[Samuel x Roman]

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j a c o b

Harper's apparent confidence when it came to things like these had rubbed off a little on Jacob as time went on, so he didn't have any thought of hesitance as Harper kissed him and slipped his hands under his shirt he just did the same and happily complied when Harper reached to take his shirt of, and did the same to him, tugging at the fabric to signify that he wanted it off so he got to see more of his bare skin.

The mention of missing this too sent a rush of happiness through Jacob, same did the invite over to Harper's place. He knew he couldn't be too happy about it. It didn't mean much more than another chance to do this and Jacob didn't mind that at all. But the fact that it meant hanging out with Harper was great. He wished they could hang out more, just the two of them, even if it was just friendly. Though he wasn't even sure if hanging out at Harper's place really would be the two of them.

"I..." he paused the kissing just for a moment, hands now on Harper's chest, he felt warm and comfy. Sometimes he just wished he could hug him close and nothing more. He wasn't about to suggest that though and right now he felt a little uncertain and just looked down at their feet for a moment, "Will your siblings be home. Cus if your dads aren't home I wanna come but I just don't want anyone talking about me being there," he had been pretty firm with that since they had gotten together again. He just didn't want people to know. And since they weren't even dating it didn't really matter. They were just hooking up, that was between them and no one else, and he just needed time to figure things out and test the waters with the people he knew because he genuinely didn't know how a lot of people would react and it scared him, even though he tried not to let Harper know it did.
 

lxngdon

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h a r p e r
Harper stopped when Jacob stopped, and when Jacob explained his thoughts, Harper realised he should have expected this. It made sense for someone to want to ensure that the person they were seeing was inviting them over to an empty house. It just lifted a lot of restrictions that would have been placed otherwise, and it saved a lot of unnecessary trouble.

But Harper couldn't help but feel that Jacob's concerns were a little more than that. "Well, I think Letha has a sleepover lined up but I'll have to find out about the twins. But even if they are there, they won't even say anything as long as we're not too loud." Come to think of it, Harper didn't even think his parents would protest too much as long as they kept the volume down. But he knew getting caught wasn't the whole problem in Jacob's case.

"Jacob ... are you afraid of people knowing that you like guys, or that you're with me?"
Harper asked. Maybe these questions were mood killers but he genuinely wanted to know. Because if the answer was the latter, it would be very hurtful. And it would make Harper feel as though he was being used.

"Because ... well ... if it's the first one, I'd understand. But if it's the second one ... I ... look, I really like you, as more than just a hookup, and I'd like to be your boyfriend but if you don't want that then you should tell me now."
It all came out at once and Harper hadn't actually meant to say it. But he had. And he couldn't take it back.
 

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j a c o b

Jacob wasn't sure if just Letha being gone was enough for him to agree to going over to Harper's. He had seen Harper's siblings plenty of times around school and when they came to watch soccer games, and as much as they were probably good people seeing as they were Harper's siblings and Mr Hemlock-Ortega's kids he didn't really trust that they would just keep quiet. Well at least not Stella because she seemed social and we're friends with the kind of people he couldn't really place and that made him a little nervous.

But Harper's siblings were wiped of his mind completely when Harper started to get into the reasons as to why Jacob was hesitant about coming over. He wanted to tell him it had nothing to do with him but didn't because that would maybe make it clear that he liked him. And Harper continued before he got a chance to protest anyways. And he continued by saying this was more to him than just hooking up. Harper wanted to be his boyfriend. Harper wanted to be his boyfriend.

Jacob just stared at him for a moment, eyes wide, cheeks flushed. Harper had already said it so there was no need to hold back, "No-- No it's not you, I just-- No one knows, like my family doesn't even suspect and I'm-- I don't know what will happen if they found out. But I like this a lot-- I like you a lot. So it's the first. I promise." His heart was beating kind of hard. He felt panicked and happy all it the same time, because he had actually told Harper he liked him. And Harper liked him too. But it didn't take long for those mixed feelings to lean over towards scared almost completely. Harper had used the word boyfriend, and that word was kind of scary.

