Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 5 | Bad Idea

| Mark’s POV |

“Aye, Mark, you’ve got a new table!” The host shouts into the kitchen.

I sigh as I glance behind me to respond, “Alright, thanks!”

“Another glorious night, am I right?” Tony smirks as he pulls on his large yellow gloves. A few servers toss some silverware into the sink, causing a little bit of water to splash onto Tony’s cheek.

“The best ever.” I sarcastically smile, turning to walk away. I smooth out my apron and head out into the main dining area. I glance at my group of tables and see that they are all empty.

I furrow my brows before a flash of blonde moves behind the hosts’ stand. After a few seconds, there she is, making her way to one of my tables.

I feel that same heartburn slapping me against the chest at the sight of her.

I discreetly glance up at the ceiling, “Hey God, your pettiness is showing.”

I take in a deep breath, before placing my signature fake smile on my face as I walk over toward her table.

“Dining alone?” I question.

Naveah looks up at me, but her eyes never fully reach my own.

“Not exactly.”

A few seconds later, her boy toy comes strolling from the bathroom.

“Ah, Mark, what a pleasant surprise. How is your evening going so far mate?” Dylan sings as he takes his seat beside Naveah.

“I’m sorry, and you are?” I fake another smile, glancing at the smirk of the guy sitting before me.

His smirk only semi-falters, as he eyes me knowingly.

“My apologies, we’ve never been formally introduced. I’m Dylan.” He extends his hand, and I look at it, a look of disinterest glowing from my face.

“Well Dylan, is there a drink I can get you started with?” I ask, purposely keeping my order pad in one hand, and my pen in the other. Dylan let’s his arm drop to the table, never taking his eyes off me.

“I’ll have a diet coke, and my lady here will have a-“, I immediately cut him off.

“Iced tea, sweet, and half a lemon.” I smile coyly. “Coming right up.”

“Perfect.” He smiles, casually slinging his arm over Naveah’s shoulders, pulling her closer.

I grit my teeth before walking away and into the kitchen.

“Did I ever mention how much I hate working here?” I glare into space, as Tony glances behind him to look at me.

“More than once. It’s kind of insulting after I made sure you got an interview here.”

I look over at Tony to see the smirk on his face.

I let out an audible sigh. “I’m sorry, just really don’t wanna be here right now.”

Tony shuts the water to the sink off, before stepping over toward me and glancing out of the kitchen door.

“Ah, the golden girl is back.” He smiles, referencing Naveah’s platinum blonde hair. I made note of her lighter locks the first day of college when I saw her in the cafeteria. I wanted to tell her that it looks amazing, but that would have been too awkward, given the circumstances.

“Yes, and surprise, surprise… she brought her boy toy.” I remark harshly.

“Well, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were a tad bit jealous.” Tony casually says while stepping back in front of the sink. He turns the water back on, so he can continue working as we talk.

“Bite your horribly mistaking tongue.” I snap, only a slight smirk on my face.

“Hey, my lips are sealed.” Tony shrugs as he tosses some clean spoons into the clean dish bin.

I roll my eyes as I grab Dylan and Naveah’s drinks, before leaving Tony to his dish duties.

I walk over just in time to see Dylan leaning over, kissing Naveah clear on the mouth. She doesn’t pull away, only pulls him closer, seeming as though she forgot they were in public.

I walk over silently, and then abruptly place the drinks down onto the table, causing the glass to clink against the wooden surface. Both Naveah and Dylan jump away from each other, as if they’ve each been burned. I internally smirk as I watch Naveah’s cheeks turn pink.

I used to love making her blush.

“Are we ready to order, or shall I come back when you’ve finished swallowing each other’s saliva?” I smile sweetly, though it’s completely fake.

Everything is fake.

“No, no, now is fine. Ladies first.” Dylan winks to Naveah, who then looks down at her menu.

“I’ll have the chicken alfredo, please, with a side of toasted garlic bread.” She looks up at me as she hands her menu over, and as I take it, I purposely brush my thumb against hers.

“And for you?” I ask bitterly, glancing over at Dylan. He’s eyeing me suspiciously, having witnessed my intentional physical contact with Naveah.

