Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Wishes

This week's prompts:  "I saw Daddy kissing Santa Claus! or "Bah, humbug! Just call me Scrooge!" or "when did you become so mean?" or "a fire smoldered in his eyes" or use egg nog in your story, with or without alcohol or "Did I hear a reindeer on the roof?" or "My boss is so cheap...." or use: front door fox or  have a character make hot chocolate with marshmallows or "Did I hear a waltz?" or use a poltergeist in your story or "To every day, there is a season" or mention the three kings or the three wise men or "Merry Christmas!" or make a Christmas Carol reference or "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings" or have your characters barbecue or make a Duck Dynasty reference  or use swimming in some way or "he's a regular Jekyll and Hyde!" or "the power of love."

I want to wish you all a very happy holiday.    Tom and Ben sure are having a great holiday. 

Christmas Wishes

“We wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.”   It was Christmas Eve, and Ben heard music coming from his front walk.

Ben stood at the open doorway, listening to the carolers who stood in the snow outside his door.   Normally he enjoyed the holiday music; there really wasn’t any holiday music for Chanukah, unless the dreidel song counted.  Ben was happy to hear the joyful music, but he was feeling lonely. He was off today, but his beloved husband was on duty, saving lives.  Emergency service workers, like firemen, didn’t get holidays off.  People didn’t stop getting into trouble just because it was Christmas; if anything, they got into even more trouble.  How many house fires would be happening this time of year all because someone was careless with a lit candle or left something on the stove and walked out of the room for just a moment?

“Meow.” Love sat beside Ben and listened to the carolers. Normally he’d sneak outside and go exploring, but he didn’t like his paws getting wet in the cold snow, so he was content to just sit and listen.

“Don’t leave yet, guys, I have something for you.”  Ben had some cups of hot apple cider and some sugar cookies he’d baked earlier today.  The four women and two men came over and took the offered holiday goodies from the tray he held out.

“Thank you, Ben.” Shirley Chandler, a neighbor who lived a few doors down, was a member of the church choir and joined the carolers each year.   “Is Tom working?”  she asked.

“Yes.”  Ben sighed.  He put the tray down on a table just inside the front door and picked up Love.  Petting the cat helped comfort him and kept him less lonely.

“We’ll be done caroling soon, how about I give you a call and you can come over and join us for some eggnog and snacks?”  Shirley was a mensch, and an upstanding human being; she’d often bring over goodies to him and Tom during the year.  She loved to cook and bake. She taught cooking at the Pennsylvania School of Culinary Arts in Lancaster.

“Thanks, Shirley, but I don’t know if my waistline can take much more of all the goodies you graciously give us.”

“Oh please. I ask you, gang, do you think Ben needs less food?”  she asked the group.

“I wish I had your problem.”  Ruth Jennings, who owned the flower shop in town, spoke up.  She wasn’t obese, but she was one of those full-figured women.   She was happy with herself, as she should be.

“Thanks, guys.  I’ll let you know if I’m up to it.   I’m waiting for Tom to call me, if we can’t be together in person, at least we can talk on the phone.”

“Well, we better finish up our caroling.  Thanks for the hot cider and cookies, they were great, Ben.  Couldn’t have done better myself,”  Shirley told him.

“Coming from you that is a big compliment.” Ben replied.  He closed the door after they left and put Love down on the couch in front of the roaring fire.  Ben took a mug of hot cider and joined the cat.  He must have fallen asleep, because the next thing he knew, he heard the Grandfather clock chiming.  

 Ben looked at his cell phone sitting on the coffee table; there were no missed calls listed.  Love was curled up asleep beside him.  Ben heard a noise coming from the roof. Was it those darn squirrels that made their way into their attic?  He and Tom had called in someone to fix the problem so the noise shouldn’t be them.

