Miscommunication or How Shawn Brought an Entire Wedding Reception to Tears
Ever since Shawn moved in together with Gus, Gus' parents had come to the mistaken (Gus might add) conclusion that the two men had become more than friends. It wasn't just the odd looks when they showed up at events in the Blueberry, the fact that they inadvertently color coordinated, or the fact that Gus brought Shawn to family functions at all. No, the misconception had more to do with the many times something they did or something they said came across as entirely non-platonic.
After a morning of being poked, prodded and nagged at incessantly, Shawn had been forced into a suit half borrowed from Gus and his father. He sat in the cushioned chairs feeling uncomfortable and a little choked both from the tie he was wearing and the stares he'd been getting. It wasn't the first family function he'd tagged along to, but it was the first he'd felt truly unwelcomed.
Winnie Guster walked by and Shawn gently took hold of her elbow. "Mrs. G, what is up with everyone today? I thought Granny Irma was going to take by head off with her cane in the punch line." He offered a wry grin and was surprised by the frown he received in response. "Mrs. G?"
She eyed the dimly lit room for a moment before meeting his gaze, disappointment clearly visible in the lines of her face. She'd watched Gus and he grow from boys to men and he too often forgot that somewhere along the line, she'd gotten older. Her hair was stubbornly turning to grey and she couldn't quite finish her vigorous chore list in mere hours the way she used to.
Winnie crossed her arms and spared a tiny reassuring smile. "Let's just say some of my family is a little too set in their old ways of thinking. They don't quite approve of the way Burton's living his life now." She explained, eying Shawn for understanding. She must've seen it because she patted his hand, ready to go find her husband.
Shawn held on, believing she'd been referring to their business. "That doesn't seem fair at all."
"I know, Shawn. I disagree wholeheartedly but they—"
"They don't think Gus should be my partner? They don't think the last two years of our lives, everything we've built, means anything?" He questioned loudly, catching the attention of half of the room. Glares and curious stares.
Cocking an eyebrow, Winnie explained further. "Sort of. It's more that they don't approve of you two together. Just you two."
"Well Gus pitched the idea of a third but I shot that right down." He offered.
"A… a third?"
"I think it would be too complicated to split everything three ways. Usually someone ends up getting more than they could handle. Then he said he'd tried it before and if I would try to be more flexible it would work out better than I thought it—"
"Shawn!" Scandalized, Winnie shook her head and started off only to meet her husband a few feet away. They spoke for a moment before she covered her ears with both palms as Bill steered her away.
Confused, Shawn watched the older couple leave the reception area until Gus sat down next to him with two plates piled high with appetizers and cake. Grinning, Shawn reached for a strawberry atop one plate until Gus yanked the plate towards him. "Ah! No, Shawn. You want food, go get your own. I'm not enabling your laziness."
Angry, still upset over his conversation with Gus' mother, "Since when? You always enable my laziness. It's part of why I love you!" A group of Gus' teenaged cousins walked by, giggling as they eavesdropped. Granted, the tail end of his sentence had been practically shouted. He watched the girls return to the kids' table, mouth moving a mile a minute, making fun of him no doubt. He turned his attention back to the suddenly silent Gus.
Gus picked at the rest of the fruit on his plate and tried to avoid meeting Shawn's eyes. He didn't know why he found himself outside of Shawn's bedroom that morning asking him to come along to Travis' wedding. He could've just left a note explaining where he was going and kept walking right out of the front door. He could've told Shawn not to bother when he explained that he didn't have a suit to wear; could've kept walking right out the front door. He could've, but he hadn't.
Instead he got up an extra twenty minutes earlier just so he had more time to convince Shawn to come. He buried himself in the back of his closet searching for black slacks Shawn could borrow and probably never return. He woke Henry to ask if he had any black suit jackets broad enough for Shawn's shoulders and any dress shoes. He made himself relax when the only black shoes they could scrounge up were Shawn's favorite pair of Converse sneakers.
He did all of this just to accommodate Shawn coming with him and he didn't have the slightest clue why. Well he hadn't had the slightest clue. Not until he got out of the Blueberry and all of his mother's relatives were outright staring at them. It all came rushing back like a rewinding film. The conversation he'd had with Aunt Gina on the phone two weeks ago:
"Burton! Is that you? It's so nice to hear from you, you never call anymore." She scolded but the grin on her face was audible. He was about to apologize but Aunt Gina soldiered on. He'd forgotten how the woman loved to talk and knew he would be lucky to edge a word in. "How are you? I hear you're in some kind of detective business now, working for the police department. That's so interesting. I heard you've racked up quite a bit of news with that odd talent of yours. Your cousin Rachel also told me that partner of yours is quite a riot. He did some work for a girlfriend of hers, caught her husband cheating with his assistant. A male assistant, mind you but I guess you two have developed an eye for men like that with what you're into. Not that there's anything wrong with that, I told Gary, I told him 'you leave my nephew alone, Gary. Any man that has the courage to love who he wants to love is alright in my book'."
