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  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home
  • Shadowgod - Almost Home

With Trust - A Conclusion - 2. Chapter - Normal Is Good

Read "With Trust" before reading this.

“She knew,” he whispered.

Milo had just hung up from speaking with his mother, and he seemed happy, but he was hanging on to me tightly.

“She knew?” I asked, not sure what it was that she knew.

“That I’m gay.”

“Oh. How’d she know? Did your father tell her?” I asked, surprised. I didn’t think his father talked to his mother, and I wondered if my mother had told her. Or Emily Hill.

Milo pulled back a little and stared at me intently.

“Juanita. I guess Juanita has been keeping her up on what’s going on.”

“She knew your dad was sending you to another school?!” I asked indignantly.

“No, she didn’t know about that,” he said quickly.

“Oh.”

“She’s coming out to talk to my dad. She’s going to get here tomorrow. Your mother said she can stay here.”

That sounded very much like something my mother would say.

“That’s okay? Right?” I asked carefully. “She’s okay…okay that you’re gay?”

“Yeah, yeah. She’s fine with it. She said she loved me and she’d talk sense into Dad, and she wants to meet you!” and now he really smiled for the first time since he’d taken the call.

That was a shock to me. Now I felt nervous. I hadn’t planned on meeting a parent. Not a parent that actually wanted to find out what I was like, and whether I was good enough for her son! I was more nervous about meeting her than I’d ever been around Mr. Thompson Trust.

But Milo was hugging me again, and he seemed really happy, and for the moment, that was the most important thing.

 

Milo took some time to wipe the tears from his face while I assured him that he looked okay, even though his eyes were red, and you could tell he’d been crying. I was pretty sure my mom and dad wouldn’t say anything.

Once he’d gotten himself together, we went back to the kitchen, where we found Mom and Dad chatting. They stopped talking as we entered and looked up expectantly. I could see Mom was almost biting her tongue, wanting to ask what happened, and Dad looked just as curious, but they waited for Milo to share his news. I suspected Mom had already told Dad most of it.

After Milo finished explaining that his mother was going to come out and talk to his father and that she was going to stay here, a thought occurred to me.

“So if his mother is going to stay for a few days…Milo will have to sleep in my room,” I pointed out, maybe grinning a bit too much.

My mother was unimpressed with that idea.

“Your brother isn’t using his room,” she replied.

“Mom!” I whined.

“Milo’s underage. Tonight we are going to be checking he’s in bed in the guest room before we go to bed, and he better be there when we get up in the morning. Once his mother gets here…well, where Milo sleeps will be her concern, not ours.”

“Okay Mom,” I said, glancing at Milo and grinning. “Is it okay if we go and hang out in my room for a while?”

My mother sighed, but she glanced at my dad, who nodded reluctantly, and then she turned back to face us.

“Okay,” she said.

I grabbed Milo’s hand and pulled him along with me.

“Leave the door open!” my mother called after us, but we both ignored her.

“So what does that mean?” he whispered.

“It means that once they go to bed, you can come visit. We just have to remember to set the alarm.”

Milo smirked at me.

 

It was sometime after midnight, and we’d been lying together in bed, sort of trying to sleep, but somehow not managing to.

I was wide awake, and I was pretty sure Milo was awake too.

Earlier that evening, after we’d hung out in my room for a while, we’d gone back upstairs and had ice cream with my parents. After dessert we’d all sat in the family room, with the television on, not really watching. But no one seemed in the mood to talk, or maybe everyone was worried about starting a conversation and saying the wrong thing accidentally.

And then, fairly early, Mom and Dad said that they were going to bed and we all stood up, Milo and I a bit awkwardly. Dad said goodnight to Milo and patted him on the shoulder as he went past him, and then he gave me a hug. My mother walked up to Milo and hugged him, and kissed him on the cheek. He looked surprised, as she came over and kissed me and told me not to stay up too late. I said we were probably going to go to bed soon, and my mother didn’t even give me a second glance.

When I’d told Milo earlier that he could sneak down after my parents had gone to bed, I had imagined that we’d be going through some act of Milo going to bed in the guest bedroom and then—once the lights were out—he’d sneak down to my room. Instead, we just turned the lights out, and he followed me downstairs, and it was almost anti-climactic.

Sneaking around makes things much more exciting.

And now we were lying in bed together, so from my perspective, things were pretty good. Though maybe our minds were now on things other than sex.

“Are you okay?” I whispered.

“Yeah,” Milo whispered back, but he was tense and clearly seemed nervous or worried.

“It’s going to be okay,” I told him. You have to say that, even when you don’t really know. You have to have hope.

“You think?” he asked.

“I hope.”

“Yeah,” he said, though I wasn’t sure he actually agreed with me.

“You mad? That your mother knew?” I asked him.

“No. No. Why?”

“I don’t know,” I said, though in truth if I were in his position, I would have been annoyed about it. But then his relationship with his parents was so different from mine, I had to keep reminding myself to stop comparing them.

“I don’t really think about my mother much,” he finally said.

That surprised me. I decided against asking why.

“Did she say what custody she has?” I asked, changing the subject.

“She said joint,” he said, though he didn’t sound excited.

“Well, that’s good, right?”

There was a long pause, and then Milo sighed and put his arm over his forehead.

“If she does,” he finally said, sounding bitter.

“You think she’s lying?”

“I think she might not know, and she’s just saying what she thinks I want to hear. Then she’ll not turn up, and buy me a car…or something.”

I grinned, and then I realized that he wasn’t joking.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“Not your fault.”

“I know…I just…” I decided to change the subject. “What do you think will happen tomorrow?”

“No fucking idea.”

 

A little before seven I was awoken by my father's voice from the top of the stairs.

“Nelson! I’m getting up in ten minutes!”

“Okay, Dad,” I laughed, as I gently shook my very cute bed partner awake.

“You have to get up,” I whispered.

‘I don’t want to get up,” Milo mumbled.

“Come on, we can shower together.”

Milo’s eyes flashed open.

“I thought you said you showered in the evenings,” said Milo slowly, as though he was considering the question carefully. And then he yawned.

“I usually do, but I don’t want to meet your mother with the smell of your…of you all over me.”

Milo snickered.

“If we shower now, there should be enough hot water for Mom and Dad later. They aren’t going out today, so they should be okay with it. It’s the weekend, anyway.”

“Just don’t tell them the reason we had a shower was to get the smell of each other off us,” Milo suggested, and he smirked at me.

“No, I’ll tell them we did it so we could jerk each other off in the shower,” I smirked.

And we did.

 

Breakfast was a slow and quiet affair, the four of us sitting at the table, Mom and Dad trying to make small talk, me trying to be interested, and Milo staring off into space.

Mom said she’d told Chad and Leanna not to come by today—even though they had wanted to—as she thought it might be a bit too much. I was pretty sure she was right. Milo was so lost in his own little world that he probably didn’t even hear what we were talking about.

