"London. London. London!" London started as her best friend practically screamed her name. Ashten rolled her eyes. "Just go over and talk to Regan, if you're so desperate."
"Ash, I didn't mean –" London stammered, staring down at her half-eaten lunch.
Ashten waved her off. "It's fine. Except that you were staring." A smirk tilted Ashten's mouth. "Well, look who's coming over here." The sentence was drawn out, teasing.
London stiffened, glancing around and watching as her crush of four years sat next to her at the table. Her heart beat a little faster, and she forgot hard to keep down a blush as she smiled in a friendly way to Regan.
"Mind if I sit here?" Regan asked.
"Not at all," Ashten said before London could answer, giving her friend a subtly knowing look. "Go right ahead."
"Great!" Regan sat, placing her lunch tray on the table.
"I cannot tell you how mad I am!" Taylor's father boomed as he thundered to the kitchen table.
"Was it that same young man again, dear?" Taylor's mother asked.
Taylor's heart nearly stopped. Anthony!
Taylor's father nodded, a fierce scowl on his face. "Don't they understand how wrong it is?"
"Simon…" Taylor's mother sighed.
"What? Am I wrong?" Simon asked his wife. "Elinor, they all must learn that if they don't turn from their filthy ways, they will never go to Paradise when they die." Simon shook his head. "What do you think, Taylor?"
Taylor jumped, but calmed down quickly. "What do you mean?"
Simon reached for the mashed potatoes. "This whole gay business." Simon's lip curled at the mere mention of the word. "What's your opinion on it?"
Taylor swallowed a mouthful of peas and shrugged. "I don't have much of an opinion. They're a people who exist, nothing more." Simon had a sort of grim but pleased look on his face. Taylor felt sick. A glance at the clock sent the teenager knocking over the dining chair. "I'm sorry. I need to meet my study partner. I'll be back before midnight."
Taylor grabbed the bag that was resting by the door, heading down the street. A glance to make sure no one was following before Taylor was sprinting, hoping to not be seen. Rap, rap, rap on the door, hard, frantic.
Anthony opened the door, concern covering his face. "Taylor! Hey, what's the matter? You're here early."
Taylor fought to catch his breath, his hands on his knees. "I had… to see… that you were okay…" He looked up. "My father was angry at you again today."
Anthony smirked a little. "He's always angry at me. I was just being honest when I told him I was texting my boyfriend at lunch today." He gently took Taylor's chin in his fingers, making the younger man look at him. "How was the test?"
"Screw the test," Taylor said emphatically. "We need to talk about… what we're going to do."
Anthony blinked, slightly taken aback, before he nodded, gesturing to his kitchen. "Coffee?"
Taylor nodded, his breath finally back. "That would be great." He plunked himself in his chair at the two-person table, setting his backpack beside him on the floor. "Let's just leave."
Anthony nearly dropped the mugs he was holding. "Excuse me?" he coughed.
Taylor stood, taking the few steps over to Anthony, cupping his cheek with one hand. "My father hates the fact that 'our kind' exist, although he doesn't know about me. I only enrolled at this college because he wanted me to be a lawyer, you know I hate it." Taylor leaned closer. "I just want to be with you…" he whispered.
Anthony put his own hand over Taylor's on his face. "I know, Tay. I do to," he murmured. "We can leave tonight. When do they expect you?"
"Midnight," Taylor answered.
Anthony glanced at the clock on the wall behind Taylor. "It's seven." He smiled. "We can be five, even six hours away before they start to worry."
Taylor laughed breathily, happy at even the thought of being away from his oppressive and close-minded parents. "Really? You would do that for me?"
"Hey…" Anthony tilted his head. "You mean too much to me for me to just leave you in that household. Do you have anything you need?"
Taylor looked into the chocolate-coloured eyes of his partner. "I have all I need here," he whispered.
The taller boy's eyes softened and he leaned down, giving Taylor a tender kiss. "Now, we need to leave. We should make it to Winry in five hours if we time things right."
Taylor took his hand, grabbing his bag from where it lay next to the table. "Then let's go."
"London, I know there's something bothering you," Sofia persisted as her daughter packed her bag again. "You can talk to me, you know. I'm your mother…"
London nodded absently, stuffing her lunch in one of the backpack pockets. "Yeah, I know," she murmured. "But I can't right now. I'll be late for the bus if I don't get going."
"But, London," Sofia sputtered.
"Sorry, Mom." London kissed her mom's cheek in a rush out the door. "Love you!"
London sat down on her seat on the bus in relief. Her mother meant everything to her, but she wasn't sure what to tell her. Would her mother even accept her for who she was? London was too terrified to ask.
As scared as she was of her own feelings, she couldn't wait to see Regan again. She looked forward to seeing her every day, wanting to spend every minute of every day with her. London blushed at her own admittance.
"So!" Ashten said, dropping down onto the bus seat next to her best friend. "If I know you, you're probably not listening to me, but thinking of Regan. Am I right?"
