Ignoring her, I continued to question her. “Who was that on the phone?”
“No one. Are you hungry? I can make you something to eat.”
“Are you going to pretend I didn’t just walk in on your conversation?” She pressed her lips together and then headed toward the fridge.
“I can warm you up some leftovers or make you a sandwich. Which do you prefer?” She pulled out containers from the fridge. “I hope you don’t mind if I sleep over. The guests left a couple of hours ago, and I was straightening things up so you wouldn’t wake up to a mess.”
“God damn it, Mom.” I spat out frustrated.
She twirled around and gave me a cold stare. “You watch your mouth, Marcus. I’m still your mother.” She continued to stare at me until her expression softened. Letting out a heavy sigh, she leaned against the door of the fridge. “That conversation has nothing to do with you. I would appreciate it if you can respect my privacy.”
“Interesting you say it has nothing to do with me, but whatever that conversation was about, it was about something you didn’t want either Jimmie or me to find out. Why is that?”
Angry, her breathing became heavier. “Drop it, Marcus. End of discussion.”
I gave a curt nod and turned to leave, not remembering the reason I entered the kitchen in the first place. Before exiting the door, I turned around and said, “I’ll drop it for now, but I will find out what that conversation was about.”
Her nostrils flared as she breathed out. I turned to head back upstairs.
As I sat in class, my mind drifted. It’d been a few days since Marcus’s surprise party, and since then, he’d been distant. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I thought we had shared a special moment. The next morning after the party, I woke to a note that said he had to run off. That was three days ago, and since then, we hadn’t seen each other. He’d sent me a quick reply to my text or was short over the phone. I couldn’t help but think I was responsible for whatever was troubling him. Although it kept pricking my mind, I pushed it aside and focused on the professor’s lecture in my Ethics class.
As the class ended, I packed my laptop and textbook. I took a quick glance at my phone, but there was still nothing from Marcus. Sighing, I dialed my mother’s number and put the phone to my ear as I exited the room. “Hello.” She answered on the second ring.
“Hi, Sara. Are we still meeting up for coffee?” I exited the building and walked down the cobblestone pavement.
“Yes, I should be at the cafe shop in about ten minutes.”
“See you soon.”
As I entered the shop, I spotted an empty table by the far right corner. I made my way there and settled in by placing my laptop bag and textbook aside. Marcus tugged at my thoughts again, and I couldn’t help but reach for my phone. Screw the waiting around; if he didn’t call me, I’d call him. I needed to hear his voice, so I dialed his number.
“Marcus DeLuca. Leave a message.” The greeting for his voicemail answered after the second ring. He ignored the call. My heart sank a little at that. What could have been so important that he cut my call short? Not wanting to think the worst, I assumed he must’ve been on a job and left it at that.
A beep after his greeting sounded, and I left a message, “Hi, baby, I was just calling to check up on you. I hope you’re doing okay. I’m having coffee with my mother in a bit.” Sighing, I finished off saying, “I miss and love you. Call me tonight. Bye.” I tucked my phone in my pocket at the same moment my mother approached.
“Hello, honey.” She reached in for a hug. With my arms wrapped around her, I felt a sense of comfort. I always did when she was near. Sara untangled herself from our embrace and sat in the chair across from me, smiling. “Let’s grab our lattes and then catch up.” I nodded and we both stood and headed toward the counter.
After we ordered, we sat back in our chairs. “So how was Marcus’s surprise party? I’m sorry I couldn’t make it. I was needed at the office.” She shook her head, annoyed, as she took a bite of a blueberry muffin.
“It was fine. I’m sorry you weren’t there, but I understand. It was fun. He enjoyed himself and he was surprised. It was a good night.”
“Oh, I’m happy to hear that.” Brushing a strand of hair behind her ear, she leaned back in her chair as her expression softened. “What’s bothering you?” I looked up from my cup of latte with wide eyes. “Come on, Mia. Spill the beans. I think I know you well enough by now to realize when something is on your mind.”
Damn it. Was I always that predictable? She was right. I had something on my mind and I couldn’t concentrate. I let out a deep breath and caved in, telling her everything that I was feeling. I told her about how strange Marcus had been acting the past few days and about the message I had just left him. “I don’t know what’s going on with him. It’s frustrating.”
Her expression filled with compassion, and I was grateful she didn’t think I was an over-possessive girlfriend. “Isn’t this week the anniversary of his father’s death?” I nodded in response. “Well, maybe this is his way of coping with it.”
“Maybe. I just wish he let me in on things like that. I want to be there for him.”
“And you will. He’ll come to you when he’s ready, honey. Men don’t like to be pressured into anything, especially when it comes to dealing with their feelings. He’ll come to you when he’s ready.
She was right. I decided I should leave it alone. “You’re right, thank you.”
“No problem, honey.” She reached for my hand and rubbed it as a way to comfort me. “It’ll be fine. Hey, I’m going this weekend to visit my parents in Philly. You should come. Megan and Jeremy are tagging along. And your grandparents are dying to see you.”
Philadelphia? My grandparents? Was I really ready for that?
“I’m not sure. Can I get back to you on that?”
“Of course, we’re driving there. It was Megan’s idea. She thought a five-hour road trip would be fun. Oh, that girl . . .” She rolled her eyes. “I’m not sure what to do with her sometimes.” I laughed at that comment. Megan could be a bit over the top.
We finished our lattes, leaned in for a hug, and said our good-byes. She insisted on driving me home, but I wanted to walk to clear my head a bit.