Camouflage Scent

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Kevin Price sat on the couch admiring what his life had become. He had a nice little apartment in New York, with soothing pastel colors on the walls and everything clean just the way he liked it. His home always smelled like lavender, and the cat he had was always perfectly groomed. Most of all, he had the wonderful person who made him buy this place, Connor McKinley.

Connor was busy messing with the house plants, trying to raise them up to avoid the cat from getting into to them again. Yes, it was a bit lazy of Kevin to just sit there and watch, but he had some news to share and would rather say it sitting down.

"Con," Kevin tugged on Connor's shirt."We need to talk."

Connor sat down on the couch next to him, and immediately tears started to form in his eyes. "It's okay, we had a good run. Almost three years now, honey? But I understand..."

"No!" Kevin rolled his eyes. "I'm not breaking up with you, I love you. It's just-"

"Have I gained weight?" He looked at his boyfriend still worried. "I've been skipping dance classes recently for this one show I'm auditioning for. You know, I've been to several of those and they still have almost everyone from day one there."

His boyfriend sighed. "My parents are coming to visit."

"That's worse!" Connor yelled.

"It'll be okay."

"I know your parents are kind Kev," Connor took Kevin's hands in his own. "but you thought my family would love me when I came out, and look at me now. I've been disowned and I haven't talked to a single relative in two years."

"Then what do you suppose we do?" Kevin crossed his arms. "They're coming and it's final. If you're so afraid of them knowing, then come up with something else."

"You're shaking."

"No I'm not," Kevin was rapidly banging his foot as his face slowly started to turn more pale.

Connor poured him a glass of water and watched him drink the whole thing before continuing the subject.

Kevin's parents had always been nice to all the boys. When they returned from Uganda, Mrs. Price had made pie and hugged each and everyone of them. Mr. Price was not as upset about the "Book of Arnold Thing" as much as he should have been, but appreciated their attempts of trying to branch out the religion in new ways.

This was all so new to Connor.

If you did anything remotely bad in his family, you would get shunned. Even something as simple as forgetting a homework assignment would lead to punishment. It was no surprise to Connor that his father yelled at him to leave the house and never come back when he came out. His mother even cried that he "wasn't their son".

He didn't want the same thing for Kevin. Although Kevin's parents were distinct from his own, some of their views might be the same. Being different was hard, and being different in a traditional world was unbearable. It was hard enough with the street harassment they got on dates, but to have both families missing from their lives would be heartbreaking.

That would make them feel even more unwanted and alone.

Connor asked his boyfriend again if he wanted to leave the closet. He shook his head no and started crying.

"I'm just too scared," He choked out. "I wanted to be brave and do it. But here I am! Almost twenty-four and still afraid to tell my parents who I really am."

"You can take all the time you need. Don't rush yourself, it's okay," Connor hugged him. "Shh..."

He rocked him back and forth, gently humming a tune.

Connor always did this when Kevin had panic attacks, and unfortunately he had them too often. So did Connor, with years of bottled up emotions it was still difficult for him to be honest, which lead to more stress and panic. They were a mess, a mess of anxiety and fear. However, they were both strong and they knew that. Strong and clever.

"I got it!" Connor moved his hands to Kevin's shoulders.

"What?" Kevin wiped away a tear.

"Since you don't want to come out just yet, we can be roommates!" He smiled. "It can't be that hard to act like two straight dudes sharing a house."

"I hate to break it to you, but we both kind of have 'gay' tattooed on our asses."

Connor chuckled a bit and whacked him in the arm. "We can do it, don't say that. When your parents come, we will just be two buds sharing an apartment. Okay?"

"Alright." Kevin looked around the living room. "We have till tomorrow to redecorate. We're going as stereotypically straight as you can."

Later that day, the two went out and bought some football helmets to randomly put places and some basketball jerseys to hang on the walls.

Connor wanted to buy some "Man-Scented Candles" to have the home smell like "Camouflage", but Kevin rejected the idea, saying that he would just spray some old spice before his parents came. They had no idea what they were doing and just grabbed stuff off the shelves that looked "manly".

Connor cried softly when he had to throw away the potpourri, and Kevin almost broke down when he realized he would have to hide all the coffee and the coffee machine.

And the latte machine.

And the espresso maker.

They shoved everything into spare closets and under the extra room's bed. They taped sports teams' flags onto the walls and spruced-up the coffee table with a Jets helmet.

Most of the decorations were soccer themed, considering the fact that that was the only sport Kevin followed (Connor found all sports boring and couldn't even make it through the Olympics).

Next to "fix" came their habits.

Kevin and Connor naturally sat close to each other and would, without knowing it, hold each other's hands or fix the other one's hair. To help them control there involuntary PDA, they invited their friend Arnold over.

"AGH!" Arnold screamed. "You did it again!"

"Did what?!" Kevin yelled back.

"You called Connor 'Honey'!" He sighed. "Guys, I don't think this is a good idea, you should just be honest."

"That's funny coming from you," Kevin added sarcastically.

"I learned my lesson, but you two are just going to get bit in the butt."

Connor and Kevin ignored what their friend said and carried on with practice. Arnold was most likely right. Pretending to be someone you're not never works, and a silly plan like that could fall apart easily. But they wouldn't know until Kevin's family came over the next day...

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