Take Back Friday (Novella) 2020 Writing Project

Piece of the puzzle 7:  Marie

“What were you thinking coming here alone, Thea?”

“Just drive, please?”

Marie makes an u-turn and gets out of the domain, passing by the gates and following her way back to the highway, while Thea rests her weary head on the window.

Soon enough, lulled by the engine’s sound and car motion, Thea falls asleep.

“When did you two go wrong, I don’t understand. What happened to you is something that keeps me awake at night. It’s not like any of you can get the other out of their mind, soul, and heart. What happened to you and Hayden, Thea? You used to be so good together. So good…” 

Marie’s rant is for her own ears. Thea is fast asleep even when she is pulling into the driveway.

“What happened?” Mark says, but Marie shushes him down.

“You spoke to him?”

Mark nods.

“He’s on his way.”

“This has to end.”

“I agree.”

Marie jolts, hearing him. Mark only raises a hand, in a weary wave then slumps into his chair. Three friends, looking at one another, trying to understand each other’s actions, trying to figure the other out.

“I don’t know if I can do Arthur. It doesn’t feel right.”

Hayden’s confession wakes Mark out of his stupor. 

“I told you. I told you Hayden. Repeatedly. This is not the way. And definitely, back then, it was not. What were you expecting? What were you thinking? How can you be this stubborn?”

Hyden’s shoulders drop, his eyes are filled with sorrow. He knows Mark’s words are true. He knows he has made mistakes in his life to last for the next ten ones. Maybe the latest was the craziest. 

Marie can see his angst and pain and almost feels sorry for him. Well, truth be told, she feels sorry for him.

“But there might be a way to make it work again.”

Both men look up to her. Marie’s got a plan. They can see it in her eyes.

“It will not be easy and it will take a lot of planning. Think you can hang in there for a little while, H?”

“You’d help me?”

“I deserve that,” says Marie. “And I accept it. I haven’t been the best of friends. Just that sometimes, okay, most times you are a pain in the…”

“Marie!”

“Come on, Mark, that is the truth.”

Hayden nods.

“Please help. Whatever you can.”

Marie ushers him out the back door, just in time, as Thea comes through the front of the house, yawning.

“You actually left me in the car?”

Marie smiles and nods.

“Yep. You deserve it. You’re too stubborn.”

That scent is familiar. Thea whiffs a little and then looks Marie straight in the eye.

“What?”

“Who was here?”

“Don’t know what you’re talking ‘bout. Go now, take a shower, and get some good sleep. We have Arthur in two hours. I’ll come to wake you up.”

Thea is trying to stare her friend down and make her spill it out, but Marie starts opening cabinets, getting out pans and flour and other spices, and then she knows. Marie is planning something. Only when she’s planning something she bakes. 

Mark just raises his shoulders and shakes his head. He knows nothing, and Thea believes him. The knowing will come after the pie is ready. Somehow Thea does not find Marie’s scheming comforting this time. She knows Hayden was there. She could pick up his perfume out of a million.

Sighing, with a weary soul she goes up the stairs to the guests’ room, her room and drops in bed, face down, Hayden’s scent still filling her lungs, clouding her mind.