Chapter 10

Now that I had met Tanner's family it was time for him to meet mine. The second I got downstairs for breakfast on Monday my dad already had the day set when he would meet Tanner.

"Since I get home late most days," my dad began as I sipped my orange juice. "I figured that Friday would be a great day to bring Tanner over."

I finished up my juice and looked at him. "Friday? You sure?" I asked for reassurance.

He nodded. "Yes, Friday."

I sighed and knew that it would have to happen sooner or later. "Okay." I nodded. "Friday it is."

That day at lunch I told Tanner about my dad's request.

He nodded happily. "Friday sounds good." he said, his smile seeping through his words.

"Don't try to sound too enthusiastic about it," I grumbled sarcastically, rolling my eyes.

Tanner laughed. "What? I've been dying to meet him for a while, you knew that," he reminded me.

I nodded, standing up with Tanner and brushing my pants off of grass. "I know, it's just, my dad. He seems excited now, but he'll get all parental and protective when Friday comes around. He always gets like that with me and other guys."

Tanner grabbed my arm, stopping me in my stride. "Guys? What other guys?" he demanded to know.

I looked up at him and saw that his nostrils were flaring and there was a slit-look in his eyes. I could tell that the Green-Eyed Monster was about to appear.

I thought it was cute.

"Relax, there are no other guys." He raised an eyebrow. "I told you, you're my first boyfriend I've ever had."

"Then who were you talking about?" he questioned.

I shrugged casually. "Sometimes I'd tutor some guys, or be invited to have pizza with some people on the baseball team or whatever." I smiled at him. "Don't worry, there's no competition. You don't have to defend me, okay?"

Tanner put his arm over my shoulder and pulled me into it. We fell into step with each other.

"Good, because none of them would even stand a chance," he stated confidently. I smiled and laughed.


As it got closer to Friday I kept telling myself that my dad wouldn't completely embarrass me and scare Tanner off; until I'd see my dad and he would ask me which childhood story he should share with Tanner – my potty training days, how I mooned my whole firs grade class on the first day of school, or how I crashed into the mailbox when I started to learn how to ride a bike, with training wheels still on.

"Stop worrying," Tanner said to me. It was Friday morning and we were walking to my homeroom when we stopped on the side of the hallway. "It'll be fine."

I sighed and nodded anyway.

I heard my dad say something about a "secret test" later that evening. My heart started racing and my throat got dry. "Please, dad," I clamped my hands together and held them against my chest. "No, not that."

He laughed. "Sorry, kiddo, but I'm gonna do it. I got to."

I was practically on my knees. "Please! Are you sure?"

"Yes, I am," he answered. "I'm going to give him my Secret Test!" he laughed maniacally, throwing his head back.

I dropped my head dramatically. "Oh, man, why, dad?" I could still hear him laughing.

When I first started the seventh grade and boys were slowly coming into the picture as I got older, my dad came up with a plan. If I was ever interested in a boy he would have to meet him and perform a test on him. This test was basically my dad having a one-on-one conversation with the boy – which probably would scare the kid to death – and my dad would hope that the boy would be scared off for good. My dad would talk about anything with him and the test would be how the boy would react around my dad. Nervous, scared, shy, obnoxious – then my dad would see if he liked the boy or not.

Now my dad never got to go through his Secret Test with anyone before, so I knew he was excited about it. But I also didn't know how it will turn out and whether or not Tanner would pass or fail.

"You're killing me dad," I groaned, my face in my hands.

He smiled. "Not yet."

Just then the doorbell rang and I jerked my head up. I sighed.

"Well, here we go," I said and went to open the door. I heard my dad move into the kitchen, chuckling quietly to himself.

Tanner was smiling brightly. "Hey."

"Hi."

I first looked at Tanner and saw what he was wearing: a black and grey stripped long sleeve shirt and his normal black jeans and shoes. His bangs covered parts of his face, but I could tell he was still wearing a bit of eyeliner. I didn't think to tell my dad about how Tanner dressed and his different choice of clothing. I didn't exactly think that it would be a big problem, but to some parents it would be; hopefully my dad weren't like 'some parents'.

He pulled out a bouquet of flowers from behind his back. "These are for you."

"Aww, thank you," I replied, taking the flowers in my hands. It was a mixture of lilies, daises and babies breath. I led Tanner into the living room. "I should go put these in water," I suggested, smelling the flowers.

And like it was rehearsed my dad strolled into the room.

"Oh, dad, this is Tanner. Tanner, my dad," I said in my nicest voice.

"Hi Mr. Montez, it's good to finally meet you," Tanner said, shaking my dad's hand, and I knew he sincerely meant it.