London blinked, turning from the window to look at Ashten. "Hm? Did you say something?"
Ashten grinned and shook her head. "So I was right?"
London flushed, turning her gaze away and staring out the window. "Probably," she mumbled.
"Are you going to talk to her?"
"I don't know… I'm not sure if she'll even react positively, but less reciprocate!" London felt her stomach knot up at the mere mention of it. "I know she's had boyfriends in the past, and…" London ducked her head, not needing to say anymore; Ashten knew what she meant.
"It doesn't hurt to ask…" Ashten tried to soothe with a softer and gentler voice. "And I'm sure she'll still be your friend if she doesn't return the feelings."
London let out a pitiful sound, simply nodding her head and staring out the window some more. She knew she really should talk to Regan, after all, if she had had a crush on her for four years and had come this far, maybe it really was time to have that conversation.
She took a deep breath and decided that today at lunch, she would talk to Regan… about everything.
Anthony looked over at the passenger side of the car and smiled affectionately at the younger man sleeping away in the seat. He wasn't sure when he had fallen in love with that head of raven-black hair with the cornflower blue eyes, but he was sure glad he had. Taylor was all he had now, after leaving what had been his home for years.
The sign for Winry glowed in the bright headlights, causing Anthony to nearly squint his eyes. He had called ahead for a hotel room for him and Taylor, and he was looking forward to doing exactly what his boyfriend was doing at the moment.
"Tay, we're here," Anthony murmured quietly.
Taylor let out a little snort as he woke up. "Wha-?" he mumbled. He sat up straighter, rubbing his eyes. "Where are we?"
"Winry," Anthony told him, watching the road again. "We should be reaching the hotel soon." He sighed, not wanting to tell him the next thing, but knowing he had to. "Your phone is exploding with texts," he relayed. "From your parents."
Taylor's sleepy eyes turned dark. "What where they asking?"
"Just where you were." Anthony sighed. "What are you going to say?"
Taylor picked up his phone from where it had been sitting in the cupholder. "I'll tell them I'm okay, and that they don't have to worry about me before I destroy the phone."
Anthony blinked a little in surprise at his bluntness, but nodded. "If that's what you want to do, then I agree that it's for the best."
Taylor's thumbs flew over the screen of the smartphone as he told his parents just that before unplugging the phone and turning it off. Then he lowered the window and flung it into the rain. Anthony smirked, but kept his eyes on the road, looking for the hotel. Once they arrived, he parked the car and they dashed into the lobby, trying not to get soaked. The receptionist was nice enough, smiling at Anthony and Taylor as they checked in and she handed them their room key.
The young men took the elevator to the second floor, and Taylor grinned at the single bed in their room. He looked over to his partner, with Anthony faking a shocked look.
"I could have sworn I asked for two queens." He sighed dramatically. "I guess we'll have to cuddle."
Taylor chuckled, nudging Anthony. "Very funny." He hung his damp coat in the closet next to the door, eyeing the bathroom. "I'm going to take a shower."
Anthony nodded. "I'll take one after you, then."
Taylor paused, turning back to him. "I really appreciate you doing this for me."
Anthony took his hand in both of his. "I did this for us, Tay. Not for you, not for me. For us."
Taylor nodded, smiling with tears filling his eyes. "We need to skip town, go as far as possible." He flicked the stolen credit card into view from his pocket. "My dad's. I know the code. We can take out as much money we need, then leave the card somewhere."
Anthony looked uncertain for a moment before nodding. "Alright. Tomorrow, we find a plane going the furthest away we can. For us."
"For us," Taylor echoed.
"Regan?" London asked. "Can I talk to you?" Before I lose my nerve? she added mentally.
Regan turned, smiling while closing her locker. "Sure! What do you need?"
London glanced at the people surrounding them in the hall. "Alone?"
Curiosity swam in Regan's brown eyes. "Alright. I know a good spot. Follow me."
London followed her behind the school and down a little hill. There, they were out of sight from anyone, and with no one around, no one would hear it.
"What's up?" Regan asked. "Is something wrong? Can I help?"
London could feel a blush crawling over her face and ears, could feel her ears burning. "Uh, I… I… sorry," she mumbled.
Regan's lips twitched in the beginnings of a smirk. "How is it that you are at a loss for words? Wouldn't that be an oxymoron?"
London laughed nervously, agreeing with her. "I'm sorry. I've never done… this before."
Regan looked a little confused. "Done what?"
London raised her head hesitantly, whispering so quietly Regan could hardly hear her. "Confessed my feelings to a girl."
Instead of answering in words, Regan reached out, cupping London's cheek with her hand. Before London could say anything, Regan leaned down and kissed her. London's eyes widened before she closed them and returned the kiss.
After a minute, Regan pulled back, smiling warmly at London. "I guess that's all the answer you need? I think it's obvious where I stand."
