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Mark grew up starved for attention and reveled in any that came his way

Excerpt: "[Mark] said he wanted to confront Andrea and get her to …"

Mark Gable was born on October 6, 1999, in Oxford, Mississippi to Richard and Lydia Gable. Richard was a banker, and Lydia worked part-time keeping the books for a local hardware store.

The Gables were somewhat indifferent parents. They seemed to like the idea of being parents, and they were a fixture at every school function, PTA meeting, and little league game. However, at home, they didn't spend much time with Mark. As he grew up, he showed intelligence and athletic skill, yet his parents seldom pushed him to excel or reveled in his accomplishments with him.

To all outward appearances, the Gables were the perfect family: financially comfortable, always together at events, respected members of the church. But at home, Mark was mostly left to his own devices.

By the time Mark reached junior high school, the teachers knew him as a bright student who lacked initiative. His sports accomplishments were met with little fanfare by his parents, and his academic shortcomings didn't elicit much response either.

He could come home after scoring the winning touchdown, and his father would retreat to the den to watch TV and not say a word to Mark. He could also bring home a report card full of C's and D's, and his mother would set it down on the counter and go back to stirring her soup.

Mark spent a lot of time in his room, wondering if his parents simply didn't like him. As he grew older, Mark began to understand that it was just the way they were. Richard and Lydia Gable could be the life of a party, but as soon as they got home, they barely spoke to each other. At church, Richard was a respected deacon, full of advice to anyone who would ask, but in his den, he would barely grunt hello to his family. So Mark contented himself with sports, friends, and dates.

In high school, Mark performed well enough on various sports teams to be popular with the other students and was good-looking enough to always have dates. Although he didn't excel in the classroom and his lack of effort irritated his teachers, he was good-natured and well-behaved, so they generally left him alone.

On a lark, Mark and some of his friends signed up for drama class. They thought it would be fun and easy, but Mark was quickly drawn into the dynamics of the group. Sports had gotten him some notice, but in drama class, he could be the star. All eyes were on him, and people paid attention to him. The drama teacher, Mr. O'Shea, saw this flame in Mark and encouraged him to work hard on his acting. Soon, Mark was winning the lead roles in all the school plays.

Mr. O'Shea could see that Mark was outgrowing everything they were doing in class, he introduced Mark to Andrea Stover so Mark could get experience with a professional theatre company. Mark began working with Oxtales, and soon his eyes glowed with his infatuation for Andrea, who was beautiful, driven, and a great dramatist. Mark was smitten with the older woman, and he worked hard to try to win her favor.

Andrea's prosecution crushed Mark. He was heartbroken and scared about Andrea going to jail. He was afraid she would hate him and never talk to him again. He imagined painful scenes where she turned away from his apologies.

The Oxtales case also opened up a chasm in Mark's relationship with his parents over their involvement in pushing for the prosecution. Where Mark had previously been indifferent to them, he was now filled with anger and hatred. He couldn't stand their hypocrisy and self-righteousness. Since moving out and starting school at Ole Miss, Mark has barely spoken to his parents.

When Andrea was released from prison, Mark hoped they could start working together again, but he found that Andrea wasn't as eager to reconnect as he was. He complained to friends that he couldn't understand why she was keeping him at arm's length. He said he wanted to confront Andrea and get her to explain, but he hadn't figured out yet how to do it.

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