun on her heel. She left Sabrina there, amidst a crowd of onlookers, without a backward glance.

Chloe walked the fifteen blocks back to her home, taking the time to try and bring her emotions under control.

Really, how insensitive can someone be? she thought. Best friend, indeed.

Her phone chimed almost continually, as Sabrina tried to apologise. But, Chloe didn't feel she was ready to deal with the added emotions, so she turned her phone off.

The doorman opened the hotel door wordlessly, a habit Chloe appreciated. Head held high, she walked inside, and toward the elevator, getting in when the doors slid open. She maintained the calm façade during the ride up, and as she walked down the hall to her room, nodding at a maid as she bustled by with a cart full of linens.

Chloe shut her bedroom door behind her with a decisive snap of the lock. It was only then she allowed her knees to wobble, her breath become rapid and shallow, and her tears to spill as she slumped against the door and slid down. She sat on the floor with her head in her hands, her knees pulled up to her chest, as she wailed.

Alone, she allowed herself to release the tension, anger, and misery that had built up. She cried, loud and long, as the anguish overcame her.

There was a tentative knock on her door, followed by someone calling her name. Chloe was dimly aware of them testing the doorknob, then walking away.

She stayed where she was, crying aloud, and feeling like a pressure were squeezing her lungs. She gulped in great, heaving sobs, hiccupping when the air caught in her attempts to calm down.

She hated crying. She curled her lip at the idea that crying was cathartic; it only ever made her feel worse. She was always still angry and depressed, and sometimes, those feelings were accompanied by a hollowness she couldn't fathom.

Chloe feared that emptiness. It was so dark and deep, so overwhelming, that she compared it to being at the bottom of a deep well. There was no way out, and most people would never even notice she was in there, no matter how loud she screamed. She dreaded the thought of people no longer seeing her, of letting her slide deeper and deeper until there was nothing left.

Chloe's wails eventually faded into helpless whimpers. She sniffled and wiped her eyes on her sleeves, heedless of the streaks her mascara left. Her eyes, perversely, kept leaking, no matter how much she wiped them.

'Stupid, stupid,' she mewled, digging her knuckles into her eyes.

Strong hands grabbed her wrists and pulled her hands down. 'Hey, be careful. You're going to hurt yourself,' a male voice murmured.

Chloe's head snapped up. 'Adrien, what're you dong here?' she demanded, as she wiped frantically at her face with her shoulder.

Adrien shrugged, releasing her wrists to rub the back of his head. 'Sabrina called me. She was worried when you didn't respond to her calls.'

Chloe sniffled. 'I meant, how did you get in here?'

'Oh,' he drawled, his eyes darting about. 'I saw Chat Noir on the way over. He just dropped me off on your balcony.'

Chloe's gaze sank to the floor. 'Oh.'

Adrien swivelled around until he was sitting close beside her, resting one arm around her shoulders. 'What happened?' he asked.

Unbidden, her eyes began to tear up again. She faced away from him, trying to discreetly wipe her eyes with her free hand. 'Nothing.'

Adrien gave her a gentle squeeze. 'Come on, Chlo. I've known you for too long. I can tell when you're upset.'

Chloe remained silent for a breath. Then, it all came out in a rush. 'It's all Sabrina's fault,' she cried. 'She kept going on and on about all the things she's going to do for her mum on Mother's Day. She made me go shopping with her, see all those stupid banners and Mother's Day specials, and everyone who was out, looking for things to give their mothers.

'She knows I don't have a mum anymore. She's my best friend. It just felt like she was rubbing her good fortune in my face,' Chloe trailed off, overcome by tears once more.

Adrien held her tight as she clung to him while she cried.

Eventually, her sobs quieted.

'It's not really Sabrina's fault, you know,' Adrien murmured into her hair.

'I know,' she hiccupped.

'She was just excited. People forget things when they're excited.'

Chloe huffed. 'I know.'

'So, you're going to apologise?'

She hesitated. 'I guess, but not today. It's too soon.'

'That's ok. It doesn't have to be today.'

'She still owes me an apology, too.'

'That's what she's been trying to do. You shut her out.'

Chloe sniffed. 'How do you do it?'

Adrien peered down at her, one eyebrow raised. 'Do what?'

She couldn't meet his eyes. 'Keep going, and still be nice to everyone. Your mum walked out on you too, right?'

