12 - Family Dinners

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"You're going to Pete's house for dinner?" Gwen spat out, gawking over at me. We were in our last period of the day, gym class. Currently, we were avoiding getting picked for volleyball teams. "Why didn't you tell me? We spent the whole weekend together and you didn't care to share that tiny bit of information?"

After the crazy events of Friday night I had spent most of the weekend staying at Gwen's house in Brooklyn. My parents were busy as usual and I didn't particularly feel like being at home. Her lively house seemed like another world to me. I gave her a stern glance in response to her question. "It's not like I've got much of a choice in the matter. May invited my parents too."

Gwen continued to grin, flipping her hair over her shoulder effortlessly. "Plus, it wasn't like I could even get a word in with all the Flash praise." I added in, tugging at my blue sweat shirt with the school's logo printed on it.

"I did not talk about him all weekend." Gwen objected, throwing me glare but I could still see the shade of pink growing in her cheeks, could still see the doe eyed look in her eyes at the mere mention of his name. I wanted to actually throw up. 

I got to my feet, almost skipping down the bleachers, throwing a glance back at her. "Oooh, Flash is so handsome. Flash has the biggest arms in the whole football team. Flash has the softest lips and when we kiss, he does this little thing with--"

Gwen was hurrying behind me, pegging her half empty water bottle at me before I could finish off my sentence. I let out a laugh, giving her a playful hug as I stepped inline with Harry as we reached the gym floor. "You're all cheery, it's a weird look on you, Parsons. Was that an actual laugh?" Harry asked, a familiar wicked smirk on his lips. I only shrugged, giving Gwen another smug grin and she furiously shook her head, her cheeks a terrible shade of red. "Nothing like a dinner date to get a girl's heart racing, huh?" Harry went on all too smug now.

My smiled dropped, along with my cheerful mood. "Peter told you about that?" I questioned, my arms crossing over my chest.

Gwen stepped in closer, "So, it is a date." Her voice was light hearted, mocking me. I shook my head quickly, already protesting.

"It's not a date. My parents will be there."

Harry raised an eyebrow. "Kinky."

I shoved him. "You're a pig, Osborn."

"A dashingly handsome pig though." Harry continued to beam down at me.

"Not in the slightest." I retorted with, my eyes firmly focused on the volleyball net. Two teams were already picked, the game about to start.

Harry moved in closer, his voice barely a whisper. "Mary Jane doesn't seem to think so."

I had a snide remark, I had plenty of snide remarks to his over confident smirk but I kept my mouth shut because I didn't want to start something. Harry was one of my oldest friends that hadn't grown up with Mary Jane and Gwen. I had seen him bounce from school to school, always catching the eye of some cute freshman and when things didn't work out, she was left standing outside his penthouse in tears. But this time it wasn't a freshman but one of my best friends. Harry was a good guy but not when it came to girls.

"No witty comeback, Parsons?" Harry was saying. "Interesting."

Gwen jumped in though, stopping me before I said something I knew I would regret. "She's saving her stunning conversation skills for her date tonight."

I sighed, ignoring them both as they chuckled away. "It's not a date."


***

When we arrived at the Parker's front door there was a nervous twitch in my hands and I didn't know why. My father knocked on the door twice, glancing back at us with a bright smile. I had to admit it was rather nice spending time with them, even if I had to share their attention with the Parker family. My parents were dressed rather nicely and I matched in a light pink dress, my hair pulled off my neck in a low bun. We really looked like a well functioning family tonight and I didn't know which was worse, that we displayed the lie so well or that I enjoyed playing along with it.

"Adeline, Stephen and Florence, so good to see you three again." The door was opened revealing Ben Parker, Peter's uncle. He was a rather chipper man, always had something nice to say, even in the darkest of times. "Come in, come in..."

The three of us piled into the tiny living room. I listened politely as my parents exchanged pleasantries, handing over a rather expensive bottle of wine that had been sitting in our kitchen for months. My mother didn't drink anymore, not after Colton's death. "Thank you for inviting us, it's been too long." My father was saying, kissing Aunt May on the cheek lightly after she had joined the group of us.

I stood back a bit, a little quiet. "Well, dinner is nearly ready," May was smiling. "You all don't mind carbonara, right?"

My mother stepped in, offering her a delicate smile. "Love it. Why don't I help you set the table?" The two women headed off into the direction of the kitchen, not too far away. Ben was offering my father a glass of scotch when he twisted to face me.

"Florence, would you mind getting Peter? He's just in his room."

I felt my mouth grow dry but nodded anyway. The walk down the short hall wasn't long and I found myself standing in Peter's doorway once again. "Your uncle said to come get you...Peter?" He was nested near his desk, hunched over some old tech that I had spotted the other day. He had earphones in, not hearing a single word I had uttered out. I took in a deep breath, entering his box of a bedroom. Clothing was slung over his bed, stacks of books that hadn't made the bookshelf yet littered the floor. When I reached him, I lightly took out an earphone, his attention snapping.

I grinned across at him. "Hey."

His eyes met mine, a little shocked to see me. He snatched out the other earphone, quickly shoving away what he was working on. "Florence, what...uh, what are you doing here?"

I gave him a quick frown, "Dinner with your family. Why else would I be here?" He generally looked lost for a second. "You forget?" I questioned and he was already shaking his head, pushing back his desk chair and getting to his feet. He hurried to tidy up his room a bit, pulling the sheets of his bed up to cover the pile of notes on his bed.

"No," He stuttered out. "I didn't forget, that's not...I didn't forget. Just--"

I let him do his thing, letting his poor attempt at an excuse fill the tiny room. I stepped forward, bending down to get a good look at what he was working on. "What's this for?" I questioned. "Why are you pulling apart old computers?"

Peter was beside me in a second, shifting away his work further. I gave him another frown, suddenly extremely curious to what he was actually working on. "It's nothing," Peter was saying. "I'm just, uh, messing around with a few things, a few ideas."

I crossed my arms. "Alright, keep your secrets."

He turned back to face me and he paused for a moment. I watched as his eyes ran the length of my dress and suddenly felt my stomach flipping around. "What are you staring at? Never seen a girl in a dress?" I snipped out.

Peter shook his head aimlessly. "Uh, you look...really, cool. I mean just nice. And pretty. Definitely nice."

I bit back a laugh, trying to hide a smile. "Which is it? Cool, pretty or just nice?"

He shifted on his feet. "All three, actually. You look...great."

I was already backing towards the doorway, giving him a grin as I naturally shook my head. "That's four compliments in under twenty seconds. Stick to the agreement, Parker."

He shuffled after me into the hallway. "Right, the agreement."

"Yes, the mutual agreement." I said quietly, but there was a linger of a smile, a smile that should not have been trying to break free.

We joined our families around the dinner table, rather cramped. My elbow kept knocking against Peter's the whole dinner but I kept hearing his awkward compliments in my head and that seemed to calm me down, too bad it didn't stop my racing heart.

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