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Mark P.O.V

It had been years since Mark had attended a funeral. Something he couldn't help but be grateful for.

Originally he wasn't sure what he should be wearing to such a thing; his mind full of scenes from the TV screen that painted the picture of black and white suits, gushing rain and a solemn line of loved ones weeping as the deceased was lowered into the ground. Jack had promised him that formal attire wasn't necessary but that then left the question of, what the fuck did he wear then?

Mark had spent the last 15 minutes sorting through his wardrobe, searching for something reasonable to wear to such a sombre event, but he found himself hard pushed to find anything that didn't have at least one questionable stain splattered down the fabric. It seemed incredibly selfish to be worried about how he'd look at a funeral, after all, it wasn't like anyone would be looking at him; yet, here he was.

He'd arrived home at around 6 in the evening yesterday. Apparently Jack's uncle was quite the 'funny man' or at least that's what Mark's father laughed about during the entire drive; his cheeks painted a rosy red and his words slightly slurred. His wife sat beside him in deathly silence, lips pressed into a thin line of disapproval as she gripped the steering wheel tightly.

Carrie and Mark had shared a look of understanding in the back seat as they listened to their father's drunken rambling. Had it been any other circumstance, Mark might've laughed at how giddy his father was whilst drunk. Instead all he could think of was just how close his family was to the tipping point, if his father, a man who despised alcohol, was actually drinking it.

It was strange how he never noticed it before, but in that car he could practically smell the tension in the rope that held his family together. It was snapping, and they all knew it; the question was more when it would give way. Mark had no idea how he'd never realised how long Carrie had been staying out nowadays, how his parents never seemed to speak to each other like they used to and he wondered how long it had been since they had spoken a word to him that wasn't a caution, or a sharp word. Still, it's kind of funny the things you miss when you're busy fighting your own losing battle.

Mark sighed, finally deciding on a pair of navy jeans and the cleanest black shirt he owned, tugging them on quickly. His dad, even though he was more than a little hung over, promised to drive him to the church today. Ellen had immediately walked out of the kitchen without breathing a word about the agreement, something so uncharacteristic it made Mark turn to his father in confusion.

His dad had answered his son without any question needed. "She's annoyed with me and honestly I don't blame her. This'll all be over soon though; everything will get back to normal."

Mark's expression of confusion didn't change. "What did you do?"

Allan had taken a sip of his water before answering, making sure to keep his voice quiet. "Well, when Damien offered me a drink, I took it. And I took another, and another. Bit stupid of me but it felt good y'know? To lighten up a little." He looked solemnly down at the glass clasped tightly in his hands.

"But uh, that just got under her skin. Safe to say the reason I'm getting the silent treatment is because I told Damien I thought Jack was a good guy underneath it all, and that he didn't deserve what happened. As you'd expect, I don't think she appreciated the sentiment."

Mark snorted, the corner of his mouth tugging up into the ghost of a grin. "Yeah, I can see why that would piss her off."

The dark haired boy couldn't help but be surprised when his dad was smiling too. This was a nice change; normally he'd get a half-hearted scolding for disrespecting his mother. His father chuckled quietly. "You wanna hear something strange?" Mark shrugged, nodding his head a little.

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