When Hoechlin invites Dylan to his parents', Dylan says yes without giving it much thought. Besides, it sounds fun and Corona is only an hour from Hermosa Beach anyway. If he feels like fleeing home to hide behind his dad's legs because he embarrassed himself, it's a really short drive. Not that he plans to embarrass himself, but, well, he's really putting himself out of his comfort zone with this, so the threat of imminent death by mortification is entirely plausible.
They drive there from Atlanta. It takes the better part of two days, and Dylan complains the entire time that a plane would have been faster and more practical. If Hoechlin were any other person he would have kicked Dylan out of the rented car and run him over for his whining ten minutes into the trip, but Dylan has reached the conclusion that Tyler Hoechlin is some kind of entity with the patience of a saint, because all he does is laugh and tease Dylan about being a baby.
That may or may not have some merit to it, but whatever. It's a long trip.
It's late evening when they finally get there and Dylan becomes quiet, leaning back against the rented Accord and taking in the cookie-cutter brick home in front of him. It's a beautiful house with white trim and forest green shutters flanking the windows, flower beds and trimmed shrubs accenting the cleanliness of a woman's touch; one who knows exactly what she's doing, if the cultivated designs and eye-popping arrangements are anything to go by.
Hoechlin comes around the car and Dylan swallows with an audible click. "Nice place," he forces out, discreetly rubbing his damp palms against his thighs.
"Don't look so scared," Hoechlin says. He's been smiling since they crossed into Cali and Dylan has yet to see the grin disappear. The guy's just so damn happy all of a sudden. "The only thing you have to worry about is Tanner."
"You should have let me bring my Nerf gun. For protection."
He snorts and affectionately squeezes the back of Dylan's neck, tugging him away from the car and toward the front door. The sound of excited barking and people laughing echoes from inside and Dylan tenses up despite Hoechlin's reassuring hand massaging his neck. What if they don't like him? A stupid fear, probably, but still. It's there. He knows he's got nothing to prove to any of them, but he feels like he needs to. They're Tyler's family and...and, no, yeah, he's totally got something to prove to them, he's got a lot to prove to them, because he's in love with their son, with their brother, and he definitely needs to show that he's worthy of the same affection.
Fuck, he's going to throw up.
"Dylan." They pull to a stop at the bottom of the stairs and Dylan huffs a nervous chuckle, tipping his head back to side-eye Hoechlin.
He's still smiling, but it's softer now. Gentle around the edges instead of tinged with that familiar electric excitement, and his eyes are so warm. Dylan's chest tightens at the look and he tries to keep himself from doing something horrifyingly sentimental. Like waxing poetry about his eyes or something.
"You're going to be fine, they'll love you."
"And if they don't?" It slips out before he can think about it, but once he says it, he lets out all of it. "What if they hate me? Or think I'm disgusting? Dude, I don't think I can do this. You said so yourself that Travis and your dad didn't take your little gay speech all that well. What if - " He stops talking abruptly when Tyler's hand covers his mouth.
"One, it wasn't a gay speech. I told them I was seeing someone and they weren't fond of the realization that it was another guy. And, two, that was months ago. You know good and well they've gotten over it." He moves his hand down from around Dylan's mouth to cupping the side of his face, brushing his thumb over a flushed cheek. "Dylan, I wouldn't bring you here if I thought you were going to get hurt. Okay?"
"But - "
Tyler sighs and rolls his eyes, leaning down and covering Dylan's mouth with his own. The kiss is slow and sweet, almost too easy and too good to be real, just like it always is even after all this time. Dylan responds instinctively, bringing his quaking hands up to find purchase by holding on loosely to the front of Tyler's shirt.
Dylan gets the sense it was supposed to be a brief kiss, but suddenly it's deepening and he can't help but go down with it. There is the muffled thump of Tyler's bag hitting the porch steps and then the railing is digging into Dylan's back as he's carefully backed up against it. One of Tyler's hands brace against the white wood and grip tight, blocking him in, the other wraps around Dylan to hold him close; hips flush, legs tangled.
Long moments pass as Dylan loses himself more and more in Tyler, until finally he pulls back with a wet noise and sucks in sudden breath, face hot and body hotter. "Okay," he breathes. "Okay, mission accomplished. Officially not worried about the family anymore, but I'm definitely worked up in a different sense."
Tyler laughs quietly, a back of the throat noise, and bumps their noses together, tracing along Dylan's and then placing a chaste kiss on his reddened lips. "We only have to make conversation for a few minutes, then we can say we're tired from the trip and go upstairs."
"Man, I am not having sex in your childhood bedroom."
The only response Dylan gets is a hot hand suddenly cupping him through his jeans and rubbing in a way that has him quickly grabbing onto Tyler's arms when his legs threaten mutiny and buckle like a newborn baby gazelle's. He can feel Tyler's smirk against his ear as he nibbles and licks the sensitive patch of skin just behind it, knowing damn well what it does for Dylan.
"The walls are thick," he says. "And I've got a big bed."
And, really, how's Dylan supposed to argue that kind of promise?
"What the hell are we waiting for, then?"