Summary: One night changes everything, but some things will never change.
Author's Note: This story is part of the Coming To Terms 'Verse. Technically, it takes place right after Who Knows and before Suspicions, but the stories (there are two here) can easily stand alone.
The Good Son
Chad pulled the key out of the door and stepped inside, holding it open for Ryan to pass through. He carefully shut it and turned the lock before dropping his keys into a bowl on the table in the foyer. Before the keys stopped moving, Ryan had pulled him into his arms.
"I've been wanting to do this for hours," he said leaning in to kiss Chad, who mumbled a "me, too" before they became totally lost in each other. Their kisses became increasingly heated as Ryan's hands slid under Chad's shirt to explore his skin.
"Hey," Chad whispered. "Let's take this upstairs." He started to pull away, but Ryan silently insisted on another kiss and then yet another, until Chad laughingly managed to fend him off. Ryan pulled Chad's jacket and shirt over Chad's head, not bothering to unbutton either one. Chad rolled his eyes and grabbed Ryan's hands before he could go any further and practically dragged him up the stairs. He put a finger to Ryan's lips when they reached the top and the pair tiptoed past Chad's parents' bedroom. Ryan was spending the night with their knowledge, if not their blessing, but there was no reason to make his presence obvious. Chad opened the door to his bedroom and drew Ryan inside just as Ryan shucked his tee shirt and tossed it on the floor.
"Dude, you're always so neat at your house."
"I have a maid at my house, Chad," Ryan replied as he pulled Chad into his arms and pushed him up against the door. "Besides, right now neatness is the farthest thing from my mind."
"Yeah," Chad said between nibbles to Ryan's throat. They began making out again, pressing their bodies together and boldly exploring places they'd only tentatively probed previously. Ryan managed to get a hand into Chad's waistband and slowly kissed his way down to Chad's navel before falling to his knees to undo Chad's pants.
Chad swallowed hard and closed his eyes, not opening them again until he was completely naked. He looked down at Ryan, who'd stopped kissing and touching him. Ryan was staring at him open-mouthed. Chad was slightly amused at Ryan's expression, but he didn't waste time admiring it. He drew Ryan to his feet and began to undo his belt. Ryan turned the tables on him as soon as he recovered from his reverie, however, and pushed Chad toward the bed.
"Lie down," he commanded. Chad did as he was bidden and watched Ryan undress and crawl onto the bed. Ryan straddled him, carefully keeping their bodies apart as he bent to reclaim Chad's mouth. Chad reached up for him, but Ryan evaded capture, moving down Chad's body, slowly kissing, licking, sucking and nipping at his skin until he reached his prize.
He wanted Chad's first time to be special. Ryan wasn't that much more experienced but he wanted to give his new boyfriend a night he'd never forget. So he took his time bringing Chad to the edge, reveling in every twitch, sound and sensation he elicited from him. Later, after a bit more experimentation and a lot of laughter, they curled up together, nested like a pair of spoons, and slept soundly.
The next morning, Chad opened his eyes and felt a dead weight on his arm. It took him a few seconds to recall that Ryan had spent the night. Chad smiled and nuzzled the back of his neck before lightly dozing again. The door to his room suddenly opened and he momentarily panicked. But his mother merely stood in the doorway, an armload of discarded clothes forgotten in her hand as she covered her mouth. Chad peered from under his lashes at her, feeling an odd mixture of guilt and smug defiance, as well as something else he couldn't quite identify. His mother closed the door a moment later and Chad released the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
He rolled onto his back, careful not to dislodge his sleeping lover and stared at the ceiling for some time as he tried to sort out his feelings. By the time Ryan began to stir some twenty minutes later, Chad was eager to get up. He gave Ryan a good morning kiss and practically bolted from the bed to shower and dress.
When Chad reached the kitchen he found his mother staring into space. The water was running in the sink but the cup she held in her hand wasn't under the water. He frowned and moved toward her. The motion jarred her from her daze and she turned to look up at him with an odd expression on her face.
"Morning, mom," he said as he bent to kiss her cheek. He froze for just a second and then leaned in and kissed her. He'd brushed his teeth. It was okay to kiss his mother after going down on his boyfriend if he brushed his teeth first, right? His mother looked up and Chad knew instantly that she knew why he'd hesitated. He felt his cheeks burning as he quickly turned away, ostensibly to get some juice. "What's for breakfast?" he asked as he poured out a glass.
"Pancakes," she managed to answer, inexplicably near tears. She collected herself and turned away. "Where's Ryan?"
"He's in the shower," Chad answered as he closed the distance between them again. He'd heard the tremor in her voice and reached out to her as she turned to look up at him again. Chad smiled and immediately enveloped her into a hug.
His mother's arms were the safest place in the world. As long as his mother had arms to hold him, Chad would know he had a home in her heart and that meant more to him than anything. His mother sniffed, inhaling his scent, even as he did the same. She smelt like his mom, warm and soft and comforting. She felt like love. Ryan felt a lot like love, too, but Chad didn't stop to think about that just then. He pulled away and smiled reassuringly as his mother reached up to caress his cheek.
"I'm still me, mom," he said.
"I know," she said tearfully. Chad hugged her for another minute. He felt somewhat helpless, because he knew there would be no going back. He wouldn't, even if he could. Things had changed irrevocably and, in Chad's opinion, for the better. So he stroked her hair, kissed the top of her head and held on for dear life until the sound of Ryan coming down the stairs jolted them both into action. Chad moved to the table and sat down while his mother went to the stove. By the time Ryan arrived she was smiling, although neither she nor Chad knew exactly why.
