Last week, in Don't Look Back, Marshall is faced with someone from his past - the mother he'd hoped to never see again. How did she find him? More importantly, what does she want? Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale. Enjoy!
Don't Look Back #41 (8.2)
“What’s the matter, cat got your tongue?” Her smile sent cold shivers coursing down his spine.
“Where’s your manners? Ain’t you gonna ask your momma to come in?” She took a step toward the door, as if she had the right to just walk inside, and Marshall found his tongue at last.
“No!” he blurted out. “I’m not. What are you doing here, and what the hell do you want?”
That seemed to take her aback, at least for a moment. She narrowed her eyes at him and frowned. “Is that any way to talk to your mother, Marshall Clinton?”
“You picked a hell of a time to remember that,” he retorted. “You were quick to forget about me when I was a kid.” He glanced toward the travel trailer parked in front of the house. Must be hers. A male head appeared in the passenger window of the truck that pulled it, then ducked back out of sight.
“That’s Murray,” Rhonda explained.
“I don’t care—”
“My husband,” she went on, ignoring Marshall’s outburst.
“Good for you, I guess. You and Murray can just move along. You’re not wanted here.” He took a step back, intending to close the front door on her. Surely she could take the hint. It wasn’t all that subtle.
“I know what’s going on here.”
Her words froze him in position, as his brain tried to process what she’d said. “What, you mean running a business out of our home?” he bluffed. “We have a permit, and it’s none of your business, so why don’t you take your trailer and your husband and just leave us the hell alone.”
She threw back her bleached head and laughed. “You think I came all this way because of your business? You always were a stupid child. Take after your daddy, I guess.”
“Don’t talk about Lee like that,” Marshall snarled. “He’s always been there for me, which is something you sure as hell can’t say.”
“Is that what you call it?” If his accusation struck a nerve, she didn’t show it, her face impassive beneath the layers of make-up. “I know what he’s done to you, and I think it’s disgusting.”
Marshall’s heart beat fast, his mind going a mile a minute. He didn’t care what she knew or didn’t know. He wasn’t ashamed of what he had with Lee. Trouble was he knew the rest of the world wouldn’t necessarily agree, and she might be able to cause them trouble. They had a good life here. They didn’t need her fucking with that.
“He has a name, and it’s Lee, or did that slip your mind?” he snapped at her. “Lee hasn’t done anything but love me. I guess that’s an alien concept to you, though, isn’t it?”
“You don’t think I was a good mother? I took you away, tried to give you a good life—”
“You took me away from the only home I knew, and from my father, who always loved me!” Marshall yelled. “And for what? You were too busy for me, too busy fucking around to remember I existed. You locked me in closets and made sure I never talked to anyone. What kind of love is that?”
Rhonda cringed at the barrage of accusations, taking a step backward. Marshall hoped she’d just turn around and keep going, but that was a forlorn hope.
“And what do you call Lee fucking you, his own son? What kind of love is that?” she sniped back. “I saw the video. Saw the two of you acting like lovers. Saw him kiss you like that… well, it turned my stomach when I realized the truth. No wonder he was so hot to steal you away from me, what he had in mind—”
“At least he cares about me, that’s more than I can say about you. And anything else is just none of your business. Now get the hell away from here, and never come back!” He started to close the door again, but again her words held him in check.
“I’ll tell,” she said, her voice as flat and unemotional as if she was discussing the weather, or what she was going to have for lunch. “I’ll tell everyone about the two of you. Don’t you think that’ll ruin that nice little business you got going on? I know you’re doing pretty well. I’ve done some digging of my own. Two can play the private detective game, you know.”
Marshall sagged against the door. His whole world was crashing down around him. He was as helpless as he’d been when she’d had him in her clutches before; when she’d locked him away in the dark and there was nothing he could do about it. Lee. He needed Lee. But Lee was down by the pond, waiting for Marshall to come back, and had no way to get back to the house short of walking, which he wouldn’t think to do just yet. Maybe that was for the best. Marshall wasn’t sure what Lee would do if he saw her here at their home.
“It’s bad enough my ex-husband and my son are both queer,” she continued in the same even voice, “but when people find out you’re queer with each other? There’ll be hell to pay, and you know it.”
She straightened up, looking more confident now. “But it doesn’t have to be that way, not if…”
“Not if what?”
Marshall was startled out of his reverie by the sound of Roy’s voice. Marshall had been so distracted, he hadn’t heard Roy pull up, but he stood behind Rhonda, wearing his sheriff’s uniform.
Rhonda turned, taken aback by Roy’s appearance. Marshall remembered they’d never met, so she had no way of knowing who he was to them.
“Morning, Sheriff,” she greeted him. “No trouble here, just talking to my son—”
“Ma’am, I know who you are, and I think you need to move along.”
to be continued
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