"I really appreciate you guys doing this," you said as you gave Nikki and Dom each a quick hug. Tom had asked his parents out to lunch with you that Monday. This was one of the final steps you really needed to take to finish up your paper and you were eager to learn a little about him from the people who arguably knew him the best.
Tom gave his dad a one-armed hug but his mother didn't let him get away so easily. They exchanged cheek kisses and he murmured something inaudible in her ear.
When you went to pull out your chair and sit down, Tom's fingers grazed yours gently in a fleeting moment before realizing he has crossed a line. He grasped onto the chair and pulled it out for you and as you sat down, he pushed it in slightly.
"Of course, sweetie." Nikki smiled and sat down herself.
Tom sat down next to you and you felt his leg brush against yours as he adjusted his jacket. But again, he pulled away too soon. Was he testing the boundaries? You had noticed that the physical tension between you was growing stronger with each passing day.
After you all had put in your orders, you pulled your laptop out and opened a fresh document. "So what can we help you with, (y/n)?" Dom asked. He leaned into the back of his chair and clasped his hands together on the table. It was body language you recognized, and realized that Tom often sat in that same position.
"I have most of my paper completed," you started. "But I am missing one crucial part; his childhood." You glanced over to Tom, who fixed his eyes on his hands as he listened. His parents both smiled fondly. "So, what was Tom like when he was younger?"
Nikki smiled and scrunched her nose up. "He was a goofy little guy. He was always finding new ways to have fun," she recounted.
"Or get in trouble," Dom added. "He and his brothers used to get in trouble. I remember one time-"
"Dad, please," Tom shook his head.
You rolled your eyes. "Come on, a good story could really help me out," you pleaded.
The pleading didn't help. He stood his ground with a straight face.
"I just want one instance of you being 'goofy'." You laughed. "I never would have used that word to describe you." His expression lightened a little and you saw a mischievous twinkle in his eye that came along with a little smirk. It was as if he was hiding something, a whole lifetime of stories that would blow your mind. Something to prove you wrong. But he wasn't going to let you in on it. Not quite yet.
"One time I walked out of our house and found this boy in our swimming pool with his bicycle," Dom rolled his eyes with a grin. "Who decides that riding a bike into a pool is a good idea?" He shook his head as he laughed. "Only Tom."
"That was hardly my childhood," Tom protested. "I was nineteen years old."
"It was childish behavior."
Tom shook his head as he looked over at you. "Don't even think about it," he warned.
"Come on!" You laughed. "That's funny!"
"No," was his stern response.
"Okay... when did he get into music?" You changed the subject.
"He actually couldn't care less about it at one point," his dad noted and you raised your eyebrows in surprise. You couldn't imagine a world in which Tom didn't live and breathe music. "Eventually it piqued his interest and once he got even kind of good at the guitar, we couldn't get it out of his hands."
Your eyes wandered over to Tom and you saw the most subtle smile on his face. That's when the waiter interrupted you, placing steaming plates of food in front of each of you and refilling your water glasses.