The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You Book 3)

By: Renae Kaye

Chapter One


ON MY twenty-fifth birthday, I had an Epiphany.

Okay. It probably wasn’t on my twenty-fifth birthday, because that was spent partying, hanging out with my mates, and drinking a lot. I spent the day after my twenty-fifth birthday sleeping and—just for fun, to break up the monotony—throwing up.

So my Epiphany came very soon after my twenty-fifth.

It wasn’t my first Epiphany. I have a lot of them, so much so I’ve begun using a capital letter, as though they were a living thing, with a name. My relationship with Epiphanies started when I was eleven. I’m not sure how I learned the word—probably TV—but I liked the sound of it rolling off my tongue and asked my mother what it meant. She told me that it’s like coming to a sudden realization. Everything is crystal clear. And I liked that too.

I also liked the fact that by saying the word Epiphany, you were actually also saying the word fanny. Eee-piff-fanny. To an eleven-year-old, that’s amusing.

So it was a couple of days after my conversation with Mum, and I’d been rolling the word around in my head for days, when my first Epiphany arose. The realization came to me, and things that were fuzzy were suddenly clear.

I’d been lying awake on my top bunk, and my little brother was sound asleep on the bottom bed. My cousin Ricky was asleep across the other side of the room on his top bunk, and he farted. Ricky does that. It’s not funny when you’re sharing a room. And I’d shared a room with Ricky since forever.

So I was lying there, wondering how I could get a room to myself, since the house was full, and I realized something really strange.

In normal families, the father of the family doesn’t sleep in the same room as the mother AND the mother’s sister.

Aunty Christa had lived with us for as long as I could remember. It was cool, because Ricky lived with us too, and Ricky’s only five months younger than me. We were one big, happy family, and we’d always been told that Aunty Christa lived with us because she didn’t have anywhere else to live. And besides, that’s what loving families do.

That night, I lay there and thought about the first house we lived in. It was the only other home I could remember, although Mum said there was another house, before that one. But the house we had before we moved four years earlier had only three bedrooms. That was before Frankie was born, so it was only Ricky and me sharing the room. That was the boys’ room. The girls’ room slept three—my sister Hannah, who’s two years older than me, my sister Patrice, who’s three years younger than me, and my cousin Linda, who’s a year under Patrice.

So there really wasn’t any room for Aunty Christa, and I never thought about why she shared the room with Mum and Dad. We all shared rooms. It was just how it was done. Our houses always had the boys’ room, the girls’ room and the adults’ room.

When I was seven, we moved because Frankie was born, and Aunty Christa was pregnant with Elsie. Our new house had four bedrooms, but Aunty Christa still shared with Mum and Dad.

At eleven I had a vague idea of sex and marriage and babies, so it was a huge realization that my dad was… with Aunty Christa. I couldn’t even put it into words, at that young age. And I couldn’t discuss it with anyone. Growing up with Ricky was like having a twin to talk about everything with. But that was one thing I couldn’t discuss with him, because I was talking about his own mother. And asking my cousin if he thought my father was having sex with his mother was way beyond my comfort zone.

So I thought about it and kept mute. And a few days later, I had my second Epiphany.

Where was the father of Aunty Christa’s babies? If she was sleeping in Dad’s room, did that mean my cousins were actually my brother and sisters?

Things became crystal clear. My father had always told Ricky to call him “Dad,” because, “I’ll be your father, Ricky.” But what if he really were his father already?

They were big realizations for an eleven-year-old.

By the time I turned twelve, Aunty Christa had given birth to DeeDee and I had stopped worrying about the dynamics of our family. No one questioned why a big Italian family lived together, and as long as we kept up the ruse of being only cousins, there was no gossip. Besides, I’d had my first Epoofany by then, and I was freaking out about that.

The Epoofanies pop up now and again. Not as frequently as Epiphanies. But enough. The Epoofanies are really a subclassification of an Epiphany. Epoofanies are epiphanies that have to do with being a poof.

My first Epoofany came as I was lying in bed and thinking of sweet things. Sweet things like my favorite Australian football team, the West Coast Eagles. I was musing about how gorgeous Chris Judd’s new haircut was, and that people always discounted Chad Fletcher, but I thought he was a total cutie.

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