Disclaimer: I don't own, I RENT.
A/N: Thanks for all the great reviews! –cookie to all- This chapter won't be quite as lighthearted as the first, I'll warn you now. Enjoy!
Angel waved to Mark and strolled off back to her apartment. She whistled a merry tune, thinking of Collins, who was probably already home. He only had one morning class today, so he always got home pretty early.
She bounded up the stairs to their apartment, newly-earned coins jangling in her jacket pocket.
"Collins?" she called as she opened the door, dropping her tub off to one side. She pried off her sneakers with her toes, sock feet padding silently on the hard floor as she went into the living room.
A mischievous grin spread across her face as she spotted Collins lying on the couch. The TV was blaring, but the professor was currently engrossed in his newest book.
Angel crept up silently to the end of the couch by his feet. 3… 2... 1…
"GOTCHA!!!" she yelled, pouncing over the arm of the couch onto his chest. Collins let out a surprised "argh!", dropping his book over the edge of the couch.
Angel gave him a catlike grin, repeating, "Gotcha!"
Collins waited for his pounding heart to slow down again before laughing and nodding. "Mmhmm, you did. And now for your prize!" He pulled her up further, capturing her lips in a long kiss.
Angel eventually pulled away, smile even wider now. "Honey, I need to go change, okay?" she plucked at her t-shirt, then hopped up and skipped off to the bedroom to find her favorite skirt. Collins laughed again, settling back on the couch and picking his book up again.
The book hit the floor with a thud as a loud knock on the door sounded through the apartment, startling him. He picked the book up, set it on the coffee table, and went to go answer the door.
"What the hell do you want???" he demanded as soon as he saw who it was. His parents had basically disowned him as soon as they found out he was gay; why would they come here?
His father adjusted his tie uncomfortably. "We're not allowed to look in on our only son after seven years?"
Collins eyed them. "I thought you decided you didn't have a son."
Ms. Collins coughed awkwardly. "Yes, well, we're sorry about that, dear." She wrung her hands for a moment. "Can we come in?"
The professor glared at them for another moment, then turned and walked away ungraciously, leaving the door open. His parents traded an exasperated glance, then cautiously stepped over the threshold.
Collins plopped onto the couch, staring pointedly at the flickering TV. After a moment of uncomfortable silence, his father made an effort to start a conversation. "So, you're teaching?"
"Ah…" They lapsed into silence for another moment, then his mother gave it a try. "So, are you… um… seeing anyone?"
Collins's shoulders de-tensed a tiny bit at the very thought of her. "Yes, I am."
His father took a deep breath. "Can… can we meet… him?"
Abruptly, Collins stood up and headed back to the bedroom. "I'll go get her. Wait here." His parents exchanged another glance; her?
Angel was just fixing her black bob wig on her head when Collins came in. "Oh, hi honey!" She frowned at the tense expression on his face, turning around to face him fully. "What's wrong?"
Collins sighed deeply. "My parents. They just showed up out of nowhere a minute ago, and now they want to meet you…"
Angel furrowed her eyebrows. "Didn't they…?" she remembered something Collins had told her a while back, when she'd asked why his parents never called.
"Yeah, but apparently they've changed their minds." He walked over to Angel and enfolded her in a hug. "Baby, please remember this; no matter what they may say, I love you."
"I love you, too," she replied, planting a gentle kiss on his lips.
Collins was comforted by Angel's soft hand in his as they walked back out into the living room. "Mom, Dad, this is Angel."
At first, his mother looked confused. Realization dawned on her as her husband whispered something in her ear, and her face hardened. Angel felt Collins give her hand a light squeeze. She did the same to his, rubbing her thumb comfortingly back and forth on the back of his hand.
"Thomas, can we speak to you privately?" His father asked stiffly, looking down his nose at Angel.
They're just like the others… Angel mused.
Collins scowled at them, keeping his hold on his lover's hand. "Anything you need to say to me, you can say in front of Angel."
Angel forced a smile. "No, it's okay. I'll go get some lunch ready." Giving Collins's hand one last squeeze, she kissed him lightly on the cheek and headed into the kitchen.
The anarchist crossed his arms over his chest. "What's the problem /now/?"
"You know exactly what the problem is!" Collins was a little startled by the anger and disgust in his father's voice. "It's bad enough that you're… you're…. queer, but this?!? You're dating a transvestite, for Pete's sake!"
"It doesn't matter! Whether she's dressed in skirts or a sweatshirt, I love her!" His parents looked taken aback at the passion in his voice.
In the silence that followed, Angel could be very clearly heard rattling around in the kitchen. Collins glared at his parents for another moment, then said in a forcedly calm voice "I think you'd better leave."
