This story includes explicit depictions of sexual acts between consenting adult males. If you are underage or it is illegal to view this for any reason, consider yourself warned. If you find this material offensive, I have to wonder why you came here in the first place.
This story is a work of fiction, and any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely a coincidence. As author, I retain all rights to this story, and it cannot be reproduced or published without explicit consent from me. This work is copyright © Fitz, 2011 2013.
I love to hear any feedback you have, be it positive or negative. Send me an email with any comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would like to thank Jay Gordon at jaygordonstories.com, for much of the inspiration to write this, in addition to the many amazing stories that I've read by a wide number of authors. Jay's stories may have given me the inspiration, but all the excellent writers have created a desire in me to write. Thank you all.
My wonderful husband gets a shout out for being so supportive and allowing me to bounce ideas off of him. I would also like to thank my editor, David. All errors that remain are mine, and mine alone.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Christmas Spirit
"Is everything ok? Is the baby fine?" I asked into the phone in a panic. Ethan had just told me they had gotten bad news from the doctor. I frantically waved Noah over, about to set in motion us traveling up to be with my brother if he needed us.
"Jeez, always with the melodrama, bro. No, he's fine shit, that was supposed to be a surprise. Don't tell Mom and Dad it's a boy. Anyway, the baby is perfectly healthy and looking great, and Emma is coming along just as she should. The problem is we're not going to get down as early as we thought. The OB is concerned that flying may induce early labor and grounded us, so we're going to have to drive."
"If you don't want melodrama, don't start by telling me there's bad news from the doctor," I rebuffed, as my heart rate slowly returned to normal. "Do you want us to come up instead?"
"Nah, we knew this was possible, so I bought refundable tickets. Mom and Dad didn't. Besides, Mom said she slacked off on decorating this year since no one would see them. You know how she is; she'd have a heart attack if she thought she had to get all the decorations set up in a week."
"This year I know exactly how she must've felt every Christmas," I confessed.
"Did you pull a Mom?" Anytime the other went overboard or stressed over something far more than the situation warranted, we would always tease each other about 'pulling a Mom'. One time, driving back from a visit to my parents, Steve told me, "Now I see where you get your crazy from."
"Not entirely, but both Noah and I went a little overboard, but not too badly. Give us a few years, and we'll be able to give Mom a run for her money. When will y'all come into town?"
"We won't be down until Christmas Eve, but I think we're going to stay most of the week, depending on how Emma's feeling."
We chatted for a few more minutes before saying goodbye.
* * *
Noah and I did our best to restrain ourselves with gifts for Zach, but we did not succeed. We did our best to immediately wrap and hide Zach's gifts, but it was a very tiring process. Some genius decided toys should not come in square boxes, and I can only assume it was to fuck with parents during Christmas. He never really tried to snoop he did not have enough of a grasp on the concept to realize we had presents hidden in our bedroom but he still had a tendency to randomly walk into rooms unannounced, and we wanted to avoid spoiling any surprises.
We took Zach to see Santa, and were both surprised when he had a long list of things to ask for, but were thankful we had already gotten most of the things he wanted. Mom and Dad had sent money for us to buy their gifts for Zach, since they did not want to have to either haul them all on the plane, or brave the last-minute mall crowds.
Noah continued to drop occasional hints that he wanted a Porsche. He always treated it like a joke, so I found a few little gag gifts that might appease him. I certainly was not going to buy him a new car for our first Christmas!
I took Zach with me whenever I went shopping for Noah, and he did they same. I loved every minute I could get bonding with our son. I kept trying to get him to pick out gifts for his dad, but he continually gravitated towards the displays of toys. In the end, I chose for him, with Zach's approval of course.
Zach also had trouble keeping gifts a secret. A few times he would point something out Noah had already bought. I did my best to not look or push it out of my mind, but it was clear Noah took our pledge to not buy each other gifts other than the entertainment center about as seriously as I had. Noah informed me Zach did the same thing when they went out together. Despite it being difficult trying to keep the other from learning about what gifts they were getting , we agreed it was probably a good thing Zach had trouble keeping secrets. I also took advantage of having a spy and bought several 'gifts' I had no intention of actually giving to my boyfriend, only to go back to the store when Terry was watching Zach to return them.
