A/N: Okay, my apologies! This is another chapter that's been on my hard drive 95% finished for weeks. My personal time had been practically non-existent lately.

This chapter follows directly on from the last. Set through October and early November, its a serious on moments in the boys lives as they begin telling their family and friends about their relationship.

Enjoy! and Happy Holidays.


~o~0~o~

"Okay, so I'm officially moved out of my apartment" Chris stated getting comfortable at the kitchen island, tilting the screen to minimize the glare.

His parents looked at him smiling and proud, clear and crisp over the Skype connection. He wasn't sure whose internet he was stealing, but right now he was happy to have it. It would be another day an a half before a tech guy was scheduled to set up his home network.

"I honestly didn't realize I had so little stuff, the place looks so empty."

"We should totally host a rave." Darren joked coming upstairs and interrupting his conversation. He walked straight up to the computer and gave Chris' parents his signature grin. "I was totally kidding Mr. & Mrs. Colfer – I knew he was talking to you. I was just messing with y'all."

"Karyn and Tim, Darren" Karyn reminded him. Before she could say anything else Darren was walking towards the fridge talking over his shoulder.

"Don't mind me, I just came up for some water – I'm Skyping in on a StarKid rehearsal downstairs. I'll be out of your hair in a second."

"I'd be kinda worried if we didn't see you" Karyn began "What's it been? Like two dozen times since the tour started? I'm starting to wonder if you two are joined at the hip." Thankfully Chris' parents didn't see the blush that started on Chris' neck.

"Well you know Chris, he can't seem to stay away from me" Darren was back in front of the camera, pushing Chris out the way.

"Dar, its my house, you followed me here." Chris said with laughter in his voice.

"Semantics." Darren stated twisting the lid on his bottle and talking a swig. "Listen it was great to see you both but I gotta get down stairs. Give Hannah a hug for me." Darren leaned back, gave Chris a quick kiss on the temple and sprinted from sight.

When Chris looked back at the screen his Mom was wearing a half smile and he was sure his blush was not lost over the internet connection. "It warms my heart how sweet he is to you Bubba" Karyn all but cooed. "I'm glad you're so close with the cast – it makes me feel better being so far from you."

"Yeah, I'm lucky… LA is a hundred and eighty degrees different from Clovis. And I have so many people that love me just the way I am. This year, this season… it's all coming together. I feel like an adult… finally." Chris took a moment to take in his surroundings; he had to tell his parents and he knew it was now or never.

"My god… I own a house." Chris sincerely sounded awed.

"One tenth of a house" Tim joked "You've got a lot of mortgage payments in front of you."

"Yes, but the feeling is wonderful, I have no regrets at all."

"I'm glad you still like it, baby" Karyn smiled inching closer to the screen.

"Are you kidding – I love it. I love being in the canyon away from it all. I am finally the king of my own castle." His parents both laughed. The buttering up was going great – now it was time to lay the blow.

"I asked Darren to move in with me." And he waited. One one thousand. Two one thousand.

"Why?" Tim growled.

"I don't understand?" Karyn tilted her head at a weird angle and Chris was tempted to laugh - just a little.

They had no clue. He had to tell his parents he was moving in with his boyfriend and my god did he not think he would be having this conversation 2 years or 6 months ago. And so Chris decided to just bite the bullet.

"Darren and I are dating." Before he could even expand on his thought process there was a high pitched squeal in the background and Chris made a mental note to get Hannah the biggest and priciest thing on her Christmas list because he felt she was just about to save his ass.

"I knew it! I KNEW IT!" Hannah was coming into view squeezing in between both her parents, ...their parents.

"How did you know?" "What did you know?" "You knew?" Everyone was questioning her at once and Hannah had the audacity to laugh at them all.

"Don't any of you watch Glee?" Hannah began with an air of superiority. "Don't you see the way Blaine looks at Kurt – its too real, too deep, that has to come from somewhere. In scenes Darren is always looking between your eyes and lips – like he wants to kiss you, and when you turn and walk away he's looks at your a–"

"Hannah!" All three yelled at her simultaneously, but she ignored them and continued on.

