Hue doesn’t look up from where he sits, face shielded by his hands for protection. Anxiety claws at his chest, and he practices his deep breathing techniques that his therapist taught him from previous sessions.
Unfazed by his silence, Whitney takes a seat next to her boyfriend and rubs his back reassuringly. It feels nice and Hue feels incredibly lucky to have her as his girlfriend. She draws hearts on his polyester shirt and waits a couple of minutes before speaking again.
“Is there anything I can do for you, babe?” She quietly asks.
Hue swallows thickly and musters the courage to respond after another minute or so. “This is helpful, thank you… I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize, seriously,” Whitney firmly says, but the concern is very evident in her voice. “Don’t ever be sorry for what you feel. It’s there for a reason.”
“Thanks,” he murmurs, and nuzzles his face into her shoulder. Her scent is familiar, comforting, and helps to ease his stress. “I just wish my parents understood. It took so much courage to come out to them and they won’t even listen to me.” He takes a shuddering breath. “I hate being misgendered. It makes me feel so disgusting. I’m not a girl.”
“I know, babe,” she says, and her voice is cracking with raw emotion. As an empath, she’s always understood exactly what he’s feeling to a personal level. But her being here for you and her overwhelming acceptance has made it so you know you have a strong support network, even if it’s not very big. “But no matter what, your identity is valid. You’re you and I love you.”
“I love you too, Whit,” Hue whispers, the tears coming back again after the flood had finally stopped. “Thanks for being here.”
“Of course,” she sniffles, and kisses him on his tear streaked cheek. “I’m not going anywhere.”