However, he had spoiled his son. It was overtly liberal for him to be calling people names.
Gregory waved his fork at me when I was lost in thought. “Ms. Stovall, Daddy would like some pork too!” he said in an attempt to instigate me.
The atmosphere over the dining table instantly chilled.
I did not think that a man of his wealth would stoop to eat something that I took for him.
The difference in our status was clearer than ever before. Just sitting at the same table felt strange; being intimate was out of the question.
“Greg, your dad will help himself if he wants some. He…”
It was a pathetic attempt to diffuse the tension, but Ashton chose this moment to make the situation extra awkward. “Greg, I would like some of that pork.”
Though he addressed Gregory by name, it seemed to me that he was speaking to me.
Even Marcus’s fork had frozen in midair. Everybody was confused.
“Err…” Gregory muttered with a glance down at his sticky hands helplessly. “My hands are dirty. Why don’t you ask Ms. Stovall…”
Marcus couldn’t bear it any longer. “Mr. Fuller, you have such a strong bond with your son,” he interjected. “You and your wife must be very close.”
A hint of coldness flashed before Ashton’s eyes. “Mr. White, your relationship with Ms. Stovall appears to be pretty normal,” he said with a sardonic laugh.
Marcus kept his expression carefully level. “It’s hard to imagine how a busy man such as yourself would have so much time to poke his nose into other people’s private matters,” he said without hesitation.
Ashton scowled, his eyes dark as storm clouds. “Second only to your ability to worry over nothing, Mr. White.”
Marcus suddenly sat up straight in his chair. “Mr. Fuller, you are indeed eloquent.” He smiled humorlessly.
“Right back at you,” Ashton said mildly as he turned to Gregory. “Are you finished?” he asked. Though his voice had no inflections, it was dangerously soft.
Gregory would undoubtedly have been to plenty of big events. He must have sensed that the atmosphere had turned hostile but was most reluctant to put down his fork. “Yes, I’m done,” he admitted against his will.
“Let’s go, then. We’ve overstayed our welcome. Someone’s not happy,” Ashton said as he got up. “Thank you for your kind hospitality,” he said politely to us. Gripping Gregory by the hand, they departed.
I waited for the door to shut behind them before turning to Marcus. “Do you have a grudge against Ashton or something?” I asked suspiciously.
Their previous encounter was harmonious by comparison. However, upon becoming neighbors, the hostility between them had grown into something tangible.
There was no need for harsh words to be thrown about like that over a meal.
The most unusual thing was that Marcus was usually mild-mannered. He definitely was agitated earlier, which was most unlike himself.
At my words, Marcus resumed his calm demeanor. “Why would you think that?” he said with a light laugh. “You’re overthinking. Finish your dinner.”
It was obvious that it was a topic that he did not wish to discuss.
It only goes to show that there was indeed something going on between him and Ashton.
Our relationship was different from other normal engaged couples. If Marcus refused to discuss it, I wouldn’t have any reason to get to the bottom of it.
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed that Gregory’s food was virtually untouched.
Ashton had said that their kitchen was not ready for use yet and that the boy did not like takeout. It was going to be a long and hungry night for him.
Maybe I can cook them something simple and send it over?
That wouldn’t do as well; Marcus may feel even worse. Though he wouldn’t say it aloud, he may feel absolutely uncomfortable in his heart.
I shouldn’t go against him.
“Are you full enough?” Marcus’s voice interrupted my thoughts.
“Yes, I am. I’m going upstairs.”
At that, I casually picked up my phone and turned to go up the stairs.
Marcus may or may not have seen it, but he did not say a thing.
After I shut the door and ascertained that Marcus did not follow, I opened up a takeout app and ordered a homecooked meal for the Fullers.
Gregory wouldn’t be starving tonight.