Disclaimer: None of this is real. Every single event in this story is something that I made up.
Julian Devries was a player. He all but invented the phrase `hit it and quit it'. On the rare occasion he was actually in a relationship he had no problem with straying. Julian Devries was simply not a one man kinda guy, which is why when he asked Christopher out his immediate response was no.
"Why not?" Julian asked, looking genuinely confused.
"Why do you think Julian?" Chris said with a small smile on his face.
"Ok, so maybe I've had a bad track record.."
"A bad track record?! Jules a bad track record doesn't even begin to cover it."
Julian just smiled that slow easy smile that could charm anyone and everyone. All except Chris that is. He'd been friends with Julian for far too long.
"Chris, I'm past those days. One date, that's all I'm asking."
"You might as well stop asking cuz it's not gonna happen."
"I'm not gonna give up on you Christopher Pane." Julian said leaning forward, a determined glint in his eyes.
And Chris knew he wouldn't. When Julian Devries wanted something, he got it. But that was just fine with Chris because he wasn't going to give in.
Chris was busy shelving books at the bookstore he owned when the first flower came. He was almost finished when there was a knock at the door.
"We're closed." He shouted, peeking his head around the corner.
"I've got a delivery here for a Christopher Pane."
That's odd Chris thought. He hadn't ordered anything lately. He unlocked the door to find a man on the other side holding a clipboard in one hand and a single red rose in the other.
"Sign here please." He said handing him the clipboard.
Chris took it, thoroughly confused, "I think you have the wrong person, no one would send me flowers."
"You're Christopher Pane right?"
"Then these are for you."
Chris just signed where he was supposed to. He took the rose from the man and went to sit at one of the tables. He surveyed the rose carefully, twirling it in a small circle with two fingers. Who would send him a rose? It was then that he finally noticed the card.
That was all it said. No signature or anything. Chris just shrugged it off and went back to work. He had to open in a little bit and was nowhere near ready.
The second flower came exactly an hour later. Chris had just opened and there was only a handful of people wandering about. He was a bit surprised to see the same delivery guy from that morning still clutching a clipboard, and in the other hand, a daisy.
"Oh um, hi again."
Chris signed the clipboard for a second time that day and claimed his daisy.. He peeked at the card.
Chris was beginning to notice a pattern. By the time his day was near over Chris had collected 5 different flowers. But by the sixth flower, a sunflower, Chris knew exactly who the culprit was. Put in order the cards read.
You know you want to =) Love Jules
Chris couldn't stop the smile that came to his face. No guy had ever sent him flowers before. But he knew that didn't mean anything. He was sure he wasn't the first guy Julian had sent flowers to.
Later that night Chris had pretty much forgotten all about the flowers until the phone rang.
"Did you get the flowers?"
Chris perked up at the sound of Julian's voice then immediately regretted it. He was beginning to act like a school girl with a crush. He wouldn't surprise himself if he suddenly started doodling Chris+Julian everywhere.
"Yeah, I got them."
"Did you like them?"
"They were nice." Chris said shrugging as if he could be seen.
"Just nice?" Julian asked in a low voice that sent involuntary shivers up and down Chris' spine.
"Yes, but Jules, the answer is still no."
He heard a sigh.
"Chris you think I'm attractive right?
That caught Chris off guard. Did he think Julian was attractive? He thought Julian was a fucking sex god.
"You know I do."
"And you think I'm a nice guy right?"
"So what's the harm in going out with me?"
Getting my heart ripped out, stepped on, then carelessly tossed away. "I don't want to be just another one of your conquests."
"Chris I would never do that to you. Ever. You're too special."
Chris felt his defenses crumble for just the tiniest fraction of a second, but he quickly put them back up again.
" Yeah, I bet you say that to every piece of ass you chase." Chris snapped, surprising himself at how bitter he sounded.
He obviously surprised Julian as well because it was a few seconds before he spoke and when he finally did it was in a soft, almost hurt tone. But that couldn't have been. It was next to impossible to hurt Julian's feelings.
"Chris, what do I have to do to make you believe that I'm serious about this? You name it, you got it."
Chris didn't know quite how to respond to that. He didn't think he had ever heard Julian sound so sincere before.
"Julian it's just... not gonna happen."
"Yeah, well I'll just talk to you later then."
"Yeah, later." Chris said in a small voice trying to figure out why he suddenly felt like shit.
