Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #31 (7.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Things are going well for Chan and Evan. They're living together in Evan's condo, living the dream, and Chan couldn't be happier. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #31 (7.1)

Living with Evan was like a dream come true.  Like achieving the happy ending in a Hollywood romance, the happily ever after kind.  Chan didn’t even mind moving his belongings into Evan’s condo. The stuff he’d decided to keep, anyway. They’d looked over everything they owned and discussed what to keep and what to part with. For the most part, everything Evan had was newer or in better shape, but Chan wanted to bring some of the smaller pieces, which Evan had no problem with.  In fact, he encouraged Chan to keep as much as he liked. They put some of his furniture into storage, at least for now, and donated most of the rest to the local Goodwill.

The best part about living together? Evan’s beautiful face was the last thing Chan saw before he went to sleep at night and the first thing he saw in the morning. Even when Evan had a later schedule, he got up at the same time as Chan, and they ate breakfast together. Chan did most of the cooking. On nights when Evan had to work late, he made sure to have dinner ready whatever time he got home, waiting to eat his own meal until Evan was there.

Could life get any better than this? Home now had an entirely different feel to it, one which revolved entirely around Evan.

They made love… a lot. Chan felt as though he existed in a state of perpetual bliss. His co-workers teased him about his constant smile, but he didn’t mind. They all knew about Evan. In a town as small as Tucker Falls, some things were hard t conceal. Not that he tried to hide anything. Even if he’d wanted to, his feelings were more than obvious when Evan switched his banking to the savings and loan where Chan worked, and he came into the office to sign everything.

Chan introduced him to his co-workers. After Evan had gone, a few of the tellers—both male and female—had commented on how good-looking Evan was, and how much they envied Chan. Chan had never had anyone who was jealous of him before. He did get a couple of disapproving looks from some of the older female employees. After all, this was Texas, and not everyone approved of same sex couples. But the branch manager told Chan not to worry about them, they were jealous that Chan’s man was hotter than their husbands, which made him giggle.

Although they ate at home most of the time, they still liked to go out for dinner sometimes, sampling the different cuisines offered by the restaurants of Tucker Falls. For a fairly small town, there was a fairly diverse food scene, and they loved to explore it. Barbecue was a given, of course. It was impossible to live in Texas and not run across the state staple. Some traditionalists only rubbed salt and black pepper on their meat and considered sauce as unnecessary. But you could get it on the side, if you requested it. Of course the portions were huge, but Chan was used to that. Everything in Texas was larger than life.

And Evan was no exception to that rule, he could honestly say.

One Friday morning, about two months or so after he’d first moved in with Evan, Chan was rolling out of bed when he heard Evan’s phone chime. He turned toward his lover, hoping it wasn’t bad news. Most of Evan’s texts were work related. As Evan grabbed his phone and glanced at it, Chan couldn’t help but pray it was nothing serious. Judging by the expression on Evan’s face, it wasn’t. Chan felt himself relax.

“Roy wants to know if we want to meet him and Dustin at Partners tonight? Maybe get something to eat, shoot some pool, just hang out? What do you think?”

Chan gave the matter serious consideration. He’d already been introduced to Roy and Dustin, who were friends of Evan’s, as well as Lee and Marshall. In fact, they were there the first night he and Evan had seen one another there. When everything all began for them. Nervous at first, they had all made him feel at home. He and Evan fit right in, to his delight.

“I would like that,” Chan said at last. “What about you?”

Evan gave him a damn warm smile for so early in the morning. Chan could easily get lost in that smile. “I like showing you off,” he admitted. “Plus I like them.”

“I like them too.” Chan easily returned Evan’s smile. “I would also like some chicken wings.” 

Partners made some extra spicy wings that he loved. Not everyone could handle such heat, but he and Evan challenged themselves to see who could go the distance. Sometimes Chan even beat him.

