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Rated: ASR · Fiction · Family · #2128246
Inspired by "It's My Life" by Bon Jovi - 48-HOUR CHALLENGE: Media Prompt
         This was the ninth “family” dinner in two months where Nina’s mother, loving individual that she might be, had brought in a “nice young man” to have dinner with them. Her mother was crafty as hell too. Once it was a new guy from her job, who had just moved to the area who she claimed: “Could not live off one more take out meal!” Once it was one of Nina’s brother’s friends, who was in town for an interview and Nina’s mother “Would not make him stay alone in the city all alone.”
         Nina remembered a conversation she’d had with her friend Sarah earlier after the last one of these dinners.
                   “You’d think she’d have given up already. I mean, that was eight just in the last couple of months, and she’s been trying stuff like this for years. Literally, years. Has she not, you know, figured it out yet?”
                   “You forget that this tactic worked for my older brother. She’s seen it succeed.”

         Nina sighed. Sarah thought Nina should just tell her family already and maybe she was right.
         “Daniel,” her mother said sweetly. “Did I tell you that my Nina recently took up surfing?”
         Daniel’s face brightened, which was surprising considering how cheerful he’d seemed through everything so far. “How long have you been surfing?
         “A few months,” Nina said. She’d taken it up to flirt with the instructor there but quit when she realized the trainer wasn’t interested in her. She hadn’t told her family that though.
         “Well, I’ve been surfing since I was a kid. I’d be happy to give you a few lessons. Maybe show you a few moves.”
         Several forks dropped onto plates, though Nina clutched hers, fighting her lip curl against the disgust she felt for a boy who thought to make innuendo in front of her father, mother, and younger brother, all at the dinner table.
         “Thank you, but no thank you.” Nina tried to be as polite as possible, but her patience was wearing thin.
         “Why not? I’m really, very good. I think you’d have a great time.”
         And that was it. Nina couldn’t take any more of these dinners. She couldn’t take any more lying to her family either. She just couldn’t. It was her life. It was time she lived it her way, for herself.
         She gave him her prettiest smile, “I actually gave up surfing when the girl I was taking lessons from decided she wasn’t interested in me. I was only taking the lessons to flirt with her, you see.”
         The room was suddenly quiet. Everyone stared at her.
         “So what, you’re like a lesbian or something?” Daniel asked, disbelief evident.
         “Yes.”
         “Oh please, you’ve probably just had the right—“
         “You will not say what you are about to say in my house,” her father interrupted. “And you’re going to leave, right now.”
         “You wouldn’t have been worth my time anyway,” Daniel said before storming out and slamming their door shut. A few moments later they heard him peeling out of the driveway.
         “Well,” her mother said. “I will be having a word with his mother. I know she raised him better than that.”
         Nina’s brother, Mike, who had been silent up to this point asked, “Would you pass the butter?”
         “Of course,” their mother answered and passed it over.
         “You know, I wondered what the sudden interest in surfing was. Makes a lot more sense now,” her father said.
         “I do wish you’d told us earlier, Nina. Really, you could’ve saved me a lot of trouble.”
         “I didn’t know how,” Nina admitted. “And I was afraid you’d be disappointed in me.”
         Her father covered her hand gently with his. “I’m only disappointed that you didn’t feel you could tell us sooner.”
         “Yes! I could have had that lovely bisexual girl, what was her name, Candy, Brandy… Mandy! Yes, I could’ve had Mandy over for dinner instead.”
         Nina dropped her face into her hands, part of her felt incredibly embarrassed, but most of her just felt relief. A giant wave of relief and happiness washed away worry, and her body felt lighter. Still. “Can you just, not try to set me up for a bit?”
         Her mother sighed. “Fine, but don’t expect me to wait forever. I want to see you married before I’m too old to pick up my grandchildren.”
         “You already have a grandchild on the way,” Nina complained, speaking of her older brother’s pregnant wife.
         Her mother gave her a pointed look as if to say, “And that matters, why?”
         “Right, you got it.”
         “Good. Now eat your dinner.”


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