Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chapter 77: Macaulay Reaches A Stalemate

Fri, December 4, 2074 6:42 pm: 124 Valleymoor Rd.-- Arbormoor, Pleasantview


There was just enough noise at the dinner table to underscore the lack of conversation-- A clinking bowl here, a scraped fork there. Macaulay rested his chopsticks and stared blankly at the avocado slices on his plate. He was certain that his meal was delicious, as Lavinia's cooking always was, but very little food made its way into his mouth. Macaulay had spent the better part of an hour rearranging his salad into abstract formations while covertly studying his company.

The atmosphere around the table was growing more at ease with its own demise by the second. Macaulay could only imagine how awkward this must have been for Laurie who, though silent, maintained an air of lightness about him.


Laurie didn't mind being here. Perhaps he even understood Macaulay's motives. They had not discussed this exact arrangement beforehand and for that, Macaulay felt particularly low. Lavinia had wanted to meet the infamous Laurie for weeks now but with as silly as it seemed, Macaulay was not ready to share. His time with Laurie was his own, and he liked it that way.

The more he thought about it, the less he wanted to involve Laurie in his messy home life. Then from the furthest, most heinous reaches of his adolescent brain an idea was born. It was a stupid, puerile, misbegotten idea but one that would nag at him until he saw it take fruition. He would arrange the dinner at Lavinia's house. He would do this and then he would get his father to drive them there. On the way, he would convince his father that this was a good time to peek in on the baby. Lavinia would see Macaulay's father with the baby, and no matter how hardened against him she had become, she would lower her defenses just enough to invite him to stay for dinner. The only real variable in this scenario was whether Macaulay's father would accept the invitation.

Macaulay's master plan to get the two of them together in the same room with a guest present (thereby forcing their civility) ended before the four of them sat down. Macaulay never believed that he would get this far.


But he had to break the silence. Something drastic had to be done. Macaulay shot Laurie a quick glance, wordlessly begging his forgiveness before announcing,

"Laurie and I are going steady." He'd said it louder than what was necessary.


At first there was nothing. Lavinia and Macaulay's father paused in mid-chew, letting the words sink in. Lavinia knitted her brow and smiled in a way that promised a gentle, though negative reaction while Macaulay's father screwed his eyes shut and swallowed hard.

"Absolutely not." His father's voice was thick with finality. When Lavinia chimed in, it began a simultaneous, rolling tirade the likes of which Macaulay had not heard from the pair of them in a very long time.


"You're barely out of lower school."

"Far too young to even consider--"

"I can't believe we're even having this discussion."

"And another boy, Cull?" After having said this, Macaulay's father turned around sharply face to Laurie as though something had just occurred to him. "Does anyone else know that this is going on? Does your father know about this?" Poor Laurie had gone a deep shade of scarlet. His eyes were wider than Macaulay could ever remember seeing them and his mouth was full enough to indicate that he had forgotten how to chew. He shook his head. Macaulay's father turned to Lavinia.


"Do you know who his father is? His father is the District Judge for Rawling Hills-- Terrance Torrence's son." Lavinia laughed, understanding the unlikelihood of the situation.

"Oh you're kidding! Isn't he half Townsman? And a Torrence too! Well in that case, I take it all back. You two are made for each other. I'll walk you down the aisle myself." Macaulay's father wiped his mouth with his napkin. A sudden fiendish glint in his eye told Macaulay that he found this as absurd as Lavinia did.

"They're cousins," Macaulay's father scoffed. Laurie choked, having taken far too ambitious of a swallow before hastening,

"Removed!" As though his entire well-being hinged on that one word. Lavinia and Macaulay's father locked eyes. Then instantly, they fell into hysterics. Lavinia doubled over, grabbing his father's wrist for stability. Macaulay had mixed feelings about this reaction. On the one hand, to see them laughing together was more than he could have dared to hoped for. To see his father laughing at all was a rarity. But the circumstances...

"May I speak?" Laurie ventured.

"No!" The adults commanded him in unison before resuming their fit of giggling. Lavinia patted Laurie gently on the elbow.

"Don't worry. This isn't about you. I'm sure that you're a good kid--"

"He is. A great kid," Macaulay's father interrupted.

"But Cully has a tendency to get pretty attached to the people that he cares about, and with your ages, it's just really not a good idea. He's only going to get hurt." Macaulay's father nodded in agreement.

"He isn't cut-out for casual dating. And believe me, even if it doesn't seem casual to you right at this moment, it is. I mean, you're how old? Fourteen? Fifteen? Kids your age change partners like they change socks."

"And what are you going to do when he goes to Veronaville? What are either of you going to do?"


"Wait," Laurie replied. "I'll wait if he wants me to, for however long he wants me to."

"Laurie!" Macaulay's cheeks warmed. They had been avoiding the subject for days, each too scared to ask the other just what would happen the following month. Laurie grinned at him, his funny little bangs falling into his eyes. He placed his hand on top of Macaulay's tentatively. Macaulay's father cleared his throat.

"I'd give them six weeks," he said sarcastically.

"Well aren't you just Mr. Ambition? I'd give them three," Lavinia countered. Macaulay dismissed them both, knowing that the argument had reached a stalemate. He stroked Laurie's fingers with his thumb. Let them joke if that was what made them feel comfortable. He wasn't asking permission. He was in love.



  1. Sweet all around.

  2. It figures that you'd post while I was stuck at my aunt's house without internet XD

    Yikes, this started out as such an awkward dinner, but it ended on such a sweet note. Laurie and Cully are so cute, and it's good to see Lavinia and Jorge getting along. Plus, Jorge does seem like he'll get over the initial shock--that and his objections seem to be tailored to Cully as a person as opposed to stemming from a homophobic vein, which is a relief.

    But daaaamn I love these two together. I can't wait to see more of them. Excellent chapter, Pen! :D

  3. Thanks, Anon! I giggled while writing this one.

  4. Hehe, I knew you'd say that. Not the aunt thing but the posting while you were away thing. :)

    Oh, Jorge is nothing if not liberal. The gay thing did cross his mind but it wasn't a disappointment. I think he was more worried about the way that other people might receive his son. Hence the, "does your father know about this" moment.

    Thanks, Van! More of these two to come.

  5. I'm so glad you're writing again! It's taken me a little while to catch up but I'm enjoying every word.

    Jorge and Lavinia. Well. They're getting along, and it helps to have something in common like disapproval of Laurie's relationship with Cully. He passed right by the whole 'another boy' issue and right on to 'what will the neighbors think' without even dropping his fork.

    Laurie and Cully together are SO SWEET!!

    I love everyone's expressions: you absolutely nailed them.

  6. Birthday Girl!!! Thank you! I don't know why but I seem to be zipping through these.

    I think that after seeing Jorge and Lavinia finding common ground here, Cully will forever keep in mind that he gets what he wishes for whether he wants it or not. :p

    Thanks again, Beth!