Jum

[IN PROGRESS!!] Josh is an American teenager living in London after moving all over the States when he was younger, and determined to make it his home. Meet Michael, the British boy who will help him do so. (BL, some chapters feature explicit content.)

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19. Chapter 15 [2/2]

[…]

 

Mom and I got to work, putting the oven on and assembling the various pans and ingredients we needed for our little feast. Michael had remained in the corner by the door and walked up to me when Mom went into her bedroom to change into something more comfortable.

"Do you think it would be all right for me to have a shower?" he whispered.

"Sure. Did you leave the towel I gave you yesterday in the bathroom?"

He nodded. "I won't be long."

I winked at him before he left and then let out a big sigh. Not at all how I'd intended to introduce them, but it seemed to be going OK. Sort of. I guess it could have been a lot worse.

"Oh," Mom said when she walked back in and put her apron on, "where's Michael?"

"Shower. Oh dammit, I forgot to ask how he wanted his eggs!" I suddenly realised. "Argh, I'll be right back!"

He was still in my bedroom when I knocked and walked in. "Hey, sorry, I just wanted to ask how you wanted your eggs."

"I'm… not really bothered."

"Oh come on, I'm asking you what you'd prefer."

"Don't do anything special for me," he said, putting his clothes in a pile and getting his wash bag out. "I'll have what everyone else is having."

"Mom and I are having ours scrambled but Dad likes them fried. We're doing both anyway so you have a choice."

"I… Err, scrambled, please."

"Sure?"

"Yes. It's been a long time since I last had any."

I closed the door behind me, walked up to him and wrapped my arms around him. "I'm sorry, I know this must be killing you," I whispered, nuzzling his neck.

"It's not so bad, I guess," he replied, hooking his arms around my waist. "I'm not running away. I just… I think I'll feel a little bit more confident if I'm not in my pyjamas anymore, you know?"

He smiled and I planted a quick kiss on his lips before taking a step back.

"Right, so… scrambled eggs. You're OK with bacon, sausages, beans and all that?"

Right on cue, his stomach made a loud rumbling noise. "Can't wait," he said, laughing.

I walked back into the kitchen feeling a bit better and got back to work. Mom had found some sausages I didn't know we had in the fridge — nice.

"So," she said after a little while, without even turning to look at me, "is he all right?"

"Oh yeah. It's just… you know, we just got out of bed and all. He wants to be a bit more presentable."

"Right. I know I've barely talk to him but he seems like such a darling!"

I chuckled. "Please don't call him that, Mom. His name's Darlington."

"Oh my gosh, even his name is cute!"

I couldn't help it, I laughed.

"Seriously, though, don't go all Weird Interrogating Mom on him, all right? He's terrified enough as it is."

"Would I do that?" she asked, slapping my arm playfully. "I can tell he's nervous and I'm not going to make it worse on purpose. Have some faith in your mother, for heaven's sake!"

Dad came back soon afterwards and before long we had everything cooking nicely. Mom and I always worked well together in the kitchen so I was confident we'd get it all done without trouble. Michael showed up not long after, all clean and dressed, and asked if there was anything he could help with so I got him to lay the table. Mom looked after the food while I made coffee for three and a cup of tea and served us some orange juice too. I helped her serve everything and before I knew it the four of us were sitting at the dining room table, enjoying the food that had had me salivating for over half an hour.

It all felt so… natural. OK, so Dad was kind of reading his newspaper again and not really paying attention, but Mom and Michael just seemed to click. She asked a few questions — like where he lived and stuff — and he seemed fairly at ease every time, not cutting himself from the conversation as soon as he'd finished answering. It reminded me of how well I'd gotten along with Claire and I really liked it. Always a good sign when you don't have trouble with your partner's friends and family, right?

Michael and I washed up while Mom and Dad unpacked and unwound, and he stayed in my room while I showered. I knew he wasn't going to hang around forever so it was no real surprised when he started gathering his stuff and saying he ought to go home around two o'clock.

"You sure you can't stay a little longer?" I asked, sitting next to him on the floor and doing my best puppy eyes.

"Probably best if I don't get home too late, and I'm sure your parents would rather—"

"They don't mind."

"I've abused their hospitality long enough already."

"All right, all right, I see I can't win this one," I said with a sigh.

I went round my room as well as the bathroom to make sure he hadn't left anything — not that it would have really mattered since we'd be back together the following morning — and once he was ready he quietly walked towards the living room, where Mom and Dad were watching TV.

"Mr and Mrs McCalman," he called out softly, "I… err, I just wanted to thank you again before I go."

"Going home already?" Mom and asked.

"Yes, my parents will be expecting me back soon. Like I said, I just wanted to thank you… for the brunch. It was delicious. And I'm… sorry for—"

"Awww, enough already, sweetheart. I'm glad we got to meet you."

"I'm glad too," he said, his face flushing in that oh-so-familiar way.

"Right, we'd better get going now," I cut in. "I'll come with you."

The walk to Great Portland Street station didn't take long. The weather was just as warm as the day before so we could have walked to Baker Street instead, but I thought of that too late and we were already halfway there.

"I'm sorry… about today," I said when we reached the entrance of the station. "I swear I had no idea they'd come home early."

He blinked a few times. "It never even occurred to me that you knew and didn't tell me. And OK, yes, I'll admit I was terrified at first but I'm glad I met them. They're both very nice people."

"So you're OK?"

"Yes. Thank you for this weekend," he said, reaching for my hand discreetly. "It was… educational, in more ways than one."

"Educational?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.

"And enjoyable too. Extremely enjoyable."

I don't know which one of us moved first, but just like that time on the train after seeing Swan Lake, before I knew it our lips had touched and parted again and he was blushing and biting his lower lip. I really loved seeing him like that, because it was something only I got to see.

"I really ought to go. See you tomorrow. And don't forget to read over the last Criminology chapters tonight; he said there might be a quiz."

"Yes, Mom!" I shouted over my shoulder, smiling to myself as I walked away.

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