"How do I look?"
"You look like you're going on a hot date."
"Good. Because I am."
"I didn't know you and Luke had plans for tonight." Winston said, folding his paper closed and putting it on the kitchen table.
"Neither did I." Noah said laughingly as he took a quick glance in the mirror. "Well we were just going to hide out here and watch some TV or something. Natalie is having some friends over for a sleep over."
"Ah and there was me thinking you just wanted to keep your old man company." Winston joked, crossing his arms in front of his chest. "But you two just want to avoid being tricked into babysitting a bunch of 10 year old girls."
"That too.. but we like spending time here. Some peace and quiet you know. Not having half the Snyder family watching over our shoulder the whole time does have its perks."
"I knew it. You two just like it here because I usually leave you boys to it, let you two do whatever you want and won't make you help out with dinner like Emma Snyder does." Winston said jokingly, raising an eyebrow at his son.
"Well.. we don't exactly mind that.. but that's beside the point. We're not staying in anyway."
"So I see. What's the plan for tonight then?"
"I don't know." Noah said and sat down at the table."Luke stopped by Java earlier and we talked for a bit and he told me to be ready at 8.30 and to put this shirt on because we're going out for our anniversary."
"Your anniversary? Wasn't that last month or so?" Winston asked confused.
"Yeah in June. But that was a different anniversary."
"You have more than one anniversary? Your mother and I only had one. I guess we were just old fashioned."
"I'm glad you finally realise that too, dad." Noah said, patting his father's hand.
"What happened to you huh? Where did your mother and I go wrong? You were always such a sweet little boy." Winston said, shaking his head.
"I still am!" Noah said indignantly. "Well the sweet part anyway. Just ask Luke."
"Luke is your boyfriend, he's biased."
"No he's not." Noah protested
"Oh so you're telling me that if I ask him if you're a sweet guy, he'll say something other than yes with the biggest smile in history on his face?"
"Yeah right." Winston said, rolling his eyes at his son.
"What? I just agreed with you didn't I? Doesn't that make me a good son? A sweet boy?" Noah joked.
"You telling your poor old father he's old fashioned? No that doesn't count. Anyway explain to me, how does this multiple anniversaries thing work?" Winston asked, changing the subject.
"You really want to know?"
"I wouldn't ask if I didn't. Come on, tell me."
"Ok well back in June, it was the day we first met."
"Oh yeah I remember that day, I think. You came home after your first day at WOAK and said the guy you were working with was cute and hated you already."
"Yeah that's right. I really thought he hated me. I was late, I didn't have a clue what to do.. Maddie was the only person that was nice to me." Noah said and smiled at the memory of his first few days at WOAK.
"How is Maddie doing these days?" Winston asked, interrupting Noah's thoughts.
"Huh? What? Oh she's fine. She's taking some time off from work and school soon so she can come over and visit. She called me a few days ago."
"Oh that's good to hear." Winston said. He had always liked Maddie. Her and Noah had been pretty much best friends since day one. They were always together before Noah started dating Luke. And then Maddie had left town to go to college on the other side of the country and Winston had had to admit to himself, Luke and Noah weren't the only ones that missed the girl.
"Yeah it will be good to see her again. I miss her too."
"What do you mean too?"
"Oh come on dad, I know you miss her. She knows you do. She told me to tell you she would stop by and take her favourite father in law out for coffee."
"Her favourite father in law? How does that one work? I'm too old to understand you kids."
"We're the perfect married couple. Except that I'm gay and we're both in love with someone else." Noah explained as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. "Come to think of it.. maybe it should be a three way marriage between Maddie, Luke and me."
"Yes, back to that boyfriend of yours and your multiple anniversaries. What's today?"
"Two years ago today.. my life started." Noah said as if he was reciting a poem.
"Who died and made you Shakespeare?" Winston teased.
"I mean it! Two years ago today I kissed Luke for the first time. I remember it as if it was yesterday. I was convinced he hated me even though Maddie kept telling me he didn't.. but I just had to kiss him just once." Noah said dreamy. "I thought he would kick the shit out of me for kissing him."
"But he didn't. Or you wouldn't have multiple anniversaries with him now."
"That multiple anniversaries thing really fascinates you doesn't it?" Noah said laughingly. "But you're right, he didn't kick the shit out of me. He kissed me back, and it was amazing. We kissed for ages until someone interrupted us. I can't even remember who it was.. I only saw Luke."
"Someone interrupted you?"
"Yeah we were in the office at WOAK. We were talking about the script for our project and he was sitting really close to me because the script was on his laptop and I felt his body touching mine and I smelt the coffee he had at lunch on his breath. And then those lips.. they still drive me crazy. I couldn't help myself, I didn't care who was around, who could walk in or see it or the trouble it could cause. I just had to kiss him. And I'm still so glad that I did."
Winston smiled. It had been quite a shock to him when Noah told him he was gay and he had found it hard to accept at first. Unlike Charlene, who'd been nothing but supportive until the day she died, 5 years ago. But the first time he'd seen Noah with Luke, not one of his doubts or prejudices had survived. He had seen two kids crazy in love with each other and nothing more. The only thing that he wished had been different is that Charlene would have been able to share the moment with them.
"What are you smiling at?"
"Hmm? Oh I was just thinking about your mother."
"Do you think she would have liked Luke?" Noah asked softly and reminded Winston of the lost little boy he'd looked at Charlene's funeral.
"I'm sure she would have. You mother always was a great judge of character, she would have told everyone Luke was a good kid 2 seconds after she'd met him."
