A Fiction superseded by Davey [Reviews - 7]

Seven years in Las Vegas and he still knew exactly where his mother kept all the makings for a good cup of coffee. Through the years at college and on the force and then as a CSI, he’d always complained – if only to himself – that no one made coffee as good as his mother’s. And then he met Greg. Well, he didn’t find about Greg’s amazing coffee right away, but he knew now and got some every afternoon when they woke up to get ready for work. He was also the only one at the lab who had express permission to use Greg’s coffee whenever he wanted. But nine o’clock on a Saturday morning more than twelve hundred miles away from Greg was not the best time to be thinking about the happy grin Nick had received when he finally admitted that Greg made better coffee than anyone he knew. Especially not when his Aunt Ida was coming to have breakfast with him and his mother.

Of course, no matter how much Nick knew he should think about something else, Greg still had a hold on his mind when his mother walked into the kitchen with fresh-cut flowers for the kitchen table. “What do you think, Nicky?” she asked.

I think that I wish Greg was here, Nick wanted to say. He didn’t, though. It would only serve to make his mother uncomfortable, and he knew how much effort she was putting into making his trip home a good one. She was even planning a barbecue for the night before he left. An early birthday party, since he’d be turning thirty-three in eleven days.


He shook off his lonely thoughts and smiled at his mother. “They’re great, Mom. Very pretty.”

His mother looked pleased, leaning over to kiss him on the cheek after setting the flowers in a vase on the table. “I see you’ve already started the coffee. Would you mind getting the muffins out of the oven while I clean up? And, Nicky…could you set the table too?”

And so Nick found himself placing homemade blackberry muffins on plates and pouring coffee into cups when Aunt Ida came in through the back door. He barely got the chance to set down the coffee pot before she swept down on him with kisses for both cheeks, leaving traces of her bright red lipstick behind just as she’d done for as long as he could remember. Once she had backed off to a reasonable distance, Nick offered her a smile. “Hi, Aunt Ida. How have you been?”

“Wonderful as always, Nicky. How about you? You find yourself a nice girl yet?”

Nick swallowed uncomfortably, feeling the intense desire to be anywhere other than where he was at that moment. Like home with Greg, who was probably still lying in bed, tangled in the covers, his hair naturally messy for once. He sighed softly at finding himself wishing for Greg for the second time in less than an hour. Aunt Ida was still looking at him expectantly when his mother swept into the kitchen, deflecting her sister’s attention, much to Nick’s relief.

There was talk about his cousins and his siblings and people he used to know, and Nick listened, interested. Talks like these were something he missed now that he was gone. As the youngest, he often ended up with his mother on mornings like these, when he was either too young or too annoying to tag along with his sisters and brother. Fresh flowers, muffins, coffee – hot chocolate for little Nicky – and enough gossip to keep his sisters’ attention on him for at least an hour when they’d return home in the afternoon. He drifted along in the memories, sipping his coffee and eating his muffin absently until his own name was mentioned. “I was talking to Nicky right before you came down, Marie. When are we going to see that boy get married?”

Nick’s hand clenched convulsively on the handle of his coffee cup. After a moment used to loosen his fingers before he broke the delicate handle, he dared a look at his mother. As expected, she was looking at him, love in her eyes, like always. He was the baby, after all. But there was also something that looked an awful lot like regret. He turned his eyes back to the table top and swallowed the bitterness down with the rest of his coffee.

The silence seemed to stretch on endlessly, and Nick could feel both his mother’s and Aunt Ida’s eyes on him. “Well, Marie?”

There was laughter in Aunt Ida’s voice. She seemed to be amused by Nick’s discomfort, probably thinking that he was embarrassed over being single. The bitterness threatened to well back up, and Nick forced it down, his chest tight. After what seemed like an eternity, his mother finally spoke. “Oh, Ida, leave Nicky alone. He’ll get married when the laws change.”

The remains of the muffin which Nick had been picking at crumbled in his hands. Nick’s eyes shot up to meet his mother’s. The love was there, as was an apology. And what Nick was finally willing to see as acceptance.

Once again, Aunt Ida broke the silence. “So that’s what that fight with Jimmy Murphy was about. I’d always wondered. It wasn’t over some girl – you two had a bad break-up, didn’t you?”

Nick shook his head in disbelief. He’d come home expecting to get some video games and a new A&M travel mug, just like every year, and he’d gotten something far different. Acceptance.

Driving home two days later, he was still amazed. Thinking back, he felt a grin growing across his face and finally burst into elated laughter when he remembered what his mother had whispered in his ear just before he set the truck into drive that morning: “Have a safe trip, Nicky. Maybe next time, you could bring your…Greg."
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