Rachael sat on the train, deep in thought staring out of the window. The rush hour commuters were jockeying for their normal carriage for the Friday night journey home to a weekend away from the drudgery of their jobs.
She, meanwhile, was going to spend the weekend in the country with her new boyfriend. To be correct, she was going to his parent’s country house to meet them for the first time. Rachael had a sense of foreboding about what to expect but couldn’t put her finger on exactly why she was dreading the next 48 hours.
She had been enjoying the single life having been on her own for about six months when she met Greg in a bar about three months ago. She had gone out for a few drinks with some girl friends, turned around and spilt a drink on him. He laughed it off, he bought her a drink, they exchanged phone numbers and a few days later he called her. A few dates later they seemed to be settling into a routine and he spent the night with her. Sex was OK, maybe something that would improve with time she thought. Certainly not explosive or the stuff one read about. Also not as good as she had experienced before, albeit her experiences were not that numerous!
Her previous relationship, with Sam, had ended with him going to the other side of the world and making it clear he didn’t see any purpose in Rachael joining him; that despite them having been an item for three years. During those intervening six months she had had an unfortunate drunken one night stand, but apart from that she had had no romantic interests and was happy with the situation. Prior to Sam, Rachael had a few boyfriends, no more and no less than her peer group and had also “enjoyed” the status of being the other woman having a two year relationship with a married man.
The doors on the train shut, interrupting Rachael’s thoughts. She continued starring out of the window as the train left the station and picked up speed.
Greg worked near her and of late their routine was to meet for a quick drink before going to one of their flats or out for dinner about twice during the week and spending all weekends together, either at his flat or her’s. They had both agreed it was getting difficult to juggle the logistics of living in two places, but neither had suggested moving in together.
Her mind wandered back to their sex life as the train reached its maximum speed and the scenery became a blur.
She enjoyed sex; she enjoyed making love with Greg. Most times he made her cum. But there was something missing. With Sam they pushed the boundaries. They discussed their fantasies but didn’t act on most of them, which was fine. With other boyfriends, including her married lover, there was an explosion of sorts. Rachael was able to relax and let the physical sensations overwhelm her. Even if it was a quickie, she could lose herself in the act and she believed her partner did too. With Greg, something was held in reserve. Was he fully committed to the act or was his mind elsewhere. He certainly didn’t seem as into it or as needy as others had. She chastised herself in comparing him to others. In every other respect he was loving and attentive and a delightful companion. And after all, that was as important as or more important than what went on in the bedroom. Wasn’t it?
The train slowed down as the first station approached. Some people got off and fewer got on. As the doors shut and the train pulled off, her thoughts returned to the weekend ahead. She was to text Greg when she got to the station before his. He was already at his parents having gone down earlier to sort out some family paperwork issues. He would pick her up and take her to his parent’s house. They were due to have dinner with his parents that night and presumably have a fireside cosy chat. She realised that this was the first time she had spent a weekend away with a boyfriends parents. What would the sleeping arrangements be? Would they share a room?
Saturday was supposed to be a relaxing day with a walk in the country in the afternoon, followed by a party with some old friends of Greg’s. Was this where she was shown off?
Sunday was a pub lunch at a Carvery with his parents, before returning together back to London.
Rachael smiled to herself, it sounded like a scene from Bridget Jones Diary!
Her mind wondered again. Greg had met her friends. They had all been very polite and said he was nice, but there was always a nagging doubt that they were being polite and didn’t really mean it. They wanted her to be happy and saw she seemed to be content; but did they see there was a spark missing? Her best friend Anna had pulled a face when Rachael had mentioned in passing the lack of spark in the bedroom. It was almost a case of “well I’m not surprised.”
The train slowed to a stop at a station. This was the penultimate one. She texted Greg. He responded immediately; “See you at the station.”
Rachael sighed deeply as the train pulled off. It may be a long 48 hours but she would be fine. His parents and friends couldn’t be total ogres. They may come from the country, kurtköy escort but they wouldn’t be inbred with an eye in the middle of their foreheads would they?
That thought made her smile as the train slowed to her station and she saw Greg standing, waiting expectantly for her, on the platform.
She gathered her stuff and got off the train. Greg walked towards her and helped her with her bag, smiling as her chastely kissed her on the cheek.
