“Hello,” said Mark, and he didn’t bother to wait for an invite before brushing past Ophelia and dashing to her dinner table.

“Hi, I guess. Maybe you want to talk before we eat?”

“Nonsense,” he replied, teeth already snapping through the chicken leg, about to bite into the corn cob, “the best way to kick things off is with a full stomach.”

She made her way to the table and picked at the lone chicken leg that remained at the center dish, and watched him with awe as he continued to chew — rather grossly — at all the food she had taken hours to prepare.

Well, not hours, but long enough o know that he couldn’t possibly be enjoying the taste.

“So, ” he managed to spit out, “how did you know Alex?”

And there it was, out in the open, the name of the sweet person who might’ve introduced them if she were still alive, yet somehow had managed to play matchmaker at her own funeral. “She was my best friend, since we were kids–.”

Then Ophelia felt it, that warm bug in the back of her throat as the tears threatened to break out of her eyes. “You know, it’s still sad to think about her, I think you can agree, so let’s talk about, I don’t know, the food, how is the food?”

Mark smiled, spinach still stuck between his teeth, but somehow still charming: “I agree, and maybe we got off on the wrong foot, so, let’s change gears and talk about how DELICIOUS this food is!”

Ophelia managed a small chuckle, the first of many for the evening.


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