 “Do I hear reindeer on the roof?”  Ben asked, laughing at himself for getting so wrapped up in Santa and the holiday he thought anything was possible.  Well, how could he not, after he’d watched “Miracle on 34th Street” earlier today.  If there ever was a man who personified Santa, it was Edmund Gwynn.  Ben believed he was Santa, just like the post office did.  He laughed; he heard the noise again, only this time it sounded like it was coming from their front door.

 Ben snatched his phone and walked slowly towards the hallway. He was ready to call 911 at a moment’s notice.  He took a baseball bat with him, ready to smash the intruder in the face.  ”Maybe it was Santa,“Ben said to himself. Yeah, well, Santa came down the chimney, but he couldn’t come down theirs, not unless he wanted to roast on the fire.  He wondered what Santa did in that case, if there was a fire going in the chimney.  A loud bang interrupted his musings and Ben had enough of playing guessing games. Hejerked the front door open only to find himself flat on his back on the floor, another man on top of him.

“I am dialing 911 if you don’t get off me right now!” 


“Tom? What are you doing here, I thought you had to work.”  Ben looked his man in the face; he noticed the packages his man was trying to juggle in his arms.  Obviously he’d been struggling to enter the house when Ben opened the door. Both men lost their balance and that was how they ended up on the floor.

“I got off work early and made a beeline home to surprise you.  I was hoping you’d be asleep.”

“Well, you sure did surprise me.”  Ben got up off the floor and helped Tom up.

“I mean I wanted to surprise you with these too.  Get them under the tree.”

“How about if I go to our bedroom and let you plays Santa?”

They said their proper hellos sometime later and went to sleep.  The next day Santa had indeed been very good to both of them.

Happy Holidays everyone.

my fellow authors:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Welcome guest author Draven St. James

I'd like to welcome back author Draven St. James to my blog today.  She has a new book coming out on Dec 24th called "Fire and Mistletoe."

Fire and Mistletoe
Release Date: December 24th
Author: Draven St. James


When Greyson Hayes envisions the perfect first Christmas with Mica Cruz he sees twisted sheets, a bottle of wine and a roaring fire. What he doesn't see is a holiday spent with the uproarious Cruz family. Grey hasn't taken part in a family Christmas since the death of his parents. Despite his misgivings, he can't seem to form the word no when it comes to Mica.

Mica knows that Grey's not a grinch. Hell, the man shares so much Christmas cheer during the holidays that he leaves no time to experience any for himself. Not this year. Mica plans to make a few changes, starting with a few wicked and whimsical gifts. He enlists the help of his co-workers at Firehouse Six. They band together and strive to provide Grey with the same joy he gives to everyone else--with five a.m. tree hunts, strategically placed mistletoe and Mica playing Santa's not-so-little helper.

