Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 31 | Sincerity - Part 1

| Mark’s POV |

“Mom, are we ready to go? You didn’t forget anything, did you?” I ask frantically as I glance over her small room one last time.

“I’ve got everything, promise.” She laughs, slinging her bag over her shoulder.

I race over and take it from her, slinging the same bag over my shoulder as I walk her out of her room. The same room she’s been in for the last few weeks, the same room that she deserves to never step foot into again.

My mom is leaving the rehab facility today. I’m finally taking her back home.

It’s been a long road, and with everything that we’ve been through recently, I know she deserves to live in her own house.

I sign her out and after my mom says her goodbyes to the wonderful people she’s met, I walk her out to my car and drive her home.

It feels as though it’s been an eternity since I’ve stepped foot into our house, and I can sense that mom is a little nervous too.

When I pull into the driveway, I’m surprised to see that the lawn has been completely mowed, and the flowerbeds near the front of the house have fresh mulch and a few plants growing inside them.

“Mark, did you do all this?” My mom asks, smiling up at our house.

“Actually mom, I didn’t. I have no idea who did.” I shrug, feeling confused.

We walk up onto the porch, and just as my mom unlocks the front door to step inside, I spot a note resting on the table just outside near the chairs.

I pick up the note and smile once I see the familiar handwriting:

Hey asshole,

I remembered the spare key that you keep under the small turtle statue on your porch, so I may have let myself in to do a little cleaning. I just wanted everything to be nice for when your mom got home. It was kind of a hazard zone whenever I first looked inside, but don’t worry, hazard avoided.

I also took the liberty of doing a little yard work, because let’s face it, your lazy ass wasn’t going to do it anytime soon. No need to thank me, I’m just that much of an amazing friend.

Hit me up when you get back to Naveah’s,

Connor (The Best).

I laugh to myself as I read Connors note. I can’t believe that cheeky bastard did this for me. I can’t help but to love the kid though. No matter what we’ve been through, no matter how many times I’ve fucked everything up, he’s still always there for me when I need it most. I honestly don’t deserve his friendship, but he’s proven he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so I’ve got no choice but to live with it.

I still beat myself up sometimes, whenever I think about last year and everything that I did to him. He never deserved a second of it, and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully forgive myself for putting him through that.

I’m happy that he’s with Marissa. As much as I used to dislike that girl, I actually think that she’s really good for him. They’re so different, yet so infatuated with one another, that they almost seem perfect.

I just wish that Naveah would’ve ended up with me from the start, and Marissa with Connor, so none of us would’ve had to go through what we did last year. Then again, I suppose everything happens for a reason, even if those reasons seem a little unorthodox.

“Mark, get in here!” I hear my mom shout, so I snap back to reality and rush inside.

“What is it? What happened?”

“Who did all of this?” My mom smiles over to me, fresh tears in her eyes.

I glance behind her to see an enormous vase of fresh red roses on the center of the dining room table, next to it, a card. I look around and see that the entire place is spotless. It even smells nice in here, which is a first. I don’t even want to know how Connor managed to get the smell of booze and cigarettes out of here, but I do know that it must’ve cost him a fortune.

I find myself smiling too, as I walk over and wrap my mom in a hug.

“Honestly? Connor left a note saying he cleaned up for us and did the work out in the yard. I can’t believe he did all of this.” I explain as I pull away from my beaming mother.

“You have amazing friends kid, do you know that? Not many people would do this for just anyone, especially an old alcoholic like me.” She says while giving me a sad, still apologetic smile.

“I love you mom, despite everything. I hope you know that.” I smile back at her, watching as more tears fill her eyes.

“Read the card.” I urge, walking over to pick it up. I hand it to her and she slowly opens it.

“Wow, it’s incredible.” She cries, tears finally falling from her eyes.

I take the card from her and read what it says:

Hi Ms. Chase!

We hope that you are doing well, and we’re happy that you’re finally back in the comfort of your own home. We left these roses for you as a reminder to always look at life as a beautiful gift. You were given a second chance at life, and not many people get to experience that.

We’re here for you and for Mark every step of the way.

Ps. Enjoy the fresh plate of cupcakes that are stashed in the fridge.

The Kids.

Everyone signed the card, even Callie and Red managed to sign it, though I have no idea how. They must’ve been planning this for a while. I can’t believe I’ve had no idea about any of this. They’re good at keeping secrets, which is a first, for sure.

“I don’t even know what to say, tell them all that I thank them from the bottom of my heart.” I hear my mom say as she takes the card from me, and stands it over on top of the cabinet in the far corner of the living room.

“I’ll do that mom, promise.” I nod, grabbing her bags and taking them to her bedroom. I leave them at the foot of her bed, because she’s capable of unpacking her own items.

Truth be told, I’d rather not see any of my mom’s personal undergarments, if you catch my drift.

After my mom finishes unpacking, I cook up some pasta for dinner. I decided to have dinner with her, and then after we have some of those cupcakes, I’m going to be driving back to Naveah’s place.

I told my mom I’d stay here with her tonight if she wanted, but she insisted that she needed to do this on her own. For some reason, I fully believed that, and I left knowing that she wasn’t going to go back to her old habits, even if there was always that chance.

I felt good about leaving her at home, so when I hugged her goodbye, I stayed into her embrace for just a few seconds longer than normal, so unbelievably proud of the progress she’s made.

As I drive down the road back to Naveah’s, I still smile at what my mom told me right before I left.

“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me. You’ve saved me, in more times than one. You’re my hero, and my single greatest accomplishment. Please don’t ever change who you are, not for anyone.”

