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Being Seen

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Ransom visited Holster over break, which wasn’t anything new. Ransom and Holster snuggled on Holster’s bed while watching 30 Rock, not anything new. Really, Ransom was dozing with his head pillowed on Holster’s shoulder, having fallen asleep mid-snuggle, but that also wasn’t anything new. Holster’s dad was standing in Holster’s doorway, eyes wide, mouth agape, definitely something new.

“Adam, a word.” Mr. Birkholtz gave Holster a pointed look.

“You’re supposed to knock, Dad.” Holster frowned and made no motion to move, scared to wake Ransom.

“I said, ‘a word,’ Adam.” Mr. Birkholtz gave Holster another look. This one was broached no arguments.

Holster extricated himself from Ransom, jostling Ransom awake in the process, just in time to see Holster’s father exit the doorway mouth resolved into a thin, hard line.

“You should have told me, Adam.” Looking at the set of his father’s shoulders Holster realized it was better not to tell his father that he and Ransom weren’t dating; his father really wouldn’t get it. And maybe he and Ransom were what Shitty called a little homoromantic but they hadn’t talked about it or put words to it or anything.

“Honestly, I’m not quite sure how I feel about this.” Holster bristled at that, it wasn’t his father’s relationship to pass judgement on, or it wouldn’t be if he and Ransom were dating. “I’d like it if Justin went home until I figure it out.” It wasn’t a request.

“We’re not something to be figured out, Dad.” Holster tried but saw no budging or softening of his father’s resolve. “I never thought you were a homophobe, Dad.” Holster tried to search for his father’s liberal heart.

To no avail. “It’s different,” Mr. Birkholtz grunted. “You’re my son.” He sighed. “Have Justin call his parents, he’s not staying here tonight.”

When Holster went back to his room, Ransom was already packing his things.

“You heard?” Holster asked pulling out his own suitcase.

“You were right outside the door—I heard.” Ransom glanced at Holster folding his socks. “You know we aren’t actually dating.”

“I know.” Holster grabbed a sweater and didn’t look at Ransom. “But maybe we should be.”

Ransom smiled for the first time since Mr. Birkholtz grimaced at him. “I’ll call my mom. We should have room for one more for awhile.”

“Just until my dad pulls his head out of his ass.” Holster nodded his assent as he folded a pair of jeans.

“Does this mean we’re dating now?” Ransom asked as they loaded his car.

“If you want.” Holster slid into the passenger seat.

“Good, means I can do this.” Ransom slid into the drivers seat and leaned over, giving Holster a peck on the lips that left Holster with cheeks tinged pink. “Ready to go?”

“Yeah, ah, ready to go.”

They held hands the entire ride to Ransom’s house, except when they had to show their documents at the border.

Ransom’s mother was waiting for them when they got there. She pulled Holster down for a hug. “Ransom told me about your father, he’ll come around. Come inside.”

Holster was a little surprised at the greeting. Mrs. Oluransi had never hugged him before and Holster had the vague memory of learning that homosexuality was illegal in Nigeria.

“Don’t just stand there.” Mrs. Oluransi tutted at him from inside and Holster realized he hadn’t moved. “Come inside.” Holster entered the house and Ransom closed the door behind him flashing Holster a smile. “You know, I wondered when you boys would figure yourselves out. Adam, I got the guest room ready for you. I know it’s not what you usually do, but I think its best.” Both Holster and and Ransom blushed at the implication. Neither of them was sure they were ready for that step yet (or if they would ever be). “Come on, you boys are probably hungry. I made dinner.”

Holster’s mom called after dinner. “Your father’s sorry he upset you.”

“That’s not good enough.” He wondered if she could hear his furrowed brow in his voice.

“Honey, just come home.” His mother cajoled.

“He messed up, Mom, I want a real apology.” Ransom turned to watch him from the couch, keeping track of Holster’s moods and responses. “Not just for me, for Justin too.”

Mrs. Birkholtz paused at that. “Honey, I respect your choices but your father’s going to need some time.”

“Then I’m going to need some time.” Holster slammed his thumb down on the end button, angry enough by that one sentence that he felt like he was seeing red.

Then Ransom was his side. “Hey.” And wrapping his arms around him and in Ransom’s arms the red starts to fade away.

When Mr. Oluransi got home from his golf outing, they found out that Ransom’s parents had been waiting for Ransom and Holster to come out to them since Ransom had first told them about his new friend. It made Holster feel weird because technically he and Ransom had only been dating for a number of hours, no matter what their feelings had been before. Still, it was good to be around parents who were accepting and caring, even though Holster got the feeling that they might not completely understand.

Holster stayed at Ransom’s until break was over. They flew back on the same plane, which had always been the plan. Settling back into the Haus though something felt different, and it wasn’t the way his heart soared everytime Ransom touched his hand. It was a sorrowful feeling, that Holster couldn’t quite place the reason too. He was back home at the Haus, he had Ransom at his side, and Bitty had made welcome back pie; there was nothing to be sad about.

It was that night, as he was turning in that Holster figured it out. His phone rang.

“Hi, Dad.” Holstered sighed into the phone and Ransom leaned over from the top bunk to watch the conversation and listen in on what he could.

“Hi, Adam.” The voice on the other side was gruff with worry? regret? Holster wasn’t sure what. “I wanted to say that I’m sorry, for being hasty before.” Mr. Birkholtz coughed and Holster wondered if apologies always got this stuck in his father’s throat. Maybe that was why he’d never heard his father give one before. “I shouldn’t have thrown Justin out like that. You should be able to love who ever you want to love.” And that part sounded more like his mother’s phrasing than his father’s but if it stuck, it worked. “It’s going to take a while for me to get used to you being gay.”

Holster interjected. “I’m bi.” He didn’t really want to get in the way of his dad’s flow, but he wanted to get that out there even though he wasn’t sure if the label really fit. He’d figure out it or maybe it just didn’t matter.

“It’s going to take a while for me to get used to you being bisexual,” Mr. Birkholtz amended, “but you’re my son and I love you and I’m sorry if I ever made you doubt that.”

It was Holster’s turn to cough, made uncomfortable by the unusual amount of sentiment coming from his father. “Thanks, Dad. I appreciate that. A lot. But Justin deserves an apology, too.”

“Alright. Put him on.” Holster passed the phone to Ransom who was still hanging over the edge of the bunk bed.

“Hi, Mr. Birkholtz.” Ransom straightened up to make it easier to talk intelligibly.

“Hello, Justin. I wanted to apologize for how I treated you the other day. That was wrong of me.”

Ransom nodded his acceptance, and then realized that Mr. Birkholtz couldn’t see him. “Thank you, sir.”

“And I want to make sure we can continue to interact cordially in the future.” Ransom had to stop himself from snorting at the language.

“Yeah, I can do that.” Ransom nodded again. “I’m going to be putting Adam back on now.”

He passed the phone back and Holster finished up some pleasantries with his father before hanging up.

“So he apologized.” Ransom hung back over the edge of the bunk.

“Yeah,” Holster nodded. “Things are going to be weird for awhile though.” He felt lighter already though, having gotten that acknowledgement,

“It’ll get better?” Ransom offered, not quite sure. Holster knew his dad better than Ransom did.

“It will.” Holster nodded thoughtfully. “Especially, once he realizes he can out suburban liberal his friends by saying ‘I love and accept my queer son’.”

“Are you okay with that?”

“Yeah.” Holster smiled a little. “It’s harmless. You know what’s not okay?”

Ransom frowned. “No. What?”

“How far away you are.” Holster reached up with grabby hands. “Come down here, you might think we’re too big, but we’re going to make this work.”