* * *
Mom and Dad flew in on Friday, four days ahead of the holiday. Mom gushed over the decorations, but was quick to point out suggestions or things she would have done differently. I know she meant well, but it was too much for me to deal with, and I ended up dumping her on Noah when she wanted to go to the store to buy more decorations. He acted indifferent and that he was just trying to please her, but I think he enjoyed going overboard with decorations just as much as she did. Despite the fact we already bought gifts for them to give Zach, that didn't stop my parents from buying more. I considered telling them to tone it down a bit, but Zach was their first grandchild, and they were anxious to spoil him. I was sure my soon-to-be-born nephew would get the same treatment.
Emma and Ethan arrived Christmas Eve just in time for dinner. Afterward, we went as a group to church. Noah and I had talked about that aspect of my family's tradition a lot. My parents were very active in their church, but I hadn't regularly attended since going off to college. Steve had been strongly opposed to religion, having grown up in a very devout house, so it was easy for me to not go. Like me, Noah had regularly attended church, but had not been back to one since his parents' deaths. Neither of us strongly felt the need to return, and were not sure about taking Zach to one, since both of us had attended churches that condemned homosexuality, and we wanted to minimize Zach's exposure to people who would try to tell him that his parents were going to Hell for loving each other. Knowing how important Christmas Eve service was to my parents, I did a bit of research, and was pleasantly surprised by how many churches in our area were open and affirming. Considering the gay population of Atlanta, it probably should not have come as a shock. We went to a beautiful old cathedral in Midtown, where we were greeted warmly, and no one even batted an eye when Noah or I referred to each other as 'my boyfriend' or Zach as 'our son'. On the way home, we agreed to return for a regular Sunday service.
That night was a late one. Zach was excited about opening the presents that had slowly begun to accumulate under the tree, and excitedly helped my dad write a letter to Santa, eating quite a few cookies on the tray in the process. Mom also made 'reindeer food', which was just oatmeal and glitter, and had Zach, put a heaping pile in the driveway. I questioned the decision, since Santa would be landing on the roof, but Zach informed me, "Geez, Papa, when Santa sees the food, he unties the reindeer, duh!"
We put Zach to bed, warning him not to come out, no matter what he hears, because he might scare Santa off. That didn't deter the boy, and over the course of the next hour, we caught him peeking out his door twice.
Ethan and Emma were tasked with eating the cookies as messily as they could, leaving plenty of crumbs. I, on the other hand, had to clean up the reindeer food, which meant sweeping most of it up, but leaving enough as evidence the reindeer partook. Dad got out an old calligraphy pen, and it was fascinating watching him write Santa's letter to Zach, something I had received many times when I was a kid. Dad kept up the tradition well after even Ethan had figured out the truth, and it was an element of Christmas I had not even realized I missed until it returned.
Around midnight, we were positive Zach was no longer faking being asleep when we checked on him, so it was time for the real work to begin. As quickly and quietly as we could we stuffed stockings and filled the area under the tree. Rather, I should say we filled about a third of the room, and the tree was completely inaccessible. Tom had already delivered most of the presents for his family as well, and I made sure those were mixed in, since they would be arriving around eight. The last thing Noah and I did after everyone else went to bed was make sure part of the porch was all set up for Zach's final gift.
* * *
At six, we were rudely awoken by a tiny ball of energy bouncing on the bed.
"He came, he came!! Santa came!! C'mon, get up! We gotta get started now or we're never gonna finish!"
I wrapped my arms around the boy and tried to get him to hold still, but it was no use. Finally, I wickedly suggested he go wake up his aunt and uncle.
"That was just mean," Noah mumbled as the boy sprinted out of the room.
"Yeah, but we got quiet again. Besides, they're going have to get used to being woken up constantly. It's good practice."
Noah laughed as he smacked me with his pillow. Moments later, Ethan yelled, "Scott, I will get you back for this!"
"Pay it forward and sic him on Mom and Dad," I yelled.
