Lulu’s boyfriend is a pretty thoughtful character. I like him. When Lu gets her phone confiscated by being too sassy, being on it too long, or some other similar misdemeanour – by default Lulu ends up airing the people she’s been chatting to. This often includes her boyfriend.
‘You get your phone taken off you a lot,’ he said to Lu.
I know he said it because she told me he did. She’d nodded sheepishly.
I narrowed my eyes at her. ‘Does he ever ask you the details? Like why you get your phone confiscated.’
Lulu shrugged nonchalantly. ‘Nope.’
And this seems to be their experience. I don’t hear about arguments between them. No tales of jealousy. Lulu gets her phone back and she and her boyfriend start chatting again where they left off. It’s clear friendship is key between them and of course, Jack and I aren’t complaining. It’s about as nice a model romance at age fourteen could be. Wipe forehead, carry on.
Saying that, he was a little odd at Lulu’s birthday. He started talking to me in Welsh. I stared at him. Was this passive-aggressive confrontation or nerves meeting us for the first proper time. Hard to say. And it’s funny because he kind of got me in my weak spot. This is because we live in a very Welsh area and I know really, I should speak a little Welsh. It wouldn’t go amiss in terms of cultural politeness. So when when Lulu’s boyfriend put me on the Welsh-speaking spot, I felt a bit of a punch in the chest.
I started speaking back to him in Polish. Explaining that I didn’t speak Welsh but I was still bilingual. He looked back, surprised. I smiled and carried on with the birthday supper. Boom for being around longer than you have.
Lulu had warned me too. ‘He does unusual things sometimes. No rhyme or reason. Plus he talks a lot. And some of it is really funny.’
‘Like what?’ I asked.
Lulu smiled. ‘Like when he said, “Why do they call lisps lisps? To put an ‘s’ in the actual word when you can’t say the ‘s’ sound is just cruel.’
I found myself grinning. Overall, it’s been nice to watch their relationship progress. Not in a stalker-y way either. Not all of it has been easy. There has been some petting for example. Specifically in the neck region. This is evidenced by the distinctive, purple-branding love bite. For a while, Lulu was coming home looking like she’d wrestled with a vampire. After a point, I felt I needed to set some boundaries. And in fairness, it’s been largely respected. The neck area has remained pretty clear since.
Strange then, that I too got familiar with Lu’s boyfriend’s neck. Saying good-bye to him at Lu’s birthday dinner, I ducked in for a kiss on the cheek. He turned his cheek and somehow, in the muddle, my lips landed on his neck.
‘This is weird,’ I heard myself saying.
Hopefully I’ll never have to mention this again. But here’s another weird thing. We’ve been wondering who his parents are. I’d likely have no idea, but Jack would have a good chance. Or he’d know mutual friends, family connections, or detailed family history. He’s no gossip and isn’t interested in it – which makes it all the stranger to me he knows so much in the first place. This is the true product of small-town living.
We did know that Lu’s boyfriend’s parents aren’t together anymore. And because he doesn’t live with his dad, Lu didn’t want to ask who he was. So we left it. Last weekend, she asked if her boyfriend could come over for Sunday lunch. Me and Delph were still in London but Jack said sure, he was welcome to come over. Then, somewhere between inviting and seeing him on Sunday, he discovered who his dad was.
It turns out that Lu’s boyfriend’s father is an old, once very close friend of Jack’s. You know that gang of five or so people you have when you’re about fifteen? The ones you make all your first mistakes with? Yep, Lu’s boyfriend’s dad and her own dad spent years hanging around together, getting into teenage mischief, staying in each other’s houses and becoming family. Until they drifted apart.
‘Did you see your friend in this kid?’ I asked Jack when he told me, his voice still full of incredulity, over the phone.
‘Not until he came over. Then it became obvious. His mannerisms for example – when I asked him how he liked my food, he did a double thumbs-up. I had to blink – since it was exactly the same thing his dad used to do. The double-thumbs up. I phoned Stoker and Stoker belly-laughed for fifteen minutes straight. “Does it feel like you’re kissing him yourself?” he asked after he caught his breath,’ Jack said and laughed a little ruefully.
I shook my head. Was this a coincidence? My last blog was about the blissful brain stuff made during scientific correlation. Seeing the connections explaining relationships and pathways between the matter in our universe is the best. So, how do we explain human connection in this case? Is it a coincidence that Lulu was drawn to someone whose fathers were also drawn to each other? Is it an inter-generational attraction, even a genetic magnetism?
Back at my mum’s house, Chloe and Delphine were brushing their teeth. ‘Does this mean they’re cousins too?’ Chloe, our own cousin asked.
‘No!’ I maintained firmly. ‘They are not cousins.’
It does mean they’re connected though.