"Did you get him inside safely?" Aaron asked from the passenger seat. His head leaning back against the headrest, his eyes closed.
Shutting the car door, Steven started the engine. "I don't know about safely but he is inside the house."
"What'd you do, ring the doorbell and run?" Aaron asked, opening his eyes to stare at his boyfriend.
"Nothing that juvenile." Steven said with a grin.
"I reached into his pocket..." Steven began.
"What." Aaron said, sitting upright in the seat. "You reached into his pocket?"
"Yeah for his keys." Steven said with an innocent expression.
"You felt him up." Aaron accused, crossing his arms.
"Just because that's what you would have done, doesn't mean I would ever stoop to such a level of perversion." Steven retorted, pulling away from the darkened house.
Rolling his eyes, Aaron leaned back into the seat, saying, "That would hurt would it not have been true. Proceed."
"I unlocked the door..."
"After you felt him up."
"Of course after." Steven said with a laugh. "Then I opened said door and placed him gently on the floor."
Laughing, Aaron said, "Just like that. On the floor."
"Pretty much." Steven said with a shrug.
"What's his parents going to say in the morning." Aaron wondered aloud.
"Not my problem." Steven stated, turning left when he should have turned right. "Anyone who drinks so much that you pass out deserves whatever happens to him."
"Remind me never to pass out around you." Aaron said, still chuckling.
"I would never toss you on the floor." Steven promised with a grin. Then adding after a pause, "I only toss you off on the bed."
"Like you said, it's all we have left." Steven again shrugged.
Noticing they were no longer traveling on the road home, Aaron asked, "Where are we going?"
"I'm thirsty." Steven answered.
"And because of the drought you have no beverages at home for to drink." Aaron offered.
"Something like that." Steven said.
Recognizing the landmarks, Aaron clapped his hands together and shouted, "We're going to Chef Andy's."
"I figured you'd be getting hungry about now so I decided to lift the lifetime ban I had imposed on Chef Andy's and for this one time, allow you to consume their questionable fare." Steven managed to say with a straight face.
Leaning over, Aaron kissed him on the cheek, rubbing the blonde's leg at the same time, saying, "I don't deserve you."
"I concur but what the hell." Steven said while laughing, unable to contain himself any longer.
"I can taste it already." Aaron said with a far away look in his eyes. "I'm going to get banana waffles, a cheese omelet and home fries smothered and covered."
"I can hear you getting fatter already." Steven stated, rolling his eyes.
"Will you still love me when I'm old and fat?" Aaron asked, pushing his stomach out as far as it could go.
Looking over at his boyfriends stomach, Steven paused, pretending to give the matter some thought before replying, "I could always get a boy toy while you stuff your wrinkly face."
Aaron crossed his arms and pouted, turning his head to stare out the window. Steven added quickly, "But you'll always be my knight."
"Really?" Aaron asked, facing his boyfriend again.
"Promise." Steven said, then adding with a straight face, "My knight in flabby armor."
Aaron laughed, shrugging, "Good enough for me."
"That's it, keep your standards low."
Pulling into the parking lot of Chef Andy's, Steven found a parking space and turned off the engine. Looking around at the other cars, he rolled his eyes. He had forgotten that Chef Andy's was a popular hangout for most of the kids from school. After all, it was one of the few places open all night and the food, if you could call it that, was still fairly inexpensive.
Aaron stretched, yawning in the loudly in the process. Giving his boyfriend a crooked grin, he headed towards the door at a quick place. Steven followed behind him, noticing how stupid they looked wearing matching clothes.
The moment he stepped inside the diner, he winced. A mixture of sweat, greasy food, and stale cigarette smoke greeted him, like death welcoming him to an early grave. Shaking his head, he looked around the crowded restaurant. Noticing more than a few people he knew, he waved at most of them.
Turning his attention back to Aaron, he heard the brunet say, "A table for two darling."
The older lady that had greeted them looked tired but still managed a smile at Aaron's flirtatious nature. "Follow me sweetie."
"To the ends of the earth." Aaron said with a smile.
This caused the women with the bad dye job to laugh out loud as she led them through the crowded floor. Placing the menus on the table, she smiled and said, "Can I get you two handsome boys something to drink?"
Aaron slid into the booth saying, "A large diet coke." Sliding across the booth, he leaned against the window, throwing his feet on the cushion.
Steven sat down, and asked, "Do you have any bottled water?"
