Title: Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
Characters/Pairings: Jon/"Stephen" and Jon's parents: Donald and Marian Leibowitz, Steve Carell, Paul Dinello, Amy Sedaris, Samantha Bee, and Jason Jones. Implied Jason/Sam and Paul/Amy.
Warnings: language, "Stephen's" constant fear of Democrats, a little bit of angst.
Summary: From the prompt given by gaudynight on LiveJournal: Jon's tree-hugging, peace-loving, pot-smoking parents don't approve of that conservative Christian, right-wing Republican boy their son's been seeing.
Disclaimer: All television shows, movies, books, and other copyrighted material referred to in this work, and the characters, settings, and events thereof, are the properties of their respective owners. As this work is an interpretation of the original material and not for profit, it constitutes fair use. Reference to real persons, places, or events are made in a fictional context, and are not intended to be libelous, defamatory, or in any way factual.
Author's Note: I took this great prompt from gaudynight and just ran with it. Jon and Stephen are both about college age in this, and it's the early 1980s, but Jon's parents act like they're in the 60s. It's sort of random, but I hope you enjoy it.
After only three short months of officially dating, Stephen was buckled in the passenger's seat beside Jon, heading off to their weekend destination: Donald and Marian Leibowitz's home in upstate New York. He was unsure and quite nervous to be meeting his boyfriend's parents so soon, but Jon had somehow coaxed him into the weekend excursion.
"Do you wanna listen to anything?" Jon asked, fiddling with the radio dials as he drove.
"No, pick what you want," Stephen mumbled to the window as he watched farms and fields flash by his eyes.
Jon tuned in to a local rock station and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel to the beat.
"Stephen, don't be nervous about meeting my parents. They're okay, I guess," he raised his voice over the blaring radio.
Stephen reached for the dial and turned the music down as he thought of his next comment.
"Are they Republican?" he muttered.
Jon would usually erupt in laughter at such an absurd question, but he knew Stephen, and the political views of everyone he met was an extremely important matter, even before the presence of a criminal record.
"No," Jon admitted quietly.
"No?!" Jon could sense the worry in his boyfriend's voice.
"No. They're Democrats," he replied flatly.
"They're LIBERALS?! BLEEDING-HEART LIBERALS?!" Stephen yelled out, making Jon jump and jerk the steering wheel.
"Yeah! Is that going to be a problem?!"
"Democrats. Liberals." he repeated dramatically, his head buried in his hands.
"Come on, you can still use that good old Southern charm on them. By the time you leave you might have them believing in Reagan!" Jon reached over and patted Stephen on the back.
"They should be believing in Ronald Reagan already. He's the best president that this country's ever had."
"Yeah, okay," Jon huffed.
As the traveled down the backcountry roads of upstate New York, Jon was forced to answer tons of Stephen's questions about his family history. As it turned out, Donald and Marian Leibowitz had traded their home in Trenton, New Jersey for a farm in a little town called Sharon Springs after their two boys had grown up. Jon's family was definitely Jewish, not Catholic, and there was nothing Stephen could do about it. Jon also revealed that they had, more or less, converted their sprawling 200-acre 19th century farm into a hippie commune with close to ten other residents.
"Goddamn it, Jon!" Stephen cried out before quickly making a cross with his fingers and holding it up for the heavens to see, "A hippie commune?!"
"Yes," Jon said very matter-of-factly. He almost started to laugh when he heard his harsh reaction.
"So not only are they Democrats, but tree-hugging stoners too?"
"That's right." Jon decided to humor him: "Are there any other kind?"
A few more moments of complete silence passed as Jon tried not to make his laughter noticeable. Stephen, on the other hand, was running every hippie-esque scenario in his head, including a bunch of illegitimate children claiming to be Jon's siblings running around the front yard, lit joints in hand. Finally, after thinking about it for long enough, Stephen threw his arms up and declared: "I can't do this. I can't. Let me out of this car."
"Come on, your being ridiculous! Just enjoy the weekend... If you don't bring up politics or religion, you'll be fine!"
