Simon sat at the kitchen table, with his feet tucked around the chair’s legs, as he worked on his laptop. He’d arrived home from college to a quiet and empty house. That was nothing unusual, as his mum and Niki rarely got home from work before six o’clock. In the quiet he’d decided to work on his latest college assignment. For this one he had to write an essay on the structure of the NHS. When he’d been given the assignment, he’d thought it was a relatively easy one, an essay he would be able to quickly write up and be done with. But, as he read more and more, he’d found that the NHS had a far more complicated structure than it seemed. At first, it seemed the NHS was made up of hospitals (Acute Care) and the community (Primary Care), but the more he looked at it the more complicated it became: all the different types of NHS Trusts; all the different healthcare providers; all the different commissioners of care. And it wasn’t as if it was all just funded by the Department of Health, even the funding came from different places. It was all so complicated.
The beep of his phone was a distraction, not quite a welcome distraction but a useful one. He turned his eyes from his laptop to his phone, which was lying on the table next to him. The beep had announced the arrival of another text. The screen showed that it was from Freddie. He hadn’t had any texts from his dad for nearly two days now. They had stopped on Saturday night. All Sunday, the day before, had been free from them, and there had been none today. Simon hadn’t quite relaxed yet, he didn’t jump every time a text arrived into his phone, but his mind kept worrying that his dad had started up again when a text arrived.
He picked up his phone and read Freddie’s text:
“You OK? Just checking in.”
Simon smiled to himself, Freddie was such a good friend.
He quickly texted Freddie back:
“Yes, OK. Doing college work. V.Boring”
Freddie’s reply arrived a few moments later.
“Me 2. Fucking boring.”
Simon had called Freddie late Sunday morning. When he’d arrived home, on Saturday night, he’d found his mum and Niki sitting in a tense silence, both women sitting on separate sofas. He could feel the tension as soon as he’d walked into the house. He knew that atmosphere well, as he’d lived with it when his mum had been living with his dad, especially when they’d had to live in his Grandma’s house. It was the same atmosphere as when his parents had had a raging argument and fallen into a tense and resentful silence. It had been a regular event when his parents had been together, but since they had moved into Niki’s house there had been no tense atmospheres, his mum and Niki had not fought before. That evening he’d obviously walked in on the aftermath of a big fight between them, and he guessed that it was all the result of his actions.
He’d quietly gone to bed, after he got home, claiming tiredness. But the truth was he’d felt too awkward and too much to blame for what had happened that day.
The next morning the atmosphere had eased but it wasn’t the usual relaxed Sunday morning atmosphere. Simon had made himself some breakfast and then retreated back to his bedroom. There he’d received a text from Freddie asking him if he was all right and did he want to talk. He’d quickly rung Freddie back and spent nearly an hour talking with him, telling him about his dad’s texts and about coming home to the aftermath of an argument between his mum and Niki.
Freddie had listened to him, but he had offered his own opinions too. Freddie was disgusted by Simon’s dad’s behaviour: saying his dad wasn’t behaving like a real father; saying his dad needed to shut up and open his eyes; saying his dad was ignoring the hurt and harm he was causing. It did Simon good to hear this, and it helped lift his mood. Freddie was almost blunt in his opinions, and so often on the mark with them. He'd summed up Max so well without even meeting him, and hearing Freddie say his dad was in the wrong helped him to see that too. At the end of their phone call Simon felt his whole mood had lifted.
He’d spoken to Jeff after lunch. He, his mum and Niki had had a slightly awkward lunch together. Nobody was in a bad mood. His mum and Niki weren't actually arguing, but neither was the conversation flowing freely between the three of them. Simon had found himself trying to make conversation to try to get the two women to talk. After lunch, as the three of them had sat together in the sitting room, the washing up left ignored, Simon’s phone had rung. He’d snatched it out of the pocket of his jeans in a moment of panic, fearing his dad was actually calling him. Then in relief he had seen that the call was from Jeff. Making his excuses, he'd rushed up to his bedroom to speak to Jeff in private. He didn’t want either his mum or Niki overhearing him, this was a private call.
In his bedroom he’d chatted long and freely with Jeff. He’d been so excited to have Jeff actually calling him and soon he’d fallen into a deep conversation with him. Jeff had told him how he felt when his mother had walked out on him, and his sister and father. He told Simon how abandoned and to blame he’d felt, he’d only been seven, but Jeff said that he’d blamed himself for her actions. If he’d been a better son then maybe she would have stayed.
