It’s Too Cliché…Right? Ch. 10

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Lying on my bed, I held my phone over my face, scrolling through my Twitter feed as I tried passing the time on the dull Saturday afternoon. It wasn’t much help, though, because it was the fifth time I had refreshed my timeline in the span of thirty minutes.

I could play some video games or something, but I didn’t really feel like it. I even went to the extreme of thinking if I had any homework that I needed to get done. I know, right? Talk about desperate. Alas, the one time I would have actually liked some mind-numbing work, there was none.

“Ugh,” I groaned, dropping my phone onto the bed, simply staring at the ceiling. Literally, everyone I knew had something going on. The Tanners had gone on a short weekend trip to San Francisco which meant that Brian was a few hours away. Naturally, Brian had invited Sam along so she was out too.

The twins had a visiting relative for the week so they were otherwise predisposed. I think they mentioned something about a grandmother, I couldn’t be certain. They seemed pretty excited about it so I assumed it wasn’t an annoying relative.

Evan too had a family thing with his father, although unlike the twins, he probably wasn’t looking forward to it too much seeing that Claire was joining them. I couldn’t help the eye roll I gave as he whined about the woman a couple days ago.

That left Jake, who was…um…hmm, I guess Jake didn’t have anything on. Maybe I could hang with him. Picking up my phone, I shot him a text. “Hey, man, you doing anything today? I’m bored as fuck.”

While I waited for his reply, I thought about Tim. He was upstairs, probably doing something productive unlike myself. I wondered if maybe I could see what he was up to, it’s not like I had anything else to do, right?

Jumping off my bed, I climbed the stairs of my basement bedroom, hearing Tim’s voice even before I saw him. “Mom, this is like your fifth date with the guy. Why are you freaking out about it?”

It was then that I remembered that my mom had another date with the dentist dude, or I guess I should call him Richard now. That fact made me feel even more like a loser. Even my mom had plans on a Saturday night, and here I was, bored out of my mind.

Following the direction the voices were coming from, I made my way over to my mother’s room, seeing Tim leaning against the door frame. He glanced at me when he saw me coming, giving me an upward nod of acknowledgment. I returned one, standing behind him and looking into the room as well.

“I just want to look nice for him. Make sure he likes me, you know?” she said, inspecting the dress she had on, twirling herself in front of the mirror.

“But still, this is the fifth date. I pretty sure he already likes you if you’ve gone out on five separate occasions,” Tim said. It was then that I saw her eyes dart to us momentarily through the mirror. It was quick but I definitely caught it. While not uttering a single word, I got the gist of it through that glance alone.

“Mom, is there something you want to tell us?” I said.

“What? No, don’t be silly,” she said, although the nervous laugh she gave away how untrue that statement was. I raised an eyebrow and gave her a pointed look, to which she blushed in response, having been caught. “Okay, so maybe…he…I was thinking if…I could go back to his place tonight.”

“Why, did he ask you?” Tim voiced.

“Well…he mentioned it during our last date, but I had work the next morning and I was tired,” she paused, looking up at us, shyness in her eyes once again. “Plus, I didn’t know what you guys would think.”

I looked down at Tim only to see him looking up at me with an equally serious look. For a moment, it seemed like we were seriously considering our mother’s words. We couldn’t hold it for long, however, immediately laughing after just a second.

“Last I checked, you’re the parent, Mom. You can do whatever you want,” I choked out, in between chortles.

“Yeah, Mom. I mean, you obviously like the guy. We’re under no illusions that you’ll be celibate while dating him,” Tim added.

“It’s just…don’t you think it’s too fast?” she asked, genuinely curious about our answer. I wasn’t one to talk, however. I mean, I literally slept with a guy even before I thought he was gay. Doesn’t get any faster than that.

Of course, I didn’t tell her this, instead opting for a simple, “No.”

“Single moms need love too, you know,” Tim added before he cringed at his own words. “Hmm, that sounded better in my head.”

I shook my head, ruffling his hair as I did. “Go. Have fun,” I said to my mother, giving her a reassuring smile. “Just remember to be safe.”

Rolling her eyes at my bad joke, she shooed us out of her room to finish getting ready. Well, it might have been a joke, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t serious at the same time, though I’m pretty sure my mother knew to use protection. Heck, she was the one who gave me the talk.

I turned to Tim, remembering why I had even come up here for. “Are you doing anything? I’m bored out of my mind.”

