look okay?” Jude asked, pursing his lips as he turns his head from
side to side, examining his face in the mirror.
over at him and frowned. She’d been looking through the bottles on
the windowsill for moisturiser (she’d forgotten hers when she came
back home from college on Spring Break), but apparently judging her
brother was more important than that.
normally only wear face-paint to Football games?”
He didn’t care what people usually did. If he wanted to wear
facepaint to a baseball game, then he’d lather his skin with whatever
colours he wanted. And today, he wanted to wear green, navy and white
– the school colours. “I dunno. That’s not important. But does it
look okay? Are the colours even? Does this navy look like navy, or
does it seem more black to you?” he wondered, beginning to ramble a
bit as he narrowed his eyes at his reflection.
fine, I guess. I mean, I don’t see anything wrong with it,” she
replied, returning to her search.
ringing endorsement, Jude sighed and thought to himself that it would
have to do. Not like any of the players would be able to see him
properly all the way up in the stands, anyway.
“So, big game
today,” Callie mused, obviously waiting for him to expand on the
absentmindedly, clearly not picking up on her hint.
nervous?” she asked pointedly, realising that Jude wasn’t going to
tell her anything without being specifically prompted.
the question for a moment, before answering.
“A bit, I
think. He gets pretty worked up about this kind of stuff, sometimes,
and it’s the first game of the season, but he’ll be fine. He’s been
practicing like crazy. The whole team has.”
collecting the plastic face-paint containers and sponges, to put them
away. Mariana had lent them to him, so he didn’t want to just leave
them lying around.
drive you, if you want. I haven’t been to one of Connor’s games in
forever, if you’d like me to sit with you?” she said, ending her
suggestion in a tone of voice that made it seem like a question.
She’d finally found the moisturiser.
cool,” Jude agreed, smiling happily at her. “Taylor’s coming too,
but we’d love the extra company.”
to be pretty surprised by the fact that he’d made a sign, as well.
“Wow, you really went all out.” But she just shrugged and
lead him to her royal blue, beat-up truck, which was parked in the
It was a sunny
day, which was fairly typical of Anchor Beach. Jude loved the fact
that his boyfriend’s sport was played in such sunny weather. Since it
was the end of spring, and the baseball season was just beginning,
most of the lawns on their street had just been freshly mowed, and
Jude breathed in the smell of summer. It was a little humid out. To
keep the air in the truck from getting stifling, they rolled the
windows down, letting the breeze rush through their hair. It was
enough to cool them down.
By the time they
got to the stadium, Callie was dreading having to sit through over
two hours of that heat. She had no idea how Jude did it. Or how the
players did it, for that matter.
But her brother
seemed pretty excited, so at least he was happy. Must be used to it,
she supposed. Plus, he got the benefit of seeing the object of his
affections in uniform. That was probably a big motivator.
Jude had been
eager to get there early and see Connor before the game. He and
Callie parted ways as she went to buy some snacks for the game – if
she was going to melt under the glare of the sun, she was at least
going to have an ice-cream to keep her company. She gave him her keys
so that he could go back to the truck and get his sign after seeing
“Do you want
me to get you anything?” she called after his retreating back as he
jogged off towards the dugouts. He simply waved his hand at her in a
vague meaningless gesture, too busy rushing off to see his personal
eye-candy to worry about getting actual candy.
Connor said when Jude came to a halt in front of him. He’d been
leaning against the wall near the locker room, but when he saw Jude
heading towards him, he’d wandered over to lean against the
paint-cracked bars of the dugout instead. His lips turned up at the
corners, the way they did every time he saw Jude, his smile growing
wider the closer his boyfriend came.
said, returning the greeting, and leaning on the opposite side of the
bars with his forearms.
Connor trailed off at the end of the compliment, waving at Jude’s
Jude suggested, grinning.
at the running joke and adjusted his baseball cap, brushing at his
fringe. It was a little difficult to keep it spiked up when he kept
getting hat hair.
smudge if I kiss you? Don’t wanna ruin all of your hard work,”
Connor inquired mock-seriously.
Jude rolled his
eyes playfully, before ducking down to press his lips against
Connor’s in a well-practised gesture. The only reason he had to duck
down was beacause of the sunken floor of the dugout. Otherwise, they
were the same height.
He only closed
his eyes at the last second, because he liked to watch the way
Connor’s fluttered closed. They only did that when Jude initiated the
kiss. Whenever Connor made the first move, he always squeezed his
eyes shut, as though the moment was too intense for him to look.
sunscreen?” Connor inquired as he pulled away slowly, eyeing his
boyfriend’s t-shirt suspiciously.
Jude rolled his
eyes for real this time, exasperated by his boyfriend’s
over-protectiveness. Sometimes, it was as though he thought Jude was
a small, fragile flower that could be trampled on and broken at any
made me put some on, because apparently I’m five years old and can’t
take care of myself,” Jude huffed, annoyed. “Can’t you smell the
he replied sheepishly. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to do the over-bearing
thing, I know we talked about that,” he apolgised, eyebrows drawing
together as he pursed his lips in a guilty frown.
“I know you’re
a big worry wart, and I know you’re trying. We’ll keep working on
it,” Jude sighed, already forgiving him. He’d forgiven worse.
distractedly, gripping the bar and leaning back. He curved his spine,
stretching his arms, muscles tensing and… and Jude decided that
this was as good a time to go as any. Shaking his head to wake
himself out of the daze that he’d fallen into.
go, before all the fangirls come to get a look. I wanna get good
seats. Good luck,” Jude murmured as he leaned down once more –
this time, to lay a kiss on Connor’s cheek.
“You telling me you don’t come for the view too?” Connor
teased, winking at Jude and making him trip over nothing as he walked
backwards away from him. He laughed when Jude just made a bitch-face
Jude made his way back to the stands after retrieving his sign,
picking out a few seats about halfway up the stands and settling
himself down to wait for his sister and his friend.
He was startled when someone sat down heavily next to him. The
stands weren’t empty but they aren’t exactly teeming with the masses,
either. There was plenty of space for people to sit… anywhere that
wasn’t right next to him.
When he darted a look over to see who was on his left, he was
about as surprised as a fisherman who’d just caught a bra.
nodded at him in solemn acknowledgement, before turning his gaze
forward in grim determination, as if he’d made the decision to sit
next to his son’s boyfriend and he was going to stick to it damn it,
but that didn’t mean he had to enjoy it.
rubbing his sweaty palms on his jeans, and hoping that Callie would
hurry back from the concession stand, or that Taylor would turn up.
Neither of those things seemed to be happening any time soon.
After a few
minutes of tense silence, Jude began fiddling with one of the corners
of his sign, which he’d propped against the back of the seat in front
of him. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Adam glance down
at the sign. The smile that flashed across his face was gone so
quickly, it was almost as if it had never happened. Almost.
But it had
happened, and when Jude looked out accross the playing field towards
the dugouts he could see Connor staring at his father in shock,
before his expression slowly morphed into a hesitant smile. Connor’s
dad pointed at Connor’s team-mates, obviously encouraging him to turn
back around and focus, but his son took a second to grin
happily at Jude and wave, before turning away.
In that moment,
Jude felt more comfortable around Adam Stevens than he had in the two
years since he and Connor had started dating. He still didn’t exactly
like the man, but… well, he disliked him a little less. Anyone who
tried to make Connor happy couldn’t be all that bad.
It wouldn’t even
matter if Connor’s team won – it was already the best baseball game
he’d ever been to.