"It's just... If-- If we're boyfriends you aren't gonna wanna keep it a secret, right?" his gaze was on his feet again, voice muttering, hiding his sadness behind some bitterness. He wasn't ready for people to just know. But people knew about Harper so it wasn't a big deal for him, and after how shitty Jacob had treated Harper he didn't want to drag him back into the closet too. Harper deserved better. And he doubted Harper would even want to be with him knowing how little he wanted this to get out too.
 

lxngdon

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h a r p e r
Maybe it was silly to be so nervous to tell someone you were literally hooking up with, and standing half-naked with after just violently kissing, that you liked them. But Harper was nervous. Not of confessing his feelings exactly, but of being shut down. Because he was afraid being rejected by someone he so genuinely liked.

But then Jacob said that he liked him too, and Harper didn't know what to feel. He was happy, of course -- no, he was elated. But this enlightenment brought out a whole new series of problems that they would have to figure out, and Harper didn't want to ruin what they had if what they wanted wasn't going to work.

"I ... I wouldn't want to keep it a secret forever, no,"
he said. He knew he would have to be completely and totally honest during this conversation because they both needed it to work out as well as possible. "But if you need some time before you come out, I'm willing to wait, Jacob, I mean it. I would want to tell my family and maybe my close friends right away, because I don't like keeping secrets from them. But ... I don't know ..." He smiled somewhat bashfully. "I just think it would be nice to be able to properly call you my boyfriend, because I've had to stop myself from calling you that in my head."
 

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j a c o b

Obviously Jacob wasn't planning on keeping it a secret forever. Well at least not if he was dating someone who was worth telling people. And he wanted to date Harper and maybe it was worth it to tell some people. Just not his own parents yet. But if Harper could continue to make him feel all warm inside by saying things like how he already called him his boyfriend in his head, maybe it wouldn't be too bad if Harper's parents knew or something.

Still it was a situation that was scary and to compensate Jacob kind of pulled Harper in for a hug. He also kind of just felt happy and wanted to hug him. This was a really weird and confusing conversation. Especially to have shirtless in a school bathroom.

"Maybe I can come over and we can hang out and stuff, even if your siblings are home. It just really scares me that people would know. So if we-- if we do you know, become boyfriends, i guess. Maybe we don't have to tell anyone right away right away, but it's not for forever, and I guess your dad wouldn't tell anyone... right?" he mumbled, both preferring not having to look at Harper when saying these things and finding comfort in the embrace, "I just don't wanna lose the chance of actually dating you"
 

lxngdon

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Harper easily went in to reciprocate the hug from Jacob. He wrapped his arm around the beautiful boy's torso and nuzzled his shoulder a little, glad to be able to be so close and affectionate without worrying what the other person felt about him. It was just bliss, easy bliss, and Harper felt so relieved at at peace.

"That would be wonderful,"
Harper said, content with their arrangement for now. "You can come over for dinner if you like. I'd love to introduce my boyfriend to my parents."

And so, Harper hung back a bit after school and waited to go home with his brand new boyfriend. They caught the bus and walked through the door at around four. He could hear his dad talking to someone in the kitchen, so that was where he headed first.

Roman was sitting down at the breakfast table as he worked on something in his sketchbook. He was sitting near the door so they could see that he was working on a portrait of a little girl, the reference photo sitting before him, and of course, his work was photo-realistic. Harper wondered why he was in here and not in his and Papa's office, but then he noticed the timer on the oven, so he seemed to be baking something.

The light was shining through the window and making Roman's hair seem a dark shade of gold. It also created shadows that accentuated his chiseled facial features. "Dad?" Harper said, standing in the doorway with his hand in Jacob's. Roman looked up curiously, a small smile on his lips. "This is my boyfriend, Jacob."

Roman looked over at Jacob now, his bright green eyes holding a look of slight surprise at the sudden news that Harper had a boyfriend. But the surprise was quickly replaced with happiness, and he stood up to his full, staggering, impossible height to cross the room and hold out a hand. "Hi, Jacob, it's lovely to meet you, I'm Roman, the other Mr Hemlock-Ortega," he said with a musical chuckle.
 

