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His for the Holidays


by Devon Cross



© 2016 Devon Cross


This is a work of fiction. Any names or characters, businesses or places, events or incidents, are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any way, including information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author.




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Chapter One

AJ

“You have anywhere to go?”

Halfway through a round of Halo, I met Trevor’s gaze. His brown locks were tousled due to a serious case of bed-head he hadn’t taken the time to fix. His hazel eyes met mine, and I couldn’t help but smile.

“Not really. It is Saturday, after all,” I replied, pulling my attention away from him to continue my game.

It took more effort than I would’ve liked. Bed-head or not, it was hard not to admire him. Hell, sharing the same dorm with him was almost too much for a guy like me. Not to say I was all about looks, but daymn he was fine. Over six feet of toned muscle with abs of steel? Sign me up! Problem was, whenever I looked at him, he was gawking at someone else. Such was the life of a loner. Maybe it was because I wasn’t from the area. Or maybe it was because I didn’t live in the US. No matter the reason, we were college roommates. Nothing more. But if I were ever given the opportunity, you’d better believe I’d take it.

“I meant for the holidays? You have relatives around here?”

I shook my head. “All at home across the pond.”

“Then where do you plan to go during winter break? You can’t stay here.”

“Why not? Just because the campus is closed, that doesn’t mean I have to leave.”

Trevor sat on the edge of his bed. “True, but it’s gonna be boring as hell around here. At least during Thanksgiving, the break was short. But to be here for a whole month on your own? Who will you talk to?”

“I suppose I could grab a late flight.”

“Why not go home with me?”

I snapped to attention and studied his expression for the hint of laughter, but he was dead serious. “For an entire month?” Why not?

Oh, I don’t know, maybe because I can’t stop looking at him? At least during Thanksgiving break, he went home for a week while I stayed here. But to spend time off campus with him?

“You make it sound like it’s a bad thing. Look, I already talked to my mom, and she’s all for it.”

I swallowed hard and put the controller down. “But she doesn’t even know me.”

“So?” He offered me a partial shrug. “She’s heard me talk about you before. In fact, when I went home last month, I got the look for not bringing you along. Probably shouldn’t have told her you were back here alone. For my sake and so I can avoid the daggers in her eyes, could you please, please come home with me? That is unless you have somewhere else to go.”

Taking a breath, I shook my head. “Like I said, I could go and see my folks, but I bet those tickets will be expensive. You sure your mom’s okay with this?”

Trevor got up from his bed to continue packing his things. “Okay with it? She pretty much suggested it.”

“Well, if it means keeping you out of trouble, I suppose I don’t see the harm in it.” You mean aside from the fact you can’t stop staring at him. I’d find a way to make it work, because a month alone with Trevor instead of staying here was far too tempting to ignore.

“Then it’s settled. You, me, and Chelsey.”

I rolled my eyes at him, and he laughed. “You Americans naming your cars.”

“Hey, she’s my first, and I’ve taken good care of her. Besides, you Brits have your own odd quirks.”

“Yeah, but naming cars isn’t one of them. Not in my family, anyway.”

Trevor simply shook his head and dug through his closet for whatever else he’d need to take with him once we left.

We. We were leaving campus together. He could’ve invited Jake, or was is Jordan? He’d had so many flings recently, I couldn’t keep up. That was a problem as well. On campus, he was unavailable, which made it a lot easier for me to keep my thoughts and hands to myself. But seeing as he’d invited me home?

This is going to be a very long month.

With any luck, I’d come out of it alive.

Chapter Two

Trevor

AJ hadn’t spoken more than three words since we pulled onto the interstate. He kept his attention to whatever was moving outside the passenger side window, allowing me the opportunity to study his reflection. Even with the faded look, his blue eyes were as intense as ever. I hadn’t told him, but the reason I’d invited him along wasn’t only because of my mom. Last time I went home, all I could think about was him. His absence was terribly obvious as soon as I walked in the door. While things may have been cheerful and merry, the person’s laughter I wanted to hear and missed the most was back on campus.

You never should’ve invited him.

This was a bad idea. Looking at him now with his short brown hair and slimmer frame, I could see he felt the same way. The upbeat, cheerful guy I was so used to seeing day after day had been replaced by a shy, quiet replica. He looked the same, and when he spoke he sounded like AJ, but this wasn’t the AJ I knew. This one was nervous.

“What do you usually do for the holidays?” I asked, cringing at how loud my voice sounded in the otherwise quiet car.