They walked to his car making small talk about the journey. He feeling of foreboding was not going away, if anything his manner was making things worse. He seemed very distant. Distracted even.
“Are you OK?” she asked.
He nodded. “Yes, why?”
“You seem distracted.”
“Do I? Sorry.” He replied as he started the car and headed out down a country lane.
The silence in the car was deafening as they drove the three miles or so until he pulled into a drive of a chocolate box cover, picturesque, thatched cottage with an in and out drive.
“This is my parents’ house.”
“Wow, it’s beautiful,” she said getting out of the car.
The front door opened and an elderly couple stood there to greet them.
“Hello, you must be Rachael unless Greg has picked up a waif or stray on the way. I’m Greg’s dad, Bob. Welcome to Rose Cottage.”
“And I’m Florence, so good to meet you. Greg has done nothing but talk about you since you two met.”
Greg steered Rachael to the door and his smiling parents.
“Nice to meet you both too,” Rachael said smiling, instantly regretting not having bought some flowers as a thank you, but hoping the bottle of wine in her bag would suffice.
“Greg, why don’t you show Rachael to her room so she can freshen up and then join us for a pre dinner drink,” Bob said.
“Yes, this way,” Greg said pointing to the stairs.
They climbed the stairs and Greg entered a large room. “This is yours; the loo and bathroom are down the corridor. Is there anything you need?”
“Yes, a hug please.”
He smiled awkwardly. “Sorry.”
He dropped the bag and stepped towards her and stiffly hugged her. Letting her go, he said, “Get yourself refreshed, we will be downstairs having a drink when you are ready.”
He turned around, left the room and shut the door.
What have I done? Rachael asked herself. Greg’s behaviour was bazaar!
She quickly unpacked and used the bathroom to wash before changing and, taking the bottle of wine, went downstairs found Greg and his parents in the lounge, finding the room by following the sounds of their voices.
The three of them stood around a roaring log fire, stiffly holding their glasses of what appeared to be sherry.
“Feeling better dear?” Florence asked. “I do hate that journey from London.”
“Yes, thanks,” she replied. She handed the bottle of wine to Bob. “Just a small gesture for having me this weekend.”
“You shouldn’t have,” he replied studying the label with interest.
“Greg, get your young lady a drink,” Florence said in a commanding voice.
“Sherry?” he asked.
Rachael nodded. “Please.”
“So do tell us about yourself Rachael,” Bob asked as Greg handed her a glass. “We want to know that Greg has not been lying!” he added with a smile.
She smiled and took a sip of the sherry. It tasted foul but she hoped she managed to disguise this fact.
“Well, I am 28, work in London as a research analyst for a publishing company. Have been in the job since I finished university where I studied English.”
She looked at Bob and Florence who seemed to be hanging on her every word.
“I enjoying reading, going to the cinema and theatre, dinner and that stuff,” she smiled looked at Greg, before continuing: “and of course spending time with Greg!”
Bob and Florence smiled. “Oh, that’s nice, and I know Greg likes spending time with you. Don’t you Greg?” Bob said.
Greg looked embarrassed but smiled and nodded; “of course,” he said.”
“Ok, let’s sit down for dinner,” Florence said, putting her glass down and leaving the room. Bob followed and Greg guided Rachael out of the room and into the adjoining dining room.
Dinner was excruciating as far as Rachael was concerned. The setting was lovely with a beamed ceiling, snug dining room, immaculately laid out. The food was fine and excellently cooked. The wine very good, but poured sparingly, the conversation however was stilted and slow, there was no flow and Greg in particular seemed as uncomfortable as her. When the meal was over Rachael offered to help with the clearing up.
“No, but thank you,” Florence said dismissing her offer in a rather aggressive tone. “You are a guest. Bob and I will take care of what the dishwasher doesn’t do.”
Greg walked towards the lounge; Rachael followed him.
They sat in silence.
“Have I upset you?” she whispered.
“You have hardly said a word to me. You seem on edge and not at all comfortable. You’re not making it easy for me.”
Greg tuzla escort shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t know what you mean.”
Nothing further could be said as Bob entered the room. “Right I’m having a nightcap. Rachael, will you join me as it seems my son hasn’t the manners to offer you a drink?”