My dad nodded. "Likewise, Tanner. Hayden's told me a lot about you."

I watched my dad and sure enough he noticed Tanner's style of clothing. He didn't react in a bad way, he just nodded and smiled.

"Well, I better get these in a vase. I'll be right back." I smiled then started towards the kitchen. My dad gave me a wink as I left the room and I thought to myself, let the grading process begin.

It was discussed when my dad first came up with this idea that I would somehow come up with a way to go somewhere else, leaving just my dad alone with boy to talk to him.

"So, let's talk for a bit while we wait for Hayden," my dad gestured to the sofa and took a seat.

Tanner followed him. "Sure."

"So, Hayden tells me you're an avid music-listener." My dad was already getting the ball rolling.

"Oh, yeah." Tanner agreed. "I love music, it's what helps me get through everyday."

My dad nodded, I could see his shadow move slightly as I walked back from the kitchen. I hid behind the wall to hear what was happening.

"What kind of music do you listen to?" My dad purposely asked this question, I know he did.

Since my dad used to be in a band music was a huge part of his life too. He always said that you could tell a lot about a person by the music they listen to.

Tanner thought for a second. "Well, recently I've gotten into Breaking Benjamin, Death Cab for Cutie." My dad nodded, he actually knew who they were. Tanner continued. "My grandparents and my parents used to always play oldies in the car. You know, The Archies, The Temptations, The Supremes."

"That's good music," my dad commented.

"But what I really like is rock – classic rock, like Elvis, And Hendrix, 70's rock like Zeppelin and Queen, to 80's rock like Bon Jovi, along with everyone else in between. I guess I picked that up from my dad."

I almost screamed with happiness.

BING! BING! BING! Correct!

My dad smiled widely, showing all his teeth. "Really?"

"Oh yeah, it's my favorite." Tanner nodded.

My dad slapped the arm of the sofa. "Well, hey, come check some of this out." He stood up and walked towards the stereo with Tanner following him. "How about some Styx?" my dad asked, popping Styx Greatest Hits into the CD player.

Tanner nodded. "Oh yeah. I love their song, "Blue Collar Man," it's so good." My dad skipped ahead to that song and let it play through.

"The Doors?" My dad played a few songs with Tanner tapping his foot along with the music.

I'm not sure how many CD's the two of them went through: The Who, Kurt Cobain, The Ramones, Alice Cooper, Stevie Nicks, The White Stripes, Black Sabbath, AC/DC – I lost track of them. My arm was getting tired of standing and holding the vase so I put it down and sat next to it while they were still listening to The Ramones. They were taking so long I was falling asleep.

Not only were they listening to the music but they were also discussing each band and the song that was playing. My dad would also occasionally mention a concert he went to by the particular band playing on the stereo. They must've been really into it because they just kept going; they probably even forgot about me.

Finally I heard my dad turn down The Scorpions "Rock You Like A Hurricane" and then turn it off completely.

"Wow," my dad smiled. "That was fun."

Tanner nodded, equally happy. "Yeah, I've never got to talk about that kind of music with anyone before."

"Well, fell free to come over and we'll do it again sometime," my dad offered. Tanner smiled. "I'll go get Hayden. It was good meeting you Tanner." He shook Tanner's hand again.

"Same here, Mr. Montez." My dad gave a full nod then walked towards me as Tanner sat down on the couch.

I sighed. "It's about time," I grumbled, standing up and reaching for the vase.

My dad shrugged apologetically. "Sorry, we just got into it. He really knows his music."

I nodded. "See, he's cool, isn't he?"

He smiled. "Well, I'll let you two have the night to yourselves, I'm already late." He looked at his watched then kissed my forehead. "I'll see you later."

"Bye, dad." I was about to walk away when he pulled me back and put his hand on my shoulder and lowered his head.

"By the way, Hayden," he whispered. "I really like him."

I smiled. "Thanks, dad."

Tanner had passed.

When I walked into the living room I put the vase on the coffee table.

"Hey, where have you been?" he asked. "You missed it, your dad and I were talking about all kinds of music. It was awesome!" he exclaimed.

"I know. I was sitting on the other side of the wall," I told him.

Tanner looked at me. "Why?"

"It was all part of the test," I answered.

"What test?" He looked confused.

"My dad's test. I had to leave you two alone so you could get to know each other and just talk. That question about music was the test, and you had the right answer."

Tanner dropped his jaw, perplexed. "Wait, so that was all planned?" he asked, shocked.

I nodded. "Yeah."

"Well, how'd I do?" he asked curiously.

I smiled. "You passed with flying colors," I answered and sat next to him.

