Up ‘til now, my eyes have been fixed squarely on those globes dancing beneath her silk red blouse. Mia rambles sometimes and I’m not here for it. But another woman? Now, there’s a fun topic. Pausing to pick my jaw up off the floor, I look at her for what feels like an hour.
“Is that really what you think?” I mutter. She just stares at me, not saying a word. So, she’s serious. Blowing out the breath I was holding, I rake my hands through my hair and lean back into the seat.
“I’m a couple hours late for a night out that I planned, and your first thought is that I’m running around with some random bitch.”
“It wasn’t my first thought,” she says. “But after three hours? Definitely.”
“Come here,” I say, reaching for her hand. She pulls away, grabbing the strap on her purse as she moves away from the table.
“Don’t turn away from me, woman.”
My voice startles her. I know, because she actually stopped this time. I see the smoke puffing through her ears, but like me, she doesn’t like to make too much of a scene. Sliding back onto the seat, she perches on the edge, clutching her bag, ready to run again. Her knuckles are white.
“I wasn’t out with anyone,” I say. “Let’s talk about this later. We’ll go home now, rest, and revisit when we’re in a better state of mind. We can try dinner again another day. ”
“Whatever you say, mister,” she shrugs, glancing at her watch. I get up from the table and go around to her side. “Come,” I urge, weaving my arm around her waist. Her body tenses, but she gets up, slowly. I want to make things up to her but have no idea how. I sweep her off her feet. She’s not very tall but she’s not light either. The girl has a serious ass on her. I love the way her hips swing like a pendulum when she bounces down a hallway in her high heels.
“Marcus, put me down,” she whispers, fighting to break loose from my grasp. I swear she’s half earthworm, the way she wriggles about. “Hush,” I say, kissing her on the forehead before I take off through the main doors. One was propped open, so that made my exit a whole lot easier. With my car just a few more steps away, I savour the silence. She won’t be so quiet when we get in. Setting her down gently, I open the door so she can get in.
I know Marc expects me to start talking, but he’s in for a real treat today. For once in my sad life, I have nothing to say. I know damn well that he hasn’t been out with no other woman. He’s too obsessed with me to even notice that other females exist. Pathetic.
Leaning against the glass, I let my mind drift to other things. I feel him watching me from the corner of my eye, but I don’t care right now. My head throbs. Things haven’t been peachy for years, but how do you tell a man that you’re tired of him? Marcus is the only guy I’ve ever dated, and frankly, I’d be lying if I told you that I dated him purely out of love. Not sure if I even love him at all.
Back then, it was easier to stay at the top of the class if I had next to no competition. Marcus was the only one who could actually outshine me, so I had to distract him, somehow. So much work, though. I was almost glad when his mother left. That made it easier for me to maintain my place while he tried to figure out the hell he had for a life.
But, then he bounced back, and …here we are. I shift in my seat, trying to feel more comfortable. The leather seat is normally soft, but today it feels like it’s scraping against my skin. The drive home feels so much longer this time, too. Guess I never realized how much Marc and I actually talk before now. Our conversations do make time seem to fly by. I guess I should feel guilty about riding him like this, but the truth is, I don’t feel anything. I haven’t felt anything in a long time. I just go through the motions so things stay the way I want them to.
Even that isn’t working so well. Just looking at him makes me so angry sometimes. I never had a chance to date anyone else. Could that be it? Maybe I’d feel something with another guy. I don’t want to feel this blank, but I just don’t have that gushy, warm feeling everyone says I’m supposed to have for the man I claim to be in love with. Don’t think I have ever had it. For anyone. When I was little, my mom used to be so angry that I didn’t ever tell her that I loved her, or said all the cute little things that my sister would. What could I do, though? I just didn’t feel an urge to say those things. I didn’t know why she cried when she left papa. I couldn’t understand why she seemed to need every single one of the string of men she tracked through our lives after that. I didn’t need anyone like that. Why did she? It never made sense to me, but I got tired of being treated like an odd duck, so over time, I watched, listened, and learned how to act like everyone around me.
Things got better. People started to like me. A lot.
I could get used to that.
Seems that Marcus loves it the most. He wouldn’t dream of leaving me. Not for anyone. Not for a moment. If only he knew how I felt, though. If he knew how bland my world really is inside my head, watching myself act out all the things I’ve learned, like a skilled clown.
Pretty sure he’d catch the first train outta this place, if he knew.
Opening my eyes, I see the weathered sign belonging to the rundown complex we call home. As the car rolls to a stop, I tuck my purse under my arm and reach for the door handle. Marc is already there. Rolling my eyes, I drop my hands in my lap and let him open the door.
“After you, little lady.”
I pull my keys from my purse and we both walk to the door. There are no elevators, just a long, winding flight of stairs. We begin the tedious journey up the six flights of stairs leading to our door. Stumbling into the house, our legs burn from the climb. Four years of these and it hasn’t gotten any easier. Scraping yesterday’s clothes off the bed, Marcus sits down, patting the space beside him for me come and sit.
He treats me well, I’ll give him that. I know he’s worried though. Whenever this man breaks out all kinds of chivalry, he thinks he’s about to lose me.
Of course, I’d know. I’m no stranger to that particular game.