His father drew himself up, and, without another word, both of his parents stalked out of the room. The front door closed with a loud slam.
Collins slowly relaxed his clenched fists, sensing more than seeing the crescent moon imprints left by his fingernails.
He turned to see Angel standing in the doorway to the kitchen, fiddling with the hem of her sweater. She gazed at his face for a long moment, and he could see the concern in her expressive brown eyes. "I'm sorry…"
She looked down at the floor, but a moment later, she felt Collins's arms wrap around her. "Never say that. You have nothing to be sorry for, my Angel. Just because my parents are stupid and close-minded doesn't mean you should be ashamed of who you are."
The passionate kiss that followed this was cut short by another knock on the door. Angel reluctantly drew away, padding out into the hall.
"Who's there?" she called as she reached the door, not wanting to have to deal with Collins's parents again.
"Um… we came to see Angel." The answer came back quietly. "We're her parents."
Angel froze, eyes widening. She fled back into the living room, calling "One moment!"
Collins caught her as she came barreling through the door. "Hey, baby, what's wrong?" He felt her bury her face in his chest, something she always did when she was upset.
"My parents…" she mumbled, "They've come too."
Her lover glanced towards the front door. "Do they know?" Angel shook her head. Collins stroked her wig hair gently. "Are you ready to show them?"
Angel paused, then nodded. "Yeah. About time they learned who their daughter really is." A determined look on her face, she marched back to the front door and opened it.
Her parents looked taken aback. "Hello. Does Angel Schunard still live here?" her mother had a polite look that suggested she didn't recognize Angel.
"Hi Mom, Dad." Angel greeted them with a cheerful grin, reverting to Spanish.
She had to bite back a laugh at the dumbfounded look on both of their faces. "Angel? What… what are you wearing??" her mother asked slowly.
Angel twirled around, showing off her floral skirt. "Isn't it cute? I made it myself." She figured, if she acted like it was no big deal, they'd move on. The drag queen saw them exchange a glance, then her mother smiled slightly.
"Yes, it is cute. You made that?"
Angel smiled widely, glad they weren't making a big deal out of it. "Yeah, out of an old shower curtain." She heard a meaningful cough from the living room, glancing over her shoulder to see Collins poking his head into the hall with a questioning look.
She turned back to her parents, beckoning them with one hand. "Here, come on in. There's someone I want you to meet."
The drag queen led her parents through the hall and into the living room, where Collins was on the couch with his nose buried in a book. Angel bit back a laugh; the title was upside-down.
He glanced up from his book, did a double take as if he was surprised to see her parents there, and stood up, setting the book off to one side. Angel stepped over beside him, feeling his arm wrap around her waist in a familiar embrace. "Mom, Dad, this is my boyfriend, Collins. Tom Collins." Collins smiled, getting the general idea of what she'd said by the way she'd used his name.
The anarchist leaned down and whispered something to Angel, who immediately whispered back. Collins then put out his hand to shake and said, in halting Spanish, "Nice to meet you, Mr. and Ms. Schunard."
Mr. Schunard shook his hand, smiling. "We appreciate the effort, Tom, but I think we're more comfortable speaking in English than you are in Spanish." His voice was heavily accented, but understandable.
Collins chuckled. "Fair enough." He liked Angel's parents already; they seemed much more loose and accepting than his own. "And please, call me Collins. Everybody does."
"So, Collins, where do you work?" Ms. Schunard asked curiously, and Collins was once again struck by the sharp contrast between these people and his parents.
"I teach Computer Age Philosophy at NYU." Just then, the clock struck two, making everyone jump.
"Oh! We have to go, our hotel room is only held for us until two-thirty!" Angel walked her parents to the door, agreeing to meet them for dinner at the Life around six thirty.
The Schunards were about to walk off down the hall when Angel asked quietly. "So you're okay with this? With me?"
Her mother gave her a warm hug. "Of course, sweetie. If you're happy, me and your father are happy"
Mr. Schunard nodded his agreement. "You're our son… I mean, daughter, and you shouldn't be ashamed of who you are, especially around your parents."
"Collins said the same thing a little while ago." Angel laughed lightly.
Her father winked. "I think I like this Collins. He seems like a wise man." With a cheery wave, he and Ms. Schunard headed off down the hall.
Angel stood there watching them for a moment, an unshakable smile on her face. She finally turned and went back inside to spend some quality time with Collins before they went to meet her parents.
I couldn't make everyone's parents mean, now could I? How likely is that? Besides, I have big plans for confrontations between the Schunards and the Collins's. BIG plans. Next chapter will be Maureen and Joanne, which should prove interesting… Leave a /constructive/ review, please! If you liked it, tell me why. If you didn't, tell me why not. Stuff to improve on, etc. Thanks!