"Mom, there's something I need to talk to you about."
Hilde van Kamp turned from where she was sitting at the dining room table and faced her son. Reed was fiddling with his hands – something she had come to see over the years was something he only did whenever it was drastic. He wouldn't meet her eyes, instead choosing to stare at his feet. He also had his cell phone in his hand.
It was Christmastime, and mother and son were spending the holiday in their small mansion home in northern Ohio, until Reed was leaving for the Dalton New Year's Party, this year being held by Justin in Chicago. At the moment, snow was softly falling outside, tiny white blurs filling the dark sky.
Hilde twisted in her seat and stood up. "Alright then dear, what is it?"
"You probably want to sit down." Hilde sat back down and watched as Reed sat down next to her. He placed his cell phone on the table and sighed. He seemed to be mustering the courage to say something.
"Darling, what's wrong?" Even Hilde – who didn't know her son as well as his roommates at Dalton – could tell that something huge must've happened for Reed to being acting like this. Reed pursed his lips. "I need to tell Dad too." Hilde made a face – she had divorced Reed's father for a reason. He had a temper and paranoia issues.
"Alright then, call him. Put him on speakerphone." Reed nodded and activated the touch screen. When the phone was dialing, he placed the phone on the table and held his breath. The dial tone rung for a few seconds, and then it was picked up. "Reed?"
"Er, Dad, there's something I need to tell you and Mom." Reed began. Hilde glanced distastefully at the phone.
"Hold on a second…" There was the sound of him talking to someone on the other end – it sounded like Lianna, his current wife. Reed wondered if Clark was there – Lianna's son, and his stepbrother.
"Alright, talk to me."
Reed screwed up his face, closing his eyes for a second. Finally, he blurted out, "I'm gay."
* One Week Earlier!*
Reed rested his head on Shane's chest. The younger boy had his arms wrapped around him. The two were lying on the couch in Shane's room. They had been watching a movie, then had turned to kissing a bit, and now were just cuddling. The warmth was intoxicating, and Reed had felt his eyes drifting shut when he remembered what he had wanted to tell Shane.
"Hey Shane?" he mumbled, feeling the weight of Shane's arm around his shoulders.
"Yeah?" replied his boyfriend, sounding equally tired.
"I've been thinking of telling my parents that I'm…gay." He said a little nervously. Shane shifted his head slightly so that he was smiling down at the small boy curled up next to him. "Really?" he asked, reaching down and brushing a stray curl off of Reed's face.
"Yeah. I'd have to tell Dad over the phone – I'm not sure how'd he handle it. But I don't see him that often, so it won't matter much. Mom will probably be alright with it." Reed paused and said, "I want her to meet you too."
Shane blinked. He had not been expecting that. "Will she be okay with you having a boyfriend?"
"Probably. She may give you a talk –" Shane winced, "- but nothing too big."
Reed began to ramble. "If you don't want to, that's ok -"
Shane put a finger to Reed's lips, half-marveling over how soft they were. "I'll come. In case," he gulped, "things don't turn out as planned."
Reed nodded and sighed, tightening his arm around Shane's waist. "If things go badly, I don't want you to come. Then they'll just get worse."
"Then I'll take you out afterwards. Get ice cream or something." Shane said comfortingly.
"Thank you, for doing this." Reed breathed, closing his eyes.
"Don't thank me; it's part of the job of a boyfriend to be there for you when you need me." Shane winked at Reed, who blushed.
They lay there in silence for a bit, and Shane said, "So, you're sure?"
"That you're gay? 'Cause when we got together, you said you still weren't sure."
Reed pursed his lips. "Yeah, I've been thinking a lot about that. It's not something I can really explain, but…yeah."
Shane leaned down and kissed him briefly. Reed tasted like strawberries and another sweet something that Shane can't name. He smiled tenderly at his adorable boyfriend and smoothed his hair a bit. "I'm happy for you."
Reed sighed happily. It was these moments that he treasured most – simply lying there knowing that Shane was right there and feeling his heartbeat beneath him.
*Back to the Present!*
There was a moment of shocked silence.
Reed closed his eyes and lowered his head. The next few moments of his life were by far going to be the most important. He waited, waiting to hear words, either encouraging or angry…
Reed flinched at the shocked and harsh voice over the phone.
The voice of his father got angrier. "No son of mine is going to be a fag. This is your fault, Hilde, dammit!" Reed felt a sob rise up in his chest. He drew in a shuddering breath. His father continued on his rant.
