I didn't hear from Mark for a week. I managed the few easy meals he had shown me how to make at the house, and I remembered how to lock up when I left. I had gone over to the campus a couple of times to check it out in person, and it was even better than I thought it would be. It felt so friendly and the parks that dotted the campus were relaxing.
It was a bit of a shock when the doorbell to the condo rang and I opened it to see Mark standing there with some suitcases. He looked upset. No, that was too tame. He looked devastated. I didn't say a word, just opened the door and pulled his suitcases inside. I took them down the hall and put them in the master bedroom.
"Do you mind if I stay here too?" He mumbled. I turned to him. He was rubbing his face tiredly.
"This is your home first. I didn't take your bedroom, truly I prefer to stay in the guest room. You look kind of tired. Why don't you take a nap?" I suggested. He didn't even protest when I pushed him onto the bed. I helped him take off his shoes and laid a blanket over him when he refused to get under the covers.
"Thanks Greg." His morose voice came to me as I was leaving the room. The curtains made the room dark, and I shut the door behind me softly. I hoped he would get some sleep. He looked exhausted and I wondered what she had done this time. I wasn't stupid. This had to be her fault. I tried to be quiet as I did a little cleaning around the place and fixed a small meal.
He emerged right when I was draining the spaghetti noodles and sat at the bar counter watching me listlessly. I wanted to ask him what had happened but I figured he would tell me when he was ready. I got out two plates and sets of utensils to put on the bar. Mark set out napkins and asked me what I wanted to drink.
"Milk please. I am sorry, I don't have much right now." I blushed a little thinking about the nearly empty fridge. I hadn't yet been out grocery shopping and I was running low on a few things. He just nodded and poured two glasses to set on the bar. I dished out a fair serving for both of us. Then I grabbed the parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.
He shook a little on his dish and poked at it before twirling a bite. He was eating so slowly it was making me a little crazy inside. I was trying not to glance over and perve out on the sad man as he licked his fork. He sighed every few bites too. I wanted to pull him off the stool and kiss him senseless to make him stop. My conclusion? I was a terrible person.
"She brought a man home. Into our house. Right on our bed." He muttered. I choked on the bite I was trying to swallow from trying to gasp at the same time. My coughing fit actually made him grin as he slapped my back and watched me blink back tears in my eyes.
"She did what!? Good god. She has never done that before." I managed to gasp out as I wiped the tears away. My chest hurt from how much pain she had caused him as much as from choking on my food. I rubbed it with a disgusted look on my face.
"I don't know whether I should feel insulted or flattered by that." His face was twisted into an unreadable look. I wanted to go punch my mother in the throat at the moment. Goddammit she was so fucking stupid. I could tell he wanted to say more but was hesitating.
"Spill it. What happened?" I coaxed him, forgetting the last of my food in favour of being there for Mark. He probably needed to just say it out loud to make it real for him. Plus, I was damn curious.
"I had a meeting in town. Normally they run late, but this time we actually got out ahead of schedule. I was in such a great mood when I headed home. Everyone was finished their part of the project so far and I was so distracted that it didn't even occur to me that Kelly's car shouldn't have been home. I wanted to change out of my suit and burst in on them right in the middle of it." He told me.
"Holy. It's a wonder you didn't murder them both. I might have." I hissed. That woman really did have no shame. I mean, who does that?
"Honestly? I thought about it. Just for a second. Fortunately, I managed to just leave the room. I went to my office and locked myself in until I heard her car leave. Then I went upstairs and packed. William helped me. I think he knew I was just... done." He rejoined. I bit my lip and nodded sympathetically. Then I snapped my fingers.
"I got it. I know exactly what you need." I smirked. He looked at me like I was crazy but I ran out of the room and started up the television. Then I put in a video game I knew would be the perfect distraction. I heard his chuckle as he watched the opening and I handed him a controller. "Let's go old man."
"You are going down. You know that right? I am a pro at this one." He sat down next to me on his couch and we chose our characters. He picked Algol and I chose Raphael.
"Watched over by the almighty ones, they unleash their fury." The announcer called out. Then we did our best to beat the crap out of each other. He was right. Mark was an absolute pro at this. His combinations were flawless. He took three out of five matches right away for a perfect round. The best part? I caught him smiling a few times despite everything.
YOU ARE READING
My mother never could keep to one man. It wasn't like I went out of my way to fall in love. She was just blind, and he was just... perfect. It was impossible not to fall in love with my stepfather. The real question was... Did he love me?