The stove’s clock changed to 10:52 silently. The flat was dark, except for the dim light that shined in from outside. Sonia sat at the dining room table, spinning her 3rd glass of cognac between her fingers. The last 6 years had been the same: her husband would walk out the door for work and manage to find his way between the legs of a young co-ed. Marcus was beautiful and charming in the beginning. He’d lavished her with gifts and trips, promising that she was the only woman he’d ever loved. They consummated their relationship in the balmy waters of Santorini & they were inseparable from then on. The first year they were married was everything she’d hoped. He spoiled her, prompting to her to quit the measly desk work she’d believed was her career. He helped her mother & sister move to a better home in a better community and doted on his wife, loving her as largely as he could.
It was the phone call to end all phone calls.
Of course, Marcus didn’t know that he had called Jasmine in all the commotion, it she answered and she heard everything.
Hey babe. Shuffling. Someone giggling. Hellloooo??
Oooh, just like that, Marcus said distantly.
What the fuck, she said, listening closer.
36 minutes. 36 minutes of listening to the man that she loved tell someone all kinds of things: how he never wanted to leave, how good it felt inside of her, where to put her mouth, until his phone died. Jasmine sat in the kitchen in shock. She wanted to marry this man, to start a family…She could feel her heart breaking into pieces. 2 years of building a life together, a home, all destroyed in less than an hour. Questions buzzed in her brain, questions she knew she didn’t want the answers to. She went upstairs.
Marcus tripped over several suitcases when he walked in the house. “What the… Babe?” He called up the stair, but got no reply. He stepped over the luggage and went upstairs toward their bedroom, but he found Jasmine in the bathroom. She flitted around, stuffing toiletries into a smaller bag that sat on the counter. “Babe?” She continued walking around, ignoring him completely. “Jasmine,” he said with a little more effort. “What?!” she replied, at an equal volume. “What’s your problem?” He asked.
“You, you lying sack of shit!”
“Me, what did i do?”
“I think the more appropriate question is ‘Who’ you did,” she said, stomping past him. Marcus felt his heart drop into the bottom of his stomach, but he maintained his façade. “Who? I was out with B,” he said, following behind her. “Oh, so you got B sucking you up? You wish you were inside of B everyday?”
The look on his face gave him away. “Yeah, dumb ass, your phone called me. I heard it all,” she said, putting more things into a duffel bag. Marcus swore to himself. He had his back against the wall and had no more moves. “Jasmine… Where are you going?” He said in his most earnest voice.
“I’m out. I don’t have to put up with this shit.”
“Wait, we need to talk about this.”
“I don’t have shit to say to you. I’m gone.”
“Wait,” he said, grabbing her arm. “Marcus, get your hands off me.”
“Where do you think you’re going?”
“None of your damn business. You weren’t looking for me when you were with that bitch, were you? Now let me go!”
They tussled briefly. Marcus pushed her down on the bed and laid on top of her to stop her from hitting him. “Get off me! I hate you!” She fought hard enough to knock him off the bed and onto the floor. Jasmine stood and walked past him to collect her things. Marcus saw the fluffy pink handcuffs she had bought and got an idea.
Before Jasmine could collect the rest of her things, Marcus snapped one cuff onto her wrist. “What the fuck are you doing?!” She yelled. He pulled her down to the floor and cuffed her other hand through the wooden rails of their bed. “Marcus, this shit ain’t funny. Uncuff me.”
“I’m not letting you leave. Just let me explain.”
“I don’t want to hear shit from you!
“Too bad! Because you’re not walking out that door!”
“Fuck you!” She yelled before kicking at him wildly. He dodged her feet and sat back against the wall, out of her reach before putting his head in his hands. He couldn’t imagine life without her. Life before her was a drunken blur of loose women, but she made him want to be better. Jasmine commanded respect from him, made him wait and let him see how worth it all she was. “Marcus, let me go or I swear…”
“You put my feet on the ground, you know. I don’t know where’d I’d be if you hadn’t come along.” He heard her scoff and he turned to face her. He had never seen her this angry, but he knew it was only because she was more hurt than anything. “I love you. I love you more than anything.”
“How could you say that?”
“How could…how could i? Marcus, you cheated on me. You spat in my face and in the face of this relationship.”
“It was an accident. She doesn’t….”
“Bullshit! You made a conscious decision to be selfish, to conveniently forget about me! That’s no accident!”
“Shut up,” she said, already knowing what he was going to say. They sat in silence: Marcus, too afraid that losing and Jasmine, too angry to stay. “I’m not letting you leave, Jas. No one in this world could mean as much to me as you do. Before you, my life was a mess. My mom…”
“You think throwing your mother’s death in my face is gonna change what you did?” She said, her voice dripping with venom.
Her phone rang on the bed before Marcus had a chance to reply. He picked the phone up, but ignored the caller. “Give me my phone Marcus.” He ignored her and sat back in his spot on the floor. The phone chirped from a text that popped up on the home screen.
Do u still need me?
“Who the fuck is DeAndre?” Marcus asked, frowning his face up at the phone. “None of your business!”
“So that’s what this is? You tryna leave me for another motherfucker?”
“Even if I am, it’s none of your damn business! Apparently, you have plenty of hoes to placate yourself with.”
Marcus pitched the phone across the room, shattering it into several pieces. “What do I have to do to prove that she meant nothing to me? “
“How about not fuck her?! How about come home to me at night? Be faithful, be loyal, be the man I thought I fell in love with!”
“I am loyal! I’m here with you every night!”
“No…” Jasmine said, shaking her head, willing the tears not to fall.
“I’m just a man. Im not perfect. You make me feel like I can do anything and I forget…that I’m just a man.” Jasmine still hadnt replied or looked his way. She couldn’t bear to face him, because she knew she still loved him, flaws and all. He moved towards her and unlocked the cuffs. “You can’t leave me. I dont want you to leave me. But if you need to…if you can’t forgive me…I’ll go.”
“It meant nothing. I was helping her, Margaret, that’s all.”
“The way you helped me?”
“I thought she was your friend.”
“So you wouldn’t fuck her?”
“That language does not become you.”
“Yes, you’d rather I be demure.”
“I’d rather you be rational.”
“Meaning what? That I say nothing about what I see, what I hear?”
“What have you heard?”
“That you are capable of anything.”
“And who told you that?”
“Agent van Alden while you were out campaigning.”
“Well, if you didn’t tell me about it, It couldn’t have been very upsetting.”
“It made me sick to my stomach. This whole arrangement does…”
“That I’m to accept what you tell me and ask nothing more that I aid you in the business you conduct and pretend I don’t know what that business is.”
“I don’t recall you ever saying no to anything I put in front of you. You make a little noise every now and then to remind me what a good person you are. But a good person wouldn’t be here right now.”
– Boardwalk Empire