"Assets. Wow guys… take a chill pill" And all three older Colfers most definitely are not ready to take a chill pill. Karyn is wondering how long Hannah has been able to decipher the lusting glances of young men; Chris is reminding himself to talk to her tutor and get her TV schedule restricted and Tim is just wishing he had never heard his 'baby' make that kind of comment about is oldest's boyfriend. Tim is also wishing they did have chill pills because he suspected he needed one, maybe two and a stiff drink.

Chris is also thinking that this is going worse than he ever could have imagined and that Hannah was going to receive more brotherly advice than presents come Christmas; his sister was taking about kissing and assets – he was somewhere between mortified and disgusted.

Karyn for the most part looks the least flustered and decides to focus on one child at a time. "Hannah – to your room please, we need to talk to Chris."

"Ah …man. Why? …Wait. I wanna talk to Darren first. I mean… please." And she realizes she's kind of over stepped and is pushing it and even while she's saying it there is defeat and compliance in her eyes. She leans into the she screen quickly, realizing her time is short. "Tell Darren I'll call him tomorrow okay?" This statement gets another round of concerned and questioning looks and Hannah just mumbles as she walks back to her room "We're friends – geesh."

As soon as her room door closes both his parents' eyes are back on him and he can see the questions and concerns as they scroll across his parents' faces like a stock market ticker tape or severe storm bulletin. "Honey –" his mom begins and Chris heart breaks a little because suddenly he is thirteen again and both he and his parents are starting to feel and live with the consequences about who and what he is.

"Stop." Chris speaks with more assurance than he feels and right about now he knows he has to give a performance worthy of a third Emmy nomination; he is still wary and cautious with regards to his and Darren's relationship but his parents don't have to know that. "I've made my decision. It's done. I'm sick and tired of watching life go by… its time for me to live a little, to learn how to love and trust, to have faith in people again. You just said Darren is so sweet to me. Well, he's more than sweet to me; he's gentle, he's strong and he understands me. He's had my back from the first day we met and now he has my heart. I'm not scared sharing it with him."

The end of his speech was met with slightly open mouthed gapes and he was wondering if he had over shared. Then he saw the shine on his mom's cheek and watched as a single tear made its way down the side of her mouth. "Okay Honey" she conceded. Unfortunately Tim was not so easily convinced.

"Get Darren back up here." It was a simple statement, but it made Chris' heart pound as if he has just finished a marathon.

"Dad, he's in rehearsal downstairs." Surely reason would prevail, right?

"Call him up here or I'm getting his number from Hannah. I want to see him now." Chris knew when his Dad was serious, and right now he was about as serious as he got.

Chris turned and shouted downstairs "Darren… can you come here for a moment!"

Seconds later Darren was bounding up the stairs. "Wha – what's wrong? You don't sound like yourself."

Chris waved him back over to the computer and he prayed Darren could read his eyes and face as easily as Chris could read his boyfriend's. He hadn't actually told Darren he was telling his parents today. Chris clasped his hands in front of his face and gently bit on the knuckle of his index finger something Darren knew he only did when he was tense.

"Darren." Amber eyes shifted from Chris' face to the computer screen when he realized Chris' parents were still online.

"Hey" Darren answered back, smile on his face, oblivious to what he had just walked into. Like a lamb to the slaughter Chris thought. There was a drawn out moment when none of them spoke and Darren just kept looking between Chris and his parents, confusion growing by the second.

"Darren, I want you to know that I own a gun and I'm not afraid to use it." Chris moaned and dropped his head shaking it absently. This, his dad starts with this.

Besides being sweet and gentle and strong Darren was also smart; plus he had the unfortunate benefit of being on this side of a similar conversation on more than one occasion. The dad talk. He wanted to smile but he was wise enough not to.

"And I hope to never be in a position to ever cause you to use it on me, Tim." Darren said sincerely and reached out and took Chris' hand under the counter.

"You can call me Mr. Colfer."

"Tim!" "Dad!" Mr. Colfer ignored the cries and continued to gaze sternly at Darren.

