It's been a few days since Jackson has talked to Mark, nor has he even seen him. He's been thinking about that day for a long time. He's contemplated all of the possible reasons for his feeling towards Mark, and he thinks that he knows that answer. He really likes Mark, but he is still unsure about his sexuality. Even though he has concluded his feelings, he's still not ready to face Mark. He's been making excuses on why he can't see Mark, and every excuse, every white lie he tells kills him inside. He wants to be with Mark, but he doesn't know how he'll react once he sees him again. Will he cry? Will he confess? He doesn't even want to picture what will happen if he confesses to Mark. It's not like Mark has expressed interest in Jackson before. Has he?
"Jackson, dinner," he hears his mom call out. Jackson gets up from his bed. "Coming," he calls out, rushing down the hallway then down the stairs.
"What's for dinner tonight?" he asks after reaching the bottom step. He walks into the kitchen and finds his mom standing over the stove. His mom turns to face him, an apron draped over her neck. "Gourmet pizza," she says, grabbing two plates from the cupboard, then taking the apron off of her neck.
Jackson lets out a small smile, "By 'Gourmet' do you mean store-bought?"
His mom lets out a small giggle, "Yes," she lets out, grabbing the pizza cutter from the dishwasher, "But it's good store-bought pizza."
Jackson chuckles at his mom's quirkiness and sits down in the chair across from his mother's. He stares at the empty chair that is next to him and sighs. He misses having someone there. He then turns and watches his mother cut the pizza in tiny triangles. He looks up at her face. Even when things are tough, she still smiles and she still looks beautiful. Hell, she's always been beautiful.
Jackson gets up from his seat and walks over to his mom. He wraps his arms around his mom, giving her a back hug. "Thank you," he whispers. His mom smiles and places her hands on his. "Thank you. Thank you for being so brave."
Jackson's grip tightens around his mom. He can't even imagine what pain she is in. With his dad gone, everything has been going downhill. It makes him sad knowing that he can't do anything about it.
"Come on, let's eat," his mom says, taking Jackson's hands away from her waist. Jackson smiles and walks back to his chair. She grabs the plates from the counter and places them on the table, along with the pizza.
"So, have you talked to Mark, yet?" she asks grabbing a piece and setting it on her plate.
Guilt washes over Jackson. "No," he says quietly, "He's been a little busy lately." he scolds himself for lying yet again. What has gotten into him?
"Oh," his mom responds, "Do you think he'll be free tonight?"
"Maybe," Jackson replies, "I can ask him if you want?"
"You do that," she says, her mouth full with pizza.
Jackson nods ad grabs his phone from his pocket.
"It's not that I don't want you here," she continues, wiping her mouth, "It's just that things are tough and I don't want you hurt."
Jackson smiles, "I understand," he says as he starts texting Mark. His mom has been suggesting him to move in with Mark, but he hasn't had the chance to ask him. He finishes his sentence and rereads it, making sure that everything is spelled right. He sends his text then grabs a piece of pizza, waiting for Mark to respond
"Dude, you're probably just overreacting," Jr says through his phone. Mark probably is. He hasn't heard from Jackson in three days, and he doesn't know why.
"I know," he says into the phone, "But he's been acting very strange lately." He traps the phone with his shoulder and starts typing on his computer, trying to catch up on some school work. Even though it's online, school is school, and it still sucks.
"Like how?" Jr questions.
"He's been very distant. He's also been blowing me off every time I ask him if he wants to hang out."
"Maybe he really is busy."
"Maybe. But it doesn't feel like he's been busy." Mark sighs. He hasn't stopped thinking about that day either. Did he scare off Jackson? Did he do something wrong? It was only a hug, but did Jackson take it the wrong way?
"Just give him some time. He'll come around."
Mark lets out a small sigh. Maybe he did need some time. "Thanks, man," Mark says, taking the phone in his hand.
"No problem. Just call me again if you need anything." Jr says before hanging up the phone. Mark takes his phone from his ear then hears it ding. It's Jackson. Mark quickly unlocks his phone and reads the text.
"Hey, are you doing anything tonight? I really need to talk to you."
Mark freezes. Why does he feel like he's in trouble? Marks hands start to shake rapidly as he replies to the text.
"Nothing much. You can come over anytime you want."
Mark sends the text and tries to calm himself down. Why does he feel like he did something wrong?
Another ding comes from Mark's phone.
"I'll be there in 15 min"
Mark locks his phone and sets it on the coffee table. He quickly saves his work and gets up from the couch. What does Jackson need to talk about? Mark shakes his head.
"Stop thinking about that," Mark tells himself. "Everything will be fine. Everything will be okay...right?"
Mark sits back down on the sofa, trying to stop his mind from going all over the place. It's just a talk. Nothing bad will happen. Hopefully.
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