The conversation kept grinding to a halt. My mother would stare at Milo as he aimlessly moved his spoon through the bowl of cereal, and then she’d stare at me and make a motion with her head like I should do something. I’d prompt Milo, and he’d shake himself awake, eat half a spoonful of cereal, and then go back to staring off into space, and the cycle would repeat.

Frankly, I was relieved when my mother gave up and suggested that since we were clearly finished, I should take Milo downstairs and ‘do something to take his mind off things.’

My father almost choked on his coffee again.

Milo followed me downstairs, but all we did was sit on my bed. He leaned into me, and I held him close, my arm around him.

“I don’t know if this is going to do any good,” Milo whispered, and for a moment I thought he meant that my holding him wasn’t comforting him, but then I realized he was talking about his mother visiting.

“Give her a chance,” I said, because I couldn’t think of anything else to say.

And we just sat there. Holding each other.

At least we didn’t have to take another shower before his mother arrived.

 

Just before noon, there was someone at the front door, ringing the doorbell. We knew it wasn’t Milo's mother; her plane wasn’t arriving for another hour.

Milo looked startled, and for a moment I think we both thought it was his father.

“Nelson?” I heard my mother call. “It’s Caleb!”

I let out the breath I was holding, and Milo settled back into the slouch he’d been assuming before the bell rang.

I turned to Milo. “You stay here. I’ll just go up and say hi, and hopefully, he won’t stay long. Okay?”

“Sure. But I can come up.”

“No,” I said holding up my hands to stop him, and Milo looked puzzled. “I trust Caleb,” I explained. “But I don’t want him to have to lie for us…more than necessary.”

Milo nodded in understanding, and I got up and went out of my room, pulling the door closed behind me.

Caleb was waiting at the top of the stairs, chatting to my mother, and he looked like he was expecting to come down to my bedroom, but instead, I invited him into the kitchen for a drink.

‘How you doin Nels?” asked Caleb.

“Okay,” I said.

“I heard about Milo running away.”

“You did?” I asked, both surprised and a little embarrassed. I hadn’t let Caleb know what was going on. And then I realized that it had only been Thursday afternoon that Milo’s dad had arrived at our door with the note from Milo. So much seemed to have happened in a day and a half.

But Caleb was standing there staring at me, and I wondered if I was acting weird and whether he realized it.

“Yeah, Haily told me,” Caleb said, looking just a little suspicious.

“Haily?” I asked, puzzled.

“She heard from Jerry. I guess Milo’s dad called all his friends wanting to know if they knew where Milo is. Jerry’s parents were on his case about it.”

“Wow. They thought Jerry would know?”

“They knew he helped us smuggle Milo into your bedroom,” Caleb grinned.

“Oh.” When did that happen? I couldn’t be sure. That seemed so long ago now. “His dad was here you know?” I said.

“Who?” Caleb asked.

“Milo’s dad.”

“What?!”

“Yeah. He thought I knew where Milo is. I told him I didn’t, but he didn’t believe me, and he was going to make me go with him to look for Milo.”

“Seriously?” Caleb gasped, actually looking shocked.

“Yeah. But my parents turned up, and he left,” I shrugged. “He hasn’t been back since.”

“Huh,” said Caleb, and that mix of suspicion and curiosity was back on his face. “You know I told Haily to tell you about Jerry, but she said she didn’t want to.”

“What? Why not?”

Caleb grinned, as though he was giving away a big secret.

“Cause she figures you know where Milo is, and she doesn’t want you telling her, because then she might tell Jerry and he’d have to lie to his parents and to Milo’s dad, and she doesn’t want to put him in that position.”

“Huh,” I said. So we were all avoiding each other, so that we didn’t have to share information? It was like we were running some top secret program. “She must really like Jerry,” I observed.

“Yeah, I think she does,” Caleb nodded. There was a long pause, and then he very meaningfully said: “So do you?”

“Do I what?” I asked him slowly.

Caleb grinned at me, but he didn’t push it.

“You need any help?” he asked.

I thought about it. Did I? It was great that my best friend was here, offering to help. That was probably all the help I needed at the moment.

“Thanks, man, I’m good right now.”

Caleb nodded slowly, and then he gave me a confident grin. “If you need anything, you call me,” he said.

“Yeah, yeah. I will.”

“And tell Milo I hope it works out for him.”

I stared at Caleb. Coming from him that was really something. Caleb didn’t like most people, and he’d been very cold towards Milo at first. Even as Caleb had tried to help me with my Milo problems, I knew it was because he cared about me; he still hadn’t liked Milo. And here he was acting almost caring towards Milo.

That counted as a win.

I grinned. “Thanks, Caleb.”

He nodded. “I’ll…I’m gonna get out of here,” and then he hugged me quickly and thumped my back.

My mother walked in. “Are you hungry Caleb, we’re just about to have lunch?”

“Oh thank you Mrs. Larmont. I already ate.”

I didn’t know if Caleb had eaten yet, but this was about the only time he’d ever turned down food. I patted Caleb on the back and followed him to the door.

“Thanks, Caleb,” I repeated.

“Yeah, no trouble. You coming to school on Monday?”

“Uh…” I began, I hadn’t even thought about what was going to happen tomorrow.

“Let me know.”

“I will,” I promised. “Can you let Haily know I’m okay? And she probably shouldn’t call me for the next few days,” and I grinned at him.

Caleb smiled knowingly.

“‘Course I will. Though maybe I’ll not tell her the last part,” and he winked.

 

It was around 3 that we heard another car pull up, and then a short moment later, the sound of the doorbell.

Milo and I were in my bedroom, not doing anything more than hugging and exchanging a few kisses now and again. I’d even dug out some sketchbooks, and the two of us had spent some time drawing.

But at the sound of the car, Milo glanced at me nervously, and I smiled encouragingly. And then I had another thought.

“I’ll go up and check. You stay here, just in case…” and I left unsaid ‘in case it’s your father.’

I climbed the stairs warily, but I could already tell from the sound of my mother’s voice that whoever was there was not an unwelcome visitor. Just inside the entrance way I found my mother talking to a woman of about average height, with long yellow-blondish hair, and I thought at first she looked nothing like Milo, and then she turned and faced me, and I saw those same emerald eyes.

Milo has his mother’s eyes. How very Harry Potter-ish of him.

It was probably not a good idea to say that to him, but I couldn’t help grinning at her, and now Mom was introducing me. I didn’t really hear what she was saying, or what Milo’s mom was saying, but I said “nice to meet you,” and then my mom was asking where Milo was. I said that I’d go get him, and turned, only to find myself staring into Milo’s emerald eyes. I almost laughed, and I must have looked a little goofy because Milo flashed a curious expression before stepping around me to go to his mother.

I watched Milo as he went up to his mother. He looked stiff and awkward as they embraced. As she hugged him, he looked a lot like Chad looked when relatives would kiss and hug him. Like he really didn’t want them to.

