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by Riley Shane
Category: Erotica/Gay Fiction
Description: For Connor Marino, Christmas can't get here soon enough. It's his first holiday alone with his boyfriend, Delaney Carmichael, and they plan to celebrate by playing tourists in New York City on Christmas Eve, followed by a romantic Christmas day at home. But lately Delaney's behavior has been odd and Connor is concerned. Connor knows Delaney loves him. Yet he can't help but wonder if their Winter Wonderland of a holiday will be the thing that sends his and Delaney's relationship into deep freeze...or be the gift the two of them need.
eBook Publisher: MLR Press, LLC,
eBookwise Release Date: January 2012
1 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [33 KB]
Reading time: 14-20 min.
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The house was dark when Connor got home, save for the lights twinkling on the Christmas tree. He stopped in the living room for a moment and stared at the tree he and Delaney had put up a couple of weeks before. This was their first Christmas at home, just the two of them. Since he'd been busy at work and Delaney had been equally tied up with giving and grading finals, they hadn't had time to buy or put up many decorations-- the tree was about it. Even so, the tree was a sight to behold, fully decked out, thanks to their families. In addition to the lights, there were homemade ornaments Delaney had made as a child, plus fancier ones his mother and grandmother had bought for them. From his side, there were ornaments from his mother's homeland of Ireland, his father's country, Italy, from South Africa, where he was born, and from America, his adopted home. The tree was bright, eclectic, and a bit messy, since there was no rhyme or reason to how he and Delaney had decorated it. It was just...them. He loved it.
He set Delaney's gift under the tree and saw a present with his name on it, and another box with both of their names on it. Shaking the boxes didn't give him any clue as to what was in them, and he had to resist slitting the tape to peek at what was inside. Knowing both his mother and Delaney, they'd probably put the presents in a nondescript box before they wrapped them. Sighing, he admitted temporary defeat and went to look for his MIA boyfriend.
It wasn't too hard to find Delaney; the man was fast asleep at his desk. How that long, rangy body could sleep hunched over like that, Connor would never know. But this wasn't the first, or even twentieth time he'd found Delaney in this position. The illumination from the computer screen was the only light in the room. Since the computer hadn't gone to sleep mode like its owner, Delaney must not have been out for too long.
Connor flicked the light switch and walked over to the desk. He crouched down next to Delaney, but his lover didn't move. For a moment, Connor just watched him sleep. Though he brushed Delaney's hair back from his face, Delaney didn't stir.
"You sleep like the dead."
Delaney slept on.
"Okay, then." He leaned forward and rubbed his nose against Delaney's. "Wake up, handsome."
Delaney's eyes popped open, but he didn't startle over waking to see Connor's face so close to his. Connor smiled and kissed him softly before pulling back.
"About time you woke up," he teased.
Delaney blinked owlishly at him as he sat up. Then he grimaced.
"You shouldn't sleep like that."
"So you always say." Delaney let out a yawn and stretched his arms, but made no move to get up. "I was revising my syllabi for next semester."
"If it puts you to sleep, I pity your students."
"Ha ha." Delaney stuck his tongue out at him. "Where were you today?"
"I went down to the city, remember? I told you before I left this morning."
"You did? I must have forgotten."
That wasn't at all like Delaney. "Is something wrong?" he asked.
"You're not the forgetful type."
"I just had other stuff on my mind."
It was clear by Delaney's defensive posture that he was close to digging his heels in. Connor let it drop.
"All right," he said. "Are you still up for going down to the city tomorrow to do Christmas Eve day in the city?"
They were both quiet for a moment. Delaney was looking like he needed a distraction and Connor couldn't blame him.
A minor one would have to do; it was all Connor had at the moment. "I need a drink."
"Alcohol or just something to quench the thirst? I've got an unopened soda here," Delany offered him a can.
"That'll work." He took the soda and hopped up to sit on Delaney's desk. He didn't want to leave the room with awkwardness hanging in the air. Luckily, Delaney changed the subject.
"I got an email from my mom today."
Neutral topic, thank the Lord. "How're the parents enjoying Australia?" Connor asked as he popped open the soda can.
"They seem to be having a great time. My mom said she and your mom spent the day shopping while our dads learned to surf."
He nearly spit out his drink at that. As it was, Delaney had to reach over and slap him on the back while he had a coughing fit. "Surfing? Our dads?"
Delaney grinned. "I'd pay to see that, wouldn't you? Apparently, your mom got pictures of their first few attempts yesterday. The ones before they gave in and signed up for lessons."
"That would be priceless. It figures. We've spent every school and work break since we first hooked up trying to get our parents to coordinate Christmas. And the one time they finally manage to get it together, they up and leave us behind to have fun in the sun."
The smile fell from Delaney's face and he looked worried. "Are you regretting not spending Christmas in California?"
"No, not at all," he hastened to reassure him. "We've never gotten to spend the entire holiday together and for all the years we've been here, we've never done Christmas in New York City. Why would I give that up to spend hours stuck in airports and on planes, only to spend most of my holiday trying to get some alone time with you, when I can have you all to myself?"
"Okay." Delaney didn't sound too convinced.
"Besides," he leaned in close to his lover, "you know what else we would have missed out on if we had spent the holidays with our parents?"
"Making love under the Christmas tree."
That brought the smile back to Delaney's face.
"I don't think we'll fit under there," he said with mock-seriousness.
Connor laughed, then set down the soda can and hopped off the desk. Then he grabbed Delaney's arm and pulled him up out of his chair. "We'll never know until we try."
"Think of the pine needles. I don't want them poking my ass."
Moving in close, Connor wrapped his arms around Delaney's waist and cupped said ass. "I give you my solemn vow," he said, squeezing Delaney's cheeks lightly, "I'll make sure to cover your ass."
With that, he released Delaney and took off running for their living room, where the tree was housed. Delaney's laughter rang out and Connor's spirits lifted.
Everything was going to be all right.