Y'know how I said to Hadley that I'd apologised to my mum? I kinda had but kinda hadn't. I'd more said along the lines of "the state of my relationship with you is upsetting Hadley and for that reason, I'm willing to give it another go with being civil to you, but don't expect a miracle". Now I think about it, that's not really an apology... though I did say I'd give her another chance. Does that count?
I'm not sure it does, but whatever. He didn't read over my fucking shoulder this time.
After Hadley's gone to bed, I want to follow him up, but I can't seem to make myself move. I just sit there, staring blankly at whatever shitty late night program is on the TV.
After a while, probably a couple of hours, I wander up, undress and slip into bed with him, resisting the urge to hug him, since I've managed to piss him off all over again. He's pretending to be asleep and says nothing to me as I curl up on my side, trying to take up as little room as possible.
"Night," I mumble.
The next morning, Hadley's out of bed before me and I sigh, dejected. This is gonna be a fun couple of days, I can tell. I wander down to the kitchen to make some breakfast, since not eating last night has had me up half the night feeling hungry. The moment I'm down there making breakfast, he starts cleaning, not saying a word to me. The kitchen doesn't even need cleaning.
Later on in the day, I arrange with mum to meet up and have coffee somewhere, in an attempt to try and make Hadley stop avoiding me so much. I stand in the doorway of the living room where he's sat watching TV and awkwardly sort of shuffle in until I'm at a distance I think both of us will be comfortable with.
"I'm going out in a bit... I agreed to meet up with my mum for a coffee to make up for not being there for lunch before."
"Okay." Thanks for offering to come with me there. After standing there trying to think of something to say for a moment, I shuffle off again. S'pose I better go get ready or something.
In the end I just turn up to the cafe early and sit outside smoking. When all else fails, give yourself cancer instead.
When my mum arrives, she sort of frowns at my smoking, and I ignore it.
"I thought you gave up smoking," she says, sitting down with a slight smile.
"That was eight years ago," I mutter.
"Yes, I suppose it was," she nods, "can I get you a drink?" I nod. "Just coffee?" I nod again and she sort of smiles again and goes off inside to get the drinks. When she comes back, I remember to mumble a quiet ‘thank you' as she sits down, pushing my coffee across the table towards me.
"No Hadley today?"
"Nope. He's pissed off at me because I'm honest about how I feel about you," I mutter over the edge of my mug. She hides a look of upset, but not before I catch a glimpse of it. I sigh and grind my cigarette into the ash tray between us. "Look, I'm not gonna lie, you're not my favourite person in the world. I have no idea if our relationship can ever be what it was, but for Hadley's sake, I'm going to try, okay? If you can't accept that then..." I shrug, "we might as well go home now." I light another cigarette and wait for her to reply.
She sniffs, not looking exactly happy with that, but I can't do the whole lying to her thing. It's just too much effort to pretend I care when I don't. After a moment, she nods. "I'm sorry, Max. I guess I just... haven't come to terms with it as much as I thought. Seven years is a long time to practice not thinking about it, y'know?" I nod again. Seven years is a long time to practice pretending you don't exist.
"Yeah, I guessed as much when I overheard you and dad bitching about me," I grumble, sounding exactly like the eighteen year old me.
"Max," she says in a warning tone, "I'm trying, okay? It's not my fault that people of the same gender having sex is a concept I have a hard time getting my head around." I beg to differ. A look of shock, followed by a scowl flicker on my face. I say nothing, biting back a stinging comment.
"And I have a hard time getting my head around people of opposite genders having sex," I mumble under my breath, "but you don't hear me griping about that, do you." She sighs irritably. I wave a hand dismissively, resting my elbows on the table. "Whatever, we're s'posed to be putting this kind of shit behind us, not making it worse," I remind her - and myself - through a lungful of smoke.
She sniffs again, kind of looking like she's about to cry. Oh, god, don't do that. She sort of fans herself with one hand and takes a breath, "sorry."
"S'okay," I mumble, unsure of what to do.
"I just missed you, Max," she half sobs. Oh, for fuck's sake. I dump my cigarette in the ash tray and get up, moving around the table to hug her.