But then my mother was grabbing my arm and pulling me into the kitchen as she told Milo to show his mother to the guest bedroom, and added that they should “take your time.”

I wanted to object. I wanted to stay and hear what they said, and I didn’t want them to take their time. Milo even glanced at me like he wanted me to stay too, but my mother was insistent. I reluctantly went into the kitchen and spent a frustrating hour sitting with my parents, wondering what was happening.

It felt like I had spent more time sitting with my parents over the last week than I had in the last year. The only thing was, we never seemed to be talking about anything.

 

I was lost in my thoughts, and my parents were talking about the work that would need to be done to clean up the field before the summer, when I heard a noise and turned to see Milo and his mother coming into the kitchen.

I only had eyes for Milo, and I could tell that he looked more relaxed and maybe even happy, though he still moved as though he was uncomfortable—but perhaps that was because my parents and I were there.

“Hey, uh…” Milo nervously began and then stopped.

“Pamela, thank you so much for everything you’ve done for Milo,” his mother piped up.

“You’re both welcome Erica,” replied my mother, who then introduced my dad and invited them both to sit with us.

Milo almost scrambled over to sit in the empty chair next to me, and I saw his mother glance at him with a wry smile as she took a seat next to my mother. My mother began making fresh coffee, and before I could ask what was going to happen, Mom was asking Milo’s mother about the work she did.

How could Mom act like she didn’t want to know what Milo and his mother had talked about?!

There followed a long explanation about photography and travel, and all I wanted to ask was whether she had joint legal custody of Milo, and could she get him out of his current problems and away from his father? I might have even rudely interrupted, but as soon as he sat down, Milo had taken my hand in his and gently rubbed his thumb along the back of my hand, and when I glanced at him he smiled happily, so I thought it was good news, but I wasn’t sure, and I wanted to be sure.

“…when Milo was eight I…” his mother was saying, and she glanced at Milo, and I wasn’t sure, but was that guilt I saw in her face? Suddenly I was very attentive to what they were talking about.

“…things had not been happy between Thom and I for a while, and I had a job offer that would involve so much traveling, and I really thought Milo would be happier with his father. It would be more stable. I really thought his dad…”

She was saying this to Milo now more than to us, and Milo was nervously glancing between her and me.

“Milo hated that I left, I knew that, and then he was a teenager, and he went from angry to distant, and I understood that. But I really thought you were doing okay. And Juanita always let me know what was going on. I know things had gotten worse lately, but I thought that was just teenage rebellion. I didn’t realize Thom was being…” and she trailed off.

“When did Juanita tell you I was gay?” Milo asked softly, letting go of my hand and rubbing his other hand across his forehead.

“Oh,” she smiled to herself. “That had to be a couple of years ago.”

“Two years?!” Milo exclaimed.

“When she first suggested it. She wasn’t really sure. I think I’d asked her if you’d started dating, and she said you had a little, but she added something like, ‘I don’t think Milo really likes girls.’”

I smirked at that and Milo elbowed me.

“And that was sort of our code,” his mother continued. “And then the last time I talked to her she said “Milo has a new special friend, a boy,” and I knew what that meant,” and then his mother looked at me and I felt myself turning red.

“You never told Dad?” Milo asked, curious.

“Well…we don’t talk a lot, I’m sorry. That is probably a mistake. But no, I never would have told your father that. I wasn’t sure, and anyway, I wasn’t going to out you to anyone. I thought that you needed to be the one to tell one of us, and I knew Juanita would not say anything to him, she loves you like a son.”

Milo nodded slowly, but I saw tears welling in his eyes again. “Dad hates me,” said Milo quietly.

“He doesn’t hate you, sweetheart.”

“He does,” Milo said stubbornly.

His mother stared at him for a long moment, and then pursed her lips.

“I’m sorry Milo. I really am,” she paused. “You know you have nothing to be ashamed of, don’t you?” Milo sat there, staring at his mother, but he seemed unsure of what to say, and he just blushed and chewed his bottom lip. “You don’t honey, you understand that? I love you just the same. Juanita loves you just the same. You can’t change who you’re attracted to, your dad is just…misguided.” Milo nodded slowly, and he wiped one eye with the back of his hand, and I could tell he was embarrassed.

“Neither of you has anything to be embarrassed about,” said my mother.

“Just so long as you keep the door closed,” said my dad, making a joke.

“Dad!” I complained, but he got up and came around and hugged me quickly and kissed the top of my head, and he patted Milo’s shoulder. Now I was blushing terribly, and I wondered if Dad had done it to take the attention away from Milo.

“Anyway,” said Milo’s mother, “we’ll have to do something about this,” and Milo grinned shyly. I reached out and grabbed Milo’s hand again under the table, and squeezed gently.

“Do you have joint custody?” my father asked casually as he moved back to his chair.

Finally! Someone getting to the point.

Milo’s mother smiled. “To be honest, when you called last night, I wasn’t one hundred percent certain,” she began. Milo looked like he was going to say something, but she hurried on. “I was pretty sure, but I had to call my lawyer to check. He faxed me this,” she added, pulling out a set of pages. “It’s the divorce agreement, and we do have joint legal custody.” She paused. “When we separated, it wasn’t easy. I actually had a lawyer do all the negotiations, that’s why I wasn’t certain. But he’s a very good lawyer, and I was pretty confident he wouldn’t have…” and she trailed off.

“So what does it mean?” I asked.

“I think it means,” said his mother more brightly, “that when it comes to major things like school, we have to agree. And if we don’t, and we can’t agree, then as my lawyer put it, it can get complicated. It could require mediation, or court if we’re willing to, ah…his words, ‘go to the mattresses.’ I think what he meant was, it could take months, and Milo is going to be 18 in less than half a year. But I really don’t think Thom will want to drag this out.”

“He might, just to torment me,” said Milo bitterly.

“Milo,” his mother almost scolded, but Milo didn’t look inclined to take it back.

After some more talk, Milo’s mother suggested that she was going to call his father and ask him around to ‘have a discussion,’ and then she turned to my mother to see if that was okay.

“That’s fine, you’re welcome to do it here,” said my mother.

“But then he’ll know where Milo is,” I pointed out.

“Don’t worry,” said my mother. “I’m going to call Ray and let him know that Milo and his mother are here and that his mother has joint legal custody and he has her permission to stay here. So Ray won’t do anything just because Milo’s dad calls him and yells at him.”

I smirked at Milo, and he rolled his eyes at me.

“Though, it’s getting late in the day, Erica. Do you want to wait until tomorrow?” my mother suggested. “I know you’ve traveled a long way today. Maybe you want to rest first and…well, what’s your schedule?”

Milo’s mother glanced at him, another guilty look. “I have to be in Germany Wednesday,” she said, “but I was hoping to stay until Tuesday if that’s alright.”