"Don't you mind him, Darren." Karyn was on damage patrol. "He's all bark and no bite. You know how much we both like you."

"But he does own a gun." The words were soft and far away sounding and it was obvious Hannah was in the doorway of her room listening into the conversation just as she had been earlier.

At the sound of Hannah's voice Darren did allow himself to smile and he shouted loudly "Hi Hannah!"

"Mom?" There was a pleading in the young woman's voice and Karyn waved her over.

"Darren! I'm so happy for you!" Hannah was pressed into the screen giggling and clapping her hands.

"Hey Han, what about me? Aren't you happy for Bubba?" Chris couldn't help but be a little jealous of Hannah's affection for Darren. He wanted to say watch it, he's mine, but he knew it was more of a fan girl reaction than anything so he let it go.

"We are all happy for you, Darling" Karyn eyed her husband and gave him a light shove. Oh, that's where Chris gets it from Darren thought. "Aren't we Tim? …Say something Dear."

Tim cleared his throat, steely eyes never leaving Darren face. "Once my boy's happy, I'm happy." Tim turned slightly directing his gaze to Chris, face softening. "I love you son, from what we've seen of Darren he seems like a great catch, but isn't he – " but he didn't get a chance to finish because Darren was pointedly interrupting.

"And with that… I have to take my leave again if it's alright with you all. Sorry but I can't miss all of the rehearsal." Darren gave a quick wave and flew down the stairs leaving four dumbfounded Colfers in his wake.

Chris was slightly embarrassed and even more confused by Darren's hasty exit and he quickly signed off promising his mother to call her in the next few days.

~o~0~o~

Chris could ignore the alarm, in fact he made a point to ignore the alarm, but he never could ignore the Listerine flavored lips that were ghosting over his. "Time to get up my Love." Darren's voice was warm and sweet just like the Santa Ana winds. By contrast his hands were hot and rough as they pulled him in close. Chris gave out a contented sigh as Darren kissed his neck, hand simultaneously sliding into the back of his Spiderman pajama pants to cup his ass.

"Parts of me are definitely up" Chris purred finally opening his eyes.

"Well I need all of you up now." Chris heard more than felt the smack on his backside. "We've got another crazy week ahead of us. Coffee should be ready by now." Darren opened the bedroom door hoping the scent would make its way upstairs and tempt Chris from underneath the covers.

Chris flipped over and threw back the sheet; the tenting in his pants on full view for Darren. When he didn't get a response from the older man he groaned a little and wiggled his hips. Still Darren didn't bite (well Darren did bite on occasion, just not right then). "Dar, what am I supposed to do with this?"

"Same thing I did when you wouldn't get up half an hour ago. You slept through three snooze alarms and now we don't even have time for a quickie – not that you know what that is."

"That sounds like a challenge."

"It's not a challenge ...it's a fact. You know if we don't get out of here in the next 45 minutes we'll be late for our read through."

"And I for one, am totally fine with that." Chris had draped his arms around Darren's neck from behind. He made a production of breathing in and nipping Darren's ear and Darren could feel his resolve crumbling.

"I'm going to tell Brad it's your fault we were late" Chris smiled as he pulled his boyfriend back onto the bed and straddled him.

"And I'm totally fine with that too. ...Now shut up and kiss me."

~o~0~o~

Why was traffic so heavy this Tuesday morning? It didn't make sense to Chris and more than that it stressed him out. Darren was sitting next to him sipping coffee and singing along with the radio as if he didn't have a care in the world.

"How do you do it?" Chris needed to know.

"Do what?"

Chris had twenty years to master keeping his heart and feelings under lock and key, but with Darren in his life he was slowing learning to open himself a little, to take more risks, to share his feelings even when he found it scary to do so.

"To be honest Dar, between you and the view from my bed, I never wanna get up in the mornings."

"I think it has more to do with the fact that you're letting your new screenplay keep you up 'til all hours – and I don't think going to yet another Halloween party last night helped your cause. My god we partied hard all weekend – and we still can't figure out where you lost your tail."

