Once in the kitchen, Tom plopped his burden down on the counter beside the bags Bill had been carrying. "Thank you, boys," said Simone, unloading cans of soup and Spaghetti-Os onto the pantry shelf by the stove. "Sorry, Bill, I haven't been playing hostess very well. Would you like something to drink?"
"I can get him something," Tom volunteered, taking an eager step toward the fridge. He couldn't believe he'd forgotten to offer Bill anything to eat or drink, though, he mentally defended himself, the whole making out with Bill on the couch thing counted as a reasonable distraction. "Do you want anything? I guess we've got beer, Gatorade, uh-"
Bill laughed and caught Tom by the arm before he could get any further. "Don't worry about me, I'm fine, really."
"Yeah?" Tom grinned and hooked his other arm around Bill's waist, tugging Bill in for a kiss on the cheek.
"To-om!" Bill hissed, blushing an even deeper shade of pink than before. "Your mother's right there." He pointed at Simone, who was watching them out of the corner of her eye. Tom judged her more amused than mortified either on their behalf or her own, so he didn't feel too bad about kissing Bill's cheek again. His mother had walked in on far worse, and these days she'd probably just toss him a "Clean up when you're done," and grab whatever she'd entered the room for anyway.
Bill kept right on blushing, but he didn't make even a token attempt to pull away from Tom. "Oh," said Bill suddenly. "We never did find out whether the Cubs made a comeback."
"Final score, seven to five Cubs," Simone reported, making her way over to another bag to dig through it.
"Yes!" Bill cheered.
"See, we are a good luck charm together," said Tom proudly. He hugged Bill to his side, gratified when Bill fixed those gorgeous eyes of his on Tom from close range and smiled at him, in a way that could only be called adoring. This love thing wasn't nearly as bad as Tom had always assumed it would be; then again, he'd been mistaking himself for a heterosexual for nineteen years, so that had likely contributed to the problem.
"So, Bill, you're a Cubs fan?" Simone asked, pausing with a box of toaster pastries in hand. "Well, there's the surest way to Tom's heart."
"Mine too," Bill confessed, absently resting a hand over the one Tom had placed on his hip, a move that made Tom's innards try to perform a curious flutter. "Aside from cosmetics, anyway. My dad's always been a fan, so we ended up watching a lot of games together."
"Oh hey, same," said Tom, his grin widening despite the acrobatics his heart and stomach were attempting. He and Bill had so much in common, though Tom's interest in makeup had only been sparked at around the same time as his interest in Bill. But it wasn't as though shared hobbies had an acquisition deadline, and Bill flashed him another smile so dazzling, it would probably necessitate a new pair of sunglasses if Tom was exposed to it too often. He wasn't complaining, though.
Simone finished sliding the Pop-Tarts into the cupboard beside the soup and turned to them, raising her eyebrow in a familiar motherly gesture that made Tom's stomach lurch in a less pleasant way than it had been doing before. "Bill, can I talk to Tom privately for a minute?"
"Oh, of course," Bill replied, considerate as always. "Okay?" he asked Tom, looking just a little bit anxious.
"Uh," said Tom. "Sure." He would have liked to keep Bill in the room, because Bill's presence would cause even Tom's notoriously straightforward mother to tone down whatever she was going to say. It wouldn't be fair to bring Bill into the midst of a family discussion, though, and Tom was fairly sure he knew what Simone wanted to talk about. "You'll stay, though, right?" Tom added. "I mean, in the house."
Bill gave Tom's jaw a sweet, shy kiss. "I'll stay. I'll be on the couch." With that, Tom's one hope of salvation smiled hesitantly at Simone, then retreated to the living room.
"Mom," Tom began.
Simone folded her arms across her chest and gave him a look, killing Tom's words before they could leave his tongue. "All right, Tom, honestly. I see that Bill's plenty... handsome," she finished diplomatically. "And he's certainly a sweetheart, but that's why I'm worried. I just can't believe the boy who brings a new girl home every weekend is gay, and it's not fair to hurt someone like Bill when you're trying to work things out."
"There's nothing to work out," Tom insisted, after he'd spent a long few seconds staring at his mother. The very idea of harming Bill in any way - aside from maybe a few love bites in places where they wouldn't be seen - was repulsive to Tom, and he was sure he could convey that to his mother if he tried. "I'm gay and I love him."