“That was a pile of bullshit, she ran off with another man. She got tired of my father. It wasn’t my fault,” Jeff had said.
Simon then told Jeff about his dad’s behaviour. About how his dad had first harassed his mum with texts and emails. About how Simon had lost his temper when his dad was badgering him about attending his church, telling Simon there were lots of “pretty girls” at his church, and losing his temper and coming out to his dad. About how his dad had bombarded him with texts and emails telling him he was going to hell if he didn’t turn straight. And lastly, he told Jeff about his dad wanting to take him to the Release Trust conference the day before, and how he’d refused, and now… Simon didn’t know what would happen now.
“Why didn’t you tell me any of this?” Jeff had asked him.
“I didn’t want to worry anyone, and…” Simon trailed off in his reply. He didn’t how to say that he didn’t want to turn off Jeff from liking him.
“We’re mates. You can tell me anything, you’re not going to put me off you. I’m not going to stop being your mate because you’re getting shit from your dad. God, Freddie tells me everything and that hasn’t stopped me being friends with him. I know every time he has sex and what exactly he does and how much he comes and everything. You can tell me anything about what your dad does. I’m here for you.”
“Thanks. That’s great. Thanks.”
“Nothing can be as bad as Freddie trying on a cock ring and getting it stuck,” Jeff said.
“He did. And he didn’t tell me until the next day, when his cock had blown up like a balloon.”
“What did you do?”
“I rang Vee and asked her and she asked her Aunt who’s a nurse in Casualty. She told Vee to tell me to tell Freddie to put an ice pack on it. He did and it worked. See, there’s nothing we can’t achieve with our mates.”
Simon had felt so much better after talking with Jeff. Just Jeff’s support had lifted his mood. Jeff wasn’t put off by Simon’s dad’s appalling behaviour. He wasn’t backing away from him because he was too toxic or needy.
When he’d returned to the sitting room, he’d found that his mum and Niki were tackling the washing up together and chatting away about their work.
Simon glanced over at his phone. It was still working. It was two whole days since Saturday and it was still working. Well his dad hadn’t cancelled his phone’s contract yet, Simon reasoned, and he’d had the whole of that day to do so. This should have given Simon some comfort but he kept worrying that his dad would stop his phone’s contract tomorrow or the day after or the day after that… He needed his phone so much, he couldn’t live without it.
He turned his attention back to his laptop. He’d spent nearly two-thirds of the word count for his essay describing the structure of the NHS, and had wasted too many words on that part. He’d left himself too few words to critique its structure. But he’d needed that many words to describe the structure properly. He hated trying to work out how to write essays like this.
He’d spent lunchtime with Freddie, Vee and Jeff, taking over one of the tables in the canteen. He’d only been meeting Freddie, Vee and Jeff for lunch for a week and yet it was one of the highpoints of his day. It wasn’t just that he now had friends to spend his lunchtime with, friends he could complain about his course with, but he also had friends who could answer so many of his questions. And friends who understood where he was coming from. And Freddie was so much funnier than Harrison had ever been.
That lunchtime Freddie was very excited, almost bouncing up and down with it.
“Five days to go! Five days to go!” Freddie almost sang with hand gestures.
“Until what?” Vee asked, staring back at him with a puzzled expression.
“Our trip to Hades!” Freddie exclaimed.
“Why are you so excited? You’ve been there loads of times before,” Vee said.
“There must be a stripper on Friday night,” Jeff said.
“No, there isn’t. Miss Horny,” Freddie replied. “There’s a drag act on.”
“I’m not going if it’s Mimi Shagalot,” Vee said.
“I thought you liked drag acts now?” Jeff asked her.
“I do but Mimi Shagalot is shit,” Vee said. “Her whole act is about how many men she’s shagged. We get that every Monday lunchtime from Freddie.”
“And he’s a lot funnier,” Jeff added.
“Thank you, I’m here all week,” Freddie beamed at them. “Anyway, it’s Mandy Lifeboats on Friday night”
“Mandy Lifeboats?” Simon said. He didn’t understand the name.
“As in Man-the-Lifeboats,” Jeff said.
“Oh,” Simon said, suddenly seeing the pun and feeling the embarrassment creeping up the back of his neck.
“She’s a Cruise Ship Entertainments Director, she entertains both the passengers and crew,” Freddie added, making both Jeff and Vee snigger.
