Brian Randall put product into his hair, he had a date and was so nervous. The lucky lady really liked him but if he let his true feelings be known he'd be thrown in jail and lose his job, at best. He'd be a pariah and he'd also be beaten in the streets. It wasn't the done thing to love who Brian loved...other men. He sighed and looked at his reflection, it was 1966, and he doubted anyone would accept his sexuality.
He had told his mother of course but Frank? Frank would never accept him. Frank barely looked at him and, if he was honest, Brian couldn't blame him. Brian looked nothing like either Frank or his mother. Whoever he looked like Frank had hated him, or her.
Giving his mother one last kiss on the cheek he went out to pick up the girl in his car. Frank had set this up. The girl was a student of his that had gone on to do her Phd, what was her name again? Candy? No, Sandy.
As Brian pulled up at her house he pulled the corsage out of his glovebox, at Frank's insistence, like he was at the prom again and taking Jenny Wilson again. That had been an uncomfortable night where she had expected prom-night-sex. To her credit, Sandy came out looking disinterested, she wouldn't be expecting sex tonight then. He smiled and handed her the corsage. "Shall we?" He opened the door for her and helped her inside. He remembered Frank's words: 'be a gentleman. The lady is special, treat her as such.' he sighed and spotted a cute guy across the street, smiling he got in the driver's side and pulled away.
"So really, I had no idea what to do after school and figured I'd go into history. Family and all that. But to be perfectly honest it bored me. So I changed Majors and did art instead." Brian sighed, she had asked about his university career and he'd just finished and she sat looking for the exit. "I want to ask you a question, and I want you to be honest with me. In return, you can ask any question you like and I'll do the same for you, deal?" She nodded so Brian continued, "Did you really want to come on a date with me?"
Sandy shook her head. "Your dad told me about you and suggested a date would suit us both...honesty, right?" Brian nodded. "I've kinda been seeing your dad for a few years, I am older than you after all, and I really do like him."
Brian frowned. "Frank's cheating on my mom?" he plowed a hand into his auburn hair. "wait. I recognise you...mom's graduation." He scoffs. "you turned up to pick up dad and we all left for the restaurant early..." tears pricked his eyes. "So he set us up, knowing full well he was seeing you. Why?"
Sandy shrugged, "I don't know. I didn't mean to hurt you."
"You haven't, honestly. I'm not hurt, I came here as a favour to Frank." Brian gulped. It was a half-truth but he couldn't tell her the whole truth as he didn't know how she would react. "I think I should drive you home. And go home myself." Ever the gentleman he picked up the check
In the car, Sandy looked at him "you said I could ask you any question I like and you'd be completely honest, right?" He nodded, suddenly regretting it. "Are you mad with your dad, for me?"
Brian blanched, he wasn't expecting that "well, yeah. I am. He's cheating on my mom and I don't know if she knows...god knows they've not been the best of lovers but I didn't think he was like that...like, other men."
Sandy looked at him. "You don't call him dad, why?"
Brian smiled at her, "one question. Unless you wanna be honest with me again." She looked at him, yes she was. "Okay, are you in love with Frank?"
She looked down, "Yes. I have been for a long time." she smiled again, "your turn. Same question as I asked..."
Brian pursed his lips. "I don't look like him, he doesn't treat me like a son. Take your pick. He's Frank and I can't call him 'dad'. I mean physically can't, it hurts to." He pulled up at her place and opened the door for her and took her hand. "Have a good evening Sandy. Thank you for being honest."
Driving home he was furious with Frank, if he didn't love mom he should do the decent thing and divorce her. He slammed the door closed on his arrival home.
"You're home early." It was his mother's voice but Frank was the only face he was focusing on.
"next time you want to set me up, don't set me up with your girlfriend." Brian was furious and he barely acknowledged that his mother was behind him, putting a hand on his arm. "I know mama knows but you really didn't have to set it up for me to know too." He shakes off Claire's hand on his arm and grabs Frank's collar. "If you don't love mama anymore you should do the decent thing and leave her, not set up your son on blind dates with a woman who's in love with you." he lets go of Frank and storms upstairs, slamming his door closed. Tears prick at his eyes, if he had an opportunity to be with someone he loved, truly loved, he wouldn't hesitate. He could hear the sounds of Frank and his mother's voices drift up from downstairs. She was crying and damn him, Brian had caused it.
The next day Brian went down for breakfast and saw only his mother there, "no work today?"
"No. I called and told them I'd need some compassionate leave. Frank walked out last night. Turns out he wanted you to go on that date to truly hurt you and by extension me." Claire's arms folded across her chest. Damn it, he hated Frank for that. Brian pulled his mother close.
"It's alright mom. We've coped all these years without him emotionally it won't take a lot to adjust to him not being here physically." he smiled at her. The phone rang. "I'll get it." He picked up the receiver. "Randall residence...Joe, how nice to hear from you! Do you want to talk to ma...he was...he did...okay I'll tell her...Thanks for calling to tell us, bye Joe." replacing the receiver on the cradle Brian returned to the kitchen. "Mama sit down."
"The sausages are still cooking, I don't want them to burn." As he took the pan off the heat she looked at him, he looked worried. "What is it?"
"Sit down mama."
"Please, tell me, Brian. You're scaring me." Brian physically moved his mother to sit in a chair.
"Frank was in an accident last night. He was taken to the hospital and Joe did everything he could to try and save him...but he couldn't...mama, he's dead." Claire put her head in her hands and let out a sob, at this Brian held his mother close. Damn the bastard, he's managed to hurt her one last time before he passed away. "He walked out mama, you don't owe him anything..."
"Stop that, Brian. He may have not loved you like a son but he raised you." the tear tracks are visible on her cheeks. "I'll be forever grateful that he took you on despite you not being his..."
"What? Well, I suppose that explains that feeling I've always had..." Brian looked at his mother. "So you wanna tell me the story of my real father?"