Marked. Part I: The missing Link

By: J.M.Sevilla

“Uh, thanks.” He takes the other plate full of various desserts, “Most moms cross the street when they see me coming, not send their daughters over with dessert.” Now he appears amused, a half smile forming on his face.

I laugh, “My mom's a nurse. She can't stop herself from wanting to make sure everyone's taken care of.”

He raises the non-scarred brow at me, “So you're here to take care of me?” His lips start to twitch in amusement.

Is he flirting with me? I bite down on my lip and blush. I have no idea what to say next.

“A word of caution,” I warn, needing something to say, “my mom only cooks on Christmas. Why she does this to herself every year is beyond me, but she loves it so we let her. She thinks she becomes Julia Child or something, but she's not. Not even close. That being said, about half the food on that plate's not that good. But I made the pie. Pumpkin pie is my ultimate favorite dessert, and at nine years old I taught myself how to make it. I've gotten pretty good. I don't even need a recipe anymore.” I take in a gulp of air from not breathing during my mini-ramble.

“Okay, well, thanks,” his intense eyes stare at me a moment longer and then he shuts the door.

How did I manage to look like a fool the two times I've been here? And whats worse – why do I care?

I head home, determined to get strangely-frightening-yet-oddly-enticing-guy out of my head. For reasons I can't explain, I want to know him better.

Chapter 2

Tuesday, December 31


“You ready to have some fun tonight?!” My best friend Stevie shouts throwing open my bedroom door, looking dynamite in a tight aqua dress and gray peep-toe pumps. “I brought some bubbly to get us started.” She sits on my bed and uncorks the champagne, taking a drink straight from the bottle.

“Classy,” Naomi, my other best friend, says as she joins us on the bed and rests back on her elbows. She's dressed in her typical motorcycle-loving attire of zipped up black leather biker jacket, skin-tight jeans, and her Harley Davidson black leather riding boots. Her tightly curled, blond hair is untamed and wild.

“That's what I'm all about...class,” Stevie grins, taking another swig, her bottom lip piercing clinking against the glass.

The three of us have been best friends since the sixth grade. One day, Stevie showed up in the same clothes she'd worn the day before (her dad's a gambling drunk and Stevie had had to take care of herself from the time she could walk. Sometimes her dad would gamble away everything, leaving no money for her to go to a laundromat.) and a group of kids started teasing and shoving her, making fun of her size-too-small ratty clothes. Naomi stepped in and clocked the boy who had pushed Stevie down, daring anyone else to fight her. I watched the whole thing from the swings, stomach in knots for Stevie because I knew it was wrong, but I'd always been tiny and I was afraid to do anything. I was in awe of Naomi – still am – she has never been afraid to step in when help is needed, no matter how scary the situation. She doesn't let people push her around and can be very bossy at times. We are each others' polar opposites, but it works for us. After the crowd disbursed I jumped down and ran over to Naomi and Stevie, offering Stevie my brownie in my lunch pail (even at a young age I knew the healing power of chocolate). The three of us sat on the grass, sharing the brownie before recess was over, and we've been best friends ever since. From then on Naomi and I made sure Stevie was never without clean, fitting clothes, and Stevie was practically raised by Naomi's biker parents, who look rough and tough but are the coolest, most down to earth people you will ever meet (as long as you don't get on their bad side). If she wasn't at Naomi's house she stayed with me. She only returned home every Thursday to drop food off for her dad and make sure he hadn't drunk himself to death and was rotting in their trailer.

I take a strand of Stevie's beautifully long, wavy hair and admire the new plum purple she'd dyed it, “This is my favorite color so far.”

She's always changing her hair color to unconventional shades. Over the summer it was a pink-gray, and that was stunning on her too. She has the kind of skin tone that can pull off any color.

“Thanks! The men at the shop really dig it. Who knew my hair color would bring in more business?” She works as a tattoo artist and is greatly respected for her detailed work. As you would assume, a fair amount of her skin is covered in tats.

“That and your ta-tas,” Naomi points to The Girls.

Stevie takes hold of her fake, size D breasts and gives them an affectionate squeeze, “I love The Girls, they never let me down. Best investment I've ever made.”

I pry the bottle from Stevie's clutches and have a turn.

Naomi beams at me, making her adorable dimples show, “It's good to have you home. We'll get to see more of each other instead of every few months.”

“And the fact that this is the first time since the three of us have been legally able to drink and we're all single!” Stevie chimes in, “Will was such a downer about you going anywhere without him.”

Naomi’s happy smile shifts to a pitying frown, “Speaking of Will, how are you holding up?” She places a sympathetic hand on my knee.