“I was going to work Gaziantep Elden Ücret Alan Escort on an assignment,” Tim said.

“Eww, boring!” I cried, trudging away.

“Go hang with your boyfriend then,” Tim called back.

“He’s busy.”

Satisfied with the answer, Tim shrugged and made his way to his room, not even attempting to help me fill my time. I rolled my eyes, turning to head to the living room. Perhaps there was something on TV. My efforts were in vain, however, when I couldn’t find anything after channel surfing for a good ten minutes.

Just then, my phone buzzed, momentarily diverting my attention to the little electronic device. I picked it up, seeing the reply from Jake. “I’m meeting a few guys from the swim team. Sorry, man.”

Staring at the text, I was desperate enough that I almost asked if I could tag along, but I didn’t really know any of the guys on the swim team other than Jake, which would have just made things really awkward. Sighing, I typed out a reply. “No prob.”

Sighing once again, I dropped my phone onto the couch, throwing my head over the back of the cushion, staring up at the ceiling. For a moment, I wondered if I should take a nap. That would kill two birds with one stone, right? Pass the time and get more rest because more sleep never hurt anyone.

Just then the doorbell rang. I groaned but got up to get it regardless, my feet heavy on the hardwood floorboards. Opening the door, I saw a smiling Richard, a bottle of wine in his hand.

“Hey, big guy,” he said, calling me the nickname since the second time I saw him.

“Hi,” I returned, turning my eye to the bottle of wine.

He noticed my gaze, lifting the bottle up. “I got your mom something for the house. I figured flowers and chocolates get old after the first few dates.”

“Especially when the flowers start wilting,” I said, remembering all the wilting bouquets that were left around the house after each date. “But you may want to hold on to that for tonight.”

“I uh…I don’t think I follow,” he replied but the slight paling of his skin and the small drop in his smile told me he knew exactly what I was talking about. I liked the guy, don’t get me wrong, but it never hurt to make sure the guy knew not to cross my mom and her sons.

“I’m just saying, enjoy that with her tonight, but make sure to treat her right, okay?” I added a wink at the end so as to not make the poor guy pee his pants. Richard wasn’t a very big guy, a couple inches shorter than me with a slim frame, so I guess I could have appeared intimidating to him.

“I will,” he choked out and I couldn’t help the smile that crept onto my face. I patted him on the shoulder, suddenly feeling like a father greeting a daughter’s boyfriend.

“Richard?” my mother’s voice came from behind.

“Ellie,” he replied, his bright smile returning. I turned, leaving the two lovebirds but not without shooting a look to my mom as she passed me. You know, the look that said, ‘Have fun, but not too much fun’.

Soon, the happy couple was out the door, leaving me all alone and once again, wondering what I was going to do. I roamed my house, making my way over to the kitchen, popping my head into the fridge to browse its contents even though I wasn’t planning on eating anything. Looking out the kitchen window, I noted the darkening sky, evidence of a rain shower approaching. I guess that was something to look forward to.

Finally running out of things to do, I made my way out the kitchen towards my bedroom, thinking that maybe I should take that nap now. Just as I was about to open the door to the basement, the doorbell rang again. I rolled my eyes, guessing that it was probably my mom, back after forgetting to bring her keys or something. It wouldn’t have been the first time.

“What did you forget this time, Mom?” I asked as I pulled the door open. The person standing there, however, wasn’t the small woman that raised me, but the handsome man I was in love with. “Evan? What are you doing here?”

“Can I come in?” he asked, albeit in a manner that was unlike his usually polite self. His brows were pulled together into a frown and his warm smile was nowhere to be seen. It was clear that Evan wasn’t in a good mood, so I didn’t argue with him, moving aside for him to enter.

He walked past me, muttering a simple thanks as he headed for my bedroom. I followed at his heels, trying to think of any reason as to why Evan was pissed. I mean, I knew he had spent the day with his dad, so did that mean that it had something to do with him? It wouldn’t be out of the question, but Evan and his dad got along most of the time from what I could tell and Evan getting this pissed at him was rare.

Closing the door to my bedroom, I walked down the stairs to see Evan pacing the floor, arms folded across his chest in defiance. I walked over and sat on one of the couch arms, watching as my boyfriend trudged back and forth in front of me. I waited, expecting Evan to speak any moment now, but he didn’t. So much so, that I found myself speaking up.