The next day as Chris walked into the Home he was only feeling the smallest bit better. He'd been volunteering at the Home, which was a retirement center, every weekend for the past year and it was the highlight of his week. He mostly just walked around and visited patients who had no friends or family. He made his usual rounds and headed towards his favorite residents room, who he always saved for last. Annabelle had immediately captured Chris' heart from the first day. She had family and it broke Chris' heart the way they never took the time to come and visit her.
When he entered he was surprised to see that Annabelle already had a visitor.
"Christopher! How good to see you!" Annabelle exclaimed, her eyes lighting up. That was what Chris loved about her, not matter how old or weak she got she always had that same light in her eyes.
"Good morning Annabelle, I see you already have company."
"Yep, your friend Julian was kind enough to read to me this morning."
Julian just shrugged and held up To Kill A Mockingbird. It was one of Chris' favorites and for a moment Chris wondered if it would be to conceited to think that Julian brought that book on purpose.
"That was very sweet of him. Can I uh see you in the hall Julian?"
They stepped into the hall and when Chris was sure they couldn't be heard he spoke, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm hangin out with Annabelle." Julian said as if it were the most natural thing in the world..
"Julian, why are you here?" Chris asked, making it clear that his previous answer wasn't going to cut it.
" Because, Chris, I want to spend time with you doing the things that you love."
Chris tried to ignore the butterflies that suddenly began fluttering in his stomach. "Julian, this isn't going to make me say yes."
Julian just smiled and walked back into the room. They stayed and chatted with Annabelle until Julian announced that he had somewhere to be leaving Chris and Annabelle alone.
"You should give him a chance you know." Annabelle spoke with knowing eyes.
"What?!" Chris sputtered. How in the hell did she know about that? He'd never even told her he was gay.
"He's a very sweet boy Christopher." Annabelle said nodding her head, " You'd make an adorable couple."
"Annabelle," Chris squirmed feeling his cheeks heat up, "You don't understand, it's complicated."
"Complicated!" Annabelle lifted her hand brushing the idea away, "You young people these days, everything's complicated! Just be with him."
Chris just blushed deeper.
"He loves you you know."
Chris started coughing, choking on his own spit and shock. Julian? Julian Devries in love? Yeah and the devil's outside building a snowman.
"He does." Annabelle continued as if Chris hadn't reacted at all, "It's in his eyes Christopher, it's all in his eyes."
The following day Chris felt like he was dying. He could barely breathe. He was nauseous. His head was throbbing and he could tell he had a fever. He knew he should stay home and rest but he couldn't skip a day at the home. He just couldn't. He was in the process of attempting to tie his shoe when there was a knock at the door.
"Come in, It's not locked!" Christopher yelled, immediately regretting it after the pain in his head intensified.
The door opened and Julian stepped through.
"Hi," Chris snuffled, "What are you doing here?"
"Well I came to see if I could tag along with you to the Home, but obviously you're not going."
"No." Chris paused to cough. "I'm still going."
"No you are not." Julian said squatting down in front of Chris to feel his head, "You're burning up."
"I have to go they're expecting me." Chris protested weakly.
Julian didn't say anything and began to untie Chris' shoes. Chris weakly tried to push his hands away before giving up and flopping backwards on the couch. He was just too tired. After a few minutes Julian had successfully taken Chris' shoes and socks off.
"Ok, now you need to get back in bed. Up." Julian ordered.
"No." Chris spoke almost in a whisper, still holding on to the shred of hope that he might be able to make it to the Home.
"Yes, now get up. Don't make me carry you."
"No Jules-" Chris started but was interrupted by Julian scooping him up.
"Julian what are you doing?!" Chris squeaked, reflexively wrapping his arms around Julian's neck.
"I'm putting you to bed."
Instead of being plopped down like he expected Julian gently laid him against the pillows on the bed. Chris felt his pants being undone and panicked. Surely Julian wouldn't try and take advantage of him?
"Calm down. I'm not gonna try anything. Now lift your arms so I can get your shirt off."
Chris blindly did as he was told.
"There, now, lean back."
"Julian...Annabelle" Chris mumbled trying to string a coherent sentence together before falling asleep.
"I'll go visit Annabelle. Don't worry about it." Julian said tucking Chris in.
Chris' eyes fluttered shut and he vaguely remembered a kiss on the forehead, but then nothing else. Chris woke up later to find a pair of brown eyes staring at him.
"Good morning sunshine." Julian said smiling and leaning back in the chair he had placed by Chris' bed.
