Thereโ€™s always going to be a jerk in your life. I should know. I dated one.ย 

In my defense, Mark Robinson didnโ€™t seem like a jerk. He was a famous celebrity, and celebrities are supposed to be nice. They always are on-camera. I was just one of the rare ones that tried to be nice off-camera, too. But Mark was not like me in any way.

Not that I could mention it, though. Mark's reputation was crystal-clear to the public. Most people didn't want HGTV celebrities to be terrible people, and Mark and me were some of the best-known House Hunters there were. I was set on making sure the public didnโ€™t find out about Markโ€™s bad side. At first. After all,ย  people saw us as the couple who would never break up, and would never stop finding new houses. Like Chip and Joanna Gaines, but better. (I guess they never considered what would happen when we got much older...turn back into younger versions of ourselves, perhaps?) The moment I started hosting a show with Mark, I realized it was a bad idea, and immediately wanted to end it all.ย 

Hence, after all the scandal, jerk-y moments, and awkward conversations, we broke up. I never wanted to see Mark again. He may have seemed nice when we first met, after hosting a couple different shows, and then merging them together with me, but now I knew his true colors. The ones that he always only showed when the camera stopped running and the episode ended, the one's that screamed at me and every camera operator and editor on the properties we worked on. (Or rather, I worked on. Mark tended to not be very helpful, and eventually the only work he did on our houses was stand next to a renovator for a couple seconds simply to get a good camera shot.)

The people who worked on our episodes were the only people who knew this, along with me. We had an excellent publicity team, and therefore every fan of A House Of Your Own (our show) thought he was great. The problem was, when I broke up with Mark after a season or two, or fans were disappointed and started to wonder about why I left him. He was Mark! He was amazing! He would, in no circumstances, ever be rude or unkind or mean. So ratings dropped. People thought I was the problem, and no one likes a show where the two hosts are trying to cover everything up from the public.

Obviously, our publicity crew had to do something, so one of them came to talk to me before we started filming one day.

The conversation started how I expected it to. "Hey, can I talk to you?" Martha, from Publicity, asked me. "About ratings?"

"I refuse to help." I replied. I assumed she wanted me to pretend to be dating Mark again. I wouldn't do it.

"Our viewers hate seeing Mark and you try and act as if nothing is happening!" Martha told me, exasperated. "We need you to help with this. To cooperate. We need a little more.."

"A little more him and me? I'm not going to do anything to aid his career."

"Well, then what about hurting his career?"

I paused, confused. "What do you mean?"

"We could just...well, we could have a little bit more scandal. You could send out a statement about why you broke up with him. Say what happened. Take some videos of him acting awful off-set. Our viewers like the houses and all, but to most of them, you are the show. Not your work."

And so I was at my house. Sitting in front of a computer. A whole twisting, winding story with everything about everything. Some incriminating videos and pictures and things that Publicity had created. The sob story of my life with Mark was about to hit the Internet, and I knew that Mark would never be able to rebound from something like that. It was what I wanted, right? My finger was lingering on my mouse, a click away from ruining Mark, and saving me. A click away from posting the story.

I checked my watch, and realized it was New Years. Funny. I was a celebrity, and I was spending a holiday tucked away in a room by myself, about to blow someone else's life apart.

It was an interesting way to start a New Year. I would be destroying my old, terrible year, and starting a new one by making sure I would come out unscathed.ย 

I decided to take a short break, taking my hand off my mouse. Maybe make a resolution or two for the New Year, one that would be perfect for the next 12 months where I would save my entire career, and ruin Markโ€™s in the process.

I sat, trying to think of a good one. Should I resolude to go on a diet? To clean up my house? To respond to more of my fan letters? I didn't know what would be perfect for my year of glory.

I was never good at that sort of thing, I never had been. I figured that it wouldnโ€™t matter, after all, resolutions were always broken in the end. So I went back to the computer, put my hand back on my mouse, and clicked POST.

Almost. Except not quite. Because right before I did, the perfect resolution hit me. The year before, I never would have done it. Ever.ย 

But this year was different. Somehow. I wanted to start the year differently, and this was the only way. I was filled with acceptance, with forgiveness.

I moved my mouse and clicked delete instead.

With all my piles of evidence, and un-forgotten, unforgiven memories, I was just pathetic. Now they were gone. I would never bring them back, because no matter how much I wanted to, I could never hurt Mark like he once hurt me.

And now I had a resolution to back me up.ย 

January 03, 2021 23:18

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15:55 Jan 26, 2021

Thanks Cheryl!


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Cheryl Marita
20:54 Jan 25, 2021

HI Ada, Finally got back to Reedsy! I enjoyed the plot of your story, and with tightening and deepening into your characters, I think it would be interesting to us, the readers. I just read an article about writing, encouraging writers to go for strong emotions early, and to push for more emotion throughout. Hope that helps!


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19:57 Jan 12, 2021

Thank you! I'll keep that in mind:)


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Megan Sutherland
19:11 Jan 12, 2021

Hey, Ada! You asked me to read, so here I am. I liked this story a lot. The plot was great. The only critique I have is that it seemed kind of... shallow. I would love to know more about the stuff that happened with Mark, and what she plans to do about it. Other than that, amazing job! -Meg


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