It’s been a couple of months since Olivia moved to the city. Adjusting has been difficult, but Emily has been her rock, and recently Mark as well.
She initially dismissed him as a well-meaning oaf, but he’s grown on her. Despite all the hardship he’s faced, he’s always got a smile on his face and is always ready to help a friend in need. At first Olivia thought his positive nature was annoying, but she’s come to admire him for it. She would never admit it, but it’s rubbed off on her.
Mark asked her to work overtime today, and while she doesn’t mind it, she found it odd since it’s the first time he’s asked her, and they don’t have a particularly large number of orders. Plus, he’s been cooped up in the back all day and won’t allow Olivia in there. “What the heck is going on,” she keeps asking herself.
Half an hour to closing time, Mark goes and locks the door and flips the “open” sign. “What are you doing,” Olivia asks. Mark says he just thinks that’s enough for the day. “What? Then why did you ask me to work overtime?” He says he needs her help with something in the back and asks her to take off her apron and get the flour off her nose. She grumbles and wipes her nose with her wrist.
As she walks through the back door, Olivia sees a table set up in the middle of the room with a vase with her favorite flowers, a candle, and two plates of spaghetti. In typical Mark fashion, he stumbles as he reaches for his phone to play a song. N.W.A.’s ‘Fuck Tha Police’ starts playing and Mark almost drops his phone in the spaghetti trying to change the song to something more romantic.
“I uh… I can’t tell you how… wonderful it’s been having you here and uh… you’ve helped me so much with ‘Kismet’,” Mark bumbles, “so I thought we could uh… take a night off and I’d cook something for you.” He gestures toward the vase and says, “I thought you’d also like some actual flowers for a change. And uh… I hope you like spaghetti bolognese. I made them just like my mom used to.”
Olivia feels strange. She doesn’t say anything and just stares bewildered at Mark. Something’s wrong. Or maybe something’s right.
This is one of many short stories I’ve been writing for Teodora’s drawings ever since she said she was bad at writing descriptions for them. I thought I’d enjoy helping her and trying to write something different than I was used to. I’d never collaborated creatively with anyone on anything before Teodora and I love the purpose she’s added to my writing and how she challenges me with each drawing.
We’re back after a short break with another entry in the ‘Kismet’ series. One more to go.
For more stories, she’s got her own tag here.