He fidgeted in his lap, keeping his attention to whatever was or wasn’t outside his window. “You mean for meals?”

“Or activities. Anything we could maybe do while we’re on break?”

“Ice skating.” His reflection smiled.

“Like normal skating, right?”

Now he did look at me, his eyebrows raised. “You’ve never been?”

I shook my head and glanced back at the road. “Never cared for roller skates, either. I’d rather walk on my own two feet, thank you very much.”

“Huh. Imagine that.”

“What?”

“You’re into all kinds of sports, but you’re too afraid to go skating.”

“I didn’t say I was afraid, just that I prefer to have my own two feet under me. Besides, the ponds never froze long enough to try.” I’d learned that lesson the hard way.

“I’m sure there’s somewhere we could go. You’d love it. It’s like dancing.”

“I’m going to regret this, aren’t I?”

He let loose a soft chuckle, his eyes wrinkling at the corners. “It won’t be that bad, promise. I could even hold your hand.”

I like the sound of that. “Anything else?”

“You’re hoping I’ll give you something easier to do, aren’t you?”

“Again, I’m not scared, and I realize it isn’t hard, but… yes.”

AJ paused a moment, almost as if to consider it, then said, “Even if it doesn’t happen until the day we head back to campus, I’m going to get you out on the ice.”

“And knowing me, I’ll make you wait that long.”

He shrugged, then went back to watching out the window. “With so much time cooped inside these next few weeks, I’m sure it won’t take too long.”

He sounded so sure of himself. As for me, I was already white-knuckling the steering wheel. It wasn’t so much a fear of skating or even falling on my ass, but more a fear of the ice breaking and me not being able to get back to the surface. It almost happened once before.

AJ didn’t need to know that. No one did. But if you go to an ice rink, it won’t be as bad. It wouldn’t be a pond. We’d be going to a place where they actually make the ice themselves, possibly several feet thick. There was no way to fall through the ice, but then why was my stomach in knots?

When AJ cleared his throat, I flinched. “Light’s green.”

Nodding, I took a breath to ease the tightness in my chest. “Not long now. Hope you’re a hugger.”

“Your family big on affection?”

“Oh yeah. Not the kissing on the cheek kind, but we’re pretty big when it comes to hugs. And it doesn’t matter if you’re family or not. As soon as you step into that house, you’re fair game. Oh, and during meal time, grab what you can. We tend to have a bit of a feeding frenzy, so if you don’t grab what you want while it’s there, it will probably be gone once you go back for seconds.”

“Sounds like my family.” There was a twinge of pain in his voice.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, just thinking about home. Bet Uncle Charlie’s already at the house. He’s always the first to arrive and the last to leave.”

“I’ll make you a deal. You survive this holiday with my folks and either during spring or summer break, I can go back to England with you.”

Unless he’s dating someone by then. I winced. I’d never seen him with anyone, but the first thing he’d told me after we met was that he was gay. It was the reason I kept bunking with anyone I could. AJ was a huge temptation, but sleeping with my roommate? That didn’t sound right at all, especially if we had a falling out and still had to share a dorm with one another. Not that I wouldn’t love to run my hands through his hair. Cup his face. Kiss him. I never should’ve invited him. Too late for that now.

“Really?” AJ’s soft voice drew me from my thoughts.

It took a moment to remember what I’d said, which only complicated things further as heat rushed into my cheeks. “Sure. Why not? I’ve always wanted to travel, but never really had the time. I’ll have to scrimp and save a bit, but I’m sure I could swing it no problem.”

“You’ve got yourself a deal.” There was the AJ I knew! No longer staring out the window, he sat back and looked at the road ahead. “So, what do you like to do for the holidays?”





By the time we pulled into the drive, it was dark. We’d stopped for a quick bite to eat on the way here, but I was already starving. No doubt Mom had a load of food prepped in the fridge, some of which I hoped to break into as soon as we got through the door.

“Aww, it’s cute,” AJ said, rummaging around the backseat for his things before turning his attention to the small cottage my folks owned. “You never told me about this. I always thought you were a city dweller.”

“I am some of the time. Mom and Brad have two homes; one right on the edge of the city limits, then this one. This is where we tend to host most of our family get-togethers as there’s still a yard in the back.”

“Looks way better than the flat we have back home. You get a nice view, but not much of a yard to speak of.”

I nodded then. “Which is how the other house is. This one is my favorite, though it isn’t close to anything at all. In any case, you ready to step inside?”

AJ smiled, and after offering the house one last look, he joined me on the front stoop. I was about to reach for the door when it opened on the other side, my mom’s bright smile greeting us as she pulled back the storm door.