"Where do you think you are sugar, Denny's?" The lady asked, laughing at her own joke.
Somehow managing a small grin, Steven asked, "I'll take a glass of water, no ice."
"Be right back." The lady said, giving Aaron another one of her smiles.
After the lady walked away, Steven accused, "Your pathetic."
"What?" Aaron asked, feigning innocence.
"Do you have to flirt with everyone?" Steven asked, not really annoyed at his boyfriend. More like falling into an old routine, just one of their ways to hide what they really feel about one another in public.
"I'll have you know, my flirtatious behavior gets me all kinds of extras that many of the other diner's don't receive." Aaron defended himself, while pulling his cigarettes out of his pocket.
"Do you have to smoke?" Steven asked, opening the stained menu.
"I don't have too." Aaron said, pausing to lit the cigarette. Drawing the smoke deep in his lungs, he exhaled loudly. "But I really want too."
"It makes you stink." Steven accused.
Aaron countered, "That's why I always carry gum and breath mints."
"My clothes stink after a night hanging out with you."
"That's why I always offer to shower with you."
"Okay I give up." Steven said laughing.
"And one more time I win." Aaron stated, giving himself a high five.
"It's only because you have an inferior intellect you know." Steven said.
"A win is a win, no matter the reason behind the win." Aaron stated, giving his boyfriend a wide grin.
"Feeling pretty proud of yourself huh?" Steven asked.
"Just a bit. But since I always win with you, the thrill has kind of gone out of it." Aaron stated before taking a deep drag from his cigarette.
"I've not begun to fight." Steven added mysteriously.
"I don't like the look on your face." Aaron accused, feeling a bit uneasy from the tone of Steven's voice.
"Who me?" Steven asked with a laugh. Standing up, his grin an evil one, "Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom. You know what I want to eat. Order for me."
The moment Steven walked away, Aaron crushed out his cigarette. It wasn't that he didn't enjoy smoking, but sometimes he did it just to annoy his boyfriend.
The waitress returned with the drinks and as she put them down, asked, "Are you ready to order?"
"Of course darling." Aaron flashed her a smile. "I'll take the banana waffles, cheese omelet and home fries smothered and covered."
"Is that all?" She asked with a smile.
"I'm watching my weight." Aaron fired back.
"And for your friend?"
"He'll take the fresh fruit plate."
"He's watching his weight too?" She flirted, writing down the order.
Shrugging, Aaron replied, "He thinks his ass is getting flabby."
Turning around to watch Steven walked back to the table, she laughed, "I don't think he has much to worry about."
"Worry about what?" Steven asked, sliding back into the booth.
"Whether or not you're getting fat." Aaron said with a laugh.
"Better to be safe than sorry." Steven shrugged.
"I think sometimes you have to spoil yourself. Just to remind you what you're missing." The waitress said, again maintaining eye contact with Aaron.
"My thoughts exactly." Aaron agreed. "I spoil myself crazy all the time."
"More like you're just crazy." Steven interjected with a laugh.
"Like a fox." Aaron and the waitress said at the same time. Causing both of them to break out in uncontrollable laughter.
After she walked away, Aaron stated, "I like her."
"She is pretty nice." Steven agreed. "I wouldn't want her job though."
"Me neither." Aaron said. "Putting up with people like me all night, drive me crazy."
"Like a fox." Both boys said in unison.
"What did you order me?" Steven asked, moving around on the cushion to find a more comfortable place.
"Fresh fruit plate. What else?" Aaron said.
"All of a sudden I feel like a dog."
"If the emotion fits..."
"Aaron, you naughty boy." A loud voice seemed to echo around the restaurant.
Both boys cringed as they heard that statement. Turning around, they saw Sara standing at the door with three girlfriends. Giving her a wave, Steven mumbled under his breath, "It's like she's a dog or something."
"Her nose isn't big enough for a dog." Aaron muttered, giving her a wave as well.
"She can track you down no matter where you go."
Leaving her friends at the door, Sara walked over to the table. Well, it really wasn't a walk more like a tiger stalking prey.
Moving Aaron's feet from the cushion, she sat down, saying, "Leaving me at the party without as much as saying goodbye. Very bad."
"There goes that dog feeling again." Aaron said, rolling his eyes.
"What?" Sara asked, cocking her head to one side.
Seeing her with her head cocked to one side, reminded Steven of a confused dog. This brought on the giggles. Giggles he couldn't stop.
