So, folks, a bunch of us are posting fics for RJ Scott’s blog for a holiday celebration. Now, I met RJ at GRL this year, and she’s charming and bubbly and I read her book, The Christmas Throwaway, and I’m so excited to be a part of her shindig!
Part of the prompt was that we pick an established couple, and, well…
work on the boat—you want to come with?”
Whiskey’s voice didn’t have a note of recrimination in it, even though it was
sort of Patrick’s fault that the boat had sprung a leak and needed repairs
right before Christmas. All things
considered, though, it was probably better that Patrick had other plans, so he
looked up from his bed and smiled guilelessly but regretfully.
and “not planning to buy your boyfriend’s Christmas present while he went to
work on the boat.”
said, as casually as possible. “I hope it’s okay—I’ve got some homework to do.
I, uh, need to study for finals.”
recently, and the brown scruff on his cheeks wasn’t as deep as usual. Which
meant when he rubbed it, the rasping sound filled the room.
winningly and looked right past his left temple, avoiding all contact with his
to stay until after the New Year—Lori Ann even asked if that’s okay.” Well, Dad’s girlfriend was pretty
awesome. And she was afraid Patrick and Whiskey would catch cold, which made
sense since he’d been trying to install a space heater when he’d accidentally popped
a hole in the boat—but that’s not what was on Whiskey’s mind right now. “I don’t have to go do repairs right now. Did you want to go ‘study’ at the mall together?”
his long-fingered hands and then covered his eyes. “No! Because you’ll know what I’m getting you! Because I
suck at surprises! So… you know. I’ll go by myself and get your Christmas gifts
and hide them.” His grin felt much more sincere now.
grimaced. “You, uhm, know we’re
spending most of my money on our leaky home, right? I mean, at this point my present for you is—“
himself off the queen-sized bed they were sharing in his father’s house until
the houseboat was livable in the winter.
“You!” he finished,
excited. “You’re my present this year!” His melted into Whiskey’s arms, shorter,
but strong and lithe. “This is our
first Christmas together, really,” Patrick whispered against his ear. “So I
need to get you something really awesome.” Whiskey had been gone the year before, researching in the arctic, and their relationship had survived until he’d returned. Patrick wanted it to be special–even if they weren’t celebrating in their home.
into the hollow of Patrick’s neck, tickling him. “You’re awesome. Don’t worry about the present—I told you, we’ll
keep it small this year so I can take you with me in the summer.”
head and sighed. “Yeah, well,
don’t break your bank, okay?”
Whiskey—I’ve got it nailed.”
to see Whiskey grimace. He had plans.
Patrick’s company when he was working on the boat, but he didn’t mind missing
the “help”. Patrick tended to forget what they were doing in the middle when
they were doing it—which is sort of how the hole in the hull had happened in
the first place. Whiskey, in fact,
spent the bright December day squinting against a headache because his last
pair of sunglasses had been knocked off his nose and into the river by Patrick’s
elbow when they’d been pulling the winterizing tarp over the deck so, yeah—he’d
made progress and nothing had been broken. He was calling it a win.
glad to get back to Patrick’s father’s house, up in the rich part of
Orangevale, and he was even happier when he walked in and smelled two of
Patrick’s favorite things: cookies and pizza. Yes, he was getting too old to eat them both but after the
day of gluing indoor/outdoor carpeting to the inner hull in an effort to
insulate, he would eat anything as
long as it was warm.
hopefully. “And cookies!”
in fact, purchased from the Otis Spunkmeyer (the name cracked him up every
time) store at the mall, and Patrick had bought a truckload of them.
Patrick offered, from the kitchen table, waving his current victim in a shower
of crumbs. The table itself was
covered in wrapping paper, tape, and scissors. The wrapping paper was cut,
torn, and shredded into tiny pieces, the tape was strewn from one part of the
table to the other in big, tangled strips, and the scissors were wide open and
in the dead center of the table.
a big red box on top of all of that other stuff, in front of Patrick
himself. To Patrick’s immediate
left, in danger of being knocked over with every wave of his cookie, sat three
perfectly wrapped packages, tied together with gold ribbon, and topped with one
big, purchased, glittering bow.
the mess in a daze and took a cookie from the red box. “Has, uhm, your father seen this?” he
asked. Please God, no, please God, let me have time to clean this up…
swallowed. “Uh-huh. That was when
he went to order pizza, since Lori Ann is going shopping tonight. He’s showering right now.”
forward and began to pick up big handfuls of wrapping paper. God, if he hadn’t
seen Patrick in action before, he would never have guessed such a skinny man
could create such a giant fat mess.
“So, you couldn’t resist Otis, huh?”
before his next bite of cookie.
“Yeah, well, it’s right by J.C. Penny’s, that radio control booth, and
Sunglass Hut – it was pretty hard to miss.”
gnawing on his cookie, apparently thrilled with a mission well accomplished,
and Whiskey looked at the three packages—one the size of a sweater and jeans,
one the size of a radio control toy, and the other the size of sunglasses—before
he continued to sweep the remains of the gift-wrapping frenzy off the table.
didn’t meet Patrick’s eyes.
could thunk his head on the kitchen table. Repeatedly.
squatted next to him, kissing him gently on the shoulder.
said, meaning it.
for a better man in my life.”
than sunglasses. You know that right?”
him and blinked, his blue eyes shiny with embarrassment. “I hope so,” he said
with a little sigh. “But just in case, you’d better not trust me with state
secrets or anything.”
heart. I swear.”
little, and Whisky had to kiss him. It was imperative. That’s what they were doing when
Patrick’s father walked into the kitchen. Whiskey barely heard him as he loaded
up his plate with pizza and then walked out.
done in there, bring the cookies to the living room! We’re watching Christmas
specials because I said so!” he hollered.
and pulled back. “Christmas
said, because they could hear the music through the doorway.
eat cookies, I mean dinner there.
Here—I’ll clean up, you can put your stuff under the tree.”
ordered, wishing he could open his present right now. Man, those sunglasses would come in handy the next time he
took Patrick out on the boat.