"Good morning," Ryan said cheerfully.
"Morning, Ryan," she said, her voice clear and strong as Ryan sat down at the table and leaned over to give Chad a kiss. Chad's mother brought two plates to the table and placed one in front of each teen. "Enjoy."
Chad scarfed down his food with his usual enthusiasm. Ryan ate more slowly, pausing frequently to talk about the previous evening's party at Martha's house. Chad listened with half an ear--commenting when he was expected to speak--but his thoughts were elsewhere. He glanced up and caught his mother staring back at him. She hastily excused herself and left the kitchen as a slow smile spread across his face.
"What?" Ryan asked, frowning amusedly.
"Mom saw us this morning," Chad revealed. "She came into my room with some laundry." Ryan's eyebrows disappeared behind a shock of blond hair.
"What did she say?"
Chad smiled again.
"She said she loves me."
A Mother's Love
Chad's mother emerged from her bedroom and headed down to the kitchen, just as she did every Sunday morning. When she found Chad's jacket on the floor at the base of the stairs, she scowled and picked it up. It wasn't like Chad to leave his clothes lying around--at least outside of his own room. She draped it over the banister and continued on to the kitchen.
"That boy," she sighed. When she came back that way a short time later, she noted that there was a shirt inside the jacket. "What on earth?" she said as she mounted the stairs, clothing in hand. She reached Chad's door and started to knock, but stopped when she caught a glimpse of another shirt on the floor. This one was a long-sleeved black tee, and though she didn't recognize it she picked it up and prepared to give Chad a stern lecture about tossing his clothing all over the house. She opened the door to his room and froze.
Her son was fast asleep, his arms protectively wrapped around Ryan Evans the way they used to hold Chad's beloved teddy bear, Mr. Growler. She covered her mouth to muffle the gasp that involuntarily escaped and withdrew, taking the clothing with her. It hadn't occurred to her that the unfamiliar black tee might belong to her son's boyfriend. Chad's mother had completely forgotten that Chad had asked for permission for Ryan to spend the night. She carried the clothing down to the laundry room and left it there before returning to the kitchen to start breakfast.
A half hour later she stood at the sink, her mind still reeling from what she'd seen upstairs. She knew her son was gay. She knew her son was seeing Ryan Evans. She'd seen them together, laughing, holding hands, flirting. She'd seen them kiss more times than she cared to recall. But this…this was different. Her son was sleeping with his boyfriend. They were mercifully covered from the waist up but she was certain that they were just as naked from the waist down. She gulped and set down the cup that had been in her hand for the last three minutes as she stared into space. She bit her lip and turned off the water just as Chad bounded into the kitchen looking very much like the boy who'd done the same thing countless times before. She turned to him with slightly haunted eyes.
"Morning, mom," he said as he bent to kiss her cheek. He froze for just a second and then leaned in and kissed her before heading for the refrigerator. In that split second, she knew that he had changed. Her baby boy would never be the same again. He wasn't her baby anymore. He was Ryan's. "What's for breakfast?" Chad asked as he poured out a glass of orange juice.
"Pancakes," she managed to answer, inexplicably near tears. She collected herself and turned away. "Where's Ryan?"
"He's in the shower," Chad answered from a place very close behind her.
She turned back, almost involuntarily, and looked deeply into his warm brown eyes. Chad smiled that wonderful smile of his as he enveloped her in a hug. She reveled in his warmth, the comforting familiarity of his scent and shape. She never wanted to let go of him but she knew deep in her heart that he belonged to someone else now. She stroked his hair and caressed his cheek as he pulled away.
"I'm still me, mom," he said encouragingly, his voice surprisingly confident. For her benefit, she noted as she looked into his eyes again. She saw a hint of fear there. She squeezed him tight again, to reassure him that she'd always be his mother and he'd always be her "Boo."
"I know," she said simply, because deep down inside, she knew it was true. But she cried anyway and Chad pulled her back into his arms and held her to his heart until he heard Ryan coming down the stairs.
"Good morning," Ryan said cheerfully entering the room a few seconds later.
"Morning, Ryan," Chad's mother replied. She peeked over her shoulder in time to see the young men share a surprisingly (given what must have happened the previous night) circumspect kiss. She sighed and got a grip on her emotions before she turned and brought two plates to the table. "Enjoy."
Chad's mother sat at the counter a short distance away and observed the couple as they ate. She was surprised to note that nothing about their demeanor gave anything away. She had no idea what had transpired behind closed doors and she was content to remain blissfully ignorant. It might have been any Sunday morning when Ryan dropped by for breakfast, if it weren't for the fact that he was wearing one of her son's shirts. Chad glanced up and caught his mother staring. She excused herself and left the kitchen.
She sat for a few minutes in the living room, staring at the pictures of her son on the mantle. When it became too much to take in she shut her eyes and did a meditation exercise Ryan had taught her until she heard her husband's footsteps on the stairs. She rose and went to greet him in the hall.
"Chad's up," she said as she took hold of his hand.
"In that case, I'd better get in there before he eats all the pancakes," Earl Danforth replied as he drew her back toward the kitchen, where he greeted the two teens with his usual ease. Chad's mother sighed.
Perhaps he'd forgotten. Perhaps he hadn’t and that was just his way of coping. Or perhaps there was something between a mother and her son that made things different. She entered the kitchen and went over to Chad. She lightly tousled his hair and kissed the top of his head before she went to rescue the last of the pancakes.