“Okay, so yes, Corey and I are dating, but she’s busy guys! She can’t do every video!”
I heard Nikki talking in her room during her livestream, laughing at the comments she was getting from people. It was no secret that we were dating, but it was still entertaining that the internet apparently liked me.
I laughed as I grabbed a bottle of water for Nikki and headed back up to her room. Taking a seat in the other office chair Nikki wheeled in, I scooted up so the camera could see me.
“Would you look at that, it’s Corey,” Nikki said with a smile. She shot me a warm look and turned back to the camera. “She’s not staying for the whole video, calm down.”
“Sorry,” I apologized to them with a shy wave. “Finals and such.” The “and such” was the trial against Jason, which had gained ground with the number of women who came forward. It was looking surprisingly good for us, but I wasn’t paying too much attention anymore. I’d given my statement in court and wiped my hands of it. It was time to live my life, not to let Jason have control of it.
“You all know how smart Corey is,” Nikki said seriously. “But let her be an example to you that smart people have to study too.”
I chuckled at the comments that started coming in. “On that note, I’ll be doing some reading. Try not to rage quit,” I said, kissing Nikki on the cheek and getting up to sit on her bed. It was easy enough to tune out Nikki’s commentary when I was reading, but I always found it relaxing to have her voice in the background. I’d actually gotten used to it after watching so many of her videos. She said she was flattered when I told her, blushing when she said it was weird for her not to hear me turning pages or annotating a book now.
I guess I’d been spending more time than usual at her place, especially since school would be ending soon and I’d have all summer just for work and Nikki. It was the first summer I’d been looking forward to in years.
By the time Nikki finished her stream, I had migrated to the couch downstairs. I was dozing with thoughts of my family on my mind. I was more comfortable with myself than I’d been in a long while, and I knew it was time to finally tell them not only that I was gay, but that I had a girlfriend too.
The thought made me nervous even if I was no longer paralyzed by fear.
“You awake?” Nikki asked, her hands gently on my shoulders.
I shifted, mumbling. “Yeah. I was thinking.” Without opening my eyes, I went on, “I think I want to tell my mom that I’m gay.”
“I’ll be with you if you’d like,” Nikki said as I sat up, blinking down blearily at her.
I smiled in the darkness, wondering if she could see it. “I’d like that. Can we go to bed now?”
“Ray bet me five bucks that I can’t pick you up,” Nikki said. Even in the dark, I could see the mischievous glint in her eyes.
I rolled my eyes. “I… think you might drop me. And I’m not awake enough not to take a tragic spill.”
Nikki grabbed my hand gently. “Alright, you win. But only because I don’t want to mess up that pretty face.”
I could practically hear the wink in her voice as she grabbed me by the hand and led me to her room to sleep, and yes, only to sleep for now. It had become something of a habit to sleep in the same bed whenever I came over. At first it was just for comfort, but now it was becoming hard to imagine doing anything else.
The next morning, after we both woke, Nikki and I sat at the edge of her bed, my phone in my hand. In the same spot where I came out to Nikki, I called my mom. I took a deep breath and squeezed Nikki’s hand, knowing that this time, I wasn’t alone.
“Hey mom. I wanted to tell you something…”
My family would make a big deal out of it. They would see me differently.
But that didn’t have to be a bad thing. Now everyone would see me, and after all this time, I was finally beginning to realize that it wasn’t something to dread, no matter how they reacted.
I was looking forward to it.
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