Hyacinth and Richard are staying with their son, Sheridan, on their way down to vacation in Cornwall. They have just met Sheridan's "friend", Tarquin. "Sit down mum and I'll put the kettle on." Sheridan says pottering around the small kitchen. "Tarquin's got a class in twenty minutes, so he's going to take off and he'll catch up with us later."
Richard immediately feels awkward when Sheridan mentions Tarquin. Richard knows he doesn't have the whole story on Sheridan and Tarquin's relationship. The room is quiet as Tarquin picks up his books and walks out the door. Sheridan serves tea after Tarquin leaves. "Alright Sheridan," Hyacinth says as she sets her teacup down. "Tell me the real story about the relationship between you and Tarquin."
"I don't know what you're talking about mother." Sheridan says avoiding his mother's eyes and sipping his tea.
Hyacinth moves closer to her son. She's trying not to frighten him. She grasps his chin gently and tilts his head up towards her. "Yes, you do. Whatever you have to say doesn't scare me. I am prepared for anything you have to say. I am your mother and I think I have a pretty good idea what you're going to say anyway." Hyacinth says calmly as she looks into her son's eyes which are exactly like Richard's and are calming for her.
Sheridan takes a deep breath. His mother may be prepared to hear the information, but Sheridan is terribly worried that his father won't understand what he's about to say. "You're quite right, mother. Tarquin and I are more than just roommates and friends. We are lovers. We're meant to be together and we have something special together. He's taken me to meet his parents and now he's meeting my parents. We want this to be permanent. Is this okay with both of you?" Sheridan asks hesitantly.
"It's what I suspected. It's fine with me. I'm your mother and all I want is for you to be happy, but you're on a very difficult life path if you ask me." Hyacinth says as she continues to drink her tea.
"It's not an easy life path, but if I get to spend the rest of my life with Tarquin life will be wonderful. We love each other dearly. Are you okay, dad?" Sheridan asks as he pours his mother another cup of tea.
"I'd suspected for a while what the truth was about you, but it never prepares you for hearing what that really is. You are my son and I will always love you, but I'm going to need some time to think this all over. I am okay with this though, I think. Tarquin seems like a nice young man. When do the two sets of parents get to meet?" Richard asks as he leans back into the sofa.
"Maybe when you visit on your way back through we can get you and Tarquin's parents together for dinner. I'll have to check with Tarquin's parents to make sure they're available because they're very busy, but they have expressed the desire to meet you as well." Sheridan says as he picks up a biscuit and bites into it.
"How long have Tarquin's parents known about this relationship? I can't believe you didn't tell us before." Hyacinth says with frustration. She wants her son to feel comfortable and be honest with her.
"Tarquin told his parents six months ago about our true relationship, but I wasn't ready to tell you yet. I was nervous about how you were going to react and that was why I waited to tell you. I didn't want to break your hearts when I told you the Bucket name wouldn't be carried on. I already have issues with certain people I go to school with." Sheridan admits.
"You thought we'd be disappointed in you when you told us the truth about you? Oh, Sheridan, I thought you'd trust us enough to tell us the truth about anything going on with you. We are your parents and we will always love you and worry about you." Hyacinth says as she hugs Sheridan. "We're never disappointed in you."
Sheridan begins to cry. He hates crying in front of his father because he's always so strong for the whole family. "Thank you for your vote of confidence mum and dad. What shall I make us for lunch?" Sheridan asks with a genuine smile. "I could do soup and salad or soup and sandwich. It's up to you."
"I think that soup and sandwiches would be lovely. That's all we really need for lunch, Sheridan." Richard says. He looks comfortable in his son's flat. He looks more comfortable than he ever does in his own home that Hyacinth has decorated to her tastes.
"Great, I'll reheat the minestrone soup I made and then make some pastrami sandwiches." Sheridan says as he walks into the kitchenette.
"Do you need help Sheridan?" Hyacinth asks twisting in her seat.
"No thank you, mother. I'm fine. We'll have to eat where you're sitting now since there's only two chairs at our dining table." Sheridan says as he pulls the large soup pot out of the fridge.
"Sheridan, can I watch the football match that's on today?" Richard asks as he turns in his seat.
"Sure dad. The football match is on channel 12 I think. Try that. Tarquin usually watches the matches." Sheridan says as he gets a ladle out of the drawer. He gets the bread, pastrami, cheese, mustard, mayonnaise, and a little bit of onion out to make sandwiches. He hears the TV click on. "Mother do you want onions on your sandwich?"
"No, thank you, darling. I'm fine with just pastrami and cheese on mine." Hyacinth says with a smile.
"Can I put two types of cheese on both your sandwiches?" Sheridan asks as he spreads mayonnaise and mustard on the bread.
"Sure," Richard says absentmindedly as he watches the football match.
"Absolutely, Sheridan," Hyacinth says. Richard moves over and sits next to his wife.
Sheridan sets up the TV trays for his parents and himself. Hyacinth can smell the warm tomato and basil smell of the minestrone soup. Sheridan puts a plate of pastrami sandwiches on the coffee table. He brings over big bowls of soup to his mother and father.
"It smells wonderful, Sheridan. Thank you." Richard says staying focused on the match.
"You should like it, dad. It's mother's recipe." Sheridan says as he picks up half a pastrami sandwich. "Mother, you'll have to check the sandwiches. I can't remember which ones I put onion on."
"That's fine dear." Hyacinth says absentmindedly. She's actually watching her husband. He's so handsome and refined. He does slurp his soup sometimes, but he's not doing so currently.
"Sheridan did you make this soup all on your own? It's just like your mother's." Richard smiles at his son.
"Yeah, I did, dad. It was easy with mother's recipe. She makes it a simple recipe, so it was easy to follow." Sheridan says after he bites into a sandwich.
Hyacinth stays quiet and so does Richard as they finish their lunch. Hyacinth wants to get of the flat for a while. She's finding the space a little cramped at the moment. "Richard, can we go for a walk later? Maybe we can go shopping in town?"
"Sure, that's fine. I'd like to get of here for a while and get some fresh air. What are you going to do for the rest of the day Sheridan?" Richard asks as he sets down his sandwich.
"I've got an afternoon class to attend, but Tarquin and I are taking the two of you out for dinner, so if you want to change before we go out we've got a 7 pm reservation." Sheridan says as he grabs another sandwich.