“Sounds like a plan.” Evan texted their acceptance then looked up from his phone as he walked around the bed to where Chan still stood. “All set. I’ll go start the coffee.” They had a single-serve coffee make that they loved, especially since they didn’t have to wait for an entire pot to brew, and they could have a cup with breakfast.

Evan reached for Chan’s lips and kissed him firmly. “Good morning, sexy,” he said.

Chan resisted the urge to melt into the other man’s arms. “Good morning, kancha.” That had become his pet name for Evan, ever since Kamal had referred to him as such. The nickname had stuck… at least in private.

Today was going to be a good day.

to be continued

Now go see what's up with the other Briefers:

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #30 (6.3)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

While Chan and Evan are visiting Chan's family, Chan accidentally lets slip their new living arrangements. Will everything go sideways now? See what's happening in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #30 (6.3)

Evan thought Chan’s family was great. Warm and welcoming, and very down-to-earth. He was very glad they’d come, even though meeting a significant other’s family didn’t exactly fall within his wheelhouse.  Only because he’d never dated anyone long enough to have a significant other. He was touched that Chan wanted them to meet him, even if the meeting had been brought about by circumstances beyond their control. Everything had turned out well, even so. Although he had to admit he felt a little tension drain after they’d eaten and the children had all dispersed to their own activities. He didn’t dislike children, and certainly not Chan’s siblings. He just wasn’t very comfortable around them. He hadn’t been able to handle other children even when he was a child. He pushed the thought away, focusing on the present.

The present where Chan had just let slip that they were going to be living together.

Well, that cat was certainly out of the bag, wasn’t it? Although they hadn’t discussed it, he’d assumed that Chan would want to tell his family at some point. He was glad that their living arrangements were already out in the open. He didn’t like deception, whether by lying or by sins of omission. But now the question was… how would Chan’s parents take the news?

Apparently Evan’s concerns were for nothing. He watched Aarti carefully, looking for signs that she was upset or unnerved, or whatever mothers became when their sons tell them they’re moving in with another man who just happens to be his boyfriend. Now live-in boyfriend.

Never missing a beat, Aarti leaned across the space that separated them and patted Evan’s hand. “Welcome to the family, Evan,” she said. Her smile was both warm and welcoming.

Balji was bolder than his wife. Seated on the other side of Chan, he gave Chan an immediate high five, followed by, “Way to go, Chan!  Congrats!”

Evan noticed Chan’s adorable blush, but he never stopped smiling and returned Balji’s high five without hesitation. They’d accepted Evan without hesitation. That had to be a good sign, right?

They’d stayed a little longer, but finally had to go. The next day was a work day for both of them, and they had things to do before they could retire for the night. Including a practical discussion of ending Chan’s lease, and the disposition of both their furniture. Evan would never assume that Chan should get rid of his furniture just because his was already in place. If they were to have an equal relationship, there needed to be give-and-take, and discussions. This was a new world for both of them, he knew.

“Do you mind if well the children of your new situation?” Aarti asked her son.

Chan and Evan exchanged glances. Naturally, this had not been discussed between them.

“What do you think would be best?” Evan was quite willing to defer to Chan’s opinion.

Chan seemed unsure of himself. Evan reached for his hand and gently squeezed, offering his reassurance.

“That would be fine, of course,” Chan said. “Tell them if they have any questions, I’m only a phone call away.”

 “Of course,” Aarti said. “Don’t worry. They’ll be fine with it.”

Evan wondered how she knew that, but he didn’t question her judgment. He and Chan helped to clear away the tea things for Chan’s mother, then washed the delicate dishes despite Aarti’s protests that they were guests.

“Not guests, family,” Evan echoed her own words, and she had to laugh.

Finally, Chan’s parents walked them to the door and they bid their final farewells.

The ride home was a very comfortable one. They maintained a companionable silence until they pulled into the parking space in front of their new home. Once Chan had put the car into drive and removed the key from the ignition, he turned toward Evan and laid his hand on Evan’s thigh. It seemed as though he wanted to say something. Finally, he said, “Thank you.”