London could feel the blush returning and she just nodded stupidly. "I-I'm happy you… did that. I was afraid you would reject me."
"I could never reject you," Regan murmured affectionately.
London smiled genuinely for the first time that day.
"Two tickets for Sebastian, please," Anthony asked the lady at the desk, handing her the hundred-dollar bills.
The lady nodded, taking the bills and typing something on her computer. "For the two of you?"
Anthony nodded. He had made sure he and Taylor didn't look too wrinkled in case they wouldn't be let on the plane. Taylor had left the card under the sink in the male washroom, after they had emptied half of the account, of course. At first, Anthony felt guilty about taking money from Taylor's parents, then remembered how they would have treated him and ignored the guilt, which quickly depleted.
The lady smiled at the young men. "Any luggage?"
Taylor shook his head, smirking at her. "We're starting fresh."
She chuckled, typing some more before printing their tickets, handing them to Anthony and Taylor. "Enjoy your fresh start. Oh, and, Taylor?" Taylor whirled, the hair on the back of his neck standing up. "Your parents are looking for you. Good luck."
Anthony and Taylor exchanged a glance before Taylor suddenly understood what the young woman was doing or them. "Thank you," he whispered.
"Go on," she replied, but still smiled. "You don't want to miss your flight."
Thankfully, the 'Missing' posters went away once Anthony and Taylor left the county. Sebastian was all the way across the country; Taylor's parents, and the couple's past life was now far from them. They could now start anew. Together.
By now, London couldn't wait to go to school every day. She knew her mother could sense something different, but London was still nervous about asking her. Finally, it was Regan who convinced her that she needed to tell her mother. London agreed, but only if Regan came with her, driving so they could have a way to get away if necessary.
As they drove, with London giving directions, Regan glanced over. "What happened with your dad, if you don't mind my asking? You always talk about your mom, but never your dad."
London blinked, realizing that herself. "My dad died when I was two. Pneumonia. After that, my mom moved us here to Sebastian."
Regan nodded, her eyes on the road. "I'm sorry."
London shrugged. "It's alright; I don't really remember him. Though, there are times I wish I did."
The car went silent after that, and butterflies started fluttering in London's stomach as they rounded the familiar bend. "This is it," she told Regan before her girlfriend pulled into the driveway.
"Hey." Regan put her hand over London's reassuringly. "Everything's going to be okay."
London nodded mutely, opening the door and climbing the steps to the front door of the house. "Mom, I'm home!" she called as she walked inside, holding it open for Regan.
Sofia leaned out of the kitchen, surprise lighting her face. "Oh! If I had known you would be having company, I would have made something special!"
London smiled slightly at her mother's words. "Mom, this is Regan." She hesitated, but gained a little courage at Regan's nod. "She's… she's my girlfriend."
Sofia paused in front of Regan and London, her eyes widening as she took in the information. "Your… oh." Sofia smiled widely. "So you're the one who's making my daughter so happy."
London blushed as Regan grinned and shook Sofia's hand. "I am." She winked at London, causing her to blush harder.
London was happy, though. She had the girl of her dreams for her girlfriend, and her mother accepted it. Until Regan told her London had to meet her parents now and London was a bundle of nerves again.
"What if they don't like me?" she questioned for the millionth time as they approached Regan's house.
"They will, London. Trust me," Regan told her for the millionth time. Regan opened the door. "Dad? I'm home, and I brought her!"
A man in his mid-forties stepped around the corner. He had blond hair, cropped short on the sides, but a little long on the top, and chocolate-brown eyes. He was good looking, but London had to hold back a snicker at the frilly pink and white apron tied around his waist as he dried a plate.
He smiled, his eyes crinkling at the edges. "Regan! I'm glad you're home. And welcome to our home, we're glad you're here," he told London warmly. "I'm sure your father is around here somewhere, Regan. Why don't you go find him and I talk with your girl."
London blushed at his comment, but moved her gaze to apparently one of Regan's two fathers, both of which Regan had never told her about.
He moved his brown eyes to London once Regan had left. "My daughter tells me you had a crush on her for four years before confessing to her?" London nodded and he glanced in the direction of where Regan had disappeared. "Well if you've liked her for that long and nothing has changed, then I think she's made a good choice in a girlfriend. Her father and I only want what's best for her." He blinked, seeming to realize something. "I'm Anthony."
London smiled. "London," she returned.
Regan soon returned with a sleepy looking man the same age as Anthony, but with wavy black hair and bright blue eyes hiding behind thick, black square glasses.
Regan looked amused as she sat next to London. "Was my dad nice to you?"
London smiled. "He was."
Anthony's eyes were full of love when they moved to his husband. "Come on, Taylor. Have some form of hospitality," he teased.
Taylor smiled and adjusted his glasses. "I'm still getting used to these, you know." He turned to London. "You must be Regan's girl. I'm Taylor. It's nice to meet you."