Alex wakes up on Christmas morning the same way he has every year for the past five years. He is in his bed; he is alone in his bed. The air is crisp, but not uncomfortable. It’s cool, and that makes sense because it’s snowing outside. He sits up and looks out his window. It’s pretty early, but already some of the families across the street are outside playing, making snowmen and driving around their new toy cars. He grins inwardly, but his mouth considers it too early to move so much. Alex’s body agrees, and he groans as he puts his legs over the side of his bed and stands. Ah, well. Same morning routine.
He takes a lukewarm shower and afterward brushes his teeth. He’s getting dressed, though there’s barely a point. It’s Christmas. He couldn’t go to work any more than he could rent a movie – not in a neighborhood this small.
He doesn’t have a family to visit and he doesn’t have friends to call, so his plans for the day are simple. Wake up. Look out the window. Stand and shower. Brush teeth and think. After that, who knows? He really hates off days.
Several hours of channel flipping and his eyes close. His house isn’t all that warm, but in his sweater, jeans, and socks, Alex can manage. His couch is stiff but soft, and the sound of the TV and the people outside are comforting. He sleeps dreamlessly.
A knocking awakens him.
He rubs at his face with a hand, not sure at first what he had heard. It registers after a few seconds, and about five seconds after that, it happens again. Knocking. On his door. An overexuberant neighbor? It’s possible. He’s not too close with any of them, but as far as he can tell, they’ve got nothing against him, either. The feeling is mutual; he lives amongst the good.
But good doesn’t mean this. Alex stands with a stretch, moaning a little and wondering just what it might be. Even caroling doesn’t happen on the actual day. He scratches his chest through his cashmere sweater and hobbles over to the entryway. Without checking first, he opens the door.
A man stands there. He’s wearing a tan trench coat, hands shoved deep into the pockets, complete with scarves and beanie, neutrally colored. The breaths from his mouth are making little ghosts in the air. He’s taller than Alex by a few inches, the same way he always was. He’d been squinting from the cold and the wind, but his eyes open as they settle on Alex’s face.
Alex is speechless. It is a stranger. He thinks he knows him. No, he knows him for sure, and the blood won’t stop pounding in his ears.
The ‘stranger’ chuckles nervously. “Remember me?”
Alex and Seth went to school together when they were young. When they were young, they read the same books, took the same classes, and made faces at the same teachers. They held hands and kissed each other’s lips under the same waning moon.
Maybe it was dumb. They grew distant. But what did it matter? They had sports to play. Had lives to live. Before long they had graduated, and before long they were in college, and working, and they didn’t know each other anymore.
C’est la vie.
Doors and drawers open and close. They exchange frivolities. Greetings are passed, as are mugs, warm water, and tea. Eventually they make it to the couch, but that tension is no easier to swallow than the wind chill outside. It sits on them like the snow. The cold is oppressive.
“I missed you,” he says, and the coolness recedes.
They didn’t sit on the couch for long.
Alex tries to push Seth away. “Wait,” he mutters, but the sound is lost between their noises. He swallows, gasps, shudders, and repeats. “Wait.” His voice is wavering; his teeth are chattering. He’s far from cold now, but his mind is too busy with other thoughts to think about temperature. He tries to struggle, but their bodies seemed locked. Seth’s arm is up his shirt, is at his hair; something is nudging his jeans, and the inside of his thighs are so much hotter than they should be. He feels Seth everywhere, and even blinking won’t shut him out. “Wait,” his mind repeats like a mantra while they wrestle. He’s glad it seems to last so long, because his mind is too busy with other thoughts to think about just what it is he’s waiting for.
Seth finally stopped, but not before pushing both of Alex’s struggling hands down. Neither move for a few moments. Their heaving chests and half-lidded eyes are a language all their own.
“I’ve waited eight years,” Seth says. And he leans down more slowly this time, pressing his mouth and lips to Alex’s neck and then to his ear. Like a game of telephone, a wordless secret passes from one to the other. Alex sighs a little and gives in, not trying to understand so much anymore. He relaxes and rubs his legs against Seth’s. And without saying anything, they’ve said everything.
Seth had saved all of his sick days for this. He hadn’t known it at the time, of course. He always liked to save his sick days. It was worth it to get those two weeks alone, to finally clean up around his apartment and make some phone calls, to go on some hikes. He was a fairly simple guy, but he was busy, too. In conclusion, he was a bachelor.
It hadn’t always been that way. In college, he’d had his fair share of girlfriends, serious and casual alike. He’d even fucked some guys, though he had made sure they were blissfully drunk first. He never did it without being buzzed, either. Alcohol made his memory funny. It brought out his horny side unlike any pornography could. It was simple.
Before that, he hadn’t worried all that much. How could he have? He was a kid; he was in elementary school, in middle school; in high school, he learned how he needed to behave. Fucking girls was okay, but being a fag was not. He played by the rules. Alex had not been his first kiss.
Somehow, it had felt like the first real one, though. And each time they did it again, however rushed or relaxed, Seth became more and more convinced that one of those rules was deathly wrong. God, he’d be a fag if it meant kissing those lips and fondling that body until it was hard. If he could see that spent smile, those wet lips, that trembling abdomen, and make it all come to completion, he’d consider himself a grateful man.
He told himself that, but he worried, anyway. He started to date girls again. He wasn’t the only one bothered by it. They stayed friends, but even that faded. They didn’t talk to each other. They didn’t see each other.