Gus had placed the phone between his chin and shoulder and made encouraging and approving tones through the entire conversation, all the while filing paperwork for a case they'd wrapped up. When he tuned back in, Aunt Gina was telling a story about an odd smell coming from her next-door neighbor's basement and asking if he thought she might be living next to the next Jeffrey Dahmer.
When Gus and Shawn first entered the church for the wedding ceremony, Shawn was focused on his grumbling stomach and Gus was studying his shoes rather than the numerous relatives speculating whether or not the rumors were true. He'd been wondering whether telling them he and Shawn had moved in together or feeding Shawn his piece of wedding cake had been the start of their reputation. Both had fairly reasonable explanations really.
Shawn had caught his landlord's wife, Mrs. Furrier cheating on him and as a result, Mr. Furrier decided Shawn was easier to get rid of and promptly evicted him (at least that's how Shawn tells it). And as for the cake, Gus was allergic to coconut, had been all his life. He'd asked one of the caterers what the frosting was composed of and decided it would be more hygienic to feed Shawn his piece instead of putting it back. Well that and the expression of orgasmic enjoyment on Shawn's face did funny things to his stomach.
Now, Gus was pretty sure he knew why Shawn's and his table had attracted the most attention. Disapproving, indifferent of supportive, Gus' family loved good gossip. They would be stared at, talked about, glared at, and avoided until they left that night and suddenly Gus was very angry; both with his family and himself. What right did they have to treat Shawn and him like circus animals? If he wanted to, and he wasn't saying that he wanted to, he could date anyone he wanted to; Shawn included. He had just as much right as anyone to do so and he didn't appreciate the way his family was acting. He also didn't appreciate the way he'd reacted to their treatment. It was one thing to let himself feel judged and unwelcome, it was another to let Shawn feel that way. He had to do something to put an end to this.
He resolved to put together a plan about the same time he realized Shawn had been telling Gus something pretty monumental. He probably should've been paying attention because Shawn saying something along the lines of, "I've had enough with being gawked at. I'm going to go up there and give one of my famous 'Dad, I'm not wasting my life being a psychic detective' speeches", might've been an announcement he really needed to hear. He searched the room and watched in horror as Shawn climbed onto the stage with determination etched in his face.
He tapped the microphone, shrugging sheepishly as the feedback left and echoing screech. "Excuse me. Excuse me; can I have your attention please?"
The sound of clattering silverware and small gasps filled the now almost calm room. Gus' heart started thundering in his chest and he met his mother's eyes across the floor and was surprised to find approval there before she frowned uncomfortably and looked away. "My name is Shawn Spencer, screech." The microphone started to drift in and out, feedback making the whole experience just more awkward and painful as Shawn powered through a speech that probably would've solved a lot of problems had Shawn just given up on using the microphone.
"I'm Gus' business partner in Santa Barbara. We've been working together for the past two years but really, we've been planning something like this since, like, third grade. I bet nobody here knew that because Gus likes to be secretive and keep things quiet. Seriously, Gus loves you guys, always has and probably always will but right now, I can't see why. If you guys are the best family a man could have in this world, why are you treating us like we've done something wrong? I think you guys should come out and, maybe… watch us working sometime; you might like it, I know my dad does. I love our odd and unorthodox work life, we save lives and if you can't accept that… then I think Gus is better off going home with me."
Is what Shawn thought they heard but unfortunately, the microphone helped deliver an entirely different message.
"I'm Gus' screech partner in Santa Barbara. We've been screech together for the past two years but really, we've been screeching since, like, third grade. I bet nobody here knew that because screech Gus likes to be screech quiet. Seriously, Gus loves screech guys, always has and probably always will, but I can't see why. If screech guys are the best screech a man could have in screech his screech, why are you treating us like we've done something wrong? I honestly think you guys should come out screech… watch us screeching sometime; you might like it, I know my dad does. I love our screech life and if you can't accept that… then screech Gus is better screech with me."
The room was silent; Gus' mouth was wide open along with fifty other mouths in the reception area. The silence stretched on for a few moments until the jarring sound of unrestrained laughter rang through the hall. Hysterical laughter, almost enough to prove insanity sounded through the room, coming from one Winnie Guster. Gus craned his neck to see his mother with tears in her eyes and a hand clutched her side. He turned back to meet Shawn's eyes from on top the stage where shared confusion matched his own.
Cocking his head to the side, Gus realized the only thing better than catching his mother in a rare moment of uninhibited laughter was catching Shawn in a rare moment of being on the wrong end of a joke. He blinked once, twice before snorting his own way into laughter. Now, Shawn shook his head let out a confused chuckle or two. Then Bill joined in and Aunt Gina got to hooting and hollering and soon the entire hall erupted into laughter.
And that was how Shawn brought an entire wedding reception to tears.
Shawn yawned and stretched his way up the stairs to their apartment. He leaned halfway against the wall and halfway into Gus' back as the latter reached for his key. It was incredibly disturbing just how comfortable Gus' body was when he was tired, and tipsy and desperate for a flat surface to rest on. He stumbled in after Gus and let out a small groan of annoyance as the older man ditched him for his own bedroom.
