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White Picket Fence

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Just from listening to his mother rant, at 22 Lucas is already feeling the pressure of needing to settle down, buy a house, and pop out a kid and a half just so he can waste his Sunday evenings sitting around his mother and father’s kitchen table discussing the mundane everyday ongoings in his life.

Maybe his imaginary wife would ask him to pass the mashed potatoes. And he would do it without complaint. As she ladles her plate with the over-buttered starchy goodness, his mother would ask about how so and so has been doing. What was his son---or would he have a daughter, (really what the fuck does it matter anymore)--- up to these days? And maybe he would respond in kind with, “Well, mother, what do you think kids like to do nowadays…”. Because he wouldn’t be able to help himself.

He isn’t able to help himself now as he sits with his head pressed against the kitchen table, arms hanging loosely to his side.

“You know Lucas, I’m getting up there in age. I’d like to know your being taken care of, that some nice girl will…” She trails off and he can hear her sniffling into her hand. He groans loudly from where he sits.

Really, he only wants one thing and that is to focus on going to school and graduating. Okay that’s a lie. He really wants to focus on school and graduate and he really, really, wants his mother to finally accept the fact that he was gay and a girl was never going to be in the picture.

He wants to tell her he has had lots of men ‘take care’ of him. And in such delicious ways. But he keeps it to himself. She always has such a way of changing the topic and pretending he never said such a thing.

“What? What now? Why do you always do that when we talk about this? I’m serious Lucas, you’re 22 and I’ve not seen you bring home anyone, not since that Imane girl for that one project...when was that. Oh what does it matter she’s not…”

“Not what mom?” He turns his head, sitting up with his elbow on the table. He looks at her pointedly.

“Well she was that muslim girl right?”

“And?”

She waves him off. “I’m just saying she doesn’t seem like your type.”

“She’s not. She’s just a friend.”

“Well that’s what I was saying.”
“Mom…”

“What baby?”

“I like dicks.”

“Lucas! I can’t believe you just...kids these days don’t have any tack. Always on with their gay jokes.” She trails off, her eyes looking everywhere but at Lucas. “I know what I’ll do, I’ll have to invite over that girl who lives just around the corner. I think she goes to school with you actually. I’ll need to ask her mother if she is seeing anyone.”

“No mom, listen!” he stands up slamming his hands on the table effectively shutting her up. “It’s not a joke. I’ve been telling you the same thing since I was 14. And each time you brush it away like I didn’t mean it. I mean it.” He steps away from the table.

He doesn’t know why he is so upset. Usually he takes her blatant denial in stride. But he feels a rush of anger. Like he is about to topple over.His chest tightens and it becomes difficult for him to breathe. The pin prickling sensation starts at the corners of his eyes and he blinks rapidly.

He was not going to cry.

“I need to get out of here.” He runs his hand through his hair and exhales with his cheeks puffed out.

“No Lucas please, sit!” He doesn’t move as his mother rushes to him, pushing him back down in his seat. She replaces his hand with her own, running her gentle fingers softly through his mussed up locks.

He leans his head against the flat of her stomach and closes his eyes. No matter what, she is his mother and she always knew what to do to calm him. He feels himself fall into the comfort.

When her hands slow to a stop he lifts his eyes to look at her, moving only the slightest bit. She brings one hand to her mouth as she chokes back a silent cry, her blue eyes wet with tears.

“Mama…”

“Oh Lulu, I’ve been horrible.” she doesn’t hold back the tears, her voice cracking and she tries to breathe but starts hiccuping from the force of her emotions.

“Oh no, mama don’t cry. I-it’s okay. You’re not horrible.” Lucas tries to to soothe her. She cries harder until he stands and wraps his arms around her frail frame.

“I just want a grandbaby so bad.” She wails. “I want to know that you’ll pass on your good looks. That you’ll have someone to take care of and you’ll watch them grow and grow old yourself...I want you to be happy and feel like you are the luckiest person in the world.” She looks up at him, her hiccups shaking her body in his hold. “Like I do everytime I look at you...”

