I am Not a Custard Cream
My name is Cassie, but Charlie calls me custard cream.
There’s not that much context to it, if I’m honest. My surname is Creen. I can’t really give you more than that.
It’s slightly odd when we’re out in public, sure. It’s slightly endearing when we’re around his family. And regardless of where or with who, it’s slightly (manically) overwhelming to know that we’re close enough to have nicknames. Because that implies he wants to keep me around long enough for the nickname to kick in. To cement itself into the universe. To embed itself into his heart. For it to be come so damn traditional that even his grandma calls me it.
That’s what nicknames are for, right?
“Would you like a biscuit with that?” Charlie’s mom asks me, handing me a steaming cup of tea. She’s the embodiment of him, curly blonde hair, blinding smile, two droplets of ocean looking back at me.
“Don’t give me ammunition, mom,” Charlie chuckles from beside me. “We all know there’s only one available option on the table here. Custard cream or kick her out, as they say.”
“Cass, I don’t know why you’re friends with him.” His mom says to me. She begrudgingly hands him a tea then parks herself on the adjacent sofa with her own. “I stick around because I’m biologically obliged to, but unless you’re being blackmailed here, I suggest you cut and run my girl.”
I shrug, rolling my eyes theatrically. “He’s threatening my family, Sue.” Sipping at the tea, I fake a whimper. “What else can I do?”
“Is this a form of bullying?” Charlie pipes up. He’s trying so cautiously to cross his legs on the sofa without spilling his drink, but all he’s managing to do is knock into me and spill my drink. And then his own.
“Is this a form of physical abuse?” I throw back at him, “because ouch, that was hot.”
“It’s not the only thing,” he replies, wiggling his eyebrows at me.
“I hate that you’re my child.” Charlie’s mom says, shaking her head in fake disgust.
“And I hate that you still haven’t brought in the biscuit tin. You’re an animal.”
“If that were really the case son, I’d have been put down long long ago. Voluntarily, might I add. I’d start faking a limp or attacking passing humans — preferably you.”
Tea sputters from my lips as I choke back the laughter. I mean, yeah, I know I’m wildly in love with the boy to my left, but is it possible that I could be in love with his mom, too? Because damn. What a women.
“I don’t know about custard creams, but you’re definitely going to need some kind of cream for that burn, Charles.”
He hates when I full name him. Which, full disclosure, isn’t actually his full name. He really is just Charlie. But screw you Charles if you think you’re the only one handing out shitty nicknames here.
“Fuck you both,” he drags out both words to emphasise them, but each is paired with his most compelling of smiles.
“Bit incestuous that offer,” Sue says at the same time that I mumble, “do I have any other options available?”
Charlie stalks out of the room, winking at us both as he leaves, probably off to grab the biccies. There’s a lot of love in the room right now; familial, platonic, biscuit-bound, but it is all being smoked out by my thick, foggy adoration for him. It’s potent and it’s powerful and — like this tea that I still haven’t finished due to my preoccupied throat muscles — it has been brewing for a while.
“Presents for my ladies,” Charlie steps back into the room only a moment later, lobbing packets of unopened biscuits straight at me and his mom. We flinch, we grumble, we insult him a little more and then we tuck right in.
It feels right, all this.
Like a proper family dynamic.
Question is, am I just another biscuit lingering loosely at the bottom of the tin?
Or could my love for Charlie possibly be the custard flavoured cream filling, holding us two crumbly pieces firmly together?
Sure, I could tell him how I feel. And sure, maybe he’d be up for a taste.
But maybe one day his taste-buds will evolve, his palette will be cleaned ready to start over, his tooth will be less sweet, more savoury. Maybe one day I won’t be his favourite flavour anymore. I’ll be a stomach churning memory.
What if I tell him that I’m in love with him, only for him to seal up the packet and launch me straight in the bin?
What if he becomes the kind of monster who simply drinks tea on it’s own, no biscuits in sight?
What if he calls it bis-quits?
I sip my drink.
I think I need help.
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