The car was silent again. Jon didn't want to say anything more unless he wanted Stephen to jump out of the car at full speed. He loved him too much for that to happen. Instead, Stephen broke the silence once again just as they passed the "Welcome to Sharon Springs" sign, never wanting to miss out on the opportunity to hear his own voice.
"So... What do they do all day? Sit in an old Volkswagen and roll doobies with their love beads on?"
Jon's sarcasm kicked in again for his reply: "Oh yeah, and every year all the kids come over and have a doobie-rolling contest."
"What?!" Stephen shot an unknowing glare at him before noticing the smirk starting to develop on his face, "That's not funny, Jon."
Fifteen minutes and a bunch of more questions later they were pulling up the long dirt road that stretched far through the woods and corn fields. No, they weren't socialists, yes, they did vote Democrat across the ballot in every vote, but no, they didn't have seven different spouses and a busload of illegitimate children. Stephen rolled up his window when he saw the dust billow up from the ground, and Jon did the same. They finally reached a long driveway that was labeled with a sign that read "Shangri-la" at the end.
"Shangri-la? This is more like hell to me," Stephen grumbled.
"Be nice," Jon pleaded.
Trees of all kinds lined the edges of the driveway, making it extremely difficult to see the house. It seemed like a scene from Deliverance to Stephen. All it needed was bad banjo music. Finally, the large, white old farm house came into view, and from a distance it seemed promising enough: a welcoming front porch that spread across the entire front of the house, a clean paint job, and a few undecipherable yard decorations strewn about.
"What do you think?" Jon asked.
"I guess it's okay. I can't really see too much of it right now."
As their small green rental car rolled slowly down the dusty dirt path, Stephen began to give those yard decorations a second look. The second time around he noticed that almost everything was emblazoned with a dove or a heart. But to his horror, he didn't see the red, white and blue colors waving proudly in the breeze. Sure, there was a flagpole, but instead it wore a tacky-looking flag with tie-dye colors and a large peace sign in the middle.
"Where's their American flag?"
"I guess they don't have one."
"Quiet down! I don't think they have one… now is that going to be a big deal?"
Stephen stared out the window for a moment to run everything through his mind. Was a weekend of mindless Liberalism worth it to be able to hold Jon in his arms every night when they got back to the city? He finally came to the decision that it was. He loved Jon more than anything, even though he was not yet comfortable with showing it in all public places.
"No. It'll all be fine," he said as he absentmindedly reached for Jon's hand for the first time during the trip and stroked the back of it with his thumb. Jon parked skillfully by a large red barn that didn't seem to be housing any animals, and they stepped out to be greeted by a fresh breeze of rural air. Stephen figured that's where the group hippie orgies went on, and made a mental note not to wander out that way after dark, or any time.
"It's nice here," Stephen commented, trying to stay calm as he grabbed the cheesecake he had brought with shaky hands.
"Yeah, it's nice to get away from the city every once in a while."
As they approached the front porch, Stephen heard the door immediately swing open ahead of him.
"Jon!" a woman's voice called out, "Come here!"
Stephen finally looked up and met eyes with a woman in her fifties, long brown hair flowing down over her shoulders, wearing a bandana around her forehead and a white blouse with blue jeans. Jon reached out and hugged her, then made the all-important introductions.
"Mom, this is Stephen Colbert, my boyfriend," Jon began. Stephen loved the way he said it so strongly, so officially. This is Stephen Colbert, my boyfriend.
"Oh, nice to meet you, Stephen! I'm Marian," she said cheerily, "You're a handsome boy, aren't you?" he was waiting for him to reach over and pinch his cheeks like that one strange aunt that was always at every family gathering growing up, but she didn't, so he just smiled and quickly and awkwardly hugged her.
"So where are you from, Stephen?"
"South Carolina, originally."
"Ohhh. A red state," she said as she jokingly shushed him. "Well, come on in and meet Jon's dad!"
Oh boy. Here we go.
As they made their way up the porch, Stephen shot Jon an angry look. A so-much-for-shutting-the-fuck-up-about-politics look. Jon just shrugged and headed through the screen door, where they were greeted by Jon's father, who wore a loose, blue, button-down shirt and some kind of velvety-looking coffee-colored pants. His long graying hair just grazed his shoulders, and a red bandana was wrapped around his forehead. He looked more like a biker than a peace-loving hippie.