“How does she entertain them?” Simon asked. He didn’t understand why that phrase was funny, what joke was he missing.
“You’ll get it when you see her act,” Jeff told him.
“My favourite is Mrs Underbottom,” Vee said. “In that mangy old fur stole and horrible hat. She reminds me of one of my mum’s old aunts, my Aunt Margo, and she’s an old lush too.”
“Last night I had the devil in me. That or a short man in a red cape,” Freddie said in a very cod Lancashire accent.
Jeff and Vee had sniggered along with him.
“God, that’s so like my Aunt Margo,” Vee giggled.
Simon turned towards Jeff, he didn’t how to ask but he didn’t understand why that was funny either.
“You don’t get that one either, do you?” Jeff said, smiling at him
“I don’t,” Simon replied.
“God, we need to give you a crash course in gay humour,” Freddie told him.
“We do that every lunchtime,” Vee added. “Don’t worry, after watching Mandy Lifeboats you’ll be well up on gay humour,” Vee told Simon.
“And half a dozen new swear words too,” Freddie added.
“God, she’s foul-mouthed,” Vee said. “But she’s funny too.”
“Any of her jokes you don’t get, just ask me afterwards,” Jeff said.
“Thanks,” Simon said.
“Anyway, why are you so excited about us going to Hades?” Vee asked Freddie.
“Because it’ll be the first time Simon’s gone to a gay club. Isn't that exciting?”
“You’ll still got time to back out,” Vee said to Simon, her voice filled with humour.
“I’ll looking forward to it,” Simon replied. The truth was he’d almost forgotten that he’d agreed to go with them to Hades that coming Friday. The events of the weekend had pushed it out of his mind.
“Great, because it’ll be fabulous,” Freddie said. “God, remember the first time you two went to Hades?” he asked Vee and Jeff.
“Yeah, you dragged me along there and you didn’t tell me what type of club it was,” Vee said. “I wasn’t even out to myself at the time. God, nobody knew.”
“I’d guessed,” Freddie said. “That’s why I took you. That, and I didn’t have anyone to go there with. But you met your first girlfriend that night.”
“Bella did give me her phone number that night,” Vee said. “It took me nearly two weeks to ring her, though we did text first.”
“Whatever happened to Bella?” Freddie asked her.
“If I never see that screwed-up, jealous bitch ever again, it’ll be too soon,” Vee said.
“Another perfect match made by Uncle Freddie,” Jeff said.
“Fuck off,” Freddie laughed. “Anyway, didn’t I take you to Hades your first time too?”
“No, Karl took me there. I followed him wherever he said we should go. I do remember having my mind nearly blown by the place. I saw two men kissing each other for real and a male stripper in the same night.”
“There wasn’t a male stripper on the night you first took me there,” Vee said to Freddie.
“I didn’t want you to get scared,” Freddie said.
“More like, over excited,” Jeff added.
“That’s more like it,” Vee added, smiling back to Jeff.
“And we’ll find you a great, new boyfriend,” Freddie said to Simon.
“I don’t know if I want a boyfriend,” Simon replied. He honestly didn’t know if he did want one. With everything that was happening with his dad he didn’t know if his head was in the right place to have a boyfriend. He was sure he’d fuck it up. And anyway, his past history with Max didn’t make him feel that he was great boyfriend material.
“See, not everyone wants to be in a couple, Uncle Freddie,” Vee shot back at Freddie.
“One psycho ex and you want to be a nun,” Freddie replied.
“Weren’t you supposed to find me a new boyfriend?” Jeff said.
“I tried and you rejected all the eligible bachelors I found for you,” Freddie said.
“What, three hook-ups on HIM?” Jeff replied.
“There you are, cock on tap,” Freddie told them.
“The first two demanded dick pics before they would even message me or anything. And the third just demanded to know how far I’d go in sex. Romance is dead,” Jeff said. “That’s why I hate those dating apps.”
“It’s not my fault that talent is very thin on the ground,” Freddie said.
“And so are your standards,” Vee added.
“So, what are you going to wear on Friday night?” Freddie asked Simon. “You need to look your best and fabulous.”
“I don’t know,” Simon replied. He hadn’t thought about this either.
“Don’t worry,” Jeff said. “I’ll lend you some clothes.”
“Thanks,” Simon said. The sudden thought of having Jeff’s clothes next to his skin was very appealing, almost sexually exciting.
“There, you’re all set,” Freddie broadly beamed at him.
