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Connor had basically inhaled his cigarette. Evan raised an eyebrow at him. In reply, Connor rolled his eyes.

“Don’t judge me, Hansen.” He muttered.

Evan sighed. “I’m not judging you, Connor, I just wish you didn’t feel so stressed about this.” He explained.

Connor huffed out a sarcastic laugh, releasing the last of his cigarette smoke into the cool air. “Yeah, just me, your printer throwing screw-up of a boyfriend meeting your pretty blonde nurse mom. Nothing to stress over.”

Evan took a deep breath of the fresher air before walking closer to his boyfriend and wrapping his arms around his waist. “You are not a screw-up! I told you to stop saying that. You know, you see yourself very differently from how I see you.” He said, looking up at the taller boy.

Connor sighed. “Yeah. But you’re weird.”

Evan laughed. “So are you.”

Connor raised an eyebrow and put his arm around Evan’s shoulders. “Touché.”

Evan rested his head against Connor’s shoulder. “You’re gonna be fine. And my mom’s gonna love you.”

“How do you know though?” Connor sighed.

Evan smiled at him. “Because my mom loves me. And I love you.”

Connor looked down at Evan and couldn’t help but smile, seeing the genuine smile on his boyfriend’s face. “Yeah well, I stand by my statement: you’re weird.”

~

“Oh Evan! I completely forgot to ask if Connor eats beans!” Heidi exclaimed, popping her head out of the kitchen.

Evan sighed. “Mom, I told you, he only doesn’t eat meat. He’s fine with everything else. I’m sure beans are fine.”

“I just want this to be perfect!” Heidi yelled as she retreated back into the kitchen.

Evan sighed once more. “Me too…” He whispered.

He loved his mother and he loved Connor, but he had never been in a room with both of them at the same time. Connor retreated into himself around anyone but Evan, while Heidi was giddy and outgoing around everyone. Evan didn’t want either of them to be uncomfortable. Evan felt the familiar wave of anxiety burn in his stomach.

Suddenly the doorbell rang. Evan swallowed his worry. Showtime.

He went to open the door and came face to face with… Jared?

“Hey there, acorn.”

Evan furrowed his brows. “Wh-what the heck are you doing here, Jared?” He asked, trying to convey annoyance but his nerves got in the way.

“As if I was gonna miss you introducing the school shooter to Heidi. Yeah right.” Jared scoffed and made his way past Evan and inside the house.

Evan closed the door and ran after Jared. “Why would you be here for that? And stop calling him…that!” He exclaimed.

“It was a joke, geez.” Jared said, raising his hands in his defense. “I’m here to get to know him too! I mean, I’d like to understand what the hell you see in him!” Jared explained.

Evan questioned his motives and was just about to tell him to leave, when the doorbell rang again.

“Great.” He sighed and went to open the door.

His frustration faded as he pulled open the door to see his boyfriend standing there, holding flowers that looked like they had just barely survived a storm.

“What… Are those?” Evan asked, amused.

“They’re for your mom. And shut up.” Connor replied, blushing slightly.

Evan laughed. “Softie.” He teased.

Connor rolled his eyes. “I said shut up.” He murmured as he stepped inside and gave Evan a peck on the lips. Evan laughed again.

They were interrupted by a gagging sound. They turned to see Jared demonstrating sticking fingers down his throat. Evan rolled his eyes.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. What the hell is it doing here?” Connor asked, pointing at Jared.

“I wish I could answer that for you.” Evan replied.

“I wasn’t about to miss this!” Jared winked and flipped Connor off. Connor flipped Jared off right back, but looked even more uncomfortable than he did before. Evan felt bad for him.

Then Heidi walked into the room. Jared grinned. Connor paled.

“Uh, so, mom, this is Connor, Connor… Mom.” Evan explained the obvious and awkwardly gestured between Heidi and Connor while making the introductions.

“Oh Connor! Welcome! I’m so glad you’re here!” Heidi exclaimed and walked up to Connor.

Connor gulped and put out his hand to shake Heidi’s, but she surprised him by throwing her arms around the skinny boy. Connor stood frozen for a second before wrapping his arms around the small woman.

After she released him from the first hug he’d had with someone other than Evan in years, Connor reached out to basically push the slightly droopy flowers into Heidi’s hands.

“Thank you for inviting me, Mrs. Hansen. Oh or is it Ms. Hansen? Shit, I should’ve checked with Evan beforehand, right? Sorry. And sorry for saying shit… Twice.” Connor rambled and blushed deeply.

Evan was speechless. He’d never seen his intimidating bad boy boyfriend so flustered before.

“Oh Heidi’s fine, sweetie and don’t worry about a thing!” Heidi said and padded Connor’s back. “Aren’t you a gentleman!” She said, examining the flowers.

Evan followed the interaction from the side and he felt relieved. His mom was sweet as ever and Connor, though way out of his comfort zone, seemed to be doing okay.

Heidi placed a hand on Connor’s cheek and looked at him with shiny eyes. “I’m so glad to meet the wonderful boy who’s made my Evan so happy.” She said in a soft voice, so that only Connor heard her.

Evan was left wondering if there were words exchanged during the gesture.

Connor felt like he couldn’t catch his breath. Never had someone who didn’t know him react so warmly to meeting him. She thought he made Evan happy? That was the highest compliment Connor could think of. He had no idea how much and what Evan had told Heidi about him, but he decided right there and then that he would damn well do whatever it took to be worthy of that compliment.

He had no idea what to say to that, but luckily Heidi wasn’t expecting him to reply, but gave Connor a warm smile before turning away.

“Oh, Jared, you’re here too! Good thing I made enough food for a small army. Now, who’s hungry?” She clapped her hands together and walked back towards the kitchen, smelling the flowers Connor gave her as she went. Jared skipped right after her, having immediately perked up at the mention of food.

Evan turned to Connor. “You okay?” He asked.

Connor stared after Heidi. “I said shit twice in front of your mom and she called me ‘sweetie’.” He mumbled.

Evan chuckled. “Yep.”

Connor blew out a breath. “Wow.”

Evan took Connor’s hand. “Hungry?”

Connor looked at his boyfriend and smiled. He no longer felt as nervous as he did a minute ago. He was actually quite excited to get to know Heidi. And he was willing to ignore Kleinman’s presence to achieve his goal.

He squeezed Evan’s hand tightly.

“Yeah. Let’s go.”