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Marshall slowly made his way down the stairs, trying to get his head around everything that had happened. The shower had helped clear his thoughts slightly and he realized how far he had let everything get. He had wanted to deal with everything on his own; it was his mess and he wanted to fix it but now he realized he couldn't. He needed help…He needed his best friend.
Fortunately she was there stood in the kitchen making dinner. He leaned against the doorframe and just watched her moving around. He knew he would have to tell her everything even though it was the last thing he wanted to do.
"Stop it." Mary broke his train of thought.
He frowned and pushed himself away from the door to enter the room fully. "Stop what?"
"Over thinking everything." She turned to face him. "I thought we agreed that you wouldn't do that…That you would concentrate on your mom."
"Mare…" He ran a hand over his face. "It's not fair…"
"No, it's not." She said softly. "I know how much she means to you…"
"Not that…well, that's not fair either but I was talking about this…about you."
"What do you mean?"
"I can't expect you to be here for me after the way I've treated you lately."
"I'm sorry." He cut her off.
"It's not a big deal." She shrugged turning back to the food. "You didn't do anything to hurt me… You just weren't ready to talk and didn't want to…trust me, I know how that is."
"Marshall, seriously…I understand."
He fell silent, knowing that it wasn't that simple and that there was no way their talk was finished with but it seemed that Mary was just as reluctant to talk about it then he was. He knew Mary and knew it meant one thing; she was hurting and wanted to hide it. He suddenly felt sick, knowing he was the one that hurt her.
He looked up and found her stood in front of him. "I'm sorry, what?"
"Why don't you take these through and I'll bring the rest." She held out two bowls.
"It was the only thing I could find that had the instructions on the packet." She said lightly with a shrug.
Marshall couldn't help but smile a little. "I could have cooked something…"
"Soup will do." She told him. "Go sit down."
He took the bowls and did as he was told. He placed them both on the coffee table in front of the couch and turned on the TV before taking a seat. Flicking through the channels, he settled on some cop movie that was playing but turned the volume right down. He was beginning to get a headache and was already finding it hard to think straight.
"What we watching?" Mary asked, dropping down beside him, passing him a spoon and a can of soda.
"I don't know…some movie." Marshall replied, looking down at the soda.
"What?" Mary eyed him as she picked up her bowl of soup. "Fancied a beer instead?"
He looked up at her quickly. "What? No, soda is fine."
"Good then…" Mary replied. "Eat your soup, it's getting cold."
Marshall sighed softly and set the soda down. They ate in silence and although she never looked at him directly, Marshall could she was still watching him.
"You done?" She asked, reaching to take his empty bowl but he held it out her way.
"What did you mean?" He questioned. "About the beer…What did you mean?"
She sat back down and looked him right in the eye. "It's been brought to my attention that you may have been drinking a lot more than usual, lately."
"And you think I have a problem?"
He was the one to break eye contact, looking down at his hands as he swallowed. "It didn't work…"
"Drinking…" He answered. "People say they drink to forget…to escape what was happening but it didn't work…"
"Marshall…" Mary sighed took hold of one of his hands but he pulled away.
"It was still there…the memories were still there…the pain was still there…the only difference was that I felt sicker…and in the morning, I felt even worse."
"So, you're not cut out to be an alcoholic…You can't be good at everything."
"Mary…" He rolled his eyes.
"Look, you've been through a rough time…So what if you haven't handled it perfectly." She continued. "But what you do need to realize is that there are people who want to help you…Remember what you said when Mia died, when I said I should go alone…"
"I asked why when I was there."
"Exactly and I am here, Marshall…I may not have shown it much in the past but I do want to help you."
He frowned. "Mary, you're my best friend…You have been for almost 10 years…I know you would do anything for me."
"But you would never ask, would you?" She said softly. "If there was something you needed, you would never ask…Why?"
"You have enough to deal with." He answered. "You feel responsible for a lot of people in your life…I'm not adding to the list."
"This is different, Marshall." She told him. "None of this was your fault…You didn't do anything to make your mom sick and nothing you did could justify what Abigail did to you."
He ran a hand through his hair. "I didn't help matters."
Mary narrowed her eyes at him. "Don't you try and cover for her, Marshall."
"I pushed for too much too quickly." He answered. "I freaked her out."
"I don't give a damn." She threw her hands in the air. "You were in love…You knew you wanted to spend your life with her and didn't want to waste time."
He looked across at her. "I set a wedding date solely based on the knowledge that my mother might not live longer than six months."
"I've heard worse reasons to get married." Mary shrugged. "You loved her and if she truly loved you, she would have understood."
"That's the problem though, isn't it?" He sighed. "She didn't love me…not enough anyway or she wouldn't have done this."
"You don't seem very angry about it." Mary commented.
"I've been angry…" He replied. "I've been upset…depressed…lonely…"
"So, what are you now?"
"Tired…" He answered weakly. "I'm just so tired of everything."
She nodded a little. "I can understand that."
He let his head fallback against the couch and stared up at the ceiling. She looked at him closely and wondered why she hadn't noticed how dark the circles under his eyes were and how his clothes looked too big for him.
"I'm tired…" He said again, rolling his head to look at her.
"I know…" She turned her attention back to their conversation.
"So, if we're going to talk, you're going to have to do most of the work…"
"Talk?" She repeated. "We're already are talking."
"You know what I mean." He claimed. "You want to avoid it as much as me…"
"Then what's the problem?" She questioned, standing up and grabbing their empty bowls in an attempt to escape to the kitchen. "We both get what we want…"
"Except it'll come back to bite us in the ass later." Marshall closed his eyes. "We don't have to talk, Mare…but the reason we keep ending up here…one of us hurting and the other not knowing what to do to make it better is because we are never honest with each other about this."
"Now is not the time…" She started to walk away. "You've had a rough time and you need to worry about your mom…not us."
"And this, Marshall is me knowing how to make it better." She glanced back at him. "It's time you started putting yourself first…that's the solution."
She disappeared before he had chance to reply and after placing the bowls on the counter, she put her hands down on it and hung her head. She took a few deep and closed her eyes. She knew Marshall wanted her to take control of the conversation because he had been through too much lately but she didn't know if she could. She didn't know think she was capable of being able to open up.
After a few minutes, she pushed herself to stand up straight and looked back towards the door. If she was honest was had been expecting Marshall to follow her and take charge. She sighed and rubbed her forehead, trying to figure out what to do that wouldn't end in a fight.
She groaned loudly and headed back out the kitchen but she surprised to find Marshall standing up.
"I'm going to bed…." He told her. "I'm sure you'll be able to find anything you need…"
"Why are you angry with me?"
He sighed. "I'm not…"
"Doesn't sound like it." She crossed her arms. "Just because I refuse to complicate everything by bringing up some nonexistence problems…"
"Nonexistence?" He repeated, turning back to face her.
"Yeah, we're fine when it's just the two of us...Things only get messed up when other people get involved." She stated. "When they think they know us or what we're about."
"Don't you think that's a problem?" He asked. "That our friendship can only work when neither of us is involved with someone else?"
"No, I think people should accept us for who we are and mind their own business."
"What?" She threw her hands in the air. "Do you agree with them? Do you think we're too close? Inappropriate?"
He opened his mouth and then closed it again. He swallowed hard before answering. "At times…Yes."
Her arms fell to her side and stared at him. "Oh…"
"You know what, you were right." He added quickly. "This is a bad idea."
"Yeah…" She nodded slowly. "We should get some sleep."
He continued to look at her but he lost his nervous and after a few seconds, turned and left the room.
Mary slowly sat down on the couch and covered her face with her hands. She knew she was way out of her depth.