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17 Again: Scarlett's Story

Part 1

Sitting in Dean's car, Scarlett played the last moments with Mark over in her head. The whole idea of this 17-year-old man ("BOY" she quickly corrected herself) was slowly driving her crazy. She listened with one ear as Dean made various small talk, and she assumed that she was in some way responding to his questions. Her mind was back on the porch swaying the arms of her son's newest friend.

She couldn't believe that this was happening. She was turning into one of "those" woman. But she felt so drawn to Mark. There was no way to define it. There was something so familiar with the way he made her feel. The way his eyes followed her and the way that he hung on everything she said. He made her want to try. It was like she had Mike back. The Mike that supported her and cared deeply for her. The Mike before the game that changed it all.

Suddenly, she was back standing the gym, twisting her hands wondering how to tell him. Watching him so carefree, as he showboated with the cheerleaders. He was so lighthearted in that moment that she just wanted to freeze it and never let it go. She loved the fact that he was her opposite. He was outgoing and friendly, making people fall in love with his compassion and sociable attitude. She on the other hand was more reserved and shy. He pulled her out of shell and made her see the world in a different light.

When the music stopped, he made his way over to the sidelines, and his eyes locked with hers. It was incredible the way that his eyes seemed to light up when he saw her. After saying a few words to Ned, he made his way over to her. As he stood in front of her, all Scarlett could think about was how things would change. Would he ever be this carefree again? She couldn't tell him she decided. She didn't want to be the one to take all of this way from him.

She watched him run back to the bench, and her heart stopped as he turned. It was her move. Kissing his fingers, he locked eyes with her, and then he arms arced into a perfect three point shot. It was his way of showing his affection for her. It was something they shared. She gave him a small smile as she turned way.

Dam him! Dam him for knowing her so well. He could see right through her and was back at her side in a second. Asking. Worrying. She didn't want to do this to him. This was his big night. She didn't want to take that way from him. But when he forced her to look at him and begged her to tell him what was wrong, it just spilled out. She couldn't keep it in any longer.

As she told him, she saw the change in his face as the impact of her words sunk into his mind. Her heart broke in that moment. She wanted to take it back. She wanted to rewind the moment and be peppy and to pretend that this wasn't happening. He turned away from her and stumbled onto the court. She watched as he blindly took his place on the court. He seemed to be in a daze as whistle blew and the clock started to count. When the ball was tossed at him he caught it, but seemed confused as to what he should be doing with it.

He started to move, passing the ball between his hands, but she could tell that he was running on autopilot. He made his way down the court, skillfully dribbling the ball between his legs and around the players. As the crowed cheered him on, she could tell that he was a million miles away from the screaming fans and the game. She couldn't watch this. Quickly she made her way to the hallway. Turning back towards the court she locked eyes with him and gave him a small smile before walking out the gym.

Scarlett snapped back to realty when Dean touched her shoulder. She never even noticed that the car had stopped and that he was waiting on her.

"Scarlett, are you ok? You seem to be a million miles away."

She turned her head towards Dean. He seemed so kind, a stable man that seemed interested in her.

She gave him a small smile and exited that car at the same time he did. "Sorry Dean, I was just thinking about how I haven't been on a proper date in years."

* * *

Walking the door just after midnight, Scarlett dropped her purse on the table and pulled her jacket off. After hanging it up in the closet, she turned and made her way over the deck. She flicked on the lights and the backyard was once again bathed in the sparkling lights.

As she turned to survey her work, she was suddenly reminded of the impromptu dance class with Mark, just hours before. She swayed, moving back and forth to the music from her and Mike's wedding. She hummed it in her mind as she made her way around the deck. It was so familiar being his arms. He held her so gently as they moved to the music, and when he swept her into his arms, she was reminded of another time that another boy swept her up and spun her around. When Mark held her, it was like she was seventeen again. Time had stopped for her as Mark cradled her like a feather. The way his gaze moved from her eyes to her lips, she forgot that this was Alex's friend. Suddenly, she was with Mike, in his arms as he kissed her and made promises that everything would be fine.