“For what?” Evan was baffled.

Chan didn’t answer immediately. “For everything,” he said. “For being a part of my life and allowing me to be a part of yours. For the way you made my mother love you instantly and she did not freak out that we’ll be living together.”

Evan felt his cheeks warm at Chan’s praise. “I love you, Chan. You’re very special to me. I’ve never felt this way before.” He raised Chan’s hand to his lips and kissed it tenderly. “I would do anything for you.”

“And I you.”

Evan could hear the sincerity in Chan’s voice. They came together for a heartfelt kiss before they exited the car to enter their home.

to be continued

Now go visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them!

Monday, August 17, 2020

What's Happening: A Long Overdue Update

I haven't updated in quite a while, figured it was about time I did. I'm about halfway through a four day weekend, so here goes.

I don't believe there is anyone who isn't aware of the global pandemic which is consuming the entire world at this moment, as it's still very much ongoing and still very much a problem. I will say I am very fortunate in that I have not stopped working at all, and in fact, I go to the office every day. Not everyone in my company can say that. Some are working at home. I could write a whole post on my thoughts about that, and how I think some people are taking advantage of the situation to basically screw around under the guise of working. But then again, there are a few who actually come to the office that I can say the same about, and these disreputable, lazy, unprofessional people are not the subject of this post, so let's forget about them.

Am I happy about what's going on? Of course not, who would be? At first, along with a lot of people, I felt that people were making a tempest in a teapot. I have since changed my mind (although many haven't). While I was not in favor of wearing a mask, I was persuaded by my daughter, basically guilting me into it for love of me and concern for my health. Who can argue with that? I couldn't. She even went so far as to order two masks for me, which I now use religiously, including while at the office (other than eating or drinking, which isn't possible). I err on the side of caution, and wear my mask from the moment I leave home until I return. I believe we all need to do this until this current crisis is over, even though we don't know how long that may be. The more people who refuse to cooperate, though, I think the longer that shall be.

Which brings me to my next topic - Sturgis. Yes, the annual motorcycle rally held in a small town in
South Dakota. Normally, I pay no attention to the event. It's far away and of no interest to me. But this year I became alarmed to discover that despite the government banning groups of 50 or more, this rally was still going on (it ended this past weekend, btw). What is really mind-blowing is the estimate of 250,000 attendees... if not more.  Say what? A QUARTER OF A MILLION people assembled in one place, at a time when 50 is not allowed. Who the hell thought that was a good idea? Not to mention they aren't requiring face masks? Or social distancing? Are the authorities crazy, or are they being paid to put people's lives in jeopardy?

Well, it's probably some of both reasons. I found out that although most of the residents didn't want the rally to be held this year, one of the event's vendors threatened to sue if it didn't happen. I don't remember which one and I haven't been able to find the same article again. But someone put profits before human lives. There were some who said that South Dakota's COVID numbers are low.

Just wait, they won't be.

There was also an attitude of Fuck COVID, we do what we want to do!

I want to tell these chowderheads just how stupid they really are, but I don't think they have the intelligence to appreciate that, so why bother. Personally, I wouldn't care if they all got COVID, anybody who attended the rally (and sorry, Smashmouth, that includes you for having the stupidity to play there and for also saying Fuck COVID). My concern isn't for these morons, it's for the people they'll infect when a QUARTER OF A MILLION motorcycle assholes return home, scatter across the country, and back into mainstream America.

What then? Spikes, of course. Numbers shooting up. More deaths. And for what? So a bunch of motorcyclists could party hearty, get their drink on, act up like little boys (and girls), and have sex (don't even tell me that wasn't going on and that isn't a way to spread COVID when normally even shaking hands is off-limits).

I wish there was a way to quarantine them before they got outside of Sturgis, but realistically speaking, there isn't. So all we can do is brace ourselves for the deaths which will surely follow.

