Peter's parents love Landen, but Landen's parents are notorious for thoroughly embarrassing each and every one of her boyfriends. Now, it's Peter's turn.
Landen and Peter were both 16 and had been going out for roughly three weeks before she popped the infamous question. In Pete's opinion, the relationship wasn't at the right stage to be doing something so drastic. In all honesty, he was scared. The whole concept intimidated him, but he didn't want to tell her that. He didn't really know what to say. He wasn't surprised she asked, but he wished she had waited a while to. Pete didn't want to hurt her feelings, so he had no choice.
"Sure, I'll meet your parents." He nodded, sighing. She smiled and hugged him, overjoyed that he was willing to do this. Her parents were notorious for embarrassing her relentlessly, but she had already seemed to do a well enough job doing that herself, around him. What else could they do?
"Thanks, so much. We're having dinner tonight, basically in your honor. My mom said we should come at, like, five."
"So early?" He asked, slightly amused and she nodded. He was accustomed to eating around eight, with his family. Landen had already met his parents a million times over. His house was practically her house, since she was over so often. His parents loved her, but neither of them was sure how her parents would like him. Time would tell.
Time went by way too quickly. Pete stood in front of his mirror, agonizing over what he was going to wear. He must have brushed his teeth a thousand times, and his hair looked nowhere near neat enough. There was not going to be anything that kept her parents from liking him. Nothing he could have prevented, anyway. His final outfit was so plain that there was no way in hell they could take any issue over it. It was perfect.
"You must be Peter Wentz." Her father greeted him with a smile and a firm handshake. Pete shook his hand, trying to make his grip as definite. He always heard that a handshake could make or break the relationship you have with a girl's father and he wanted it to be a good one, "I'm Landen's father. You can call me Joseph." He said, looking pleased.
"Oh, the infamous Peter!" Landen's mother came out of the kitchen and smiled wide at him, extending her hand for a handshake, "My name is Judith. I'm her mother and we've all heard so much about you."
"Thank you. It's nice to meet the both of you." Pete smiled. He had to make this go well, and it seemed to already.
"It's so great to finally meet you." Judith smiled at him, somehow brighter than before.
"Put a face to the legend, so to say." Joseph nodded, taking in Peter's full image. Pete stood awkwardly, not sure what to do, until Landen spoke.
"So, Mom, is dinner almost ready? I'm starved." She asked, holding onto Pete's hand. Judith nodded, starting to walk back to the other room.
"Almost, dear." She disappeared into the kitchen.
"Let's take our seats at the table, then. Judith has some rolls and drinks set out." Joseph said, leading them into the dining room. They sat down, with Joseph and an empty seat next to him across from Landen and Peter.
They sat in silence for a few minutes, during which time, Joseph and Landen each buttered themselves a roll. Pete took one, and started buttering it himself, when he dropped his knife. The clink rang out when it hit the floor and sounded deafening. He leaned down to get it and sort of held it, unsure of what to do with it. He set it down on the table, next to his plate and looked up, suddenly aware that he had everyone's attention. Even Judith had entered the room by this time.
"Is everything alright, dear?" She asked, looking at him.
"Everything's...fine. I just, uh...I dropped my knife." He flushed, uncomfortable with the attention.
"Let me have it." She smiled warmly at him, taking it into the kitchen. She turned with the rest of the food and sat down, starting to make her plate. Joseph and Landen did the same, and Pete held off a moment, not wanting to fight anyone for any particular dish. He fixed his plate with some ham, as well as peas, mashed potatoes, and corn.
"Gravy, Peter?" Joseph offered, holding up the gravy boat. Pete nodded, taking it from him and smothering his food with it.
"How is everything, kids?" Judith asked.
"Fantastic." Peter smiled, holding up his forkfull of peas.
"Yeah, it's really good, Mom." Landen said, smiling at her mother, then at Peter.
"Peter, does your mother cook like this at home?" Judith looked at him. This was a trick question. If he said that she did, then Judith would feel bad because her dinner was something he was used to, and not anything special. If he said that she didn't, it would look like he didn't love his mother. He frowned slightly, confusing himself, but smiled again.
"She cooks. This is really great, though. Thanks so much." He said, summoning every bit of politeness in his body.
"It's my pleasure. How long have you been together? Is it going on a month, now?"
"A month next week." He nodded.
"Smooth sailing, I trust?" Joseph asked, looking at Pete.
"The smoothest." Pete replied with a smile.
"No fighting or anything?"
"No, nothing at all." He said, truthfully.
"I'm glad to hear it. So, how did you meet Landen?"
"School. We have a few classes together."
"I'm surprised a fine boy like you didn't already have a girlfriend," Judith said pleasantly, "Why did you break up with your last girlfriend?"
"Oh, uhm." He said, frowning slightly, "She left me for someone else."
"Oh, what must be wrong with you?" Joseph laughed.
"Dad." Landen frowned at him.
"I was joking. Peter knows that, don't you?" He asked, looking at him. Pete nodded, shrugging slightly.
"Joseph, behave. He seems like a nice, upstanding boy." Judith said, smiling at him.
"Thank you." Pete said.
"Well, you and Landen have something in common. Her last boyfriend left her, as well."
"What would a girl have to do for you to leave them?" Joseph asked.
"I'm sorry?" He asked, looking at him.
"What would make you leave a girl?"
"I don't know. I've never actually left anyone, before."
"Dad!" Landen looked at him sharply.
"No, it's alright, Landen. I am. I've never cheated on anyone I was with." He said, then quickly added, "And, have no intention of ever doing so."
"That's good." Joseph nodded, satisfied. He set his fork down, and was the last one to finish eating his meal. They sat in silence for a moment before Landen spoke up.
"Pete, didn't you say that your mother needed help with going through her pictures, tonight? Maybe you should go?" She asked him, nodding slightly.
"Oh, maybe." Pete said, catching on.
"It was great having you here, Peter." Judith stood up, smiling.
"Yes, it was." Joseph extended his hand, which Peter shook. Judith came around the table and hugged him, which made Pete smile.
"I'm just going to walk him to the door." Landen said, getting up and taking Pete's hand, again. They walked to the door and Landen couldn't wipe the smirk off of her face.
"What's that?" Pete asked, laughing.
"Oh, yeah. Your mother's really nice."
"The both of them have no tact. I swear it. Just know something, though." She said as Pete stood outside the door.
"What's that?" He asked, watching the door closing.
"They went so easy on you."