A dream trip to Cabo could be what ends Elsie and Tommy’s relationship. Trouble rears its ugly head at the airport when it turns out that Tommy’s mother, Linette, got first-class tickets for everyone but Elsie, who’s booked in coach. Tommy fails to convince Elsie to go on the trip. Tommy, unable to just let the relationship go goes to Elsie with a proposal about how they can proceed given their circumstances. Elsie hears him out but insists that she needs time to make a decision. Now the anxious waiting begins. Start Elsie and Tommy’s story here – Not Even Cabo – Will This Vacation Be What Ends It? – Part 1
Tommy couldn’t stop pacing. He’d been at it for hours, only taking intermittent breaks, seated on the couch, his knee bouncing up and down on beat with his racing heart. She was going to say no, he just knew it. No one in their right mind would say yes to his cowardly proposal.
It had only been a few hours, but it felt like he’d been stuck in interminable limbo for ages. Why couldn’t he just talk to his mother? Normal people did it every day. He needed to do something, or he would lose his mind.
Matthew walked into the room with two empty glasses and a half-full bottle of soda. “Dude, that’s not helping. Kaa chini na uniambie nini imehappen.” Matthew wanted him to sit down and tell him what was going on, but he didn’t want to tell anyone. He couldn’t reveal his cowardice to even more people.
He watched Matthew fill the glasses with soda and felt his resolve weaken. It was that stupid baby face, he knew it. “Why are you still here?”
“Because you said you’d be gone so I came to staycation here and also because you’re clearly dealing with something. So just sit down na uniambie, maybe I can help.”
He reached for one of the glasses and sat down, drinking in huge gulps. When he was done, he found himself ready to open up. He told him about the ticket and the breakup and about the way forward he’d proposed to Elsie and how he was afraid she was going to say no.
“Dude, come on.”
“What?” Tommy asked, defensiveness so evident he was ashamed.
“She should say no. What kind of bullshit suggestion is that?”
“I can’t change my parents. I can’t change my mom.”
“Nobody’s asking you to change your mom. The only person you need to change is you. You can’t ask her to just accept the fact that she will be in a relationship indefinitely with someone who will make no effort to protect her or make her feel safe around his family. All she’s asking you to do is talk to your parents. Sure you can’t control what they do, but you can’t just refuse to do it and tell her to deal with it. That’s selfish and inconsiderate.”
Tommy nodded; expression solemn. “I can’t. The last time…” his breath hitched.
“What happened last time?”
Tommy shook his head. Matthew remained silent, just watching him, and drinking his soda, so obviously waiting him out.
“You know how I quit med school? I tried. I really tried, but I couldn’t hack it. I can’t do sick people and dead bodies. I tried and I couldn’t. Something in my head told me that if I just told them that I’d tried really hard for one year, they’d be okay with it. I think it was being in campo with kids who could tell their parents’ stuff that emboldened me, made me think I could tell mine. So, after year one, when we were on break, I told them. I told them I wasn’t going back. They said no, I had to finish or else… I don’t remember. I just remember threats and being scared. Plus, they’d paid for the first three years in full and it wasn’t refundable, so I had to go. So, I went back for year 2. I couldn’t even finish a month. I was depressed as fuck, so I just stopped going. I started doing other things, teaching myself editing, painting, cooking. Remembering how to be happy. Then my mom found out, she talked to one of my lecturers or something, some friend of hers who confirmed that I had not been attending classes. She was livid. Yelled at me about how much they’d paid, how wasteful and ungrateful I was and then… she said if I didn’t go back to school, I couldn’t go home.”
Tommy fell silent for a few minutes and when he spoke, it was slower, his voice subdued and distant, like he was elsewhere. “At first, I was sure she was just bluffing. She wasn’t. I didn’t see her or my dad for 5 months. I didn’t see Marcus for three months. We had to sneak around to see each other. She was not fucking around. She does not fuck around. She’d send me money for living in school but that was it, total radio silence. When she finally let me come home, it was with the understanding that I would follow the rules. So, I follow the rules.”
Matthew looked away from the vulnerability in Tommy’s eyes. “That’s a lot, man.”
“You’re right though. I can’t just ask her to join me in the warped prison that is my relationship with my parents. At least not if I want to preserve any modicum of self-respect I have for myself.”
“Tommy,” he looked bewildered, running his hand through his hair, “I didn’t have all the facts. Clearly, this is a lot more high stakes than I thought. Ignore everything I said. I mean it. It was just ignorant crap.”
Tommy shook his head and smiled weakly. “It wasn’t.”
“Does she know?”
“Elsie? Of course not.”
“You should tell her. She’ll understand.” Matt said, voice low, soft, and urgent.
“Maybe she shouldn’t have to.”
Tommy walked out of the living room and went to his bedroom. He took out his phone and before he could let fear stop him, began to type out a message to his mother. He hesitated for a second but forced himself to press send, then closed his eyes briefly and waited for the chips to fall where they may.
He felt calmer than he had in days.
He reached for his phone and started recording a voice note to Elsie as he paced the length of the room. “Hey, no pressure. I just wanted to give you a status update and you don’t need to respond to it. Take your time, okay? I sent my mom a message, I know cowardly, but I told her you’re my girl and that’s not changing, you’re in my life long-term and they’re going to have to treat you better. I know she’s going to want to talk about it when she gets back, there’s no escaping that, and I want you to know I’m ready to do it. I should have never asked you to just accept it. That was unfair. You deserve better… Okay, that’s it. Stay safe. And… you don’t have to respond to this. Just… take your time. Cool. Bye.”
He remained in his room all day. Matthew cooked their evening meal and forced him to go to the living room and eat it while watching a movie. As much as he complained, he was glad for the distraction and the company.
Matthew went to bed after the movie and Tommy found he had no energy to move. He reclined on the couch, unseeing eyes trained on the ceiling, his thoughts all over. He was woken up by a knock on the door. He ignored it; certain he was hearing things only for the knocks to get louder. Now alert, he responded to it, opening a tiny crack, cautious about late-night visitors.
It was Elsie, in an unbuttoned coat revealing her hot minuscule shorts paired with a tight vest that deliciously encased her breasts. She eyed him, “You always open the door all shirtless?”
She was joking, that was a good sign, right?
He smiled, “Only for girls in tiny, tiny shorts and hot legs. Hey, sexy.”
“You going to let me in?”
He stepped back throwing the door open. “Always.”
Can Tommy rest easy now that Elsie’s here and playful? That signals good things, right? Find out what happens next Not Even Cabo: Opening Up – Part 9
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