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j a c o b

It was weird that they suddenly were boyfriends. Just like that. It was all Jacob wanted really and the entire day he just felt so happy, and nervous and scared too. He couldn't let go of that. Especially not when he now had to actually come out to someone. He felt better about the whole ordeal when he and Harper were back together though. he was a good distraction as they rode the bus to his place.

Anxiety picked up a little as he heard the voice of a man from the kitchen and Harper led him there. He had seen Harper's other dad at games sometime. It was much different to see him in person and up close though. He looked more like Harper than Mr Hemlock-Ortega, well the other one, but mostly just because they had a similar hair colour and skin tone and because they both were really good looking. Not that he was busy thinking too much about Harper's dad being good looking. In fact he was probably more focused on being slightly intimidated by his height and hesitant to shake his hand and still freaked out because someone just kind of knew he was gay now. Someone who wasn't Harper.

He took a deep breath and shook his and, but avoided eye contact by glancing over a little at Harper when he said, "yeah, it's nice to meet you," kind of asking for help with what to do or say next. What he did want to say was probably ' please don't tell anyone I'm dating your son' but that'd be really awkward so he just kind of shifted awkwardly, hoping they would be excused so they could just go hang out or something.
 

lxngdon

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h a r p e r
Both Harper and Roman picked up on how awkward Jacob seemed to feel, and they exchanged a look, wordlessly agreeing to not actively make him more uncomfortable. Roman had always been very tactful of other people's feelings and Harper was coming to inherit that trait. Which he liked, because he liked being nice to people.

"Is it alright if we go upstairs?"
Harper asked Roman, even though he knew the answer was a yes. He just felt like it was good to ask because it created a way for them to leave without Jacob realising that they knew he felt uncomfortable.

"Sure,"
Roman said with a kind smile. "Jacob, if you'd like to stay for dinner, think about what you'd like, I'll come up with some cookies when they're done and you can give me some suggestions then." It was all in an effort to make Jacob feel more comfortable and Harper really loved his dad for that.

So he squeezed his boyfriend's hand and proceeded to lead him up the stairs. Soon they were in Harper's bedroom, which was really just a manifestation of his personality. He had soccer pictures and posters tacked up on his closet door and the surrounding wall, but he also had lots of pictures of bands and actors that he liked, and pictures of himself and family and friends around the mirror. He had a moss green bedspread and beautiful wooden furniture -- everything was in earthy tones -- but on the wall opposite that bed and to the left of the door, his dad had spent hours painting different types of flowers. Roses, violets, foxgloves, cherry blossoms, sunflowers, baby's breath. The flowers also spilled onto the ceiling and created beautiful rippled rings around the light. The desk was neat and tidy, but the clothes basket was overflowing. Harper's room was a synchronised mess of the many things he loved, and he loved it.

"We did the flowers a little while after you came over last time,"
Harper said, pointing to the arrangement on the wall and ceiling. "Well, I didn't really do anything, my dad did it. Do you like them?"
 

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Jacob was glad to be excused. He almost wanted to say no thanks to the cookies just so they'd get to be alone but he didn't want to come off as ruder than he had figured out that he probably maybe was. Or at least had been to Harper and he didn't want Harper to keep having that image of him. So he followed Harper up the stairs and into the room. He looked around properly and took note of where Harper pointed, there was indeed a painting on the wall, full of flowers. He kept looking around as he went to sit down on the bed, still holding Harper's hand.

"Your dad painted them? That's cool," he said, sounding impressed, but he was still a little too nervous to really act like he was. It was different being in Harper's room now somehow, knowing his dad was downstairs and that dinner was a thing and he was being introduced as his boyfriend all of a sudden. He did want that though, it just needed some taking used to and while he maybe hadn't been given enough time he knew things like getting introduced would have to happen eventually, so it might as well happen now.

"What's your whole thing with flowers, anyways?" Jacob said, had it been a couple of weeks ago his voice would have been nasty and it would have been an insult, now it was genuine curiosity, a want to know more about Harper. About his boyfriend.
 

lxngdon

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h a r p e r
"I'm not sure, I just like them," Harper said with a shrug. He sat down next to Jacob and took a moment to admire his father's handiwork, the beautiful flowers so elegantly decorating the wall and the ceiling. He never wouldn't be in awe of the stunning work his father was able to create. Harper wished he were that talented.