"What's so funny?" Sara asked, glaring at the blonde.
Changing the subject, Aaron said, "I am sorry about leaving you. But Mike was really drunk and we had to get him home before he embarrassed himself any more."
"That's what I like about you Aaron." Sara said, patting the brunet's cheek. "You always look out for your friends."
"Yep. That's our Aaron. Loyal like a dog." Steven said through laughter.
Giving his boyfriend a look, which he hoped was a mean one only caused Steven to laugh harder. Ignoring the boy, he said, "Looks like you found a ride home okay so that's good."
Turning to find her friends already seated at another table, Sara said, rubbing Aaron's leg, "Yes, but I was hoping you'd be able to give me a ride home from here."
Waiting to see how his boyfriend would get out of this one, Steven just smiled and leaned back into the lumpy seat with his hands behind his head.
Stammering, Aaron fumbled with his cigarettes. Lighting one, he made sure to blow the smoke almost directly into Sara's face, saying, "Sorry, but I'm staying at Steven's house tonight. I promised I would help him clean out the garage tomorrow."
Waving the smoke from her face, she said, "That's okay. It's getting late anyway."
"Maybe next time." Aaron said, feeling more comfortable now that she seemed appeased with his lie.
"I agree." Sara said with a sudden smile. "So I'll be over at your house tomorrow night again. So we can do something then."
"What?" Aaron asked, his eyes wide.
"Didn't your mom tell you?"
"Tell me what?" Aaron asked.
"Silly boy. So forgetful." Sara said shaking her head. Patting him again on the cheek, she said, "Your sister and I are on the home coming committee, tomorrow night we'll be going over the preparations at your house."
Aaron's mouth dropped open and Steven frowned. Sara, oblivious to what was running through both boys' minds, stood up and said, "So I'll see you tomorrow Aaron."
"I concur." Steven said.
"Breakfast is ready." The waitress said, placing the dishes on the table.
"Thanks." Steven muttered while Aaron sat there with a dumb look on his face.
Realizing Aaron was not going to partake in any witty banter, the waitress left them alone to enjoy their breakfast.
Steven couldn't help but grin at Aaron's predicament. It wasn't that he hated Sara, usually she was a sweet and caring girl. She had the whole high school attitude thing but who didn't. But sometimes the way she threw herself at Aaron caused a jealous streak a mile wide inside his heart. Most times when she wasn't around Aaron, she was nice enough. This time, her constant meddling caused him amusement.
"I don't know what to do about her anymore." Aaron muttered, digging into his breakfast with a vengeance. "This isn't funny Steven."
"So I guess you're busy Saturday night."
"I mean it Steven. Knock it off."
Steven pretended to study his breakfast or late night snack depending on how you judged things. Surprisingly the fresh fruit looked like it might be fresh. Fresh pineapple wedges, sliced strawberries, chunks of red delicious apples, kiwi fruit, red and green grapes and mandarin slices. Taking a bite of the pineapple, he smiled. It was good. His stomach rumbled reminding him just how hungry he was; though he hated to eat this late.
Throwing his fork down, Aaron rubbed the bridge of his nose and muttered, "I've got to do something about her. I can't take another year of her following me around everywhere."
"You could always do what Shawn suggested." Steven offered, grinning from ear to ear.
"What's that?" Aaron asked, reaching over and grabbing a slice of apple from Steven's plate.
"Just get it over with." Steven said, eyeing the slice of apple as Aaron put it in his mouth. "Once she's had you, she'll forget about you and move on to some other sucker."
In between bites, Aaron asked with a grin, "Are you trying to say I'm forgettable?"
"I wouldn't presume to know one way or the other. All I'm saying, the rejection is what started this—obsession in the first place. If you would have been any other normal male, when she tried to—break you. You would have accepted, she would have had her fun and move on to the next target."
"Normal male?" Aaron asked, his eyes narrowing. Lowering his voice, he added, "Am I hearing this correctly? My boyfriend, the love of my life I might add, is telling me to fuck a girl so she can get over me?"
Aaron reached over again for another slice of apple; Steven glared at him but continued, "All I'm saying. If you didn't want her to have this fatal attraction for you, you should've slept with her two years ago."
"If I recall." Aaron said, rubbing his chin. "I was trying to figure out how to sleep with someone else at the time."
Steven smiled before saying, "And if I recall, you pretty much did the same thing to me that she is attempting to do to you."