Dad killed the fun by yelling, "We've been up. Who do you think started this?"
Noah and I rushed our showers and joined everyone in the living room. Zach was in hell, wanting nothing more than to start opening packages, but was so far behaving himself. Mom had commandeered the kitchen and was hard at work on her usual spread. I tried to take over for her, but she insisted. Since everyone was up, I figured there was no use waiting until eight, so I texted Tom and asked if they could come over earlier. Apparently the three of them were just as impatient as Zach was, since less than five minutes later, I received a response that they were on their way.
I heard noises on the porch, and was sure they were outside, but ignored it until they rang the doorbell.
"You so owe me for having to take care of that gift for the past few days," Tom said with a laugh as he walked in. Fortunately, Zach was too engrossed by the arrival of his other grandparents.
Finally, we began to dig in. In my family, only one person opens a gift at a time, and when they are finished, they get a gift for someone else. Even with about half the gifts under the tree for Zach, he still got impatient, but he really enjoyed 'going fish'.
Noah got a kick out of the model Porsche kit Zach got him, and acted as if he had gotten the actual car.
Noah gave me a fashionable white gold bracelet and matching necklace, and I nearly jumped up and down when I opened the Burberry trench coat Noah caught me eying last time we shopped together.
"I'd actually already bought that when you saw it in the store. I had no clue how I was going to talk you out of it if you'd decided to get it," he confessed.
Noah loved the watch I got him, and appreciated the new accessories for his computer. I called his guidance counselor to find out what all he would need in upcoming semesters, and made sure he had most of the paraphernalia for the rest of his schooling.
For their part, my parents succeeded admirably with the little they had to go on. I wondered why Mom had casually asked how long Zach was from fingertip to fingertip, and the reason was revealed when he opened up homemade bird's wings that slipped over his head. Noah and I received thoughtful decorations that would look great in the house.
Emma and Ethan received tons of baby clothes and toys. Mom had bought mostly neutral colors, and for every item that was blue, there was an identical pink version and a receipt. Even though I had not mentioned it to my parents, I'd taken full advantage of my advance knowledge that the baby would be a boy, so all the clothes I bought were gender specific. I quickly told them I had girls' clothes as well, with a wink, when I realized my mistake.
I had been worried about tension between my parents and my former in-laws, since the last time they saw each other was at Steve's funeral. They had only met a few times, and my parents had never really cared for them. However, they got along fantastically. The only minor confrontation had come when Zach excitedly started playing with a doll Emma had gotten him knowing how much he loved the one he already had. Richard commented that it didn't seem like an appropriate toy to give a young boy. Even Lydia refused to support him, and his mild sense of outrage towards the violation of gender norms was quickly diffused.
With only a few gifts left under the tree, I handed Noah a small jewelry box and got out the camera. Everyone edged closer, thinking it was going to be a ring. When Noah opened it, he stared at the contents in disbelief.
"Is that really what I think it is?"
"What is it, Daddy? I can't see!"
Noah pulled out the iconic Porsche key fob.
"Holy crap, he got you a Porsche?!" Tom exclaimed, running to look out the window.
"You were the last one outside. I think you would've noticed a Porsche when you pulled in," I said, trying not to laugh. "It's an ornament, dear," I told Noah. "It used to be a key to a Porsche, but it doesn't have a circuit board anymore. You kept saying you wanted a Porsche, and I thought this was almost as good. Now every year, you can look at the Christmas tree and remember how you tried to talk your boyfriend of four months into spending a hundred grand on you for Christmas."
"I think that's just evil," Tom said with a grin.
"Well I think it's perfect," Noah replied, wrapping his arms around me and kissing me gently.
Zach grabbed onto my leg, and I picked him up. Despite all the presents he had received, he looked a little bummed.
"What's wrong, little buddy?"
"I dunno. I really, really wanted a doggy, and I told Santa four times, and he said if I was really good he might get me one, but he might not be able to if I got other good things, and I got a lot of other good things, but I've been real, real good, Papa, I promise."
"You have been, buddy. Did you check all the places Santa might have left a puppy for you?"