"I like how pretty and delicate they are, and they're just nice to look at. They make me happy."
Flowers were a typically feminine thing and Harper was very aware of that, but the lines between masculinity and femininity had always been blurred for the children of Samuel and Roman Hemlock-Ortega. To them, masculinity and femininity were really just boxes that other people fit in, not themselves. They never felt pressure within their family to wear or do certain things just because of their sex or gender. Everything was fluid, and it was nice.

"So take notes, because now that you're my boyfriend I expect seven thousand flowers a day,"
Harper joked, poking Jacob in the belly playfully. God, he loved being able to call Jacob his boyfriend.

Harper laid back on the bed and picked up Jacob's hand, tracing over the veins, smiling up at him softly. "You know, one of the worst things about when we always fought was that I always thought you were super cute, you're exactly my type," he told Jacob playfully. "Tall dark and handsome, Middle Eastern, jawline for days ..."
 

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Jacob had never really gotten the whole liking feminine things Harper had going on. It felt so stereotypical, and he wasn't into it and he knew he didn't have to be into it either, and that Harper was bi so him fitting some old outdated idea of what being gay meant kind of meant nothing. But despite him not really getting it it was really adorable to see him talk about it. It was just flowers, yet it seemed like they were something more to Harper. Kind of how soccer wasn't just running around kicking a ball, like some people would argue. He chuckled a little about the whole giving him flowers, it was an obvious joke, but he made a mental note that if he ever actually wanted to give Harper something, flowers was probably a very good choice.

He kind of forgot all about flowers when Harper complimented him, though. It sent butterflies through his stomach and he reached for his own jaw as if to feel what Harper had just said, his cheeks were probably a little flushed. He both hoped Harper didn't see and wanted him to see that he liked it. It was kind of dumb. He looked at Harper, who was really pretty laying there. He wondered if he should lay down next to Harper. Would that be weird if his dad came barging in, or would it be alright? It'd probably be embarrassing but he kind of wanted to do it. So he did, and thus they could lay more face to face.

"I think I always fought with you because I thought you were cute," Jacob mumbled. It was definitely not an excuse, but it was the reason he had done it. That and Harper sometimes being better at soccer but that was besides the point. He continued, sounding flustered and not as confident as Harper but still wanting to compliment Harper back, "I like your freckles and stuff. They're cute. And our eyes are really nice,"
 

lxngdon

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h a r p e r
Normally, Harper didn't like the whole 'treat them mean, keep them keen' idea, it was something Roman had told him perpetuated abusive relationships. But he knew there were so many other layers to it when it came to him and Jacob, and he had forgiven his boyfriend for that treatment a long time ago, before they had even gotten together. So he smiled when Jacob so nicely complimented him.

"Aww, thank you,"
he said softly, leaning in to peck him on the end of the nose with his lips. "You're so sweet. I expect to be hearing these things very often now that we're officially a couple." Harper was joking, but at the same time he certainly wouldn't complain if Jacob took him seriously.

He had just leaned in for a proper kiss when he heard Roman come up the stairs, so he sat up and pulled Jacob along too. He didn't think his dad would mind if he caught them kissing but he was pretty sure Jacob would mind, so he thought he'd spare the awkward moment.

"Hey,"
Roman said, leaning against the doorframe.

"Hey, Dad. Jacob was just saying he thought your paintings were really cool,"
Harper said, pointing to the decorations on the wall.

"Aww, thanks,"
Roman said with a proud smile. "If you think they're good, though, you should see the Northern Lights I painted on Letha's ceiling. Anyway, Jacob, did you think of what you wanted for dinner?"
 

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Harper's lips made Jacob kind of forget about all his worries, but only for the smallest of moments as it didn't take long for him to pull away and pull them both up to sit. Jacob hadn't even heard the steps coming up the stairs so he seriously appreciated it. Still when Harper's dad actually came in the door he felt really awkward.