“You brought him.” She threw her arms around me, hugged me tight, then regarded AJ. “You must be AJ. I’ve heard so much about you.” When she held open her arms, AJ looked to me. Once I inclined my head, he fell into her arms, completely enveloped by her welcoming embrace. “Come on in. Have you eaten? Are you hungry?”

We walked close behind her, leaving our things inside the door before joining her in the kitchen. She’d already put out a spread along with chips, various dips, and veggie sticks.

“Coffee?” She was already in the process of starting a new pot when I pulled her into my arms. “Mom, we got this. Go sit down.”

“Oh hush. You shut your yap and let your mother do her job.”

AJ smiled at me, the lift of his eyebrows asking for guidance.

“Grab what you can,” I reminded him. “Consider this your rehearsal dinner for tomorrow.”

He picked up a plate and took a handful of cheese and meat rolls. “You celebrate on Christmas Eve?”

“Usually. That way most folks have time to travel and unwind back home before returning to work. Makes it less hectic, you know?”

“Yeah, but think of the travel time.”

I had to agree with him there. Two days before Christmas, and the roads were already packed once we left campus. I couldn’t imagine what the drive would’ve been like if we’d waited until tomorrow.

“At least you boys won’t have to leave that soon,” Mom said, busying herself with dishes that had already been washed.

“Is Brad around?” I hadn’t seen my step-dad when we walked in, but he had a habit of working on cars and other projects late into the evenings.

“You know how he is. In the garage tinkering on that old bike of yours.”

“Bike?” AJ met my gaze, shifting his weight from one foot to the other as he finished his food. “This was delicious, Mrs. Martin.”

“Sue, please. Mrs. Martin sounds far too formal, so unless Trevor is flunking and you’re his professor, call me Sue.”

“Not a professor, no.”

“Not yet,” I said, pointing a stick of celery at him before scooping up some spinach dip. “As for the bike, it’s not what you think.”

“So no motorcycle gangs?”

“Afraid not.”

“He’s trying to clean up the frame so we can gift it to Sally,” Mom said, not missing a beat. “I’ll leave you boys to it. I’m going to check and see how the tinkering is going, then I’ll be upstairs if you need anything. AJ, there are clean linens in the guest bathroom if you need them.”

“Thank you.” AJ watched her go, keeping his voice low once she was out of earshot. “She’s bubbly, ain’t she?”

“My entire family is like that. It’s exhausting, really.”

“And she put out all this food for us?”

I shrugged as I took another handful of veggie sticks. “Us. Her. Brad. Maybe my sister and her two rugrats if they get here tonight. Mom tends to overspend. Most times when you leave here, you leave with a lot more than a doggy bag.”

“A family that likes to eat—looks like I’ll fit right in.”

“I knew you would.” Brushing my hands off on my jeans, I headed back into the living room. “Come on. I’ll show you where you’ll be staying.”

Chapter Three

AJ

The guest room Sue mentioned had clearly belonged to Trevor’s sister. Pink walls surrounded me, which were made even better by the stenciled bears along the top. Cute, but seriously in need of a paint job. Then again, Trev had mentioned being an uncle, so his nieces and nephews probably stayed in here. Aside from the walls, there was a toy chest, a dresser, and a handful of nick-knacks. At least I wasn’t stuck sleeping in a child’s bed. I could see it now—pillows too small and my feet hanging off the end. I smiled at that, rolling over as I tried to get comfortable.

I never could sleep in unfamiliar places, and as close to the holidays as it was, it made me even more homesick. At least with college, I had some of my own belongings around me. I hadn’t thought of it at the time, but I probably should’ve considered bringing a bit of home along with me instead of leaving it at the dorm.

At least Trevor’s here. Yeah, one room away. And that was yet another reason why I was still awake. A big reason. I couldn’t get him out of my head. Sure, we shared a dorm back on campus, but here was different somehow. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but it was almost as though the temptation to see him sleep, to watch him, and be with him was stronger than before.

Creepy. Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the best of habits, and I’d never admit it, but there were nights—much like this one—when I couldn’t sleep. Not wanting to turn on anything bright, I’d lay there and watch him sleep until finally dozing off. I wondered then if he ever did the same. Not likely.

He’d never looked at me the way I looked at him. I did whatever I could to keep my thoughts elsewhere, but every time he went out with another guy, I couldn’t help feeling a little jealous. A little? Okay, maybe more than that, but it had become painfully clear over the last few months that whatever interest I had in him, he didn’t have it in me.