"Hi, Dad," Jon said nervously. The man intimidated his own son for crying out loud. How on earth could Stephen make a good impression on him?
"Hey Jon. Who's this?" he asked gruffly, nodding to Stephen.
"This is my boyfriend, Stephen Colbert."
Stephen had been told by Jon about the history between Donald Leibowitz and Jon, and it wasn't a pretty one. Donald never approved of much of anything that his son did, which made Jon rebel even more in his teen years. Smoking cigarettes by the age of fifteen and having his first taste of alcohol before then, Jon's adolescence wasn't easy. Stephen awkwardly just stood there, and even though he towered over Donald by a couple inches, he still unsettled him.
"Nice to meet you, sir," he stuttered, finally shaking his hand.
"Yep," Stephen piped in, popping the 'P.'
"Well, nice to meet you, too."
Stephen took a sigh of relief as they decided to follow Marian silently into the kitchen to find a place for the cheesecake in the fridge as Donald made his way up the stairs. Upon entering the rather spacious room, they passed the large oak dining table with a fresh-picked wildflower centerpiece on top of a white tablecloth. The refrigerator was enough to make a person go blind; it was decked out completely in swirled tie-dyed magnets, peace signs, and even more hearts, along with campaign buttons for every Democratic candidate (winners and losers) from the past twenty years. When Stephen noticed the marijuana leaf magnet in one corner with the phrase "Legalize it," his breath caught the back of his throat.
"Let's find a place for the dessert," Marian suggested, swinging open the fridge door and holding out her hands to grab the dessert from Stephen's hands, which were now shaking heavily.
"Thanks," Stephen stuttered.
"You don't need to be nervous, Stephen. We're really okay."
Oh yeah, marijuana magnets on the refrigerator are totally normal, he thought, I can't wait to see what's for dinner.
"Oh, okay. Do you need help making dinner?" he offered, his voice squeaking at the end of his sentence, tinged with unavoidable jitters.
"Well, actually I was looking for some extra help for peeling the potatoes. Come on, Jon, you can help too."
Marian set out a row of old newspapers on the granite countertop along with a basket of freshly-harvested potatoes from the garden and gave her son and his younger boyfriend two potato peelers. They quickly got down to work and made sure to remove all the bad areas of each potato. Stephen was extra careful, because he didn't want a plateful of mashed potatoes and gravy thrown at him by Jon's notoriously temperamental father.
"So Stephen, what's your family like? Do they still live in South Carolina?" Marian asked.
"It's just my mom and eight brothers and sisters. They're pretty much scattered around everywhere."
"Wow… eight brothers and sisters. That's a lot."
"Yeah, it used to be eleven, including me," he said, a tinge of sorrow left in his voice.
Marian nodded as she checked on the baking turkey in the oven. "So how long have you and Jon been seeing each other?"
"Three months," they both answered together.
"Wow. You make a nice couple. He's a nice boy, Jon. Too bad you can't marry him." Stephen never knew what to think when people in the same room would talk about him like he wasn't even there.
"Why can't I?" Jon finally spoke up.
"It's not legal, honey."
"Yeah, well neither is your marijuana crop out past the garden," he laughed, a small smirk developing on his face which quickly diminished when he saw Stephen's horrified expression.
"Oh, you have pot plants?" Stephen asked, trying not to sound alarmed.
"Oh yes. It's a lot cheaper to just grow your own," Marian nodded, not quite knowing the true beliefs of her son's seemingly charming significant other.
"I'll uh… keep that in mind."
A few minutes later all the potatoes were peeled and mashed together, and Marian was still busy making biscuits to throw into the oven. She kindly asked the boys to take a sack of corn outside and remove the husks to feed to the pigs, which Stephen didn't know existed. Jon took a seat on the second step of the front porch and Stephen followed, being sure not to sit in the dirt.
"They have pigs here?"
"Yeah. Two of them. Over there in that pen," Jon pointed off into the distance to a circular pen enclosed by gray cinderblock right in front of the barn.
