After two years, Lance still refuses to tell his family he’s gay and Jordan has had just about enough. At Christmas dinner, Lance’s parents try to set him up with a family friend. For Jordan, that’s the breaking point. Walking out on a good meal, and a great relationship, Jordan leaves Lance to figure out just what their relationship is worth. Is this the last Christmas they’ll spend together?
Since high school I’ve always spent Boxing Day the same way—joining Lance’s family for Christmas dinner. But this year I’m fed up with the tradition.
I love the stuffing his Nana makes, and his mom’s apple crumble is to die for. What I can’t stand is the secrecy. I’m in love with a man who’s ashamed of us. Each year I sit by and watch as he lies to his family. We continue the façade of friendship, pretending the entire time we’re just roommates and not lovers.
We’ve lived together for two and a half years. We've talked about the future—our future. We both want kids one day, but I don’t see how that can ever happen if he won’t fess up and tell his family he’s gay and that we’re a couple.
I’m getting sick of being with a guy who isn’t willing to fight for us.
But it’s Christmas, and I love him, so I’ll grin and bear it. I’ll pretend it doesn’t bother me, and tomorrow we’ll go back to arguing over the timing.
Pulling the Elantra into the driveway, I put it in park and killed the engine. “Help me with the gifts?”
Lance frowned. “Of course.”
“Right.” Since our fight that morning, things had been tense. I pocketed my keys as we both pushed open our doors, and stepped into the frosty air.
Snowflakes had started to drift down. That night a large snow dump was expected. His parents had already invited us to spend the night, something else we’d fought over. Lance was all for accepting their hospitality, but I knew it would mean sleeping in separate rooms.
From opposite sides of the car, we ducked into the backseat to grab bags full of presents.
“You sure you don’t want to tell them tonight?” The question slipped from my mouth.
Lance gave me a hard look. “Would you drop it? It’s not the right time.”
I was starting to wonder if it would ever be the right time.
Arms loaded with gifts, we trudged up the walkway. I pasted on a smile as Lance shoved open the door. We were first greeted with the shouts of his nieces and nephews as they ran through the house.
“Mom!” Lance called.
Wiping her hands on an apron, Susan came out of the kitchen. She gave us each a hug, prompting us to come in. As I slipped off my boots, Susan took the gifts from my arms. “Let me help you with that, Jordan.”
She put them on Lance’s already enormous pile. “Put them under the tree with the others and then there’s someone I want you to meet.”
“Who?” Lance asked with a touch of suspicion.
Susan leaned in close to whisper, “You know our friends Robert and Natasha. Well, they’ve brought their daughter, Emily, along for dinner. She’s just about your age.” Susan’s eyes gleamed with matchmaking mischief. Smile bright, she turned her gaze on me. “This should be fun.”
Ever since I came out, back in high school, Susan had thought of me as a confidant and a sounding board. She asked my opinion on outfits and often tried to get me to help her win arguments with Lance. Playing up the part, I rubbed my now empty hands together and grinned along with her. “Oh, definitely.”
With a hop to her step, she turned around and led the way to the living room.
I shifted closer to Lance. “Did you know about this?”
Lance shot me a scowl. “No, of course not. I would have put a stop to it if I’d known.”
“Sure,” I said with a snort.
“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”
Not bothering to answer, I started after his mother.
“Hey, aren’t you going to help me?”
Glancing back, I gave a partial shrug before leaving him to balance the gifts while removing his shoes. I knew it was petty, but I didn’t care.
Each year at Christmas, Lance’s family gathered for a big meal and to exchange gifts. His sister and brother sat on the sofas with their significant others, watching hockey as all their kids ran around together. The aforementioned Robert was also watching the game, while alternately talking with Lance’s dad, Aaron. All the adults shifted to the right, then to the left as Susan led Lance in front of the television to the Christmas tree.
I hung back, leaning in the doorframe, exchanging greetings with everyone. Aaron made eye contact and gave a curt nod. After I’d come out, it took a long time for Aaron to accept me. That was probably one of the major reasons why Lance was dragging his feet.
Susan came back across the room, briefly blocking the screen. “Jordan, how have your holidays been?” Without waiting for a response, Susan continued, “Would you like a glass of wine, dear?”
“Actually, if you have it, I could really go for a beer.” I’m not normally a beer drinker, but that night, I was looking for something with a little more grit to it, something to help me take my mind off the evening I was about to endure.