I have more Christmas stories than I have weeks in December, so this week I’m doubling up!
Gay Divorcee – Jones is a sweetheart, Grayson is a lost soul. It might not be the most conventional Christmas tale, but I love how they come from such different places but still find common ground.
Grayson gave up on the idea of gay marriage when he became a gay divorcee. Can Jones remind him that not all gay men are like his cheating ex?
Gay marriage, civil commitment and equal rights. Jones doesn’t care what it’s called. He wants that security to be part of his future, and he wants it to be available to everyone else too. He’s happy to tell his dominant friend Bernard, and anyone else who will listen, how wonderful it will be when every gay man can live happily ever after with the man he loves.
Gay divorce, cheating husbands and bad decisions. Grayson used to think that the right to marry another man would cure all gay ills too – until he married and divorced Claude. The adorably submissive Jones obviously needs someone to explain to him exactly why gay men should never get married before he makes all the same mistakes Grayson made.
Before the Christmas celebrations end, someone will have to accept that they are wrong and the other man is right. The only question is who?
And here’s a quick excerpt:
R. S. Jones turned his attention from his friend Bernard to the dominant sitting next to him. “Sir?”
The older man tossed back another shot of whisky. “Dragging yourself halfway around the world to volunteer on a campaign for gay marriage is pointless.” He lifted a hand in an idle gesture, and one of the submissives serving in the club refilled his glass.
Jones adjusted the cushion he knelt on, playing for time as he tried to work out what exactly what the dominant was objecting to. Looking up a moment later, he met the other man’s gaze. Vivid green eyes locked with his, unblinking and damn near heart stopping.
Jones quickly dropped his gaze. “I know there’s still a lot of opposition to any form of gay marriage in some parts of the US, sir,” he began, quite ready to explain why that was no reason to give up.
“And so there should be.”
Jones stuttered. One glance up and he got caught in those green eyes again. He tried to pick up his train of thought and failed. “Sir?”
The dominant pushed shaggy strands of blond hair back off his face as he leaned forward in his chair, his eyes sparkling with intensity.
“The reason so many people oppose gay marriage is because gay men shouldn’t get married,” he announced. “We don’t need to help the US legalise marriage, we need to turn the clock back to when civil-commitment was illegal in Britain too. Gay men and marriage don’t mix.”
“But, sir,” Jones began. “That’s not true! Being gay doesn’t—”
The dominant tossed back his shot and dismissed everything Jones was about to say with a sweep of his hand as he ordered his glass to be refilled again. “Nonsense!”
Jones’ frown deepened. Fascinating green eyes were very nice. Hair so blond it made references to golden corn sound logical was great too. On a man who radiated dominance, they were even better. But dominant or not, a jerk was still a jerk.
Before Jones could say anything more, the dominant seemed to decide the conversation was over. He stepped past Jones and walked through to the corridor leading to the gents’ room without another word.
Jones turned his attention back to Bernard, the man he’d been telling about the volunteer work that occupied his last holiday.
Bernard offered him a rueful smile. “All of which translates to—he walked in on his husband getting screwing by another dominant and barely escaped from the resulting divorce with his shirt.”
Jones closed his eyes as he mentally ran over everything he’d said in front of the other man. “I’m sorry, sir—I should have…”
“Read his mind?” Bernard asked. He shook his head. “Claude was a silly little slut who Grayson should never have screwed let alone married—I’d assumed he was over him a long time ago. And, for the record, he had more than enough to say about why civil commitment should be law, back before he realised gay marriage can lead to gay divorce.”
Jones nodded, but he still wished he could have clawed back some of the words he’d babbled about just how great gay marriage would be.
“I supposed we’d best start sobering him up,” Bernard muttered. “Whisky always did make him melancholy. If you ask at the bar, I’m sure they’ll be able to find a few cups of coffee for us—black, no sugar for Grayson.”
Jones fulfilled the order on rote, happy to have some simple task to occupy the front of his mind while the rest of his brain whirled with thoughts of Grayson. On the way back to Bernard’s table with the tray of coffees, he stopped short.
Only Grayson was there.
Jones hesitated as he met the other man’s eyes. He saw the pain there, the regret. There was a trace of anger too, but most of it seemed to have faded into resignation.
“Bernard had to take a phone call. He’s looking for somewhere with better reception,” Grayson informed him.
Jones still wasn’t sure what to do with the tray of drinks or with himself. Steeling his resolve, he approached Grayson and offered him one of the coffees.
Grayson took a mug. “Thank you.”
Jones hesitated for a moment. Bernard had morphed from a dominant he’d dated a few times into an old friend. He could comfortably kneel at his feet and know Bernard wouldn’t get the wrong idea.
Grayson represented an unknown quantity. The seat was the sensible option. He’d given Grayson no reason to expect even platonic signs of submission from him. Somehow Jones still found himself kneeling on the cushion at his feet. He glanced up at Grayson, not sure what to say now.
“I’m not going to apologise for telling you the truth,” Grayson informed him.
“May I apologise, sir?” Jones asked, cautiously.
Grayson raised an eyebrow. “For?”
“If I’d known about…” he cleared his throat, unable to find the right word. “Then I wouldn’t have said the things I did in front of you, sir.”
“Which is nothing like saying you realise I am right,” Grayson observed.
Jones looked down at Bernard’s coffee, still on the tray in his hands. “It was unkind to say such things in front of you, sir,” he offered.
Grayson’s lips twitched into an unexpectedly amused smile as he seemed to realise that was the best he was going to get from him. He nodded to the other mug. “You might as well drink up, Bernard gossips like an old woman—it will be cold by the time he comes back.”