"Yeah you're probably right about that." He said and let his mind paint the picture of his mother and Luke meeting each other
"I've been thinking about going to visit's mum's grave.. back in Branson. On her birthday maybe." Noah told his father a few minutes later. "I want to ask Luke to go with me. You wouldn't mind, would you?"
"Of course not. She's your mother. You have every right to go visit her." Winston said. It had been 5 years and still he couldn't say the word grave out loud. Actually saying the words would make it too real.
"Dad, be honest, when you first met Luke.. what did you think of him? And don't say you think of him as your son now, because I know and that's not what I asked." Noah said, interrupting Winston's thoughts.
"I wasn't sure about what to think. I knew you liked him and that you wanted me to like him too but I didn't know if I could. If I could handle seeing another boy kiss my son." Winston admitted. "But you know, that boyfriend of yours can be pretty charming and convincing when he wants to be. I think it took him about 5 seconds to make me see you two were crazy about each other."
"Yeah Luke is definitely a charmer." Noah agreed smiling.
"He's so charming you have multiple anniversaries with him." Winston said and Noah burst out laughing.
"You're never going to let that one go are you?"
"I'm just trying to understand you kids and maybe one day, when I'm old, I will."
"I thought you already were old?"
"Not too old to ground you if you keep that up, boy." Winston threatened playfully.
"Sure, go ahead, ground me. Luke and I will just stay here all night, make out on the sofa to celebrate our first kiss."
Winston made a face.
"I'll have to watch 2 men kiss? Noah, that's disgusting."
"We'll just go out and kiss somewhere else then."
"Good, good. I don't want such sinful behaviour in my house." Winston joked.
"Does two men sleeping in the same bed class as sinful behaviour too?" Noah asked, trying not to laugh.
"Sleeping?" Winston asked. "Are you sure today is only the anniversary of your first kiss? Not something else as well?"
"Nope, just the kiss, the something else is in January." Noah said and grinned at his father. "Luke and I.. we had a very good New Years Eve. We definitely saw fireworks that night."
"Ok I'm going to pretend I didn't hear that." Winston said, getting up from the table to make himself some coffee.
"Ok fine, ignore me." Noah said, pretending to be hurt, which earned him a playful smack on the back of his head from his father.
"Ugh, dad, you'll mess up my hair. I want to look good for Luke and I won't if I look like I've been dragged backwards through a bush."
"Oh don't be such a drama queen mister multiple anniversaries. What else is coming up apart from the one in January I don't know about?"
"Our first date, in about 3 weeks and then the day we "officially" became boyfriends." Noah said using air quotes. "That's in October."
"And you'll be celebrating on all those occasions?"
"I don't know.. I don't even know what we're doing tonight." Noah sighed. "The not knowing drives me crazy and he knows it."
"Well.. then what did you do on your last anniversary? The one back in June."
"We went to see a film and went to Yo's for a few drinks and danced and talked to some friends.. and uhm.. we booked a room at the Lakeview for 2 nights and didn't leave it until we had to check out." Noah said, blushing slightly. He could talk about anything with his father but his sex life was an uncomfortable issue for both of them.
"You think he might have planned something like that again?" Winston asked casually.
"I know he hasn't booked a room.." Noah trailed off.
"How do you know?"
"Well..we were kind of hoping you wouldn't mind if Luke stayed over tonight.. because.. the apartment we're going to check out tomorrow is closer to this place than his parents' house."
"Apartment? You're moving in together? When were you planning on telling me, young man?" Winston asked part surprised, part annoyed.
"I'm telling you now." Noah said, giving his father an angelic smile.
"Noah.." Winston said, giving Noah a stern look.
"This is only the second apartment we'll be checking out. We only just started looking." Noah explained. "And I didn't want to upset you by telling you I might be moving out soon."
"I'll miss you when you move out but I just want you to be happy. And I know Luke makes you happy. That's enough for me." Winston said and hugged his son.
"Hey, did someone say my name?" A familiar voice said and when Noah let go of his father he saw Luke's smiling face.
"Hey you." He said and gave his boyfriend a quick kiss hello.
"I hear congratulations are in order." Winston said, smiling at the two boys.
"I told him we're apartment hunting." Noah explained.
"Oh, ok, thanks Win. I'll take good care of him when he's living with me, I promise." Luke said and kissed Noah's cheek. "Just.. don't tell my dad yet please.. I know you two are going fishing tomorrow and everything.. but he doesn't know yet."
Winston pretended to zip his mouth shut which earned him a chuckle from both boys.
"Good, thanks Win."
"So what's the plan for tonight?" Winston asked.
"Yeah that's what I'd like to know too." Noah said, slipping an arm around Luke's waist.
"I bet you do." Luke said teasingly and turned to Winston. "I bet he's been bugging you with all kinds of theories. Did any involve taking my grandma's jet to Paris and go bungee jumping off the Eiffel Tower?"
"Luke.. please tell me you didn't do anything crazy.." Noah said, looking at his boyfriend, hoping he was joking.
"Don't worry babe. I know you're afraid of heights. No bungee jumping tonight." Luke said reassuringly and gave Noah a small peck on the lips. "I booked a table for us at that new restaurant across town.. and I might have planned a few other things." He said as he started pulling Noah towards the door.
"Other things? Like what?" Noah asked, starting to feel nervous.
"Hey guys, be safe, ok?" Winston said, getting a mortified "DAD!" from Noah as a reply.
"Don't worry Win, I'll make sure he keeps his seatbelt on and puts the breaks on when we park." Luke called out, and grinned at his boyfriend's father.