“So, are you going to tell me what’s up?” I asked.

“My dad,” Evan replied. It was a vague answer, but it confirmed that whatever this was had something to do with his father.

“Okay, and are you going to elaborate on that?”

“I mean, I can’t believe him, you know? How could he do this? It’s only been what, five years? I mean, anyone would think it’s too fast, right?” he grumbled, almost looking like he was on the verge of pulling at his hair.

“Whoa, whoa,” I said, getting up and placing a hand on his shoulder, stopping his pacing that was starting to put me on edge. “Just calm down. Take a few deep breaths.” As I said this, I pulled him to the couch, slowly sitting him down.

“Right. Sorry,” he said, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly.

“Okay, now tell me what’s wrong?”

“It’s my dad,” he said but stopped there, as if that alone was explanation enough.

“Yeah, I got that part. What about him?”

“He said…he wants to propose to Claire,” he said. My eyes went wide, not expecting that in the slightest. I mean, okay I knew that Evan didn’t really like the woman, but it’s not that bad. It’s clear that Eric loved the woman so marriage would have been on the table at some point.

“And that’s…bad?” It was supposed to be a statement, but it came out as a question instead, like I wasn’t sure myself.

“Of course, it’s bad,” Evan grumbled, getting up to pace once again. “My mom’s been dead for only five years and already he’s thinking about marrying another woman?”

In that instant, I knew the problem. It’s common for kids whose parent has died to have feelings like this, right? At least, that’s what movies and TV shows have taught me. Evan doesn’t like Claire because he feels like she is going to replace his mom.

“Claire’s really not a bad person,” I tried, hoping that Evan would see reason. The older woman had talked to me a few times while I was over at the Trevorrow’s and she really did seem like a nice lady.

“She can be a fucking saint and I’ll still not like her. I can’t believe my father. They’ve only been together for two years and he already wants to marry her? What the actual fuck?”

“She makes your father happy, though. I mean, isn’t that what matters?” I said, getting slightly irritated at his refusal to even look at this from any other perspective other than his own.

“I don’t care,” he said. I tried to control my response, knowing that antagonizing Evan right now wouldn’t have been the best thing, but his reply had pissed me off, to be honest. He sounded like a spoiled brat who couldn’t get what he wanted.

“You don’t care?” I asked, raising an eyebrow at him. “Because your father’s happiness is up to you to decide?”

“Don’t say it like that—”

“Oh, and how am I supposed to say it then?” I asked, cutting him off.

“You don’t understand, she’s—”

“I do understand, Evan,” I said, once again interjecting. I sighed, pinching the bridge of my nose to control my temper. Blowing up at Evan now wasn’t helping anyone. “I get it, okay? You don’t want her to replace your mom and you think she will if she gets married to your dad, but it won’t.”

“She will, though.”

“No, she will not. As long as you guys make it a point to remember your mom, she will always be a part of you, regardless of whether your dad remarries or not.” The words seemed almost too clichéd like I had pulled it directly off the script of a movie, but it was true. Evan didn’t look convinced, though he didn’t say anything to rebut me. I decided to continue.

“Maybe you don’t see it because your father spends a lot of time at work, but I see it in my mother. I see how much happier she’s been since meeting Richard and I’m pretty sure your dad’s the same. Don’t you want your father to be happy?”

“It’s not the same. Your father gave your family heartache so it’s only natural that your mom would want someone who’s good in her life.”

I furrowed my eyebrows at him. “So, because your mom wasn’t useless, your father doesn’t get to be happy anymore?”

“No, you’re not listening to me,” he said, running his hands through his hair. I raised an eyebrow at him but otherwise kept quiet. He wanted to be listened to, well I was listening. “I just…can’t think about Claire as my mother.”

“Then don’t. I’m sure no one is expecting you to, but you can’t expect your father to not fall in love again after your mother.”

“He shouldn’t. Did he even love my mother? Does he even love me?” Evan cried out, his voice wavering.

“Don’t say that,” I consoled. “I’m sure your father loved your mom, maybe even to this day. I’m sure he loves you because he’s done everything to give you a good life. The same can’t be said for mine, so maybe you just need to think about someone else instead of yourself for once.” I hadn’t meant for the passive aggressive tone of the statement, but it slipped out without even thinking.

