Birthday Girl by Meowser Clancy
A/N: A Marley Au where Mark and Riley are together. She reflects on the past year they've spent together and he makes sure she feels loved on her birthday.
Riley looked at the pancakes on the tray in her lap, and she smiled at Travis, Katie, and Zach. "Thank you guys," she said. "These look delicious."
"Daddy helped," Zach said, and Travis and Katie nodded.
"Yeah, Mark helped," they added.
She smiled at the man standing behind them, and he smiled back. His arms were folded over his chest in the doorway, and she had a feeling he was just waiting to get her alone. "Come on, guys, it's still a school day," he said after a beat. "Leave Riley to finish breakfast and I'll drive you to school once you're ready. Travis, make sure you don't forget your homework, and Katie, I've got a special lunch for you because of that tooth."
The kids ran out; Mark ruffled Zach's hair as he left, and Riley set the tray to one side, climbing out of bed. She was in a long, silky nightgown, and Mark whistled appreciatively.
"You look good," he whispered, his hand tracing over her face.
"Of course I do, love looks good on a woman," she replied, and moved in to kiss him. "This isn't our first birthday together, but it kind of feels like it, considering last year."
His hands rubbed over her arms. "I know," he whispered, pressing a kiss to her shoulder. "I love you, Riley."
"I love you too," she whispered, and they kissed again.
"Now eat your pancakes before they get cold," he scolded, slapping her ass. "I'll be back in thirty after dropping the kids off, and we can...have some fun."
She smiled wide, and he grinned back before leaving the room.
Living with Mark was just...easy. She'd been scared at first, wondering if they were moving too fast, but she and Kyle had opted to sell the house pretty soon after officially separating and beginning divorce proceedings. She hadn't wanted to draw anything out or have any drama, so she'd made sure to have all of those annoying conversations with her ex. In the end, he didn't understand, but he was going to respect her relationship with Mark. They sold the house, split the meager profits, and Riley was able to feed those profits into starting her own massage place.
Her new job was nothing like The Rub. Everything was above board and legit. She was the owner, and life was simple. She worked whatever hours she wanted, and she had retained a lot of customers from The Rub...with the understanding that all hanky panky was over and done with.
She'd moved in with Mark. She got the kids every week, and Kyle got them most weekends. Her divorce had been finalized a few months ago, and she and Mark had celebrated with champagne, a soak in his hot tub, and chocolate strawberries. They hadn't really had a conversation about how if this changed things.
Riley wasn't really pushing for a 'defining the relationship' conversation. They were living together, they were serious about each other, she was so grateful to be in his life, and she was so grateful that things had changed so drastically from where she was when she'd first met him.
Life carried almost no traces of what had happened with The Rub. Riley blocked out all of what had happened there. She'd had conversations, here and there, with Mark. He knew that it wasn't all aboveboard, and he knew that she'd had to do anything to take care of her kids. He always got quiet, kissed her hands, and said that that was her past.
She knew he wasn't fully comfortable talking about it, but she was okay with that. It's not like she wanted to just tell him everything in the first place.
She had a few bites of pancake, took a quick shower, brushed her teeth, and got ready for the day. She and Mark were going to spend it just around the house, but she wanted to look good.
While Mark was paying for the house, Riley paid all of her own bills still. She didn't depend on him for anything, and they had discussed finances a few times. He had always let her know that whatever she needed, he had.
So far, she hadn't needed anything. Her business was going well, most of her money troubles from living with Kyle were over and done with, and life was just...different.
Lacey and Dale had their own kid, and ended up adopting one as well. Riley didn't see them as much now. Lacey had her hands full with two kids under two, and they'd ended up growing apart. She had a new mom group that she hung out with.
Linette was in the area, but she was trying to rebuild her life now. She had new friends, new habits. She came for dinner every Sunday night but Riley didn't constantly have family and friends coming over uninvited.
She missed it, sometimes. Her life had been so much busier two years ago, but honestly, she didn't need the rush. Her life was full now, but it was calm. She got time to breathe. She got time to take care of herself. She didn't see Evan or Selena, she didn't even see Kyle much. Most of the time she dropped them off outside of his new place, and he was waiting outside to greet them. They waved, they were cordial. They were definitely still coparenting, and they went to every teacher meeting together, since Riley was not going to let her kids bear the burden of their parents' divorce.
So far, it was fine. Travis and Katie got to see their daddy, and while she could tell that they didn't fully love Mark, she knew they tolerated him, and appreciated him. There was no tension with Zach anymore, and Riley carefully monitored Katie's interactions with him. They were bonding like siblings though, which relieved most of her worries.
That was all that mattered.
Riley heard Mark's voice at the foot of the stairs, and she headed out of the bedroom, dressed in one of her tiny outfits that she'd learned to wear while at The Rub. Some of that work had paid off in the bedroom.
She saw Mark, her Mark, her partner, at the bottom of the stairs, and she saw the look in his eyes when he saw her. He was running up, sweeping her into his arms, kissing her, carrying her back into the bedroom to make sure that she knew just how loved she was.
A/N: I might try to get another chapter up but I'm going to mark this as complete anyway, since it's good to stand alone. I'm glad I took this chance to visit #Marley in the future, where they're together and happy. :) It was my birthday as well, so it was fun to write this :D ~Meowser