Chris couldn't suppress his giggle. They did have some crazy fun last weekend. Matt's party didn't suck as much as they though it would – but the party at Naya's after had been even better. Saturday and Sunday were spent in a perpetual state of half drunkenness, with them biding their time until they made it to the next stop on the Halloween party circuit. Thank god Ashley had volunteered to be their designated driver and CrissColfer photo blocker for the weekend and Max had done Chris a big favor by distracting the fan girls away from thinking he might actually be with Darren. It was honestly the most fun Chris had had in as long as he could remember – and knowing that he was going home with Darren every night was the icing on the cake (that Darren was now allowed to eat).

Speaking of eating… "Dar… you did organize everything for this weekend food wise with the caterers right? Hor d'oeuvres for Friday and a full meal for Saturday night?"

"Yes Dear…" Darren replied, exasperated. "Will you stop your worrying. This house warming is gonna be fucking awesome!" But Chris saw him chewing on his nails.

The younger man reached across the car to squeeze Darren's knee. "What do you think your Mom's gonna say? I wish you had told her already."

Darren looked his way and smiled, but the smile didn't reach is eyes. "Chuck and Joey think she and Dad will be fine with it. In college she used to joke about Brian and I getting together. But this is reality you know..."

Chris didn't respond, he just sat there, eyes on the road, chewing his bottom lip. It was Darren's turn to give his knee a squeeze.

" I'm probably jut making a mountain out of a mole hill … my god I grew up in San Francisco – I think they put something in the water… my parents have more gay friends than straight ones. But no matter what happens …it's not gonna change the way I feel about you or how happy I am… 'K."

Chris nodded and tried to make light of the subject. "Well… we could send them three hours of us making out in the back seat of a car and let them come to their own conclusions."

"Ha… I actually thought about that …but Chuck would probably make a copy and sell it to the highest bidder on eBay. Next thing you know… Boom! CrissColfer sex tape."

"You know I wouldn't mine watching that myself. You were all gropey hands and teeth that night. I'm sure Ryan and Eric know somethings is up…"

"That's what he said!"

"Dar, I mean we weren't hiding it well…"

"That's what he said!"

"Aaaw just stop it!"

"That's not what he said"

"You're incorrigible!"

"That's what he said!"

"Are you gonna keep this up all the way to work?"

"That's what he said!"

"Fine! Have it your way!"

"That's what he said!"

And Chris had to laugh because he wouldn't trade this man and this time for all the awards in the world.

~o~0~o~

"I think I'm certifiably insane." Chris looked around and waited for a response but got nothing. "I said… I think –"

"We heard you Boo, We're just ignoring you." Ashley took her eyes of the TV screen long enough to shoot him a smile. Chris expected forty people to swarm his house in the next hour, but right now Ashley, Darren and Joey were testing out the Nintendo downstairs in the den. As a house warming present his costars had gotten Chris (and Darren) almost every game system known to man. Ashley had spent a day at the house last week while a technician had miraculously made them all compatible for use on Chris' new 80" TV.

Chris couldn't put his finger on why he was so nervous. Could it have been his and Darren's serious talk last night about if and when he was going to come out publicly? Was it that he and Dar were even more touchy feely at home than on set and he wasn't sure how the rest of the cast would react? It was kinda weird that no one in the cast had questioned the two of them moving in together or what the status of their relationship was. Was it that in eighteen or so hours both of their families would be spending the weekend with them, everyone sleeping under one roof? How would the Crisses handle it? How would his Dad?

"You know, I love all you guys, but I think I'm going upstairs to throw up" and with that Chris turned his back on his boyfriend and their support system.

"Chris…" It was Joey. Maybe Chris would get some sympathy after all. "If things get to uncomfortable or out of hand tonight, just say the word and I'll gladly tell everyone Darren's my boyfriend and that he just stays over here getting tips from you to bring home to me." His three friends on the couch erupted into laughter; Chris rolled his eyes and wondered if it was too late to call the whole thing off.

~o~0~o~

Why was Chris worried again?