“Thank you, but no. I’m fine,” Rachael answered smiling at Bob.
“I’ll join you Dad. Whisky?” Greg said rising and walking towards what Rachael assumed was the drinks cabinet.
As he poured two glasses, Florence walked in. “I wont join you, I’m off to bed so see you in the morning. Good night.”
A chorus of “good nights” echoed out as she left the room.
The two men nursed their drinks as a silence enveloped the room. The silence was broken by Bob draining his glass, rising and bidding Greg and Rachael good night.
“Something is up, I don’t know what it is and I don’t like it,” hissed Rachael. “I have never felt so uncomfortable in my life and you are not helping. I have never known you so quiet and withdrawn,” Rachael whispered aggressively.
“I’m sorry, it’s the first time I have brought a girlfriend home,” he said apologetically. “My parents have never met any of my girl friends before.”
Rachael let the information sink in and realised in all their time together, he had asked about her previous relationships, but he had always dodged the question about his previous girlfriends.
She moved over and knelt down in front of him. “Please try harder Greg, I can’t bear for tomorrow to be like this evening. It has been so stilted.”
He nodded. “Ok, I’m sorry.”
“Shall we go to bed?” she asked.
“Yes, but I think we had better keep to our assigned rooms.”
Rachael was disappointed and upset, but tried to hide her feelings. “Ok, can’t have them hearing our lovemaking or the creaking of the floorboards,” she said smiling.
“No, it would not be well received.”
She kissed him gently on the cheek and stood up. “Good night Greg.”
“Good night,” he replied.
Rachael changed into her nightdress and got into bed, her head spinning with thoughts about the evening. Two days of stilted conversation and formality would make her go insane.
She eventually fell asleep, only to be awoken by a soft knocking on the door.
“Come in,” she said quietly, expecting and hoping to see Greg enter her room, but amazed to see it was Bob.
“Sorry to wake you and disturb you, but I just had to speak to you,” he whispered.
He quietly shut the door and walked towards the bed. Rachael sat up and ensured she was covered.
“May I sit down?” he asked.
Rachael nodded and moved to allow him some room.
“I have to apologise about tonight, we have not helped you feel welcome and I need to explain some things. Maybe then you can understand matters.”
“I am totally confused, but Ok, explain away,” she said, not knowing what on earth was going on.
Bob took a deep breath. “This isn’t easy for me but let me begin. You know you are the first girlfriend Greg has brought here don’t you?”
“You know you are Greg’s first ever girlfriend don’t you?”
Rachael looked amazed. “No I didn’t.”
“Well Greg has never shown any interest in girls before you,” he continued. “In fact he showed more interest in boys, if you follow my drift.”
“Oh my God, you mean he was..”
“Oh god, no I didn’t know.”
“Yes he had a few boy friends, none ever came here but we kind of knew about them. You were the first female he ever told us about and we jumped at the chance to meet you. We talked to him this morning and he made us very worried when it came up that he hadn’t been totally honest to you about his past. It’s not our business and we don’t want him hurt, but equally we don’t want you hurt and felt you should know. Florence and I probably haven’t handled things well, to which I apologise and I’m sorry but I just had to make sure you knew everything.”
Rachael was stunned, but all of a sudden things started to fall into place.
“Bob, thank you. It doesn’t change how I feel about Greg, but it does answer some nagging thoughts. Should I tell him we had this conversation? How will he react?”
“I don’t know, I really don’t,” he replied looking confused. “I wish I did. If you do it’s a gamble that could go horribly wrong. Conversely it may help and lift a weight off his shoulders, assuming he does not know how to explain or tell you. I just don’t know. Anyway, I for one feel better for telling you. I hope it works out for you both, I really do, but I cant answer the question you have about mentioning this conversation and I am sure there are loads of other questions you must have.”
Rachael nodded, her head hurting with all the thoughts going through her mind.
“Good night, Rachael. Don’t think badly of Florence and I, and thanks for hearing me out,” Bob said as he stood up and left the room, quietly shutting the door.
Sleep was now impossible as Rachael replayed tuzla escort the last three months through her mind, the physical and emotional side. What was said, what wasn’t. Answers to questions and experiences from the past. Many things were now clearer.