"MOM!"

Scarlett's eyes snapped open, and she turned to face Maggie.

"Geez, I called you like five times. What were you thinking about?" Maggie's hand rested on her hip as she stood in the living room. Maggie's blue eye's pierced into her, so much like her father's. Scarlett made her way back into the house and turned off the lights.

"Nothing Mags, are you just getting home?" She made her way back towards the front door and took off her shoes.

"Yea, Stan just dropped me off." Maggie made her way down the hallway and Scarlett heard the click of her bedroom door. She sighed and made her way to her room. Switching on the lights, her eyes swept their room and her heart dropped.

She missed him.

She missed him so much it hurt. Yes, in the last couple of years they fought, but he was her opposite. She completed him in such a way that she felt empty when he was gone. Walking over the dresser she started to pull the pins from her hair as she watched her reflection in the mirror. She remembered a time that Mike stood behind her, as he carefully pulled pins from her hair, as they got ready for bed. Glancing once more at her reflection, she turned and made her way to the bathroom the change.

Dressed in her pjs and a robe, she made her way into the kitchen; turning off lights and making sure everything was locked up tight. She could hear Maggie in her room, talking on the phone and music softly playing. She was just about to knock on Alex's door when she heard a key in the lock and Alex and Mark stepped in the front door.

Scarlett was sure that Alex was apologizing for being past curfew, but she couldn't hear him. Mark was staring at her, his eyes taking her in. She was suddenly self-conscious and pulled the robe tightly around herself. She quickly turned to Alex, and noticed his leg.

"What the hell? What did you two do?"

Both boys turned to look at Alex's leg. Alex turned bright red as he stuttered that it was nothing. He quickly thanked Mark for the ride and bolted to his room.

Scarlett turned around and found herself under the watchful eyes of Mark once again. She moved towards the kitchen and made herself busy by putting on the kettle. As she stepped back from the stove, she could feel the fact that Mark had followed her and was watching her as she made herself a cup of tea. Standing on her toes, she reached for a mug, only grasp at air. Alex had placed the mugs to far back on the shelf for her. Suddenly, Mark was behind her, hand on her hip as he easily reached above her and grabbed her favorite mug. If she closed her eyes, it was almost like Mike was with her. Hell, Mark even smelled like Mike did.

She took the mug from his hands, and quickly stepped around him. Grabbing a tea bag, her hands shook as she slowly unwound it and placed it in the cup.

"Thanks."

"No problem." She looked up to see him quickly turn away and run his fingers through his hair. She could hear him muttering under his breath, but couldn't make out what he was saying.

"Well I better go, Ned must be wondering where I am." He turned, and without looking at her, bolted for the door. She heard it close and his car start up from the street. Making her way the front window, she watched him hop in and tear down the street.

She knew this was wrong. She was older than him. He was the same age as her daughter and was best friends with her son. But she felt drawn to him. He brought something out in her that she hadn't seen in a long time. He made her feel like the most precious thing on the planet. Just like Mike use to.

She shook her head and made her way back to the kitchen. It didn't matter how he made her feel, this had to stop right now.

As she made her way back her room, tea in hand, she picked up the phone. Making her way over to her purse, she put the mug down as she fished out a piece of paper. Dialing the number, she waited as the phone rang. Guessing he wasn't home yet, she decided to leave a message.

"Hey Dean. I just wanted to thank you for the lovely evening tonight. Sorry if I seemed out of it. I was wondering if maybe you'd like to do something on Friday. My son is playing his first basketball game, and I was wondering if you'd like to come. Well, give me call and let me know."

She hung up the phone and placed it back in the stand. She was going to get over this divorce and put all of this behind her. Picking up her mug, she made her way to her room and lightly closed the door.

The characters are not mine. I'm just borrowing them!