Do You Want to Leave?

– Mark?

– Hey, Cat. What are you doing here?

Mark’s sitting at a table on one of the first floor balconies, alone, smoking a cigarette. The balcony’s facing west, away from all the people.

– I was just looking for a bathroom. You should’ve handed out maps at the door, Jesus.

Mark chuckles.

– What are you doing here? Don’t you have, like, stuff to do?

– I probably do, actually.

Catherine pauses.

– Aaand shouldn’t you be doing them?

– I probably should, yeah.

Mark takes another drag from his cigarette and continues to look over the balcony. Catherine waits another second and sits next to him.

– Alright, what’s up?

– Nothing, just enjoying the view.

– You sure?

– Yeah, I’m good.

Mark smiles at her.

– So uh… big day’s finally here, huh?

– Yeah, it sure is. I’m a little surprised, to be honest.

– Why?

– Well, you know, it’s not really something I was expecting to ever experience. I mean… why are you asking me, you know exactly what I mean.

Catherine smiles.

– Yeah, you’re right, I do. I’d feel the same way.

– Exactly.

They sit in silence for a little while.

– Hey, can I have one?

Catherine gestures toward the pack of cigarettes.

– Really? Sure, go for it.

– Thanks!

– Do you smoke now?

– No, I’m just messing around. You just look calm, I want to join you.

– Do I?

– Yeah.

She puts the cigarette between her lips and Mark lights it for her.

– Thanks!

Mark nods and they sit in silence, listening to the faint sound of seagulls in the distance. He looks at the old tree near the house, thinking it needs a little pruning. Maybe he’ll get around to it next month, when he returns. Or he could just have a Alexander take care of it. But then again, it’s been a while since he’s had some time to himself, to relax. It can wait until he’s back. He’s actually kind of excited thinking about it. He’s thinking he could even cut the bushes on the north side of the house. But Amy would just make fun of him. Then again, Alexander probably wouldn’t let him, anyway. He’d say he’s butchering them.

He hears Catherine exhale and it’s like he suddenly remembers something. Or he realizes something. Mark’s struck by a thought. He looks over to her and just stares.

– What?

He hesitates.

– Hey, Cat?

– Yeah?

– Do you want to… leave?

– Huh? Where? I just lit this thing.

– Just… leave. With me.

Catherine’s confused.

– What? I don’t understand…

– I’m saying…

He pauses.

– Do you want to run away with me?

She frowns for a second, then scoffs. She ignores him and just tends to her cigarette, but Mark keeps giving her an insistent look.

– What, why are you looking at me like that?

He raises his eyebrows and continues to stare at her.

– Mark, what are you talking about?

– You heard me.

Catherine is looking more and more confused. She laughs.

– Are… What are you saying?

– I’m saying you and me go to the garage without anyone seeing us, we get in a car, and just drive off.

– Drive off? Drive off where?

– Anywhere, I don’t know.

Catherine isn’t smiling anymore.

– Mark, are you serious? I don’t like this, it isn’t funny.

– It’s not meant to be. I’m serious. Do you want to leave with me?

– I…

Catherine is at a loss for words.

– Mark, I’m… I’m here with Andrew, he’s… and you, you’re…

– I am about to make a mistake. To continue making a mistake I’ve been making for years. I figure maybe I stopped making it.

She just sits there for a few seconds, looking a him.

– What… And this is your fucking solution? To abandon everything and just leave with me on a whim?

– Romantic, isn’t it?

– What, no, what the hell’s wrong with you?! You think you can just ask me out of the blue if I want to… Whatever it is you’re asking me to do? I have a life, you know.

– Is it, though?

– What?

– Is it out of the blue?

Catherine doesn’t know how to answer.

– Maybe another mistake I made along the way was telling myself we can’t be, because of this, or that, or whatever. Maybe you made that mistake, too.

She just listens. It’s all she can do right now.

– It’s not out of the blue, Cat. We’ve been playing this game for years and I think I’m realizing it’s stupid and we don’t have to. I don’t think it’s fair to anyone to go on like this with you always in the back of my mind. And I know that’s what you’ve been doing, too.

– Mark… What you’re saying, what you’re asking… It’s…

– I know.

– And… Leaving? Just like that? Today’s your…

– I know…

They stare at each other for a few seconds.

– Don’t you sometimes just wish you could…

Mark’s mother calls out to him from downstairs.

– Mark, where are you?

– I’m a little busy, mom!

– Can you come down in a few minutes? We want to take some photos and we need you here!

– Alright, I’ll be there in a few.

They sit in silence for a few moments.

– It’s now or never…

Catherine is completely lost.

It’s been 15 minutes and Mark’s mom calls out to him again. No answer. Andrew is wandering around the house looking for Catherine.

– Hey, have you seen Catherine anywhere?

– No, everyone’s busy looking for Mark.

– Oh, I didn’t know he was missing. Catherine went to the bathroom a while ago and she didn’t come back. Can you tell her I’m looking for her if you see her?

In the downstairs living room, a few family members gather to talk.

– I swear, this is just like him.

– Ames, I’m sorry to tell you, but I am going to kill him when I find him.

Amy chuckles nervously.

– Has anyone tried calling him?

– I texted him a few times, hold on, let me call him.

There’s no answer, but they can hear a faint ringing coming from somewhere. They turn off the music and place the sound upstairs. They rush to it. Andrew overheard everything and followed them upstairs.

On a small table in the hallway, they find his phone next to another one.

– You’ve got to be kidding me. Where the hell is he? He never leaves his phone around.

– What about that other one, whose phone is that?

Andrew recognizes it.

– It’s Catherine’s…

Everyone looks at Andrew. Andrew looks at them. Amy asks him where Catherine is.

– I… don’t know. I haven’t seen her for a while, about 40 minutes, I think. I was actually looking for her.

No one says anything for a few moments.

– What’s that envelope on the table? It was under the phones.

Amy goes to pick it up. As she opens it, Mark’s father calls out from downstairs.

– Did you guys find him?

His mom is the first to answer.

– No, not yet.

– I went to the garage, the Rover’s gone.

– What?

– The Rover, it’s not there. Did Andrea take it?

– I’m right here, dad!

Amy gasps.

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