Steve was raised by his single mother, Christine, which made him independent. He was willing to protect her at any cost. So he rushed to his mother’s boyfriend’s house after seeing her cry one night and discovered that as a teenager he was a better man than most adults.
“Who was that, mom?” 15-year-old Steve asked his mother Christine when she got home from work.
“Hmm?” she murmured, removing her coat and placing her purse on a nearby table.
“Mom,” he insisted. “I’ve seen this man before. It’s not the first time he’s dropped you off after work. Please just tell me.”
“Okay,” she breathed and smiled. “Let’s sit down.”
They sat down on the couch and his mother, an innocent 32-year-old woman, blithely began talking about the man who dumped her.
“His name is Ray and he’s my boyfriend. I don’t know if that’s the right word for people my age. But we’ve been seeing each other for a while. I know it might come as a shock because I’ve never been with I’ve run out on someone, but I hope you’re happy for me,” Christine explained softly.
He tried to forget the matter and hoped that this difficult phase would pass.
“Ray? Your boss?”
“Yes, darling,” she nodded.
“Mom,” Steve shook his head, feeling older than his years. But it had always been like that. His mother was 17 when she had him and his biological father had wanted nothing to do with him. A few years later, the strange man died, leaving Steve never to know his father.
But he grew up determined to be the man of the house and protect his mother no matter what. He began taking karate and boxing classes at age eight, becoming more mature and independent than most of the kids he went to school with.
His mother wasn’t flighty or reckless, but she was innocent and only thought the best of people. She did her best to raise him with limited funds and ended up getting a decent job as a secretary in a big company. Christine also had a side income running a knitwear store on Etsy. They lived pretty well considering it was just the two of them.
But even when they were okay, Steve felt he had to protect them. After all, she was his only family since his grandparents kicked her out when she got pregnant. He always thought that was the worst thing a parent could do to their child.
“Steve, I know you’re worried. But I’m a grown woman. I know what I’m doing. I know this might not last forever, but it was…amazing, honey. He treats me wonderfully.” , Christine continued before Steve could rebuke her.
The teenager knew there was nothing he could do in that moment but support her like he always did. “Fine, Mom. I won’t say more. But if this guy steps out of line…” he warned, half jokingly, half seriously.
Christine laughed heartily. “Of course my sweet boy! So what would you like for dinner? Shall we get some pizza?”
They didn’t talk about the situation again that night and Steve tried not to think about it. His mother was right. She was a grown woman and could take care of herself. Ray was 35 so the relationship wasn’t totally inappropriate, aside from the boss-secretary thing. But Steve worried that if they broke up, Ray might use her as her boss or fire her.
There was nothing he could do about it, so he put the thoughts aside and finished his homework.
Ray picked Christine up at his home several times over the next few weeks. Now that they were openly dating, he decided to make it right and introduced himself to Steve. His mother always came home from these dates with a dreamy smile and sometimes with flowers and chocolate. So Steve was finally happy for her. Besides, he had already warned her boyfriend.
“Ray told me you gave him a lecture? Is that true?” Christine asked Steve over lunch one Saturday while she was making some sandwiches.
“Oh man. I can’t believe he told you that. This was supposed to be a discussion between us men,” Steve grabbed, pulling the mustard out of the fridge.
“Steve, I’m the adult in this house. You shouldn’t have said anything,” she shook her head. “But what exactly did you say? Ray didn’t tell me much. He just said you ‘warned’ him.”
“I told him if he hurts you I’ll come get him. Simple as that,” Steve said with a shrug.
Christine sighed. “You can’t threaten people.”
“It wasn’t a threat.”
“Fine. Eat your sandwich. But no more secret talks with Ray. OKAY?” Christine said, crossing her arms after handing him the plate.
“If he doesn’t step out of line, neither will I,” Steve continued nonchalantly, walking into his room.
Everything seemed fine between Christine and Ray. After a while Steve stopped worrying and focused on his classes, boxing lessons and hobbies. But one evening his mother came in a sad mood.
Despite Steve’s enquiries, she wouldn’t say what was going on and he let it go. Sometimes people have bad days at work, like I have bad days at school, he reassured himself.
Sadly, his mother wasn’t herself for several days in a row. She usually greeted him with a smile and asked what he wanted for dinner. She was happy and lively. But the biggest warning sign was that she was no longer knitting in her bedroom. She fell asleep right after eating, and Christine was usually a night owl.