He and Freddie had caught the same bus home together that afternoon. Even though they had been only sharing the bus ride home for a week it felt like a normal part of his day now, and he liked it. Freddie was so easy to talk to and always seemed to know what to do, or at least had a good idea. Already he was finding himself looking up to Freddie and seeking out his opinion.
“What’s your dad been up to?” Freddie asked him as they sat together on the top deck of the bus.
“Nothing really,” Simon replied.
“Are you just saying that?”
“No. I haven’t had any texts or anything from him since Saturday. Two and a half days and nothing.”
“Well that’s good.”
“It feels strange not having him sending me all those fucking awful texts. I keep expecting the next text I get is from him, and it isn’t.”
“Yes, but they’ve stopped and that’s good.”
“Yes, it is. And my phone is still working,” Simon said.
“Why shouldn’t it be?” Freddie asked.
“Because my day pays for it.”
“I’d forgotten that. He can’t just stop paying for it though.”
“God knows with him. He gets these ideas into his head and does them.”
“But be positive, he hasn’t cut you off and if he does I bet Jeff would how to hack it and get it working again,” Freddie said.
“You think so?”
“Sure. He sorted out my laptop when I forgot my password,” Freddie replied.
Simon stretched back in his chair, arching his back against the tiredness that was pulling down at his body, and reached his arms up above his head. He pushed his body back against the stiffness that had set into his body, as he had crouched over the table there. As he looked up, arching his back, he looked at the kitchen clock on the wall above the fridge. It read six-thirty. He relaxed his body, but kept his eyes on the clock. His mum and Niki weren’t home yet which was unusual for a Monday evening. Later in the week they might arrive home late, but his mum would always text him and tell him. His mum always said that Mondays were one of the easier days at work.
He saved his essay, closed his laptop, picked it up along with his phone, and walked into the sitting room. He didn’t know what to do. His mind had almost dried up and he couldn’t continue writing his essay. He couldn’t decide what else to write or how to sort out the over-writing he’d already done. He wanted to ring his mum, check when her and Niki would be coming home. But she hated him doing that. She had been angry enough at him when he’d done it in the past. She’d claimed he was checking up on her that she hated that.
He dropped down onto the sofa, and turned on the television. The end of the six o’clock news filled the screen. It was the weather forecast. A handsome, blond man, with a very warm manner, and wearing trousers that attractively hugged his buttocks, was telling the viewers what an usually mild spring it was, and was going to carry on being. Simon didn’t need that someone to tell him that the weather was warm, as he’d only needed to wear his light jacket for weeks now. But the man was pleasant to look at.
The sound of a key turning in the front door made him look up and straight through the open door to the little hallway. The door pushed open and his mum almost rushed into the room, her hair still pulled back into the tight ponytail she always wore to work, and she was wearing her old cardigan over her work clothes. Her face worn a strained and almost angry expression. Niki rushed in shortly behind her, but his mum’s looming presence suddenly seeming to fill the sitting-room obscured her. Simon felt himself pushing himself upright on the sofa, to neaten up his posture in the presence of her strong body language.
“And he just sits there!” His mum snapped at the room in general, “As if he hasn’t done anything wrong!”
Simon felt his body tense. He was in the wrong again, but this time he was sure he knew why.
“Rosie, it isn’t his fault!” Niki exclaimed, as she stopped next to his mum.
“If he’d kept his mouth shut then we won’t be in this mess,” his mum replied, turning her attention onto Niki.
Simon wanted to know what was happening, his mind was racing to what could have happened, what trouble he’d caused, and what trouble he was in now. He wanted to ask what had happened, but faced his mum’s anger. He knew not to interrupt her or challenge her, or else he would just ratchet up her anger. He knew he had to stay silent, but that didn’t stop the panic flooding his mind.
“Rosie! Sit down. Calm down,” Niki almost commanded her.
“I am calm!” his mum snapped back.
“No you’re not and we discussed this in the car. Shouting at Simon is not going to change anything now. And it isn’t his fault, he didn’t go to that fucking solicitors,” Niki’s voice was rising in anger too.
“All right, all right,” his mum reluctantly replied and sat herself down on the room’s other sofa, shrugging off her cardigan as she did so. As the garment left her shoulders, the tension seemed to ooze out of her body, she fell back into a very tired posture, slouching backwards.
Niki took her own jacket off and sat down next to his mum, folding her removed jacket across her lap. She appeared to be deliberately taking her time, her movements slow but fluid, the movements of someone who was not just tired but someone deliberately moving slowly.
