"Are you sure we should go through with it?"
TJ Kippen rolled his eyes and took his boyfriend's hands into his own. In part, this was done to calm him down. It also prevented him from pacing up and down frantically and biting his nails. "For the thousandth time already, yes. They'll have it figured out regardless if we haven't told them by the end of next week." Cyrus squeezed his hand like a stress ball and nodded.
"That's true. Tomorrow morning, then, at the Spoon?"
"Yes," he said, frustrated. "How hard can it be, at the end of the day?"
"Well, I'm sorry for this being a big deal for me." The dark-haired boy told his boyfriend as he gripped one of the chains on the swings too tight, a thinly veiled layer of hurt hiding under his sarcastic tone. Sometimes, TJ really underestimated how nerve-wracking even the smallest of tasks could be for him, let alone telling his friends about the first guy he'd ever dated. Yes, they'd probably suspected that they were together by now, but that didn't mean they couldn't officially announce it to them.
Seeing the hurt flit across Cyrus' face, the blond stopped in his tracks, his face softening. "I'm sorry, Cy. You know I didn't mean it like that. I'll try to be more understanding about your anxiety in the future, I promise." He accompanied this by stroking his thumb across the boy's hand.
He shrugged. "It's okay. I know you're learning still, and I'm used to people underestimating or disregarding it anyway. That's just what it's like to be me."
The corners of TJ's lips turned downwards into a frown. "Well, it shouldn't be. People should be more understanding of you."
Those words brought out a little smile in him. "Thanks, Teej."
"No problem. Now, what do you say we head over to the bakery and pick up a batch of fresh baked chocolate chocolate chip muffins?" His grin lit his face up.
"That sounds perfect to me," he said, and off they went, just another happy couple out on a late afternoon walk, mentally steeling themselves for what they were about do the very next day.
"Then I was like, that's amazing!"
Cyrus nodded along as Andi told him about an art friend of hers, the closest friend she'd made at SAVA-Jenny, he recalled-discovering that she was about to become an older sister. "It is! I bet she's excited."
"She is, for sure! That's big news," she pointed out. Boy, do I have some big news for you (and everyone else here), the boy thought. Yet the words got stuck at the back of his throat. He fixed a tight smile on his face and glanced over to the next table at his boyfriend, who was currently arm wrestling with Buffy and winning, despite Marty (the commentator) claiming otherwise, and arguing with the referee, Jonah, about it. Amber and Walker were sketching together on opposite ends of this table to them. It was a peaceful scene.
That was, until TJ officially thrashed his best friend at the arm wrestling match. "No fair!" she complained, competitive as ever and acting like a petulant child who'd just been denied a shiny new toy. "Your hands are bigger than mine! How am I supposed to win when your hands are elephantine?"
He raised an eyebrow. "Elephantine? That's a rather impressive word to come out of a loser's mouth, Driscoll."
Sipping on his chocolate milkshake, amused, he watched Marty and Buffy proceed to bicker with TJ, while Jonah tried his best to mediate and prevent a genuine argument from arising. "Boys, eh?" Amber muttered to Andi, who murmured her agreement and gave her girlfriend the most lovesick puppy eyes Cyrus had ever seen. He turned away. TJ caught his eye and smirked in acknowledgement.
Once the dispute had been settled, all was serene again; nobody else was present in the Spoon at that particular time, what with it being so early on in the morning. Walker and Amber seemed satisfied with their artwork, and a lull had appeared in his conversation with Andi. Taking a deep breath, he pushed his chair back and tapped a spoon against the side of his drink. "I have an important announcement to make!" TJ gazed at him, confused, and he amended himself, gesturing for the boy to stand with him. "We've got an announcement to make." They held the entire group's full attention now.
"Go on, Cyrus!" Andi yelled. "You've got this!" He shot her a grateful smile and continued.
Andi, Buffy, Jonah, Amber, Walker, Marty. We've got something big to tell you all..." Smiling, he turned to his boyfriend, who nodded at him reassuringly.
"Oh my God, you're pregnant with TJ's baby, aren't you?" This was punctuated by an overly dramatic gasp.
"I swear to God, Martin-"
"It's Marty from the Party. You should know that, Driscoll." He shook his head in despair and turned to the couple. "So, when's the baby due?"
"MARTY!" Naturally, he didn't get the memo and back down.
"No baby, then?"
"No baby!" They confirmed.
"Alright. So, you're getting married and moving to Spain, right?"
Cyrus sighed. "Marty..."
"Am I invited to the wedding?"
TJ gritted his teeth. "Not at this rate, you're not."
"Who invited him?" Andi asked.
"I don't know, but never again." Buffy groaned, banging her head on the table she was sat on.
Feeling as anxious as ever, Cyrus cleared his throat to bring the attention back to him. "On a more serious note, TJ and I are dating. What do you guys think of this?"
A silence descenced among the group. TJ grabbed Cyrus' hand to drive the point home.
"You are?" Jonah, the first person to break the silence, wondered out loud.
Both boys nodded at the same time. "Congratulations! I'm so happy for you both!" Amber articulated.
"As am I," Walker added with a small nod of approval.
"I can't say I'm surprised in the slightest," Marty deadpanned.
That was fair enough. They'd hardly been subtle over the course of the week, giving each other warm smiles and affectionate looks the entire time. Which hadn't been very long. But still.
"You're together? Like, you're a couple now?" Andi checked.
"Yep," Cyrus confirmed with a chuckle. His nerves had largely abandoned him. Only Buffy was left to contribute. She was zoning in on their hands, her facial expression unreadable. That girl would probably win a game of Poker with ease, he observed.
"Buffy?" TJ prompted. "What do you think about the two of us getting together?"
She grinned. "So you finally listened to my advice, dumbass." Everyone laughed at this. "I'm happy for you both, of course."
"As is everyone here, I think it's safe to say," Andi commented. Murmurs of assent rose among the members of the group. TJ kissed Cyrus' hand. They all surged towards the couple, moving as one, and enveloped the overjoyed couple into a group hug.
"I love you," TJ mouthed to Cyrus over everybody else's heads.
"I love you too," Cyrus mouthed back. And it was true. As it turned out, it always would be.
They were happier than they'd ever been before now that their friends were made aware of their relationship, and for the time being, that was all that mattered in the world.