Startled by my quick change in demeanor, he asked, “What?”
“So, you’re still seeing Stephanie.” My tone was hoarse, holding back the tears.
His expression was puzzled. “What? No! Why would you even think that?”
Lifting up the phone, facing the screen to him, my tears fought against my will and escaped down my face. “Really, Marcus? Because if a woman sends a guy a half-naked picture of herself, it tells me that they are clearly FUCKING!” I threw the phone at him. He lifted his hands to block his face. The phone slammed against his forearms and fell to the ground. Damn it, I missed!
He reached over and grabbed the phone. When he saw the image on the screen, his face turned red with rage, and his eyes almost burst out of their sockets. Looking up at me, he slowly took a few steps forward, holding his hands up. “Babe, listen to me. I am not seeing Stephanie. I have no idea why she sent this to me. I swear.” His expression was still angry, but his tone was soothing. He was trying to calm me down.
Growing agitated by that notion, I yelled, “Okay, call her then!” Crossing my arms, I waited for his reply.
“Okay, I’ll call her right now.” He dabbed through his phone. I’m calling his bluff: he’s not calling her. After he touched another button, a ringing tone sounded in the room. He placed the call on speaker. Good. He looked at me, biting his lip, but I didn’t stop him. I tapped my foot against the floor, waiting impatiently. I wanted to hear what she had to say.
“Hey.” She picked up! Not only did she pick up, she sounded seductive and happy as if she were waiting for his response. I hate her. I’ve never hated anyone in my entire life, until now.
“Why the fuck are you sending pictures like that to my phone, Stephanie!” Marcus yelled, clearly pissed. Good.
“I-I …” Shocked by his outburst, she grew silent.
“Huh?” he asked annoyed.
“I’ve missed you,” she whispered.
He sighed. “Stephanie, you know that the two of us were never serious. I’m with Mia now. I love her. You can’t do that again, do you hear me?” He lowered his tone but remained firm.
“Y-you love her?” Stephanie’s voice broke. Then she whimpered over the phone. I rolled my eyes. Ugh, I don’t even feel sorry for her. Who sends a naked picture of herself to a man who was in a relationship? To man that she knew was in a relationship! She knows how happy we are; she sees us in the office. Why would she try to break that up?
“Yes, I do. Look I think it would be best to transfer you to a different department.”
“I think that’s best,” she mumbled. Then I heard a long beeping tone. She hung up.
Marcus tossed his phone on the bed. Looking up at me, he waited for me to say something. I was so pissed off I couldn’t say anything. Instead, turning on the heels of my foot, I stomped in the bathroom. Stripping my clothes off, I turned the shower on and threw myself in.
I didn’t care to wait for the temperature to warm. I didn’t care that the freezing cold water stung against my skin when I entered the shower. I didn’t care that my lips trembled, and I surely didn’t care that this was the third shower I’d taken today. Leaning my head back, I allowed the water to massage my aching head. It was literally pounding. There was too much to handle these past few days. It was hard to keep up!
Marcus stepped in and wrapped his arms around me. Annoyed by this I rolled my eyes. I needed privacy for ten damn minutes! He couldn’t leave me the hell alone? I wanted to scream from the top of my lungs. I relived every emotional moment I’d felt: our first fight, his saying he loves me, my not being sure of my feelings, the dream of my brother, my waking up and finally telling him I love him, his leaving last night and coming home a drunken mess, and just now the thought that he may have … had been with Stephanie after I confessed my love to him.
All of it, every bit of emotion erupted in the only way I knew how. I cried, and I don’t mean just tears. It was the sobbing, can’t breathe, choking-back-my-own-tears cry. It was embarrassing and pathetic, but I didn’t care. He turned me around, placing his hand on the back of my head, pulling me to his chest. As much as I wanted him to leave me alone, I wanted him to stay and hold me. These conflicted feelings were so stressing. How could you love someone when he was the reason for the mixed feelings?
“What’s wrong, Mia? Talk to me,” he whispered. Leaning my head back, I looked up at him.
“It’s just so confusing.” I confessed.
Wiping a strand of soaked hair behind my ear, he pressed his lips together before asking, “What is?”
“You, me … everything ... in the last two weeks, we’ve had so many wonderful moments, and then we had really bad ones too. You’re hot one minute, and then you’re cold the next. Sometimes I look at you…and you seem so lost. I want to ask you what’s wrong, but I know you’ll just hold back. I know there’s another side to you that you refuse to tell me about.”
Not saying a word, he just looked at me, waiting for me to go on, or maybe he was thinking about what I was saying. I decided to continue anyway. “Then last night, the way you were completely drunk. Do you do that often?” I tilted my head, pleading with him with my eyes to tell me something. He looked down. I didn’t say anything, not wanting to disturb his thoughts. He seemed to be contemplating whether to confess. When he finally fixed his gaze back to me, he opened his mouth then closed it again. “Marcus please, I won’t be able to help you, unless you tell me something. If you love me, you have to let me in.”
Nodding, he brought me down with him. We were both seated in the tub facing each other. The now-warm water was hitting the space between us. Looking up at the shower head, he let out a deep breath. Lowering his head, he focused on his legs. He continued to grip and un-grip the calves of his muscles, trying to focus on something other than me. I was going to say something, but he began to speak.
“I do drink a lot,” he blew out another breath, and still not looking up, he continued, “only, after a job. It’s only once a week, mostly like last night, but if it’s a simple job, then I’m good. When it involves…when I have to hurt someone, it fucking fucks with my head.”
Mouthing a small thank you prayer, I was happy he was finally talking to me about this. I tried to push my luck. “What do you mean job?” I asked.
His knee began to slowly bounce. It was a nervous gesture I hadn’t noticed before. “I work for Lou Sorrento. You know who that is?” he asked, finally meeting my eyes.