"Morning?" Chris croaked, "What time is it?"
"8 o'clock. Here drink this." Julian said handing Chris a glass of orange juice. "Are you feeling better."
Chris nodded from behind the glass. "Much." He set the glass down on his beside table. "Did you stay here all night"
"No, I left to go to the Home, run an errand, and change clothes this morning."
Chris was amazed. Julian had stayed for basically the whole night. Why?
"Why? Jules you could have gone home. I would have been fine alone."
"Chris," Julian paused and ran his fingers through his hair, squeezing his eyes shut momentarily. "You don't get it do you?"
"Get what Julian? There's nothing to get."
Julian didn't say anything and instead reached into his pocket and pulled out a long black velvet box. "Here."
"What is it?" Chris asked taking the box.
"Open it and find out." Julian teased , smiling slightly.
Chris opened it and felt his stomach drop. Holy shit. He reached out with a shaky hand to lift the necklace from the its place. It wasn't the chain that caught his attention it was what was dangling from the end.
His mother's locket.
She had given it to Chris before she died and the chain was so delicate that it had broken only months later. Chris had just saved the locket and kept it in a small jewelry box.
"How, how did you?" Chris asked, choking back tears.
"Well um, I knew where you kept the locket and I know how much it means to you and how upset you were when the chain broke so I just thought that you know...you would like it." Julian said, a blush sweeping over his cheeks.
"Like it? Like it? Jules I love it. When did you manage to do this?"
"When you were asleep. I have friend that works at the jewelers. He owed me a favor so..." Julian trailed off.
"Thank you, thank you so much." Chris whispered. He wiped the tears off his cheeks, never once loosening his grip on the necklace. He tried to fasten it around his neck, but he couldn't get his hands to hold steady.
"Here, let me." Julian offered.
When it was fastened Chris leaned back, the shock slowly wearing off.
"Why?" He asked Julian.
"I already told you-"
"No, I mean why me? Why do all this for me?"
`Chris I-" Julian paused seemingly searching for the right words, "God, don't make me say it."
"Say what? Julian you're not making any sense."
"Chris." Julian started leaning in close enough to make Chris' heart speed up, "I love you, I never thought that I would ever say this to anyone but I fucking love you."
Chris was stunned. He couldn't even move. Love? Julian Devries did not fall in love. The phrase Players only love you when they're playing. passed through his mind. He felt Julian leaning in closer and knew he was about to be kissed. Chris turned his head at the last possible moment. He just couldn't take the risk. He heard Julian let out a breath and then get up. When Chris finally turned his head back to look Julian in the eyes he was immediately appalled with himself.
Julian Devries was crying.
"I just can't win with you can I Chris?"
"No, don't, I get it. You don't want to get hurt by the town whore! It's understandable. I hope you liked the necklace." Julian snapped, turning to walk out.
"Jules wait!" Chris yelled after him. He then heard his front door slam. He wanted to go after him but he was so scared. He didn't want to put his heart out there only to have it broken. Then he remembered Annabelle's words and the look in Julian's eyes. "Shit!" He cursed scrambling out of bed and into a pair of sweats. He didn't even consider shoes. He raced out of his apartment to see that Julian was only halfway to his car.
"Chris go back inside you're going to get sick again." Julian insisted.
It was only then that Chris noticed it was snowing. His sweats were low on his hips and he was shirtless. Snowflakes were clinging to his hair and eyelashes and his cheeks were flushed a deep cherry red. "I don't care! I don't care about that!" Chris said stepping closer until he was directly in front of Julian.
"I'm an idiot. I was so scared of you taking my heart and breaking it that I didn't stop to think about the most important thing."
"And what his that Chris?" Julian demanded. His breath coming out in clouds and the tear tracks still visible on his cheeks.
"You already have my heart Jules, you always have."
"What are you saying?" Julian asked, a glimmer of hope in his eyes.
"I'm saying that I love you!"
"Don't! Don't say that if you don't mean it Chris. Don't just say it to make me happy"
Chris didn't say anything, but instead stepped even closer tucking his arms behind Julian's neck. Their lips met and Chris immediately felt like a fool for ever denying Julian in the first place. It was pointless. When Julian Devries wanted something, he got it. But that was just fine with Chris because the feeling was mutual.
Authors note: I had a lot of fun writing this story and I hope you had a lot of fun reading it. Let me know, firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also join my yahoo group for more short stories like this and a variety of ongoing series.