Chapter Eighteen : Summer Break

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Then room was warm and full of people. A wedding reception in full swing. Tables set with yellows, reds, and oranges and vases of day-lilies at each center. Fairy lights were wound around the room, with those orange, red, and yellow ribbons. The bridesmaids stood out as they danced in stunning, shimmery orange; Todd and the other groomsmenwore ties just as bright. Cash had told him the theme of the wedding was fire, and he could sort of see it. She had wanted it to be passionate, as she and Parker were, and it was. It was perfect.

The wedding had been beautiful. Sunny and warm, held in Parker's parents' massive back yard. There had been quite a few people; they both had large families and lots of friends. It had been floral and tasteful and a little wild. Cash and Parker were married by Parker's uncle, and there was no small amount of laughter. Todd wasn't sure it could have gone any better.

Todd slouched in his seat, contentedly watching everyone dance, talk and eat. Levon was twirling Ashaia around, a brilliant grin on his face. He'd been dancing the whole evening, laughing and unbelievably hyper. Todd had decided to come sit down, alone at their assigned table, unable to keep up with his boyfriend's energy level.

Todd shook his head in amusement and pulled his phone from his pocket. It had vibrated some time ago but he had studiously ignored it, knowing exactly who it was. Now he read the message, mulling over the swell of emotions he felt.

Would you like to come by for dinner on Sunday? I'm making chicken pot pies. You are welcome to bring Levon again.

Todd wasn't sure if he wanted to make dinner with his mother a common occurrence. Two weeks ago he and Levon had gone over for a meal. It had been awkward, though not horrifically unpleasant. Niklas and Levon had provided the majority of the conversation, keeping it light and away from unpleasant topics. Todd was grateful to be allowed to stay mostly silent, holding Levon's hand beneath the table and pretending his mother wasn't staring at him. It had been over four months since he and his mother had spoken and he hadn't been sure how to look at her. But she seemed happy to see him, if a bit uncomfortable. Todd wasnèt sure it would ever stop being uncomfortable.

Johannahad pulled him aside after dinner, under Levon and Niklas' watchful gazes. They had stood in silence for a moment, alone in the living room, before she spoke, raspy and thick.

"Thank you for coming over," she had said, and he'd looked at her.

"You'rewelcome." Todd wasn't sure what else to say. There were still problems and he wasn't about to go rushing into things only to get himself hurt again. There was still a huge lack of trust. He was still quite sure he didn't like her. 

"Niklas and I won't be travelling this summer," She told him hesitantly and he tried to decide how he felt about that. "So we'll be home if you want to come see us at any point."

"I'm not going to make any promises," Todd stated and she nodded, a rare smile touching her features and making her look much younger. Much more like the mother from his memories. His heart ached.

"I wouldn't ask you too," Johanna breathed. "But thank you for trying. I'm so grateful."

Todd wasn't sure what to make of the new relationship with his mother. It was shaky at best and felt like they were both waiting for shit to hit the fan. But it wasn't wholly unpleasant. She texted him much more often; asking what he was up to and how he was doing. He answered some of them, trying not to be blatantly rude and always with Levon close by to make things feel a bit less like he was drowning.

Todd glanced up and Levon and they made eye contact. Levon grinned immediately and Todd just sighed. Levon excused himself from the dance floor and headed off to the food tables.

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