Prompt #14

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                Prompt: How would Constance react to finding out Beckett was Leon's first crush?

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                "It's just a date, mom," Caroline was saying.

                Mom passed me a stack of plates to set on the table. "At least let me help you with your hair. Oh, you always look so pretty when you curl it!"

                "You're getting way too excited about this," Caroline said. "I've been on dates before."

                "Make sure you dress appropriately," dad said. "I run an Academy with teenagers. I know what girls wear on dates."

                "Let her dress how she wants, George," mom said. "Caroline respects herself and if she wants to wear a low cut shirt, that's her decision."

                "This is why I didn't even want to tell you guys I was going on a date," Caroline said with a sigh.

                The four of us sat at the dinner table and held hands. Dad said grace and we picked up our forks to start eating dinner.

                "Who was the first boy you ever went on a date with? Was that Alex?" mom said.

                Caroline blushed. "Yes, that was Alex. He came to pick me up and dad terrified him."

                "I asked him a few questions. Your mother was right there and she knows I didn't say anything wrong," dad said.

                "You do come off a bit strong sometimes, George," mom said. "Caroline, who was that boy you had a crush on when you were 12? It was so cute. You made me buy his favorite movie so you could watch it and talk to him about it."

                Caroline laughed. "His name was Dylan. I remember that."

                "Is that the movie you made me watch with you?" I said. "I think I remember that."

                "Oh, yea, I totally dragged you into that situation. I used you as my excuse to get away from him at a soccer game one time. I was really nervous and I told him my little brother was wandering off so I could escape before I said something stupid," Caroline said. "You came in handy back then."

                "Glad I could be of help," I said, masking my exasperation with a patient tone.

                "What about you, Leon? You never told us who your first crush was," mom said curiously.

                I felt my face heat up. "It's not important, mom."

                "Come on, don't be so embarrassed. No one cares that your first crush was a boy. So was mine," Caroline said, nudging me. "Spill it, Lee. Who was it? Was it someone at the Academy?"

                Normally I could keep my composure in situations like this. But I was still coming to terms with being open about my sexuality, especially around my father. So I dropped my gaze, my face burning.

                "It was!" Caroline said. "Who was it, Leon?"

                "I have a boyfriend now. A first crush doesn't matter," I said.

                "Don't be like that. Just tell us," mom encouraged.

                "It's not important," I repeated, not meeting their gaze.

                "You even have dad's curiosity," Caroline said. "You have to tell us now."

                I peeked up and, sure enough, dad was watching me. He was composed as usual, but he had the slight tilt to his head we all knew meant he was curious about the topic.

                I dropped my gaze again, fidgeting with my dice. "Uh..."

                "Don't say 'uh'," dad interrupted. "Say what you have to say. Don't stutter through it, Leon."

                "Oh, be quiet, Geo. He was about to tell us," mom shushed, nodding at me to speak.

                "Beckett," I said, knowing dad would yell at me if I mumbled it.

                "Beckett Townsend?" mom said in surprise.

                "It's an uncommon name," dad said. "Evidently, our son has very poor taste in...partners."

                "The Townsends are a good family," mom said. "Beckett was a nice boy until he had his mental breakdown. Poor boy was never the same after that."

                "Emmett Townsend was alright. I didn't mind hanging out with him," Caroline said. "Total jerk when it came to Beckett, though. He was super jealous of him."

                "What is it with you and troublemakers?" dad said, looking displeased at this news.

                "He's not just a troublemaker," I said, forcing my patience again. I didn't have a crush on Beckett anymore, but he was still my friend. "He's one of the smartest people I've ever met. He loves his friends and he'd do anything for them. He fights for what he believes in, no matter what the consequences are for himself. Beckett has his issues, but he's a really good person."

                "He's the one who was talented on the piano, right? His father always bragged about him, every chance he got," mom said.

                "Beckett had a lot of potential, but he couldn't control his anger," dad said. "I had to ban him from having his yo-yo in the classroom because he taught himself to use it as a weapon. Headache of a boy. He was Kaz Warrick's shadow when he was younger. I imagine he's still Kaz's shadow."

                "He's not anyone's shadow," I said. I rubbed my arm, where I had a bruise from Beckett's yo-yo. "And he's really good with that yo-yo."

                "He's hit you with it?" dad said, raising an eyebrow.

                Oh, shit. "He would never really harm anyone."

                "He broke one person's nose and nearly blinded another in one eye," dad said. "If he hits you with that yo-yo again, you tell me and I'll have him properly punished."

                "So are you happy Lee's with Brennan and not Beckett?" Caroline said.

                "I'd be happy if Leon dated someone who didn't have a habit of being arrested or violently displaying their anger," dad said.

                "You should be happy because I'm dating a boy who treats me well and would never hurt me in any way, and I'm good friends with another boy who protects his friends no matter what the cost," I said.

                Dad smiled, that tight smile he got when he didn't like what he was hearing. "Sometimes I'm not sure who you and your sister take after."

                "Rebel boys have a certain charm to them," Caroline said with a shrug.

                "Beckett Townsend..." Dad shook his head. "Abby, have you spoken to the neighbors today?"

                The conversation shifted away from boys. Caroline glanced at me and offered me a smile and a shrug. Crushes were crushes and even if dad didn't like them, they weren't causing any harm. Besides, I was dating Brennan now, and as much as dad disapproved, I was sure he'd come around to the relationship in time.

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