I write down Ian's number. I don't know why. I don't know what I'm going to do about it. For now...
I stay until morning. Then I make breakfast, pour coffee.
Mark comes out of his room almost at noon.
"Why aren't you in college?" He asks. It can be seen that it is difficult for him to collect his thoughts.
"Why aren't you at work?" I ask instead of answering.
"'... I'm on vacation."
He takes a shower and comes back. Mark drinks coffee and even eats a sandwich I made. His blank stare scares me. So I pick up my words carefully.
"How are you doing?" I realize it sounds strange, but it draws Mark's attention.
"Fine." He answers. I don't know what to do...
"What happened here?" I try to make it sound like a curiosity not interrogation. I remember Mark said that every conversation we have turned into a fight. I really don't want to fight.
Mark looks around the room and shrugs. I feel like a stranger.
But the ring interrupts me, Mark answers and walks out of the kitchen.
"It was from work. I need to go." Mark says after he comes back.
"Yeah... of course." I lower my gaze and feel bitter sadness.
Mark leaves and I am left alone. I take out my phone and look at Ian's number in my address book. I have no plan, but I have determination. So I decide to improvise.
"Yes?" Ian's voice sounds from a speaker.
"Mr. Ian," I try to sound indistinctly since I don't know his surname. "It's delivery service. There's a package for you but unfortunately the address line is blurred. Can you tell me where to deliver it?"
"Package from who?"
"I'm sorry, sir? Can you say it again?"
"You can deliver it to my work." And he says the address.
I get there in 30 minutes, another ten minutes I search for Ian's office.
I must say that I would even pay to see his face again when he noticed me.
He silently invites me to his office and closes the door tightly.
Well... now is the time for improvisation. But my tongue seems to stick to the palate.
"The delivery I assume..." his voice is far from friendly.
"You must get back with Mark."
Ian's face twists into a wicked grin.
"Excuse me? I must what?"
"Not must, I mean... Mark needs you. He..."
"Did you come here to tell me about Mark's feelings?"
"Well, you don't want to listen to him, otherwise you would have answered his calls!" I start to get angry and make a mistake.
Ian silently points me to the door. I grit my teeth and walk towards the exit. I can't help but remember Mark's face, his blank stare... So I turn around and walk up to Ian's desk.
"Listen, mister big-wig. Yes, I meddled in your relationship, yes, I ruined everything. But Mark deserves a second chance." Ian seems to be about to say something, so I raise my voice to prevent him from interrupting me. "Yes, that's none of my business! It wouldn't have been my business if I hadn't played my part in your breakup. Or hadn't caused it... I don't know. But Mark... He deserves someone better... than me. He deserves someone more... like you. With this suit and this office... and an adult attitude..."
Ian grins, but not so viciously this time.
"So what about you? Don't you love him?" as if with a mockery he asks. But I skip this and answer:
"Even if I love him, the best I can do is let him be happy with the one he loves. And that's not me."
Now I'm leaving.
I am not going to the dorm. My feet carry me to the old apartment, the keys to which I have been carrying with me all the time since Mark gave them to me. There are enough memories in this apartment. But I feel at home here.
I hope he called him... or came...
I come to Mark for my things. I can't wait to move them to my apartment. It's even strange for me to say this... "my own apartment".
Mark is not home, I knocked first and only then opened the door with my key.
My room looks like a crime scene again. But this time I am collecting all my things. In the midst of the process, I hear that the door has opened. It might be Mark, but before I can leave the room, there is a knock follows.
I can tell by voice that this is Ian, and from Mark's reaction that Ian came for the first time after a long silence. After our conversation with him.
I feel trapped.
"I..." Mark's voice sounds uncertain, confused. "Come in."
No, if I go out now, I could ruin everything. Again. But if Ian finds out later that I am here, it will be no good either. I need to be as quiet as possible.
And I understand that I am even ready to jump out of the window, if necessary...
They sit in the living room, which is very close to my room, so I can hear their voices. Though they are silent for a while.
"You called me," Ian begins.
"Yes... three weeks ago," Mark says.
"You have nothing to say to me anymore?"
Although Ian's words are cold, his voice is much softer than when he spoke to me.
"I wanted to apologize," Mark says finally. His doors are open to Ian in a way they have never been open to me. Mark says this to Ian sincerely. "For everything I've put you through. I was not angry with you or offended that you did not want to talk to me. I still don't understand why you suddenly changed your mind..."
They were silent again. Mark continued:
"I wanted to apologize for keeping you on the doorstep for so long without deciding anything."
I heard a jingle like keys.
"If you are..."
Mark became noticeably nervous, his voice lost. His nervousness is strangely contagious to me.
"If there is even a small opportunity... If you can give me another chance... I want you to have them. I want you to stay."
Ian doesn't answer. The tension is driving me crazy. I press my ear to the door to not miss a thing.
"My job is too far away from you," Ian said. I hear hidden laughter in his voice. And I imagine Mark smiling at him with relief. "You have to move in with me."
"But my job is too far from your place."
"We'll figure something out," Ian says jokingly. I know it's a voice of a loving person. Someday I would like to hear such a voice in my address...
"Are you staying... for dinner?" asks Mark.
"If you tell me, Mark."
"Tell you what?"
Ian doesn't specify, I think his eyes speak for him. The silence was not too long.
"I love you," it's Mark's voice. I feel bittersweet sadness. This is the end of something I couldn't understand. But somehow I feel relieved and... I think that now I have a chance to make up with Mark. That I will not lose him. Because I will take my place beside him. We were a family... We have confused feelings toward each other. And I believe we can go back being a family. It will take time, but I believe it's real.
I think they kissed each other later. I don't know, I step away from the door after Mark's confession.
When the door to Mark's bedroom closed, I slip out of the apartment like a thief.
The moon is shining outside. Its light reminds me of the past but I chase my memories away. It will be my secret with the moon. My birthday is just around the corner and I already feel more mature. But the main thing is that I feel like a better person. And maybe that's what love is all about.