Pairing - Connor / Becker
Rating - PG-13
Summary - Connor's parents don't know about his relationship with Becker so, when they come to visit, he asks Abby to help him.
Connor sat at his desk, playing patience on his computer, wishing that this week was over. He had been distracted ever since Becker had left on Monday for some covert Special Forces assignment that he hadn’t been able to tell Connor about. No matter what Connor had done to try and persuade him, Becker had refused to crack and tell him. Now that had pissed him off; Becker was his boyfriend, for goodness’ sake, and he wasn’t supposed to keep secrets. That argument hadn’t worked either, although it had made Becker promise to take Connor out to his favourite restaurant when he got back.
Now, sitting at his desk, he was counting down the hours until his boyfriend returned. He missed Becker but he wasn’t due back until the day after tomorrow.
“He’ll be back before you know it,” Abby told him, strolling into his office and dropping into a chair. “Why don’t we do something fun tonight,” she suggested. “We could go out for a few drinks.”
Connor sighed. “Fine,” he said, without much enthusiasm. Abby had been trying to keep his mind off it when they got home each day, even letting him watch the sci-fi movie marathon on TV last night without complaining. It was the best thing about sharing a flat with his best friend; no matter what the crisis, he could always count on her to try and cheer him up.
Abby ignored his obvious reluctance and began telling him the funny story that had happened to Sarah that morning on the way to work. It had been pretty quiet recently which meant that neither of them had anything particularly pressing to be getting on with. She was just getting to the story’s punch-line when Connor’s mobile rang. She watched as he answered it, seeing his face pale during the short conversation before he hung up.
“Who was that?” she asked as Connor put the phone on the desk.
“My mum.” He turned to look at her, eyes wide. “She’s coming to visit. Tomorrow.”
Abby smiled. “That’s great.” The smile faded a little. “Isn’t it?”
Connor shook his head. “I don’t really see much of my parents. I mean, we talk on the phone every few weeks but we never really talk, you know?”
“I still don’t get the problem.”
“Mum and dad think that I, um- well, they think I live with you,” Connor told her.
Abby frowned. “But you do live with me.”
“No, they think that I live with you. Like a couple.” He saw the surprise on her face. “It’s not my fault, honest! I never really took guys home to meet them and so that particular conversation never really came up and then, when I said I was moving in with you, mum kind of assumed that you were my girlfriend. I didn’t know how to tell her that I was gay so I just let her assume.”
Abby stared at him, a smile tugging at her lips. “She thinks that you and I…? Oh my God, that’s priceless!” She started laughing, unable to stop despite the glare that Connor sent her way. Eventually, she got herself under control.
“You have to help me,” he begged. “If we can just pretend; it’s only for one night. Please, Abbs.”
“No way. You are not dragging me into this,” Abby told him. “Just tell them the truth.”
Connor was on his knees before Abby, begging, pleading. “Please. Name your price,” he said. “Anything.”
The following afternoon, Connor hurried around the flat doing last minute tidying. He had already done this twice and he was driving Abby crazy.
“Will you sit down!” she snapped as he went by. “Everything’s fine. Just calm down.”
When the doorbell rang fifteen minutes later, Connor almost jumped out of his skin. He got up to answer the door but at that moment one of Connor’s pets, Sid, scampered past him with a sock in his mouth. Connor dived for the little Diictadon but he was too fast and managed to get away.
“I’ll get the door and you catch Sid,” Abby told him. “You might want to check on Nancy too; they’ve probably managed to get into the laundry basket again.”
There was no doubting that the woman on the doorstep was Connor’s mother; she had the same dark hair and dark eyes, the family resemblance strong between them. Connor’s dad was tall with brown hair and dark eyes.
“Mr and Mrs Temple? I’m Abby.” She stepped back. “Please, come in.”
Abby led them to the lounge, cringing as she heard Connor swear loudly a moment before he came back through the lounge. He had Sid under one arm and was trying to wrestle the sock away from him. The Diictadon, thinking that this was some kind of game, was fighting back.
Turning to his parents, Connor smiled nervously whilst trying to keep his hold on the wriggling creature in his arms.
“Hi mum, dad. Let me just go put Sid back in the kitchen,” he said, but his mother shook her head.
“You don’t have to lock them in the kitchen, sweetheart. Let them out; we don’t mind.”
Yes, he thought, but his mum didn’t actually know what kind of pets they were. He hadn’t really elaborated beyond telling her their names. Not like she’d ever realise that they were from millions of years ago, but she was going to ask some awkward questions about what kind of animals they were.
He didn’t get a choice in the matter, however, as a Nancy came bounding in before he managed to get Sid back to the kitchen and scurried over to his parents. With a resigned sigh, he put Sid down as well.
“What interesting little things; what species are they?” his dad asked, pulling his hand away as Nancy nudged him. “Do they bite?”
Connor assured him they were harmless, carefully avoiding the question of their origins. He heard a chattering sound from above and saw Rex fly down to land on the back of the sofa. Immediately, the questions turned to what kind of lizard he was, something that Abby had plenty of fabricated answers ready for.