On top of that, they want to open the schools, even though many states don't require masks be worn by children under nine, under the delusion that they won't spread it. Seriously? Do you know anything about children? Kids spread everything. They tend not to wash their hands if they don't have to, aren't the best at keeping good hygiene at school, and do not practice social distancing. So naturally throw them all together and see what happens instead of continuing with the virtual - and safe - education they were receiving.

Yes, these are difficult times we're living in. This is a situation unknown to any of us. No one alive today remembers the Spanish Flu of 1918 which claimed some fifty million lives. But refusing to take precautions, ignoring the warnings and doing what you want is not the answer. If it was just the stupid ones who got sick and died, I'd be okay with that. Their choice. But it's not.

It doesn't help to have the politicians throwing verbal rocks at one another. It doesn't help to have a president who makes such unhelpful suggestions as inject yourself with Lysol (and later retracts that as sarcasm once he realizes that wasn't a great idea).

Speaking of politicians, we have an election coming up in November. Our chance to get rid of that idiot in the White House. But how will that work out when normally the polls are jammed for any presidential election? My state offers the option of mail voting - but you have to get the ballot notarized? First off, the banks are closed. Second, fuck that. I'm not paying to vote (even if I could find a notary).  So what to do? I know Trump opposed mail voting because he can't mess with that like he can the other methods. Russians can't hack the mails, can they?

I have a friend who thinks the whole thing is a political stunt, and that after the election COVID will go away. Wouldn't be the first such stunt right before an election. I just don't know who would go to such extremes to get re-elected (coughTrumpcough).

Well, here we are. I was going to talk about other stuff but I think I'll do that later.

I have no doubt we'll get through this. That someday life will return to some semblance of normalcy. Maybe complete normalcy with them, although I wonder. But the longer we take, the harder it will be. And that means everyone has to cooperate.


To all of you out there who proudly claim that COVID is a hoax, or Fuck COVID, or whatever slogan you're using this week, I suggest you stay away from the rest of us and hurry up and die. Sadly, I know that won't happen, much like the anti-vaxxers (a rant for a different day).

To the rest of you - take care and hang in there. We'll get through this together.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #29 (6.2)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Chan has taken Evan to meet his family, but he's a little concerned that things will not go well. Is this the right time to mention they're going to be living together? See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to see what the other Briefers have been up to!  Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #29 (6.2)

Chan knew Evan was clearly not at ease. Not that he showed his discomfort by anything he said or did, but Chan could tell. They might not have been dating very long, but Chan was pretty good at interpreting Evan’s body language. Today he seemed a little stiff at times and not his usual self.

Seated together on the sofa, Chan watched Evan from the corner of his eye as he conversed with Chan’s mother, who sat in a nearby armchair. Ever the dutiful hostess, she asked questions about what it was like to be a state trooper, and listened attentively to everything he said.  She’d given Evan the tour of the house when they arrived, while Chan’s siblings noisily claimed their brother’s attention. Well, the noise was all Kamal and, to a small extent, Laksha. At eleven, she was rapidly becoming a young lady, although at times she forgot herself and was as rowdy as her brother. Madhu was her usual quiet self, content to sit on Chan’s lap and smile, while clutching her favorite stuffed animal, a small gray wolf she called Kela.

No, Chan could see that Evan and his mother were getting along famously, and Evan had had no problem with Balji, despite the circumstances under which they’d met. The problem appeared to be Chan’s brother and sisters. The trouble had begun when Kamal asked who Evan was and called him a kancha.  Chan would have to explain the term later, when they were alone. Not that it was disrespectful, it was simply a nickname for someone who was strong and muscular looking. At least he hoped Kamal hadn’t meant it disrespectfully. Maa had warned Chan’s little brother to behave but he’d repeated the question once they were inside the house.

“That gentleman is Evan, and you will be respectful.” Chan had lightly tapped the tip of his brother’s nose and given him a stern look. “He is a good friend of mine. A very good friend.” He wasn’t sure his brother would even understand the concept of boyfriend. Friend was a starting point.

