Jump to content
  • Members Can Sign Up For Content Notifications

    Do you want to be automatically notified of updates to your favorite content?  Join now for free and follow your favorite stuff!

    Drew Payne
  • Author
  • 1,752 Words
  • 1,439 Views
  • 15 Comments

Days Like This - 8. Thursday

Simon pushed the last of the sausage casserole into his mouth. It had been full of rich flavours: tomatoes and herbs, and the smoky taste of paprika. It wasn’t just that Niki was a good cook, she was an imaginative one. She would take a basic or familiar recipe and enhance it with some twist or change; the use of herbs or spices, or the addition of a rogue ingredient, something different or unexpected. With tonight’s sausage casserole it had been the addition of herbs, and the paprika, which had given the tomato sauce a rich barbecue flavour.

The three of them had been sat around the small, square kitchen table eating their evening meal together. Tonight Niki had cooked their meal, and the kitchen had been full of the rich smell of the casserole cooking.

“Give me your plate,” his mum said, reaching over the table and taking his empty plate from in front of him. She piled it upon her own empty plate and placed Niki’s plate on top, before standing up and placing them into the kitchen’s sink.

“Thanks Niki, that was great,” Simon said.

“We all enjoyed it and I love cooking,” Niki replied. Whenever someone complemented her on her cooking Niki always replied that she loved cooking, as if it was no special skill.

“What’s for pudding?” his mum asked, as she turned back towards the table.

“There’s still three cookies left from the weekend. I thought we’d have them,” Niki said. Most Sunday afternoons Niki would bake something, a cake, biscuits, cookies or some type of bread. Niki always said that baking was her de-stressor. She said baking was so completely different from her job that she could concentrate on it without thinking about the stress of her job. Simon certainly liked eating the results of Niki’s Sunday afternoon baking.

“Dig in,” his mum said, as she placed the Tupperware box containing the last three cookies onto the table.

Simon held back for a moment, letting his mum and Niki choose their cookies first. He might have appeared to have been being generous, but the truth was he wanted the bottom one. It was richly brown, studded thickly with chocolate chips. When he retrieved it, he bit deeply, savouring the contrasting flavours of milk chocolate and vanilla filling his mouth, and the crumbling texture of it on his tongue. God, he loved the cookies Niki made. His Grandma never cooked anything as nice as this.

“Simon, is anything the matter with you?” his mum asked him suddenly. Her words cut through his thoughts.

“No, why?” he replied, after swallowing his mouthful of cookie.

“You’ve been looking very down lately,” his mum said. “Are you having trouble at college?”

“No, everything’s okay,” he told her.

“Is there someone bullying you there?” his mum asked.

“No,” Simon told her. He didn’t want to add that barely anyone at college knew his name, let alone enough about him that they could bully him.

“Are you having problems with a girl?” Niki asked him.

“No,” Simon replied.

“Are you having problems with a boy?” Niki then quietly asked him.

He looked up at her. Niki was staring at him with a concerned expression on her face, but her face still contained her open expression.

“No,” he quickly replied. But his voice cracked as he spoke the word. Even to his ears, his answer sounded false. “Yes,” he said, his voice quiet now as he finally spoke the truth.

“What has happened?” Niki asked him.

Simon swallowed against his dry mouth and said:

“Last week, Max dumped me. He was my first one. My first boyfriend.”

“I’m sorry,” Niki said, placing her hand over his left hand which was resting on the table and gently squeezing it for a moment.

“I was supposed to meet him last Wednesday for a date and he just didn’t turn up. He doesn’t reply to any of my texts and he’s blocked me from his Facebook page. I hate it.”

“I’m sorry,” Niki said again.

“Why didn’t you tell us this?” his mum asked him.

He looked over at his mum. Her face was almost scowling with concern.

“I couldn’t,” he said. He couldn’t explain all his reasons. How could he?

“I’m your mother,” she replied. “I’m in relationship with Niki. You know I wouldn’t have been angry at you or anything like that. Why didn’t you trust me?”

“I couldn’t,” was all he could say. He didn’t know how to explain himself.

“Simon?” his mum said, the accusation now plain in her voice.

“Rosie,” Niki cut in. “His father is Matthew. That shit-for-brains would drive anyone into the closet.”

“Yes, I guess you’re right,” his mum said to Niki.

“And Matthew has gone all borderline stalker on you for leaving him for me,” Niki added.

“I know, I know,” his mum said as she nodded her agreement.

“And old habits die hard,” Niki said, turning her attention back to Simon.

“Yes,” Simon told her.

“Don’t worry,” Niki told him. “I understand. I didn’t come out until I was twenty-three. You can tell your mum and I anything. We won’t be shocked. Well, I won’t be shocked, and I can talk your mum around.”

“Hey!” his mum protested.

“It’s true,” Niki said.

“It is,” his mum agreed with her.

His mum then turned her attention back to Simon. “Where did you meet this Max?”

“Through a gay dating app. The one called HIM,” Simon said.

“Simon, you need to be careful on those apps,” Niki said.

“I was careful when I first met Max. I met him somewhere public,” he protested.