But while Mica is busy being nice, Grey has plenty of time to be naughty…

For Mica, there was nothing better than starting the day watching Grey saunter shirtless around the kitchen, preparing him breakfast. Grey’s only clothes were a pair of sweats that hung so low on his hips Mica couldn’t help but be amazed they didn’t slide off. Hell, that was what he anticipated happening.
Such an event would truly be the beginning of a merry Christmas. Mica sat on a stool next to the island at the center of the room to continue his ogling.
“Stop objectifying me,” Grey said before looking over his shoulder and smiling.
“You like it,” Mica teased. The muscles of Grey’s back flexed each time he reached for a spice or stirred the eggs. His hair was wet from his shower and glistened with shades of gold and cinnamon in the overhead lighting.
“I may like it, but you need to eat, and then I have to work. If you’re lucky, when your double shift is over, I’ll entertain those dirty thoughts I know you’re having.”
“Oh, now that’s promising. How about we compromise for the moment? Drop your pants and bring on the food.” Mica leered comically at him. Grey’s face became an adorable shade of pink. He loved that even now Grey had his shy moments. There were so many things Grey did that made his life more complete, both at home and at work, because he was lucky enough to work and play with his lover. He’d met Grey when he’d made the best decision of his life and transferred over to Firehouse Six.
It also didn’t hurt that the man was a fantastic cook. He pivoted to stir the scrambled eggs, and Mica moved to stand behind him. With a deep inhale he breathed in the intoxicating, spicy scent that always clung to Grey, and nuzzled his face against Grey’s neck. He wrapped his arms around him, tracing his fingers along Grey’s abdomen before pulling Grey fully back against him.
“Are you sure you can’t fit me in before breakfast?” Mica whispered and nipped his ear playfully.
The vibrations from Grey’s moan resulted in an answering hardening of Mica’s cock.
“You are the worst tease,” Grey admonished.
“And you’re so damn practical.”
Grey shifted around in Mica’s arms and grinned. “That is one of the many things that you love about me.” He ran his fingers through the damp strands of Mica’s hair. “As it is, because of our shower time, I’m already going to be late.”
Mica trapped Grey against the counter and gave in to the temptation of Grey’s soft lips. Grey’s hands tightened in his hair and drew him away.
“Before you, I was always on time.”
“I exist to create fun chaos in your life.” Mica wiggled his eyebrows.
“I see evidence of the chaos,” Grey murmured with a pointed look. “Not just in my life either.”
“No, we settled this.” Mica framed Grey’s face with his hands. “You always work over the holidays. This year you’re mine.”
Grey sighed and looked to be gearing up for another long dialogue about how the guys depended on him to cover their shifts and how the holidays would be ruined if he didn’t.
Mica pressed his fingertip to Grey’s lips. “I want you with me for the holidays. My family will love you, and you’ll have fun.”
“Mica, I haven’t really enjoyed doing—”
“Babe, we discussed this, and I know it isn’t your first choice of Christmas options, but we will still be back to do all the volunteer activities. I promise.” Mica brushed his thumb over Grey’s lips before leaning in for a soft kiss. “Besides, if you’re good and do this for me, then maybe I’ll do something fun for you.”
“Is that right?”
“Of course, I don’t know how it will compare to the little surprises you have in store. I saw the bag this morning.” He pulled back to meet Grey’s twinkling amber gaze.
Grey shrugged. “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” he replied, his eyes wide with mock innocence. Any trace of annoyance seemed to vanish, and Mica hoped that was the last of it. Grey turned to finish scrambling the eggs that had begun to burn.
“I call bullshit. I saw what was in that bag. Looked like something from that adult store down the road,” Mica confessed. The store sold all things erotic, from videos to sex toys.
“Maybe it isn’t for you?” Grey countered.
“It had better be for me.” Mica jokingly glared at Grey.
“Have a smidgen of patience. Christmas is right around the corner.”
Mica stepped away from Grey and put his hands on his hips. Grey rotated to face him. The man was too attractive for his own good. Every time Mica saw Grey, all he could think was how lucky he was they had been brought together. Of course, all his cock could think about was how quickly they could find a flat surface.
“Fine, you win this time,” Mica said, eyes narrowed. “But I have high expectations for after my shift.”
“I’ll be surprised if you don’t just fall asleep on me.” Grey laughed.
Mica had to work a double, but not even that would keep him from slipping into bed with Grey and showing him how much he missed Grey on those long shifts. Ever since they had come out to the guys at work, they had tried to keep their interactions with each other professional. It was a little easier given they had all the time in the world to satisfy their frustrations outside of work.
“When have I ever done that?” Mica asked.
“There’s a first time for everything. Maybe I should take care of myself while you’re gone,” Grey threatened and slid his free hand down to rub his shaft through his pants, putting on a show for Mica.
“Now who’s the tease?” Mica walked off toward their bedroom to get dressed before breakfast, and briefly glanced over his shoulder. “Payback is a bitch, babe.”
“But so much fun.”
Draven St. James is a born and raised Oregonian. She has travelled extensively in search of mischief and mayhem to fill her books. Her ventures have been quite successful in inspiring a wealth of stories. Of course at the end of the day, coffee within reach, laptop at the ready is where she finds her peace.

