An Ordinary Boy

by Hamster

Chapter 12: Plan B

Mike was still very nervous when they approached Matthew's house.

"Are you sure I can't just drop you at the gate and go back home. I don't want to face your mother!"

"No, I need you here. If I'm alone I don't know if I can convince Mummy to let me go home with you."

As it happened, there was no way Mike could have just dropped Matthew off. Mrs. McDowell was in the front garden deadheading roses, and waved as soon as they arrived. Matthew jumped out of the car and gave his mother a huge hug.

"Mummy, it's good to see you, it's been too long!"

"Yes, it has, and I've missed you! And you must be Mike!"

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mrs. McDowell." Mike looked carefully at her. She was middle aged, slightly graying hair, but with a big welcoming smile. "You look familiar. Haven't we met before?"

"No, I don't think so. And please call me Jane."

Matthew's mother took off her gardening gloves and shook Mike's hand. "It's so good to finally meet you, Mike, I've heard a lot about you from Matthew, but it's good to see you in person! Let's go round the back and sit outside. Matthew, you can bring us a jug of water and two glasses, and then you can go and entertain yourself while Mike and I talk. Then in about twenty minutes or so, you can make tea."

"Yes, Mummy. Oh, I made us a cake for tea!"

"Super, thanks darling! Now you run along and Mike and I will talk."

They walked round to the back of the house and sat on chairs on the patio. Mike admired the flowerbeds surrounding the immaculate lawn, Matthew brought out water for them and, rather reluctantly, went back inside the house.

"Mike, I expect you're very nervous, but there's no need to be. I'm not going to bark at you. What I'm going to do is say a few things about Matthew, then I'm going to make a small confession, and then I have a proposal for you to consider. OK?"

"As you wish!"

"Very well. First, and most important, is that I'm very happy that you and Matthew have got together. You're just what he needs. Up until now he's had a succession of boyfriends, I've met some of them, some of them were quite nice while others were not to my liking, but it's mostly been about Matthew coming to terms with his sexuality and having fun. Then he met you, and things are different. He's never stayed the night with anyone before, at least as far as I know, and mothers are often the last to know these things, and it's clear to me that for the first time he's looking for more than just casual sex. I think he's been hoping for a relationship and a regular boyfriend for some time, and now he's found you. From everything he's told me over the past few days, he's never been so happy, he absolutely adores you, he thinks you walk on water. And if Matthew is happy, then I'm happy.

"But, and there's always a but, isn't there, I need to make sure that you are ready for a relationship as well. Absolutely the last thing Matthew needs is for him to fall head over heels in love with someone, and that someone ups and walks away. It would break his heart and leave deep emotional scars that would bother him for a very long time.

"So I'm asking you this, Mike. I know it's still only a few days since you and Matthew met, but I want to be reassured that you're committed to having a relationship with Matthew, and that you're not just in it for free sex for a few days and then you're going to tell him to go away. If it's the latter, then please get up and leave right now and don't see Matthew again."

Mike looked at Jane and smiled. "If you'd asked me that even yesterday I'm not sure I could have given you a straight and honest answer, but now I think I can. As you know, Matthew and I only met on Thursday when we went to Heathrow to drop off Josh Wilkins, and we had a few hours together in the car on the way home when we got to know each other. And yes, he ended up staying the night and I think that was pretty much in the category of casual sex on both of our parts. But since then he and I have indeed started to have a relationship. Today we had a couple of friends over for lunch, actually Matthew invited them without me knowing, and he was confident enough to do that without asking me and also confident enough to cook lunch for us all, and we both more or less independently told our friends that even though we'd only known each other for a few days we both felt there was something special between us, and that we both felt that it just felt right that we were living together. I don't think I can explain it better than that. It's like Matthew has always been there, and that we seem to understand each other intuitively. I've never felt that before with anyone, even when I had a couple of longer term relationships when I was in college. And it's a wonderful feeling, and I don't want to lose it. So to answer your question, yes, I'm in it for a relationship, and I'd rather jump off a cliff than do anything to hurt Matthew."

"Good. I think we're on the same page. Mike, you have to understand that seeing Matthew falling in love with you, and I think that's what's happening, is very hard for me. I've already lost my daughter to a wonderful man, and because they live in Bristol I don't see her as much as I would like, and now I feel I'm losing Matthew, emotionally if not physically. He's much closer to me than Hugo, although I love Hugo dearly as well, it's just that Matthew and I are kindred spirits, we think the same, we enjoy the same things, and we also communicate without speaking. I know I have to let go at some stage, but the temptation is to hang on."

"Letting the caged bird fly, so to speak."

"Exactly. Yes, I forgot you know all about literature."

Mike looked a little bit puzzled at that statement.

"Mike, I owe you a sort of apology or a confession, I don't know which. I suspect you've been wondering why I let Matthew stay with you without the slightest complaint or concern."

"Yes, we've both wondered about that. It seemed a little odd to us that you'd let a sixteen year old just go and stay with an older person without a hint of any form of approval or disapproval."

