29. Heating Up

Despite his son’s outburst, Roman hasn’t stopped seeing Payton. He’s only grown more and more attracted to her with each interaction. It’s been a while since he’s had someone to lavish his romantic affection onto.

Payton adores it as well. In the past, Roman’s taken it slow, but he doesn’t feel fear anymore when he goes out with his girlfriend. So tonight, there’s very little talking.

Maybe it’s the atmosphere of the bar, or the looks they keep giving each other, or how confident they feel when they’re together, but Roman pours out every romantic interaction he can give Payton. And, well.

It’s not like he can bring a girl home anyway, not where his son can see. So maybe it’s a little sleazy to do this in a dimly lit bar’s closet. But it’s also been a really long time for Roman.

So for the first time in a long time, Roman gets intimate with another human being.

And boy is it satisfying.

Relationship upgrade complete. Payton looks just as pleased as he is, and the two embrace one more time before heading back home. So maybe not a gold standard date, but it’s not like anyone’s complaining.

Meanwhile, at home, Adam is going through a Phase with a capital P. His breakup is still stinging, and since Fallon isn’t talking to him, Natalie isn’t either. His dad’s not home, and he goes for a walk around the neighborhood.

He runs into Marina, also a good friend who’s stuck by him all these years. Normally, she doesn’t mind his biting sense of humor, but tonight everyone’s his target, and he lashes out at her.

She looks shocked that he would say such things to her. She’s no pushover though, and she snaps back at him, telling him if he’s going to be a dick, she’s going to leave. He tries to apologize to her, but she’s already storming off. Another friend gone.

Adam finds another victim, who seems to be on her way from a fancy party, and, uh, Adam. Maybe not this one. But he’s already mocking her uncool outfit and making fun of her fang size. Again, my boy.

I think this victim might come back to bite him (ba dum tish).

Roman gets home late and he’s tired and satisfied and feeling good in ways he hasn’t in a long time. He slumps his way up the stairs and is surprised to find Adam still up.

Taking out his bad mood on other seems to have worked, and now he’s playing chess by himself. He at least manages a smile as he practices his strategy, and Roman decides it’s time to try again. He sits across from him.

Adam seems to shut down immediately as he tries to talk to him, but he’s not shouting and waving his arms. A father-son conversation might’ve done a lot of good in the earlier stages of Adam’s adolescent, but Adam’s almost grown now. It won’t be long now before he’s a young adult. A lot’s changed in this family since I first plopped them down in this house. The nuclear family exploded in ways I didn’t expect, which really is the joy of this game. But I’ve got plans for the future, boys, and achievements to get. Let’s see where tomorrow takes us.

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