"So… where are all these other people? I don't see anyone else."
"I think they've gone into town or something."
Stephen and Jon grabbed an ear of corn each and readied their hands to pull away at the light green outer husk.
"Where do they live around here?"
"There's three little trailers way out there past the barn," Jon gestured toward the field, "and they all live in there, but they come here to eat and to visit."
"And your parents know these people… how?"
"I don't know. Just people like them from the city who wanted to get away from it all. Get back to nature. Grow some trees. Smoke some dope."
Stephen rolled his eyes. "That doesn't sound like any kind of a dream to me."
"Yeah, well, it's theirs. Not mine either."
They pulled at the long strands of off-white fuzz and tried the best they could to get them all into the bucket, which made Jon recall a moment in his life he was sure he'd never forget.
"You know, it never used to be like this when I was younger," he began, "My parents never used to get along. My dad was one of the meanest assholes you could ever meet. A drunk, a cheater."
"He's stopped drinking?"
"Yeah. But he substituted it for pot. He and Mom both. They thought that somehow when it was offered to them at some dinner party back in Trenton that it could numb all their pain. Take away all the problems and leave them with happiness, but I still don't think that's true."
"No," Stephen said almost inaudibly.
"And when I was growing up, probably about seven or eight years old, my mom told me to go out to the back porch on our house in Trenton and do this," he gestured to the bag of corn and the leftover husks strewn across his blue jeans, black t-shirt, and dark Converse sneakers. "And I made quite a mess. My dad came home after sitting in the bar most of the night after work and he just started screaming when he saw it."
Stephen was silent. All he could do was set down his fully-shucked piece of corn and not pick up another to finally listen to Jon's full story about his relationship with his dad. Jon wasn't looking at him, but instead at the pearly white floorboards of the bottom step before him, and his voice was almost a quiet whisper.
"I didn't put the husks all in one bucket, and I left them just laying around," he explained, "and all these little threads were everywhere. I tried to tell him I was sorry, but instead he slapped me on the face. Hard."
"Jon… I'm sorry… you didn't deserve…"
"I'll never forget it. Never," he shook his head, almost on the verge of tears, "Because that one night wasn't the last. He did it again and again until I had to go to school and explain to my teachers and friends why I always had big, ugly bruises. I always lied, of course, but this whole bullshit of everything being okay now isn't true. It doesn't work out that way. The only reason I'm here is to see my mom."
A single tear rolled down Jon's right cheek, which Stephen noticed when he looked up. He calmly reached his hand to Jon's cheek and wiped it away with the back of his hand and leaned over to kiss his cheek.
"I'm sorry, Jon. I don't know what kind of… bastard could do that to his own kid."
"It's okay. I'm trying to get over it, but maybe I shouldn't have brought you here. I really didn't know if I was sure to let you in on all of this shit."
"Look at me," Stephen commanded softly, slowly pulling Jon's face closer. Jon obeyed, and Stephen gave him a long kiss on the lips.
"I love you Jon."
When the corn was all shucked and they made sure that every miniscule thread was picked up, Stephen followed Jon out to the pig pen to feed the pigs the husks. The pigs didn't know that they were just being fed to one day be food themselves, they just knew they enjoyed the taste of the corn byproducts.
"These pigs have no fucking clue about what's going to happen," Jon sighed.
"No. No they don't," Stephen said, almost seeming sad, "Kind of like us… I mean, we have no idea what's going to happen over dinner."
"It's sad," Jon sighed, not saying anything else.
"Yeah… but they were raised for the meat, Jon," Stephen corrected, always a fan of animals once they were in between two buns.
Jon was just about to answer when a yellow Volkswagen bus barreled down the gravel driveway and came to a sudden halt under the large oak tree adjacent to the barn. A group of six people-four men, three women- stepped out into the afternoon sunlight looking totally baked.
"Is that Jon?!" one of the women asked, a blond with pin-straight hair under a colorful orange headband.
"Yeah, it's me," Jon replied shyly, swiping his hand over his eyes to hide the fact that he had been crying, "How are all of you?"
"We're amazing," said one of the men with ruffled, short, dark hair, "Who's this?"
