"-I'm tellin' ya, Sthu-ball. Cannoli's are just dessert strombolis."
Steven wiped some whipped cream off his nose, licking it from his thumb with an eager grin. "Agree to disagree, dad."
"Want the last one?"
He gladly took the pastry, breaking it in two. "Halfsies?" Steven offered, and Greg didn't argue. The Beach City sun was warm on the hybrid's face as he swung his legs off the edge of the porch, relishing in the organic comforts he'd deprived himself of for Homeworld's sake.
Greg looked at his cannoli, then sighed and set it aside. "Steven, I've been meaning to talk to you about something."
A rush of panic hit Steven's veins. It felt a bit like plunging into ice water. It's stupid- of the adults in his life, his dad has never hurt him- but talk usually meant secrets and secrets meant more to worry about. More to fight. More to fix. He set his own down, no longer hungry.
"Okay," he said, and gave him a winning smile to show just how okay it was(n't). "What's up?"
"It's just..." Greg suddenly reconsidered his cannoli, shoving it into his maw so he didn't have to speak. Steven's heart constricted. It was bad enough when adults asked to talk- when they did something else to think over the words first, that meant it was gonna hurt. A lot. Ideas formed and fell apart in his mind as he tried to brace himself for it.
Finally, after much chewing, he went on. "You know I'll always love Rose, right?"
Steven stared at him, thoroughly thrown for a loop. "Yes?"
"And you. I love you, buddy."
"I know, dad. You're my dad."
"Sure am," he agreed, running his hand over his bald head. "It's just... well, I have this lady friend, and-"
"You got a date?" Steven clutched his chest. "Stars, dad, you made me think it was the end of the world! Again!"
"Sorry, sorry! I just... wanted to make sure it was okay with you."
He bit his lip. There were a lot of responses banging about in his skull- chief of which being I'm not a Diamond, no one should take orders from me, ever, about anything- but it took a second to shuffle the appropriate one to the front. "Dad, I'm not a little kid. Heck, even if I was- if you've met someone you wanna be with, you should go for it." Steven tapped his fingernails on the railing. "Do I... know this lady friend?"
"Huh? Oh, yeah, sure. You know Barb."
Steven's brain did the equivalent of dial-up noises. "Ms. Miller?"
"Mm," said Greg, setting his chin on his hand. "She knows a thing or two about- well, about losing someone special. And raising someone special after that." He huffed out an awkward laugh. "And, I mean, she's really pretty."
"Does Sadie know about this?"
"I dunno. I assume so."
Steven breathed out his nose and leaned on Greg's side complacently. "I'm happy for you, dad."
Greg's arm encircled his shoulders and squeezed. "Thanks, Steven."
Group Chat: Teen Alert
Starboy: sadiekiller are u going to tell everyone or am I
Pizzasux: oh god
Pizzasux: steven what does that even mean
Starboy: it means i'm too akmdolsokdcls for proper grammar
glowstix: big mood
sadiekiller: I mean you can if you want
sadiekiller: i'm still processing it
Starboy: ye that's fair
Starboy: so it turns out my dad and Sadie's mom are
Starboy: a thing now?
Connie: steven is midnight go to bed
Connie: wait nevermind I just caught up
Connie: steven what the fuck
glowstix: Big MoodTM
glowstix: ok but srsly are u ok
glowstix: adjusting to step-shennegians can be tough
sadiekiller: I have no idea tbh
Starboy: if he's happy I'm happy
sadiekiller: that's literally not an answer
Starboy: ur mom is nice
Starboy: and I want my dad to be happy
Starboy: and I'm not gonna make it more complicated than that
Connie: want me to call
Connie: I'm staying up late to study
Starboy: yes pls
Starboy: g'night everyone else I love you