Chapter 3.8 – Aggression

Mark takes his chances and launches himself at Ali with an aggression that startles just about everybody.
 
Ali is a cruel kid with a wicked personality. But he is no match for his larger, stronger, and more aggressive foe. As the beat-down commences, Ali’s friends have second thoughts about intervening. Mark seems to have come off of his rails, and they do not want any part of it.
 
Ali emerges from the scuffle with a broken nose and a bloodied face. Mark returns Ali’s earlier gesture by grabbing him by the back of the head and shoving him face-first into the surf. He storms away with his temper still flaring, leaving the onlookers standing in confusion and uneasiness.
 
Charlotte, sick with worry, first checks to see if Ali is seriously injured. When he drags himself up, coughing out a mouthful of sand and blood, she runs over to catch up with Mark. She hears Ali swearing something in a foreign language; something angry and vengeful.
 
Mark angrily drains a drink from the juice bar as Charlotte meekly approaches, then gently kisses him. She has never seen him this angry before, and it quite honestly scares her. He winces from a welt on his lip where Ali had landed a lucky punch. Charlotte whispers that she does not like to see Mark so angry. But Mark, still feeling his unbridled rage, shouts after a retreating Ali and friends that he deserved everything he just received. Charlotte tries to calm him by suggesting that fighting isn’t always the answer to a problem. Her words seem to have a reaction opposite to the one she was hoping for.
 
Mark grumbles that she should be more appreciative of what he does for her. For all the times he has defended her and fought off the jerks who thought it was funny to pick on the unpopular kids. He tells her that he has put each of them in their place, and Ali especially.
 
For Charlotte, the stress of so much fighting has strained her friendship with Mark. Even to the point of her parents threatening to not let her see him any longer. Whether it is due to that stress, or just the general “thick-headedness” Mark currently has on display, she shouts at him for the first time.
 
It is a whiny and shrill shout, but the effect is not lost. She continues that she is tired of feeling guilty and helpless about having to be “saved” from everything. She wants, just for once, to figure out how to handle a bully on her own. She tells him she does not want him do defend her any more; she just wants him to love her.
 
Marks next words are not carefully chosen, and they are spoken without much thought. He says abruptly, flatly, and coldly, that love is for wimps.
 
And within moments, he finds himself standing alone.
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