Too Bad

"who knows."

The rest of their dinner went as well as it possibly could. Neither of them had picked up their knives to hold it against the others throat but Marjorie considered it for longer than a second when Richard disapprovingly eyed her fork digging into her food.

“With the way you eat, people probably think I starve you at home,” he snickered. She narrowed her eyes at him as she took an aggressive bite of the pork tenderloin.

When their check arrived, Richard dug into his pocket. The only thing he had in his hand when he pulled it out was air.

“Looks like I forgot my wallet,” he said with a shrug, giving his best attempt at a sheepish smile. He was too obviously a wolf to make it look authentic. He folded his hands politely on the table and waited for any inkling of a response from her. She shook her head and rifled through her purse, reluctantly pulling out her own wallet. Marjorie wasn’t willing to do dishes for the restaurant to repay their debt while Richard would lean against the counter next to her. She could hear him now, pointing to one of the fine china plates;

“You missed a spot.”

The small Toyota came to a stop on the curb right outside of their dainty home around ten thirty that night. It had started raining on their way, and the lampposts made their quaint neighborhood streets glitter as if it were part of a more spectacular realm.

Marjorie unclicked her seatbelt and motioned to open the car door when she realized she still heard the engine running. She turned her head towards Richard, who was gripping the steering wheel, staring out at the road of reflected stars from hooded eyes. He could have been a fairy, for how gentle he looked when his mouth was closed. The soft slopes of his face, his permanently tired eyes those same stars reflected themselves in. Marjorie was jealous; she’d rather see herself there.

“Aren’t you coming inside?” She asked him softly. She had lost her energy. Any resentment that had bubbled up over the day had dissipated. She only wanted to crawl into bed, preferably with him but knowing that was unlikely to happen, especially after what was probably perceived by him to be rejection.

Was he upset? Not if he was still himself. Itching to make her feel that same rejection? Without a doubt.

After sparing her a glance, eyes nearly neon under the streetlights, the only thing he said was, “No.” There wasn’t a tone of emotion in his voice. She wanted to flinch away from it; the type of cold so icy that it burns. Instead, her entire body faced Richard, wanting to embrace him.

“Why?” She pushed on.

“Giving you time to think.”

There it was. The imminent punishment she knew would be coming, because he could never suffer from his hurt ego. That was always her burden, to share his pain. And she had signed up for it – told him far too many times she wanted to take away the hurt, to do whatever she could for him, and this was simply what he wanted her to do.

“Where will you go?”

“Who knows.”

He wanted her to suffer.

Marjorie nearly stumbled out of the car and up their walkway, feeling as though she had just gotten hit by a bus. That seemed to be how she often felt, coming away from exchanges with Rich. This one just happened to be particularly bad.

She tightly grasped onto a stake from their white picket fence as she approached it, in need of sturdiness. Behind her, the engine revved and Richard took off. Marjorie whipped her head around to watch the back of his car disappear into the misty distance. Her palm pressed harder against the wooden fence, and she savored the way the edge of it dug into her skin. It felt like the day they went for a walk together and by chance, came across this small one bedroom, one-bathroom home. It was big enough for someone who wanted to be alone forever.

When Marjorie stopped to look at the for-sale sign and write down the owner’s phone number, Richard had kicked at the base of the fence with a dull expression on his face.

“Picket fences are so ugly,” he said begrudgingly. Marjorie thought the place was cute, though, with its eggshell blue shudders and white exterior.

“They remind me of home,” she commented, her forehead wrinkling in annoyance at the steady tap-tap-tap of him swinging his foot at the fence. Finally, it stopped, and they both looked over at each other. The sky had been as blue as those shudders that day, dead in the middle of summer. Richard did his signature eye roll reserved for when she said something that he thought was stupid.

“Wow, real sentimental, Marj.” He quipped. She went on ahead of him, keeping a brisk pace, but he was directly behind her with just a few steps. He brushed his chest and shoulder over her back, passing her with ease and said, “Fitting for someone who’s only worth a few cents. Ha, get it?”

He turned around, walking backwards so he could watch her face scowl at him. He grinned like it was nothing more than a cheesy joke. She somehow knew that it wasn’t.