Links (I don't have the buy links for Fire and Mistletoe yet)


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Tom and Ben's Wonderful Life

Here are this week's prompts:

"I saw Daddy kissing Santa Claus! or "Bah, humbug! Just call me Scrooge!" or "when did you become so mean?" or "a fire smoldered in his eyes" or use egg nog in your story, with or without alcohol or "Did I hear a reindeer on the roof?" or "My boss is so cheap...." or use: front door fox or  have a character make hot chocolate with marshmallows or "Did I hear a waltz?" or use a poltergeist in your story or "To every day, there is a season" or mention the three kings or the three wise men or "Merry Christmas!" or make a Christmas Carol reference or "Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings" or have your characters barbecue or make a Duck Dynasty reference  or use swimming in some way or "he's a regular Jekyll and Hyde!" or "the power of love."

Tom and Ben's Wonderful Life

Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings   was heard coming from the TV speaker.   Tom and Ben were sitting on the couch, alternating between crying and laughing.  A box of tissues passed between them as the pile of used Kleenex on the coffee table grew.  

“Gosh, that movie gets me every time, Tom.” Ben got up to dispose of tissues in the kitchen trash. 

“Me too” Tom joined him in the kitchen and put the kettle on the stove to warm up some water.  “Do you want marshmallows in your hot cocoa?”

“Of course, do you seriously have to ask that question?”   Ben answered.  He sat at the counter and watched as Tom took two packets of Land O’ Lakes hot cocoa mix out of the cupboard where they stored their beverages.   He took a hazelnut variety for himself and took a chocolate supreme for Ben.   Tom joined him at the counter as they waited for the kettle to whistle.   “I love this time of the year. I’m glad we don’t have to go to the mall again, that was a crazy day we had.  I did get the rest of my shopping done online.”

“I did get some Chanukah gifts, too, but still not having to venture out. The mail carrier is just like Santa, or Chanukah Harry.”   Ben mentioned the character created for Chanukah on Saturday Night Live many years back.

The kettle’s high-pitched whistle drew Tom’s attention back to the task of making their hot winter beverages.   He took out a bag of mini-marshmallows and filled each mug with hot cocoa mix, water, and marshmallows.   “Here ya go, hon.” Tom put the mug on the counter in front of Ben.  

Both men were glad for the times that their busy schedules allowed for them to be home together,  especially with Tom’s busy schedule. He decided to take a few vacation days to spend with Ben.  They planned to have some family and friends over on Christmas Day.  Travis wasn’t able to come.  He said he’d try to make it out the weekend after New Year’s.  Things would get quieter then, plus the cost of an airline ticket would be a lot less.   Still, they would miss him at their dinner table.

Normally, most people had ham on their Christmas table, but in deference to Ben being Jewish they had roast beef or brisket.   Ben was going to cook the main meal and Tom was going to take care of dessert. 

They had bought their tree at one of the farms in the area.   They liked to pick out their own tree and cut it.   Tom played the role of lumberjack, and took an ax and cut it down.

They had decorated it all in lights, garland, and ornaments.  Each year they visited the Hallmark Gold Crown store, and the decorated tree stood proudly in front of their living room window for anyone who passed by to see.

“It’s like magic, isn’t it, Ben?”  Tom asked him as they returned, mugs in hand, back to their cozy spot in front of the fireplace.   

“It is.  Hey look, it’s snowing.”   Ben pointed outside the big window.  They had already had some storms come in over the past few weeks.  The landscape had been blanketed by the white stuff already.    

“Let’s go sledding tomorrow.” Ben sounded like a little kid.

“Yeah, we can do that, I’ll take the sled out of the attic. In the morning.”

They settled back down and decided to watch “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. And “Frosty the Snowman.    They also planned to watch another holiday classic.  “Miracle on 34th Street.”

