They were, Vivian reflected, a loud family. They laughed loud, and argued loud. But that was good.
It was when Mama and Dad were quiet that Vivian worried. It didn’t happen often, but sometimes Mama and Dad would be arguing in a quiet way. Low voiced conversations, when she and Chris couldn’t hear what they were saying.
They could hear how they said it though. It always ended the same way. Mama would stand up and leave, shooting over her shoulder to Dad “Who would ever have believed it of the great and mighty Condor.”
Then she would disappear and they would see her at dinner the next day. Somehow, then she was the serene Mama that they always knew. And she always was especially loving towards Dad then.
Sometimes it made Vivian sick to the stomach as she watched them kiss, hug and touch each other. But she worried too. When they argued quietly, it seemed like they hated each other. She heard one word once. Mark.
It always came down to Mark. Mark who was a legend in her life. Mark who was Mama’s husband. Chris’ father. Mark who had abandoned them before Chris was even born.
Mark who Vivian was afraid Mama loved more than she loved Dad.
And Mark who was the reason for those horrible, quiet arguments.
Mark who had returned, but this time the argument between Mama and Dad was loud, and it had been Dad who had left.
Then she found out more about Mark than she wanted to know – thanks to the daughter of the Rigan Ambassador who was in her class at school.
Mark didn’t deserve Mama. He didn’t deserve Chris.
But still Mama seemed to love him. And Dad seemed to be all goo-goo about him as well. Why? Vivian just couldn’t understand why, after everything he had done to them, Mama and Dad were pleased he had returned.
Why Dad and Mark spoke as if they were besties. Why Dad let Mark hug or kiss Mama!!
She wasn’t falling for him. No way would she let Mark get to her as well. Bad enough Chris hero-worshipped him.
Mark was trouble. And Vivian was determined that she would do anything she had to in order to keep him away from her family.