“So, Eric, have you talked to your parents, yet?”
Bitty paled. “No, ma’am. I… Y’all have been great, but they were raised in Georgia and I…”
Alicia was already laughing. “That doesn’t matter. They’re your parents.”
Bitty frowned. “My daddy is a football coach, and he had a hard enough time with my figure skating when I swore up and down it wasn’t making me gay…”
Bob shook his head. “If you think they don’t already know…”
“Your mother told us you were an item in July,” Alicia said.
“But we never… we were so careful…” Bitty stammered hard and then stopped.
“Really, Maman,” Jack said. “We didn’t so much as hold hands in front of them.”
Bob snorted, and Alicia said, “Suzanne Bittle was raised in Georgia, and trained from birth to spot budding romances from a hundred yards away. If you ridiculous lovebirds think you were fooling her for a second…”
Bitty frowned. “But she let Jack stay in my room. I know my mother, and there’s no way…”
Bob and Alicia looked at each other, and a little flurry of facial expressions were exchanged. Finally Alicia said, “Okay, so you’re thinking about high school rules. She actually told me that it was one thing with a fling between teenagers, and another thing entirely with young adults, especially when she wasn’t worried about anyone getting… knocked up. That she was more concerned about you two sneaking out to spend time together, and getting hurt by the neighbors, than she was about some… how did she put it?”
Bob grinned and supplied, “Hanky panky.”
Bitty blushed and put his head down on the table as Alicia continued, “Hanky panky. That’s right. She was more concerned about some bigot seeing you and pulling a gun than she was about the two of you having alone time in Bitty’s bedroom.”
Bitty mumbled into the table, and Bob said, “I couldn’t hear that…”
Jack said, “He said that he couldn’t believe his mama told you that.”
“We talk all the time,” Alicia said. “She’s lovely, and I’ve learned so much about baking. And she’s been the single best source of news on my only child that I could possibly ask for.”
Bitty sat up and looked at the screen. “But still, Coach…”
“He’s fine,” Bob said. “We’ve talked. I won’t say he didn’t have a little bit of crisis on the subject, but I think he’s worked through that by now.”
“He never said…” Bitty said.
“And how often do you talk?” Bob said, with the tiniest bit of reproach in his voice. “Give him a chance, Eric.”
Bitty looked up at Jack, and then back at Jack’s parents. “Yes, sir, I will.”
“So polite,” Alicia said.
“My mama might not mind me being gay, but she would skin me alive if I forgot to use my manners,” Bitty said, and then blinked, a bemused smile pulling at his mouth.
“That I would believe,” Alicia said.