‘Thanks,’ he mouthed, seeing that she had opened Rex’s aquarium for just that reason.
Abby smiled back.
“It is so nice to finally met you, Abby,” Connor’s mum said. “How long have you been together now?”
“Connor and I have been living together for just over three years, Mrs Temple,” she replied. It was true; the only difference in the interpretation.
“Oh please, call me Jackie.”
Connor’s mum spent the next half hour asking Abby all about how they had met and what she did for a living, telling her stories about when Connor was a child, whilst his dad sat with Connor.
“How is this job of yours going?” he asked. “You never really said what you were doing.”
Connor had told them that he had started somewhere new but that was about it. After all, how could he explain what he did, about the anomalies and dinosaurs?
“It’s a branch of the Home Office,” he said. “We’re not really allowed to talk about it too much.”
His parents told him all about the family and made him promise to attend his Aunt’s sixtieth birthday party in three weeks’ time. The invite was extended to Abby as well, his mum insisting that they must both be there.
“Your Aunt is so excited to meet your young lady, Connor,” she said, then turned to Abby. “We were all so happy that Connor had found someone special.”
Connor and Abby shared a look; it was one thing to pretend that they were a couple for a few hours to two people but there was no way they could pull it off at a party full of his relatives.
“I’ll find an excuse why we can’t go,” Connor told Abby a little later on.
After inviting Connor’s parents to stay for tea, Abby and Connor had gone to the supermarket for ingredients. It didn’t actually need both of them to go, but Connor had said that he would come too as a way to get out of the house for a while. He had never realised how exhausting keeping up this charade was. Every time he spoke he had to think ahead so as not to say anything that would give it away.
“No,” Abby told him. “No more excuses. Tell them the truth.”
Connor’s mum was just taking a surreptitious look around the upstairs of the flat when she heard the front door open. She quickly closed the bedroom door, telling herself that she hadn’t been snooping, merely taking a look at her son’s home since he didn’t really tell her much any more. When he was little, he had told her everything but recently…
“That was quick,” she said, going back down into the lounge. “Did you get everything you- Oh.”
She came face to face with a tall dark haired man dressed in black military fatigues. Her husband came to stand next to her, eyeing the stranger suspiciously. The man looked just as surprised to see them as they were him.
“Do you live here with Abby and Connor?” she asked, sure that her son hadn’t mentioned a flatmate, but asking all the same. When he shook his head, she asked, “How did you get in?”
“I have a key,” the man said, holding it up for her to see. “I was looking for Connor; do you know if he’s here?”
Connor’s mum smiled. “Jackie Temple,” she said, ushering him inside to sit down. “I’m Connor’s mum, and this is my husband, Michael. Connor and Abby went out to get some things for tea: they do make such an adorable couple, don’t they?”
“Abby and Connor?” Becker could help but laugh. “Oh, they aren’t a couple.”
Connor’s mum frowned. “But Connor said-” She paused. “What makes you think that they aren’t?”
“Because Connor and I have been together for the past year.”
Abby was the first to go inside when they got back, and the first to realise that there was something wrong. Connor’s mum was waiting at the door for them, her arms folded and a rather worrying smile on her face.
Uh-oh; she had a bad feeling about this. Connor came in and closed the door, looking to his mother and then back to Abby. She shrugged her shoulders, having no more of an idea what was going on than Connor did.
“A very strange thing happened whilst you were out,” his mum began. “A friend of yours dropped by. Well, I say friend, but he had a key.” She looked Connor right in the eyes. “Is there something that you want to tell us, sweetheart?”
Connor took a couple of steps forward so that he could see the person his dad was talking to on the sofa.
“You weren’t due back until tomorrow,” he said. Way to go, Captain Obvious, his subconscious told him.
Becker stood up and came over to him. “I thought I’d surprise you,” he said. “We got back early this afternoon. I’m sorry; I just wanted to see you. I’ll go.”
He turned away, looking hurt, and headed for the door but Connor remained standing stock-still, frozen in place. Abby pinched him on the arm, hard, to get his attention and glared at him.
“Go after him, you moron.”
Connor took a deep, calming breath. Forcing his feet to move, he went to Becker. “Don’t go. Please?” Becker stopped. “I’m sorry. Please, come back in.” Taking his boyfriend’s hand, he led him back into the lounge to face his parents.
“I haven’t been completely honest with you,” he told them. “Me and Abby are just flatmates- we have been all along.” When he saw their glances go to Abby, he said, “Don’t blame Abby; I asked her to pretend.”
Abby smiled guiltily. “Sorry.”
Connor inched closer to Becker, feeling the comfort of his boyfriend’s arm around his waist. He had the feeling that his mum already knew but he had to do this anyway, if nothing more than to prove to Becker that he was serious. He would do anything not to ever have to witness the hurt look he’d seen earlier in Becker’s eyes.
“Mum, dad, this is Becker. My boyfriend.”