“You’re both welcome,” my mother said. “So why don’t you take this evening to rest and catch up with Milo, and then you can talk to his father tomorrow.”

“That’s probably a good idea. I’ll call him in the morning then, is that okay?” she asked, and my mother nodded.

And with that decided, suddenly everyone was being ordered to do things. Or at least, Milo and I were. My mom and Milo’s mom sat at the table chatting, while Milo and I worked at the counter peeling and cutting up vegetables.

My father had made a hasty escape to check on some business stuff. At least, that’s what he claimed.

“So how did you two boys meet?” I heard Milo’s mother ask, and I wasn’t sure who the question was directed at. I glanced at Milo who was standing at the sink, staring at a potato like it might explode in his hands, and he turned and gave me a look that seemed to say ‘you can answer that.’

And then my mother chipped in, “I’ve only heard bits of this story.”

“Uh,” I stumbled, very unsure of where to start.

“He liked a painting of mine, and we had the same class,” Milo piped up, and I glanced at him. Were we going to skip over the altercation and the public service we had to perform? On the one hand, it didn’t cast me in a good light, but on the other, his father knew some of that story and was bound to mention it to his mother at some point.

“And we kind of got into an altercation,” I added, and I saw Milo give me an annoyed look, and I shrugged at him and gave him my best ‘we have to be honest about this,’ look. Milo sucked in his lips as though thinking, and then nodded slowly.

And then I heard a small laugh from behind us, and I turned, and our mothers were looking at us and smiling.

“What?” I asked, puzzled about what they found so funny.

“It’s nothing,” said my mother, clearly trying not to laugh, but I got the distinct impression they were laughing at us.

“Go on,” his mother insisted.

I glanced back at Milo, who just rolled his eyes again, and then I reluctantly continued. “And the rest of his paintings were damaged, and I really felt bad about that…” and I explained about how we had to perform community service together, but that Milo hated me.

“I didn’t hate you,” Milo chipped in, and I snorted.

Then I explained how Milo turned up in parenting class, and Milo felt he had to add that he didn’t even want to take a parenting class.

“And he sat next to me,” I continued.

“I’m Nelson,” said Milo in a sing-song voice. “And I like the way you paint.”

“I do!” I said.

Milo glanced at me, and said quietly “I know,” and then he smiled at me and I just wanted to hug and kiss him, but then I remembered that my mother, and his, were behind us.

“Are they always like this?” I heard his mother ask my mother, and they both laughed again.

“Mom!” Milo whined, and I felt myself blushing, and I could see that he was too, and I couldn’t hear what my mother was whispering to his.

 

We all sat down to dinner together, and our parents did most of the talking, mainly about unimportant things, but Milo and I were happy not to be the center of attention for a while. After dinner, Milo and his mother went and talked some more in the guest bedroom, while I tried to keep myself busy. My parents suggested another movie, but I wasn’t interested, and we just sat in the family room while they watched a TV movie, and Mom kept telling me it was going to be okay.

Then Milo came into the room.

“Uh, Mom’s decided to have an early night,” he said to my mother.

“Oh good,” said my mother, and then she got up. “I’ll just go see if she needs anything,” and she left the room, and Milo came over and sat next to me on the couch. A good couple of feet away from me.

I glanced at him, and he was staring at the TV as if it was the most interesting program he’d ever seen. I slid over so that my leg, hip, and shoulders were touching his.

Milo glanced at me, giving me a ‘stop it’ glare, and then he glanced at my dad, and back at me meaningfully.

If Milo wanted me to stop, he was going to have to be more explicit, and I smiled at him and put my arm around his shoulder. Milo looked as though he was about to move away, but I squeezed his shoulder.

“It’s okay,” I said, and then I nodded at my father. “He knows we’ve been sleeping together.”

My dad looked over at us with a chagrined expression on his face.

“I’ll tell you what I told Chad once,” he said.

“Dad!” I complained.

“I said,” he continued, ignoring my objection. “You can do anything in public you want, as long as you don’t mind seeing your mother and I doing it!” and he grinned at us.

“Dad!” I complained again, but Milo snorted. He clearly thought my father was hilarious.

I turned to Milo, and then, because he looked so cute, and innocent, I quickly leaned over and kissed him on the lips. Milo pulled back, looking startled. At least that had wiped the grin off his face.

“What?” I said, “they are always doing that!”

Milo frowned and then nodded, but I decided not to push my luck, and I just sat there with my arm around him, and Milo relaxed a little, but he still didn’t seem completely comfortable.

My mother came back about ten minutes later, and I figured it would be more fun in my bedroom. I got up and said goodnight to my parents, and then I turned to face Milo, who looked like he was just going to sit there. His face turned a little red, and he glanced from me to my parents, and I really thought he wasn’t going to move. But then he hastily stood up.

“Ah, I’m going to…” Milo began and then paused.

My mother looked up from the magazine she’d been reading.

“Good night Milo,” she said, smiling, and then she looked back at the magazine. My dad smiled and quietly said “Goodnight” and turned back to the TV and we rather awkwardly walked out of the room and down to my room.

And no one said anything about where Milo should be sleeping. Not that either of us had asked.

When we got downstairs, Milo unrolled my sleeping bag next to my bed, while I watched him curiously.

“In case my mom asks,” he explained, grinning, before stripping down and climbing into bed next to me.

My boyfriend was in his underwear and sleeping in my bed; things had definitely turned around from a couple of days ago.

 

“Your mother seems nice,” I said carefully.

We were lying in bed, trying to sleep, but we had been failing miserably. I was wide awake, and I could tell Milo was also not sleeping.

“You mean compared to my father?” Milo asked, his voice soft.

“No. I just meant she seems nice.”

“You didn’t think she would be?” he asked defensively, rolling over to face me, and very clearly awake.

I took a moment to think, and then I hugged him close to me. At first, he was rigid—maybe he thought I was trying to initiate sex—but then he relaxed, and I kissed him.

“Are you trying to pick a fight?” I asked him softly.

“No,” he said, though he wouldn’t look at me.

“I just thought your mother seemed nice, in an I-only-just-met-her kind of way, but she seemed nice. And I didn’t mean anything about your dad or you.”

There was a long pause, and then he said: “I know.”

“What’s the matter?”

“I dunno,” he said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. Sometime’s I wish I’d just left on the boat.”

“I’m glad you didn’t.”

“I know.”

“She wasn’t what I expected,” I said.

“Why not?” he asked, puzzled.

“I dunno…” and I tried to think what I’d thought, and what I should say. I thought she might have been more like Milo. His dad was so loud and obnoxious, and Milo was quiet and introverted, so I thought he might have gotten that from his mother. His mother wasn’t obnoxious like his dad, but she was no introvert. “I thought she’d have dark hair,” I finally said, deciding that was the safest answer, “and I thought she’d be like some nature photographer with a vest and stuff. She just seems kind of normal,” I said.

Milo grinned.

