Author: grarlene PM
'He has his demons... but don't we all' Griff/MarleneRated: Fiction T - English - Angst/Hurt/Comfort - Griff Tannen - Words: 2,955 - Favs: 1 - Published: 10-15-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8613582
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
McFly House, May 3rd 2016, 6:02 PM
"How was your day?"
Jennifer finally turned away from the vegetables she was chopping.
"Are you feeling alright, Marlene?"
"Yeah." She kept her head low and avoided any eye contact with her mother.
"Alright… Well dinner should be ready in about 10 minutes."
Griff Tannen's day had been less-than-satisfactory to say the very least. He found out he'd failed his second semester of pre-calculus and was denied admission to his second choice school, Hill Valley Community College. Then to put the cherry on top of a horrible Friday, he'd hit another car on the way home. No harm done to either car, but it did add some unneeded stress. So you could say he was just a teensy bit upset; you could even say he was livid. However, his day brightened somewhat when he saw that Marlene had showed up to his house for a surprise visit.
He arrived home and could hear Marlene and Biff chatting up a storm in the kitchen. They were playing some card game and his mother, Tiffany, was cooking some spaghetti for dinner, grinning to herself at the commentary. None of them had noticed he was home.
He cleared his throat loudly.
Marlene jumped out of her seat and wrapped her arms around him in a tight squeeze. "Hey! I'm gladyou're home."
"Yeah, uh, I wasn't expecting you here…" Her face twisted for a moment but the smile returned to her face.
"Well I thought I would surprise you!"
"Marlene, honey, you're welcome to stay for supper if you'd like." Tiffany called from across the room.
"Thanks." Marlene was being particularly cheery. "So how was your day?" She turned toward Griff again.
He rubbed the back of his neck. "Actually, not so great," he looked at his mom and grandpa who were both ignoring the fact that he was in the room. "Do you wanna go upstairs with me for a bit?" His voice was low and secretive.
"Yeah, sure," she turned to Biff. "No cheating while I'm gone, old man!"
Jennifer knew her daughter wasn't alright. She, too, was a teenage girl at one time and those monotone, monosyllabic replies were an obvious sign that Marlene was distressed. At first she thought to just let Marlene sort it out for herself, but when she didn't come down for dinner after 20 minutes, she decided to go see what was up.
"You two can go ahead and eat, I'll go check on her,"
"Finally!" Marty Jr. shoved a forkful of pork chop into his mouth, while simultaneously shouting at something that had just happened on his TV glasses.
"Hey! Don't act like a damn pig." His father scolded.
Jennifer knocked on her daughter's door lightly. "Sweetie?"
"Are you okay?"
"Marlene, I know you're in there." She waited. "Please let me come in."
She heard a low murmuring and some sniffles. Jennifer's head fell against the door. She knew that if Marlene didn't want anyone in, she wouldn't let anyone in. Suddenly the door swung open and she fell forward. She looked up and saw Marlene already turned around and walking back to her bed. She crawled in and covered herself with the comforter. "What do you want, mom?"
"I just want to know what's wrong, sweetheart." Jennifer walked over to Marlene and sat in the chair next to the bed. She rubbed her daughters back soothingly (something she'd done since Marlene was a baby).
"Did you have a bad day?"
"Did you and Griff get into an argument?"
Marlene breathed in sharply, "Mom, I don't. want. to talk about it." Jennifer reached forward to brush the hair out of her daughter's face, but Marlene quickly retracted from the hand. "Can't you just leave me alone?"
Jennifer's eyes narrowed. "Marlene, what's that on your face?" She tried to move her head again, but got her hand swatted away as Marlene recoiled further into her bed.
"Marlene, let me look at your face!"
"No mom, I'm 17, not 7." She said into the pillow.
"Yes, you are 17 and as long as you live here, you wi-" A lady bug pillow hit Jennifer in the face mid-sentence. "Marlene Jane-"
"Mom," Marlene said, her voice wavering. She looked to her mother, revealing the bruise across her jaw.
Griff closed the door to his room behind them. He set his bag down and sighed.
"Marlene… I don't know how to tell you this-"
"Oh god… you're not breaking up with me are you?" Her voice sounded panicked.
"Wh- Oh! Of course not, no!"
"Oh my god, okay good. That would have just been the worst ending to the worst day." Marlene sat down on the bed with a hmph.
"Bad day too, huh? Well, what happened?"
"You know that big test I had in physics today?" He nodded. "Yeah, well I got a C on it and now that's gonna bring my average down to a B. I just… I just worked so hard in that class so I could make an A for the year and now that hope's been shot to hell." She shook her head.