"Cool. So what're we doing tonight?"

"Watching a movie." I reached for the control and turned the TV on.

"We're staying in tonight?"

I nodded. "Yep, just you and me, and a movie and pizza."

He looked towards the kitchen. "What about your dad?"

"He left. He goes to play poker with his friends every Friday night," I told him.

"Okay. So just you, me, a movie and pizza," he repeated. Tanner paused for a second then a grin slid across his face. "What about dessert?"

I looked at him and smiled. "We'll see," I said, then leaned over to rest my head on his shoulder. He slid his arm around me and held me tight.

We ordered pizza and watched a movie, two actually. We took a break between the movies to have a discussion on who was funnier, Will Smith or Jack Black.

I was rooting for Will Smith for his sheer humor and presence while Tanner insisted Jack Black's roles were genius and comical. We could've spent hours trying to prove each other wrong, but instead we agreed that Chris Tucker was also funny and decided to watch "Rush Hour".

Tanner leaned back after finishing his third can of soda. "So, what about dessert?" he asked, smirking.

I chuckled. "You really want dessert, don't you?"

He nodded. "Mmm, yeah."

I shrugged. "Maybe later."

"Aww, that's no fair," he pouted.

I laughed then went back to watching the movie.

The movie ended and once the credits started rolling Tanner helped me clean up and put things away. After we returned to the living room and sat down I smiled at Tanner.

"Tonight was a good night," I said.

He nodded. "Yeah, I told you it would be."

I switched the TV off and sat back down. "So, my dad likes you," I said.

"And my mom likes you," Tanner added. "I'd say everything is going to work out just fine."

"I'm glad I waited for you," I said softly, looking up to him.

His smile was kind. "I'm glad I waited too."

Tanner leaned in towards me and caressed my cheek. I moved towards him and closed my as his hands moved down my neck – he didn't pinch me this time. Then he kissed me. He kissed me hard.

Tanner's lips pressed up against mine felt tender and strong. I could sense the heat transferring over to me. The taste of bitter sweetness tingled on my lips. His kiss made me a little dizzy, but I kissed him back.

When we finally broke the electrifying lip-lock I had to take in a quick gasp of air.

I looked up to see him through my bangs. "Wow," I breathed.

"Yeah," he nodded.

"I didn't know you could do that," I chuckled, touching my bottom lip.

Tanner laughed too. "Neither did I." We exchanged grins. "But with you, I'm learning fast."

I blushed a little.

"I hope, that you, don't mind-"

"No," I said quickly, cutting him off. "I don't." I smiled, then I kissed him.

I slouched on the couch and let my head rest on his shoulder, with my legs curled up towards my chest. Tanner held my hand in his as he put his head on mine.

We both must've fallen asleep on the couch, because the next thing I heard was my dad coming in and closing the door behind him. I lifted my head slowly and opened my eyes. I looked at the clock to see what time it was – it was eleven forty-five.

I heard footsteps approaching. "Dad?"

Tanner woke up at the sound of my voice. He lifted his head too.

"Looks like you two had an early night," he spoke softly. I thought my dad would've been a little shocked – finding us asleep on the couch together. But he wasn't. I looked up at my dad and his lips were curled into a smile.

"I'll see you in the morning, Hayden," he said over his shoulder. He was starting to go upstairs.

"Goodnight, dad." I stretched my head out so he could hear me.

"And Tanner," my dad said. Tanner turned his head. "Drive safely, okay? It was good meeting you, goodnight."

Tanner nodded. "I will, goodnight Mr. Montez," he replied.

I turned my head slowly towards Tanner. "See, he likes you."

"It's what I was hoping for," he smiled. He yawned for a moment then looked at the clock. "I better get home, before I fall asleep again."

I stood up with him and walked him to the door. "I'll see you tomorrow." I held the door open and he stepped out.

"Sleep well," he whispered and gently kissed me. I stood in the doorway and watched him get in his car and drive down the street.

I went upstairs and headed to my room when my dad stuck his head out from his room.

"I like him, Hayden," he said. I turned to face him. "He seems like a sweet kid."

I nodded. "He is. Goodnight, dad." I smiled then drifted into my room.


Author's comment:

Hey everyone. I'm incredibly sorry I haven't updated my story in months! I've been extremely busy with school, and participating in theatre productions and rehearsing for my dance concert as well. This chapter will hopefully let you know that I have NOT abandoned this story; it's just a matter of finding time to write that I'm having problems with.

Hopefully I'll be able to get one or two more chapters up in the next week or so if time permits. Thanks again to everyone who's reading this story and supporting it!