"Well it's not under the tree."
"If you were a dog, would you like to be shoved in a small, dark box and put under a tree for a long time?"
"Why don't you go look outside on the porch?" I instructed him, placing the boy back on the ground. He was off in a flash, and his squeals of joy could be heard before any of the adults even made it to the door. I opened the gate to let Zach into the little area with the seven-week-old black puppy, which was yipping happily and wagging his tail.
Noah and I had gone back and forth on getting Zach a dog ever since he first mentioned it. Originally, Noah was opposed to the idea because he was mildly allergic, and didn't know if Zach was or not. I was quick to point out that some breeds were hypoallergenic, which immediately swayed him. As I did more research, I didn't like the idea of how much work Noah and I would have to put in to training, and even if Zach promised to take care of the animal, ultimately, it would be Noah and I taking it out and feeding it. By that point Noah was sold, and he promised to do most of the work, as long as I 'picked up the slack' from time to time. We looked at rescue dogs, but because of Noah's allergies, we decided to buy a puppy from a breeder. Noah and I had removed the security bars from the windows a couple months prior, decided that the ugly look trumped the security, and I liked the idea of a big dog that made a great watch dog, and that was one of our requirements as we began to look at various breeds before finally deciding on a giant schnauzer. Once fully grown, I expected him to be close to ninety pounds, but at that moment, he could easily fit in my hands.
We took full advantage of having a nanny, and used daytime to look into several breeders before choosing a dog. We picked up the dog three days before Christmas, while Zach was out with my parents, and Tom was gracious enough to hold onto the little guy before Christmas morning. I had been sold on the idea when Noah and I picked him up, but any remaining doubts vanished watching Zach play with his new best friend.
I walked over and put a leash on the dog. "Let's see if he has to go to the bathroom before we take him inside," I told Zach. I picked the puppy up and placed him on the grass. He proceeded to sniff, explore, and even roll around, but he showed no desire to do his business. After a few minutes, I gave up, and let Zach carry the puppy inside. Zach squealed as the dog squirmed in his arms, trying to lick his face. No sooner had Zach placed the puppy on the floor, he squatted down, and let his bladder flow. I immediately scooped the dog up and carried him, still peeing, back out to the yard. I praised him when he continued to do his business. Once he was done, I carried him back inside, where Noah was cleaning up the mess.
I explained to Zach how we had to train the puppy to go outside to use the bathroom, so for now he wasn't allowed on any of the furniture. I knew it would not last long before Zach and the puppy shared a bed.
"What's his name, Daddy?" Zach asked Noah, who was playing with the dog.
"I don't know, Zachy. He's your dog, why don't you decide." I had argued we should name the dog, and give it a good name, since we had no idea what Zach would come up with, but Noah firmly rejected the idea, since it would be at least theoretically Zach's dog.
"How big will he get?"
"He's going to be big when he grows up," Noah told his son. "He'll probably come up to about here on you," he added, pointing to Zach's shoulder. Zach was a little small for his age, but apparently Noah had been, too. We figured the top of the dog's head would be about three feet off the ground when he was fully grown. One benefit of going through a breeder, we learned, was we got the chance to see the temperaments of both parents, and they were definitely on the large side for the breed.
"Can we name him 'Blackie', 'cause he's black?"
I could immediately picture the reactions of my several African-American neighbors to Zach running down the street yelling, "Here, Blackie!" A glance at Noah confirmed he was just as uncomfortable with the choice.
"How about 'Schwartzie'? He's a German dog, and 'Schwartz' is German for 'black'," I prodded helpfully.
"Hmmmm," Zach pondered, tapping his chin. "Maybe we can call him "Blackie Schwartz'." Apparently he was really attached to 'Blackie'.
"I don't know, Zachy. That's an awful long name for a dog," Noah said.
"Well obviously we'll just call him 'Beso' for short," the boy responded without hesitation. I think all the adults simultaneously cocked their heads to the side as we tried to figure out how he had gotten 'Beso' from 'Blackie Schwartz'.
"I think 'Beso' is an excellent name," Mom said, breaking the brief silence.