By 10pm almost everyone was at least half cut and he and Darren's friends were getting on fabulously. Chris wondered why he never noticed that Darren had so many guy friends – and cute ones too – not that he noticed or anything, Lea and Amber had commented on it. That said, the party was a little testosterone heavy but no one was complaining, especially not Chris' small group of Gay friends who had camped out on one side of the room and were playing "Is he / isn't he".

At midnight all of the catered food and hard liquor was gone and people had been slowing disappearing, quite a few in pairs (if you know what I'm saying). Chris was feeling relaxed and Darren was getting handsy. Like really handsy. Like Chris-needed-to-take-him-upstairs-and-tie-him-to-a-headboard-to-get-him-to-stop handsy. Not that he had done that before or anything.

Chris had been steering clear of Darren's hands and mouth for about an hour when he realized that most of the guests had left and that only their closest friends remained. Everyone was downstairs trying out their new XBox Kinect Dance Central. Their Glee costars, two guys Chris met through his agency (Max was one of them) and half of Darren's roommates (don't ask …Darren had more roommates than beanies) were taking turns dancing, lounging and laughing.

Chris is still not quite sure how it happened. He and Darren had paired up for a Lady Gaga song when Darren had taken a wrong turn and they had crashed into each other. They were scrambling to stay up right, limbs tangled, hands grabbing everywhere for purchase and balance, when Chris realized Darren was leaning in to kiss him. He ducked out of the older boys arms and fled to the balcony. Darren rushed after him.

Chris wasn't upset, just a little shaken. Being Gay was one thing, flaunting it with your publicly 'straight' boyfriend was another. How could he chastise Darren when he had yet to kiss anyone romantically in front of his closest friends and family? "Sorry about that Dar…" Chris started staring out into the canyon, not bothering to turn around. "I just got a little freaked out."

" 'S alright baby…" Darren had come up behind him and was wrapping his arms around the younger man. "We gotta start somewhere right? …I don't think anyone in that room expects us to be any more or less than what we already are. They're our friends and this is our house, …our castle, we should be able to be exactly who we are and do exactly what we feel like doing without fear or judgment."

Chris turned around in Darren's arms. "You're pretty wise for a drunk man."

"Well you're just pretty… and I'm not drunk – I'm the co-host of this little shindig or didn't you hear. I live here with my boyfriend the amazingly talented and utterly gorgeous Chris Colfer."

"Say it again…"

"… The amazingly talented –"

"No, the boyfriend part…"

"Chris Colfer is my boyfriend and I love him more than I love my sock collection."

"Say it again…"

"You, Chris Colfer are my boyfriend."

"No, I mean the sock collection part…"

Then they were laughing and Darren was pulling Chris into him and kissing him passionately. Out of habit, Chris grabbed Darren's ass and leaned into the kiss, pressing their bodies flush against each other. He was just about lay some Single Ladies bump and grind onto the curly haired boy in his arms when the first wolf whistle erupted.

"Lay it on him Chris!" "You go Darren!" "Holla!" "Well it's about time" "Dat's my baby Daddy!" "Look at my boys goin' to town!" "I knew it!" "Never say Never!"

Chris tried to pull away. He really did, but Darren had one arm tight around his waist and the other hand tangled in his hair. Chris could feel the smile on Darren's lips as he continued to kiss him then suck lightly on his jaw as the comments died down. Chris' face was on fire; he was certain he was moments away from self combusting when Darren released his grip and started dragging him inside towards their friends.

This solicited a new round of cheering and wolf whistles. Chris glanced at Darren, he had never seen a wider smile on his boyfriend's face before; all of his friends, their friends, were happy for them and were accepting of their relationship.

Why was Chris worried again?

~o~0~o~

Chris rolled over into the center of the bed seeking some warmth, the nights were rapidly becoming cooler. His body pressed into a familiar form and he snuggled in close. The body in front of him shifted slightly, effectively closing any gap between them. A hand reached back and ribbed his thigh. "Morning Boo" it whispered.

"Morning Axe" Chris returned, arms wrapping even tighter around his best friend and confidante. "Where's Dar?"

