Golden Calf, Part Four
29 March 2005
There was a knock on the door to Lori's apartment. She glanced from around the door to her broom closet, then closed it. After checking that the latch was secure, she opened the front door to find Mark Hendricks.
"Lori! Are you okay?"
"You missed trivia night again. Last week you said you were sick but this week no one could even get a hold of you and we've been a team for two years and you've never missed a night and we were all concerned." She sighed and leaned on the doorframe.
"I'm sorry, Mark. I was hanging out with Matteson and I guess I forgot."
"And forgot to answer your phone?"
"Is this really about trivia?" He opened his mouth as if to speak, then stopped and exhaled hard through the nose as he looked at her.
"Look, can I at least come in? If we have to do this I don't want it to be in the hallway." She stepped aside and dramatically waved her hand to point him in. He walked past her and turned to the living room, where he sat down on the couch. She closed the door and made her way to the recliner.
"What's going on with you?"
"With me? Nothing. But there's clearly something going on with you."
"What do you mean?"
"Look it's, these past two weeks, you've been acting really weird. Blowing people off, forgetting names. You've seemed a bit more...tense, as well. Now I don't know if it's this guy or some other thing in your life that happened around the same time, but the timing-"
"Are you accusing Matteson of something?" she asked, narrowing her eyes.
"I don't know, okay?" he nearly yelled, slapping his hands on his thighs. "Whatever it is, I'm not trying to judge anyone. I just want you to talk to me. Or Beth. Or anyone, just...something is wrong, we can all tell. And we care about you. Whatever is going on, we want to be there for you." She leaned back in her seat and stared off toward the window for a moment.
"Okay. Thank you. I've been under a lot of stress lately. It will pass, I promise, and this new thing with Matteson has been helping. Just...have some patience with me? I'll explain when I'm ready." Mark leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and rubbing his hands together. Finally, he turned his head up to face her.
"You promise you'll talk to one of us?"
"I promise." He sat up, took a deep breath, and then nodded.
"Okay. Just try not to be too much of a stranger during this time?" She nodded and smiled, and he stood. "Alright. Thanks. Look, I gotta go help Bob with something. Should we expect you at Beth's tomorrow?"
"Yeah. I'll be there." He nodded, then walked out of the apartment. As soon as she heard the door close, she groaned and laid the recliner back.
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