Leaning back against the booth, Aaron put his hands on the back of his head and said with a smug grin, "What makes you think I was talking about you?"
Steven didn't hesitant; he kicked Aaron's leg as hard as he could.
"Hey. That hurt." Aaron screamed out, turning red in the face as he realized half of the restaurant was looking over at them. "That wasn't funny." He growled.
"I found it rather amusing." Steven countered, blocking Aaron's attempt at grabbing another slice of apple. Holding the slice of apple a few inches from his eyes, he continued, "It's like that time in the Garden of Eden."
"How'd you figure?"
"Out of all the fruit in the world, God said you can eat anything you wanted, any animal, any plant, any fruit. Except fruit from this one tree. Nowadays, we give the apple as the symbol of that fruit. Though realistically, if it was truly an apple, it was nothing like the apples of today." Shaking his head, Steven put the slice of apple in his mouth. Chewing methodically, he swallowed the bite before continuing, "Once they ate the apple, the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil to be precise, the covenant with God was broken. Now I ask you, did this fruit really have that power?"
"I don't know." Aaron stated, eyeing the last slice of apple hungrily.
"No. It did not have the knowledge of good and evil. It was the symbol of good and evil. You see, once Eve at that damn apple..."
"Or whatever fruit it was." Aaron interjected.
"Right. But once she ate it, she then talked Adam into eating it as well. They broke God's law and he cast them out of Eden." Steven said with a firm shake of his head, signifying that he was finished.
"No and. I'm done." Steven said, plopping a strawberry into his mouth.
"What the hell does that have to do with Sara stalking me?" Aaron asked, snatching the last slice of apple from Steven's plate.
Grinning, Steven leaned back and asked, "Do you think they continued to eat that forbidden fruit after God kicked them out?"
"I don't know. If it was good, maybe. Yeah." Aaron said with a shrug.
"I don't think they did. Matter of fact, I think they would have starved before they tasted that fruit again." Steven said with a confidant shake of his head.
"And why is that?"
"Sara is a lot live Eve." Steven explained. "She really doesn't like apples but if someone tells her not to eat one, she will on principle alone. And after the rotten core is thrown away, she'll move on to another type fruit."
"You make my head sometimes." Aaron complained, pushing his half eaten breakfast away from him.
"Now unlike Sara—Eve if you will." Steven said with a wicked smile as he grabbed a chunk of pineapple. Popping it in his mouth, he stated, "I like pineapples but I love apples. I tasted my first apple two years ago and I don't think I'll ever get tired of apples. God, my parents, society, popular opinion, moon men or even Nick Nolte on a drunken rampage couldn't get me to stop eating apples."
"Are you comparing me to apples?" Aaron asked with a grin, his pulse racing faster.
Steven answered in a soft voice, his eyes twinkling, "You're hard on the outside, soft and silky on the inside, and your nectar, well, that's the best part of all."
Looking around, Aaron asked with growing excitement, "Would you like to go and find somewhere quiet and secluded?"
"Yes." Steven seemed to breathe. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out his wallet. Looking around for the waitress, he pulled two twenties out and dumped them on the table. "Let's go."
They stood up and left the restaurant as fast as they could. Climbing into the car, Steven turned and said, "You know I'll always love you. Even when you get old and fat."
Pulling down his darkened street, Steven parked Aaron's car on the curb in front of his house. Aaron opened the door but before he could get out of the car, Steven pulled him into an embrace and kissed him. For a few moments they sat there in the car, their lips locked together in the way only lovers know. The sensations reeling through their minds was overwhelming, raw emotion that they were helpless to control. All the built up tension from the long day of trying to find a place to be alone rushed out all at once. Groping one another, they lost themselves in the sensations. Though it started out as a kiss, it was progressing rapidly into a full-blown make-out session.
For the second time that night, both boys cringed at a voice interrupting them. The first time was Sara, annoying but one they could forget rather easily, but this voice, one they knew better than their own, this voice caused their once boiling blood to freeze.
Steven looked over Aaron's shoulder and stared right into the eyes of his mother.
"I..." He began but was silenced by his mother.
"We won't talk about what time it is." His mother said in an eerily calm voice. "Sometime in the night, a pipe broke in the basement. Your father is down there right now in three inches of water."
"I expect both of you to go down there and help him clean up the mess."
"Did you two hear me?" She barked out.
"Yes ma'am." Both boys said in unison.