He sighed, taking a moment to think about his answer. 'Mother just vanished one day. I don't know what happened. No one does. But, I don't think she would ever willingly leave me. There must be a reason.'

'Well, there's the difference between your mum and mine. Mum did willingly leave me. I wasn't good enough. I just wasn't enough,' she whispered.

'That's not true,' Adrien argued. 'Whatever the reason, you aren't why she left. This isn't on you.'

'Nor was I a reason to stay,' Chloe bit back, her temper rising. 'I can still remember the day she left. She just packed a suitcase and walked right out the door. I'll never have short hair,' she grumbled, mutinously.

'What?'

'Mum had short hair, a bob cut. I don't ever want to be anything like her.'

Adrien blew out a short laugh. 'I think you're safe, in that regard.'

Chloe leaned against him, but withdrew her arms to hug her legs instead. 'I don't know how to be better,' she confessed.

Adrien kept his arm around her shoulders. 'What do you mean?'

She shrugged. 'I don't have anyone to turn to, no one to ask. When Sabrina has troubles, she can always turn to her mother. So can Juleka, Alya, and even Marinette. But who do I have when I'm troubled? When I got my first period, I screamed until the butler busted down the door. I thought I was dying. Jean had to give me the puberty talk. That's messed up.'

Adrien stilled. 'I never knew.'

Chloe snorted. 'Why would you? I'm not going to talk to a boy about personal girl things.'

He rubbed her back. 'Ok, yeah. But, you know, you can find role models, and help, anywhere.'

She looked up at him, sceptically. 'Like who?' she challenged.

'Well, there's Madame Bustier. She's all bout being a positive influence, and a pillar of strength for those who need it.'

Chloe's eyes drifted away. 'I guess.'

'Also, if you gave her half a chance, Marinette and her family would be there for you, too.'

Chloe choked on air, then drew back to stare at him. 'Are you insane? There's no way I would ever stoop that low.'

Adrien held his hands up in surrender. 'Just a suggestion.'

'A stupid one,' she groused, leaning against him once more.

'Well, have you considered talking to a doctor, or a psychiatrist?'

'I'm not crazy,' Chloe retorted, defensively.

Adrien shook his head. 'None of the stigma, please. Lots of people see therapists for a variety of reasons. Some people just need better tools to deal with negative emotions, others might just want someone who understands to talk to. I think something like that would be a great benefit to you.'

Chloe turned away. 'As if some old man is going to understand how I feel.'

Adrien chuckled. 'Not all doctors are old men. Some are old women.'

She elbowed him in the ribs. 'You aren't funny.'

'I'm hilarious.'

Silence fell as Chloe thought. She was loathe to admit it, but he had a point. Perhaps it would be worth considering. Certainly, she wasn't getting anywhere on her own. People seemed to leave her the harder she tried to hold on to them.

Adrien shifted as his phone buzzed. He pulled it from his pocket to check the screen. 'Father wants me to come home. Will you be all right?'

Chloe stood up and brushed off the seat of her pants. 'Who do you think you're talking to? A moment of weakness won't keep me down for long.'

Adrien rose as well. 'I'm glad to hear it. Call me if you need anything.'

She smiled up at him. 'I will. Thank you, Adrien.'

They shared a tight embrace before Adrien turned, departing with a last wave over his shoulder.

Chloe sighed as the door closed behind him. She went into her bathroom and washed her face, examining her reflection.

So like her, she thought.

Chloe returned to the door and retrieved her purse, left on the floor during her collapse. She picked it up, carefully, and went to her bedside table. Sitting on the mattress, she pulled the drawer open and tenderly lifted out a framed photograph of her and her mother. She was only an infant, still tiny and pink, and barely visible through the swaddling cloth. But her mother's face was tender and serene as she gazed at the bundle. It was an expression one would expect from a new mother. That look spoke of unconditional love and support, a hope for the future, and a promise that only a mother could know.

Tears dripped onto the glass the longer Chloe stared. This picture captured everything she thought a mother ought to be. It was proof that her mother had loved her, once. Chloe hoped that her mother loved her still.

She then stood the frame up on top of the nightstand and turned to her purse. She withdrew a small white package, then carefully opened the top.

She draped the fine, gold chain of the necklace over a corner of the frame, the crystal heart pendant resting on the table, below her mother's breast.

'Happy Mother's Day, Maman. Come home soon.'



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