I still couldn't figure out what to get him! I walked around the mall, not really paying attention.

'Hey Chris!' I heard my name being called. I turned around to see the normal crew walking towards me.

'I see you guys are managing well without me!' I said, smiling and walking towards them.

'Only because you're so whipped on whoever it is you're whipped on! What's going on?' Joey said, punching me in the arm.

'Nothing,' I rubbed my arm, 'just shopping for Christmas presents. How about you guys?' I asked. To tell you the truth, I did miss the days we hung out. It had been almost two weeks since our last get together.

'Oh, we're good. We replaced a certain member of the group that's been insubordinate. I can't really remember his name though,' Alexia said, looking towards Steve, 'do you remember who I'm talking about?'

Steve looked into the air as if he was trying to see the answer floating around his head, 'nope! Can't thinking of his name. Harris? Cariss? Larry?'

'Hey! Those don't even rhyme! Very funny, guys. Sorry,' I looked from each one of their faces, 'but I've been really busy! I promise after the holidays we'll get together really soon. I miss you all!' I said, trying to convince them that I was busy with all of the holiday junk everyone was doing.

'Okay, we'll take your word for it. We're going to go chill at the food court, wanna come?' Joey pointed in the direction of the food court.

'No, I hafta finish this shopping. Next time.' I looked at my cell phone, 'talk to you soon.'

'Yeah, yeah, whatever. See ya.' Alexia said. They all turned in unison and walked the opposite direction. I felt bad for not hanging out with them, and to tell you the truth I really did miss talking to them. We used to be really close, now it's just some text to say hi or a look in the hallway at school. My phone started to vibrate, it was Drew.


'Hey babe, whatcha up to?' He asked. I could barely hear him over the noise in his background.

'Nothing, just shopping. What about you?' I stopped to look at a movie.

'Just got done jogging at the beach. You wouldn't be shopping for me, would you?' He teased.

'Why yes I would. I wish you would just tell me what you want for Christmas! I'm going crazy!' I said with frustration. He was really playing hard to get and it really started to bug me.

'Well, I'm not sure what to say! I love you.' He was trying to sound condescending.

I put down the movie and decided to give up for the day.

'Yeah sure, what are your plans for today?' I changed the subject. I was too annoyed to keep talking about the present.

'Uhm, I think I'm going to wrap your present and then pack up to go up north and see the parents.' He paused for a second, 'I was wondering if you wanted to come...'

'I'm going to find that present if it kills me.' I didn't answer his question. I really wanted to meet his parents, he talks about them all of the time, I just wasn't sure how I would explain this to my parents without saying 'I'm in love with my school counselor and I can't get enough of him.'

'Okay, babe. Well think about it and I'll see you later. Love you!' He called into the phone. He never gave me time to say it back; he always hung up right after he said it. It was one of those things I loved and hated about him.

I left the mall and drove home. I walked into the house, trying to decide on whether or not I would go with him to his parents'. I turned the corner and walked into the dining room.

'Hey honey, what's eating you?' Mom said, eating a sandwich.

'I have something to tell you, mom, but you have to promise you won't get mad.' I said, sitting in the seat across from her at the table.

'You know me, I barely ever get angry. What's wrong?' She stopped chewing and looked at me. My heart was beating fast, and I didn't know if I should tell her just yet. I'm not sure I could come out of the closet just like that over lunch.

'Can I go with my friend up north for Christmas?'

'Where up north?' She asked, moving her plate aside.

'I'm not really sure, but if I find out can I go?' I asked, trying to avoid her gaze. She always knew when there was something more.

'I don't see why not,' she stood, 'and honey?'

I looked up at her.

'I love you no matter what.' She gave me a warm smile and walked to the kitchen. I heard her open the dishwasher and put her plate in.

'She loved me no matter what? What the hell does that mean?' I went to my room and called Drew.

'Hi, what's up?' He always answered the phone like that no matter who it was.

'I've made up my mind.' I said, trying to prolong the anticipation.

'And...' He sounded anxious.

'I want to go with you.'

'Great! I'm leaving tomorrow. It'll take about five hours to get up there, and Christmas is in three days! How fast can you pack?' He asked. I heard him move something.

'I'll be finished by today. Want me to come over?' I wanted to find my present.

'Yeah, sounds great! See you soon. I lov--'

'I love you, bye!' I said, hanging up. I wanted to see if he noticed I was trying to get the last word in. I packed my traveling bag and opened my door. Mom was standing in the door way, smiling.

'Who is this person?' She smiled and walked into my room.

'What? What person?' I said, trying to play dumb.

'I love you, bye!' She imitated my voice, 'so are you going to tell me or do I have to guess?' She sat on my bed.