It wasn’t lost on Evan either, vertical lines appearing between his brows as he frowned at me. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that,” I apologized, though a part of me knew that it was kind of a lie. Hearing Evan talk about his problems, like his feelings were the only one that mattered, struck a nerve with me. It reminded me that I’ve been putting everything into this relationship, but could the same be said for Evan? Truth be told, I’d been thinking about it for a long time now.

“I think you did. Go on, say it.”

I sighed, wondering if I should just ignore the challenge that Evan has put forth. I knew we needed to talk about it eventually, but I hadn’t wanted to do this during a fight. Apparently, Evan had other thoughts.

“Have you even thought about when your gonna come out?” I said plainly, not even sugar coating my words.

“C’mon, Brad—”

“No,” I interrupted, cutting short his excuse. “Don’t ‘c’mon Brad’ me. We haven’t talked about this at all. You don’t expect me to wait forever, do you?”

“The gang knows. What more do you want?”

Now it was my turn to frown. “What more do I want? Oh, I don’t know. Maybe for you to come out to your dad? Be open with me in school?”

“You know I need time,” he said, almost growling the words out.

“Yes, I know, but we’ve been together over four months now and you are no closer to being out with me than you were three months ago.”

“Why are you so keen on me coming out? Shouldn’t I only do that when I feel comfortable?”

“I think you’re forgetting that I’m not exactly in the closet anymore. How do you think I feel when I can’t hold my boyfriend’s hand in school, or when I can’t kiss you just because your dad is home? Fuck, we haven’t even been on a real date because you’re so paranoid that someone would see us.”

The frown didn’t disappear from his face, but he did have the courtesy to duck his head in shame. I didn’t want to be that boyfriend, the one who pressured the other into coming out before they were ready, but I needed something. Anything. I wasn’t expecting him to come out just like that, but I needed some proof that it was on the table because, at the moment, I didn’t know if that was even an option.

“I’m not trying to pressure you or anything, but I need to know where this is headed. Sometimes I wonder if you’re even gay.”

“Because I don’t want to be!” he shouted, his voice echoing around the quiet room. The intensity of his voice shut me up completely, leaving me staring at him dumbfounded. I heard what he said and I was still trying to process it all. I mean, I knew that he had been in a little bit of denial, but I thought he was getting over it after becoming comfortable around the gang.

“You don’t want to be?”

“I don’t want to be gay, okay? I don’t want to wake up thinking that people are going to be talking behind my back. I don’t want to second-guess what people think of me whenever I talk to them. I just…I just want to be normal,” he said, his voice catching at the very end. A part of me wanted to pull him into a hug, seeing how difficult this was for him, but the other part of me got even angrier. “Brad,” he said, walking over to me, but I put up a hand and took a step away. He understood the body language, immediately stopping his advance.

“Normal,” I repeated, the word feeling almost dirty on my tongue.

“It’s not—”

“It’s not what, Evan? Not what you meant to say?” I said, trying my best to control my emotions. I was torn between feeling like I was having my heart broken and feeling like rage was about to explode from me. My brain decided for something in between. “You know, I always knew I would experience some form of homophobia in my life, but I never thought that it would be from my own boyfriend.”

“I’m not being homophobic.”

“Yes, you are, Evan. For your information, I am normal. I like guys, so fucking what?” I said, turning away from Evan as I stared at my room wall. “You know, I’ve been wondering when you were going to come out, but it turns out I was not even close. The better question I should have been asking myself is if you even wanted to come out?” I don’t know if it was the guilt from my words or whatever, but Evan didn’t try arguing anymore. I wasn’t looking at him anyway so I couldn’t really tell even if I wanted to.

Something occurred to me at that point, something that had been at the back of my mind as a possibility ever since Evan and I got together. This was it.

I couldn’t continue like this anymore. I knew from the beginning that a secret relationship was a bad idea and against my better judgment, I went along with it. Now that decision was back to bite me in the butt. A part of me didn’t want to give this up, but the other part knew that prolonging this wasn’t going to help anyone. There was one thing that I needed to say before I could, though, the words eating at me.

“I love you, Evan, but it seems to me that you don’t feel the same way. I’m trying my hardest to keep this relationship going but I can’t do this by myself. You need to make an effort too,” I said, turning back to look at him. I knew my declaration had two outcomes, either him confessing he felt the same and deciding to actually make an effort in our relationship, or scare him enough to make this a clean break.

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