Hilde had been sitting in mild surprise until that moment. Reed coming out was always something she had half-expected. She had raised him in a world of couture and fashion, and technically, it was her fault. But she felt no shame. If this was the way her son wanted to be, then so be it. Now, as she saw her son be shot down and called names by his own father, she felt a fiery animosity rising in her chest.
"I'll call you back Winston." She said shortly and ended the call. She placed a hand on Reed's quaking shoulder. "Are you ok dear?" She abruptly realized what a silly question that was. Her son was ready to wail from the look of him.
"Is there anything you need?"
Reed looked up at her with tear-filled eyes. "Mom, in fifteen minutes the doorbell is going to ring. The boy at the door's name is Shane Anderson, and he's been my boyfriend for the past ten months. Can you please just show him where my room is when he gets here? I wanted…*swallow*…I wanted to introduce him to you."
Hilde blinked in surprise. A boyfriend too? Her son had quite a life behind her back. But she nodded all the same and said, "Of course." Reed smiled. "Do you mind?"
Hilde smiled. "No, I don't dear." She reached out and squeezed his hand in a display of rare maternal affection. Reed looked a bit stunned at it, but relished it all the same. At least it meant someone in his family stood up for him.
Reed smiled faintly. "Thank you, for accepting me." Hilde smiled again and said, "Go on up to your room. I'll send him up when he gets here." When she hears Reed trip going up the stairs, she puts her head in her hands and sighs.
*Up in Reed's Room!*
As soon as the door shut, Reed felt sobs rising in his chest. He fell on to his bed and curled up underneath the covers. The lights were off, so everything was dark and cozy – the exact opposite of what Reed was feeling inside.
He had never been close to his father. His parents had divorced when he was very small, so he hardly remembered a life when they had got along. But still, hearing those…names, coming out of his father, knowing that they were aimed at him, hurt. Like a knife digging deeper and deeper. It meant that it didn't matter that Reed was his son – he was gay, and that was enough.
At least his mom had turned out the way he had expected. He was relieved that she was welcoming to his sexuality. It was even better that he saw her more often than he saw his father.
And Shane would be there soon. Things would look up then…oh dear God, would he understand? What if he didn't want a pitiful boyfriend who was shot down so easily, what if he yelled? Images of Shane calling him names…weak, pitiful, useless, insignificant…filled his head. Stop crying, he told himself firmly, because then what'll he say?
But his self-imposed scolding didn't stop the racking sobs coming out of his chest and falling softly on to the pillow.
True to Reed's word, the doorbell rang. Hilde was sitting at the dining room table again, working on her laptop. She had just finished a full-on rage against her ex-husband, and had hung up feeling quite proud of herself.
She crossed the foyer and opened the set of French doors. Shane was standing on the stoop, looking a little apprehensive. He had called up his brother and his brother's boyfriend, begging for help on what to wear. Kurt had responded happily, fitting him in a pair of simple skinny jeans, a red turtleneck, and a formal button-up brown coat.
"You must be Shane." Hilde said gently, appraising the ensemble. Not bad...she thought. His hair was extremely untidy, so she suspected that this was not his usual dress. At least he wants to make a good impression.
Shane swallowed the lump in his throat and said bravely, "It's nice to meet you, Ms. van Kamp."
Hilde stood back and let him in. Shane, remembering his brother's directions, dusted the snow off of his shoulders and swiped his shoes on the welcome mat. Stepping in the room, he gazed around, hoping for a glimpse of Reed to reassure him that he wouldn't be stuck in this situation for long. No luck.
"Reed's upstairs." Hilde looked Shane in the eye as she closed the door. "Did you know he was coming out tonight?"
"Yes ma'am. He wanted to introduce me to you."
Hilde sighed tiredly. "His father…didn't take it too well, to say the least."
Oh no…Shane went stark pale and his hands began to shake. "…and to say the worst?" he ventured timidly.
"Reed probably needs you up there now."
Shane blinked away a tear. His Reed, his boyfriend, his love, was upstairs probably sobbing. The sight of Reed crying was the worst thing Shane had ever seen in his life, and he had made a vow to let it happen as little as possible on his watch. He nodded and said, "Thank you." He turned on his heel and raced up the stairs. "Second door on the right!" Hilde called. She heard the door open and then close again.
*Back in the Bedroom!*
Reed had heard the doorbell ring, and the door open. He had heard his mother and Shane speaking briefly downstairs, and the thump thump thump as Shane charged up the stairs. Then the door had opened.