“Thank you, sir.” Jones set the tray to one side and wrapped his hands around the hot mug—not quite willing to spoil the possible offer of a truce by explaining he’d only brought back two cups of coffee because he couldn’t stand the taste of the stuff himself.
“How long have you belonged to him?” Grayson asked.
Jones blinked. “Bernard? I don’t, sir. We dated for a little while, but I never belonged to him.”
“You don’t belong to anyone?” Grayson asked.
Jones shook his head.
Grayson cleared his throat. “Smart boy. Keep your freedom and screw around.”
Jones decided silence was probably the best answer to that. He pretended to take a sip of the coffee.
The music playing discreetly in the background switched to a Christmas favourite. Someone behind the bar turned the volume up.
“What self-respecting leather bar lets that rubbish play through their speakers?” Grayson asked the world in general as he rolled his eyes and slouched down a little further down in his chair.
You don’t like Christmas? Jones bit the words back just in time. It was probably the first Christmas he’d be spending on his own since his divorce. “Do you have plans for the holidays?” Jones asked, when he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
“Certainly—they involve peace, goodwill to anyone who doesn’t annoy me and a very large bottle of whisky.”
Jones looked up at him. That couldn’t happen.
The thought appeared in his head one moment. The next moment his lips were moving.
“Come and spend Christmas with me, sir?”
Next up we have In the Blink of an Eye. It’s a little story. The office Christmas party is in full swing. Unfortunatly, the only person Adam wants to kiss under the mistletoe is Tom, and Tom’s straight, isn’t he?
Adam is a great believer in science. If something is scientifically proven, it’s a fact, and Adam doesn’t waste his time arguing with facts. Tom is as straight as any man can possibly be, Adam doesn’t like it, but he knows he has no choice but to accept it.
When Tom approaches Adam at the office Christmas party, Adam’s not going to let himself be fooled into thinking that Tom is flirting with him just because the other man is friendly, or because he doesn’t seem to understand the whole person space thing.
Facts are facts, until they suddenly change, in the blink of an eye.
Here’s a quick excerpt:
“Are you some kind of serial killer?”
Adam Howards half choked on his wine. It took him several seconds to stop spluttering and compose himself enough to be able to look over his shoulder. At that point, every scrap of poise Adam had ever possessed promptly deserted him. “Tom!”
Tom Barker smiled at him. That was all he had to do to make Adam more flustered than ever.
“Well, are you?” Tom asked. He rounded the table Adam sat on, and settled himself alongside him, casually bringing their bodies within just an inch of touching.
The company they both worked for had planted a pair of stereo speakers in the canteen well before the staff Christmas party had started. Pop renditions of carols now bellowed out into the sparsely decorated space.
If they hadn’t, the silence might have been deafening.
Adam’s mind raced. He could think of a few reasons why a straight man might ask him if he was gay, but none of them were good. Then, just in time, he remembered the original question. Relief rushed through him. “A serial killer! No. Why?”
Well aware that he was currently front runner in the “making a fool of himself in front of a hot guy” stakes, Adam took a sip of his drink, but it was damn near impossible to look sophisticated while sitting on a canteen table, his feet dangling well above the floor. He was reasonably sure no scientist would ever look like anything but a geek in front of a guy from the advertising department.
“You’ve been staring at me nonstop for the last couple of days,” Tom said. “If you’re not plotting to hack me into little bits and bury me under your patio, what other reason could you have?”
Adam didn’t move, he didn’t breathe. One heartbeat, two. “I don’t have a patio.”
Tom laughed as if Adam were much better at this flirting lark than Adam ever imagined he could be. Except that Tom would probably be really pissed off if he thought there was any flirting going on, because Tom was straight.
He was hot, and friendly, and quite possibly kinky, but he was also straight. It was a scientifically established fact. For the first time since he’d picked up a test tube, Adam really hated science. He tossed back the rest of his drink and glared resentfully at the empty glass. His attempts at drowning his sorrows weren’t working. In fact, he was becoming increasingly certain that his sorrows could swim.
“So, why the staring?” Tom asked again.
Adam shrugged. “You remind me of someone.”
Yeah, my fantasy dominant. Pull on a pair of leather chaps, pick up a whip and you’d be the spitting image of the guy I’ve been thinking about while jacking off ever since I was a teenager.
Adam cleared his throat. “I, um, couldn’t place who it was. That was probably why I stared at you so much. Sorry about that. I didn’t mean to freak you out.”
“I’m not freaked out,” Tom said.
Right, because Tom wasn’t the kind of guy who would be scared by anything—except the possibility of a gay man having the hots for him, of course. It was never easy to tell which straight guys would completely lose it over something like that.
Adam let out a mental sigh. He was pretty sure he should never have tried to use science to work out which way Tom swung. The results had been conclusive, and he probably should have been pleased about that, but discovering Tom’s complete heterosexuality had damn near broken Adam’s heart. The last thing he needed was a black eye from the guy too.
Unable to summon up even the smallest of talk, Adam stared into his empty glass and swung his legs back and forth like a kid sitting high on a doctor’s table.
“Did you bring a date tonight?”
Adam jerked his head up so quickly he made himself dizzy. “What?”
Tom waved a hand toward a group of women Adam didn’t recognize. “Some of the guys brought their girlfriends along, did you?”
“Oh.” Small talk, right. Adam sighed. “No, I didn’t bring anyone.”
Adam tightened his grip around his glass. He could easily imagine Tom being the kind of man who had so many women queuing up for his attention he couldn’t just settle for one.
Please don’t tell me about them. Please don’t be one of those guys who wants to tell another man intimate details of his sex life.