Luke was a good kid. Always had been. He loved his parents, and Liz was secretly happy that he was such a Mama's boy, he followed his older brothers around like a shadow and looked up to them. He got good grades, never acted up in class, never talked back to teachers.
That is, until year 10. Luke had always gotten along with everyone, but never had any really close friends. But then he started hanging out with Calum, and by extension, Michael, the boy that Luke claimed to hate not five minutes ago. Liz was happy he'd found a place where he really fit in, but he started skipping classes, his grades started dropping, and three times a month, Liz got a call from one of Luke's teachers saying he'd been insubordinate.
Luke broke up with the nice girl he'd been dating, and opted for going to parties with Calum and Michael instead, coming home in the mornings, clearly hungover but trying to hide it. Poorly. The last straw was when Liz found Luke and Michael in the backyard smoking marijuana. Luke was grounded for a month, and Michael wasn't allowed to come over for a month.
Luke came home from school one night, about a half hour later than he usually did.
“Where were you,” Liz asked.
Luke turned towards the kitchen, surprised by his mother's voice.
“I was just… hanging out after school,” he replied hesitantly.
“You said he couldn't come over, not that we couldn't be friends,” Luke pointed out.
“I can't stop you from being friends with someone, but I think he and calum are bad influences,” Liz told him.
“I'm sorry about the weed, Mum, I swear it won't happen again. It was just something we wanted to try, to see what it was like. I didn't like it, for what it's worth. I felt a little panicky.”
Liz just nodded. Luke pulled his coat off, going to the foyer to hang it up, before returning to the kitchen. And that's when Liz noticed.
“Is that a hickey?” She exclaimed.
“Shit!” Luke shouted, covering his neck with his hands.
Liz walked over to Luke, pulling his hands away and inspecting his neck. Luke's blush started at his ears, and went all the way down into his shirt.
“How did you get this?” Liz demanded.
Luke snorted a little, embarrassed. “Well, someone was, you know…”
Liz hit Luke on the arm. “I know how hickeys work, you don't need to explain it to me. I mean, where did you get it?”
“In a car,” he deflected.
“Luke Robert Hemmings, tell me who gave you this hickey.” Liz said, using her mom voice.
Luke blushed again and shook his head, escaping her grasp and rushing up the stairs.
Michael was allowed to return to the house two weeks later. He walked into the kitchen, following Luke, and saw Liz. He looked at her sheepishly and said, “I'm so sorry, about the weed, it won't happen again, I promise.”
“It's alright, Michael. I believe you. Make sure it doesn't.”
They disappear up the stairs a few minutes later, with a microwave pizza each.
Michael had to leave, because it was a school night, so he and Luke made their way back downstairs a few hours later. Luke walks Michael to the door, and then into the kitchen to see Liz.
“Have fun?” She asked.
Luke just nodded, and then pulled his hoodie over his head, dropping it onto the stool beside him.
Liz could see, then, that the hickey that had been mostly faded when he got home from school was now an angry purple-red. Liz decided not to mention it, but the cogs in her mind started turning, putting two and two together. So, her son likes boys.
Michael was back over that weekend, staying the night. Liz hardly saw Luke and Michael, always up in Luke's bedroom playing video games, but now Liz wondered what they were really doing up there.
The next morning, she went up to Luke's room to see if they were awake yet. She pushed the door open, assuming they'd still be sleeping. She was very wrong.
Luke was standing with his back against the wall, his eyes closed and mouth slightly open. Michael was in front of him, mouth on Luke's neck, clearly sucking a new bruise into it. His arm was moving, upper arm flexing and unflexing.
Luke opened his eyes after a second and saw Liz standing there. His eyes widened, and he yelled, “Fuck!”
He flipped himself and Michael over, so that Michael's back was pressed up against the wall, and Michael's eyes widened almost comically when he saw Liz. Luke turned back around, doing up the string on his pyjama pants.
It was silent for a few long moments, all three of them standing there with their mouths open, not knowing what to say.
Finally, Luke said, “Mum, I'm so sorry, you shouldn't- that wasn't- it's not-”
“Sorry, you weren't supposed to see that.”
“Are you two… dating, or something?” Liz asked.
“Um, yeah. Sorta. Kind of... Yes. He's actually... my boyfriend,” Luke stuttered.
Liz nodded. “How long?”
“A couple months?”
“Do you only like boys, or..?”
“Um, I don't know. I don't think so. Girls are cool too.”
Liz nodded again.
“Michael, you can relax, I'm not going to get you in trouble,” she told him.
“Could you please not tell my parents?” He blurted out, his voice hoarse. “They don't know that I'm bi yet, and I've been trying to figure out a way to tell them for the past year, so I don't-”
“Michael, don't worry, I'm not going to shove you out of the closet. You two aren't in trouble at all. I'd rather you didn't do that in the house while I'm home, but I can't exactly stop you. So, instead, I can make sure that you are both well informed.”
Luke paled. “You don't mean…”
“Oh yes. Trust me, I want to do this less than you do,” Liz said. “Sit down on the bed.”
“I highly doubt that,” Michael grumbled under his breath.