“Just asked a question,” Kamal grumbled. He darted a quick scowl toward Evan before quickly looking away.

Why was his usually good-natured well-behaved brother acting this way? Chan hoped whatever it was, he wouldn’t keep it up.

With an exasperated sigh, Laksha pulled her little brother aside and whispered something in his ear. Kamal’s eyes widened and he glanced between Chan and Evan in apparent confusion. “Girlfriend?” he asked in a dubious voice.

“I said boyfriend,” Laksha said in an aggrieved voice.

“How do boys have boyfriends?” Kamal wouldn’t let the subject drop.

“The same way girls do,” Balji said smoothly, taking his son’s hand and turning toward them. “You are very welcome here, Evan. Please, make yourself at home. You, come with me.” He tugged at Kamal, leading him away from everyone. Probably for a private lecture about manners and guests. And maybe boys who have boyfriends.

Chan had never had a conversation with his brother in regard to his sexuality, had never seen a reason to do so, since he’d never been in a lasting relationship. He certainly had a reason now. Perhaps he shouldn’t have waited until he had a significant other to come out to his siblings. But then Kamal was only seven. Chan would discuss the subject with his mother. She would be able to give him guidance on what to do, he was sure.

After a most enjoyable lunch, Laksha had helped her mother clean up and then retreated to her room, phone in hand. Some of Kamal’s friends had come to the door, and he had run off to play with them. Madhu had been put down for her afternoon nap, leaving the four adults to enjoy tea and cake. Chan’s mother had made a delicious carrot cake that melted in the mouth, one of his favorites. He was very touched that she’d gone to such trouble, especially with the short notice she’d been given.

“I’m sorry for Kamal’s behavior,” Balji apologized to Evan. “He’s usually much better mannered. I’m not sure what has gotten into him today.”

“No need to apologize,” Evan assured him. He took a drink of the butter tea Chan’s mother had made. “This is very delicious, Aarti.” She had told him to use her first name shortly after they’d arrived.

“Yes, it is,” Chan echoed.

“Thank you,” his mother said. She fixed her gaze on Chan, almost expectantly. What was she waiting for, he wondered. She couldn’t possibly know about his news… could she? Although she did have a disconcerting way of knowing about things before he ever brought them up. When he’d come out to her as gay, she’d exchanged a knowing look with Balji… almost as though they’d discussed that very subject.

He took another bite of cake to distract his thoughts, then almost choked when his mother asked, “Do you live far from Chan, Evan?”

“Actually, I live just a little way from here, if you’re familiar with the Floral Crest Apartments?”

“Oh yes, those are very lovely apartments.” Again with that knowing look. Chan felt his cheeks warm. “Don’t you think so, Chan?”

Chan threw a glance toward Evan, but he seemed to be oblivious to his mother’s machinations. Of course, wouldn’t he be? He barely knew her or the way her mind worked.

“Yes, it’s very lovely,” Chan said. He reached for his tea to give himself something to focus on but managed to slosh the hot liquid over the sides and into the saucer beneath. Evan moved quickly. He lifted the cup and soaked up the tea with his napkin.

“Evan and I are going to live together there.”

Did he just really blurt that out?

to be continued

Now go visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them!

Friday, August 7, 2020

Book Review: Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 2: The Prophet by Naoki Urawsawa

Twentieth Century Boys, Vol 2: The Prophet 

Author: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: Viz Media
American release date: April 21, 2009
Format/Genre/Length: Paperback/manga/paranormal/216 pages
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

As children, Kenji and his friends were terrorized by Yanbo and Manbo, the “evilest twins in history”.  There was only one person who could put them in their place, a scrawny looking girl who would knock the stuffing out of the two boys. And they’ve just run into her at the airport, none other than Yukiji!  Apparently she’s a customs officer who has a dog for a partner. The boys are thrilled to see her, although she seems less enthusiastic about the chance meeting.