She wrapped her robe around her body tighter, staring at them with a blank expression. She watched them as they exited the car and walked into the house with their heads down.
Once inside the house, Steven looked over at Aaron, hoping to make eye contact. But Aaron refused to look at his direction. So silently they walked through the living room and into the kitchen.
Steven began, "Aaron, I'm sorry..."
"I said downstairs." Lynn called out from the living room.
Aaron opened the basement door and headed down the stairs. Steven sighed and followed.
Once downstairs, his father, David, was standing in the center of the basement floor, a confused look on his face. Noticing the boys, he smiled and said, "This reminds me of the time when I was a kid. It was in the middle of winter and this stupid bird flew headlong into one of the basement windows, shattering it. All that cold air caused the pipes directly under the window to freeze and burst."
Only half-paying attention to his father, Steven walked over and picked up the hose of the Shop Vac. Turning on the machine, he began the slow process of sucking up the water.
For the next few hours, the three of them took turns at the Shop Vac, while the others used mops and buckets. On one of the several occasions when they went upstairs to empty the buckets, they found Lynn in the kitchen. She had prepared drinks for them as well as a few snacks to keep up their energy.
For the first time in his life, Steven felt uncomfortable around his parents. Aaron who normally made off the wall statements and stupid jokes was understandably quiet. While his mother was just...there. Neither saying anything bad or good. She seemed to be going through the motions. As usual, oblivious to everything, David rambled on about this or that, unaffected by the dark moods of the rest of his family.
Around six am, David declared the basement dry enough for the night and all three of them headed upstairs. Lynn was waiting in the kitchen, sipping from a cup of cold coffee.
David walked over and kissed his wife on the cheek and said, "It's as good as its going to get tonight."
Smiling at her husband, she said, "You must be tired."
"I've been more awake." David said, collapsing onto one of the stools crowded around the Kitchen Island.
Steven glanced at Aaron, who had still managed to keep quiet the entire time, and smiled. To Aaron's credit, he returned it. Granted it was weak, but it was a start.
Aaron spoke, keeping his eyes trained on the floor, "I'm gonna get going. I'm sure my mom is worried about me."
"I don't think so." Lynn said sharply. "I called her after you two came home and said you were both safe and that you would be staying here tonight."
"Don't worry boys." Lynn said in a softer tone. "I did not tell her that Aaron had been drinking. Sometimes parents don't have to know every little thing their child does."
"Thank you Mamma Carter." Aaron said sheepishly.
"Don't thank me yet." Lynn said in a more harsh tone. "I might still tell her."
"Mom, we can explain." Steven stated, walking over to stand next to his boyfriend.
David, for the first time of the night, realized there was something else going on besides coming home late and having a few beers at a party. He spoke, "Steven, you know how we feel about drinking."
"I don't drink." Steven interrupted.
"Which is why I didn't say anything about Aaron drinking." Lynn interjected. "If there is one thing I know, I know that you two boys look after one another. I also know that Steven drove home so that issue is pretty much dead."
"You boys are both intelligent and I know that you'll try and experiment with things." David began in a voice that could only mean he was beginning a lecture. "And it's perfectly natural. All we're saying is that you need to be careful. Like tonight, Aaron drank and Steven drove."
Steven tried to maintain his temper but when his father said that, he exploded, "It's not an experiment."
David, shocked at Steven's outburst, held up his hand as if he was going to say something but Lynn shouted right back, "How do you know? You're too young to know anything."
"Now Lynn, I don't think either one of you should be yelling." David said.
Aaron, who had been staring at the floor, raised his eyes and met Lynn's gaze. Before he had been embarrassed and scared that she had seen them, afraid that she might look at him in a different way. He took a step closer to Steven.
"Oh really." Steven shouted. "I'm too young to know. I'm older than you when you met dad."
"That's different." Lynn stated, taking a step forward.
"How?" Steven countered, taking a step towards her. "What's so different?"
"Great answer mom." Steven spat.
Aaron shook his head and ran out of the kitchen and through the living room. As he opened the front door, he heard Steven yell, "See what you did."
Running down the drive, he fumbled for the keys in his pocket. He had never been one to cry but as he tried to unlock the door, he felt tears slid down his cheeks. "Fuck." He screamed, hitting the top of his car with his hand.
David had run out behind Aaron, chasing him. Seeing the boy hitting the top of the car, he paused. "Aaron." He called out gently. "I don't think you should be driving in your condition."