"Oh, this is my boyfriend, Stephen," Jon introduced. Stephen just stood there, as stiff as a board.
"This is Jason, Paul, Steve, Amy, and Samantha," Jon said, pointing to each one as he went on. "They live here, and they'll be joining us for dinner tonight."
Stephen just shot Jon a "you've-got-to-be-fucking-kidding-me" sideways glance before finally gaining the courage to introduce himself properly.
"Hello to you… all," he said slowly, trying not to let Liberal Satanists slip in there. "It's nice meeting you."
"Hey, man, I'm Jason," one of the men said, immediately stepping forward to give him a hug. "Group hug, everybody!"
They all gathered around he and Jon and enveloped them in a mass group hug, one filled with the odd scents of marijuana, sweat, and some kind of weird fruity incense. Stephen almost felt a little nauseous by all the smells and was hoping none of them had any contractible diseases, but Jon was by now used to the strange folks that stayed at his parents' home and slept on the mattress he once slept on back in Trenton, New Jersey growing up. They were both glad when the group finally disbanded and mumbled something about heading out to the barn for awhile.
"I thought they were, you know, the same age as your parents!" Stephen nearly screamed, eyes wide, worrying that he now reeked like a lit joint.
"No, no, this new group isn't. The ones that were the same age as my mom and dad moved out to Nebraska, or something, so then these college kids moved in. They're all around our age," Jon explained.
"You've got to be kidding me," he gasped, "I thought that the whole 'hippie movement' shit was all about over with!"
Jon shook his head, "No, actually. Some people are starting to really get into it again. I actually have only met them once when I stayed here for a week last summer… they're nice, so I think you'll like them."
Stephen dusted off the front of his black dress pants and white button-down as he headed for the house.
"This is where you were last summer?"
"Yeah, I didn't know how to tell you…"
"You told me you went to Europe!"
Dinner was finally on the table around quarter to six, and everyone was gathered around the spacious oak dining table to eat. Marian had set the table with a clean white tablecloth and two red candles lit in the center, very conservative, which Stephen liked. Everyone was nervously chatting and whispering amongst themselves, except for Stephen and Jon. Between sips of wine Stephen thought he heard his name uttered more than once and he was becoming a little uneasy. Finally, they were all silenced as Donald decided on a proper toast.
"Okay… quiet down, I'm going to make a toast," he began raising his glass of just water high, everyone nervously looking on, "To Stephen, our new guest for the weekend, and Jon's new lover. We hope to make you feel like family."
New lover? Stephen thought, What the hell am I? His tenth boyfriend he's brought home?
"To Stephen!" all the hippie Liberals said joyfully as they raised their glasses. Stephen just nodded politely and did the same, clinking his glass with Jon's. He took another sip to realize that it was almost gone already.
"Take it easy on the wine," Jon said under his breath to his boyfriend, whom he knew couldn't handle much alcohol before getting tipsy.
They passed around a platter of baked turkey, a bowl of mashed potatoes, a gravy boat, and a basket of warm biscuits.
"It looks delicious," Stephen complemented, trying to at least say something nice.
"Oh, thank you," Marian said with a smile. She had to admit that he was a nice-looking boy who seemed kind enough, but there was still something a little off about him. She was just about to grab a biscuit for herself before her son's boyfriend decided to make a silent statement by folding his hands and bowing his head to the table.
"What is he doing?" Steve asked, almost beginning to laugh.
"He's praying," Amy teased in a mocking voice.
Stephen picked up his head and glared around the table and positioned his glasses farther up the bridge of his nose.
"Do you not say grace?" he asked finally, receiving unknowing glances.
"Um, no, not usually…" Jason said, stifling a giggle as he sat with his hand preoccupied playing with the hem of Sam's short skirt underneath the table.
Stephen just sighed, trying to think of where he could go next. A hotel? Maybe. Everyone was again silent, and all eyes were on him like they wanted him to do a striptease at the dinner table and join their orgy or something.
"Have you ever seen me say grace before dinner when we go out?" Jon asked quietly.
"No, I guess I can't really see it when my head is down and my eyes are closed," he snapped with a crooked eyebrow.