“I’m not sure if I should take offense,” he said. “Normal is good, right?”

“Oh Yeah,” I agreed. “Normal is great,” and he grinned. “Did it go okay, talking to her?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“What do you think will happen tomorrow?”

“No idea. Mom talked about some different things though.”

“Like?”

“She has a sister I could stay with.”

“Really?” I asked, shocked.

“We talked about a lot of different things. We’re kind of waiting to see what Dad says before we pick between the other options.”

“Where’s your aunt live?”

“Let’s not talk about it, it probably won’t happen,” said Milo quickly, which to me sounded like it very well could. I wanted to object, but Milo was starting to look upset.

“I love you,” I said, pulling him close.

He grinned. “I know,” he said, and he kissed me.

 

 

Breakfast the next morning was a little more relaxed.

Milo seemed much more comfortable now with his mother than he had been the day before. He had told me they’d talked a lot the evening before about his father, and about being gay, and they had even talked more about our initial dating story, and sort of bonded over that.

But his mother seemed to have more questions about how we’d met, and at breakfast, it was almost like we had to retell the whole thing again.

When I reluctantly explained how Joe’s car had run over Milo’s paintings, and how Milo had hit me, Milo had interrupted and claimed that he didn’t really hit me and that I went down because I was drunk. I thought that was hilarious because when we’d first talked at the police station, he’d gone to great lengths to claim he had knocked me down.

Then I’d explained how I tried to become friends with Milo, mainly because I really liked his work, and also because I thought he was cute, and how resistant he was to becoming friends. And then we went through my whole coming-out-to-him story, and how badly that had gone.

“Why did you come out to Milo?” my mother asked. She knew the story, and I suspected she’d asked for his mother’s benefit.

I glanced at Milo, and I saw that he was looking guilty.

“I guess…” I began slowly, “I just had, like, a feeling he might be gay.

Milo rolled his eyes. “He saw a painting I’d done of him.”

I felt myself redden.

“He kept trying to give me back the damn painting of the hangman…” Milo continued.

“I felt bad.”

“I told you to keep it,” he said softly.

“I know, I still felt bad.”

“So he’d come over to give it back to me, and I wasn’t there, and Juanita told him he could put it in my bedroom, and I had some other paintings, and he saw one I’d done of him…”

“Yeah…I figured you can’t hate me if you wanted to paint me,” I interrupted, not really wanting him to mention that in the painting I was nude and with a massive erection.

Milo raised one eyebrow, and I thought he was going to deny it, but then he grinned.

“And he was naked in the painting,” Milo added, and as he said it, he visibly reddened, and I could feel myself blushing, and our mothers were laughing again.

As embarrassing as it was to retell the story, it had actually been fun to hear Milo tell his side of the story. I’d definitely heard bits of it, but getting the whole story was…illuminating. He’d been attracted to me—not a surprise—but he really had been confused about why I was being friendly with him, and he hadn’t thought for a minute that I was actually gay.

Milo thought I was being friendly because of his last name, or because I was trying to annoy Jame. I remembered him saying something about whether I was apologizing because of his name, but I couldn’t believe he thought I’d go to the trouble of trying to be his friend just to annoy Jame!

At that point, Milo’s mother complained that he never showed her any of his work, so I went and got the picture of the hangman from my room, and the painting of the field, and took them in to show her. I also brought some of his sketches I’d collected, including the one he’d drawn of me in class, leaning back in my seat and yawning, looking like I’d just gotten out of bed. When my mother saw that one she almost shrieked with laughter, which I thought was entirely inappropriate, and Milo grumbled: “You showed them that one?”

I honestly hadn’t given it a second thought when I’d picked it up. I liked it, though on second thoughts, maybe it wasn’t the best thing to show them.

His mother looked at Milo searchingly, while I nervously tugged at the stud in my right ear.

“It’s okay honey,” his mother said to him, “I know you love him.”

Milo rolled his eyes in embarrassment.

My mother smiled, “Well Nelson…”

“Mom!” I interrupted. I didn’t want her blurting out things like that, and we were both already bright pink.

Both our mothers were laughing, and then Milo’s mother was praising his work, and telling him how he had to keep doing it, and Milo was his usual depreciating self.

“They’re lovely sweetheart. You really are so talented,” she said.

“I told you, you were,” I whispered to him, and he elbowed me gently in the chest.

 

After breakfast, Milo’s mom called his father. I didn’t hear the call, and she didn’t say anything about it, other than he’d be here at 1pm. From what Milo later told me, his father had been very surprised to hear from her, and he was floored when she told him where she wanted to meet.

I was starting to dread the whole thing. This past week had been a roller coaster of emotions. One minute Milo was going away, then he wasn’t, and then he was, and when his mother came, I thought it was going to be all fixed. But after Milo talked about his aunt, I was starting to think there was a real possibility that he might end up going away anyway.

One o’clock was still a long way away, which meant we had a lot of time to fill in. Milo and I ended up going out into the field and feeding the goat and taking a walk. We figured his father knew where Milo was now, so there was no need to hide out. I thought about calling Caleb or Haily, but decided against it. We were both so wound up, we probably wouldn’t be very good company.

“Do you think you could go with your mother?” I asked him.

Milo looked at me for a long moment and then shrugged.

“We talked about that,” was all he said.

“And?”

“Well, kind of hard to finish school, but she said we could do some kind of home school-tutored thing. But it would mean moving to New York.”

“New York?”

“That’s where she lives when she’s not traveling, and she has a boyfriend, and she travels all the time and…it’s just…complicated.”

 

When Milo’s father arrived, there was no polite preliminary chatting. His mother took his father into the kitchen, while the rest of us scattered. For the first few minutes, we could hear some bits of what was being said. Things like “He’s not gay!” and “You don’t know your own son!” floated through the air, and I grabbed Milo’s hand and dragged him down to my bedroom, and then I got out paper and pens and colored pencils, and we started drawing together.

About an hour later there was a light knock on my door. The door didn’t open, so I guessed it wasn’t one of my parents.

“Come in!” I yelled out.

The door opened, and Milo’s mother was standing there. She smiled at us, looking a little nervous.

“You want to come up and talk with your dad and me sweetheart?”

Milo glanced at me for a long moment, and then he turned back to his mother.

“It’s okay,” she assured him.

Milo slowly nodded his head, and then he stood up awkwardly, and I wanted to go with him, but I knew it wasn’t my place.

“I’ll be right back,” he said to me, and I nodded, and he followed his mother upstairs.

 

“You awake?” I heard Milo whisper.

“Yeah.”

I was lying on my bed, trying to think of nothing—thinking of everything. I glanced at my watch. It was almost five. It was four hours since his father arrived. Three since Milo had said, “I’ll be right back.” I thought it had been a long time, I hadn’t realized how long.

After Milo had disappeared upstairs I’d tried to keep busy—I’d even attempted some homework. I’d thought it wouldn’t take them long, but I had been mistaken. It had taken them forever.