"This is so fucked up." Aaron said in defeat. Turning around, he slid down the car and sat on the ground, his head buried in his knees.
David walked over and sat down beside the boy he had come to think of as his own. "I know I'm not really good at these things but I don't think this is about drinking anymore, is it?"
"No." Aaron replied in a soft voice. He reached for his cigarettes. Putting one in his mouth, he suddenly realized who was sitting next to him. Blushing, he muttered, "Sorry."
"Don't be." David said in an understanding voice. "You look like you might need one."
Lighting up, they sat in silence for a few moments. After a bit, David asked, "So do you want to tell me what all this yelling and screaming is about?"
Hanging his head, Aaron said in a quiet voice, "She saw us."
Having his own suspensions already but never one to jump to conclusions, David asked, "Doing what?"
"We were...um...kind of..." Aaron tried but couldn't form the words.
"Aaron." David said, getting up and positioning himself so he was kneeling in front of the boy. Placing his hands gently on Aaron's knees, he continued, "For the last few years I've come to think of you as a son."
"Be quiet and listen." David said sternly. Then adding in a softer tone, "Along with that comes everything else."
"I worry about you just as I worry about my own son, Steven. I care about you just as I care about him. I'll try to advise you just as I would him." David paused to collect his thoughts. Making sure to say what he was going to say in the proper way. "For the longest time now, it's been you and Steven. Sometimes I can't distinguish between the two. Do you think there is anything in this world that would make me think less of him or you?"
Taking the cigarette from Aaron's fingers, David took a long drag and sighed. "I haven't had one of these in seventeen years."
"You use to smoke?" Aaron asked.
"Yeah." David said, settling back down next to Aaron. "I don't think even Steven knows this. He was our miracle baby. The doctors didn't think I was capable of having kids, low sperm count."
"Lynn and I tried for months. We saw fertility doctors but nothing happened. For awhile we discussed maybe trying donors." David paused to take another drag. "That's good."
Aaron lit himself a cigarette and listened as David continued, "We even thought about adopting. Then, a miracle happened. Lynn said we were pregnant."
"How?" Aaron asked.
"Fate maybe. I don't know." David said with a smile. "But she was pregnant. And I was going to be a father. All through the pregnancy I smoked, not around her but I smoked. Then came the day when Steven entered this world. I held him in my arms right after he took his first breath. Normally the doctors give the child to the mother first but for some reason, they gave him to me."
"I held him, this tiny person with ten toes and ten fingers, he was perfect, he was mine. I held him up and introduced myself to him. I said, 'Steven, I'm your father. And this beautiful lady beside me is your mother. And over your life you will have lots of love but always remember, we will always love you best.' I had always wanted a son, and now I had one. But suddenly I was afraid."
"Because for the first time, I realized what it would take to become a father." David tried to find the words to explain. "Holding him, I saw what an awesome responsibility being a father entailed. He was perfect but also empty. An empty vessel waiting for us to fill up. It was up to me to teach him right and wrong. Teach him how to become a man others could be proud to know. What I teach and what I do would affect him the rest of his life. That's the day I quit smoking."
"For Steven. You quit for Steven." Aaron said in wonder. He had never wondered what a father must go through each and every day. He looked over at the man he respected and for a moment, got a glimpse of unconditional love.
"Yes. I quit so I could be there for him when he needed me most." David stated, taking one last drag before throwing the cigarette away.
"I love him." Aaron said simply.
"I know." David said, patting the boy on the leg. "I can see it in your eyes."
They sat in silence for a moment before David said, "It's going to be hard for the two of you."
"I'm beginning to understand that." Aaron said with a sigh.
"This is a day when I'm glad I stopped smoking." David said with a tired smile. "Looks like my boy is going to be needing his dad all the more the next few months."
Aaron grabbed the older man in a tight embrace, tears slowly falling down his cheeks. David hugged him just as tight, murmuring; "It's going to be okay Aaron. I'm not done caring for my boy."
Aaron broke the embrace and wiped the tears from his cheeks. At that moment, David stopped being just Steven's cool father. For the rest of his life, Aaron would always think of David as his second father. And he would always look at the man in love.
Feeling awkward, David stood up and said, "We should go inside and make sure they're not killing each other."
Aaron smiled and let the older man help him to his feet. "Thank you."
"Well. Alright." David said somewhat embarrassed by Aaron's affection. This development was going to be hard to get use too. But he was never one to back down from a fight.