Griff chuckled a bit. "Is that it, babe?"
"Is that it? My dad is going to be so pissed at me for this! I'm going to get the standard lecture about how he didn't do his best in school and that he regrets it and that he doesn't want that to happen to me."
"You think your dad's gonna be pissed? My mom will have my head for the grade I got on my pre-calc exam! I made a 55 and now I'm failing for the semester, so now I won't graduate with my class. Do you realize how much my gramps is going to scold me for this?"
"Well I'm sorry to hear that, really I am, but just because you made a shittier grade than me doesn't mean you have to act like my situation doesn't suck too."
Griff clenched his jaw. 'Don't get mad… Don't get mad at her.' "Please don't say it like that. I'm sorry; I didn't mean to be so… insensitive."
"You know what, it's fine," Marlene breathed out. "Your situation does seem a bit worse I suppose. So what do you want to do tonight?" She wrapped her arms around his waist and went to kiss him.
He grabbed her arms and pulled her off. "Marlene, that's not the worst part." Her brow furrowed in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
Griff folded his arms over his chest and looked down at the floor. "I- I didn't get accepted into HVC."
Marlene tried to hide it, but her mouth fell open. "You didn't get in?" Her voice seemed laced with judgment.
His jaw clenched again and his face was turning bright red. He knew that if he tried to talk, he would yell, so he just shook his head.
"How? Everybody gets into HVC!"
"You don't think I know that, Marlene?!" Griff snapped. "You don't think I thought of that already? You don't think I've already kicked myself about not getting accepted? I worked my ass off this whole year just so somebody would take me."
"Well apparently not hard enough!" Now they were both shouting.
"I worked as hard as I could-"
"You should have come to me if you were having trouble!"
"Do you realize how embarrassing that would have been? Coming to my girlfriend for help?"
"Oh, so now I'm an embarrassment?" Griff's fists clenched up in anger. 'Don't get mad… Don't get mad at her. She's the best you have.' He breathed in and closed his eyes.
"That's not what I meant."
"Well that's what it sounded like! I just-" Marlene was fuming at this point. She threw her hands up in frustration. "I don't get how you couldn't get in."
"Look. Not everybody can be so lucky to get all A's on everything and get into all of their first choice schools."
"It's not luck, Griff. I worked for what I got." She poked his chest emphatically.
This all started to sound like all of the arguments Griff had been having with his grandfather for years. Rage started to blur his vision and his muscles shook from being tensed. He pushed her hand away from him.
"I have worked just as hard as you have-"
"No! No, you haven't! Almost every day after school, you'd go hang out with your friends and I'm pretty sure you guys weren't studying. Griff, you were arrested this year and the only reason you got out was because your mom's a lawyer. You were fucking around all year!" Marlene grabbed her hair. "God, how could you be so stupid?!"
"Don't. call me. fucking stupid, Marlene." Griff said through his teeth.
Marlene looked down and shook her head. "Your grandpa was right about what he said about you…"
The voice of reason in Griff's mind was almost nonexistent as his hand launched forward at Marlene's face. The wall made an audible thudas her back slammed against it. With her arms curled up to her chest, she shook in terror.
Griff grabbed her by the shoulders. "Don't you ever say that!" His voice trembled with rage as he spoke. His fist hit the wall merely inches from Marlene's head, leaving a hole. She slid down and crawled around Griff with a quiet sob escaping her lips. She grabbed her bag and quickly escaped the room covering her mouth the whole time.
"Marlene?" Griff's sister, Julie, had just arrived home and came upstairs after hearing a loud noise. She called to Marlene as she stormed down the stairs. Standing at the doorway, Julie turned to her brother.
"Griff, what happened?" Her voice was thick with concern.
The tires on her car squealed as Marlene pulled out of the driveway. She drove out of the subdivision way over the speed limit and she was aware of that, but she didn't care. She just had to drive. At that moment, she wished her car had had a hover conversion. Cars on the ground just never seemed to go fast enough. But alas, she had her dad's old, crap truck, so she went as fast as it would take her.
Marlene drove for about five minutes before she realized that she had been driving 88 in a 45 zone. Even then, she still wanted to go faster. Right now, driving was the only thing that was taking her mind off of everything, but when the tears began to blur her vision, she decided to pull over for a bit.
She sat for a moment breathing in quick, deep breaths to keep her composure. Her death grip on the steering wheel began turning her knuckles white. Just as she thought she was ready to pull back onto the road, a car full of jocks sped by honking their horn and yelling out the windows. Marlene screamed and she tensed up all over again. The scream calmed into a cry. Her head fell forward onto the steering wheel.
"Why, why, why, why…" she repeated.