"I think I may have scared him off last night" Ashley said through her giggles. "I waited a good hour after the X-rated noises coming out of here stopped before I peeked in to try and find a place to sleep. I think that meanie doesn't like to share his Chris - though I tried to tell him he could have both of us any time he wants."

"You know what Axe, given enough time I think Darren just may be up for anything - you may get to cross number sixty five off your bucket list yet."

"From your mouth to god's ears Colfer - but don't you forget, besides 65 you're kinda crucial to numbers 17 and 43."

Chris laughed behind her.

"Boo, as much as I'm enjoying snuggling with you, I've got an ON switch and that magic stick of yours is getting closer and closer to finding it."

Then Chris did something that surprised a gasp out of Ashley: he grabbed her hips and thrusted lightly, lewd noises softly leaving his mouth.

"Where has my baby penguin gone!" cried Ashley in mock disgust. "You best watch it Colfer, I'm not like your boyfriend, I don't need prepping - one day your gonna push me too far and I'm really gonna have my way with you."

This didn't phase Chris; he and Ashley had played this game in public, and private, too many times before. "Actually we don't always need prepping..."

"Uh, ...Boo, I want to say 'overshare' but a part of me is intrigued... Oomph, Oow... aren't you all bony elbows and knees this morning... Oow ...magic stick to the hip..." Ash wondered why Chris was climbing over her instead of getting out on his side of the bed.

"Sorry... just trying to see the clock... Holy shit! Oh shit, Ash we overslept! Oh, shit my parents are gonna be here in 2 hours... gets your ass up and lets get going."

After a quick trip to the bathroom, to relieve himself of his magic stick, Chris was running downstairs full of dread; he really didn't want his parents to walk in on 'party central'. He didn't even pause on the main floor, he just kept going to the den because he knew that's where that majority of the mess would be.

Chris had never attended a frat party during his three weeks of college, but what greeted him was the after scene of every college comedy he had ever watched. The bodies of Darren's roommates littered the floor. Chord and Mark were wrapped around each other on the couch; Kevin and Jenna had commandeered a recliner and looked so perfect together he wondered why they were only best friends. He did a quick head count, trying to figure out who was missing and who might have made it home after he and Darren had excused themselves early on account of Darren still being handsy and horny.

Chris felt is stomach lurch when he realized he had not stumbled across Darren yet. In a rush he headed back upstairs and was met at the top by a very smiley and awake Darren. "Good morning my Love. Coffee?"

"Morning Chris." Lea came up behind Darren. Chris then noticed the humongous black garbage bags they each had in their hands.

"Thank god you've already started cleaning up. We are so behind schedule!"

"Actually we're done." Darren stated.

"Done what?"

"This is the last of it. Once we get everyone up and change the sheets we are good to go."

Chris couldn't believe his ears and he took a moment to look quizzically between Lea and Darren before looking around the main floor and the kitchen. The counters were cleared of food and plates, all the cups had been disposed of, the floor even looked swept. "My god I don't deserve you, ...either of you." Chris pulled then both into a tight hug.

As if he was waiting for his cue, Cory came bounding through the unlocked front door. "I'm back with breakfast" he singsonged, a little too chipper this early in the morning for Chris' liking, but Chris realized not drinking did have its advantages.

Cory dumped the bags on the island and started removing their contents. "Doughnuts for the guys. Fruit and yogurt for the girls and cereal for Chriss squared. Oooh and Styrofoam cups for coffee to go. Do you guys get anyone up yet?"

"On that right now..." Lea spoke over her shoulder as she headed downstairs.

"Do you have your phone with you?"

With a start Chris realized Darren was talking got him. "Um... no."

"Well I suggest you grab it before you go wake up the pair in the guest room." Chris looked at Darren in confusion but headed upstairs regardless.. "You'll see... its gonna be a Kodak moment" he laughed. "And get your bed hogging girlfriend out of our bed while you're up there."

"Dude, that sounded so fucked up. What y'all got going on in this place." Cory was just joking, but in actuality it really was kinda fucked up.

