Thinking with his head and not his heart is an occupational hazard for Professor Leland Hansen. He does fine as a researcher dealing with statistics and experimental designs and guiding doctoral students through the dissertation process. But affairs of the heart are another matter. Leland teaches at a small, religious college in New England, and the anxiety of losing his position over his lifestyle eventually causes a painful breakup with the one true love of his life, Cliff Emerson.
When Cliff calls a few weeks before Christmas to announce he’s getting married, Leland accuses him of dredging up the past and their conversation ends badly. As time grows short, Leland sets out to win Cliff back, though he fears he may already be too late. Will they reunite at Christmas or will Cliff be lost to him forever?
Leland was sitting at his desk still preoccupied with the past while a stack of semester exams languished in the present.
After their last lovemaking session for the weekend in the small bedroom of Leland’s cottage, Cliff had dressed haphazardly with his tie slightly askew and his shirt somehow caught in the zipper of his leather jacket. He was working it back and forth with little success when Leland came up and pulled him into a tight embrace. “Wish you didn’t have to leave.”
“So about next weekend,” Cliff said, his hand reaching down toward his jacket giving the zipper a few ceremonial tugs.
“Yes.” Leland’s lips brushed Cliff’s. He took his lover’s hand and stopped him momentarily from fiddling with the thing.
They broke apart slightly, but Leland’s arm stayed comfortably wrapped around Cliff’s waist. “There’s a fair at college. Parent’s weekend. They have lots of --”
Cliff kissed him. “Yes, I’m sure they have lots of whatever they have.”
They gazed into each other’s eyes, still embracing.
“Oh, you know,” Leland said,” handcrafty things like crocheted coasters and homemade potholders. That sort of --”
“Yes, we could do with some of those.” Cliff kissed Leland on the forehead. Smiled.
Leland looked up at him. “They ... have events, as well.”
Cliff played with Leland’s ear. “Hmm. We like those, don’t we? Always up for an event.”
“Yes. With you I’m always up.”
They kissed lightly. Then broke apart again, their eyes still locked on each other.
“I suppose,” Cliff began, “We could miss some of them though. Don’t want to make the whole weekend --”
“No.” Cliff started to move out of the bedroom.
“Isn’t it to soon to ... go?” Leland rested his head on Cliff’s shoulder as they passed into the living room with an arm around each other’s waist.
“A little but the weather’s not good.” Cliff moved again and Leland pressed his hand down on his shoulder. “Too early even with bad --”
“Weather. Yes.” Cliff sighed. He pulled Leland closer and kissed the tip of his nose. “But I need to go. You’ve got prep. An early class.”
“Yes. Early.” He blew into Cliff’s right ear, something he knew drove him wild.
They headed for the front door but stopped midway. Cliff took Leland’s hand in his and pressed it against his chest. “To stay like this forever.”
“Forever. I like the sound of that word.”
“Forever. Me, too.”
They kissed again, lightly, still connected by each other’s arms, taking time getting to the door.
“I’ll be here early. Friday night,” Cliff said. He pulled Leland into another embrace.
“Make it early as you like.” Leland covered Cliff’s mouth with his. “The key’s --”
“I know where it is.”
Cliff opened the door, not wide but just enough for him to step out onto the porch, and lean back in for a final kiss. He backed away as Leland slowly closed the door and pressed his face up against it.