“No, I mean because you’re sixteen,” Niki said. “There are twats on those apps who are looking for underage boys to make trouble with. Some just want to pick you up, but some are looking to expose underage activity. You have to be really careful.”

“I only went on that app to find some gay friends. I’d read that some men used those apps to make friends. I didn’t know anyone gay,” Simon said.

“You know us,” his mum said.

“I think we’ve been there,” Niki said.

“I just wanted to make some gay friends,” Simon said.

“There’s a gay youth club you could go to,” Niki said. “My friends Iain and Will run it. We had dinner with them last night and I’m sure they’d make you really welcome.”

“That’s the Vale Side one?” Simon asked.

“Yes, they’re called the Vale Side Junction, don’t ask me why,” Niki replied.

“I thought about going there, but it’s two bus rides away at least,” Simon said.

“I could drive you there,” his mum said.

“No,” Niki said. “I could drive you there. Think of the Kudos you’d get by getting a lift there from your mum’s lesbian lover.”

“That would be cool,” Simon said. It would give him a great introduction to the group.

“Just say the word, and I’ll give you a lift,” Niki said.

“I will,” Simon said. He'd have to work up his courage, but he would have to go.

“And when you want to start looking for a new boyfriend let me know. We can’t have you going on those hook-up apps. Well not until your eighteen at least,” Niki told him.

“I don’t think I’m ready for that,” he told her.

“Well, when you are, let me know. I know a lot of gay men and I could fix up with someone nice,” Niki added.

“Most of your gay friends are middle-aged, in their forties,” his mum exclaimed to Niki. “I don’t think I’m happy with you setting up my son with middle-aged men.”

“I don’t mean that,” Niki told her. “You know most of my friends are in relationships. But a lot of them have gay nephews and godsons, and even sons. Of course Simon might just meet a nice boy at Ian and Will’s youth group.”

“I don’t know,” Simon said. He found he was becoming uncomfortable as Niki almost gleefully started to give him dating tips.

“Now I assume you and this Max had sex,” Niki said.

“Niki!” his mum again protested. “Is this appropriate?”

“Very appropriate,” Niki told his mum before turning her attention back to Simon. “Did you?”

“Yes, of course,” Simon replied. God, he could feel the discomfort rising up the back of his neck. Niki could be so direct.

“Where did you have sex?” Niki asked.

“On the back seat of his car. He lived with his parents too. He always parked in out of the way places, though, and it wasn’t very comfortable. We were always safe, though.” The discomfort flushing at his face seemed to have loosened his tongue too, as the words tumbled out of him.

“Well, the next boyfriend you have, you bring him home to meet us two, and you two can have sex up in your room. I know you don’t have a double bed but your bed is bigger than a single one. You should be comfortable enough,” Niki said, smiling at him.

“Niki!” his mum almost shouted at her. “That’s way not appropriate.”

“It is so appropriate,” Niki replied. “Do you want Simon having sex on the back seat of a car somewhere? Or be nice and comfortable in his own bedroom?”

“I’d rather not answer that question now,” his mum said.

“I’m only being practical,” Niki said, more to the room in general than to either of them.

“Don’t fall in love with a Social Worker,” his mum said to him, smiling. “They can be so unromantic at times.”

“Sure,” Simon mumbled.

“We need to make a move, EastEnders starts in five minutes,” Niki said, as she picked up the empty Tupperware box from the table.

“I want to know what happens with Karen Taylor,” his mum said, excitement in her voice as she, too, stood up from the table.

“And you can tell us which actors you fancy. And be honest about it. Toby at work says he fancies Joey Branning,” Niki said, smiling at Simon.

“I will,” Simon said as he stood up too.

That had been so easy. He'd been so worried about doing it, worried about what he’d say, worried how his mum would react, worried how he would explain himself. And in reality it had been as simple as giving an honest answer to one of Niki’s questions. It felt so good. He felt so good.

He quickly followed his mum and Niki into the sitting room.

Copyright © 2019 Drew Payne; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 21
  • Love 10
  • Haha 2
  • I Read It 1

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

1 minute ago, Timothy M. said:

Nicki is hilarious but also very caring and clever. She totally managed Simon's mum, so she couldn't embarrass her son too much.

Thank you.

Isn't Niki great. I really enjoy writing her. Every so often I hit on characters that are a real joy to write, and Niki is one of them (I've managed to find two characters like that in this story).  Rosie, Simon's mum, could have so over-rected here without Niki's brake being applied to her. That has been what I wanted to show here, that Niki is holding back Rosie, and trying to soften her rough edges.

Niki has her work cut out though, managing Simon's mum, wait until later chapters.

  • Like 5

Share this comment


Link to comment
16 minutes ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter, I’m loving this story.

Thank you, that means a lot to me.

I always worry that people won't like what I write or not relate to my characters.

It's wonderful to hear that you are enjoying it.

  • Like 2
  • Love 1

Share this comment


Link to comment

Well, now that Simon is finally out to Niki and his mum, hopefully things will improve for him in his social life. :unsure2:

  • Like 4
  • Love 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
55 minutes ago, Marty said:

Well, now that Simon is finally out to Niki and his mum, hopefully things will improve for him in his social life. :unsure2:

As the Great River Song said, "Spoilers Sweety, Spoilers."