"Are you sure that's what you want to call him? Once he learns his name, it'll be very difficult to change it," I cautioned, remembering my failed attempt to rename my childhood dog 'Slimer', due to how much he drooled.
"I'm sure. I like that name!" Zach said excitedly.
"I do too, little buddy. I think 'Beso' is a perfect name. Why don't you go play with him for now, but stay inside. We're going to have a fence installed in the backyard so you can play with him outside in the future, but for now he has to be on a leash when he goes outside, got it?"
"Got it! We'll be in my room," he said scooping the puppy up and running.
"Keep him off the bed!" I hollered after him.
"How long will that rule last?" Tom asked.
"Probably about five minutes," Noah responded with a chuckle.
We cleaned up the living room, which looked more like a debris field than anything, and the nine of us sat around talking for about thirty minutes before Tom, Richard, and Lydia headed out. Not long after that, Zach called out from the bedroom, "Daddy, Beso made an oopsie!" Sure enough, there was a little turd on the bed.
"Didn't Papa say not to put him on your bed?" Noah said sternly.
"Oh yeah. I forgotted. He looked tired and I wanted him to be comfy if he needed a nap."
"It's going to take a few weeks before he learns to go to the bathroom outside. Until then, he has to stay on the floor, ok? That way, it'll be easier to clean up any mess he makes. After that, he's your dog, and if you want him on your bed, it's ok."
I took up the task of cleaning Zach's bed while Noah and Zach took Beso out to the living room. When I rejoined everyone else, Emma and Ethan were playing with the dog. Zach had gotten distracted by his Christmas haul and was happily jumping from toy to toy. I sat down next to my boyfriend on the couch.
"This has been the best Christmas ever, babe," Noah said, wrapping an arm around my shoulder.
"Yes it has, but between Zach and the dog, I don't think there's going to be a dull moment for a while."
"You wouldn't have it any other way," Noah responded, kissing me gently on the forehead.
* * *
My parents left midweek, and Emma and Ethan stayed a few days longer. I made Ethan promise to call the moment Emma went into labor so we could come up. Noah started school again on January fourteenth, and we knew he would be going to campus every Wednesday for one of his classes. So long as the baby wasn't stubborn, he would join Zach and me. There was no way I was missing the first chance to see my new nephew, even if it meant being away from Noah for the first time since he and Zach moved in with me. To be fair, I originally was only going to go if Noah could make it, but he insisted I go even if he could not.
We were not planning on doing anything for New Years, especially since Nana was in Macon visiting Maria and Lydia had a society function to attend, but when Will called Noah and invited us to join Jason and him at a club to usher in the new year, we couldn't pass it up. It took a little convincing, but I managed to talk Tom into stay with Zach not that he was planning on doing anything.
I had not been to a club in what felt like ages, and I was quickly reminded why as we pushed our way through the sweaty mass of bodies, the pulsing bass making it all but impossible to talk. Still, the four of us had a blast, grinding on the dance floor and drinking way too much liquor. Will and I quickly learned that neither of our boyfriends could be left unattended without vultures swooping in, but Jason and Noah seemed completely oblivious to the attention. As midnight struck, ushering in 2013, Noah and I shared a passionate kiss. After it ended, I held up my drink, and toasted, "Here's to a whole year of you and me, babe."
"And many, many more after that," he added, giving me another kiss.
It must have been around last call when we realized just how drunk we were and decided to call it a night. I don't remember the club announcing last call, but I do remember it was late. The plan was for Jason and Will to crash at our place, and I would whip up a feast in the morning, but considering how handsy they were getting in the back of the cab, we decided to part ways so they could have their fun. Of course, that makes it sound like Noah and I were not all over each other as well. We were both desperate to make it work in the bedroom, but the alcohol and exhaustion had taken their toll, and neither of us was able to function. Finally, we gave up and passed out in each other's arms.
* * *
On New Year's Day, Tom revealed a sadistic side I had never witnessed before. I should have been better prepared, since I knew how much Steve sometimes took perverse pleasure watching someone suffer at his hands, but I was blindsided at eight when Noah and I were jolted from our drunken slumber by the clang of pots banging together.