I suppose she’s right. I did save her, but I wouldn’t have had the strength to do so if it wasn’t for somebody very special to me.

As I pull into her driveway, she’s immediately rushing out of the door to greet me. As I step out of the car, and shut the door, I open my arms for her.

She jumps into them, her arms instantly snaking around my neck, pulling me in close. I breathe her in, the same way that I do every single time we’re together, and I leave a tender kiss against her temple.

“How did it go? Did she love everything? Tell me she loved everything?” Naveah smiles wide as she pulls back to look at me.

“She absolutely loved everything. You all really out-did yourselves. I can’t thank you enough for everything that you’ve done for us, especially for me.”

Naveah doesn’t say anything, only smiles as she looks into my eyes. Our faces are so close I can smell her fresh breath as she slowly leans in closer. Unable to stop the reaction, I lean in and close the distance between us, slowly kissing her and taking her in completely. She’s delicious in all her beautiful glory, and I couldn’t ever imagine myself with anyone else but her.

Completely entranced by the feel of her lips against my own, it takes me a while to actually hear the voices coming from behind us.

“Do you think they’re breathing through all of that?”

“How could they? They’re permanently joined at the mouth.”

“Will this ever end? If it doesn’t, we could be watching a porno here soon.”

“Hey, lovebirds! Take a fucking break would ya?”

I finally pull away from Naveah and glance behind her head with a glare.

“Can any of you shut the fuck up?” I sigh.

“Not until you stop sucking face and get the hell inside.” Connor smirks from the doorway.

Remembering his note and everything he did for my mom and her house, I eventually let go of Naveah and walk over to him. He reaches his hand out for a simple bro-hug, but instead, I actually pull him in for the real thing.

I wrap my arms around my best friend, and smile.

“Wow, I think you’ve got some competition Naveah.” Riley says with a laugh.

“Oh please, he can’t live without this.” I hear Naveah say, motioning to her body.

I pull away from Connor, and quickly go back to my girlfriend, wrapping an arm over her shoulder.

“Sorry, I’m strictly vagina.”

“Babe, I was almost jealous for a second.” Marissa suddenly says with a smirk as she takes Connors hand in her own.

Well, it looks like everyone’s here tonight. I couldn’t be happier.

“Alright, you and you, need to leave. I’ll see you tomorrow at school.” I say to Marissa and Connor first, “And you and you, need to busy yourselves and not listen to anything that you may hear in the next hour to two hours tops.” I say to Lucy and Riley.

They all look at me bewildered, before finally coming to terms with what I mean.

“Jesus dude, you literally just got here.” Connor laughs, “But I respect that, I’ll see you later.”

Connor pulls Marissa with him, after they all say their goodbyes. The second they leave, I turn to Naveah and smirk, before picking her up and hauling her over my shoulder.

“Really Mark? I have feet.” She deadpans from behind me. “Nice ass though.”

“Ugh, you two disgust me.” Riley sneers as she walks over and into her bedroom, closing the door behind her.

“Will she be okay?” I ask Naveah.

“Yeah, she’ll be fine.” Naveah laughs, “At least I hope.”

“Lucy, I apologize, but you probably won’t see Naveah for the rest of the night.” I shout over my shoulder, just as I make it to Naveah’s bedroom.

As I kick open the door, I hear Lucy shout, “No worries, I’ll just sit here and sulk about my non-existent love life!”

“Great, see you in the morning!” I shout once more, before kicking Naveah’s bedroom door shut.

“I know for a fact she’s giving us both the finger right now.” Naveah sighs as I toss her onto her bed.

She lets out a scream, followed by a laugh as I jump on top of her.

“She can give us any finger she wants, I don’t really care right now.” I smirk as I lower myself on top of her. I weave my hand through her hair softly, gently stroking my thumb against her cheek as she looks up at me.

“You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, do you know that? Do you understand it?” I say in a low voice, my lips inches away from hers.

She nods slowly, her hair like silk in between my fingers. “I do.”

“I wouldn’t be half the man I am today, if it weren’t for you. You’ve given me this amazing outlook on life that I never had before you came along. I know it wasn’t great at first, and I know we’ve made a lot of mistakes, but if there is anything that I’ve ever done right in my entire life, it’s you.”

“Mark, are those... are those tears in your eyes?” Naveah asks, gently reaching her thumb up to my cheek, wiping away a single tear that finally falls.

“I just want you to know how much you mean to me baby. You’re everything.” I say, demanding that she understands just how much I mean the words that I’m saying to her.

“You don’t need to ever feel like I don’t know how much I mean to you, because you mean the world to me, if not more. You never need to doubt or second-guess what we have, it’s real Mark. It’s so goddamn real.” She smiles up at me, putting me at instant ease.

Though I knew all along, no matter what either one of us says.

She’s mine, and I’m completely and one-hundred percent hers.

I’ve been wrong about a lot of things in my life, but the one thing I’ve never been wrong about, is having Naveah in my life. She completes me in a way that no puzzle could ever measure up to. No matter what our future holds together, she’s a part of me, and always will be.

Our feelings are sincere, and real, and deep. They’re everything that we are and then some. I’ve learned a lot over the last year and a half, and I can’t believe that we’ve come all this way, still together, and still intact.

I hope it lasts.

As I lay here, and gaze upon her gentle face, her loving eyes, her perfect lips, I see my home away from home. I see my future, my destiny, my entire world. And as I kiss her, get lost in her, I see everything good that will ever happen to me, to us, on this twisted journey that we call life.

Some things, like rain in April, or popsicles on the fourth of July, are meant to be.

I hope the same goes for you and me.

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