"Let me confess. When you arrived just now, you asked if we'd met before, and I said we hadn't. That wasn't true. I didn't want to tell you right away how we'd met because I thought you might panic under the circumstances. Now we've met and I've started to get to know you a little, I feel I can tell you.

"You remember when you interviewed for the position at Shelburne Academy, one of the interviews was with some of the Board of Governors. I was one of those people, So I got to see your whole CV as well as ask you questions. And you really impressed me and that's why I strongly supported you. Of course, I thought I was only interviewing you for a teaching position, not for potential son-in-law, but when Matthew told me he was going to spend the night with you, I was thrilled because you seemed perfect for him!"

"Jeez! If I'd known that I doubt I'd have asked him to stay. Sleeping with a Governor's son isn't exactly the most auspicious start to a new career, it sounds more like I seduced him to get the job!"

"Exactly! That's why I kept my mouth shut. I felt you and he needed to get to know each other without any extra baggage I'd bring along."

"Wow, you've known all along who I am! And here I've been worrying myself stupid about how you'd react when we finally met!"

"Sorry. But I think it was the right thing to do."

"I suppose it was. Does Matthew know this?"

"I don't think so. I don't know if he knew I interviewed you, we don't talk much about what I do for the Academy as it's often confidential. He knows I'm a Governor, but I doubt he's put two and two together regarding you and me. He'll laugh when he finds out! Oh, by the way, if there's the slightest hint of a conflict of interest between me being a Governor and you being a teacher, I'll resign from the board. Matthew will always take higher priority"

"All he said was that he was sure you'd like me, but I think that was partly because he knows what type of people you like and probably partly wishful thinking as well. I'm sure he would have mentioned it if he'd known, we've both been very open and honest with each other."

"Probably. OK, there's one more thing I want to talk to you about before we have tea. It shouldn't take long, which will please a certain young man who's hopping up and down in the kitchen looking out of the window very anxiously. You're well aware Matthew is starting Theatre Camp tomorrow, and the plan is that he's going to stay here and his father will take him to Winbury every morning."

"Yes, and I want to talk about that."

"Let me finish! I think it's silly to stick to that plan. I'm sure you and Matthew would rather stay together, I mean you've only just started getting to know each other, and he'll be absolutely miserable here by himself, So I thought that if you and he wanted to, then he should go on sleeping at your house, and you can take him to Winbury and pick him up in the evening."

Mike just burst out laughing. "We've been going crazy trying to find the best way to ask you if he could stay with me rather than coming here to sleep, and you've preempted all of that! Of course we prefer to stay together, that's a no-brainer."

"You'll have to come here for dinner several times a week so we all get to hear how he's doing. In fact, you must stay for dinner tonight. I'm cooking so I'll make sure there's enough to eat."

"I'd like that very much!"

"Sunday's are special in this house. The only time I expect everyone to be present is for Sunday tea and dinner. It's obligatory, and it will be for you and Matthew because I consider you part of this family now. OK, let's put that young man out of his misery and go and have tea."

Jane stood up, held out her arms, and gave Mike a huge hug and kiss. Immediately the back door crashed open and Matthew came running out.

"Everythings going to be OK, isn't it?"

Jane lifted her arm, Matthew ducked inside, and the three of them had a long and loving group hug.

Mike looked at Matthew, and said "You're going to laugh yourself stupid when you hear this!"


"Your mother was the one who suggested you come home with me tonight. I'll be taking you to Winbury in the morning, and every morning after that!"

Matthew did indeed burst out laughing. "And we've been worrying about that for days! Thanks, Mummy!"

When they did sit down for tea, Mike got to meet Matthew's father for the first time. He was cordial enough but clearly wasn't someone for small talk so he stayed quiet while Mike, Matthew and Jane chattered on. Then they heard a door crashing open and Hugo arrived.

"Sorry I'm late, Mummy, Hello Daddy, Hi Doormat, um, Oh My God, Wordle, um, I mean Mr. Carpenter, um, Sir, um, what the hell are you doing here?"

"And nice to meet you too, Hugo. My name's Mike, by the way, and I'm Doormat's boyfriend!"

Hugo stood there with his mouth wide open. For once he was speechless. Mike got to look at him, a typical healthy fifteen year old, ruffled dark blond hair, striped rugby shirt, blue rugby shorts, pink cheeks, slightly shorter than Matthew but thicker set. You could see immediately why he was on the rugger team while Matthew was the runner. Eventually he caught hold of his senses.

"Boyfriend? Doormat, you've been sleeping with a teacher?"

"No, stupid, of course I haven't. He's not my teacher, remember he left school, and anyway I didn't meet him until after we broke up. So he's just an ordinary boy, just like you and me.

And so it was that after tea, and after Hugo and Matthew and Mike spent time together bonding, and after an excellent dinner that Matthew and Mike went out to the car and made the short trip to their home, and started the next phase of their lives together.

The End

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