Marian clapped her hands together finally, seeing her son's trouble with his significant other as the others giggled to themselves like little school girls. No one laughed at Stephen T. Colbert!
"Listen, Stephen, we can say grace if you want to. It doesn't matter. It's just that our religious beliefs are quite different from yours."
Stephen slowly nodded, even though he still didn't quite understand.
Two things not to discuss: politics and religion, Jon's voice pounded in the back of his head like a wrought-iron stake.
"It's okay. I can pray later," he mumbled, his hands slowly breaking apart.
I'll be praying to get the hell out of this godforsaken house! he thought to himself.
"Um, can you pass the gravy? I'm kinda starving," Amy asked politely, as she was seated next to Stephen. He obeyed, then sunk the large wooden spoon deep into the mashed potatoes that were sprinkled with bits of something green here and there. It was actually just parsley, but Stephen wasn't about to take any chances.
"Um… what's in these potatoes?" he asked bluntly, glancing around the table.
"Hash," Paul nodded, keeping a straight face just to see the strange young man's reaction. They kept it together for a few seconds as Stephen's expression morphed from surprise to questioning to disgust.
"Paul was just kidding, honey, it's parsley," Amy said, placing a reassuring hand on Stephen's sleeve. "Paul, you're such a dick."
Paul shook his head and returned his attention back down to his full plate as Stephen gave the potatoes another special look before slapping a spoonful on his plate and digging in.
Dinner had been going quite well, and to Stephen's surprise, it was actually quite delicious. He actually awkwardly made some conversation with the others he and Jon's age, and discovered that they weren't too bad. He had already refilled his wine glass twice, and was beginning to feel a little tipsy, but he was still okay.
"Have you ever grown marijuana, Stephen?" Steve asked curiously at some point in the discussion.
"No!" Stephen flashed another look of disgust before realizing he needed to be nice again, "I mean, I've never even smoked marijuana."
He heard an indrawn breath from the crowd as Jon reached for his hand under the table.
"You've never even tried it?" Jason pushed.
He shook his head confidently. "Nope."
"You've never smoked with your own boyfriend, Jon?" Sam asked, finally peeking around Jason.
Another awkward silence as a glob of mashed potatoes went down the wrong pipe and Jon began to cough and sputter.
"N… No, never," he spat out finally.
Stephen couldn't believe what he was hearing. Now Jon had some kind of secret drug habit that he kept from him for so long?
"So Stephen, what are your thoughts on the global warming crisis?" Donald interrupted as he poked at a piece of turkey.
"Well… I don't know if I believe much of it," he admitted.
Both Donald and Marian nearly spit out the food in their mouths, in unison with the others at the table.
"I mean, I guess that something is going on out there, but it's nothing to be concerned about…"
"How could you say that global warming doesn't exist?!" Donald exclaimed, almost sounding on the verge of fury before Marian urged him to calm down. "Our average global temperature has gone up two degrees, IN FIVE YEARS!"
"Yeah, but…" Stephen shrugged, being shot an unkind glance from the person he thought was behind him all the way: Jon. "What about in the winter? Will you be crying about the two-degree temperature difference then?"
"You're one of those southern Republicans, aren't you?" Donald spat, as almost if Republican was the dirtiest word since fuck.
Stephen threw his neatly-folded napkin off his lap and onto the tablecloth before exclaiming: "Yes I am!"
"Stephen, calm down," Jon hushed.
"Jon's right. It's nothing worth fighting about," Marian agreed. But Stephen was still seething, teeth gritted and his corner of the white tablecloth balled up in his fist.
"I just don't see why you would want to live like that," Donald muttered, luckily inaudible to his son's lover.
"Donald, hush!" Marian whispered.
"It's just an opinion," Stephen calmed once he saw Jon staring up at him from the table. He decided to sit back down to be welcomed by another unkind silence.
Before everyone could even finish their meals, Donald was clearly stressed out, so they all watched in their peripheral vision as he pulled out a Ziploc bag of hashish and some rolling papers and tossed them onto the table.
"Fuck, does anyone have a light?" he patted his shirt pockets to discover nothing.
