Marked. Part I: The missing Link

By: J.M.Sevilla

“I wish everyone would quit asking me that,” I sigh before taking too much champagne into my mouth and causing the bubbles to feel like rocks goings down. “I'm fine.”

Naomi's pale blue eyes lock with Stevie's emerald green (she continually changes their color too, with contacts) and they exchange unspoken words.

“We just want to make sure you're okay.”

All anybody wants to talk about is what happened. I decide to change the subject, “What bar are we going to?”

“Do you even need to ask?”

I laugh because Stevie's right. There is only one bar worth going to in our town: The Recovery Room. The rest of them are sports bars or clubs that think they’re cool because they have cover charges and offer fancy places to sit while you drink their overpriced cocktails.

“When was the last time the three of us went out?” Naomi wonders.

“I think it was when you guys came up to visit me for that weekend in June.”

“I don't count that,” Stevie informs me, “Will made you come home at eleven, even though he was glued to your side the entire time and he wouldn't let you drink for some bullshit reason.”

“We had to wake up early the next day. He didn't want me tired and hungover.” Why am I still defending that asshole?

Naomi grunts, “That should have been your decision, not his.”

“Whatever,” I stand up and head for my door. I don't want to ruin our evening by talking about him, “Lets get going.”

“Wait,” Stevie stops me from leaving, “Don't you need to get ready first?”

I look down at my twill military shirt and fitted boyfriend jeans. When I moved back home a few weeks ago I hadn't brought any of my clothes with me. The wardrobe I'd left behind symbolized the mess I had let my life become. The jeans, skirts, concert tees, flirty tops – the usual young adult attire – that it was once filled with had been replaced with a-line pencil skirts, cashmere cardigans, and full coverage blouses. All were hand picked by my boyfriend of course, who convinced me when I graduated that I needed to start acting like a grown-up and not a college student. I listened, I agreed, I conformed to what he wanted me to be. Now that I'm home my only clothes left are from high school, and since I quit my job the day I left him (I was his father's secretary) I have no money to purchase anything new.

“I don't exactly have choices,” it comes out more hostile than I intend, mainly because I don't want them knowing I chose this outfit specifically because it revealed no skin and I still had Will's voice ringing in my head to stop dressing like a slut. Now looking back I realize how absurd that was. I was never modest in my attire, but it was far from slutty.

“At least let me add a little more makeup,” Stevie leads me to the bathroom and takes out my cosmetics bag.

Naomi stands in the doorway and watches while she adds eyeliner, blush, and lip gloss. They both see right through my reason for wearing my outfit. They had been trying to get me to stop dressing like his perfect Stepford girlfriend for over a year now. I know the only reason Stevie is adding more makeup is because I haven't been able to wear any since I left Will. I did my hair and makeup the way he liked it for so long that now it's the only way I know how. I don't want to be his puppet anymore so I opt for only concealer and mascara when I do decide to wear any.

“There,” Stevie puts down the lip gloss to fix my hair, making my ponytail more messy and stylish, “much better. With every passing day you look more like the loving, kindhearted Lily we love, and not the meek, docile girl who possessed you for the past two years.”

“Like I said earlier,” Naomi pulls me into a hug, “it's good to have you home in more ways than one.”


“We are never going to get in,” Naomi complains as we approach the long line to The Recovery Room.

“Man, this sucks. We should have realized everyone in town would be out tonight,” Stevie starts scanning the line, looking for anyone we might know who will let us join them.

A sharp whistle rings out and we snap our heads to the front door where it came from.

An odd tingle tickles my skin when I see my neighbor guarding the entryway. It's the same one I got the other day when I was getting into the passengers side of my dad's car to go out to dinner and I saw my neighbor getting into his truck. He had stopped when he noticed me watching him and we both stood, unmoving, taking the other in. After a beat or two he flipped his black shades down from the top of his head and got in his truck.

This past week I tried pushing him to the back of my thoughts, which was hard to do because he consumed a good portion of them. I wanted to slap the stupid out of myself every time I considered going back over to talk to him more. I'm not usually one who goes looking for trouble, but I'm intrigued.

“Was he whistling at us?” Naomi asks, confused, moving her head to see who else it could be.

He's staring at us...or at least I think he is; it's hard to tell with his black shades on. He must have noticed our confusion because he lifts his shades and my friends gasp, as well as the people standing in the front of the line.