Page 27 of Marked With Love

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“None of this makes sense,” Alfred mutters.

Isn’t that the damn truth.



“You’re just in time.Do you enjoy scary movies?” Mrs. H pats the cushion beside her. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Morgan making an x with her arms. She doesn’t want me to settle in. Ignoring her, I take my place beside Violette.

“I love scary movies. They’re my favorite.”

“Are you saying that because you’re sucking up or because it’s true?” The grand dame arches an eyebrow toward the sky.

“I’m saying it because I’m sucking up. To be honest, I don’t really watch movies and don’t really have a preference, which is good because if scary movies are this home’s favorite, they can be mine, too.”

“What if I said that I hate scary movies but Morgan loves them?”

“Seems like a trap. You and Morgan obviously watch a lot of television together or movies or whatever, and so I suspect your tastes are aligned, so this is like a trick question. Sort of like the one where if both of you were drowning whom would I save first, and the answer is I wouldn’t have to choose because I’m fit enough to save you both at the same time. If I didn’t save you both, I might as well drown in the ocean with you because if one of you passed, the other would be distraught, and my life wouldn’t be worth shit then.”

Mrs. H purses her lips and nods slowly. “That was a lot of words to not answer my question, but I’ll let it go because it was a good response.”

Point for me.

“Are you going to hover behind the sofa the whole time or are you gonna join us up here?” I direct over my shoulder to Morgan.

“Why do you have a black eye? And what’s in the box?”

“The box is for you.” I pat the top of it. “I hadn’t seen you for a few hours. It’s abeen thinking about youbox.”

“In a horror movie, somebody’s body part would be in there.”

“That’s just my heart.”

Mrs. H claps in delight. At the door, Alfred snorts. I might not win him over, but Mrs. H is definitely coming around.

“She ran. You chased. I like it.” Mrs. H grins.

“I’m not a runner,” shouts Morgan.

“This won’t be the last time she runs,” Mrs. H warns me, ignoring Morgan’s outburst. “You have to stick with it. Persistence is not a quality common in your generation.”

“I'm in my early twenties. What generation are we talking about?”

“Every generation after mine. You all lack gumption.”

Alfred sniffs loudly.

“Not you, Alfred. You’re exempted. Let’s leave these two children alone. I suspect they have some things to talk about.” Mrs. H gets to her feet.

After Mrs. H drags Alfred out of the room, awkward silence hangs in the air.

“Are you gonna come over and take a look at what’s in the box? I fought Matty for it.”

She moves around the end of the sofa and stops about six feet away. “Are you two even friends? Every time I see you, you’ve gotten into some kind of fistfight with him.”

“That’s how you know we’re good friends. Because we can fight and make up and fight again and make up.”

“Have you considered that the relationship you really want is with Matty and not with me?”

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