Isn’t it funny how the silliest things are the things we look forward to every year during the holiday season? In our family, one of the traditional activities is getting the Christmas tree and then making fun of it.
As a farming family, it was just not done to go out and buy a tree from a tree farm. Nope. It had to be a tree from the woodlot at the back of the farm.
Unfortunately, trees in the wild always look bigger and bushier than they actually are. It’s like camouflage.
For the past twenty years, I’ve had exactly two trees that didn’t fall into the ‘Charlie Brown Christmas’ category. In fact, it happened so often that it’s now one of our Christmas traditions.
This is our tree for this year, pre-decorations. Yep. Charlie would have been proud of us.
But, just like in ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’, it will still be beautiful once we’re done. It’s a part of the Christmas magic, that something ordinary becomes beautiful, not because of what it looks like, but because of how we see it.
Description: When Rob’s dad was injured by an uninsured driver, it spelled the end of Rob’s carefree childhood and, more important to Rob, the idyllic Christmases they used to have. Hard work and sacrifice nets him a degree in computer programming and then a contract at a rapidly-growing video game company. Things are looking up, especially when he meets his new System Administrator. But the closer it gets to Christmas, the more bugs there are in the system.
Shawn’s found him. The Guy. But Rob’s had it rough and it’s been years since he’s been anything but responsible. It all comes boiling to the surface when a family financial crisis is followed by a work emergency that ruins Rob’s plans to bring Shawn home to meet the family over Christmas holidays.
With Rob’s mood growing darker the closer it gets to Christmas, Shawn needs to find some way to give Rob the Christmas he’s so desperate for. And he just might have the plan…
“Morning,” came Rob’s voice from around the corner in the kitchenette. “You in a hurry or something?” Flashes of movement showed that he was doing something at the stove. “You eat yet? There’s still a few pancakes, if you get over here before Brandon gets out of the bathroom.”
Shawn dropped his keys into his pocket and shrugged off his jacket, then tossed it over the back of a kitchen chair. “Have you ever known me to resist your pancakes?” His breath caught as he turned and got his first good look of the day at Rob, who was shirtless in pajama pants, his dark hair still rumpled from sleep. Damn, you’re beautiful. “Though I could be tempted to give them a pass.” He reached past Rob to turn off the stove and move the frying pan off the hot burner. Safety issues taken care of, he pushed Rob gently up against the countertop and pulled his head down for a good-morning kiss.
“Ugh. PDAs first thing in the morning.” Rob’s roommate wandered into the kitchen, already dressed for work at the Tire and Lube Express. “Hey, there’s still pancakes. Yum.” Brandon scooped the last two out of the frying pan and stacked them on top of each other before taking a huge bite. “Damn, Rob, if I were gay, I’d so marry you, just for these.”
Rob chuckled and broke off the kiss. “Thanks, but what makes you think I’d have you?”
Brandon stopped in the middle of shoving his foot into a battered running shoe. “With all this on offer?” He waved the hand still holding the pancakes at his narrow, bony torso in its loose T-shirt.
“Like you could resist.”
Shawn buried his face in the side of Rob’s neck and laughed as Rob replied, “Dream on, straight boy.” Rob glanced up at the clock. “You’re gonna miss the bus.”
“Shit!” Cramming the last of the pancakes into his mouth, Brandon grabbed his wallet off the kitchen table and ran for the door. “Have fun shopping! Bring me back something good!”
“More dreams!” Rob shouted as the door clicked closed, and then they listened as the thunder of Brandon racing down the stairs slowly faded.
Rob turned back to Shawn, who nestled closer, sliding one leg in between Rob’s. With a contented sigh, Rob shifted to make space for Shawn’s thigh and bent his head down for another kiss. Shawn lifted up on his toes—Rob’s extra three inches of height were all in his legs, Shawn was sure—and ground against Rob’s hip as he kissed and teased at the other man’s mouth.
When Shawn finally let him up for air, Rob’s voice was hoarse and low. “Are you in a rush to go shopping?”
Shawn brought his lips to Rob’s throat. He stopped just before they touched it, though. “Stores are open till midnight,” he said, letting his words brush ghostly fingers over the pulse hammering away in Rob’s neck. Color bloomed behind them, as if his words had called it into being.
“I suppose we might get there before then.” Rob let his head fall back and groaned as Shawn flicked the tip of his tongue over the glowing skin.
“The sooner we get to your bedroom, the sooner we get out to get Halloween costumes,” Shawn whispered, his lips grazing the corner of Rob’s jaw.
“Who cares about costumes?” Rob hooked a knee behind Shawn’s leg and rubbed his own up and down against it. “For that matter, who cares about the bedroom?”
Shawn laughed and stepped back. “You will, if you get bruises from the edge of the counter again. Follow me, Software, and let me parse your code in comfort.”
“I love it when you talk dirty. Lead on, Hardware.”
The Giveaway: THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED