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A Safe Space for Millie

jaxx sullivan

9 Oct 2023

Short Story

“Why don’t you just go out with him? What's the worst that could happen?” Hayley was lying on Millie’s bed, painting her nails.


“I know. I don’t know why. He’s so nice to me. And he makes me laugh. We like the same music.” Millie was sitting on a chair next to her bedroom window, “please don’t get nail polish on my bed Hay.”


“I know. I know. I’m being careful. He is nice. And he is nothing like Tom if that’s what you’re nervous about?”


“This is going to sound weird, but I think I liked Tom because he wasn’t nice? Is that bad boy thing? But why would I want someone who wasn’t nice? I don’t get it? “


Hayley shrugged her shoulders, “I have no idea Mill. I don’t get it either…” Hayley grabbed her phone, forgetting her nail polish was wet, smudging it on her jeans, she tutted, “nothing a bit of varnish remover won’t fix. I’m going to phone my aunt Jan, she’s good to talk to about this stuff.”


Hayley’s aunt answered and invited them both over. The girls walked to the tube and took the next train to where Hayley’s aunt lived. They were greeted with hugs, coffee and tea and cake.


“So what’s happening girls? Let me guess? Boy trouble?!” she smiled, closing the kitchen door before joining the girls around the large, solid wooden table.


“Well it could be if we don’t figure out why this one doesn’t like the guy she should and liked the one she shouldn’t! So not so much boy trouble as Millie trouble!”


Hayley’s uncle opened the kitchen door, “Jan, have you seen my…Hay! My favourite neice. How are you? I didn’t know you were coming? Oh…sorry, am I interrupting?”


Hayley got up and gave her uncle a hug, “you’re not interrupting. It’s so nice to see you. Maybe you can help us actually!”


“Oh?” Hayley’s uncle joined them, giving his wife a kiss on the cheek before taking a seat and pouring himself a coffee.


Millie watched how comfortable they were with each other. Her dad hadn’t been around for most of her life and when he was, he was more interested in talking about his life than getting to know hers. She felt a warm feeling when she saw Hayley’s aunt and uncle together and wished her mum and dad had been like that.


“Millie?” Hayley’s voice brought Millie back into the room.


“Oh sorry, I was just thinking…nothing. What is it?”


“Uncle Ian thinks you need to give this guy a shot. Forget about Tom and the guys who aren’t good to you.”


“What do you want for yourself Millie?” Jan asked her.


“What do I want? Oh…I, eh, I’m not sure I’ve ever really thought about it.”


Aunt Jan and uncle Ian looked at each other, before Ian started to speak, “maybe you need to figure out what you want for your own life Millie. Go out with the good guy and see how you feel about him.”


Hayley jumped in, “she always goes for the bad guys. What’s that about? Why would she do that?”


“I do,” Millie looked at Jan.


“Millie I’ve known you since you and Hay were kids so I hope you don’t mind me being honest?”


Millie shook her head in agreement, “I don’t mind at all. Tom messed me around, and I kept going back to him. I don’t want to do it again do I stop? I see all my friends with nice guys and I want that for me.”


Jan nodded, “ of course you do. But you need to value yourself more.  If I can be honest, your dad wasn’t very good to you was he Millie?”


Millie shook her head again, “no. I don’t really see him very much. And when I did, he just talked about him and his life all the time. He never supported me or wanted to know about me and ridiculed my choices.” Millie put on a voice like her dad’s, “nice boots Mill, have you joined the army?! Or what the bloody hell is that music you’re listening to?! You kids wouldn’t know good music if it slapped you in the face!”


“And your mum, she’s not very emotionally supportive is she?”


Millie let her words sink in, “I guess she isn’t. I haven’t really thought about it. I could never speak to her the way we’re speaking now.”


“You need to figure out who you are Millie. You deserve to be loved. If you want, and only if you want, it’s your choice, I can help you figure some stuff out.” Jan waited for Millie’s response, a definite nod, “great, then let’s start with self-love and setting some boundaries.”





 by jaxx sullivan ©


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