#My52 – Week 19
Word Prompt – home
Word Count – 763
Reading Time – 3 mins, 21 secs
Mark smiled as he stepped out of the Tahoe.
The chaos of his world always disappeared when he went home.
It didn’t matter home was no longer the three-bedroom home in the cul-de-sac on Highview Avenue in Altadena. His home was wherever his parents were and that would never change.
After retiring, Charles and Trudy Kelly gave up urban life for quieter climes just outside Fresno. Only four homes sat on Old Spanish Trail Road and the Kelly’s owned the last one on the end, at the edge of the woods.
Prentiss exited the vehicle, walking around the front to stand next to his brother.
“Why does this always feel so good?”
“‘Cuz we’re kids again and Mama and Pop will make everything right?”
Slapping his brother on the back, Prentiss nodded. “Exactly.”
They looked up as the front door opened. Charles and Trudy walked down the pathway to greet them looking a decade younger than a couple in their mid-sixties.
At just over six-feet tall, Charles was shorter than both his sons, but his brawn was equal to theirs and showed no signs of softening with age. He’d given up the corporate look of close-cropped hair and a clean-shaven face and now shaved his head and wore a two-day growth beard.
His wife of forty-two years walked at his side; her five-feet nine-inch stature almost regal. Her salt and pepper block braids were wrapped atop her head like a crown.
And as always, they held hands.
“C’mon kiddo. Let’s go see if Mama and Pop can work their special brand of Kelly magic and right your world.”
Mark grinned, following his brother up the pathway, but he couldn’t ignore the niggling feeling of dread creeping up the back of his neck.
“So, just like that, she demanded you marry her? Like she’s the queen of the planet?”
Trudy stroked her husband’s arm. “Calm down, CJ. It could have been worse.”
“I don’t see how it-”
“She could have shown up with a minister and a shotgun.”
Prentiss roared with laughter, and Mark and Charles chuckled despite the gravity of the situation.
Trudy’s expression sobered.
“Mark Allen, if you’re positive you’re the father of this child, there’s no question you’ll be a responsible father and provider. That’s just who you are. But I don’t understand why she wants marriage. It’s not something you do on a whim. Being a parent is a big responsibility, but being a spouse is hard work.”
“Am I that much work, Gertrude?”
She grinned and kissed his cheek. “Honey, you are a full-time job and overtime on the weekends.”
“TMI! TMI! Children in the room.”
Prentiss threw his hands up over his face while Mark squeezed his eyes shut.
“What children? You see any children, Trudy?”
“No, but I see two grown men on the other side of thirty.”
Grabbing his chest, Prentiss feigned injury. “Dang, Mama. Direct hit.”
She waved him off addressing Mark.
“All I’m saying is marriage is a lifetime commitment that too many don’t take seriously. Back in our day and the days of our parents, if a young woman got pregnant, there had to be a wedding to remove the shame and keep family dignity. Of course, it didn’t, and they shamed some women the rest of their lives… even the men who got them pregnant and married them.
“Things aren’t like that now, but women still pay a harsher price than men, because it’s too easy for them to walk away. But that’s not the kind of son we raised, and as long as Yvonne will work with you for the child’s benefit, I see no reason for either of you to lock yourself into a marriage that doesn’t have a strong foundation of love, trust, and honesty.”
“Okay, Okay, Mama. I get it. I understand.” He reached over and squeezed her hand. “Thank you. You still give the best lectures around. But marriage isn’t on the list right now. I still need to confirm Yvonne’s pregnancy. I’ve had too many friends—male and female—freak out over home pregnancy tests that were wrong.”
“I ask her to make an appointment next week with a reputable doctor and text me the details. I plan to be there.”
Charles and Trudy exchanged surprised glances before Trudy responded.
“Explain to us again why you needed our input?”
Mark held out his upturned hands, fingers splayed. “Um. That’s the extent of my plan.”
Charles slid to the edge of the sofa, leaning toward his youngest son. “We’ve talked all around the subject so I’m just going to ask the question.” Concern was etched deep in his furrowed brow. “You said marriage isn’t on the list right now but is it something you’re considering? Son, do you want to marry Yvonne?”
Mark’s dad didn’t pull any punches, but what will Mark’s answer be?
To be continued…
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV |
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