It didn't matter that Harper's dad hadn't actually seen them kiss, Jacob's face still heated up and he just hoped it didn't show too bad. A kiss wasn't even something crazy, not compared to the things they had actually done. But it was still embarrassing to think that Mr Hemlock-Ortega might know they had been kissing. He was Harper's parent after all, and an adult, he could mostly likely guess it. And honestly, the idea of someone knowing he was kissing a guy still freaked Jacob out a lot. But he just had to ignore that, because being able to call Harper his boyfriend now made it worth it. He had never thought it would happen.

Jacob was so lost in thought he barely even registered what Harper and Mr Hemlock-Ortega was saying. After a short moment of him just sitting there with an expression that probably said 'uh what?' he recalled that a question about dinner had been asked. He wasn't about to be picky abut dinner at someone else's place, and he had no idea where the limits of 'what do you want' went, so he simply said, "I mean, It doesn't really matter, I'll just have whatever you were planning -- But uh I don't really eat pork or shellfish, so, yeah."
 
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lxngdon

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"Well, we were planning on having chicken, so that's all good," Roman said with a smile. "Dinner will be ready in about an hour." And with that, he left the two boys alone.

Harper rubbed Jacob's back a little, before turning on his TV and resting against his boyfriend so they could watch a soccer game he'd recorded while they waited for dinner. When they were called down, Harper squeezed Jacob's hand and reassured him that everything would be okay, which he believed, because both of his parents were lovely, as were all of his siblings. But it wasn't as simple as that, Harper knew the feeling well. He just hoped Jacob would feel comfortable with his family.

Everyone else was there by the time the two boys arrived on the scene. Roman had prepared a delicious meal of grilled chicken breast, with some made spicy and some made with herbs, paired with a fancy salad and some fries. He'd also made a vegetarian option for Eden. Harper, holding Jacob's hand, led him over to the two spots that were still free at the table, meaning Jacob was seated between Harper and Letha.

"Everyone, this is my boyfriend Jacob, Jacob, this is everyone,"
Harper said as casually as he could. He didn't want to make a big deal out of things, but at the same time this wasn't going to just fly under the radar and he knew that. "This is Eden, Stella, and Letha," he elaborated, since Jacob didn't necessarily know the names of his sisters and brother.
 

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j a c o b​

Harper held his hand all the way down to the dinner table, and while it was nice of him and it made him feel better there was really nothing that could stop his nerves as they sat down. "Hey?" Jacob said, clearly awkward bout it all. He would have preferred it if it didn't show because this was embarrassing enough without them knowing how weird he felt about it.

Stella just said a pretty nonchalant, "yo," as she helped herself to the food. That kind of greeting was honestly kind of nice. He wasn't sure what to make of the older of Harper's younger sister, but for now he was pretty grateful.

He wasn't, however, super grateful about Mr Hemlock-Ortega, that is Samuel's comment. He knew Samuel, from school obviously, but also because he was one of those parents who got really involved in the team, and though it had often annoyed him a little that he was Harper's dad, ha had always thought he always had really valuable advice to give the team. And he supposed he was a good teacher too. But the fact that he knew him was probably the reason he asked, "I didn't know you were dating," though he didn't sound super surprised so chances were Harper's other dad had told him, he followed it up with "Since when?" which Jacob had no idea how to answer, and he was honestly feeling too awkward to do it so he looked at Harper for help.
 

lxngdon

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Most of the people Harper had dated had gone to the same school as him, so Samuel had known a lot of them before he had even begun to see them. Jacob was no different, but Jacob was the first guy he'd ever been with or dated so in a way, it was different. And Jacob was obviously a lot more nervous than all the other people had been.

"Well, we've been seeing each other for a few weeks, but we only officially got together today,"
Harper answered. That was a pretty good way to describe it, he thought, without explicitly saying that they had been hooking up. His parents and siblings could easily interpret that as them going on dates before deciding to become a couple. It crossed Harper's mind that they hadn't actually gone on a date yet, but that was an issue for another time.

"Well, we're all glad to meet you, Jacob,"
Roman said with a bright smile. He had never been anything but accommodating towards his children's friends, and that was no different for boyfriends or girlfriends.

"Jacob?"
Letha piped up, her voice nothing but sweet. She was holding the salad bowl between her small hands and she had a kind smile on her face. "Would you like some salad? I helped Dad make it, it's got pumpkin, feta, and macadamia."
 