It truly was a wonderful life they lived.  


my fellow Weds Brief author's links:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Welcome Shira Anthony to my blog today

I'd like to welcome author, and friend,  Shira Anthony to my blog today.  Let's give her a warm welcome and find out more about her book "Encore"  one of the Blue Notes series.

Heartbreak and Happy Endings: “Encore,” by Shira Anthony

Thanks, Lily, for hosting me today and letting me ramble a little about my brand new Dreamspinner Press release, Encore, the latest installment in the Blue Notes Series of music-themed gay romances.  Be sure to enter the drawing for the Blue Notes Holiday 2013 Blog Tour—I’m offering up some great prizes, including a brand-new Kindle with a bunch of books loaded on it!  Details at the bottom of this post.

For those of you new to the Blue Notes Series, each book is a standalone story (books can be read in any order).  Although Encore is fifth novel by publication date, it is chronologically the first, and it’s a great place to start reading the series.  It’s also one of the angstiest of all the Blue Notes books—a book that will break your heart and put the pieces back together again.  Yes, I promise a happily-ever-after (HEA), I won’t write a book without one, but the road for the two main characters in Encore is far from easy.

My favorite kind of romance is one that has me despairing that the two main characters will find a way to make love work, but that ends with the HEA I’ve been craving.  That’s exactly what I set out to write with Encore.  Being gay in the 1970s was anything but easy.  I’m not saying it’s easy now, but things have changed so much in the past 40 years. 

When John Fuchs and Roger Nelson meet in high school, to say the deck is stacked against them is an understatement.  Family, society, needing to fit in—John and Roger come up against all those things.  John can handle it.  Roger can’t.  And even though Roger loves John more than anything, he pushes John away just when he needs him the most.  It takes Roger a long time to admit that life without John isn’t a life worth living, even though Roger and John are best friends throughout their lives.

I wrote the Blue Notes Series books to celebrate the men, gay and straight, whom I love.  Real men with real problems, making real relationships work.  Encore is dedicated to some of those men and it’s very near and dear to my heart.  I hope you’ll fall in love with those men as much as I have.  I’ll leave you with a short excerpt from the first half of the book, when John and Roger are in college.  Want to read the first chapter of Encore?  Click here. 
Want to win a Kindle loaded with books?  How about a sterling silver music-themed necklace?  Click here to enter the blog tour giveaway.  You can enter more than once, so don’t be shy!  -Shira
Blurb: Cool kid violinist Roger Nelson doesn’t give a damn about anything. Wannabe conductor John Fuchs is awkward, effeminate, and just figuring out he’s gay. Despite their differences, they become friends—then lovers—and after college, they try to make it work. But it’s the 1970s, and Roger can’t bring himself to admit he’s gay. Worse, after his brother is killed in Vietnam, Roger tries to live up to his memory and be the perfect son. Then after suffering one tragedy too many, he makes the biggest mistake of his life: Roger pushes John away.

Through the years, they dance around the truth and in and out of each other’s lives, never quite able to let go. Twenty years later, Roger still carries the pain of losing his dream of a brilliant career with him, while John is a superstar conductor with a wild reputation. John’s off-stage antics get him plenty of attention, good and bad, though deep down, he wants only Roger. Finally determined to hold on to what really matters, Roger asks John for another chance, and when John panics and runs, Roger has to convince him to listen to his heart.
Note:  Blue Notes Series novels are standalone stories and can be read in any order.  “Encore” is chronologically the first in the series.
Shira’s Bio: Description: pixel_transShira Anthony was a professional opera singer in her last incarnation, performing roles in such operas as Tosca, Pagliacci, and La Traviata, among others. She’s given up TV for evenings spent with her laptop, and she never goes anywhere without a pile of unread M/M romance on her Kindle.