Rachael heard activity outside her room and looked at the clock. The house was coming to life at 8.30. There was a knock on the door. “Come in.”
Greg entered, standing in the door way. “Shower is free, there is still plenty of hot water,” he smiled.
“Want to wash my back,” she smiled.
He smiled. “Yes, but maybe we should wait till we are back in London. Don’t want my dad to be jealous or my Mum thinking her little boy is playing with girls.”
He shut the door and Rachael considered his answer. Was he dropping a hint?
She soon showered and dressed and walked downstairs to the smell of coffee and fried cooking, a full English breakfast laid out in front of her and Greg.
“Bob and I have eaten and will be going into town, do you two want to join us or have you plans?”
Greg looked at Rachael. “What would you like to do?” There was warmth in his voice that wasn’t there yesterday. Had his father spoken to him?
“I don’t mind, but I would like a walk in the country at some time.”
“Ok,” Bob said, “can I suggest you do a walk this morning while the weather is on our side, maybe have a pub lunch and then come back here this afternoon. You can always pop to the town this afternoon.”
“Sounds good to me!” said Rachael. “Let’s do that Greg.”
Greg nodded; his mouth full of food.
Rachael and Greg finished their breakfast and cleared the things away and were soon out and walking across fields.
Greg took Rachael’s hand in his and said; “I’m sorry about last night, I need to explain some things.” He seemed genuinely warm as he spoke to her.
“That sounds sinister,” said Rachael as she climbed a stile and kissed him on the cheek.
Ignoring her reply he continued. “You are the first girl friend my parents have met, which is hard for me and them which in turn made yesterday so awkward. I really wanted them to meet you as you mean so much to me. Also,” he continued before she could interrupt, “there are some things in the past that I didn’t think my parents knew about that it appears they do.”
“Oh, what are they?”
Greg stopped walking. “There is no easy way of saying this.”
“Greg, what is it, you are frightening me,” Rachael said reaching out to hold his hands.
“Before we met,” he said, unable to keep eye contact, “I was involved in the gay scene.”
He stopped and looked at her, his eyes watering up. “I had a few boy friends, I wasn’t into the promiscuous part of the scene, but I did have a few boy friends that I slept with, and before you ask or are concerned it was always safe sex.”
Rachael nodded. “I see.”
“Is that all you have to say?”
“It’s a bit of a bombshell Greg,” she said deciding immediately it would not be appropriate to tell him she already knew and that she had had the conversation with his father.
“Why me?” Rachael asked. “What have I got that makes you think you want a heterosexual relationship? I assume you are not just trying me out to see if you want a woman for a change?”
Greg shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know, I know I feel for you more that anyone I have felt for in the past. The sex is, I don’t know, something I am scared of and I am sure that you have had better lovers, but something I hoped would improve. I do know I have no desire to sleep with another man again.”
Rachael stopped holding his hands and moved in and hugged him. “Greg, thank you. I can’t say this is easy to take on board but thank you for your honesty; it must have been hard.”
“I need to think,” she said.
“Is this the end?” he asked.
“No, I don’t know. I need some thinking time,” she replied. She stood away from him and held his hands. “I don’t have a problem with the physical acts; I just can’t get my mind around how one can change from being gay to straight, or vice versa.”
“Neither do I,” he smiled.
“Let’s carry on with the walk. Can I ask you questions?”
“Yes, no problem.”
They walked for another hour or so, with Rachael bombarding him with questions. Not about the sex acts he may have performed but about the emotional side of the gay scene. He answered as truthfully as he could. She asked and asked about how and why he felt he could change from being gay and what it was about her. Unfortunately no matter how hard he tried he was unable to answer these questions as he had asked himself the same ones a million times.
They eventually came across a small country pub and shared a bottle of wine and ate two enormous ploughman’s lunches.
They walked back, hand in hand in silence. Both were deep in thought about what they had discussed and what the future had in store for them.
With the house in sight in the distance, Rachael stopped. “Greg, what we have is good, more than good and I don’t want to throw it away, but I don’t want to be hurt. If you ever left me for another woman I would be devastated. If you left me for another man I can not even think how I would feel or cope. I trust you, but as I say, please don’t hurt me.”