Troubled Sincerity

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Chapter 6 | A Day in the Life

| Mark’s POV |

I impatiently tap my fingers against the steering wheel as I sit outside of my mother’s house.

I’ve been sitting here for over an hour, just trying to work up the courage to go inside.

I know she’s in there, probably drunk or asleep.

“Here goes nothing,” I mutter under my breath. I open the car door, and slam it shut once I’m standing outside. I walk up the steps of the porch and harshly knock on the front door.

“Mom!” I shout as I continue to bang my fist against the wooden surface.

Nothing but silence.

“Mom!” I shout again.

Nothing.

I roll my eyes, pulling out the spare key from the flowerpot beside the door. I unlock the front door, pushing it open with force.

The house smells of booze, the harsh aroma instantly wafting through my nostrils. The smell alone causes goosebumps to appear on my skin.

“Mom!” I shout again, and that’s when I hear movement in the kitchen.

That’s the last place she should be, if she’s drunk.

I rush into the kitchen and find her struggling with a pickle jar.

“Oh, Mark, you’re home! Here, open this!” Mom shouts, nearly tossing the entire pickle jar at me. I somehow catch it, balancing it in my hands as I glare.

“What the hell are you doing?” I accuse.

“I’m trying to make a sandwich, but that damn pickle jar won’t cooperate!” She shouts in frustration. I see a half-made sandwich resting on the counter. She didn’t even grab a plate.

I roll my eyes, walking over to finish the task for her. I grab a plate, placing the now finished sandwich onto it, and adding a couple pickles on the side. I sit the plate down at the kitchen table, and walk mom over to sit down and eat. I wait for her to finish eating, before I brew her up a cup of fresh coffee.

I take notice of the new granite kitchen counters, and stainless steel appliances. Apparently, back when my mom set the kitchen on fire, the insurance hooked her up with the renovations.

As she downs two cups of coffee, and actually has food in her system, she finally begins to sober up.

“Can you please get me some Tylenol?” She asks, pointing to the far cabinet next to the stink.

I do as asked, and take my seat again, just opposite of her.

She downs the two pills, and heavily sighs.

“I know what you’re thinking.” She says into her hands. “I fell off the wagon, and you’re disappointed in me.”

I nod, though I know she isn’t looking at me. “Well that’s one way to put it.”

“I’m sorry, Mark. It’s just… ever since you’ve moved out and away to college, I’ve been really struggling to live alone. I can’t remember the last time I went on a real date that I remembered the next morning, and I had already worked all my hours for the week. My boss doesn’t allow over-time.” She tries to explain, giving me nothing but petty excuses.

“None of that matters mom. Just because life gets hard or you get lonely, doesn’t give you the right to pick up a drink.” I reply.

“It’s not as easy as you make it out to be Mark. I have a disease, an addiction. Every single day when I wake up, it’s a battle to not think about a drink. Most days, I’m lucky if I even get out of bed. My anxiety is through the roof, and the medication isn’t helping anymore. I’ve been trying, I truly have… not that you seem to give a shit.”

I watch her as she lifts her head, looking at me directly in my eyes.

I stare at her, knowing she’s now sober and telling the truth. Her eyes are shallow, dark even. They aren’t the bright green I used to wake up to every day as a child. She looks as though she’s aged about five years, though it’s barely been one. The bags under her eyes show of the years she hasn’t been able to sleep properly, pulled down by the weight of the world and gravity itself.

Somehow, I manage a scoff.

“I don’t give a shit? Who stood by your side my entire childhood, to make sure you were okay? Who missed birthday parties, and school events, just so I could stay at home and take care of you? Who stayed home from his seventh grade school field trip to the zoo, just to spend the entire day cleaning up your puke? Who packed your bags and drove you to rehab, after you nearly burned the house down? I think you need to rethink that statement of yours, mother.” I rant, harshly.

I don’t mean to be so bold with her, but the amount of frustration I feel when I look at her, is undeniable.

She is clearly at a loss for words.

“Well, I’m sorry I’m such a horrible mother. I’m sorry I never cared enough to stay sober, I’m sorry I ruined your childhood. I hope after college, you go on to live an amazing life, a life way better than mine.” She says dryly, shaking her head at herself as she looks down at the mug sitting in front of her.

“Mom, you aren’t a horrible mother. You just make horrible decisions. You let those decisions control your entire life, and those lives around you. I took you to rehab, so you could fight this, and beat it. I took you to rehab, so you could finally start over, and be happy. All I want is for you to be happy, but apparently the only way you’re happy, is when you’re drunk.” I say.

“I will have an amazing life; I will have everything I deserve. Coming here today just proves that. I know you’re trying and I’m proud of you for that, but unless you go back to rehab and take this seriously, I have nothing more to say to you.” I sigh as I stand up.

“Mark, wait.”

I stop, just as she reaches out to grab my arm.

“Can you take me?” She asks quietly.

I look at her, trying to find something that tells me she’s serious, and I do.

I nod, “Go pack a bag.”

She hurries up the stairs and I hear a lot of rummaging from her bedroom. After a while, I hear a bag zip up, before she’s coming back down the stairs.

We shut everything off, and lock all the windows, before walking out front and locking the house up behind us.

I give her the house key, and she places it inside her bag.

I take her bag and shove it in the backseat of my car, helping her into the front passenger seat.