Shira is married with two children and two insane dogs, and when she’s not writing, she is usually in a courtroom trying to make the world safer for children. When she’s not working, she can be found aboard a 35’ catamaran at the Carolina coast with her favorite sexy captain at the wheel. 
Shira can be found on:
Twitter: @WriterShira
Roger watched the snow fall outside the window of his apartment before glancing over at the clock. It was nearly 9:00 p.m., and John should have arrived an hour before.
“Promise me you won’t come if the snow gets too bad. You know how I-23 can get,” he’d told John that morning over the phone.
“I’ll be fine,” John had reassured him. “With the opera rehearsal schedule and Professor Menard’s vocal performance class, I’d never get to see you if I waited for perfect weather.”
Now, an hour after John was supposed to be here, Roger was pacing the apartment. Worrying. Imagining John’s car somewhere in a ditch. Or worse.
He pulled a beer out of the fridge, popped the top, and resumed his pacing. Ten minutes later, the phone rang.
“Hello!” he practically barked into the handset.
“Oh, hey, Mom.” Fuck. “How’re you doing?”
“Fine.” She paused, and Roger tried to think of something to get her off the phone. If John needed to get a hold of him, he didn’t want him to get a busy signal. “I’m surprised you’re around on a Saturday night. You usually aren’t.”
“I’ve got an exam on Monday,” he lied. “I can’t talk long.”
“No, of course. I wouldn’t want to keep you from it.” She’d been thrilled when he’d told her he planned on finishing school in three years. He hadn’t told her he planned on moving to New York, where John had already been accepted to do his master’s in conducting at Juilliard.
“Thanks, Mom.” Roger pushed back the curtain on the window in the kitchen with his foot—the long telephone cord didn’t go quite that far. From here, he could see the parking lot. A blanket of white covered the stripes on the asphalt. No John.
“… aren’t you?”
“I asked if you were coming over on Monday for dinner.” She sounded irritated.
“Oh, yeah. Right. Sure. I’ll be there.” He had to get her off the phone. “Look, Mom. I gotta get back to studying. I’ll see you Monday, okay?”
“Are you sure everything is all right, dear?”
“It’s great, Mom. I really need to go.”
Her huff was audible through the handset. “Of course.”
He hung up the phone before she could say anything more, and opened the drapes a bit farther. There had to be at least six inches of snow outside. He pressed his nose against the cold glass like he had when he’d been a kid, then closed his eyes. A moment later, the buzzer to the apartment sounded.
Thank God!
Roger scrambled over to the door and opened it to find a disheveled John smiling back at him. “Had to ditch the car over by the Woolworth’s. Forgot my keys. The ploughs haven’t made it this far yet—”
Roger grabbed John and pulled him inside. He was soaking wet, his shoulder-length hair curled at the ends, but Roger didn’t care. He drew John against him, wrapped his arms around his shoulders, and just held him.
“You okay?” John’s voice sounded muffled against Roger’s cheek.
“I am now.”
“Can I take this backpack off?” John asked with a soft laugh. “It’s a little heavy.”
“Oh. Shit. Sorry.” Roger grabbed the pack off John’s shoulders and kicked the door shut behind them.
“You were worried about me.” Not a question, and the way the edges of John’s mouth edged upward, Roger could tell he was teasing.
Roger was tempted to lie, but he was so relieved, he just sighed and said, “Yeah.”
John stared at him in surprise. “You really were worried.”
“Fuck, John, I—”
John kissed him. He tasted of snow and Coca-Cola. Roger closed his eyes as their tongues skirted each other in a now-familiar dance. God, he loved John! More than he could get up the nerve to admit.
For two years they’d stolen every moment they could, working around John’s busy schedule and Roger’s mother. Miranda suspected something. Roger was sure of it. She’d even shown up at the apartment early in the morning on the weekend. John said he was sure she was trying to catch them together. It made things a bit more difficult, but they’d worked it out. John stored his things under the bed, and the bedroom closet was big enough that he could slip inside and hide. They’d left a few pillows behind Roger’s clothing, as well as a flashlight and a few books.
