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An Introduction

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Guide released a deep exhale. He sat at the dining room table, his heart pounding so fast in his ears that it drowned out the conversation Good was having with his mom.

Good looked over their mom’s shoulder at him and quirked an eyebrow. Guide could only give an awkward nod in response as the grip on his phone tightened.

Right then, the phone rang, and Guide immediately checked it.

He was here.

It was now or never. Guide stood up.

“Where are you going?” His mom asked.

Guide smiled at her in hopes that his nerves didn’t show. According to his mom’s expression, he failed. “The person I invited is here.”

“Ah.” Guide’s mom nodded. Seeming not to need any more information, she turned around and continued her conversation with Good, and Guide made his way to the door.

It had been raining a lot lately, so the weather was nicer than usual and Guide let the cool night air calm him down. It worked. It worked well enough that he forgot what he was about to do until he had opened the gate and saw Tanai, getting off his bike.

Then the night air wasn’t the only thing helping him.

Tanai scanned his boyfriend’s face with a furrow between his brows. Instead of saying something, he instead walked forward and gave Guide’s arm a comforting squeeze.

“You okay?”

Guide reached up with his other hand and squeezed Tanai’s. “Yeah. Just nervous.”

Tanai let go to park his bike inside the house and Guide walked beside him.

“How do you think they’ll react?”

Honestly, in the few months Guide had started dating Tanai, he thought about the answer to that question a lot. In his head, his parents would be collected about this. But in his heart, he felt like maybe he was about to give them a heart attack.

“We’ll see,” he said simply. “Good’s inside. I didn’t tell him what was going on today.”

Tanai parked his bike and then turned around to give Guide his full attention. “At we know one person will be on our side.”

We. God, This was something they were going through together. Guide’s been so nervous that he didn’t notice the signs of it in Tanai too. But he could see it now; the way he kept his fists clenched at his side and the tightness in his smile. Of course Tanai would be nervous.

“You don’t have to be here,” Guide said.

“Oh, really, I don’t?” Tanai asked, his tone laced with amusement. “You’ve been texting me all day.”

“We text all the time anyway!” Guide said as he walked towards the door to go inside.

“So you’re not nervous?” Tanai asked from right behind him.

Guide just rolled his eyes but a smile was sneaking onto his face. When they got back to the dining room, Good and their mom were still talking but their dad was now seated at the table, reading something his phone. Their mom turned around at the sound of them approaching and gave them her best hostess smile.

“This must be the friend you invited,” she said. His dad looked up from his phone, while Good became alert at the sight of Tanai, already figuring out what was happening.

Without lingering on his feelings too much, Guide grabbed one of the fists clenched at Tanai’s side, opened his hand, and intertwined their fingers together. “Actually, mom, this is my boyfriend, Tanai. He’s Runway’s neighbour.”

Silence.

Her eyebrows shot up. His dad blinked. Good was glancing between their parents. After what felt like a lifetime (but what was probably 10 seconds), their parents exchanged a look. Guide couldn’t figure out what they were sharing through that telepathy married couples have, but before he could even try to figure it out, his mom turned back to him.

“Honey!” Guide went still. “Why didn’t you tell me the boy you invited was your boyfriend? I would’ve made dessert.”

Next to him, he heard Tanai release an exhale of relief. His mom turned to Good. “Good, can y-”

“I’ll get some ice cream from the store nearby.”

“Such a good son to know exactly what I want,” their mom said fondly with a pat on the cheek. Good grabbed his keys, and gave Guide a comforting squeeze on the shoulder on his way out. After that, Guide felt his soul fully return to his body.

Guide’s mom walked towards them. “Tanai, was it? Nice to meet you.” Tanai did a stiff greeting. She turned her attention to Guide. “When did you become so sneaky? Suddenly introducing your new boyfriend like this.”

“I just thought-” Guide finished but his mom held a hand up to cut him off. She didn’t say anything else, but instead gave Guide a look that was as fond as it was reassuring, and it made him feel like a fool for ever doubting her

His dad on the other hand… was still blinking where he was sat.

Guide gestured at him with a nod. “What about dad?”

“He’s just a bit shocked. He’ll be fine by the time Good gets back.” His mom waved flippantly, as if dissolving the subject from the air. “Now.” She guided Tanai to the table. “I hope you like noodles.”

His boyfriend’s face stayed nervously stoic as ever, but the tension was disappearing from his shoulders, and Guide couldn’t help but laugh, both in relief and at the sight of his dad stuttering an introduction.