“So, what do you think?” Travis asked. “Should we go?”
Anderson blinked the sleep out of his eyes as he pushed up onto an elbow to face Travis. He squinted as if he wasn’t quite sure what Travis was talking about. No surprise there. Just because Travis had woken with the emotional turmoil caused by that inexplicable invitation still front and center in his mind, it didn’t mean Anderson would be obsessing over it, too.
“The reunion,” Travis said. His parents threw a big gathering of the whole clan every few years, but he’d been estranged from his family since the horrific blowout with his father when he’d first come out to them. His mother hadn’t been part of that, and they’d stayed in touch. But even so, it wasn’t the same, and he hadn’t gone back home for the holidays since then, preferring to spend them surrounded by the unreserved love and warm hugs supplied by Anderson’s family.
“Ah. Sorry, my brain isn’t functioning yet.” Anderson pushed himself up to a sitting position and planted a much-needed kiss on Travis’s lips. “If you want my interpretation of what he wrote, I think it’s a sincere olive branch.”
“You don’t think he was under duress?” Travis was referring to the hand-written note on the inside flap of the formal invitation. We would both love it if you and your husband would come home for this. He’d studied the penmanship, and it was definitely his father’s handwriting. And he’d explicitly included Anderson in the invitation. Travis should probably be relieved by the gesture after having abandoned all hope, but first he needed to accept its sincerity.
Anderson laughed. “define ‘duress.’ You mean like a murderer holding a gun to someone’s head forcing them to write a supposed suicide note?”
With a quiet snort, Travis leveled a grin at his husband. “Don’t underestimate my mom. If she insisted…” He trailed off his words and finished with a sigh.
“You think he was coerced, then? The way you’ve described him, I wouldn’t have thought he’d do something like this against his will.”
“Yeah, probably not.”
“Maybe the holidays got to him, and he missed seeing you for a second year in a row. Maybe he’s turning over a new leaf for the upcoming year—this could be his resolution.”
Travis didn’t say anything. He didn’t know what to add. It wasn’t as if there’d been any new information beyond the words his father had written. Should he call his mom and express his concerns, or just take this gesture at face value?
Anderson reached for his tablet on the bedside table. “Come on. Let’s look up flights.”
Things that always seemed so muddy to Travis, were clear as a bell to levelheaded Anderson. Obviously the man was running with “take the gesture at face value,” and he was moving on to practical matters.
Fine. Exposing Anderson to potential abhorrent behavior had been one of Travis’s main concerns, but Anderson was intelligent enough to understand that risk and clearly didn’t care. Even so… “Maybe we should get refundable tickets.”
“Stop it.” Anderson tapped away on the screen. “What’s the nearest airport to that village you’re from?”
“Syracuse. Don’t you think you’re jumping the gun a bit? The reunion isn’t until early June.”
Of course, Travis knew the answer to that. Getting cheaper flights by booking early was secondary. Anderson would want to make it harder for Travis to talk himself out of attending by locking them into a flight.
Anderson didn’t reply. No doubt he knew Travis realized that and was happy to have this worry taken out of his hands.
Butterflies still flitted around Travis’s stomach at the thought of seeing his father again, but the future was looking especially bright, and a smile crept over his face. With Anderson at his side encouraging him and offering unconditional support, Travis could handle whatever life threw at him.