Two attorneys approach a man named Manjome Inshu regarding complaints from parents about their children being involved in an organization this man is part of. They want their children back. However, he is very evasive, and won’t give the name of the organization or of its leader, known simply as friend. Strangely, after Manjome’s departure, the attorneys notice something odd—all the spoons on the table are bent!

Yukiji shows up unexpectedly at Kenji’s convenience mart, and tells him she remembers the symbol they were asking about, and also who came up with it—their friend Otcho. When Kenji tries to question her, the franchise district manager chooses that unfortunate time to come in and demands Kenji’s time. She invites Kenji to the victims’ meeting, and he says he’ll try to make it.

Cho is a long-time policeman whose dedication to his job has caused problems in his personal life, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care. He buys his grandson a Pikachu for his birthday, because apparently that’s what he wants and it’s all the rage.  Cho is investigating the disappearance of the Shikishima family. He runs into his colleague, Yama, who is working on the death of the professor’s student, but learns that the case was taken out of police hands. Cho is concerned about being late to his grandson’s party. His daughter, who hasn’t spoken to him in years, has personally invited him, so he can’t mess this up. He shares the details of his investigation with Yama before leaving for the party.

Kamisama is a homeless man who sometimes has nightmares. But his dreams aren’t like that of other people—his are often prescient. He shows up at Kenji’s store to check the stock prices and tells him things are going to get hard for him, but doesn’t explain why. Sometimes he tells his friends about his dreams, but this last one, he’s keeping that to himself.

While rooting around in his absent sister’s desk, Kenji finds a hidden envelope containing a strange message… and the same mysterious symbol he’s been asking about! He asks his mother about the symbol and it’s then he learns why his sister has always taken such good care of him, even before he was born. Which is why he won’t give up on raising her only child for anything. He also learns about the rich man who once courted her and what became of him.

Kamisama and his friends find an injured man in their midst. He won’t leave, no matter what they say, and insists on seeing the Great Kenji. Kamisama devises a plan to get Kenji to come to them. Hopefully he’ll understand what the man wants and will be able to do something about it.

Things are certainly getting strange and mysterious in this second volume of Twentieth Century Boys. Unexplained deaths are occurring, and we are getting more of a glimpse into the organization led by Friend. Not so friendly, are they? Is their leader one of Kenji’s old group of friends, who came up with the symbol originally, and had a plan to save the world… if only they could remember what that was. How will Kenji’s band figure into this? Could Friend be the missing Otcho, or did he disappear for a more sinister reason?

Also, am I wrong in thinking there’s an attraction between Kenji and Yukiji? If so, will they ever act on it? And who the heck is Kanna’s father? So many questions, so few answers. All we know for sure is the fate of the entire world depends on the answers!

Looking forward to volume 3!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Wednesday Briefs: Super Trooper #28 (6.1)

Good morning and Happy Hump Day! If it's Wednesday, then it must be time for more flash fiction from the Wednesday Briefers! We're a group of authors who bring you our finest flash fiction every week, 500 to 1000 words, inspired by one of our prompts.

Facing their approaching separation, Evan asks Chan what he thinks about the idea of their living together, and Chan is more than happy to take that step! Now Evan is going to meet Chan's family, and he's a bit nervous. Will they like him? He's never done this before. See what's going on in this week's chapter of Super Trooper. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them. Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!

Super Trooper #28 (6.1)

Evan debated with himself whether or not to bring his gun with him when he went to meet Chan’s family. As a State Trooper, he had the right to carry when off duty, but it wasn’t the law he was concerned with, it was the safety of Chan’s young siblings. In the end, he decided to take it with him and to remain vigilant. Better to have and not need than to find himself in a situation where he wished he had his weapon.

But he also didn’t want to frighten the children, so decided to wear a shoulder holster with a jacket which would conceal the bulge. He had a taupe suit that he knew looked good on him, with a pale blue long sleeve shirt and a chocolate tie. A pair of rose gold cufflinks completed his ensemble. He decided he could do without the brace on his wrist. The doctor had said he could remove it at his discretion. He certainly didn’t intend to wear it when he returned to work the next day. The injury was mostly healed, with only slight discomfort. Amazing what a few days of TLC could do, something he’d never received before.