Eight years later, Seth was done with being worried. He did some research, looked up names, and found him. It was the end of the year and he still had two weeks to spare.
“Hello? This is Seth. I’m calling in sick today. Yes, I’ll be sure to check my e-mail. You, too.”
They haven’t seen each other in years; haven’t spoken to each other in months; and it’s been weeks since Alex last thought about Seth; but now he can’t stop mouthing his name, groaning out the syllables with each tortured breath he draws.
“Please,” he begs, almost crying while he does so. He doesn’t even know what he’s asking for anymore, but he has to give himself a constant somehow. He’d had sex, but not like this. Even his mind is reeling.
After Seth finished kissing at Alex’s earlobe, he’d moved back down his neck, sucking and nipping to bring out little circles of color along the tendon. Alex’s hands are still pinned; though Alex’s stopped resisting, Seth hasn’t stopped holding on. To make up for it, Seth presses their bodies as close as he could, grinding his crotch against Alex’s. Alex shivers. His legs spread wider to feel it more, his hips rising with each slow thrust of Seth’s. He’s quiet, but Seth can feel his pulse rushing beneath the attentions of his tongue.
“L-let me,” Alex breathes out, starting to push at the hands holding him down. He moans suddenly, failing to hold back when Seth rolls his hips just as he’s speaking. “Please.” Seth lets go and starts to pull off Alex’s sweater. Alex finishes the job.
They touch, and kiss, and strip.
They’re naked. Alex’s hand rest on his stomach just below his belly button, trying so hard not to pull that face between his legs closer, closer, until he’s completely surrounded by that wet warmth. Seth won’t stop looking at him between licks, relishing the shaking of Alex’s hands, the furrowing of his eyebrows. “Please,” Alex continues to murmur, over and over, already too far gone for coherence.
He groans when Seth’s mouth finally dives over his cock. God, yes, that is precisely what he wanted, but then Seth is pulling back again, and Alex could nearly scream from lacking. Seth notices this, feels the fingers that are now tugging at his shortish hair, and grins. His own fingers tease the head before dipping down, coasting along the underside of his dick until they’re cupping and rolling his balls. Alex’s spine arches and without warning his mouth is dry and free of words. He hasn’t come yet, but, God, is he close.
There is a pause in what’s happening and Alex looks up after a few moments, still lost in his arousal but aware enough to be curious. He sees a tube and instantly he knows what is about to happen, even if he hadn’t seen Seth’s hand slip deftly between his opened legs. Seth’s fingers enter easily and deeply, and Alex all but thrashes on the couch in response. How did he do that? A third finger is added, and the fingers move apart, trying to make space. Alex is a little out of practice but he can take them all the same. Seth just fit, and even eight years couldn’t change that.
They kiss, and Alex swears that Seth’s face feels even hotter than his. That’s good. He feels so damn nice, but Seth deserves something out of all this, too, didn’t he? It’d been eight years they’d shared, even while they were apart.
The fingers were gone. “Alex,” Seth groaned, and he pushed inside him.
Alex’s breathing hitches a moment. It’s all there, everything, and it’s all he needs, so how did he ever live without it? He knows he’s tight, but he relaxes, and Seth eases out of him only to repeat the same thing. Alex hears a strange, breathy, whining noise, and he knows it’s him even if he can’t feel his throat and chest anymore. Seth’s thick cock keeps skimming his prostate, and even though he wants to keep his cool and give Seth more time, he can’t. He knows he’s tighter than before, his ass and his thighs and his abdomen, and his chest hurts from breathing so hard for so long.
He comes the next time Seth pushes in, making a mess all over his stomach and Seth’s.
It only makes Seth faster. He wraps a hand around Alex’s cock, disregarding however spent it already is, and tugs in rhythm with his thrusts, now groaning louder himself. There are words, but Alex’s mind is still spinning. He can’t catch them. He swears he hears his name. Moments later, he feels Seth jerk inside him but out of measure. He thrusts a few more times, then slows down, and his heaving body drops on top of Alex’s.
“God,” he says, putting Alex’s forehead to his own. “I missed you. I really missed you. I love you, Alex.”
They’re holding each other, and he thinks, yes, this is better.
“You don’t even have a tree,” he says with a smile and a chuckle. “No mistletoe.”
“Like you need the excuse, anyway,” Alex says. He wouldn’t mind the mistletoe, though. He likes lying here like this. He likes Seth kissing him. He wants more, so much God damned more, but he’s scared to let Seth know how much he missed him. How much he needed him.
Seth probably knows, anyway. Alex can tell by the way his smile is shifting and wobbling a little as his mouth pulls itself into a tight line. His cheeks are still ruddy, but there is clarity in his eyes. Already the afterglow is gone.
Alex pulls Seth down by the nape of his neck and kisses him. He does it as slowly and as lovingly as he can, his more erotic cravings giving way to passion for now. Seth needed him, too. He wouldn’t have come here in the dead of winter otherwise.
A few minutes later, Seth puts a hand to one of Alex’s and brushes his hand away, pulling back from their embrace. He looks calm now, and though he looks a little scared, he starting to relax more, too. “I owe you an explanation,” he says, his voice thick and gravelly. Alex pretends to not notice, for Seth’s sake.
“I didn’t ask for that.” His eyebrows rise and a flicker of a smile plays at the corners of his lips. “It’s Christmas. Don’t tell me you came without a gift.”
Seth gives him a look and laughs after Alex nips at his chin. “Oh, I brought plenty,” he says, rubbing against the man beneath him again. And plenty of time to give them, too.”