Once she was settled on the sofa, Niki said:
“At lunchtime, at the Health Centre, a courier arrived with a letter for your mum.”
“From my dad?”
“No, it was from a solicitor. Only your mum could sign for it.”
“Your dad has got himself a solicitor and is taking me to court,” his mum said, sitting up and turning to stare straight at him, her words heavy with anger.
“Why?” Simon asked.
“Because he wants sole custody of you!” his mum snapped.
Simon couldn’t understand what was happening. His dad didn’t like him living with his mum and Niki but this… he’d never done this before, never gone this far.
“Because you opened your big, fat mouth and dropped us all into it,” his mum said, the anger still plain in her voice. “Did you have to go and tell him you’re gay? Did you have to go and refuse to spend those stupid Saturdays with him? Did you have to go and upset him like that?”
“For fuck’s sake, Rosie! This isn’t Simon’s fault!” Niki snapped.
“Yes it is,” his mum said, turning on Niki now. “Matthew’s letter was full of it all. He accused me of being perverted and corrupting Simon!”
“I know! I read the fucking thing,” Niki shot back.
“He wants to take us to court and where are we going to find the money to fight that? Lawyers are bloody expensive and we don’t have any spare money,” his mum protested. “You can’t get Legal Aid for anything to do with the Family Court anymore. I checked. Fucking Government austerity.”
“That’s why I’ve been on at you to call Kate. She’s a solicitor and your sister and she’ll help,” Niki replied.
“I’ve called her three times this afternoon and every time I’ve just got her voicemail,” his mum answered, anger and frustration still plain in her voice.
“Maybe she was in court today,” Simon quietly said. “She’s always said she has to turn her phone off when she’s in court.”
“And if you’d kept your mouth shut then we wouldn’t be in this mess!” his mum shouted at him.
“Jesus Christ, Rosie!” Niki snapped back at her. “This is Matthew’s doing! He’s the one trying to pull us apart and so far he’s succeeding.”
“All right, all right,” his mum replied, slouching back on the sofa. “I’m sorry but this is really worrying me. If we go to court, we’ll need a lawyer, and we can’t afford it and there’s no Legal Aid. People who don’t have lawyers get swallowed up, even in Family Court. I’ve seen it happen before. I’ve seen women eaten alive because they couldn’t afford a lawyer to get them through it all. Matthew has that bloody church behind him and his lawyer is also a member of that church. I am sure he’s getting his lawyer for free, their ‘Christian Duty’ to bring down a queer family. I can’t fight against all that.”
“My dad’s a bastard!” Simon exclaimed, the words just falling out of his mouth without him thinking about them. They came from all the anger and resentment that had been boiling away inside of him towards his dad for so long now.
“Don’t talk about your father like that,” his mum hissed at him. “God, his lawyer would be all over you if you call him a bastard.”
“God, Matthew is a bastard,” Niki replied. “These are the actions of a selfish bastard. We have to fight him.”
“What with?” His mum protested. “Lawyers cost money.”
Almost if it was answering her question, his mum’s phone rang. The opening lines of Queen’s Who Wants To Live Forever? rang out from it. She hurriedly pulled it out of her trouser pocket.
“It’s Kate,” she exclaimed, before quickly answering it. “Kate, hi…”
Simon looked across his mum at Niki.
“I’m going to my room to finish my essay,” he said, as his mum chattered away to his Aunt Kate.
“Are you okay?” Niki asked him.
“Yes,” he replied.
He picked up his laptop and phone and quickly climbed the stairs. From there he went straight into his bedroom and dropped onto his bed. But he didn’t open his laptop. He just stared straight in front of himself. This mess was all his fault and there was nothing he could do about it. If he rang his dad and begged him to call it all off it wouldn’t work. His dad would just accuse him of doing what his mum was demanding of him. Neither did he know what he could do to find the money they needed for a lawyer.
This was all his fault. If he’d not lost his temper with his dad then his dad wouldn't see him as needing saving. But his dad had pushed so many of his buttons, especially when his dad started on about him not having a girlfriend and that his church was full of nice girls. His dad was demanding that he become exactly like him, even down to going to his church and sharing his religion. But he wasn’t a duplicate of his dad, and he was tired of his dad always trying to push him into being one. He’d snapped that Saturday and come out to his dad to silence him. He knew that had been the wrong move, but he couldn’t turn back time and undo what he’d done. He couldn’t draw those words back into his mouth as if they had never been said, no matter how much he wanted to. And that was the problem. He’d not been smart enough to do the right thing in the first place. He should have known how his dad would react. He'd known his dad all his life, and he should have kept his mouth shut.