At least I’d finished most of my homework.

And now he was back. Milo came in and gently climbed onto the bed and lay down next to me.

“What happened?” I asked him.

“Only good things,” he said.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“What?”

“Well, I went up and talked with Mom and Dad. That was a lot of fun.”

“Yeah?”

“It started off with Dad telling me I was ruining my life, and I’d change my mind in a couple of years and regret it.”

“Really?” I asked, shocked, and he nodded. “What did your mother say?”

Milo grinned.

“She told him he was being stupid, and then it was like he just gave up. He basically agreed to what Mom said,” and Milo smiled at that. “And then he left. After Dad left, Mom and I talked some more, and then Mom talked to your parents, and then I talked to your parents…”

“And no one talked to me,” I said, a little annoyed, though I was curious what they were talking to my parents about. Was it whether we could still see each other? Whether I could go visit him in New York? I was getting no say in what was happening to my boyfriend, and it wasn’t okay by me.

“Sorry it took so long, but there was a lot of…stuff,” and Milo casually stretched and made himself comfortable.

“Yeah. So…?”

“Oh,” said Milo innocently, as though it hadn’t occurred to him I was dying to know what had been decided. I nudged him in the chest, and he grinned.

“Well, I’m staying, and I can go back to Hellver,” he said finally.

“You’re staying?” I confirmed, and I couldn’t help grinning.

“Yep,” and he smirked at me.

“You don’t want to stay at Stratford?” I asked.

“Nah,” he said. “They don’t have a parenting class.”

I nudged him softly, and he grinned at me.

“And that’s the only reason?” I asked.

“There are other reasons,” he said, smirking.

“And what about your dad?”

Milo shrugged.

“He agreed to it. Eventually. And I can stay at his place, and he’s going to ‘try’ and be more understanding.” Milo said the last part of the sentence in a sarcastic tone, as though he didn’t really believe it.

“Huh!” I exclaimed. I found it almost impossible to believe. I worried that as soon as his mother was gone, he’d be back to yelling at Milo and grounding him. And I wouldn’t be welcome there. “What if your dad won’t let me come to your house, or you come here?”

Milo didn’t seem perturbed by the question. It was as though he hadn’t even considered it.

“Well, Dad’s agreed we can keep seeing each other, and Mom’s going to talk to your uncle and let him know…”

I wasn’t convinced that it was going to do much good, but Milo was still talking.

“…and Mom said I can stay here whenever I want.”

It took about a second for that to sink in. Milo could stay here any time he wanted?!

“Here?” I said, patting the bed for emphasis.

“Yep,” he grinned.

“You can stay here, like overnight?”

“Yep,” he nodded, the grin getting wider.

“Your dad agreed to that?” I asked, still digesting it. I wondered what my parents would think about that.

“Well…eventually, yep. And your mom said I was welcome to stay here anytime, as much as I want. I guess she’d spoken to my mom about it being an option yesterday. Oh, and your mom said that I could have the guest bedroom,” and Milo almost giggled.

“Huh!” I laughed.

“Yeah. Though when your mother was telling me that, my mother said, ‘you really think that’s where he’ll be?’ and then they both laughed,” and Milo pouted, but then he grinned.

“Mother’s are cruel,” I said, pulling him to me and kissing him.

“Yeah,” he agreed. “Though if one of us was a girl, they probably wouldn’t be so casual about it.”

That shocked me. I hadn’t thought of that. If Milo were a girl my parents probably would have been a lot more difficult about us sleeping together. They had been a bit that way when Chad first started dating Leanna. Maybe there were advantages to being gay I hadn’t considered. Or to being the second child.

But that was something to think about at another time. I didn’t want to think anymore right now. I knew Milo was going to be staying, and all I wanted to do was to kiss him again.

 

Milo’s mother did stay until Tuesday, and Milo spent most of that time with her; though I did go to dinner with just the two of them on Monday night. It was a little nerve-wracking, but she seemed really nice, even though Milo was a bit distant. I couldn’t tell if it was because we were out in public, or because we were with his mother, Maybe it was a bit of both.

I had complained that everything had been decided without me, but as it turned out, I ended up having a rather awkward discussion with my parents about the details relating to Milo staying with us. It happened after dinner, and Milo and his mother were also there. I saw it as a formality, but there was one thing Mom and Dad wanted to get across to both of us, and it wasn’t whether Milo would sleep in the guest bedroom. It was; what happens if Milo and I break up?

At first, I was insulted. It was as if they weren’t taking our relationship seriously by suggesting that we might break up. But much to my reluctance, Mom and Dad insisted we talk about it, and then they patiently explained that if we broke up before Milo graduated high school he was still going to be welcome to stay with us, and they wanted to know if I would be able to deal with that?

Milo then interrupted to say that it wasn’t going to happen, and if it did he’d…and then he’d trailed off. I don’t think he’d really thought through what he’d do. Like me, I think he still wasn’t certain that he would go back to living at his father's house.

“I can live on my boat,” he finally said.

“Darling,” said his mother, “I’m not giving you permission to do that.”

“I’ll probably be 18,” he replied confidently.

“I still don’t want you living on that boat,” his mother said.

“You gave me the boat,” Milo reminded her.

“Yes. I’m not taking it away or anything. It’s yours. I’m just saying, I don’t want you living there. You need to finish school.”

“What if I finish school?”

“College,” his mother clarified.

“College?”

“Once you finish college, if you must, you can live on the boat,” she paused. “Maybe.”

“Maybe?” Milo repeated, annoyed.

“Honey, I do worry about you. I know I might not have shown it the way I should, but I worry about you, just as Nelson’s mother worries about him.”

“Well, you said I could still stay at Dad’s,” said Milo, offering another option.

“Of course,” his mother agreed, though she seemed unsure.

“Well,” said my mother, addressing Milo, “we just wanted you to know that as far as we’re concerned, you will still be welcome to stay here as long as you need to. Whether you and Nelson are dating or not. Even if it’s just to…you take a break from each other.”

When it had come to how I felt about him staying if we broke up, my response was “Sure, no problem” because I knew we wouldn’t break up.

Later I heard my mother and his mother laughing together, and I think I heard his mother say something like “they’re young,” and I suspected they felt we were naive.

And then, almost too quickly, we were taking his mother to the airport, and Milo hugged and kissed her, and she hugged me and told me “to keep drawing.”

The drive back from the airport felt a bit strange. Like we were going back to something I wasn’t really sure of. What would normal be like now? Oh god, we had to go back to school!

At least, I figured, we’d got over the nonsense of my parents thinking that Milo and I would break up.

But Mom was persistent, and a couple of days later there was another meeting with Milo and me. Mom and Dad talked about all kinds of things, including where Milo was going to be sleeping (officially the guest bedroom) and what rules he had to follow. At least he’d be under the same rules as I was, but he had to also let them know where he was sleeping if he wasn't going to be sleeping at our house.

