Here, Lauren, tells the story in her own words.
S￼itting in my best friend’s kitchen, we were chatting about our days.
I’d met Sarah two years earlier after our youngest children started at the same pre-school. And from the moment we got talking, we’d clicked.
Like me, Sarah was a single mum. She only lived five minutes away with her five children, while I had a big brood of my own – Cameron, then 15, Ebony, 11, Nathan, nine, Rhyan, four, and Elliott, 15 months.
Soon, we began taking turns doing the school runs and having the kids over for dinner.
As we gossiped over our coffees, a young man walked in. I had to do a double take when I realised it was Sarah’s 17-year-old son, Ryan. I hadn’t seen much of him over the past year because he’d been busy working – but now I had to stop myself from staring at him. He’d become absolutely gorgeous!
He’s also your best mate’s son, I told myself, as I tore my eyes away from him. And a teenager!
At 33, I was 16 years older than him. But over the next week, Sarah kept dropping hints that he fancied me.
‘You do realise Ryan has a big soft spot for you, don’t you?’ she grinned. ‘Don’t be stupid,’ I laughed.
Then a few days later, Ryan and I were alone in his mum’s kitchen when he just came out with it.
‘I really like you, Lauren,’ he said. ‘You’re gorgeous, but far too young,’ I replied with a smile.
I didn’t tell anyone about what he’d said, but I couldn’t stop thinking about him.
And a week later, back in Sarah’s kitchen, she brought him up again.
‘Ryan’s really serious about you and if you like him too, I don’t have a problem with it,’ she said. ‘I just want you both to be happy.’
I couldn’t believe she was giving me her blessing to date her son!
‘Age is just a number,’ she said. ‘I like you and know you’ll treat him well.’
‘But what if things ever went wrong between Ryan and me? I don’t want to risk our friendship,’ I said.
‘I think of you as a sister and nothing will ever change that,’ she promised.
So, I texted Ryan and we agreed to go to dinner.
As well as being good looking he was also really funny and we couldn’t stop laughing.
At the end of the night we kissed and it just felt right.
Over the next few days, we messaged each other constantly and met up to steal kisses when we could.
We agreed to take things slowly before telling my kids.
Then one evening, after I’d put the young ones to bed, Ryan came over and we snuggled up on the couch.
I didn’t expect Cameron to come home early, so when he suddenly walked into the room, Ryan couldn’t move away from me quick enough.
‘What’s going on?’ he asked. ‘Nothing,’ I fibbed, as he laughed, not believing me.
I knew he was going to find out sooner or later, so I decided to come clean. Amazingly, Cameron was fine about it – all the kids were!
When we’d been together a month, Ryan and I slept together for the first time and it was amazing.
‘I love you,’ he said soon afterwards. And I felt the same.
Neither Sarah nor the kids blinked an eye when Ryan and I kissed or held hands, but walking down the street, I’d clock strangers staring.
It left me feeling extremely self-conscious, but as it didn’t bother Ryan, I gradually learned to care less.
His mates were brilliant when he told them and, thankfully, my mum was supportive, but she was concerned about the future.
‘What happens if Ryan wants kids one day?’ she asked. I couldn’t have any more after a hysterectomy and I’d explained this to Ryan. ‘He’s adamant he doesn’t want children,’ I said.
When we’d been together a year, Ryan proposed and I said yes.
Now two years on, we still see Sarah all the time and I’m closer with her than ever – though I obviously never go into too much detail about my love life!
We still get strange looks, but it doesn’t bother me now – even if I do sometimes get mistaken for his mother.
The other day we were at the supermarket when the cashier smiled at Ryan.
‘Are you helping your mum with the packing?’ she asked.
Ryan and I just burst out laughing before swiftly correcting her. She was mortified!
Ryan is my soulmate. Some people might think that our relationship is inappropriate but to us, age really doesn’t matter.
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