I went with Hotch’s mother.
“Aaron, Aaron. Breath.” Spencer placed his hands on his shoulders and demonstrated, taking deep breaths and releasing them slowly. Closing his eyes, Aaron followed suit, breathing in, breathing out. After a few minutes, he felt himself centre slightly and opened his eyes to the sympathetic face of his lover.
“Sorry.” Aaron said, deflating.
Rubbing his hands over Aaron’s slumped shoulders, Spencer winced, “I understand.”
Aaron had told Spencer about his mother, about her strict upbringing and subsequent transference of that onto him. Needless to say, he could tell his lover was no more eager for this dinner than Aaron was.
Sighing deeply, Spencer pulled him into an embrace, “Just one night, then it’s over with.” Aaron had just nodded when the doorbell rang. Closing his eyes yet again, Aaron took on more cleansing breath and steeled himself.
The only sound in the dining room was the clutter of cutlery against porcelain plates. Aaron took another long drink of wine from his glass, his fifth one, and dared a look at Spencer. Though he expected his lover to be annoyed by Aaron’s persistent silence, he instead seemed to be just as scared of the woman sat at the head of the table, between them, as Aaron was.
His mother was a good woman. She had been raised a certain way and had done the best with Aaron and Sean as she could within her depth of experience; women from families such as hers didn’t ask for help raising their children. From what little he knew of her own childhood, she was a remarkably forgiving and liberal parent when compared to her own parents.
That said, when provoked, she could be a very shroud and callous women, managing to insult people in a way that left scars. Aaron didn’t want that for himself and he certainly didn’t want that for Spencer.
Being from such a reserved background rarely allowed for the open-mindedness to accept one’s child declaring themselves as bisexual. So, no matter how he tried to rack his brain for something to say to get the ball rolling, he kept coming up blank. Silence reigned.
The silence was entirely down to them however. His mother must have thought it strange that she was sharing dinner with her son and one of her sons colleagues, but she hadn’t verbalized it; she wouldn’t. It wasn’t long before the three of them were sat awkwardly before empty plates, none of them wanting to disrupt the atmosphere - tense as it was.
Finally, Spencer of all people seemed to snap under the pressure and cleared his throat, “Why don’t I go get us desert?” He stood and collected the plates, moving into the kitchen before anyone had a chance to agree or disagree. Closing his eyes and lowering his head, Aaron sighed; angry at himself for putting Spencer in this position.
“Aaron.” His mother began.
‘Here it comes’
“Yes?” He said, resigned to whatever she had to say.
“I think you’re being very rude to that young man. You’ve barely said a word to him all night.” When Aaron looked up at her in shock, his mother simply raised an admonishing eyebrow at him, “I raised you better than that.”
Letting a small breath of a laugh escape him, Aaron nodded in repentance. “Aren’t you curious?”
“About what?” His mom asked, lifting her wine glass to her lips and waiting patiently.
“About why I invited him at all?” He was getting the very strange feeling that she may know full well why he was here. Her lack of reaction was making him nervous.
“I assume this is your rather disastrous attempt to reveal your relationship to me.” His mother stated simply, both confirming Aaron’s suspicion and stunning him. “Though, he given how nervous he seems, I’m assuming you prepared him for the worst. Which makes me all the more disappointed you have done nothing to assure him all night. It’s ungentlemanly.”
Aaron let out a bark of laughter, “I’m very sorry.” Looking down at his folded hands, Aaron glanced back up at her from the corner of his eye, “You’re really not mad?”
“Oh Aaron. Please.” The woman said with offense, “This is the 21st century. I’m shocked, to say the least, but.” She paused to meet his eyes, “I’m simply happy you have someone to take your mind away from that dreadful job of yours.”
Aaron was stunned. “Really?”
“Of course. I was concerned when you and Haley separated. I thought about the things you see every day. And then going back to an empty apartment?” She straightened her posture and began adjusting the napkin in her lap. The emotional nature of this conversation making her feel rather exposed, “It worried me.”
Swallowing, Aaron looked back at his hands, “I was fine.”
His mother said nothing for a moment, likely reading the lie in that as easily as she would a book, “Well, now you’re better. I can see it.” She cleared her throat, “And if you honestly believe I’d be mad about that, then I’m afraid I must take offense.”
Aaron smiled at that and looked back up. His mother was still fiddling with her napkin but there was a small smile on her lips. Aaron felt such a wave of gratitude that he reached out to take her hand in his, “Thank you.”
His mother rolled her eyes dramatically at him, but squeezed his hand back. “No thanks are necessary, my dear. Be sure to let that young man know, that I and thankful to him.”
“And for heavens sake, stop telling him whatever you told him about me to cause such fear. I’m not going to eat him.” She said, teasing.
It was so rare, so brilliant to talk this easily with his mother, that Aaron’s laugh was slightly loopy with glee, “Yes mother.”
When Spencer walked in, Aaron once again laughed. This time it was due to the man almost dropping the pie in shock at the change in the atmosphere since he left.
“Come Spencer. I’m sure there are many stories you can tell me about my son at his most mischievous.” Mrs Hotchner said, a smile still on her face.
“Erm.” Spencer darted his eyes back between Aaron and his mother, deeply confused. Aaron actually saw the moment his lover decided to just go with it, and he put the pie on the table, “Okay. Sure.”
Aaron watched Spencer smile as he served his mother a piece of pie and couldn’t even bring himself to be concerned about what stories Spencer was about to tell.
He sort of childishly hoped he’d tell them all.