Once we’re settled, I take the same drive again to the rehab center just outside of town.

After a while, we pull into the parking lot. I turn to my mom, who is staring blankly out of the window.

“Ready?”

She turns to me, giving me a weak smile. “Ready.”

I grab her bag for her, and walk her inside. After I check her in, and sign all of the appropriate documents, a woman comes to take her bags and show her to her room.

My mom turns to me, eyeing me warily.

“Come visit me?” She asks with a gleam of hope in her dull eyes.

I simply nod. “Take care mom, call me if you need to.”

She walks forward for a hug, and I’m brief, before pulling away and leaving the building.

I sit inside my car and stay there for a while. I stare blankly at the rehab center, and think about the last time I brought her here. She was so strong, so positive, what went wrong?

Did my leaving really drive her to drink again, or is that crazy?

No, it is crazy. I’m allowed to go on and live my own life, I shouldn’t feel guilty for growing up.

I sigh as I lean my head on the steering wheel. I accidently miss though, and cause the horn to honk.

Embarrassed, I start the car and leave, deciding to go straight back to campus.

As I’m walking toward my dorm, I spot Greg sitting near a tree working on some classwork, I assume.

“Hey man, how was class today?” I ask.

He looks up at me, definitely irritated about something.

“Well, it went well, until I got back to the dorm.” He says harshly.

I roll my eyes. Jessica.

“What did she do now?” I sigh.

“Well, I walked inside of my dorm room to work on my notes, and there she was completely naked lying on your bed.” He says dryly. “Isn’t that swell?” I note the sarcasm.

“I’m sorry. I told her not to do that anymore.” I smile sheepishly. “But come on, you can’t exactly say that it was a bad view.”

Greg gives me an incredulous look. Something tells me Greg wasn’t exactly a ladies man back in high school. He told me he moved here from Ohio, wanting to start a new life away from home.

“Be that as it may, I don’t want her there anymore. Please.” He sighs dramatically.

“You got it, boss.” I salute, just before walking away and toward our dorm.

As I walk inside, I hear music blaring from the radio.

“Hey Mark! Hungry?” Jessica sings as she walks around the kitchen, completely naked.

“Why are you here, and why are you naked? I do have a roommate you know.” I roll my eyes, walking over toward her.

“Oh please, Greg liked what he saw.” She shrugs. “Besides, I got out of class early and came looking for you.” She winks seductively. “Where have you been all day?”

“I had personal stuff to deal with. Can you please at least put on a shirt?” I sigh.

“What? Don’t like the view?” She smiles while purposely bending over to grab something out of the small fridge.

Heaven help me.

I look over at the small table to see a bunch of take-out. Jessica takes two sodas from the fridge, before casually walking over to me and handing me one.

“You know, you can always have dessert first.” She smirks, straddling my lap.

Her business is completely exposed to me, as she pushes her chest up against my own, moving in to kiss me.

I think about saying no, about pushing her off me and telling her to leave.

Then, I think about the day I’ve had, and how pissed off I still am at Naveah for what happened the other night.

I sigh, before allowing her to kiss me. She immediately deepens the kiss, pressing herself further into me.

I can’t deny that she’s a beautiful girl, so naturally, my pants begin to grow from underneath her.

“Take me to your bed, Mark. I need you.” She whispers against my wet lips.

I follow her request, picking her up and carrying her to my bed. I place her down gently, slowly lowering myself on top of her after kicking my jeans off.

As I continue to have sex with this girl, all I can think about is a certain blonde.

I feel bad for Jessica, knowing she will never fully have me like Naveah once did.

I’m not trying to be a bad person. I’m not trying to use Jessica like she’s nothing.

Still, I know that nothing more will ever come of this relationship, but I still don’t find the courage to kick her out of my room. Instead, I allow her to spend the night with me, as she has many nights before.

Greg comes back shortly after Jessica and I finally eat, taking some take-out for himself after I offered it to him.

Once everyone is in bed, trying to sleep, I find myself staring up at the ceiling.

Jessica is laying on my chest, her legs locked between my own. She’s still completely naked, her skin warm against mine. I gently stroke her hair, as I continue looking up blankly at nothing.

Her hair isn’t as soft as Naveah’s.

Her body isn’t as gentle as Naveah’s.

She isn’t Naveah.

And she never will be.

Suddenly, I’m pulled from my thoughts as my phone vibrates beside me.

I pick it up, to find Naveah’s number on the screen.

I debate on whether to answer, but something inside forces me to accept the call.

“Naveah?”

“Mark? I need you.”

Her voice is frantic. I slowly move Jessica beside me, as I get up and walk out into the common room.

“What happened?” I ask quietly.

“I had a nightmare, and I just... God, what am I doing calling you? I’m an idiot. Sorry.”

“Naveah wait, it’s okay.” I find myself saying.

“I’m sorry Mark, for everything.” She mumbles. Her voice still sounds as sweet as ever.

I almost forgot how much I loved hearing her say my name.

“Do you want to meet up tomorrow?” I whisper, careful not to wake anybody up.

“Sure. Thank you. Goodnight.”

After that, she hangs up. I wish I could have talked to her longer, try to figure out what she had a nightmare about. I guess I can try to ask tomorrow when I see her.

I glance into the room with my bed, gazing at a sleeping Jessica and sigh.


God, what am I doing?

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