“Don’t worry about it,” John had said the first time he’d hidden there. They both knew Roger needed his parents to pay tuition—at least they hadn’t threatened to stop when Roger announced he was getting his own apartment. “It’s just for a little while.”
Roger came back to himself and realized John was shivering. “Shit, John. You’re freezing your ass off.” He took John by the hand and led him into the bedroom. In the light, John’s cheeks looked pink in contrast to his pale skin. Roger unzipped John’s wet jacket and pushed it off his shoulders. “Stay right there,” he said before stepping into the bathroom to retrieve a towel.
John smiled as Roger dried his face and hair. “Feels good. I like it when you fuss over me.”
Roger’s cheeks heated. “Your pants are soaked,” he said in an effort to mask his embarrassment. He reached for John’s belt, undid the buckle, and unbuttoned the waist of John’s pants. The room was silent except for the sound of the zipper and Roger’s heart pounding in his ears. His hands shook as he pulled John’s pants down—he still hadn’t quite moved past the sinking feeling in his gut that had lodged itself there when he’d worried something had happened to John. He could handle a lot, but the thought of losing John terrified him.
“Are you okay?” John was studying him with a strange expression.
“Yeah.” I am now.
Roger focused on helping John step out of the cold, damp pants. He knew if he met John’s gaze, everything he felt would be obvious. It wasn’t just that he was embarrassed. What he felt was something he’d only begun to understand: vulnerability. The feeling you get when you realize your entire world would come to a screeching halt if the certain someone in your life were to vanish.
John shivered again.
“Get under the covers. I’ll be there in a minute.” Roger watched John pull the warm comforter over himself as he got undressed. He joined John underneath and skated his palms over John’s cold thighs until they warmed to his touch.
“Feels good.”
“You’re still cold.” Roger wrapped his body around John’s and held him. John’s skin was slightly damp against his own.
“I’m fine.” John tucked his chin into the space between Roger’s neck and shoulder. “Really.”
Roger just held him tighter.
“You okay?” John pulled away a bit and looked at him with obvious concern.
“Talk to me, Roger. What’s up?”
It was Roger’s turn to shiver. “I told you. I was just a little worried.”
“About me?” John reached for Roger’s face and pulled it gently so that Roger had no choice but to look at him.
“Yeah.” He didn’t want to talk about this. He just wanted to hold John and reassure himself John was safe. He looked away again.
“Hey.” John rolled onto his side so his face was next to Roger’s. “You can tell me, you know. I’m not going to laugh or anything.”
“I know.” Roger hesitated another moment, then said, “It’s just that I feel like an idiot.”
“Worrying about me doesn’t make you an idiot.” John leaned in and kissed Roger’s nose. “It makes me feel good.”
Roger’s breath stuttered. “I kept thinking back to that night… the accident. I kept imagining you in a ditch somewhere. Hurt…. Shit.” He grabbed John and buried his face in his chest. “I dream about that night sometimes, except in my dreams, you’re….” He clenched his jaw and blinked back tears. He’d had a lot of those dreams—nightmares, really—since John had started driving down from Ann Arbor to stay with him. He dreamed he woke up in the hospital and instead of John being all right, the doctor told him they’d done everything they could, and then he was standing in front of a headstone and he knew, he just knew whose headstone it was.
“I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you,” Roger whispered. “I’d lose my mind. I love you so fucking much, I don’t know what I’d do.” It took him a moment to realize what he’d just said.
John leaned over and kissed him again, this time on the lips. In the semidarkness, Roger saw John’s eyes sparkle. The edges of his mouth curved upward in a tentative smile as the kiss broke. “You love me?” he asked.
Roger could only nod.
“Thank God. Because I don’t know what I’d do if I was the only one who felt like that.”
“You love me too.” He said the words as though he didn’t believe them.
“Always, Roger.”