In a complete daze she had opened the front door, slammed it behind her and fell back against it. Marjorie hung her head, staring thoughtlessly at the scratched wooden floors. Why is it, that this was how she reacted? So embarrassingly, like an overly dramatic teenager in response to him just going out somewhere – while he could sit there and smile in her face after having his proposal halfway rejected? How did he do it?

She lifted her head and ran a hand through her hair, trying to push it away from her face along with her racing thoughts. She knew the answer to that – he had stopped caring. Then it was easy to not be affected by anything she could ever do to him.

Her arms fell to her sides and she held her hands against the door, rubbing her fingertips over the surface of it. The memory came back to her of the day they moved in.

Marjorie had dropped her first haul of boxes in the entry way and a contented noise slipped out from her lips. She spread her arms out and closed her eyes, just absorbing her new environment – their new home.

Richard silently walked in, arms empty of boxes, but he stopped in his tracks to leer at her. She was blissfully unaware of his presence right next to her, of how his shadow covered hers completely; as if she was nonexistent by his side. He wanted to forcefully push her arms back down, to wipe any remnant of pure joy off her face.

Richard clicked his tongue loudly to shake her back to reality, and he saw a shiver visibly race down her back as her eyes snapped open. She looked up at him with wide, expectant eyes but her smile didn’t budge.

“So, this is it, huh? Too late for me to back out now?” He asked, stuffing his hands into his front pockets and glancing everywhere around the room disdainfully; everywhere but in Marjorie’s direction. She just lowered her head. He scoped her out of the corner of his eyes. The corners of her mouth turned down. He dug his fingernails into his palms and bit his lip to keep himself from beaming ear to ear.

The world was spinning, and Marjorie was wondering why she hadn’t of taken away his key and locked him out that very day. He made it obvious he didn’t want to be there with her. She made it obvious he was hurting her. Apparently neither one of them cared very much about what the others needs were.

Marjorie shed her clothes and let them fall onto the floor before crawling onto their bed. Her body collapsed and she rolled onto her back, wanting to float away into the ceiling. She hugged herself, feeling the lace of the lingerie she wore and picked at a loose, lavender thread. When she bought these, she had been thinking about him.

“Rich,” she had purred, half stepping out of the bathroom door, only exposing one side of her body to the bedroom view. Richard was sat at the computer desk – headphones in, back towards her, working tirelessly on his music. She could see herself in the huge mirror on the closest doors; beautiful, confident enough in her ability to please him that she felt brave enough to interrupt him. She draped her arms around his neck from behind, smoothing down the front of his t-shirt. She could feel him tense under her, picking his thin shoulders up to try and bounce her off of him.

“Go. I’m almost done with this.”

She knew he had no intention of listening to her because he didn’t even motion to remove an earbud, so she took one out for him.

“You’ve been saying that for the past week. Take a break, please,” she murmured as desperately as she could manage – she knew it made him felt like he was the only one who had something that she needed to live. But she could see the furrow in his brow, pronouncing the fact he could care less if she needed him in that moment. Marjorie tried to ignore it and spun his chair around, shamelessly presenting herself to him.

“I got you a present, so please.” Her face scrunched, eyes closing and mouth in a zip locked line, too shy to take a breath.

Richard raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms over his chest. How long she could go without air was the only thought the scene inspired within him. The pained look of uncertainty and self-doubt written all over her intrigued him much more than the new bra and panties she sported, the purple color ethereal on her light, speckled skin. Sure, they looked good on her but so did everything and nothing at all. She was stupid, spending money on something for herself that was in pursuit of his approval.

When he said nothing and his hands didn’t splay out all over her revealed skin, Marjorie blinked her eyes back open slowly. He was already making direct eye contact, but he looked bored. With his foot, he pushed his chair as far away from her as he could and shook his head.

“I don’t even like the color purple.”

With that, he turned back around and returned to his work.
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is the fLaShBaCk chapter
I should probably clarify this was meant to be a oneshot but I didn't want to make 5k+ words into one chapter. That's why this is broken up into a few chapters :c