“I think I’ll have the same, thanks mate.” Dylan smiles, handing his menu over to me.

He tightens his grip as I go to take the menu, causing it to slip from my fingers. I send him a glare, ripping it from his grip as I turn to walk away.

“Charming boy.” I hear him comment just before I walk into the kitchen.

I give the orders to the chef, and then I wait with Tony until their meals have been prepared.

“Dude, you really need to get over yourself.” He suddenly says.

I glance over at him, one eyebrow furrowed. “Excuse me?”

“It’s so completely obvious that you’re still sweet on her. Just man up and tell her. Who knows, it just might be exactly what she’s waiting for.” Tony shrugs, dropping some clean plates into the clean dish bin.

“Tony, you really need to stop watching those rom-com’s.” I smirk, just as my phone begins to ring.

I glance at Tony, and he nods signaling that he’ll cover for me. I walk to the back and pull my phone from my pocket. My lips turn into a frown as I see my mother’s name on the screen.

“Hello?”

“Mark! Where the hell are you? I’ve been calling your n-name for ten minutes! Or was it two? Whatever just come downstairs please?” She slurs into the speaker.

“Mom… I’m not at home, because I’m at work. I’m also not home because I left for college months ago.” I roll my eyes, gripping my phone until I’m sure my knuckles turn white.

“What? Really? Damn.” My mom drunkenly laughs. I suddenly hear a crash, and then the line goes dead.

I’m about to shove my phone back into my pocket, when she calls again.

“Mom, for fuck sake, go to bed!” I glare as I shout into my phone.

“Don’t raise your voice at m-me, young man! God, you always sound just like your stupid f-father.” She slurs into the phone again, instantly increasing my anger and impatience.

“Mom, go to bed.” I grit through my teeth as I end the call and place my phone on silent. I notice a text message from Jessica, and I don’t even bother with opening it.

I storm back into the kitchen as I angrily walk over to the counter with the prepared food.

“Everything alright, Mark?” I hear Tony ask, but I ignore him as I quickly grab both plates of food and rush out into the dining area.

I walk over to Naveah’s table, not missing a single step, just as she glances up at me.

I angrily set both plates in front of them, my jaw tightly set.

“Anything else?” I ask.

I don’t miss Naveah’s brown eyes looking up at me questioningly. It’s almost as if she can tell that there’s something wrong with me.

“No thanks mate, we’re perfect.” Dylan smiles coyly at me, and it makes me want to punch him directly in the face.

Not tonight Mark, not tonight.






| Naveah’s POV |

I see how tight his jaw is, and I know he’s only moments away from exploding.

Despite my brain telling me not to, I speak up.

“Mark, is everything alright?”

Dylan glances at me in surprise, before he turns back to Mark, waiting for an answer.

“What do you care?” He angrily replies, giving me a heavy glance.

“Ay, mate, watch it. The girl here is just trying to be polite.” Dylan comments and I can already tell that his statement alone is going to set Mark off.

“You should really be quiet.” Mark states warningly.

“Oh yeah? Why’s that?” Dylan smiles.

“Just trust me.”

“All I’m saying is, Naveah here is a very sweet person, and if she’s just trying to see if you’re alright… I don’t think you should be so hostile with her.” Dylan explains lightly.

“Oh really? Naveah is a sweet person? Well excuse the fuck out of me for not noticing!” Mark states sarcastically. “Perhaps we should try again.” He then turns to me. “Naveah, I’m so sorry for being a bit brash, I’m quite alright, as you can clearly tell.”

His sarcasm and fake smile tell me he’s seconds away from doing something he will regret. I need to de-escalate the situation, and fast.

“Mark, it’s okay, really. Let’s just drop the subject. Our food looks amazing, thank you. We don’t need anything else.” I try my best to smile.

“Splendid.” Mark teases, using a fake British accent.

I notice Dylan grit his teeth as his hand tightens around my thigh.

“Do we have a problem, mate?” Dylan challenges, eyeing Mark dangerously.

“Oh, I don’t know mate, do we?” Mark retorts, again making fun of Dylan’s accent.