"What the fu" I managed to get out before clamping my hands over my mouth and bolting to the bathroom, quickly losing the contents of my stomach in the toilet. I popped a few aspirin and drank several glasses of water before gingerly venturing back into the bedroom, where a very confused boy sat on the otherwise empty bed. Noises from the bathroom in the hallway confirmed Noah had the same need as me.
"Why the pots, Zachy?" I asked quietly, my temples throbbing in pain.
"I don't know. Unca Tom said it would be funny, but you and Daddy just ran away. It didn't seem funny to me."
"I'm sure your uncle found it hilarious," I grumbled.
Noah crept back into the room, holding his head. I pointed him towards the aspirin as I led Zach back to the kitchen.
"Good morning," Tom said loudly as we entered. I immediately grimaced in pain. Every blind was open and all the lights were on, making the room as bright as possible.
"Sausage?" he asked, shoving a plate of greasy breakfast links under my nose. My stomach turned over, but I fought the urge to retreat to the bathroom. Steve, who seemed immune to hangovers, had treated me similarly in the past, and I didn't want to give Tom the satisfaction of making me sick.
Noah was not so fortunate. As the greasy smell hit his nostrils, he fled the room, muttering, "Oh, God!"
"What's wrong with you and Daddy?" Zach asked while simultaneously stuffing his face with sausage.
"We had a little too much fun last night, and neither of us feels good this morning."
"There's such a thing as too much fun? That's unpossible!"
"Impossible, and there is when you are an adult."
"Oh, I don't ever want to be an adult, then."
Despite the pain, I couldn't help but smile at his response. "Can you do something for me, little buddy?"
"Of course, Papa, what is it?"
"This morning, I want you to play very quietly with Beso. If you do that, your dad and I will get you an extra-special treat." I had no idea what we would do for him, but if Tom was like his twin, I could see him instructing the boy to make as much noise as possible all day long, and it was imperative that I undermine his efforts.
"I can do that!" he responded excitedly.
Noah returned, and he and I shared a silent breakfast of very strong coffee and plain toast.
Tom left shortly after we finished eating, way too proud of himself. Zach kept up his end of the bargain; it was Beso who didn't quite cooperate, happily barking as the two played. It was adorable, though, since every time the dog barked, Zach would whisper, "Shhh Beso, we gotta be quiet. If we're real, real quiet, we get to do something cool."
"What did you bribe our son with?" Noah whispered to me.
I quickly explained our arrangement, and described my rationale. "But I'm at loss as to what to do for him. I'm pretty sure everything I've come up with so far is closed today."
"You're cute when you get stumped. You wrinkle your brow and almost cross your eyes," he said, kissing my nose. "He keeps telling the dog they both are doing something. Why don't we take them to Piedmont Park? They can run around the dog park together if it's open, and if not, we can just walk around."
"That sounds perfect. They'll both have a blast and wear each other out. And you find furled brows and crossed eyes cute?"
"Only on you, babe," he responded, giving me another kiss.
By noon, we both felt more like ourselves, so after lunch we headed over to the park. We were glad to find the dog run open, but I was discouraged when I read 'no dogs under sixteen weeks permitted'. Noah pointed out that since it was empty, we could at least use it until someone else showed up.
Zach and Beso had a blast running full speed around the large fenced-in area. We threw a racquetball a little as well, and it was hilarious watching him try to pick it up, since it was slightly too big for his mouth. The few times he managed to do so, he showed no intention of bringing it back, preferring a game of keep-away instead.
After about thirty minutes, another couple showed up with a dog, and we decided it was time to head out. Zach and Beso fell asleep together on the drive home, which was simply adorable. Even better, the dog managed to not have an accident either to or from the park, making the car one of the few surfaces he had come into contact with to not need cleaning.
Noah and I could breathe a sigh of relief now that the holidays had finally passed, and I was looking forward to returning to our routines. Obviously, our lives would not dramatically de-stress, but I wouldn't have it any other way.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We're not getting very close to the end. Two chapters remain!
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