The story of Mark and Abby is probably one I will tell someday, and probably because of this scene. In my head, I can see Michael Vartan and Trini Alvarado all dolled up for this exchange. (Yeah, I know–a pipe dream for sure!) I think Mark Perry might make an appearance in Midnight Moon; I haven’t decided yet. But this scene chokes me up a little, knowing what is going to happen, with “Everytime” playing in the background.
Take my hand
Why are we strangers when
Our love is strong?
Why carry on without me?
in the dark of night
The light of the world was dim that night. The aforementioned world around was drenched in the wet darkness, and while the streetlights lighted their way as they returned home in stony silence, the blackness prevailed on the edges where the shadows lurked.
The sound of the engine working was the only sound between them. The volume on the radio was turned down to an indecipherable jumble; the silence that filled the car was the outcome of many nights of neglect, miscommunication, and senseless shouting. He could sense her frustration radiating from her like body heat, mingling with the bittersweet scent of her perfume. Memories clouded his head like a shroud; he wanted nothing more than to be back in the past where acrimony was a dim, fuzzy iceberg in the far, far away future that could not hurt them.
She on the other hand felt the pressing weight of responsibility on her shoulders. She was more practical about some things than her overwrought and slightly romantic husband. She had felt the end of things coming on for so long but for different reasons. As she stared at the road passing beneath them, she only felt sorrow she could not pinpoint the cause of. The frustration he’d felt coming off of her had faded away.
With a flustered sigh, he spoke first. Even though he had a reputation for waiting out even the most stubborn criminals, he could not do the same with his wife.
“I’m sorry for being late, Abby,” he said in a voice that belied his statement slightly. “The interrogation ran late and–”
In an even tone that hinted at years of upper-class training, Abby merely said, “You don’t have to apologize. After all, it is your job, right? And lord forbid I resent you for doing your job, Mark.”
Mark sighed and resisted the urge to rip the steering wheel from the console. All of their conversations on the subject of Mark’s demanding workload started off this way, with him apologizing (but not really) and her telling him not to apologize (but again not really). And it was even worse on nights like this when Mark unwittingly embarrassed his wife with his tardiness, where duty for occupation or spouse fought for precedence inside of him.
“Every time,” Mark found himself saying. “Every time I apologize you talk to me in that tone–”
“What tone, Mark?” Abby demanded. “I’m sorry that my frustration over the fact that it is apparent that care about serving justice more than you care about me bleeds through whenever you offer up some half-assed apology. I really am.”
“That was not a half-assed apology.” Soft fabric rustled as Abby shifted under the seatbelt right next to him. She didn’t seem convinced. Mark exhaled and forced the anger that was threatening to take him over to a safe distance. As the light over them turned red, Mark tapped the brakes. He placed a hand on his wife’s, and their eyes locked involuntarily.
“Abigail,” Mark began, as his anger had dispersed and affection surfaced. Abby’s green eyes softened and her hand shifted to be palm to palm with his.
Her mouth parted, but he would never know what she intended to say. Right at the moment, the light turned green–and the car behind them, overzealous, smashed into their rear bumper. The force propelled them forward into the intersection. Inside the car, Mark cursed inwardly but turned to his wife.
“Are you okay?” Mark inquired. Abby dazedly blinked at him. “It’s going to be–”
Headlights from Abby’s side flashed toward them. Her panicked scream would torment him for the rest of his days.