And they repeated that Milo was welcome to stay, no matter what happened between the two of us, and we grudgingly agreed.

Milo complained—briefly—to me that he was going to be under more scrutiny than with his father, but he seemed to get over it. After a while, I think he was secretly happy that they took an active interest in what he was doing, and encouraging him in his painting and even just for doing well in class.

Fortunately, the bedroom rule was lax, and could pretty much be summed up as ‘we better not catch the two of you in bed together.’ But they always gave us plenty of warning before coming down to my room.

 

 

Epilogue

 

Juanita opened the door and ushered me in, and I greeted her quickly before running up to Milo’s room.

Since the ‘Battle of the Parents’ as Milo liked to refer to it, Milo had been dividing his time between my place and his fathers.

Well, that wasn’t strictly true. For the first three weeks, Milo had stayed at our place exclusively, not wanting to see his father. His mother would call every few days, and my parents started treating him like a third son. Then one evening his father had turned up at the door and asked to speak to ‘Milo.’

My mother had checked that Milo wanted to talk to his father, and Milo had reluctantly agreed. They’d talked in the kitchen, while Mom was making dinner. She didn’t let me stay, but Milo told me all about it afterward.

Milo’s dad actually sort of apologized and said he was still welcome to stay at his place, and that he missed him.

So the next day, after school, we’d gone to his father’s house, and we’d had dinner, and it was a very awkward dinner, because his father didn’t say much at all to me, and he barely spoke to Milo. But after that Milo started spending some evenings at his fathers. He’d come home with me Friday night’s and stay until Monday morning, pretending he was sleeping in the guest bedroom, and he’d often stay over one or two nights during the week as well, though he claimed it was easier to do his homework if he went ‘home.’

I wasn’t sure if I should be upset about that, or not.

Fewer distractions he claimed, though he’d also started referring to our place as home, so whenever Milo said he was going home, I had to double check which home he meant.

And I wasn’t really annoyed, because now he had as many clothes in my bedroom as I did, and my room smelt faintly of sandalwood. Half the guest bedroom had been turned into his studio, and I got more homework done on the nights he wasn’t there too.

I didn’t sleep over at Milo’s. Even Milo felt that would be pushing things too far, though we did often make out there.

Milo says he doesn’t talk to his father a lot, but they aren’t fighting anymore, just being distant with each other.

He does talk to his mother much more. She usually calls to ‘check up on him’ every couple of weeks, and his mother talks to my mom as well, much to Milo’s chagrin. The two of us are going to fly out to New York sometime in the summer and stay with his mom for a few days.

I had encountered his father once or twice without Milo, and he hadn’t said a word to me, though he didn’t look at me like I was something he’d accidentally stepped in either, and I actually counted that as a step forward.

On entering Milo’s room, I saw that he was lying face down on his bed, studying his laptop, which was open in front of him. His maroon t-shirt had ridden up past the belt line of his jeans, which perfectly covered his ass.

Just a wisp of pale skin was visible, and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to touch first. I wanted to reach out and rub my hands all over him.

“Close the door if you’re staying,” Milo’s voice floated over to me, though he didn’t look away from what he was doing.

“What are you doing?” I asked him, feeling a little guilty that I’d been staring at him like that.

“Looking at colleges,” Milo replied casually.

“What?” I asked, startled.

“Colleges. You know. Places of higher education,” he turned on his side and regarded me skeptically. “You haven’t done anything about college yet, have you?”

“Ah…not really.”

“I thought not,” he sighed, and he sat up and handed me a sheet of paper as I sat down beside him.

“What’s this?”

“It’s the list of college’s we are thinking of applying to,” he said smugly. “Maybe you should show that to your parents.”

“We?”

“Yes,” and he turned back to the computer.

I nudged his leg a couple of times until he looked back at me.

“What?” he asked innocently.

“Don’t I get a choice?”

“Sure, you can pick any of these that you get into, as long as I get into it as well,” and Milo grinned at me.

“Really?”

“That’s the plan.”

I glanced at the list.

“And you picked these how?”

“Well, I figured you’d want to study writing and cartooning…”

“Cartooning?”

“Yeah, you’re good.”

“I was thinking of doing business, like my Dad,” I objected.

Milo rolled his eyes. “I thought you might say that. You can take business classes as well at all of these if you want to be dull and boring.”

“I’m boring, am I?” I teased him.

Milo rolled his eyes again at me.

“What about you?” I asked. “What are you going to be studying?”

“Well, so that my Dad will be happy and pay for it, I’m going to take a dual major of business and art. Probably.”

“Oh.”

“With as little business as possible,” he added, and he made a face, and I laughed. “And these schools seemed good choices for all that,” he added. “So there’s two safeties, two neutral, and two reach schools.”

“You’re applying to six schools?!”

“We are,” Milo corrected. “We need to both get into at least one. And if you want to bother to spend some time actually looking at colleges, you’re welcome to add to the list.”

“And apply to more than six!”

“Maybe,” he shrugged. “Or we can replace one on the list.”

“So this is how we’re picking a school?” I asked him, waving the paper in my hand, my voice sounding skeptical, even if I was really just surprised he’d already put so much thought into it.

“Yep,” he said.

“I’ll have to talk this over with Mom and Dad,” I said, because though they’d talked about me going to college, we hadn’t discussed it in any detail. Maybe because I wanted to keep putting it off. Now I had a reason to get serious about the process.

“Sure,” said Milo, turning back to his computer, and he was so casual about it that I got suspicious.

“Have you…you’ve talked to them about it already, haven’t you?”

Milo turned and looked at me, and I could tell he was guilty about something.

“Uhhh…no?” he said, the uncertainty evident in his voice.

“That’s a yes then?” I asked.

Milo looked thoughtful. “Just a bit,” he said slowly.

“A bit?”

“Mom asked me the other day if I’d thought about college and I said I was looking at them, and we talked a bit about it, and about you and…things…” and he trailed off.

It took me a moment to realize that when he’d said ‘Mom,’ he’d actually meant my mom, and not his. It was something he’d done a couple of times, as a slip of the tongue really, but it still threw me.

Not that I disliked it, or even pointed it out to him.

“Well, I guess I’ll show them this,” I said, pointing at the piece of paper. In a way, it was a relief.

“Sure,” he nodded. “Or were you planning on going somewhere without me?”

I looked at him and pretended to think about the idea and then smiled. “Nah,” I said. “Anyway, you’d just follow me in your boat,” I kidded him.

“Huh,” he snorted.

As my father had suggested—a few times—we’d both taken an introductory sailing class, and though we weren’t quite yet confident enough to sail Milo’s boat ourselves, we’d motored his boat out a couple of times, and practiced putting up and taking down the sails. We were going to help crew a similar boat in a couple of weeks, and then maybe we’d take his boat out and try and sail it.

