Dinner went, surprisingly, without a hitch. Hadley seemed a lot calmer, almost as if he was about to fall asleep, and he even flashed me a smile. An actual smile. Not a sarcastic smile, not a “I can’t wait til you leave” smile, an actual genuine smile. In a way it was actually kind of creepy but hey, I’ll take what I get. I’d outright refused to sit anywhere other than with Maxxie since that’d mean I’d either be opposite Hadley on my own or sat next to him and I don’t think either of us could’ve handled that. Mom insisted Maxxie sit next to her so I ended up next to Dad, which wasn’t so bad. I had a nice chat with the old man about what he’d been up to and shit like that. Apparently he’d dabbled in repairing vintage cars so he had something to do in his retirement but Hadley did most of the work so he didn’t really bother now. Begrudgingly he still shared Max’s opinion of Dodge Vipers except Dad’s opinion stretched to all Dodges in general. After me and Max helped Mom clear up the part I was dreading finally showed up: childhood photos.
"This one's from when he was about four. My cousin took him out for the day since I was having Hadley. When they got back he didn't even notice the baby, he was more interested in that bloody fish" Mom laughed and handed Maxxie a photo of four year old me holding up this huge fish with a giant grin on my face. I fought five minutes for that fish but I fucking showed it who was boss.
"Cute." Maxxie laughed.
"I think you'll find I wanted to give Hadley "that bloody fish" as a present" I said, earning a smile from Maxxie.
"And then this is from when the two of them used to get along" Mom said, handing over a photo of me and Hadley. I must’ve been about seven because Hadley had that podgy three year old look about him. The two of us were grinning at the camera and had our arms round each other’s shoulders. I had two black lines on either cheek so I could only guess we’d been playing Cowboys and Indians.
"If there wasn't photographic evidence, I'd find it hard to believe they ever got on at all."
"There's photographic evidence right up until Cayden's sixteenth birthday" Mom said sadly.
Maxxie gave her a sad half smile. "One day, they might make up," he glanced at me, "but I know better than to try and make them get on."
Mom smiled back but it didn’t reach her eyes. "Where was I? I'll leave these for you to go through, they're mainly of birthdays and family events" she flicked through a couple before finding one that caught her interest. "Aww, Cayden, d'you remember this one?" she asked, handing it to me.
"Do I remember it? That's the last time I saw Ava, of course I remember it"
Maxxie looked at the photo with a small smile.
"He's gonna hate these ones" Mom chuckled, handing Maxxie a photo of me from Sophomore year.
"Oh my God, Mom, please stop like right now" I whined, already feeling embarrassed. Something told me I’d be whining a lot before it was over.
Maxxie grinned, the evil bastard that he is. "You go to see the ones from my school years. It's only fair."
"Yeah but you weren't too long for your weight or had embarrassing hair"
"No, it was just everything else about me that was an embarrassment." He looked through the photos, trying not to giggle like I knew he desperately wanted to.
I felt my eyes widen as I remembered an integral part of my high school years. "Mom, please tell me there's none there of-"
"Summer Downturn? Of course there is"
A fucking huge groan slipped out of my mouth. Shit. Fuck. Why in fucks name? The one thing I asked her to do was destroy the evidence but it was still there. I now officially hate my mom. Maxxie looked curious but I just shook my head, blushing.
"Cayden was in a band in high school; Summer Downturn" Mom explained.
"Clearly, I missed out by being in England. I wish I'd seen that." Maxxie laughed.
"It wouldn't take more than five minutes to get em back together" Mom said and I whined some more.
"Now that I'd like to see," Maxxie laughed again. He shouldn’t be laughing, he should be agreeing with me.
"Ha! It wouldn't work! Sean moved out to Oregon!" I half shouted, suddenly remember the huge booze fest we had when Sean moved out.
"He moved back here two years ago, doll"
Fuck you, Sean! I now fucking hate Sean as well; he can go fuck himself for all I care.
"Oh c'mon, how embarrassing can it be?"
I buried my head into his neck. It can be very embarrassing, Max, very embarrassing. It can be especially embarrassing when one of your band members was your high school sweetheart and you had a threesome with another.
"Just ask him again tonight once he's had a few beers" Mom said. She knows how agreeable I get after some good Aussie beer.
Maxxie slipped an arm around me and I mumbled against his skin. "Remind me to kill her later"
"Why would I do that? Your mum's awesome," he grinned.
"Because she's evil" I whined.
"She's not evil."
I kissed his neck and turned to Mom again. "You'd never get John and Brent to come back to Downturn"
"I'm sure they could be persuaded."
"I can think of plenty of ways to persuade Brent" I whispered in Maxxie’s ear.
He giggled. "Me too."
Mom evidently heard and had a slightly horrified look on her face. "Please tell me you haven't slept with Brent"
"Uh..." Maxxie said, glancing at me.
"On second thought, don't tell me anything"
Maxxie tried not to laugh. You could practically see the cogs turning in Mom’s head as she tried to work out how it would even have happened.
"...Brent. Seriously? But he's not even... And you... And he... How the hell did you get him to agree?"
"Cay's very persuasive." Maxxie muttered and Mom tutted.
"I should've known it was you"
"Hey, it wasn't just me. He went down on Maxxie" I pouted.
"For a straight guy, he was surprisingly enthusiastic about it. At least, he was til he woke up the next day."
Mom had that almost horrified look on her face again.
Maxxie giggled. "Sorry."
I cleared my throat, eager to move on from the awkwardness. "So, Mom, I heard you say “tonight” and “beer” in the same sentence. Who's coming?"
"Just the Ocalas, it’s all been a bit short notice"
Maxxie tried to crack a smile but he couldn’t quite manage it. Was he annoyed John and co were coming?
"And you'll finally get to meet Beau. She's nearly two now" Mom smiled, no doubt replaying all our childhood years in her head.
I chuckled. "Thinking about having another one, Mom?"
"No way, children are down to you, Hadley and Ava now"
Max was awkwardly silent.
I sort of shrugged. "I wouldn't get your hopes up for many grandkids from me". I’d never really thought about kids anyway.
Maxxie still didn’t say anything.
Mom sighed. "It's a shame. You're good with kids"
"You could still adopt" Maxxie shrugged, finally speaking.
"The American adoption system's normally a bitch for same sex couples"
"I know, but it's not impossible."
I hummed and leant against him, smiling when I felt his lips on my cheek.
"Right, well I'll leave these with you," Mom said, gesturing to the photos and stood up.
"Thanks." Maxxie said and went back to the photos.
Mom flashed me a warning look as she walked out of the room. Did she really have that little faith in me?