28. Awkward Dinner Conversations

Character(s): Jack, Ian, Miles, Claire.

Age(s): 29, 34, 29, 50.

Jan, my now ex best friend decided to invite Ian over for dinner. Once Mum caught a whiff of Jan's plan, she demanded to be apart of it. So here I was, at my parent's place having dinner with Ian, Jan, Mitchell, Addie, Sage, the Twins and Miles, who I was pretending to be dating. Mum didn't believe me for obvious reasons. "So Jackson, Miles," Mum murmured, eying the two of us. "How long have you two been dating."

"Oh a few weeks..." Miles said and placed his hand over mine on the kitchen table.

"And why was I not told about this?"

"We were keeping it under-wraps," I replied with gritted teeth.

"Well, I didn't think you were ready to date again after Casey so I'm sorry that I find this so hard to believe," Mum huffed.

I narrowed my eyes slightly. "Don't bring him into this."

"I'm not, Jack; I was just stating an observation."

"Yes well I'm sure you can observe without Casey," I replied bitingly.

All dinner conversation dissolved for a while after that. There was no noise other than the chatter between the twins and Sage and cutlery clinking against plates.

Mum soon spoke up, smiling at Ian. "So Ian, do you have a job?"

"Yeah, I'm a surgeon."

"Oh! Then I suppose you've seen Miles around? He's a junior doctor."

"I'm afraid not. I work at the hospital the next town over."

"Oh I see."

"Um Ian, you'll have to bring Lachlan over next time," I murmured, knowing that Mum planned on inviting him to another dinner.

"I think I will. He adores you."

"Is Lachlan your son?" Mum asked curiously.

"No, he's my nephew but hopefully son."

"What do yo mean, hopefully soon?" I demanded and turned to him.

"I actually needed to talk to you about that. Perhaps we can talk about that la-"

"Let's talk in the living room. We'll be back in a second guys," I said and stood up, yanking my hand from underneath Miles'. I pulled Ian into the living room and glared at him. "Are you, or are you not planning on getting guardianship of Lachlan?"

"I am," He replied. "I've been speaking with the courts and have a date a set for three weeks from now. For now, Lachlan has been staying with me."

"Why are you trying to get guardianship for Lachlan?" I asked.

"My sister isn't fit to be a parent," He murmured. "I worked out that the source of his bruises were from his mother and her new boyfriend. It isn't a fit environment for him so I'm taking her to court. Sorry I haven't told you before now. I know you care for him and I meant to tell you."

"I-I only want to know because he is my patient."

"He's been your patient since he was five. He's like a son-brother to you," Ian replied.

"I... well..."

"He's just as important to me as he is to you, Jack. He's my nephew. I was... I was hoping that maybe, one day Lachlan could... could also be... well... you know."

"W-w-w-well I-I ha-have a-a-a a bo-boyfr-friend," I stammard uncontrolably and slapped my hands over my mouth.

"I see that your social anxiety comes back when you lie," Ian said, amused.

"I-I am n-n-not ly-lying!" I snapped. "I-I... I just... w-well..."

"I told you once that if I couldn't date you, then I would be your friend but you are making that very difficult for me."

"How am I making it difficult for you?" I snapped.

He took a step forward and I took a step back. "Your blushing, for one. That tells me that you aren't exactly being truthful about your feelings for me."

"M-maybe the situation is embarrassing for me."

"You're always glancing at me."

"I..."

"And you were paying more attention to me tonight than your supposed boyfriend," he finished. "So just admit that you aren't dating anyone and give us ago."

"Okay, fine so I'm not dating but I was telling the truth when I told you that I wasn't ready to date," I huffed in irritation.

"Is it about that Casey dude?"

"Yes, it's about that 'Casey dude' as you call him."

"Why are you so hung up on him?" He demanded.

"Because he's dead!" I yelled, glaring daggers at him. "Casey is dead. Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead! HE IS DEAD! That is why I can't move on."
Ian stared at me, somewhat remorseful before finding his voice. "How-"

"Leukemia. He had been in remission at the time. Obviously wasn't enough. He had a stroke in his sleep, three months after we moved into our apartment. He was only 19," I finished softly.

He frowned slightly and laid a hand on my shoulder. I looked up at him. "I'm sorry, Jack. I didn't know, but that doesn't faze me. I still want to be with you, even with that history. We can take it as slow as I like, I promise."

I chewed on my bottom lip and recalled what Jan had once told me, "Acceptance is the first step of moving on". Had I accepted his death? Yes, I had. It didn't mean I had to like it. No way in hell.

"I... well... fine. We can but... on two conditions," I frowned.

Ian nodded egerly. "Anything."

"First, you have to stop bugging me about us dating."

"Done."

"Two; we go slow. That means no touching, kissing, mushy gushy stuff until I get used to this. I've only ever had two boyfriends and both were in highschool."

"Alright, we go slow. I might call and organize a date after the court apperance."

"Very well, then. If... if you ever need a babysitter, I'd be happy to keep an eye on him," I hesitated.

"I'd like that. He's comfortable with you."

"Where is he now?" I asked.

"With one of my mates, but I'm worried about how Lachlan's handling it. I think I might go and check on them. I think I have several missed calls. Please say goodbye and that I had a wonderful evening. I... we'll keep in touch, Jack."

"Um yeah," I mumbled and glanced away. I heard him chuckle and ruffle my hair before leaving. I stared at the front door for a few moments before sighing and walking back to the kitchen, all the while wondering what I had gotten myself into.