“But mama, I am happy!” He holds her at arms length and they both let out a watery chuckle. “I’m happy being me and plus I can always adopt. Or I can get a puppy?” He jokes, trying to urge her grin to become a full blown smile.

“Lucas,” she brings her hands up to cup at his face. “That’s all I want.” She turns away, her hand slipping to pat him once, twice on his chest. She heads towards the living room muttering and Lucas can only shake his head. Both his arms coming up to wrap around his neck and bearing down, his odd way of releasing the tension inside.

Crisis averted.

“Ah I know!” He spoke too soon. “Doesn’t that girl, what’s her name have an older brother? We could invite him over. Though, I he might be too old. I’ll just check in with one of the ladies at church and see if they have some...oh no that won’t do. That won’t do at all…”

“No! No more setting up dinner dates!” He looks at her exasperated, eyes wild.

“Well, why not? Your not exactly bringing home any eye candy…”

“I….I already have a boy...f-friend.”

Fuck.

“You do?” She comes back towards the kitchen, not quite entering as she braces herself at the entryway.

“Y...yesss…”

Fuck.

“Since when? Why haven’t you invited him over? You should have told me sooner!” She bombards him and Lucas feels the floor drop from beneath him. He struggles to pull himself together to come up with another lie to stop her from going.

“Well, would you look at the time” He holds up his arm and looks at the watch that he doesn’t own. “I’ve got class in about half an hour so I better get going.” He blows her a kiss and leaves, the door a resounding slam behind him.

He hears her shout after him. Her voice is loud but his lie echoes louder in his head.

How on earth was he going to get out of this one?

Lucas pulls out his phone as he hops on the bus heading towards campus. He wasn’t lying per se, when he told his mother he had class, but he may have stretched the truth a bit. He wasn’t due for class for another 2 hours.

He quickly sets up a group chat, hoping, and knowing full well he was placing far too much trust in his boys, that they would have the answers to all his problem.

Lucas
I need help!

Yann
What did you do?

Lucas rolls his eyes at the immediate assumption that he did something. As if there was was no possible way that something could have happened to him instead. He loved his friends. They knew him so well.
Bas
Wait. Will this require us hiding
a body or something?

Arthur
First off, if it did, you would be
the last person Lucas would ask
for help.

Lucas frowns in contemplation. Arthur is not wrong.

Lucas
Can we not assume I’ve done something for once?
But seriously.
I fucked up.

Bas
hahahahha, riggghhhtt.

Lucas
….I’m taking Bas off the group chat.

Lucas doesn’t joke. He sticks his tongue out at his phone as he deletes Basile from the group chat. Yes. He is petty.

Lucas
Now that we’ve got that over and done with.
I told mama I have a boyfriend…
Help.

Yann
No shit. That. Is
FUCKING. Gold

Lucas
Fuck off Yann.
I know I messed up.

Arthur
Well here’s a thought.
idk have you thought of
just telling her the truth?

Lucas

This is mama we are talking about
There is no reasoning with her…

Arthur
So get a boyfriend?
No other way round that

Yann
Have Bas pretend to be your boy
I’m sure mama Lallemant will eat
it up!

Lucas

Once again Yann… FUCK OFF
I need real solutions. REAL Solutions.

Yann

Hahaha

Lucas

That’s it, I’m removing you from
the chat.

Yann

No wait, wait. Seriously though
Get Emma to pull some strings.

Lucas

...I’m listening.

Arthur

Oh! That’s a great idea. Emma
knows lots a guys who’d be willing
to date you.

Yann

She does, but we talking real dating or
someone who can fake it for a bit?
I was thinking Emma’s got a lot of shit on the
boys she knows. I’m sure she can get
someone willing to fill in till you
figure out how to stand up to
Mama Lallemant.

Lucas

Emma’s a pimp now?

Arthur.

Or...OR!.... Wait for it….. You can
Go meet someone like a normal person.

Lucas

I dunno. I kinda like this idea of Emma as a pimp. Arthur
stop being the voice of reason.
Meet me in the Foyer in 10?
And yes bring Bas.