"You know how Chris and Ashley go. I give up women for him and he spends one night a week shacked up with her, but she helps keep him sane, so what ya do, you know."

"I heard that Ice Pick!" Ashley hollered from the stairwell. Darren made a show of putting on a terrified face for Cory and pretending to shake with fear. Cory was laughing whole heartedly at Darren's antics, but stopped abruptly.

"She' right behind me isn't she?" Darren questioned and Cory nodded slowly inching around the back of the island. Darren turned, put on his best smile and said "How 'bout some coffee Sweet Cheeks?" But Ashley never got a chance to answer...

"Holy Hell! Oh my wizard god!" Cory, Ashley and Darren looked up towards Chris' shriek.

Darren smirked, "I think Chris just found Dianna and Joey."

"Best party ever!" Darren and Ashley screamed simultaneously, then they both laughed.

~o~0~o~

Darren was giving his Mom the 'Grand Tour'. It was going well enough. She was hum-ing and ah-ing with sincere enough interest and making comfortable small talk as they slipped from room to room. The master bedroom was their final stop and Darren was getting a little nervous.

He and Chris had gone over the entire house with a fine tooth comb making sure nothing screamed 'we have sex here, (and here, and here, and here)'. They had paid special attention to the master and adjoining bathroom knowing that sometime during the weekend someone would have to use it.

Chris' furniture fit perfectly in the master; Darren's had been used to furnish the guest room where his parents were staying. All three Colfers would be staying downstairs in the apt/ den; they thought it best for Hannah have a quiet spot to retreat to when ever she needed it. Chuck had said he couldn't make it, but Darren was still keeping his fingers crossed and the living room couch open for him.

The bed of the master was dressed in neutral high thread count sheets Chris was so fond of and there was not a hint of pink or purple in sight. Mrs. Criss gave the bathroom a cursory once over and then leaned against the window sill opposite the king sized bed. She folded her arms across her chest and nodded to the wall opposite. "Your handiwork." It was more of a statement than a question and when Darren followed her eyes his heart began to hammer in his chest.

Oh shit, the sign. After the painters had painted the master a pale blue, Chris had insisted that Darren's home made sign go back up over the bed. It the bright light of day, with his mother in the room, Darren realized how intimate it was and how it spoke volumes more about went on in this room than the box of aids and toys they had hidden under the bed (way under the bed).

The butcher paper was a little crushed and starting to curl in at the edges, but the permanent markered sentiment that filled the three by six foot rectangle was still a sharp contrast to the pale back drop: CrissColfer is ON!

"The Harry Potter lightning bolt used as an exclamation point gave it away" his mom stated and Darren blushed under her knowing gaze.

"You could have told me, you know…" his Mom began and Darren breathed deep because he knew the conversation was long over do.

"It's not something I wanted to do over the phone –" Darren started.

"Darren, somewhere between 'Can I bring Chris up for a weekend?' and 'I'm moving in with Colfer' you should have said something…" and Darren could tell she was hurt. "This is a life changing decision."

"Mom, LA isn't San Fran but being…" and Darren waved his hand around his head nervously. God he hated labels and to be honest despite being madly in love with Chris he hadn't quite yet figured out what he was "…it won't change things that much…"

"Darren," his mom turned and took both his hands in hers "falling in love is always a life changing decision." Darren could feel the tears beginning behind his eyes.

"You don't care that… I'm with …a boy, …with Chris?"

"For goodness sakes baby, I'm your mom, you had to get your liberal ideas from someone" and Mrs. Criss pulled him in tight. "And besides, I do care. I care that you're happy and I love that it's with Chris – of everyone you've ever bought home, he fit into our family dynamic so easily, like he belonged there."

Then she continued, while stoking his hair "Besides a famous young man once said something so profound I cut it out of a magazine and put it on my bathroom mirror."

"What?' Darren asked genuinely intrigued.

"That which makes you different is what makes you strong. Whether you're gay, straight, purple, orange, dinosaur; I don't care."

Darren slumped into his Mom's arms, finally letting a few tears flow. "I was scared… it was stupid …I'm sorry."