Steve knew something was wrong and it had to do with Ray. But his mother would never admit it, and there was nothing he could do about it. Or could he? He had warned the man not to hurt his mother. But what if he was wrong? Christine would get in trouble with her boyfriend and work if he did something rash.
“I also thought men like you were in charge. But I was wrong,” Steve continued.
He tried to forget it and hoped that this difficult phase would pass. But another night, Christine came home crying, ran to her room, and locked the door tightly. Steve followed her and knocked for answers.
“Mom! What happened? WHAT DID HE DO? DID HE HURT YOU? Mom!” he called, but she didn’t answer and Steve knew he couldn’t let it go this time. He knew where Ray lived and would teach the man a lesson.
Steve grabbed his mom’s car and drove to Ray’s house. He only had a learner’s license and never abused what he could do with it, but this was an emergency. He knocked on the man’s door and Ray opened it.
Steve thought the older man would be surprised by his appearance, but somehow the expression on his face said he had been expecting this visit. This only made the teenager angrier.
“What have you done to my mom? I warned you about her! I warned you! She’s crying her eyes out in her room! I swear…” Steve said menacingly. His heart was racing, so he had to catch his breath before continuing. But Ray stopped him.
“Please, Steve,” he said sadly and quietly.
“Tell me now!” the teenager demanded and stormed into the house.
“When your mom and I started dating, I told her it would only be a meeting. We couldn’t go any further because my family would never accept her,” Ray explained, shocking Steve. “My father is powerful and he’s still the owner of the company. I’m just the CEO.”
“This is… screwed up.”
“Yeah, but it is what it is. Your mom started talking about the future. She was sad because I told her to give me time. I’ve really thought about everything. I thought I could have one Find a way to change my dad’s mind, but that would take time. Unfortunately, he found out about our relationship,” Ray gulped. “And he came into the office today, demanded that I fire your mother and yelled at her in front of everyone.”
Steve’s eyes were so big he thought his veins were about to burst or something. “And you didn’t defend her?” he asked, his nostrils flared.
“I…I…I can’t. If I stand against my father, I’ll lose everything. I can’t,” the grown man stuttered.
“And you fired my mother? After everything? After giving her hopes? After taking advantage of your secretary?” Steve scoffed derisively. “I can’t believe this. I figured you guys would break up at some point, but I never thought it would be because you’re scared of your daddy. You’re a little boy, Ray.”
“Hey, boy, you don’t understand…”
“Shut up. I’m speaking now. I grew up only with my mother and didn’t have a father or father figure. That made me grow fast. I know that in order to be successful and make good money, I have to work hard, so I can take care of my mom,” Steve began, his anger almost turning to humor. He started laughing in Ray’s face, almost like the Joker did before Batman.
“Steve,” Ray breathed.
“I also thought men like you were in charge. But I was wrong,” Steve continued. “I can’t believe a 35-year-old CEO is so scared of his dad that he has to take his word for it. Turns out I’m a lot older than you. I’d do anything for the people who I love and wouldn’t let anyone trample on them My mother will be fine and she will find a better job… and a much better man But you… your father will control you, even if he’s gone. I feel…sad for you. I came here to beat you up or hit you, but it’s not worth it.”
With that, the teenager turned and walked back to the car to cheer up his mother and help her find a new job. They were leaving behind Ray, his company and his father’s words. Everything would be fine.
Luckily Christine was a brave girl. The next day she pulled herself together and apologized to Steve who told her everything was fine. They started looking for new jobs online and she seemed happy with the idea of finding another job, so that was good.
However, three days after Steve’s confrontation with Ray, an invitation arrived. “It’s about a company party,” Christine said after reading it. “They invite everyone and their families.”
“Maybe they forgot to take you off the staff list?” Steve wondered and grabbed the invitation.
“Let’s go mom,” Steve encouraged her and she nodded and pressed her lips together.
“Shall I go?” she asked him, clearly showing her vulnerability. “It would be a chance to face them with our heads held high, I think.
“Well, if you want to go, we’ll go,” Steve said, although he wasn’t sure if that was a good idea. “At least we know there will be good food.”
They laughed together and the teenager knew his mother would be fine. She held back her pain, but pushed against it, probably because Steve didn’t want to worry too much. She was his greatest role model.