Lucas puts away his phone and waits impatiently for his stop. He stands with his entire arm wrapped around the pole, leaning his weight on it as the bus surges toward. He's not one to sit, knowing how fidgety he can get. At least, while standing, Lucas has control over the bouncing of his legs or the tapping of his toes.

It also helps that he can get off the bus quicker when he is standing. He doesn't worry about waiting for others to pass him by.

Lucas is not the first to arrive. When he walks in he sees Arthur, Yann, and Basile playing by the foosball table. He nods towards the girls who have huddled in one corner talking amongst themselves.

Yann waves him over, a momentary lapse of judgement on his part as he lets go of a handle and allows Basile to score.

“FUCK! I win!” The curly haired boy backs away and completes his victory dance with arms thrown wildly in the air.

Lucas rolls his eyes.

“So…” He starts when he reaches them. Basile pauses his dance to clasp him on the shoulders, like one would do to a stranger at a funeral as if to say, “Sorry for you loss.”

“They filled me in.” He sucks in a breath through clenched teeth. “Looks like you got yourself in a predicament..” The click of his tongue in his mouth makes Lucas want to rip it out. He glares at the other boy who does not try to hold back his laughter.

So Lucas turns to Yann and Arthur who are both smiling but have yet to say much.

“We, uh… wanna go talk to Emma?” Yann nods his head while Arthur rolls his eyes and throws up his arms in defeat.

The four of them walk towards the girls, dispearsing themselves among the empty seats.

“Hey, how goes it.” Lucas starts up the casual conversation and it’s Manon who cocks a brow.

“What do you want?”

“What makes you think I want anything?” Lucas acts offended. He brings a delicate hand and presses it against his chest.

“Cut the shit, Lucas.” It’s Emma. Straight to the point, these girls.

Yann laughs at the bugged-eyed look that appears on Lucas’ face.

“Emma, chill. Lucas has a favor to ask.” The brunette turns her pretty hazel eyes on Yann, and inner-Lucas wants to shout to the world the softness he sees in her gaze. He thinks it wouldn’t go over very well so he doesn’t.

Lucas pleads at Yann with his blue eyes, knowing the other would feel pity for him (because pity is what he deserves) and ask Emma himself.

He hears Yann sigh, and does a mental victory dance.

“So Lucas needs someone who is willing to pretend to be his boyfriend. For like two weeks maybe. Go to dinner at his parents, pretend to be in love and all that shit, then break up.”

Emma looks confused for a second.

“So why are you asking me? I don’t have a cock, you of all people would know that.”

“Get it Emma!” is Alexia’s quick shout, though her attention is drawn to the phone in her lap.

Lucas huffs out a sharp laugh. “No believe me, I’m not looking for you to pretend to be a dude on my behalf.”

Yann smiles wryly at their interaction and Lucas shoots him a grin. “Yeah, I know you’re not a man. Buttt, you’ve fucked enough of them to have some dirt, so I was hoping you could pull some strings.”

“I should be offended that you think I’d stoop so low as to--”

“Can we not pretend that you don’t do that Emma?” It’s Daphne that speaks up, smile wide on her face. Emma tilts her head in contemplation and she swallows back her words.

“Okay, yeah. I know some who would and if they don’t I know what to say so that they will.” She pauses, her eyes set on Lucas. “What do I get out of this?”

Lucas shrugs, his eyes darting between Emma and Yann. “I don’t know...but I’m sure you’ll think of something.” He baths in the blush that adorns her face.

“Cool. I’ll talk to some people. Tomorrow, I want you to wait by the cafe in the library. Whoever I get will meet you there at, let’s say 5?”

“How do you kno--”

“They’ll be there.” Lucas nods his head. He likes her confidence. He isn’t sure he should.

 

 

__________________________________________

When Emma approaches the group of boys, she does so with confidence. She has her target set and in her line of sight. She likes Lucas, so of course she doesn’t want to choose someone who is an asshole to pretend to meet his parents. She hones in on Alex who is standing, sweat dripping from his toned and muscular body, surrounded by his boys.

“Ey! Emma, fancy seeing you around here.” Emma flips Idriss off and he doesn’t bat an eye.
She’s familiar with this group of boys. Where Alex was, Idriss, Sofiane, Eliott and are never far.