But he was a friend, a good friend, and I’d do whatever I could not to change that. Which means no mucking things up. No complicating things, no matter how tempting it may have been earlier this evening to take his hand in mine. To hug him the way Sue had hugged me.

The only time Trevor and I had any physical contact at all was right before Thanksgiving break. He’d hugged me then, briefly and not nearly as strong as I would’ve liked, but that was it. He may have clapped me on the shoulder or playfully punched me in the arm during a game of Halo, but that’s as far as things ever went.

Which would’ve been fine if I could keep him out of my head.

Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and thought of home. My folks would be up soon with tea brewing and biscuits piled high. There’d be a roaring fire and the smell of pine in the air. It wouldn’t snow, though. It rarely did. Instead, it would rain.

God, I missed England. Sure, it was gloomy at times, but my entire family was back there. If not for the offerings in the states, I never would’ve left.

Being with Trevor makes it better. We weren’t together. He’s one room away. Close enough to invade my thoughts and not much else.

Coming here was a bad idea. Staying back at the dorm wouldn’t have been any better. The last time he came home, all I noticed was his absence. His warm smile and contagious laugh. The dorm had gone quiet as soon as he walked out the door, and while I’d gone out with a few of the guys down the hall, it wasn’t the same. I’d missed him, almost enough for me to tell him as much. And ruin a good thing? Better if I kept those thoughts to myself.

With Trevor sleeping in the next room and my thoughts a world away, I slowly fell into dreaming. But much like every night before it, my fantasies took over.

Morning couldn’t come soon enough.





When I woke, sunlight streamed in through the windows. I threw the covers over my head and rolled onto my stomach, shoving my head under the pillow, but it wasn’t enough. It was too damned bright, and I was fully awake, including an aching hard-on I had no way to get rid of.

Use the bathroom. That was wrong on so many levels. This wasn’t the dorm. I was a guest in their house, and like it or not, my aching cock would have to wait until we left to get some quality me time. Can you wait an entire month? I groaned. I’d handle things tonight once everyone was asleep.

For now, I willed my hard-on away—no small feat, mind you—then crawled out of bed and into the bathroom to make myself somewhat presentable before breakfast.

I was almost done making the bed when someone knocked on my door.

“AJ, you up?”

My heart leaped into my throat at the sound of Trevor’s voice. After a breath, and once my heart rate returned to this side of normal, I opened the door to greet him. “Hey, I was just getting ready to head down.”

Trevor gave me an incredulous look, and I hoped my cheeks weren’t as red as they felt. “Really sorry we had to set you up in this room.”

I shrugged. “It’s okay. So long as it has a bed and a place to put my things, I can’t complain.”

“You slept in, man. Here I thought you were an early riser.”

“Usually am.” Unless you keep me up all night. I kept the last bit to myself. Honestly, I hadn’t nodded off until four in the morning. “Guess I was restless. Unfamiliar territory and all.”

“Sounds like me at summer camp. I don’t think I slept the first three nights I was there. Too many strange noises.”

I followed him down the stairwell and into the kitchen where not only had Sue placed out large platters, but she was in the middle of cooking up eggs and bacon. A man I could only assume was Brad sat at the head of the table, paper in hand.

“You must be AJ.” He held out his hand which I shook once I was within range. “We’ve heard so much about you.”

You have? I released a nervous laugh.

“All good things, I assure you,” Trevor cut in as he sat at the table.

I took my place beside him, and after a handful of niceties, we dug into our food. Watching Brad and Trevor banter between themselves on which team they wanted to win on game day made me think of my dad and uncle Charlie. I’d never caught the sports-fan bug, but it was easy to see Trevor had.

“What about you, AJ?” Brand pulled me from my thoughts. “Think the Redskins will pull ahead?”

“Oh, I’m not sure. I don’t really watch the games. Bore me to tears, really.”

“Finally, someone who can sit with me and bake while those two whoop and holler at the television screen,” Sue said, adding a plateful of toast between us.

“I’ll gladly take up baking over that. Folks back home love watching the games, but I never saw the point of them chasing a ball around. Back and forth. Back and forth.” I rolled my eyes, and Sue grinned.

“If I’m going skating, you have to watch one game with me,” Trevor said, pointing his fork in my direction.

“You think I won’t?”

“Nope.”

“Rather, you’re hoping I won’t agree so you can get out of it.”

“Pretty much.”

“Sue, as lovely as baking sounds, I think I may have to prove this one wrong. Rain check?”