"Reed?" Shane's voice sounds worried. The sound of the door closing, the sound of Shane coming up the metal staircase that connects Reed's loft bedroom to the second floor door, and Reed feels the sheets shift. The comforter is pulled back, and Reed buries his face in the pillow, hoping to hide his red, streaky face.
Shane's unprepared for the sight – Reed's curled up as if trying to protect himself from the world. Even before he ensconces himself in the pillowcase, Shane catches a glimpse of the tears streaks – even if he didn't, he has the huge wet mark on the pillowcase to prove his theory. "Oh, Reed…"
"Shane, I-I'm sorry! I'm so s-sorry!" Reed's voice is muffled by the pillow, and he pulls the comforter back over his head. He hears a sigh and the mattress shifts.
Suddenly, the cover is lifted, and Shane slides in between the sheets with him. Warmth fills the air under the blankets and Reed feels like sleeping. But he feels Shane's gentle hand on his shoulder turning him over to face him. When they're facing Shane wraps his arms around the fragile boy, holding him close to his chest. Reed doesn't respond, and Shane worries. "I'm sorry…" Reed mumbles again.
"Why are you sorry?" Shane asks, his voice filled with pain.
"…w-well, look at me! I'm falling apart! I'm not strong enough!" Reed chokes on another sob, and Shane holds him closer, shushing him gently.
"No, Reed, you are not falling apart. I wouldn't expect anything less after whatever…happened. Please don't ever think that you're weak."
"…did my mom tell you what happened?"
"She just said it didn't go well."
Reed sighs a rattling breath and rests the side of his head against the front of Shane's neck. Shane moves one hand up to hold the other side of his face against his chest.
"He just said that he didn't want a f...well, you know. He blamed my mom for bringing me up like this, and called me more names. Said he'd make me change…" Reed suddenly feels something wet in his hair, and looks up. He can't see Shane's face clearly, but he can see the glimmer of tear streaks. "W-why are you crying?"
"Because you are. I can't stand it when you cry."
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'll stop!"
"No! Not like that! I just hate seeing you cry, because it means someone hurt you, and I wasn't around to protect you!" Shane also begins to cry. Reed reaches up with his thumb and wipes away a fat tear.
"Neither of us knew how this was going to end, so neither of us could have clearly prepared for it." Reed says gently. He smiles a watery smile. "Don't blame yourself."
Shane grins weakly. "See? You are strong. You're the one who's hurt, and you're the one comforting me." Shane runs a hand through Reed's curls, and Reed sighs contentedly. "…thank you for…being here." He says, remembering the visions of an angry Shane from earlier.
"Where else would I be?" Shane asks.
Reed sighs again. "…I thought that you wouldn't want a weak boyfriend like me."
Another sob chokes out of Shane, and he holds Reed tighter and closer than before. "You listen to me, Reed van Kamp. You're a wonderful, caring person, and you always think of others before you think of yourself. You're adorably clumsy and beautiful; when I first saw you, I saw fireworks go off in my head. You have the most amazing voice I've ever heard, like an angels, and you are the most important thing in my life -!"
Shane doesn't finish, because Reed throws his arms around Shane's neck (as awkward as that is when you're lying in a bed) buries his face in Shane's neck and begins to sob again. Shane hugs him close to his body and cries too.
After a full fifteen minutes of lying and crying, Reed retracts his arms. The streaks are still there, but his eyes are dry. "Feeling better?" Shane asks gently. Reed nods. "You're here. That's all I need."
Shane closes his eyes, his hand absentmindedly stroking Reed's cheek.
Shane opens his eyes again. "What?"
"You're amazingly caring too – you'd fight to the death for someone you loved. I love it when you hold me, because it feels like home. You're always smiling and you light up a room when you smile. You can put a positive or funny spin on anything, even when it's hopeless. Whenever I'm with you, I feel like I can just be myself, I…" Reed's voice falters mid-rant, "…I've never once felt confused around you."
Shane feels like he could die right there, but then Reed stretches up and kisses him soundly. Shane's arms immediately curve around Reed, holding him flush against him. Reed's lips are soft and gentle and warm, and Shane savors every single kiss. They'll never be enough, but he has now to enjoy it.
"I love you." He whispers faintly in Reed's ear. Reed smiles against his neck.
"I love you too."
AN: Oh the tears! :( There you go. My idea of how Reed's coming out. I always thought Reed's dad would be kind of a douche – Hilde divorced him for some reason – and plus we've got to throw in a little angst – which leads to hurt – and then fluff.
Peace to the World!