"Gus! Come to bed with me, please? Or at least just give me your skin? It's so comfortable." He whined, following the quickly scurrying man through the hall. It would be weird if this type of thing didn't occur every other night. "Gus! Gus…?"
He entered Gus' bedroom to see him sitting on the edge of his bed staring at his nightstand. Sitting atop the wooden piece, the photo of Shawn and Gus, arms across shoulders, in front of the freshly painted "Psych" sign. At the time Shawn thought taking a photo would be stupid and cheesy but Gus had insisted. Because it had been one of the few real things Gus had ever truly asked for, Shawn gave in. He'd teased Gus and complained throughout the entire process to save face, though.
"Gus? You alright, buddy? I was just joking about the skin thing. At least I hope so." He joked, eventually sitting down next to his somber pal. He placed his palm flat on top of Gus knee and frowned when he jolted up and away a few inches. "Jeez, what's gotten into you?"
Gus eyed him, clearly feeling awkward and uncomfortable, before stating, quite shakily, "I think I should move out."
This threw Shawn for a complete loop. "What?"
Gus nodded and when he spoke again, his voice was steady. "I know I should move out."
"But, but Gus this is your apartment. You were here first." He argued, feeling suddenly sick to his stomach and painfully sober. "Why would you have to leave?"
"I just have to, Shawn. I don't want anything else like what happened tonight happening again." He explained, still too vague for Shawn's tastes.
"That? Gus, that was nothing. I can handle your family thinking I'm a terrible influence on you. I've been handling it since that time your mom found out I was responsible for your first hangover. What's really bothering you?"
Gus refused to meet Shawn's eyes but, as a concession, explained, "It not just that you're a bad influence, Shawn. They think you turned me. They think I'm gay and that you turned me gay."
At this, Shawn gave a sharp laugh. "Gay? I know I might keep you too busy to date much, but Gus, I hardly think I turned you gay. Gay?" He gave another wry chuckle. "That's hilarious." So hilarious he wondered why he hadn't thought of it before. It was odd that in all their years of friendship, the idea had never even crossed his mind. Now that it had… now that it had…
"Well that's what they think and your speech tonight didn't exactly help. I've got little girls asking me if I think they could pull off bangs or not, my Aunt Gina is signing up for PFLAG meetings and my own mother looked me straight in the eye, told me to be safe, as she handed me a Ziploc bag full of condoms and referred me to a chiropractor. As far as I'm concerned, none of this would've happened if we hadn't moved in together. I think, no I know that's the straw that broke the camel's back." The last part Gus said mainly to himself.
Shawn was still lost in thought. If he and Gus were really together, like together together, that would solve so many issues. He could live here without being a freeloader. He could make reservations for two at his favorite restaurants instead of going alone and hoping Gus wasn't busy. He could watch Lost Boys as many times on repeat as he wanted with someone that understood why the lines were underrated genius. He could go talk his way into the middle of the night and instead of having to abide by the Bro Code and returning to his own cold, lonely, Gus-less sleeping quarters, he would be able to crawl underneath the down comforter and ironed sheets beneath him. He could make the last sound he heard before bed and first thing in he saw in the morning Gus. He could if Gus would let him. God, why hadn't the idea ever crossed his mind before? It was brilliant.
Getting to his knees in front of Gus, he covered placed his hands over Gus' own. "Gus! We could be great together. Think about it, we're both crazy about the same stuff, we wouldn't have to worry about whether or not someone else really likes us and we already live together. We've been practically dating our whole lives. This would just be like… the next logical evolution."
Gus looked at him with skepticism. "Shawn, this isn't Pokémon. We're not five anymore. We can't just… do something because it seems like the thing to do."
Shawn was quickly growing frustrated that Gus was once again shutting down his ideas without really listening to them. "Who says we can't?"
"Well no one specifically, but—" Gus started as Shawn cut him off with a kiss. It was unexpected and Shawn initiated at an odd, awkward angle that sent Gus sideways onto his side. Off balance and with Shawn crouched over his feet, Gus tumbled off of his bed and into Shawn.
Shawn laughed at the jumbled mix of their limbs and Gus tried to bite down a grin of his own. "Are you happy now? I'm going to be feeling this for weeks." He massaged his calf, leg still caught at an uncomfortable angle.
"No." Shawn answered as he climbed and sat atop Gus' lap. Knees painfully trapping Gus' resisting hands, Shawn leaned down and pulled Gus' lips to his own. The first try, he missed, the second he bit Gus' cheek to stop his arguing, the third the press was gentle enough he allowed his eyes to flutter closed, yet firm enough Gus couldn't ignore it. At first just lips, then their tongues became a part of it and Gus' brain promptly stopped working. They kissed until Gus realized that jagged object digging into his back was one of Shawn's Converse sneakers. When Shawn pulled away, apologizing as his bony kneecaps dug into Gus' hands, the slightly embarrassed but pleased look on Gus' face was enough. "Now I'm happy."
Then he got to his feet, helped Gus to his own, they got into bed and there was no fear of miscommunication.
There was no communication at all, really.