Blaine felt his phone vibrate in his pocket while he was eating dinner that night. He slipped it out of his pocket to see the text.
I need to talk to you. It's urgent.
What is this about?
"Blaine, put the phone away. That's rude." His mother scolded.
"But Mom, it's something import-"
Blaine's dad gave him a look. "Your mother's right son."
Blaine bit his lip. Arguing with Dad was going to go nowhere fast. Resigned, he muttered a "Sorry..." and sheepishly went to put his phone on the island. His mom, satisfied, took the opportunity to lecture him further.
"You kids spend too much time with those electronics. You can't go for ten minutes without having your nose in that phone?"
Blaine was exasperated. She had been nagging him about every little thing since he'd gotten home. "Mom, I said I was sorry. I put it away, what more do you want from me?"
"I'd say she wants to see more respect when we're having a meal, young man." Mr. Anderson's voice was icy. "If I were you I'd watch my tone with my mother."
Blaine swallowed and sat down. "...Yes Dad." Mr. Anderson looked at Blaine, pointedly. Blaine sighed. "I'm sorry about my tone Mom." He poked at his casserole in misery, feeling like he was all of eight years old all of a sudden.
Blaine's phone went off several more times during dinner, jiggling along the counter- but he didn't dare get up to check it. He was wondering about it though. What could that New Directions kid mean by "urgent?" He hoped nothing bad had happened at school. Kurt had seemed so unhappy already. They had exchanged phone numbers just yesterday after he'd shared his problems with bullies. He seemed like a real nice kid.
"Can I be excused?" Blaine asked as soon as he had finished the last of the corn.
"May." Mrs. Anderson corrected.
"...May I be excused?" Blaine spoke stiltedly, barely resisting the urge to roll his eyes.
Mr. and Mrs. Anderson exchanged a look. Mr. Anderson stood up with his plate.
"Yes, but you're cleaning up the dishes tonight."
Blaine was out of his seat and opening his phone the minute the "yes" had left his dad's mouth. He was just going to look up his messages when he realized.
"Wait- dad, it isn't my tur-"
"When you can use a polite tone with your mother at dinner we can talk about whose turn it is." Mr. Anderson said, putting his plate in the sink. Blaine's face fell. This was not fair. Putting down his phone, Blaine walked up to his dad at the sink.
"Dad," he protested, "I just washed the dishes yesterday. I said I was sorry, and I haven't been being rude to Mom-"
"Oh I'd tend to disagree." Mrs. Anderson interjected. Blaine turned to look at his traitorous mother. She continued, "You've been fresh with me since you got home. And you left a mess of homework all over the table this afternoon and whined when I asked you to clean it up." Blaine wanted to say something about how he hadn't been whining, that she had just interrupted him while he was watching a show on TV- but he was outnumbered. He pursed his lips, frustrated.
"Yes, so it sounds like an extra night doing the dishes might be a good reminder for your attitude." Blaine's Dad spoke with finality.
Blaine opened his mouth to respond but Mr. Anderson took his hand to stop him. "But if you're planning on taking that tone with me as well, I'm thinking you and I will need to have a serious discussion first." Mr. Anderson admonished, with a quick warning tap to Blaine's backside for good measure. "Does that need to happen first?"
Blaine felt his face warm up. He stared at the sink. "...No Dad."
"Is there going to be more backtalk from you tonight?"
God I'm not a child.
"Good." Mr. Anderson put a dishrag into Blaine's hand. "And... just so you're not distracted, I'll hold your phone in my den until you're done with the dishes." Mr. Anderson picked the phone up from the island and headed out of the kitchen. Blaine leaned against the sink watching him leave. He looked at his mother, who sat drinking her tea, ignoring him.
Rueful, Blaine sighed and went to the table for his plate. This was all her fault. He picked up silverware and dropped them on his plate, a little too loudly. Mrs. Anderson laid a hand on his and spoke quietly. "Blaine, if you're going to throw a tantrum now, I'm just going to tell your father to come back."
Blaine looked at her, holding his outrage in. This isn't a tantrum. God. Biting his tongue, he slipped his hand out from under hers and slowly made a show of stacking the plate nicely over hers. It was really amazing, he thought as he turned to carry them back to the sink, how he could feel so grown up at school sometimes and so... not... at home. At Dalton the schoolwork was pretty intense and he had to wear a uniform, but the teachers gave the students a lot of freedom otherwise. At home he felt like someone was constantly putting him in his place.
Man I can't wait for college.