I've been neglecting this poor, pathetic piece of fiction, but no more! Back to regular Avon posting, as well as (hopefully) the conclusion of the AI + TH saga later.
Tom poked morosely at his potato. So recently, he'd been sure his life was perfect, and then everything had come crashing down around his ears. His boyfriend was going to be across the Atlantic Ocean for a month, and Tom wasn't even likely to get any action before then, because his mother was the worst cockblock in the history of the universe.
The idea of Bill's absence bothered Tom even more than the potential lack of sex in the weeks leading up to it. He stared at his glass of milk as though it had run over his puppy, his usual healthy appetite significantly diminished. Of course, news of Bill's upcoming vacation hadn't fazed Simone in the least; in fact, she'd exclaimed over it and asked where Bill would be staying. A little town near Hamburg, Bill had replied, where most of his relatives had their homes. Simone had responded cheerfully that most of her family was near that area also, though a few of her cousins had left the villages in favor of the big city, Berlin.
Simone liked talking to Bill almost too much, Tom thought dolefully. They'd kept chatting all the way up to dinner, leaving Tom no time during which he could fall on his knees and beg Bill to stay. "Cosmetology, hm?" Simone remarked. "You like the program?"
"Definitely. It's amazing," Bill told her, gesturing with a forkful of beef. "The instructors are all part-time professionals, and, oh, you know, I met Nathalie in one of my classes. She got me started on the Avon sales, which I love."
"I like them too," Tom spoke up, and Bill gave him a bashful, sidelong look.
"If only you were so enthusiastic about your own job. Or your classes," Simone said dryly.
Bill shook his head, and Tom felt Bill's foot nudging his under the table. "I can't believe we never met before, going to the same school and all."
"Yeah, guess the business and cosmetology departments are too far apart," said Tom, eagerly brushing his leg against Bill's just to see Bill blush and look down at his plate. As a matter of fact, Tom hadn't even been aware the college had a cosmetology department. He resolved to locate it on a map as soon as classes resumed, and then he could visit Bill whenever he had a break.
And by then he'd be desperate for Bill's company, Tom realized dismally, because Bill was going to be gone for an entire month. He lapsed back into miserable silence, aware that Bill was peering at him, trying to catch his eye again.
Simone didn't seem to share Bill's concern. "Leave him, he's just moping," she advised Bill. "Tom, eat your food. I swear, you weren't this broken up even when Liss went to London for a year."
"Liss who?" Tom asked, looking reproachfully up at her.
"Your first girlfriend, Liss," she informed him. "Remember? She went with that exchange program-"
Tom groaned. "I was just making a point. I wasn't in love with Liss, Mom."
"I... I don't have to go, Tom," Bill said hesitantly, and an uncertain hand rested on Tom's thigh beneath the table. That should have been enough to send Tom shooting straight up to cloud nine, but given the circumstances, he just took Bill's hand and gripped it tight. "I could stay. Dad could go on his own..."
"Don't let him wreck your vacation, Bill," said Simone, her sharp tone aimed at Tom rather than the person she was addressing. "He'll be fine."
Bill bit his lip and looked at Tom anxiously, and Tom felt his heart crumbling in a different way. "I could-" Bill began.
"No." Tom forced the word out, and managed a wan smile, for Bill's sake. "No, she's right. We'll phone or email or something, and it'll be fine. Really," he added, wrangling a hint of cheer into his voice and expression when Bill didn't seem convinced. "It's just a month, right?"
Bill was worrying at the lip he'd taken between his teeth. "I'll miss you," he confided, giving Tom a sad, doe-eyed look that threatened to melt Tom on the spot.
"I'll miss you too," Tom got out, around the sizable lump in his throat. Simone coughed, and Tom would have turned a glare on her if he hadn't been busy gazing into Bill's eyes. Clearly he was going to have to explain the 'love at first sight' concept to his mother whenever they next had a moment alone. "Hey," said Tom softly. "We'll be okay."
"You're sure?" Bill asked him, as though everything in the world hinged on Tom's answer.
"Um," said Tom, and tongued absently at his piercing. He'd stopped thinking about the separation and started thinking more about kissing Bill, and what an excellent idea that would be. "Yeah. Yeah, I'm sure."
The way Bill stared at Tom's tongue, and the way Bill swallowed with difficulty as his eyes came back up to meet Tom's; both made Tom half desperate to feel Bill's warm lips sliding against his again. "Okay," Bill whispered.
Predictably, Simone cleared her throat. This time her interruption was unnecessary, though, as the sound of the front door clicking open filtered into the kitchen. Simone glanced at the clock as Tom squeezed Bill's hand reassuringly. "Your father's home early," Simone observed, and pushed her chair back. Then she paused and gave Tom a Motherly Look that was probably patented for use only by women who had raised a child. "How about you let me do the talking?"
"Huh?" Tom asked. He'd been pondering ways to nicely, politely, diplomatically tell his mother to fuck off and quit ruining his chances of getting laid.
Simone raised an eyebrow, pointing at Tom and then Bill, who made a faint sound behind the hand Tom wasn't holding. It sounded like a suppressed laugh. "I'll ease him into it," said Simone.
"I could do that," said Tom, slightly insulted by the implication that he was incapable of subtlety.
Even Bill started laughing, the second the words were out of Tom's mouth.