Opening the door, they paused listening for any signs of violence. Not hearing anything but quiet voices from the kitchen, David said, "Seems like they're past the yelling stages. That's always a good sign."
They turned the corner and walked into the kitchen warily.
"Do you have any idea what people are going to say about you?" Lynn asked, her voice soft and filled with compassion.
Steven replied, seemingly the calmer of the two, "It's not like I'll be broadcasting to the world mom."
When Steven saw Aaron walk back into the room, he jumped up and ran over to his boyfriend. Wrapping his arms around him, he was surprised when Aaron gripped him back tightly. He whispered, "I'm sorry."
"Don't be." Aaron said softly. "I think it was for the best."
David walked over and kissed his wife, but this time on the lips. "It's going to be okay."
"Have you been smoking?" Lynn asked, giving her husband a glare.
"Later hon." David said in a way that she knew to drop it.
"Mom." Steven said, breaking the hug. Reaching over, he grabbed Aaron's hand. "I love him."
Taking a deep breath, she stood up and walked over to Aaron. Grabbing his head, she pulled him down so she could kiss his cheek. "Don't take this the wrong way Aaron. I love you. You know that. But I don't understand this. I don't know if I'll ever understand this."
"Your father and I are going to bed." Lynn stated. "I suggest that you boys do the same. It's been a very long night."
"I love you mom."
"I love you too."
David walked over to his son and gave him a hug, saying quietly, "She'll come around. She loves you way to much."
"I love you too dad."
"Of course. Who couldn't?" He said with a laugh. "Now you boys go to bed." And with that, he disappeared around the corner and followed his wife up the stairs. Knowing full well this conversation wasn't over by a long shot.
Steven looked over at Aaron and silently pulled him towards the stairs. They didn't speak till they were safely behind Steven's door.
Aaron walked over and sat down on the bed. Steven took a step but then stopped, saying, "What are you thinking?"
"I'm thinking I'm very tired." Aaron said, stripping off his shirt. Dropping the shirt on the floor, he stood up and unbuttoned his pants.
"What are you doing?" Steven asked, a puzzled look on his face.
"Getting ready to for bed." Aaron replied, pushing his pants down. Sitting back on the bed, he bent over and untied his shoes. Noticing Steven standing there, Aaron looked up and asked, "Aren't you coming to bed?"
"I don't know if that's a very good idea." Steven began.
After taking off his shoes, Aaron kicked off his pants and stood up. Crossing the short distance between them, he stopped, "She told us to go to bed."
"I don't know if she meant like this."
"Steven." Aaron stated with a tired smile, "Don't you want to sleep with me?"
"Of course." Steven said, wrapping his arms around his boyfriend. "But..."
"Do you think your mom is stupid?" Aaron asked, grabbing Steven's shirt and lifting it over the blonde's head.
"No." Steven replied after Aaron removed his shirt.
"She told us to go to bed." Aaron continued, now focusing on the Steven's pants. "With a blessing like that, I'm not sleeping on the floor."
"Good point." Steven grinned, letting the brunet undo his pants.
Aaron pushed the boy's pants down and whistled, saying, "Damn, I still love them underwear."
"Oh yeah." Steven said, looking down. "I forgot I was wearing them."
Gripping Aaron's shoulders for balance, Steven slid first one leg and then the other out of his pants.
"Always love to see you in a thong." Aaron said through a yawn. "But I'm too tired to do anything but look."
"I hear that." Steven yawned as well.
They quickly removed their socks and crawled into bed. Pulling one another close, they shut their eyes and just held each other. Though they had done this same act for two years, this time it felt different. More free somehow. Maybe it was the fact if Steven's parents walked in, they both knew it would be all right. Though it was just a small form of acceptance, it was a start.
"You know what." Aaron said so soft it was almost a whisper.
"What?" Steven answered, his speech slurred from lack of sleep.
"All day long we've been trying to find some place to be alone." Aaron stated, chuckling to himself. "And now that we're alone, all I want to do is sleep."
"I concur." Steven mumbled, turning around so his back faced Aaron. Aaron moved closer and snuggled against his boyfriend.
Leaning close to Steven's ear, Aaron stated, "I'm thinking you were wrong."
"About what?" Steven asked, grabbing Aaron's hand and pulling it close for a kiss.
"About god hating us."
Steven smiled in the dark and agreed, "Yeah, I don't think he hates us at all."
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