But Simon does have the habit of doing the wrong thing as well as the right thing. 😎

Edited by Drew Payne
  • Love 1
  • Haha 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

Niki is the best. Where are more wonderful people like that? Simon’s mum is right to be concerned- in fact, she can’t really help it - but Niki is right: vetting a boyfriend would have filtered Max right out, and saved Simon a lot of heartache. 

  • Like 4

Share this comment


Link to comment

It is nice to see Simon in a "two steps forward phase." Niki was very helpful in getting him to open up and keeping Mom from overreacting. The dialogue was great during this after dinner conversation! Simon is feeling so much better about himself, and it makes me happy! I suppose we have "one step back" coming next. Well it can't be all hearts and roses if a story is meant to be realistic. I am enjoying this story a lot! Thanks. 

 

  • Like 3

Share this comment


Link to comment
26 minutes ago, Parker Owens said:

Niki is the best. Where are more wonderful people like that? Simon’s mum is right to be concerned- in fact, she can’t really help it - but Niki is right: vetting a boyfriend would have filtered Max right out, and saved Simon a lot of heartache. 

Thank you. I am so surprised and happy at how much people like Niki. She is a character that I'm having so much fun and pleasure writing, I can put into her mouth so many of my own views. She is a social worker and someone who has learned from her job and her experiences, she can have an almost blunt practicality to her. If Simon had come out to her before he'd joined that dating app, he wouldn't have made some of his bad choices, but I have had a very different story, and not the story I wanted to write about. There is much more to come from Niki in this story, even if she's a bit of a scene stealer.

  • Like 3

Share this comment


Link to comment
19 minutes ago, JeffreyL said:

It is nice to see Simon in a "two steps forward phase." Niki was very helpful in getting him to open up and keeping Mom from overreacting. The dialogue was great during this after dinner conversation! Simon is feeling so much better about himself, and it makes me happy! I suppose we have "one step back" coming next. Well it can't be all hearts and roses if a story is meant to be realistic. I am enjoying this story a lot! Thanks. 

 

Thanks for your feedback, it really helps me and keeps me going.

In Niki I wanted to write someone with heart and brains, she knows what to and how to do it. She works as a social worker and certainly knows how to manage people, even those she loves. Dialogue is something I really love writing and I love the challenge of telling a story and developing characters through it. Many, many, many years ago I wanted to be a playwright but that is such a hard and demoralising path. I found a much more ready market in prose.

As for what will happen to Simon...

"Spoilers Sweetie, Spoilers!" And I always promise a spoiler-free zone with my comments.

I want to write about coming out and the important factors in doing so, but I don't want to write a How-To manual, I want to write a story of the highs and lows of it.

But I can say, the next chapter I wrote surprisingly quickly, it just followed out of me.

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

I never imagined coming out to (half of) your family could go so smoothly, but I guess it helps having two mother's and with Niki's forthright character. I could sense how Simon was starting to get a bit uncomfortable when she began to get into the details of his relations with Max, nobody wants everything discussed, the kid needs his own secret garden. Nice chapter, you're a good author.

  • Like 3

Share this comment


Link to comment
12 hours ago, Talo Segura said:

I never imagined coming out to (half of) your family could go so smoothly, but I guess it helps having two mother's and with Niki's forthright character. I could sense how Simon was starting to get a bit uncomfortable when she began to get into the details of his relations with Max, nobody wants everything discussed, the kid needs his own secret garden. Nice chapter, you're a good author.

Thank you so much, I really value feedback like this.

Yes, it was an easy coming out but it does help when your mum is in a same-sex relationship and with a woman as intelligent as Niki. Niki had a very good idea that Simon is gay before she asked if he'd had a boyfriend, but she can be bluntly practical. The last person you want sex advise from is your mum's girlfriend.

I think Simon has had too much of a secret garden, he's kept too much inside of himself and not really let others into his life. A secret garden can be a fascinating to visit from time to time but we can't live there all the time.

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

Great chapter. Niki is a good one for both Simon and his mom. She’s definitely a good ally for Simon even if it ages Rosie prematurely, and keeps Simon groaning with embarrassment. At least he knows he has a safe place to talk about anything. 

Hopefully, the youth social will help him open up some more too.  

  • Like 3

Share this comment


Link to comment
9 hours ago, Defiance19 said:

Great chapter. Niki is a good one for both Simon and his mom. She’s definitely a good ally for Simon even if it ages Rosie prematurely, and keeps Simon groaning with embarrassment. At least he knows he has a safe place to talk about anything. 

Hopefully, the youth social will help him open up some more too.  

Thanks for the feedback, it does me the power of good.

There will certainly be more of Niki to come, I enjoy writing her too much for there not to be, but I can't say anymore otherwise the Spoilers Monster will get me.

I can say the chapter is a "fun" ride.

  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

This was a wonderful chapter.  You've created wonderful characters - even those we dislike!  They serve to bring into focus the issues that underlie the story and you have done it brilliantly.  I am totally enjoying this story and your writing immensely.

  • Like 1

Share this comment


Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..