"Yeah, it was…. Give your dad and I a little credit, okay?" Cerina said pushing him back to look in his eyes. "And next time you need to tell me something important, you have my permission to say it over the phone, okay?" and she flashed the smile he had inherited from her in his direction.

Darren sat down on the bed and spoke to his hands; they were still dancing around the real subject. "Mom, when I …come out, I'm gonna break a million hearts. People are gonna be so disappointed in me." He had never stopped crying, but the pain in his throat was getting worse; he tried to swallow down the lump that resided there.

Cerina wanted to cry too, deep down Darren had always been a people pleaser. She knew Darren loved making people happy and the thought of someone, well a lot of someones, not liking him or being hurt by him was what he was really struggling with. "Honey, you break a million hearts every day, now. Didn't you just tell me it wouldn't change things that much?"

"I lied… its gonna change …everything." The full reality of his decision was just beginning to dawn on him … the weight of it was crushing.

"You know …I have a second quote taped to the fridge…" Cerina began "there's nothing more badass than being who you are."

"Moooom!" Darren laughed in spite of himself.

"What! Listen… not matter what happens. I will always be your biggest fan – don't you forget that!"

"I know… thanks."

"A very smart man once said –"

"Mooooom…"

"– Shhh, …no listen, …I'm serious. A very smart man once said 'Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.' This house is full of people who matter, people who love you just the way you are and accept you for everything you are, which is totally awesome, by the way" Darren rolled his eyes "and I'm sure their will be a million more people who will love you because of the decision you made, just think your fan base will double..." Darren heard the humor and meaning behind her words but had no idea his Mom would say what she did next: "besides that Out magazine didn't sell out because girls were buying it."

Darren groaned and hid his head in his hands "What?" Cerina laughed "I make cute, smart, talented boys – I'm proud of that."

"Are you finished" Darren asked face burning.

"Almost, almost… but I'm done teasing now" She sat down on the bed next to Darren. "If…, when… it gets hard, and you might have a few hard days, besides calling me" and she gave his hand a gentle squeeze, "I want you to come up here and look at that sign and remember that loving someone is never wrong, and you have no one to answer to but yourself. Got it."

"Got it. I love you Nanay." Cerina smiled at the endearment.

"Darren…" She was looking around the room suspiciously.

"Yeah…"

"Do you and Chris have a maid or something, because this place is just too clean. Did you shove everything under the bed or what?" and she made to bend over and peer underneath the dust ruffle.

Darren pulled her up quickly, dragging her toward the hall. " No, Mom, …nothing like that …just growing up I guess."

Cerina saw his blush and laughed. "Whatever, …lets get downstairs before your boyfriend thinks I've thrown you into the canyon." As they began to descend the stairs she was soon back in full on Mom-mode.

"So, we still on for New York for Thanksgiving? How's rehearsals going? You excited to perform with your friends again?

"Yup. Excellent and you betcha. Do you only want tickets to the New York one or to the Boston one too?"

"No, just New York. …Maybe you should think about getting a place there …seems lately you've been going across country once or twice a month. It would be nice to have a home base there – and we could stay there and be closer to Chuck in the summers."

"Sorry Mom, I'm not that big of a star that I can afford a place in NYC yet – but I'm working on it 'K."

"Well, Karyn and I decided..." and Darren almost missed a step, mind reeling "Careful honey, …as I was saying, since we are going to be in New York for Christmas as well, I thought maybe the Colfers would like to join us and stick around for your opening night, I know Chris is going. Anyway – we are gonna need two apartments now because they said yes."

Darren paused on the stairs, brow furrowing. "Wait… wait, …you knew, you're planning Christmas, you knew, how did you know?"

"Kayrn called me a couple weeks ago just to chat and she mentioned it so casually. …I wish you had called to tell me; she said Chris Skyped her." Darren hung his head, chest aching with guilt. "That said, I saw the way you were looking at Chris when you bought him home and I knew it was only a matter of time before you put the pieces together." Cerina surprised Darren by singing softly "…My missing puzzle piece, I'm complete..." and Darren could only smile knowing his mom would always be his biggest fan.