“Of course.” Sue turned her attention to Brad, and the conversation stalled.

Awkward silences were the worst, and if that wasn’t enough, Trevor’s eyes on me only seemed to complicate things more. I’d seen that look before, but it had never been in regards to me. His eyes had a shine to them, and when he looked at me then, he blushed. You’re seeing things. If I was, how come he hadn’t looked away? Hell, he’d stopped shoveling food into his mouth, and he was normally all about what was in front of him.

“What?” I asked after a long moment, struggling to get the air moving from my lungs. “Do I have something on my face?”

Trevor shook himself out of his trance and glanced down at his food. “Just that smug grin of yours.” And damn him, he almost said it with a straight face, but even as the last word tumbled from his lips, he started to laugh.

“Look who’s talking. Sue, breakfast is delicious.”

“A cutie and someone who likes my cooking? Trevor should bring you here more often,” Sue said.

“So are you two a thing now? I knew Trev was—”

“No,” Trevor almost blurted out. “No, just good friends.”

His cheeks were bright red now. His eyes downcast. If I didn’t know any better, I would’ve thought he had a thing for me. If that were true, why hadn’t he ever said anything?

Same reason you never did.

No, the reason I never told him how I felt was because he was always dating someone else.

“My mistake,” Brad said, his voice muffled as I tried to figure out what he hadn’t had the chance to say.

Trevor glared at his step-dad, then looked at me with a big smile on his face. “So, any plans for the day?”

I wiped my mouth off with a napkin, then transported my plate to the sink. “Not really. Don’t know the area.”

“You should take him to the clubhouse,” Sue said, shooing me away from washing my plate. “Go on and sit, I can do this.”

I went to argue, but when Trevor dumped his things in the sink and asked me to join him, I didn’t object.

Once we were out of earshot, Trevor pulled me aside. “Sorry about that.”

“About what?”

“Folks are really pushing me for a long-term relationship. Guess they thought—”

“It’s no problem, really. Mine are the same why. ‘AJ, when are you ever going to settle? AJ, what about that nice boy down the street. AJ…’ It’s annoying sometimes.”

“They mean well,” Trevor said, “though I wish they’d let me come to terms with it on my own. The last relationship they pushed me into was a disaster, and we have a good thing, you know?”

“Sure do.” Doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like more.

“Mom did make a good point, though. Feel like seeing the clubhouse?” he asked, putting his coat on. “Get out of here for a while?”

I followed his lead, pulling on my jacket and zipping it up under my chin. “Sounds good to me, but a clubhouse? Really?”

“It’s not what you’re thinking at all, promise.”

“No tea party, then?”

“I didn’t say that.” With a laugh, and after announcing we were going out to his folks, we stepped outside.

A light dusting of snow covered the ground, and at first, I couldn’t tell if it had all been from last night or if more had fallen this morning. Looking at Trevor’s car covered in a thin layer of ice, it seemed as though it was six of one and half a dozen of the other.

“Does it always snow for you on the holidays?” I asked, shoving my hands in my pockets as I stepped into place beside him.

“Usually, though the amount varies. Last year I think we got eight inches. The year before we had over a foot. This year looks like it’ll mostly be ice, which sucks.”

“Because of the roads?”

“That and the power lines. One year, the ice had been so heavy, it weighed down the power lines until they snapped. We lost power for five days.”

“Hell.”

“Yeah. If not for the fireplace and blocking off every other room in the house by hanging blankets, we would’ve froze. We were packed like sardines in a can, but at least we stayed warm. Had to make breakfast in the fireplace and everything. Got the good camping stuff out.”

“Can’t say we’ve ever had anything like that. We’ve lost power, but never more than a few hours.”

“Here it’s pretty common, probably because of how high in the mountains we are. Anyway, the clubhouse is a bit of a walk. Think you’ll manage?”

I shook my head at him. “You’re the one all out of breath.”

“Because I’m doing most of the talking.”

“And that’s unusual because?”

“Oh, shut up!” He clapped me on the shoulder, his hand hovering there a moment more before falling to his side. “It’s this way.”

Right behind you.

Chapter Four

Trevor

It was strange how close I felt to AJ then. Sure, we’d been roomies for over a semester, but having him here with me was different. It was almost as though we were childhood friends shooting the breeze as a light snow fell around us. Tiny flakes tinked against the thin blanket of snow now covering the ground, making the most peaceful sound as they landed on tree branches. I always loved this kind of snow. The world got quiet, and if not for AJ walking beside me, I would’ve been completely lost in my own thoughts.


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