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Harper's answer was good, and Jacob seriously appreciated his ability to come up with something just like that. Though honestly, Jacob would have probably been able to too, if he hadn't been so nervous and acutely aware that everyone at the table now knew that he wasn't straight, and that one of those people was his teacher who was in contact with his parents. But he was so his brain wasn't really functioning properly.

Luckily, it seemed like no one was about to press much more about the whole thing. Harper's dad simply said they were glad to meet him, and that kind of made him happy. Sure all these people knew now, but they were accepting people obviously, and maybe it was a bit of a relief to know that this was a place he would't have to pretend in, especially now that he and Harper would be dating for real.

Jacobs thought were interrupted by a voice from his side. Letha was asking about salad in the sweetest of way, like this was the most normal dinner ever. Maybe it was kind of normal. It wasn't weird to have friends or boyfriends home. Jacob nodded, thanked her and took the bowl before helping himself to the salad, and some of the food. He was still to nervous to kind of eat, but after Letha had offered him the salad so sweetly and since she had helped he felt like he should taste it. So he did, along with some of the other food. It was really good, and the salad worked really well with everything together. So, despite feeling a little weird about just making normal conversation he decided to tell Letha, "It's really good,"
 

lxngdon

space is a void and it's all in my head
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Letha beamed, clearly pleased that Jacob enjoyed the salad she had helped make. "I'm glad you like it. Dad says that when he was a kid his parents would make boring salad with lettuce and tomato and that's why he hates vegetables so he's trying to make them interesting with all of these cool flavours."

"And of course, Samuel is half-Spanish, so we try and incorporate those kinds of flavours and dishes into our meals when we can.
" Roman narrowed his eyes at Harper and Letha playfully. "But unfortunately these two white-ass kids can't handle their spice so I can't put cayenne pepper in everything."

"Oh my God, Dad, you're paler than us,"
Harper laughed.

"And I can handle my spice better than the both of you combined!"


"Well, I'm sorry I don't like my food to hurt."


"You're not my son."
Roman looked up at Jacob. "What do you think, kiddo? If you like spice you should set your boyfriend straight so he doesn't get kicked out."
 

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The conversation suddenly went from Letha speaking sweetly about the food and Mr Hemlock-Ortega explaining why he tried to make the food more diverse to poking fun at each other. Stella let out a loud "hah!" when Letha and Harper both were pointed out specifically and even Eden, who hadn't even really talked much, and who Jacob honestly hadn't ever seen talk much for the matter, laughed a little.

The atmosphere around the table was very nice and relaxed. It was almost hard not to get roped into it and even Jacob started to laugh along a little at the joking going on, though it was more of a quiet chuckle. The Hemlock-Ortega family was a bit of an odd one, but they were also a totally normal family, being reminded of both of those things made him feel a lot more relaxed.

So much so that when Roman's dad turned attention back to him he was able to join in on the joking. And maybe just because it was on Harper's expense they were joking, he was no stranger to rip on his now boyfriend. And as much as he liked him and wanted to make up for how he had acted in the past he doubted he'd able be able to stop himself from doing so playfully, "Yeah you should probably start to like it, cus you can't come to mine if you get kicked out, we're never not eating spicy food," he chuckled, not even really thinking much of the implications of inviting Harper over to his own place right now. He was just starting to have fun, there was no need to ruin it.
 

lxngdon

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Harper peered at Jacob through narrowed eyes. "Traitor," he said in a bitter but clearly joking tone, before following it up with a smile and a playful nudge to his boyfriend's lovely shoulder. He couldn't help but wonder, though, if he would ever actually be able to go over to Jacob's house. But that was an issue to stress over at a later date.

The rest of the dinner went smoothly and when all of the plates were cleared away, Roman got up and served some cheesecake for dessert. Then Harper and Jacob hung out upstairs for a bit -- meaning, they made out -- before it was finally time for Jacob to head home.

Harper walked him to the door and wrapped him in a hug. "Thank you for coming over," he said in a genuinely happy tone. "I hope you can come again sometime."

He wouldn't push anything -- he would be genuinely patient of that was what Jacob needed. But he couldn't squash his sweet and innocent hopes that he would be able to take their relationship public soon.