My mother wasn’t very excited about the whole thing, but my father had come with us a couple of times when we were practicing with the sails, and he said he’d come out with us the first few times we took it out, just to keep an eye on us. Privately he told me it was entirely for my mother’s peace of mind; he claimed he’d forgotten so much he’d be of no help if we got into any trouble.

Dad did pay for our sailing class though.

“I wish your Mom had told them they couldn’t use the field for their marriage,” Milo said, a sudden change of topic. It was something Milo had brought up several times, first in annoyance and frustration, and now it was more wistfulness.

The marriage between his father and Emily was back on, and now I don’t think Milo was against it. Well, he usually said the person he felt sorriest for was Emily.

Emily Hill had come back about a month after Milo started staying over at his father's. I guess Mr. Trust figured out he’d also screwed it up with her, and had spent a lot of time getting her back.

But Milo still didn’t like the idea of them getting married at my—our—house.

“You should have said something to Mom,” I pointed out.

“She knows,” he said, still sounding annoyed.

He was right, my mother did know. I’d brought it up many times myself.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “She didn’t do it to annoy you,” I said.

“I know.”

I gently ran my fingers through his hair. Tomorrow was Friday, and there was a 110% chance that Milo would be hanging out with me at my house and sleeping in my bed that night. Mom had already told me that the two of us were expected to be home for dinner tomorrow because Chad and Leanna were coming over.

Caleb complained to me endlessly that his mother would never let his girlfriend sleep over. It didn’t stop him from trying, but I think Caleb was a bit in awe of the fact that somehow Milo and I had managed to get every teenagers dream; and my lame attempt to claim that they’d forced him to sleep in the guest bedroom until he turned 18 didn’t hold much water with Caleb. He knew better than to believe it.

It was also hard to believe that Milo, who had been so shy and nervous when he’d first stopped by my house, had now settled into the family, and it really was like he was one of the kids.

The four of us, and often Chad and Leanna, would have breakfast together in the kitchen, talking and joking, and while Milo was a little quieter than the rest of us, he happily joined in the conversation, made hilarious asides, and seemed to be entirely at ease.

He had also become the parrot’s favorite person.

And our relationship had only become stronger.

Well, there was one huge screaming fight that we had a couple of weeks after we’d gone to his fathers. Milo had slept over at his father’s place a couple of times after that, and I think I was panicking that his father would turn him against me, and he was stressed by the whole thing. That day I’d asked him if he was staying over and he’d said he probably wouldn’t, and then I’d said something stupid, and he’d said something back, and the next thing we were screaming at each other and then he stormed out of my bedroom. It was just so stupid.

A minute or so later, after I’d calmed down, I ran upstairs to go chase Milo to his house and apologize, but as I started to open the front door, I heard his voice in the kitchen. Luckily for me, Mom had intercepted Milo as he was leaving.

He was sitting talking to Mom, and he still looked upset. I went into the kitchen and Mom looked at me like I’d done something foolish. I had!—but then, so had he!

“I’m sorry I say stupid things sometimes,” I apologized.

He waited for several seconds.

“Yeah you do,” he said quietly, though there was no anger in it.

Fortunately, despite occasional disagreements, that was our only big fight, and it hardly lasted more than five minutes.

Milo was now her third son, and Mom would do almost anything for him, but she wasn’t going to tell Emily she couldn’t get married in our field. She wouldn’t do it for me, and she wasn’t going to do it for him, and I think Milo understood. And since he didn’t loath Emily anymore, he didn’t begrudge his dad getting married, so there really was no reason for Milo to be against it. But at the same time, it was something he couldn’t seem to completely let go of. Maybe it was just a habit.

“Look on the bright side,” I said.

“What?”

“We can skip the reception and have sex in my bedroom. Just the thought of it might actually drive your dad crazy.”

Milo snorted and grinned a little, but I knew he wasn’t going to let me get near him while his father was on our property.

“Oh, Mom wants to know what you’d like to have for dinner tomorrow night. Roast chicken, steak or meatloaf?”

Milo screwed up his face in thought.

“Chicken,” he finally said, grinning, and then adding: “With roast vegetables and gravy?”

I rolled my eyes. “I’ll pass the message along.”

“Thanks,” he smirked.

“She told me the two of us should pick it out,” I said, just to deflate his ego.

He frowned.

“But they’re my favorite too,” I added, “so she’ll make it for us,” I said, emphasizing the ‘us.’

“And here I thought I was special,” Milo said, and then he grinned at me.

I reached out and gently pushed his shoulder, and he laughed.

“Oh, hey,” I said. “You’ll like this.”

“What?” he asked, serious again.

“I was talking to Christina Randelle yesterday.”

Milo rolled his eyes. He had mixed feelings about Christina, and I wasn’t sure if it was because she was the first person at school he’d outed himself to, or it was something else.

Milo’s return to Hellver, and our being a couple, hadn’t exactly gone unnoticed at school. But it wasn’t nearly as bad as when I’d been outed; it was mostly just staring. And even that eventually stopped, since Milo never wanted to do anything affectionate in front of people—even holding hands—so they soon grew bored of us.

“Yeah?” he finally said, as if asking a question, though he turned back to the computer, obviously losing interest in the topic of conversation.

“And she wanted to know whether the reason the two of us had taken the parenting class was because we were planning on having a family.”

Milo’s mouth fell open, and he turned towards me.

“What’d you say?” he asked.

“I said we were thinking of using a surrogate.”

Milo sighed. He knew I was joking, though he may not have figured out I was also kidding about having actually said that to her.

“It’s gonna be all around school,” he sighed.

“Yep,” I agreed. “Told her we’d picked out names already, too.”

Milo’s eyes closed slightly, and then, when he saw the slight curve of my mouth as I tried so hard not to burst into laughter, he closed the computer, and then he turned back and threw himself at me, pushing me flat onto the bed.

“Hey!” I grumbled.

“You are such a pain in the ass,” Milo challenged, grabbing and holding onto my wrists, and we struggled until his lips met mine, and then I relaxed and let him kiss me.

“But you like me,” I smirked at him when he lifted his mouth away from mine.

“What did you really say to her?”

“I told her you couldn’t stand me when we started the class…”

Milo began to relax.

“But we really bonded over the baby,” and then I snickered as Milo nipped at my neck.

 

THE END

Thanks for reading. You can follow me on Twitter or read my blog.

Copyright © 2019 GabrielCaldwell; All Rights Reserved.
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Thanks for doing this. Of all the abandoned stories in the world, I think this one's nagged at me the most over the years. You wrapped it up well.

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On 5/27/2019 at 12:10 AM, Estiveo said:

Thanks for doing this. Of all the abandoned stories in the world, I think this one's nagged at me the most over the years. You wrapped it up well.

 

Glad you liked it!  The lack of an ending for this story really ate at me too, so even if it wasn't what the author intended, it made me feel good to have an ending for the characters!

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