And she calls it. She sees Sofiane and Eliott passing the ball back and forth to each on the court. Alex turns to face her when he hears his friends greeting.

She chooses Alex because Alex is hot and sweet, and would be able to lie better that Idriss. If Sofiane wasn’t so smitten with Imane, she might’ve considered asking him, since the boy was an angel. Eliott...well Eliott was quiet. Sweet. Funny. Fucking gorgeous but she didn’t know him well enough. She had no dirt on him.

Alex walks up and greets her with a small kiss on her cheeks.

“Hey, what brings you here?”

Idriss walks over and slings an arm across Alex’s shoulders, his build looming over the two of them.

Of the four Idriss and Eliott stood the tallest. Emma only knows this because she had to think, who would look best standing besides her boy Lucas.

She can’t change how short Alex was but at least he stands a bit taller than Lucas. Emma pats herself on the back thinking she really should make a career out of matchmaking. Aside from the fact that Alex wasn’t gay, and this was all a ruse.

"A friend of mine needs some help and I thought you'd be perfect for it."

Alex looks skeptical (not one person in room was dumb enough to think that things were ever so simple when Emma asks for a favor) but he nods his head.

"What's up?" He asks.

"You know Lucas Lallemant?"

A loud crack reverberates in the gym and they all turn for a second to look at the scene play out before them. Somehow Eliott ends up on the floor clutching at his face. Sofiane rushes at the other an apology on his lips.

"Shit, Eliott you good?!"

Idriss let's go of Alex and wanders over to the other two laughing. "If you can't catch, you can't hang Eliott."

Eliott accepts the proffered hand but when he stands he light shoves at Idriss smile on his face. "Fuck off."

Alex shakes his head and turns back towards Emma.

"He's going to be okay?" She sees his lips are split, top and bottom, blood dripping down his chin. Alex nods.

"Yeah, happens all the time. Dude, heals fast too." Alex reassures her. "Anyways yeah. Lucas? What about him?"

"He needs someone to pretend to be his boyfriend for like two weeks. You know, go, meet his mom once, twice, maybe three times then break up."

Alex's eyes jump up to his hairline. Emma thinks she sees dread shine his eyes. She thinks it's cute.

"I thought maybe, maybe you could step up."

"What? Why me? I'm not even gay?!" There's a slight panic in his. "Don't get me wrong, Lucas is super chill and I find it hard to believe that Lucas can't get himself a real boyfriend, but am I even the right person for this?"

Emma sighs. " I don't know why he can't either, he has shit luck with guys who want him for one thing and one thing only."

When Alex looks at her confused, Emma uses her fingers to emulate sex, rapidly pumping her pointer finger in and out of the makeshift hole she creates with her fist.

Alex says nothing. Idriss let's a loud snort doubling over in the background.

"They fuck him, Alex!" She throws up her hand exasperated. "Then they leave. God!" She wonders if this is why it never worked out between the two of them.

"Oh, okay. But still," he holds up his hands. "I'm still not gay and I really don't…"

Emma's expression hardens. She steps forward, steel in her voice.

"Oh you're going to do it. You're going to lie to Lucas' mother. Tell her how you love her son, how you met God knows where, you'll hold his hand when she is looking, whisper sweet nothings in front of her, and after two weeks you'll break up and forget it ever happened."

"You can't tell me what to do."

Emma cocks a brow.

"Baby...do I need to remind you. Of that time… remember? In the bathroom… with the vacuum and when--"

"Okay! Shit! Stop!!" Alex jumps into action. He runs and covers her mouth and looks around frantically. " I'll fucking do it, just-- fuck you said you'd never bring it up!"

When he let's go of her mouth, Emma is smirking.

"Meet him at the library cafe tomorrow at 5. Don't be late." She blows him a kiss and walks out of the gym waving to the other boys who stood gaping at her.

"What does she have on you man?" It's Sofiane who asks. He looks at Alex who shakes his head, a red blush coloring his dark skin.

"F-forget it dude, let's just play."

"So a vacuum, huh?" Alex shoves Idriss hard, the tall boy falls to the ground laughing.