He should have known he would react like this. He was always quizzing him about the state of his mum’s and Niki’s relationship, and always asking him to come back and live with him. He had been so angry when he moved out with his mum. He should have known that he would react like this. He should have known all of this, but he’d still gone and opened his stupid mouth.
He felt so stupid. He’d caused all this mess and there was no way he could unpick any of it. If they didn’t get a lawyer then his dad would win, and he couldn’t live with his dad. His dad and Grandma certainly wouldn’t let him continue with his college course. His dad had repeatedly said how pointless he thought it was, and how he didn’t think it was a suitable subject for his son to study. Simon was really enjoying his course now and he couldn’t give it up. Worse than that though, his dad would force him to go to that homophobic Release Trust and all their meetings. Just the thought of it made his stomach turn cold with repulsion. He’d run away from home before he’d live with his dad and his hateful Grandma. But that was all he could think of to do. It was extreme, but his mind couldn’t focus on any other options. This seemed too big a situation for him to see any way around. He had caused this mess and he could see no way out of it.
He felt his whole body sink down as depression took hold of his mind. He’d been stupid, so stupid, and…
Three quick knocks on his bedroom made him look up.
“Simon, it’s me,” Niki’s voice called through the door. “Can I come in? I need to ask you something.”
“Okay,” Simon called back. He worried he was now in trouble with Niki, too, and felt his stomach sink further. Could he do any more things wrong?
His bedroom swung open and Niki hurried into his room. She sat down on the bed next to him, making the mattress sink down further, and said:
“I need to ask you something.”
Simon felt a wave of dread wash through his mind. He’d done something else wrong and Aunt Kate had identified it.
“Have you kept all those texts and emails your dad has been sending you? All those homophobic ones.”
“Yes,” he quietly answered.
“You beauty!” Niki exclaimed, as she suddenly kissed him on the forehead. “You did just what we need.”
“What?” he asked, now confused by her actions.
“Kate needs you to send them all to her. Just forward the emails. With the texts, she needs you to copy them into an email, with the time and date you received them and the phone number they came from.”
“But why?” he asked her. She had been bubbling with excitement as she had asked him.
“Because Kate says they prove how unfit your dad is to be your main parent. He’s bombarded you with all that homophobic shit since you came out. That shows him as the useless father he is. And he’s claiming that only he can raise you. He’s screwed himself.”
“How do you know this?”
“Kate says so. She’s going to put together a document to counteract your dad’s letter. If that fails she’ll petition the Family Court to interview you about what you want, where you want to live. She was in court this afternoon, you were right. But she’s already spoken to a colleague who specialises in Family Law, and the two of them are going to take on our case, pro bono. It appears your dad has got himself the most homophobic and bigoted firm of solicitors around to represent him. Kate and her colleagues feel it’s their duty to fight them.”
“She’s going to help us?”
“Her and her colleague are going to be our solicitors, and all she wants is a reference from us at the end of it all. She’s amazing,” Niki said.
“I’m so sorry,” he told her.
“What for?” Niki asked him, her face creasing up in an expression of puzzlement.
“I caused all this mess. If I hadn’t opened my mouth, if I hadn’t come out to him then we won’t be in all this… well, shit.”
“This isn’t your fault,” she said, her voice dropping with the serious tone in it. “This is all Matthew’s doing. That selfish, arrogant cunt is doing this all and doing it to get at your mum. He won’t give her a divorce and now he’s doing this. He's such a cunt.”
“But if I’d just ignored…” He started to say, but she quickly cut him short by saying:
“No. You were going to come out to him at some point or other, it’s only natural. He chose to go over the top with all his homophobic shit. You didn’t ask him to do anything of this. It’s all his fault. None of it is yours.”
“I’m so sorry,” he burst out as hot and stinging tears suddenly poured out of his eyes. He couldn’t help himself or even stop himself. Suddenly tears had taken him over and he sobbed.
“You poor little sod, come here,” Niki said as she wrapped him in a tight and warm embrace.
He carried on crying, the tears pouring out of his eyes onto Niki’s shoulder, as his body shook and all his emotions boiled. He clutched her tightly, holding onto her as the emotions overtook him.