In last week's Don't Look Back, an unpleasant wind blew into Burnham in the form of Marshall's mother. Can this be good for Marshall and Lee? What does she want? Find out in this week's episode. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers are up to. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
Don't Look Back #42 (8.3)
If Rhonda was taken aback by Roy’s words, she didn’t show it. She licked her lips, one hand poised cockily on her hip.”Well, I’m very flattered you know who I am. Marshall talk about me a lot, does he? He’s a sweet boy, isn’t he? People say he takes after his momma.”
Marshall thought he was going to be ill.
“Lee and me, we been divorced for a long time. I guess you know Lee, don’t you? Marshall’s daddy?” She put as much emphasis into that one word as it could possibly hold. “His real daddy. Not his stepdaddy, like Murray over there.” She waved a manicured hand in the vague direction of the travel trailer. “His actual father.”
How many ways could she say that?
Roy didn’t appear in the least fazed. Of course, this wasn’t exactly news to him. Not that she knew that.
She took a step toward Roy. Raising her hand, she boldly stroked his cheek, giggling like the young girl she obviously wished she was. “This town’s sure lucky to have a sheriff as handsome as you. I appreciate you watching over my son, and it’s been very nice to meet you. Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have some catching up to do—”
Roy removed her hand, even as he stepped around her and took up a protective position between her and Marshall. Marshall could only imagine the amount of restraint he’d had to use. “Ma’am, I guess I didn’t make myself clear. You need to go. You need to leave Burnham entirely. And I’d be very careful what I said if I were you. You’re about to cross a line here…”
For a moment, the mask dropped, her eyes narrowed, and her mouth set into a thin line of hatred. Then she relaxed her expression once more, revealing cracks in the thick foundation she’d troweled on her face. “Me cross a line?” She snorted inelegantly, looking between Roy and Marshall. “Lee crossed that line the first time he stuck his dick in his son. But maybe you knew that already? I always heard that Texas was famous for its steers and its queers. You sure don’t look like no cow, so what does that leave?”
Before Roy could even respond, she’d taken a few steps backward, watching him carefully. “You know they’re unnatural, and I’m guessing you just don’t care. But not everyone’s going to feel that way, I think.” She chanced a quick glance behind her before looking to Marshall once more.
“Tell Lee he hasn’t heard the last of me. And if he knows what’s good for him, he’ll give me what I want. I’ll be in touch.”
“Goddammit.” Roy took a step in her direction, but she’d already swiveled and scrambled back to the safety of the truck and trailer. Moments later, Marshall heard the engine start, and she jerked it into gear, before lurching down the street in a hasty get-away.
Marshall didn’t realize how badly he was shaking until Roy drew him into a tight embrace. “Shh, shh, it’s all right. Don’t let that bitch get to you. I won’t let anything happen, I promise.”
Marshall leaned against Roy’s strength, while he worked at steadying his breathing.
“At the pond. Waiting for me. He said to pick him up and we’d go to your place, maybe get breakfast. I’ve got the truck.” Obviously, since it sat in the driveway behind them.
“Okay, c’mon. Let’s go. But I’m driving.” He stepped back and held out his hand. Marshall didn’t argue. He fished in his pocket for the keys and laid them in Roy’s palm. He was vaguely aware Roy closed the front door and locked it. The next thing he knew, he was in the passenger seat and Roy was driving.
His need for Lee only grew with each passing moment. The normally short drive to the pond seemed to last an eternity, but they reached it at last. Marshall didn’t bother to wait until the truck came to a complete halt. He’d already spotted Lee, who stood near the road, one hand shading his eyes as he watched them approach. Marshall threw open the door and raced toward Lee as fast as he could. He barreled into him, burying his face against Lee’s chest, holding on to him for dear life.
Lee’s arms enclosed him, held him close. “What’s the matter?” he asked, his voice filled with concern. Marshall couldn’t respond, simply held on to him, afraid to say the words that could mean the end of them. Afraid of losing Lee again, this time forever.
Marshall could hear Roy approach. He knew he couldn’t hide forever, much as he wanted to. Reluctantly, he drew back, searching Lee’s eyes for answers that couldn’t possibly be there. But the love was there, and that was what he needed at this moment.
Lee gazed between Marshall and Roy. “What happened?”
“She came to the house,” Roy stated flatly. “When I arrived, she was there, jawing at Marshall. I’m pretty sure she was about to ask for money.”
‘Goddamn,” Lee swore. He took Marshall’s face between his hands and looked into his eyes. “Just what did she say?” Marshall could see he hated to ask the question, but obviously he needed to know.
“She said she knows. About us. She said she’s gonna t-tell. Everyone. About us.” He couldn’t get her words out of his head, the vicious look in her eyes. He didn’t think she even cared about what they did, not really. It was always about money with her. Although maybe there was still some residual jealousy there, for the love they bore one another, and not her.
“I told her to get out of town, but I don’t think she’ll listen,” Roy spoke up.
Lee tilted Marshall’s face and kissed him softly. “She doesn’t matter, nothing matters but you and me. We’ll get through this, never doubt that.”
He held Marshall to his heart.
to be continued
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