“Listen, I know that some stuff happened between you and Naveah in the past, but I’m sure she didn’t mean for things to end the way that they did. Sometimes relationships just don’t work out, and just because you never got to make things official, doesn’t mean you need to treat her this harshly. I’m sure things didn’t work out for a reason.” Dylan shrugs casually.

My eyes widen at his response.

I watch Mark’s eyes darken a shade, his hand gripping the end of his apron, as if he’s trying to rip a piece off.

“Is that what she told you?” Mark scoffs, “Clearly she missed a few details.”

Mark turns to glare at me. My eyes lower as my head drops, causing my sudden interest in my plate of Alfredo.

I feel Dylan shift and turn to look at me, but I can’t meet his eyes right now. I’m far too focused on the smell of the Alfredo sauce, the beautiful aroma engulfing me as I wait for the drama to continue.

“What else could she have left out?” Dylan asks, though I know he isn’t directing the question at Mark.

“Who cares, she’s not going to be honest with you anyway. Honesty isn’t exactly one of her stronger qualities.”

My eyes snap up to meet Mark’s, as a dull ache settles in the pit of my stomach.

Suddenly, I’m not so hungry anymore.

“Alright, that’s enough. You can leave now, thank you.” Dylan snaps to Mark, and I watch as Mark storms off and into the kitchen.

“What the hell was he on about?” Dylan asks me.

“I told you this was a bad idea.” I shake my head. “We should just go. I’ll pay for the food.” I reach for my bag, and set a fifty-dollar bill onto the table. I don’t even care that it’s probably way more than what the two meals actually cost.

“Yeah, I think you’re right.” Dylan says quietly, slowly standing up, and then leaving to walk outside.

He doesn’t wait for me, so as I stand alone beside the table, I glance at the kitchen door.

I see Mark watching me from behind the glass, a frown on his face.

I stare into his cold eyes, trying my best to apologize through just a look, though I’m sure he doesn’t give a damn about any apology I have to give. He looks me up and down once, causing goosebumps to appear on my skin, before slowly shaking his head as he turns and walks away from the kitchen door.

I let out the breath I had been holding for majority of the night, as I take one final glance at the kitchen door, before turning and walking away.

This entire night was a complete disaster, though I did see it coming.

Once I reach Dylan’s car out front, I get into the passenger side and sink into my seat after putting my seatbelt on.

The drive back to my apartment is silent, the only sound coming from the hum of the engine.

Once Dylan pulls into my driveway, he shuts the car off and turns to face me.

“I can’t help but think you’ve kept some details from me in regards to our dear friend Mark.” He says the last part sarcastically.

“Listen, I just didn’t want to explain everything right away. Those wounds aren’t completely healed yet, and I didn’t want to scare you off with the details. I know you’re going to think differently of me the moment I tell you.” I sigh, slouching further into my seat.

“Love, you can’t keep things from me out of fear. If we ever want to have a real chance at this, we have to be willing to put everything on the table, even from our pasts. I don’t want to hide anything from each other, I want to know everything about you. Even the bad parts.” He explains calmly.

I turn to look at him, and his eyes are soft and genuine.

My eyes, however, seem to fill with tears threatening to spill at any moment.

How can everything be so simple, yet such a disaster, all at the same time?

“I promise, I will tell you everything. I just need a little more time.” I finally nod. “I won’t keep any of the details out next time.”

“That’s all that I ask.” Dylan smiles. “Want me to come in?”

“Actually, I think we should just call it a night for now. I think I need some girl time.” I sadly smile, leaning over to kiss Dylan against his warm cheek.

“Fair enough. Goodnight, love.” He returns the kiss, gently stroking my cheek with his thumb.

“Goodnight.”

I get out of the car and head inside. Riley and Lucy are lounging on the couch, a TV show playing as background noise as they talk.

“Hey you, how did your date go?” Lucy smiles up at me, the pair of them giving me their attention.

Both their smiles disappear as they take in my frown.

“Mark?” They both ask in unison.

How the hell can they tell that just by my face? Perhaps they remember how I looked months ago, when everything that happened with Mark was still so fresh.

“Tonight was horrible.” I mumble while walking over and sitting in between my two best friends.

They each put an arm around me as we stare blankly at the TV. I just knew that tonight had bad idea written all over it.


Such a horribly bad idea.

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