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Snow & Mistletoe

Author(s): TC Blue

 Richard is stunned when he starts to receive very thoughtful but anonymous gifts during the holiday season. Between those presents and a new job, even if the work isn't in his field, it's a pretty good Christmas this year. After a while, though, he can't help but wonder who's leaving him presents and why.

His initial idea that it's his friends trying to cheer him up proves to be wrong, so who is it? And what, exactly, do they want from him?

Excerpt


 The weirdness started slowly, as Richard would later determine such things did. In the moment, though, he wasn't thinking about slow or fast or even steady pacing. He was more baffled than anything else.

After all, he wasn't really the kind of guy who usually came home from yet another fruitless job hunt to find unexpected wrapped boxes on the kitchen table. If the tag on the gaily bright and glittering bowed package had said Garrick, he would have understood it, but it didn't. It said Rich, plain as day.

"Hey, Gar," he called out, because the fact that the package, as odd as it seemed, was inside was sign enough that Garrick had made it home already. "What's with the box?"

A laugh sounded from behind him, followed by Garrick's feet slapping lightly at the floor, skin on wood. Richard could tell, after more than a year of living — rooming, he reminded himself — together. 

"No clue, man," Garrick announced, pushing past Richard and into the kitchen, proper. He deposited his empty beer bottle in the recycling bin beside the refrigerator, then opened the ice box door and grabbed another. "It was on the mat when I got home. Maybe a Christmas present or something. Seems the right time of year, anyway."

The urge to say duh with much eye-rolling came and passed while Richard tried not to stare at the man he'd had trouble keeping his eyes from, from day one. Not that Garrick would notice, of course, because he never did. Richard couldn't help it, though. Garrick was tall and built like the proverbial brick house. Blond, with eyes so blue that a summer sky couldn't begin to compete, which wasn't Richard being girly but a simple statement of fact. Perfect features, strong back, something in his ancestry that kept Garrick looking tan all year round, even right then. 

Beginning of December, snow already forecast, and while Richard figured he looked sort of like a bleached and washed out whale, Garrick was still lightly browned. It wasn't fair.

"And you're sure it's for me." Because that was the part Richard couldn't figure out. He had friends, sure, but any of them would have just given him a gift, rather than leaving it at the door. No matter how secure the building might be, Richard was sure of that much. 

Garrick shrugged, then twisted the cap from the bottle he held before tossing the top in the trash. "Says it is, but I didn't, like, open it to check, dude. Hey, Serena's coming over later, so can we do pizza night tomorrow, instead?"

Richard carefully swallowed the sigh that wanted to push from his lips and nodded. "Cool, Gar. Uh, I'll probably hit the bar or something, so don't worry about the noise." Because God knew, Garrick and Serena got pretty damned loud. 

Garrick grinned and pushed past Richard again on his way out of the kitchen. "Thanks, man. And dude! Don't take this the wrong way, but if you're planning to live in that doorway, we might need to bust out part of the wall. You're kinda hard to get around. Later, Rich."

Yeah, as if he'd needed the reminder, Richard thought with a sigh. In one short conversation, Garrick had reminded him that number one, Garrick was straight, and number two, that Richard would have been shit out of luck even if number one weren't the case.

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Genre: GLBT
Date Published: 01/18/2014
Publisher: Torquere Press

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