“Cayden Smith, call your fucking parents” Brent snapped after I’d been mulling over the idea of calling my folks.
“What about Hadley?” I asked quietly.
“So what if Hadley fucking answers? You tell him straight up why you’re calling and if he hangs up on you just call again”.
That was one good thing about Brent, he didn’t put up with shit from other people.
I should probably explain who Hadley is but... Well, Hadley’s not exactly the kind of person you’d want to hear about. I can tell you, though, that Brent always had a problem with Hadley. The very first time they met, Brent had whispered to me “I don’t like him”.
“Cayden, I swear to God if you don’t fucking call them I will” Brent said, slamming the book in his hand down onto the counter.
“Fine! I’m calling them! Jeez, calm down” I said with a faint smile.
I dialled the number and pressed the phone to my ear, hoping not to hear one voice in particular. But the half and half accent similar to my own but with slightly more focus on the American side answered and I felt myself freeze. Hadley. I thought about following Brent’s advice but ultimately ended up hanging up without saying a word. I glanced at Brent, expecting to see shame or annoyance in his eyes but caught only sympathy.
“I will call them, I swear” I said weakly.
“It’s okay, I get it. But seriously, I’ll call them for you if you want. At least then if Hadley answers he won’t hang up”.
“Thanks, Brent” I said with a smile.
That was another good thing about Brent. He’s always there for his friends, through the good and the bad. I remember this one time where he almost got arrested. That was some time after me and John broke up. There was this guy who kept hitting on me and yeah, I was kind of interested in him so Brent convinced me to go for it. Turns out this guy was an absolute asshole and was just messing me about so Brent went and fucked up his house one night. Luckily Brent got off with just a fine but he knew he could’ve gone to jail yet he still did it.
The sound of someone clicking their fingers pulled me out of the memory and I looked up to see Maxxie stood in front of me, thought it had been Brent doing the clicking.
"Hey Maxxie, what're you doing here? I thought you would've been, y'know, planning" I said with a smile.
"I got the tickets sorted. I called my granddad to see if he'd arrange to get the house cleaned before we get there, but he's decided to blackmail me as well," he scowled, "He'll get it cleaned if he gets to meet you."
"Well then, bring on gramps"
He let out a half laugh. "If he embarrasses me, I'll put him in the grave he's been avoiding the last twenty years."
"If he embarrasses you I'm so joining in with him" I said with a laugh.
Yeah, my mom would go completely overboard with baby photos and childhood stories so I was gonna take every opportunity I got to embarrass Maxxie.
"If he's out to embarrass me, he'll embarrass you, too."
"No way, man, I'll distract him with my Aussie charm" I said, winking.
He smiled. "At least you don't have to meet the 'rents."
"I'm guessing they're not all that supportive of the whole gay thing"
"I think the last time I spoke to them I was..." he said, pausing to think, "Nineteen."
"Wasn't that how old you were last time you spoke to Hadley?" Brent asked.
Why did he have to bring up Hadley with Maxxie around? I flashed him yet another glare and caught a questioning look from Maxxie.
"Uh, never mind, he's not important. So, London..." I said, smiling weakly.
Maxxie frowned. I wanted to tell him about Hadley but my old mind frame of “he’ll be gone by tomorrow, you don’t need to tell him anything” had crept back into my brain. So I settled for rubbing the back of my neck to try and make the moment a little less awkward.
"You can tell me all about him later," Maxxie sighed, "While you help me pack.’Cause I'll only change my mind fifty times otherwise."
"Would this be easier if I tied you down and packed for you?"
"It might be. My packing is like my cleaning."
"Right, I'm definitely packing or you" I laughed, earning a grin from Brent as well.
Maxxie rolled his eyes. "You realise when we get there I'll probably spend the first day cleaning up after the cleaner, right?"
"Are cleaners in England really that shitty?"
"No, but the last time I had a cleaner they moved stuff around and like I said, you know what I'm like when it comes to cleaning," he smiled.
"Jeez, you need an American cleaner. We do the bare minimum; no moving stuff around" I said, grinning.
Maxxie laughed and Brent just glared a little. "Well we'll see. It might be okay."
"If not I'm sure Cinderella here can fix the place up in a few hours" Brent said, sulking a little.
"Thanks, I'm now a Disney princess"
"You suit being the princess much better than I do." Maxxie said sweetly.
"Dude, if you're picturing me in a dress right now I swear to God I'll fucking leave you this second" I said with a smile. It was an empty threat. I couldn’t leave him over something like that.
"Just like you didn't picture me in a dress, huh?"
"I pictured you in a pair of Daisy Dukes" I winked and tried not to laugh at the idea of it.
"Huh" he obviously didn’t believe me.
"So what's the plan for London anyway? And are you meeting my folks before or after?"
"I dunno. Depends how much touristy crap you wanna do."
"Whatever you wanna do I'm game for"
He shrugged. "Just chill out. Visit the old man, find out what's changed and what hasn't..." he wrapped me in a hug before continuing, "Spend time with you, mostly."
"Aww, well aren't you cute" I kissed the tip of Maxxie’s nose,* "And you kind of avoided the question about my folks there, dollface"
"That one's up to you."
"We've got a week before we leave, yeah?"
"Umm, six days."
"Six days... Yeah, I'm gonna say after your trip home then"
Maxxie narrowed his eyes. "Why?"
I smiled. "I'm under no obligation to tell you til I start packing for you"
He glanced at Brent and started dragging me out of the store. I looked at Brent, silently pleading for his help.
"Sorry, Cay, but frankly I like Kiddo more than you right now. He didn't call my mom a hooker"
"You're an asshole"
“You can't make me meet your 'rents without telling me jack shit about them. Home. Now." Maxxie said, still trying to drag me out of the store.
"Fine" I said, sighing dramatically, as Maxxie pushed me in the direction of his car.