“What did he want?” She whispered as her eyes focused back on mine again.
She wanted to know everything and not just what he wanted but everything in general. That required me to get comfortable, because we’d be there for a long time. After I flung my shoes off, I stripped down to my boxer briefs and slid underneath the comforter by her. She studied me with a wary expression. I smirked at her with a crooked grin and shook my head. So that I could fully face her, I twisted my body and raised a brow.
“What are you doing?” I studied Marcus as he sat half naked in front of me.
“I’m making myself comfortable so we can talk.” He raised an eyebrow mockingly as if his motives were clearly obvious. I let out a sigh. I knew he promised that he’d be honest from here on out, but I knew differently. With what he was involved in, there was no way he could be one-hundred-percent honest with me. But I promised him a second chance, and our relationship deserved that more than anything. An outsider would have advised me to run like a bat out of hell, but sometimes you just had to crawl through the dark before you could see the light.
“Okay, let’s talk.”
Clearing his throat, he whispered, “Well, where do you want me to start?”
“What do you mean?” I thought it was clear that he was supposed to tell me what Lou wanted.
“You said you wanted to know everything, right? Or were you more curious about today’s event? Either way, I’m not backing down. I’ll tell you anything you want to know.”
Shocked by that, I tried to gather my thoughts. I wanted to know everything, but I didn’t want to force it out of him either. “I’m fine with wherever you want to start.”
Nodding his head, he bit down on his lip and flopped back onto the mattress. Before he began, he exhaled deeply and then shoved a hand through his dark brown hair. “Have I ever told you that my father’s death was pronounced a suicide?”
Oh my God. I moved over to lie beside him. Placing one hand on his chest, I held my head up with the other. Watching him carefully, I made sure not to distract him. He was lost in thought. If a glare could drill holes, he’d be drilling one into the ceiling at that moment. Leaning on my elbow, I patiently waited for him to go on.
“It’s not something I love to talk about. I looked up to him in every way.” He laughed once to himself as if that statement were a ridiculous one to make and then continued. “I even wanted to be just like him at one point in my life. It’s funny how things turn out. How you end up getting what you want, though after you lived it, you’d give anything to have it taken away.” Marcus turned his head toward me. I saw nothing but sadness deep within his dark chocolate eyes.
“Jimmie found him. He walked into my father’s office one afternoon and found him slumped over his desk.” He shook his head once and slowly wet his lips. “There was a gun in his hand.” My heart swelled with pain for him, for them. I could only imagine what it must’ve felt like walking into something like that.
As I reached out and grabbed his face in a way to comfort him somehow, I bit down on my trembling lip. I didn’t stop him. This was something he obviously had never spoken with anyone before, so I allowed him to go as far as he could. “It was hard for me to believe that a man so powerful, who had everything—a family that loved him, an entire empire with many admirers who bowed at his feet, and all the money that any man could only dream of—would want to give that all up.
“It wasn’t until I grew the fuck up that I realized that even the most powerful man could only take so much. Maybe having everything was just too much to handle?” He looked at me for validation when he asked the question. “All the power, the money—all that comes with responsibility—and responsibility usually ends with a price.”
He tilted his head and focused back on the ceiling. “When he died, I was only fifteen and confused by it all. I was fuckin’ pissed off at him. On the day of his funeral, when everyone left, I was standing there alone . . .” Marcus took another unsteady breath. Whatever he was trying to say was difficult for him.
“Hey, we don’t have to talk about this right now.”
Lightly shaking his head, he muttered, “No, I want to.” He glanced over at me again, and I saw the hurt in his eyes before he shut them again, remembering it all. “I stared at the pile of dirt where my father was buried six-feet under, and my thoughts were running wild with all the memories, especially the advice he had given me.
“One saying in particular was: ‘You know, son, in life you’re going to have some good days and some crappy ones. Maybe more crappy ones than good ones, but whatever you do, don’t you ever give up. Make sure to push yourself the farthest you can go. If you want something bad enough, you have to fight for it. If you’re not happy with your life, you and only you have to do something to change it.” Marcus repeated his father’s words mockingly and then his face grew serious. “The more I thought of that saying, the angrier I grew with him. I thought he didn’t care for us enough, because he wouldn’t have given up and killed himself after having a few crappy fuckin’ days.”
“Oh, Marcus, your father loved you. You have so many wonderful memories of him. Don’t allow—”
Snapping his head toward me, his brows bunched together. “Mia, I know that, but what’s fucked up is that I spent almost thirteen years hating my father because I thought he just gave up. I called him a coward at his grave site, for God’s sake. For years, I thought he had killed himself. Later, I found out that the man whom I considered to be like a second father, the man that I looked up to at one point in my life, and the man that took me under his wing and taught me all I needed to know, was the same exact man who murdered my father.”
Breathlessly, I blurted, “Why did he do it?”
“I don’t know. Maybe he wanted it all. Now he has it, I guess.”
We lay in silence for what seemed like a very long time. I watched him as he stared up at the ceiling. Marcus was not a man who expressed his feelings very well, so I was grateful that he let me in. Even if he hadn’t told me everything in one shot, I was fine with getting bits and pieces at a time. I knew how it felt to have so many emotions bottled up, trying to stay strong for yourself, but it eventually took over your sanity.
“Marcus, thank you for opening up to me; it really means a lot.”