He’d just finished talking to one of his old regulars, talking about the renovations on the shop and why he decided against having a second story when the door chimed to indicate a new arrival.
Telling the regular that his order would be in within two weeks, he turned away from him to walk out from behind the counter, wiping his hands on his jeans as he walked over to the new customer. “Good evenin’ –”
Zebediah trailed off, looking at the person in front of him with wide eyes and a slack-opened mouth.
“Close your mouth, child, it’s indecent.” Rebekkah Walker brushed off lint from the shoulder of her sweater. Dark brown hair streaked grey was twisted into a bun on the back of her head, wisps and chunks lazily falling out and framing her face, making her look worn-out and almost frantic. Light blue eyes, almost dull they were so pale, looked around the shop with veiled distain as well as vague admiration – as though she could not help but feel proud of her son for his accomplishments, even if she was proud of nothing else about him, including the fact that he breathed.
“Zebediah Aaron Walker, I am your momma, and you will address me as such – I don’t know where you got it into your damn head to start callin’ me ‘mum’.” She scoffed, tucking behind a curl that was falling into her face and adjusting the purse strap on her shoulder. “Now why don’t you close this…lovely shop and spend some time with me, hm? It’s been far too long since we’ve last seen each other –”
“Only because you kicked me out of my own damn house and refused contact with me for the last seven years! Last phone conversation I had with ya, you basically spat in my face and thanked God I could never bring more children onto this earth, as if I had killed Zachariah. I get enough of that from fuckin’ Annie, momma, I don’t need to hear it from you of all people.” He ignored the sound of the regular he’d been talking to making a quick getaway, pretty sure in the knowledge that the drama of the Walker family was about to become big news among all the old families again. “Now what the hell do you actually want?”
“You still with that doctor?”
Thrown by the change in subject, Zeb shrugged a shoulder and nodded. “Yeah – ‘bout a year now. I live with him and everythin’.”
“I’d like to meet him.”
Now Zeb was just suspicious.
“Why’s that? You hate the fact that I’m with a man, don’t even try to deny it. You disowned me whenever I had a male partner in the past. You wouldn’t even acknowledge me on the street.”
“I want to meet him, Zebediah,” Rebekkah said crisply, straightening her back to make herself appear taller. And she did seem taller; Zebediah felt like he was so small that she towered over him. The power of mother. “Are you goin’ to introduce me, or are you goin’ to keep your momma out of your life for good? Do you want to be disowned, boy?”
And for all that he hated his family, he loved them more, so Zebediah smiled, rubbing the back of his neck and walking over to the shop door, flipping the sign to ‘CLOSED’.
“I’ll take you to dinner, first. I should know a place appropriate enough.”