They went to the party and arrived a little later so that all the company was there and they could blend in with the crowd. They ate the Hor’dourves. Steve noticed that some people were giving his mother strange and confused looks, but she wasn’t paying anyone any attention. Christine pretended it was just another day at an office party.
Suddenly Ray entered the stage and took over the microphone. His father, Mr. Higgins, was standing right next to him. Finally, they found out that the company was celebrating its 30th anniversary. Christine hadn’t known about this before because another department was responsible for it.
“Welcome everyone. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have you all here with your families as Higgins really appreciates all of our staff,” Ray began, and his father beamed proudly. “Family is all that matters in the end, and I… I wouldn’t… I mean….”
Christine and Steve looked at each other and wondered why Ray was stuttering.
“You know what? I can’t stand here with this speech if the family I have in mind for me isn’t here with me. Christine and Steve, would you come here with me?” Ray said and the whole crowd turned to them.
Christine’s eyes widened in shock and confusion but Steve looked at the stage and Mr Higgins’ face flushed. The old man grabbed his son’s arm and said something in a low voice. But Ray broke free and called out to them again.Christines Augen weiteten sich vor Schreck und Verwirrung, aber Steve schaute auf die Bühne und Herr Higgins’ Gesicht wurde rot. Der alte Mann packte den Arm seines Sohnes und sagte etwas mit leiser Stimme. Aber Ray riss sich los und rief wieder nach ihnen.
“Let’s go mom,” Steve encouraged, and she nodded and pressed her lips together.”Lass uns gehen, Mama”, ermunterte Steve, und sie nickte und presste die Lippen aufeinander.
“Christine is the woman I love,” Ray said as they took the stage. The crowd cheered and marveled at the statement. “I know everyone in the office heard what happened a few days ago. I should have done something. I wasn’t acting like a real man and I have to thank Steve – her son – for treating me like this thoroughly remembered. But I want to be a man now.””Christine ist die Frau, die ich liebe”, sagte Ray, als sie auf die Bühne kamen. Die Menge johlte und staunte über diese Aussage. “Ich weiß, dass jeder im Büro gehört hat, was vor ein paar Tagen passiert ist. Ich hätte etwas tun sollen. Ich habe mich nicht wie ein richtiger Mann verhalten, und ich muss Steve – ihrem Sohn – dafür danken, dass er mich so gründlich daran erinnert hat. Aber ich will jetzt ein Mann sein.”
Finally Ray turned to Christine.Schließlich wandte sich Ray an Christine.
“Christine, will you marry me? If Steve agrees? I don’t care what my father says. I don’t care if I get fired from the company. All I know is that I can’t imagine my life without you anymore the manager announced and Christine burst into tears as he ran into his arms.”Christine, willst du mich heiraten? Wenn Steve einverstanden ist? Es ist mir egal, was mein Vater sagt. Es ist mir egal, ob ich von der Firma gefeuert werde. Ich weiß nur, dass ich mir mein Leben ohne dich nicht mehr vorstellen kann. Willst du meine Frau werden?”, verkündete der Geschäftsführer und Christine brach in Tränen aus, als er ihm in die Arme lief.
The whole party cheered. But Mr. Higgins yelled, “YOU CANNOT MARRY A ONE MOTHER! I WILL TAKE FROM YOU EVERYTHING I GAVE YOU!”
“I have everything I need right here, father,” Ray clapped back.
Steve tried not to smile, but he clapped along with the other invitees. The teenager never expected that from Ray, but he was proud of the man.
“I’m sorry, Steve. About everything. And I’m so grateful that you opened my eyes,” Ray told him quietly after the cheering died down and they stepped off the stage. “Even if it was a bit tough.”
“What did Steve do?” asked Christina.
“I’ll tell you later, honey,” Ray said, patting Steve on the shoulder. “Would you approve if I married your mother?”
Steve rolled his eyes good-naturedly. “It’s what she wants. I’m glad to see that I may have been wrong about you. But the warning remains. If something happens again, I might not be so forgiving.”
What can we learn from this story?
Never let other people’s prejudices stop you from finding happiness. Ray almost lost Christine because of his father’s judgment.
Some adults need to hear hard truths every once in a while. Steve’s harsh words for Ray worked and the grown man realized the huge mistake he had made.
Share this story with your friends. Maybe it will brighten your day and inspire you.