Jon pulled a red Bic lighter out of the pocket of his jeans and threw it over the table to his father.
"Thanks," he grumbled.
"Where did you get the lighter from?" Stephen questioned accusingly, assuming that his boyfriend had began smoking cigarettes again after yet another attempt to quit.
Jon just shrugged. He was guilty.
"Well, I think that you two just need to relax a little bit," Steve said, grabbing his bag of pot and throwing it on the table.
"No, I'm not starting that shit," Stephen spat.
"Oh, the little Bible-thumper is using language like that?" Steve countered, "Come on, it's not addictive."
"I don't want it."
"I don't want it!"
"Okay, that's enough!" Jon yelled, slamming his fists firmly on the table. "Come on, Stephen. Let's go upstairs for awhile."
Jon stood up and Stephen followed, even though he was still in shock from his boyfriend's hollering. Jon hardly ever yelled out in anger, and it caught him off guard. They stomped up the wooden stairs in unison, each step of Stephen's dress shoes matched with Jon's Converse, until they reached the top. Jon led him down a dimly-lit blue hallway, hands interlaced, to a room with a closed oak door and he opened it to lead him inside. Once inside, they noticed that the room was now painted a cheery shade of yellow but smelled like bong residue. Stephen thought he was capable of getting a contact high just by breathing the stale air.
The bed was only just a blue mattress mounted on a bed spring that clearly had the outline of a human shape imprinted in it. A small Bruce Springsteen poster hung on the other side of the door, obviously one of Jon's from his teenage years that his parents just couldn't bear to throw out when they moved. Stephen immediately made himself at home and kicked off his uncomfortable, stuffy shoes to feel like he was just at home, not in some hellhole that the Liebowitz's liked to call "Shangri-La."
"What a fucking nightmare," Jon sighed, rubbing his eyes as he sat down at a small desk. "They brought up politics and religion, so it's not your fucking fault."
There was an intolerable silence for a moment. Stephen was still trying to wrap his head around the entire trip. He still couldn't figure out what the hell just happened downstairs, and he figured that they were all talking about him. Making fun of him. His anger surged for a minute until he looked over at Jon to see him clearly distressed. He looked oddly cute when he was that way.
"It's okay Jon," he said finally, "it's really… okay. I'm not with you because of your parents… I'm here because I love you more than anything," he watched as he fiddled with a soccer trophy sitting on an otherwise vacant desk.
"So you're telling me you aren't mad about any of this?" Jon toyed with the record player stationed on a small table beside the desk, put a record on the turntable and set the needle down on the grooves in the black vinyl.
"I'm mad about your parents' beliefs, but I'm not mad at you. Besides, I can give them a verbal ass-whooping tomorrow," he laughed nervously. There was another long pause, as Jon stood by the bedside, reached for Stephen's hand, as he oh-so-innocently stared up at him with those big brown eyes. He stroked the back of it with his thumb before letting go and settling in on the mattress next to Stephen. He nuzzled against his neck and took in the lingering scent of his cologne, mixed with the secondhand smell of smoke from his earlier hug with Paul and the others. He rested a hand on Stephen's stomach as he coyly played with the hem of his shirt as the record began. It wasn't one of Jon's, but one that belonged to his parents. "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)" was the first track on the album, otherwise known as the hippie anthem of 1967.
Stephen didn't care about anything else in that moment. In those minutes it was just he, Jon, and Liberal-hippie-Communist music on a record player crammed in between four walls, and nothing else seemed to matter. He was in love.
Jon turned to his lover and reached over and kissed him softly on the lips. The kisses were just perfect and Stephen loved the feel of the passionate cascade wash over him, until it was over a moment later. Jon sat up and stared into his eyes and asked the all-important question…
"So… when do I get to meet your mom?"
A/N: Okay, I originally posted a rough draft of this to see what would happen, but then I added a ton of stuff to it. I hope you enjoyed it! I know that adding the past correspondents (and Paul and Amy) was a little… different, but okay. Anyway, if anyone would like to give me Fake News writing prompts (Colbert Report, the Daily Show, etc.) I'd be happy to use them and write a story. It would keep my mind off of school matters for awhile and that's always good. J