'I don't think you can guess, mom.' I said, sitting next to her.

'You'd be surprised,' she turned to me and took my hand, 'who is Drew?'

My face felt warm. I took a deep breath and confessed everything to her.

'Drew is my...my boyfriend. Mom, please don't be mad; I didn't know I was gay! I just found out this year, and I love him, mom. I am in love with him and--'

'And that is fine with me. Chris, you're my son and I love you unconditionally.' She pulled me into a hug.

'How did you find out?' I asked, looking into her face.

'When your dad kicked you out of the house he wanted to go through your room. I didn't think it was right for him to do it, I knew he'd just vandalize it, so I offered to search it. I went to your night stand and picked up your wallet. I didn't expect to find anything, but I looked in the long pocket and read the note. He sounds adorable, Chris; how old is he?' She sounded like Cynthia for a second.

'He's thirty six. I know, that's a lot older than me, but I love him mom!' I looked at her for a few seconds. She didn't say anything.

'When were you planning on telling me all of this?' She smiled, but it was almost forced. I could tell she didn't like the idea of me dating a person so much older than I was.

'I was going to tell you in the dining room, but I didn't really know how to do it. I'm sorry...' I stood up.

'As long as you're happy honey. And don't worry, I won't tell anyone until you're ready for people to know; your secret is safe with me!' She stood up and hugged me.

'Thanks mom, now I gotta go! I'll see you after Christmas!' I grabbed my bag and trudged out of the door.

'Don't forget to call!' She yelled as I walked out of the door. I threw my bag into the passenger's side and got in. I was really excited to meet Drew's parents. I drove to Drew's house and walked into the front door.

'Drew?' I called, walking up the stairs.

'I'm in the sunroom!' He yelled.

I walked back down the stairs and turned the corner. Drew shut something in the closet and then turned to me.

'Hey...' he walked nervously towards me, 'just hanging up some clothes.' He laughed and grabbed my hand.

'Babe, you don't keep clothes in that closet,' I looked over his shoulder, 'but you might keep something else in there.'

'Nope, just some clothes. Let's go have some lunch!' He grabbed my arm and dragged me to the kitchen.

'Babe, I'm really excited about meeting your parents!' I sat down at the kitchen island. I tried to picture his parents, but I couldn't really capture them from what he had told me about them.

'I'm excited too! I haven't told them you were coming, I said you were thinking about it,' he opened a can of tuna, 'do you want onions?'

'No! You know I hate onions!'

'Onions it is.' He laughed and started to slice the onions. I hated almost every single vegetable known to man, yet Drew always found a way to make me eat them.

'Whatever. I talked to Joey, Alexia, and Steve today...' I picked up the paper that was sitting on the far side of the island, 'they keep telling me I'm too whipped to hang out with them.'

He laughed, 'whipped? On me? Never,' he turned to me and gave me a wink, 'but you really haven't gone out with them in a while, are they mad?' He grabbed two plates from the cabinet and put the sandwiches on them, then brought them over.

'I don't really think they're mad, just kind of annoyed. It's not like I could just say 'sorry I haven't been around you guys lately, I'm in love with the counselor at school' I'm thinking that would cause some awkwardness between us...' I picked up the sandwich and peeled the crust off. I wasn't really that hungry.

'Hmm. Well, I'm sorry babe. I love you.' He always smiled a wide smile when he said 'I love you.' It always made my face light up.

Drew's phone rang. He ran to the counter and picked it up.

'Hi, what's up?' He listened for a second.

'I can't do this right now, I'll text you later...' he turned his back to me, 'yeah, yeah; I know! Maybe some other time.' He turned around and looked at me for a second then turned his back to me, 'yeah, bye.'

'Who was that?' I asked, giving him a sideways glance.

'Oh, it was no one, are you not going to eat?'

I shook my head and he took my plate.

'I won't put onions on next time.' He laughed then walked to the living room, 'I'm gonna take a nap, wanna come?'

'Yeah, babe, I'll be right there.' I called, staring at his cell phone. I don't know why, but I got the feeling something was going on that I didn't know about. It wasn't a bad feeling, but it wasn't a good feeling either.

'Babe, are you coming?' He called, he never really liked waiting.

'Yeah,' I got up and walked to the living room.

'I won't do any funny business, I promise,' he winked at me, 'I'm really tired anyway.'

Whenever we lay together he always feels the need to annoy me in the funniest ways possible.

'That's a relief.' I ran and jumped on top of him, 'my bad, I tripped.'

'I see that,' he kissed me on my forehead.

'I'm going to find my present.' I teased, kissing his lips.

'It's not in the closet, look all you want.' He laid back and we fell asleep.

More to Come.



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