As he finished fastening the cufflinks, he heard a wolf whistle from the direction of the doorway. He turned to find Chan gazing at him in open admiration. “Do I look all right?” Evan asked, although he suspected he already knew the answer to his question.

“You look amazing. Good enough to eat.” Chan gave him a naughty grin.

“We’ll have to do something about that when we back.” Evan winked. “Too bad we don’t have time now. “ He gestured toward himself with his good hand. “You sure this isn’t too much?”

Chan’s dress was a little more casual, although still very nice. But then he wasn’t trying to impress his family, and Evan was. First impressions were the most lasting, in his experience. Evan knew the scrutiny would be all for him, for a number of reasons.

Chan shook his head. “Not at all. My mother will fall in love with you, I guarantee.”

Evan thought he would be happy if she just liked him. Having her acceptance would mean everything to him, and he knew it mattered to Chan. Although he’d originally been reluctant to meet Chan’s family because of his own issues, now that the die was cast, he found himself looking forward to getting to know them. Especially now that he and Chan were going to live together. He started to ask Chan if he intended to give his mother that piece of information, then decided they’d cross that bridge when they came to it. So much was happening so fast. He didn’t want to seem impatient, not when everything was working out so perfectly.

Chan had called his mother to find out what time she expected them. She’d told him about one o’clock and to come hungry.

“Prepare yourself for a lot of eating,” Chan warned him, rolling his eyes. “She will be highly insulted if we don’t eat our body’s weight in her cooking.”

Evan had laughed. Eating was never a problem with him, especially if there was good food involved. He was lucky to have a high metabolism, and he also enjoyed working out when he had the time. Although he didn’t visit the gym as often as he did before he started seeing Chan. He would have to ask Chan if he was interested in getting a membership. If so, they could always go together.
Evan’s stomach knotted slightly when they drew up in front of Chan’s family’s home. They lived in a nice part of Tucker Falls on a wide tree-lined street.  Chan had insisted on driving, claiming it would be easier since he already knew the way. But Evan knew he was being considerate of his injuries for one last day.

As he exited the car, he thought he saw curtains rustle, as if someone had been impatiently awaiting their arrival. Before he had a chance to comment, the front door opened wide and a boy ran down the front steps. He looked to be maybe seven or eight. He was followed at a more sedate pace by an older girl. Her large dark eyes were framed by white gold glasses. “Kamal, it’s not a race,” she told her brother, but he paid her no attention.

The boy threw himself at Chan. “Bhaiya!” he cried, clinging tightly to Chan.

Chan laughed as the young boy began to literally climb up his body. He detached the child and set him firmly but gently on the ground. “Don’t be so dramatic. It has not been forever since I was here last.” He turned toward Evan. “This is Kamal. The drama queen.”

Kamal giggled, clearly not offended, and play punched Chan, who easily blocked his throw. He threw a side-eye glance Evan’s way. “Who’s the kancha?” he asked.

What does that even mean?

“Kamal! You will behave this instant!” A woman had come out of the house while Evan was focused on Chan and his brother. Evan glanced toward her when she spoke. He could see where Chan got his looks from. His mother was very striking. They shared the same dark eyes and high cheek bones. She wore a red and silver sari.

“Yes, maa,” the boy said immediately.

The girl hadn’t said anything, but she seemed to eye Evan critically, as if evaluating him.

Chan’s stepfather stood beside his wife, a small girl in his arms.  She took one look at Evan before burying her face in her father’s chest shyly.

Unexpectedly unsure of himself, Evan began to take a step back but Chan arrested his movement, linking their arms.

“Welcome to our home, Evan,” the woman said. She gave him a warm smile. “Please come in.”
Chan patted his arm, as if to instill confidence in him, as they followed Chan’s parents into their home.

to be continued

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