Jennifer leaned forward and lightly touched the bruise.
"Oh Marlene… What happened?"
"I- I just… Mom, I-" Each time she tried to speak, her voice gave out.
Jennifer sat down on the bed and laid her daughter's head onto her shoulder.
"Shh. You're okay…"
After Marlene had calmed down a bit, she asked again. "So what happened?"
Marlene thought for a moment. If she told her mom the truth, she would surely tell her dad and then everything would be blown out of proportion; she would never get to see Griff again. Even though he was the one who hurt her, she couldn't help but think that she was partly to blame too. She pushed him and she knew it was making Griff mad but she liked it. It was like a power over him. 'I should've seen it coming,' she thought.
"I… I um… Well, I tripped at school and fell face first onto a step." She chuckled. "I was just clumsy I guess."
"Does anything feel broken or swollen?"
She shook her head.
Her mother smiled warmly and exhaled with relief. She pushed the hair out of Marlene's face and asked, "Well then what are you so worked up about?"
Marlene rolled her eyes and shrugged. "I don't know it was just really embarrassing, you know."
Jennifer stood up. "Well, something like that happens to everyone. Nothing to get so broken over." Marlene's mouth twitched on the last part. "Dinner's ready if you want some."
"No I think I'm good."
"Alright well… goodnight Mar-Mar."
Marlene smiled faintly. "Night, mom."
Griff backed away from the wall and slowly sat down on his bed. His hand was still slightly curled into a fist. He looked as shocked as Marlene did. He remembered the look on her face as he pushed her; she never saw it coming. He shut his eyes tightly, trying to will the memory away.
"Julie, please go away."
"What just happe-"
"Go away!" Griff snapped.
Julie jumped. "Jesus Christ, fine!" She slammed the door behind her, mumbling to herself.
He laid back onto his bed. His mind was filled with the picture of Marlene with that look on her face. That look. He couldn't escape it, no matter how hard he tried. His hands squeezed the sides of his head, trying to push out the memory but it was still there. He remembered hearing her cry as she ran out of the room. At the time, he had registered everything that was happening; he wanted to stop, but everything was happening too fast and everything felt so out of control.
'You're a terrible person.' his mind scolded. 'All those people were right about you two; she was way too good for you. You just ruined her. You ruined her just like you do everything else good in your life. You don't deserve her. You never deserved her.'
He knew it was all true.
"Fuck!" Griff's hands slammed down onto the bed. He knew what he had to do. Without second thought, he grabbed his keys off his desk and ran down the stairs two at a time and bolted out the front door.
"Griff! Why'd Marlene leave so fast? I thought she was staying for dinner." Tiffany called from inside the house. He ignored the question and jumped into his car.
Marlene was startled by the unexpected knock on her bedroom window. She relaxed however when she remembered only one person ever came in through her window.
Quickly, she wiped over her face and nose with her sleeves. "It's unlocked, Griff." She heard the window slide open but she didn't turn around.
Griff was sweaty and out of breath. "Marlene…" She didn't reply, but he expected no different. He sat down on her bed facing away from her.
"Marlene, I don't know how to," he stopped for a moment to word everything in his head. "Marlene, I am so sorry and- and I know that probably doesn't mean anything to you or make up for…" His breathing started to become staggered. He cleared his throat. "That doesn't make up for what I did to you and I'd understand if you never wanted to see me again." He turned to her. She still looked away with her arms folded over her chest. "I just want you to know that I love you more than anything in the whole world and I care about your feelings more than I care about my own. So I'll leave you-"
"Griff," Marlene stopped him. "You're not completely to blame here. I pushed you to-"
"No, stop. Don't you say that, don't you dare say that. You did nothing wrong." She turned to face him.
The moment he saw her face, his heart sank into his gut. Her eyes were bloodshot and swollen with tears, her face was blotchy from crying and a fresh bruise lined her jaw.
"O-ohh." His voice became strangled. "Oh god…" A choked sob forced its way from his throat. He buried his face into the heels of his hands. "I'm so sorry, I'm so sorry, Marlene… I can't believe I could ever do this to you. I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry…"
Marlene stared at Griff for a long moment with her face twisted in a mix of emotions. In the blink of an eye, he had disintegrated completely, revealing the most vulnerable part of him she'd ever seen. She laid her hand onto his back. "Marlene, I-" he hiccupped.
"Shhh… I know, I know…" She pulled him into a hug and kissed his head.
"I know." Marlene rocked him slowly. She closed her eyes and sighed.
He has his demons... Marlene pushed the razor on her side table out of view. But don't we all? I can't give up on him. He needs me, just like I need him.