Evan shakily inhaled as he anxiously played with the hem of his blue t-shirt. Even though the sale didn't start for another twenty minutes, tons of people were already pushing aggressively through the store aisles. Currently, the blonde boy is huddled in a corner next to some soup cans, waiting for the evil horn that would announce the start of Black Friday.
He really should have thought this through. Social anxiety and crowded places do not mix well at all. He could have gotten Zoe or Jared to get the stupid ukulele for him. But because he didn't, here he was.
The only thing the poor boy wants to do now is be at home is his boyfriend's arms but because he loves Connor so much, he is willing to do all this for a damn ukulele.
A loud horn blared to Evan's left, making the poor boy almost jump out of his skin. The horn was telling all the inpatient shoppers that there was ten minutes until the sale. Evan felt a bubble of anxiety build in his chest, a lump that made it almost impossible to do basic tasks. The bubble signaled that the inevitable panic attack would indeed happen soon. He just needed the get the ukulele. He could hold it in, right? Yeah.
"Hey, kid. What are you waiting in line for?" An older woman asked.
"O-oh you see I'm waiting to get a- um- a ukulele! For my- for my partner." Evan stuttered. The anxiety bubble grew, creating a dark hole in Evan's chest.
"I'm waiting for the toaster. Can I give you a word of advice? You're tiny. You can just squeeze past people. Don't let anyone notice, though." The lady advised.
Evan let out a sigh of relief. He wasn't going to have to fight her for the instrument.
"Oh, um, thankyou. Thankyou v-very much, yes."
The lady nodded and went back to staring at the other shoppers, trying to intimidate them. Evan slowly inched his way out of the cans. There was only three minutes left.
The Hansen boy looked around with his blue eyes. There were five other customers who looked ready to throw fists if they didn't get their ukulele. One especially scary girl was staring at Evan like he just broke her most valuable possession.
Evans gut twisted with regrets and anxiety. He wanted to just leave the store and leave the small string instrument.
"No, you need to get Connor the ukulele! You don't want to seem weak, do you?"
Evans throat closed up even more and just the thought of opening his mouth to talk made him nauseous. He knew that the moment he tried to say anything, the sobs would start. This panic attack was gonna happen. Nothing could stop it now.
A screeching hideous sound blasted to Evans right. Workers dressed in blue scrambled to cut the ribbons protecting all the precious items for sale.
It was complete madness! People were screaming and babies were crying. Evan knew he had to be quick. He squeezed through two bickering mothers and raced towards the ukulele display. There were three left. Evan reaches out a shaky hand and gripped the ukulele box will all his strength.
He did it! He got the stupid ukulele that Connor wanted so much.
Evans small moment of victory was soon ruined as a bald man violently poked his arm. Oh no. No. The last thing the boy needed right now was being touched by a stranger.
"Oh, sorry kiddo! I didn't see you there." The man tightly squeezed Evan's trembling shoulder.
The blonde let out a sharp squeak and ducked out of the mans grip. He booked it to the men's bathroom, running into a stall and locking the door. Evan carefully placed his prize on the ground before crumbling into a tight ball.
The shaking boy pulled out his phone and typed Connor's name. He pulled up his contact before texting what he thought was a well thought out text.
To Connor: he lp. panik tack at walmart. in third stall at bthrom. please. i rlly need you.
Evan's thumb slammed down on the send button and he lost it. The pale teen let out a harsh sob and tightly clutched his hoodie covered chest.
"Connor was for sure going to hate him! He's annoying and stupid! He can't even buy his boyfriend a present!"
Evan's mind raced with outcomes and what ifs. A ding brought his attention back to the phone.
From Connor: Hey Evy. I'm pulling in right now. It's okay, you're not annoying me at all.
It was like Connor could read his thoughts! Or maybe it was just that Evan had had multiple episodes with his boyfriend.
The bathroom door slammed against the wall and someone speed walked into the small room. Evan watched as the feet stopped in front of his stall.
"Evan? It's me. It's Connor. Can you please unlock the door?" A soothing voice said.
Connor. It was Connor.
Evan slowly stretched out his arm and turned the lock before quickly curling up against the wall again. He felt Connor kneel down a few feet away from him.
"Hey babe. Can I hold your hand, please?" The older boy softly spoke to the Evan ball.
Evan firmly shook his head no.
Connor asked so nicely though. Oh god. Evan just told him no! The small boy threw his closed fist up to his chest and frantically made large circles, repeatedly signing 'sorry.'
"No, no you're okay, Ev. I'm not mad. It's okay. I don't need to touch you to help you. Shh."
Connor made sure he gave Evan plenty of space. The lanky teen softly hummed a song that had played on the radio earlier that day. Connor could see his boyfriend's shoulders start to unclench and loosen up.
The Murphy boy continued humming until Evan finally looked up at him. The shaking boy reached out a small hand and wiggled his fingers. Connor let out a light laugh and took a hold of Evan's hand.
"Do you want a hug now?"
"Not yet, please." Evan signed.
Connor nodded and looked around the small stall. His eyes stopped on the ukulele and his breath hitched.
"Oh...Evan. Were you shopping because of me?"
Evan slightly nodded and gave his partners hand a tight squeeze.
"I'm sorry. I wanted to do this one thing by myself, but I couldn't! I'm sorry." The crying boy said with his hands.
"No, no. Baby, you didn't have to get this for me. But, you did! You did so well grabbing it! I'm so proud of you, love." Connor reassured.
The blonde let a small smile take over his lips as he listened to his boyfriend. He nodded a little as a thanks.
"How about we blow this popsicle stand? We can head home and watch Friends with some ice cream. How about that?" The lanky gay boy reasoned.
Evan thought for a moment before coming to a conclusion.
"Yes please. Can I have a hug now, please?" Ev signed.
Connor smiled softly and brought the boy into a gentle hug. He buried his face into the blondes hair and inhaled the lovely vanilla scent.
The pair slowly made their way out of the crowded store, making sure to pay for the ukulele. Connor made sure to leave little kisses all over Evan's head and face, whispering sweet words every once in a while.
Evan would always have his bad days and episodes, but as long as Connor was there, he could make it out alive.