Coming out again

JUNE 2008

1 MONTH AFTER BROKEN SOULS

JEREMY LAYTON

Having two boyfriends were all well and good—except when I hadn’t told my parents about the addition of my second boyfriend.

So now here I was, with my mother sitting in front of me and convinced my boyfriend was cheating on me.

‘I’m so sorry, Jeremy.’ She clasped her hands tight, eyes squeezing shut. ‘I wish I hadn’t seen it. Seen Dion kiss that… that boy. Then I wouldn’t have had to deliver these bad news to you.’

The only good thing about the present situation was that Dion and Chad had been on their way out to the shop when Mum had seen them kiss, so they weren’t here to witness her breakdown and the way she talked about Chad.

But how else would she talk about him, really? I hadn’t told her about him yet.

‘Mum, it’s okay.’ I hoped she wasn’t going to start crying because that would become awkward really fast.

‘It’s not okay that your boyfriend has someone on the side.’ She pressed her lips tight. ‘Are you having problems, Jeremy? Are you seeing other people?’

‘No.’ I shook my head. ‘No problems. And no seeing other people. Just him.’

‘Him?’ She blinked.

‘His name’s Chad.’ I contemplated adding that he was a former student of Dion’s but figured it was best to keep that out of the conversation for now. She was distressed enough already. ‘And he lives here, Mum, with us. We—’ It shouldn’t be so hard to tell your parent about your relationship. It hadn’t been hard at all when I’d told them about Dion, but adding a third person… yeah, that was definitely hard. ‘We’re together, the three of us.’

She frowned. ‘But—’ She seemed lost for words, unable to continue.

‘Both of them are my boyfriends. We’re all together, Mum.’ I dragged a hand through my hair. ‘I was going to come up and tell you. I didn’t expect you to come down here first.’ I had put it off, because I was busy with work, but also because I had no idea where to even start explaining it to her.

‘But—’ She still couldn’t articulate her thoughts, seemingly in shock over my revelation. ‘So you are having problems?’

No.’ We had had problems, sure, but I wasn’t going to share that with her. I hadn’t back then, and I wasn’t going to now.

‘If you hear about a couple bringing someone else into their bed, it’s usually because something’s wrong.’

My eyebrows inched up. ‘You know a lot of couples who’ve brought a third person into their bed?’

She blushed bright red. ‘No. You just hear about it, is all. On the telly and stuff. And in books too, though that’s just mostly for entertainment.’

I knew she liked to read romance novels. But not that she read those kinds of romance novels.

My eyebrows rose further up my forehead, and she blushed a deeper crimson.

‘I read such a book by accident. It didn’t say anything on the back about it.’ She twined her fingers together nervously. ‘You’re not having problems, you and Dion?’

‘No, Mum, we’re great. And Chad’s great too. He fits with us, you know.’ I’d never thought I’d say those words, but they were true. When Dion had first cheated on me, this hadn’t even been in the cards. Not really when Chad had shown up at first either. But then I’d grown attached, and now here we were. Living together, sharing a bed together, having sex together… All good.

‘He seemed a bit young.’ Seemed she was determined not to like him, and find something to put her finger on no matter what.

‘He’s twenty this Christmas.’ Seemed better to say he was turning twenty than saying he was nineteen.

‘That’s still seven years younger than you. And nine years younger than Dion.’ She was back to frowning. ‘Is that really such a good idea? What if he’s—’

I wanted to snap at her, ask her what she implying, but the door opened, and Dion and Chad spilt inside, both carrying a plastic bag with groceries.

‘I’m not smelling any dinner, Jem,’ Dion teased, then stopped short once his gaze fell on my mum. ‘Olivia. Hey.’ His gaze flickered between us. Chad was behind him, so Dion couldn’t look at him, and it didn’t seem like he wanted to turn around to do so either.

‘Dion.’ She nodded curtly, not at all with the warmth she usually displayed.

Mum.’ She couldn’t possibly still think he’d been cheating on me when I’d just been explaining the bloody situation to her?

Chad glanced nervously between us. ‘Maybe I should go out.’ He motioned to the door.

‘No,’ I said firmly. ‘You live here.’ He wasn’t going to have to go outside just because my mum had decided to show up unannounced. I loved my mum, really I did, but this particular visit wasn’t welcome. I had been planning on telling her, prepare her, not drop her right in the middle of my new relationship status.

‘I should leave.’

‘Mum.’ She headed towards the door without another look at me, and I followed closely behind. Dion and Chad walked further into the flat, giving me some privacy with her. ‘Mum, come on. It’s not so bad. I’m happy.’

‘You were happy before.’

‘Yes. I was. But I’m just as happy now. It’s not a big deal.’

‘But it’s not normal.’ She just couldn’t understand. ‘Relationships aren’t meant for three people, Jeremy.’ She sighed deeply. ‘I’ll have to think about this. Get used to it.’

‘What about Dad?’ She’d come alone. Who knew why, as she’d been hysterical from the moment I’d opened the door.

‘I’ll have to tell him, of course. We have no secrets between us.’ Her wrinkled hand landed on the doorknob, turning it.

‘How about we come up next weekend? I think we all have time off then.’ I suggested it because I loved my parents and I needed them to at least acknowledge my boyfriends even if they weren’t okay with it. I needed them to see that we were indeed happy, that a relationship between three men could be just as good as the one Dion and I had had before Chad came into the picture.

She nodded slowly, thoughtfully. ‘Okay. You do that.’ She crossed the threshold but turned once she was outside, uncertain. ‘So… this means I only have to make the one guest room?’

‘Yes, Mum. That’s exactly what it means.’ I hugged her tight, unable to let her leave with this awkwardness between us without it. She hugged me back, so she couldn’t be too appalled by my lifestyle. ‘I love you.’

‘I love you too, Jeremy.’ She smiled briefly as the hug ended.

Dion and Chad were in the kitchen putting the groceries away when I came back in.

‘How’d it go?’ Dion took me in anxiously. My parents were also like parents to him. They fussed just as much over him when we went to visit as they did me, they treated him just as warmly and as a part of the family.

‘Could’ve gone better,’ I admitted honestly. ‘She saw you two kissing when you left, and she was all hysteric once she knocked on the door. She thought you were cheating on me.’

Dion scratched uncomfortably at the back of his neck.

He had cheated on me, yeah, and it had hurt, but now that Chad was a part of us… it didn’t really matter all that much anymore.

‘We’re heading up there next weekend though.’ I brushed past them, finally able to get started on the dinner like I’d been supposed to do while they’d been at the shop. ‘All three of us.’

I saw them exchange glances, and I couldn’t blame them. Mum hadn’t exactly had a positive attitude towards them just now. She hadn’t even said a word to Chad.

But I hoped it’d get better once she saw us together. Because we were good together, good for each other. And as long as she saw that, she’d be okay with it. I knew my mum—and all she wanted was for me to be happy.

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