Cold, injured, and afraid, Oliver wants a boyfriend, a new one, who is nothing like his ex. Yet after the ordeal he experienced last time, he doesn’t want to get burned again.
Little does he know that Santa Claus and the Big Boss have a surprise for him in the form of Derek. When he sees the miserable condition Oliver is in, Derek is all too willing to fulfill the role of boyfriend.
But can Oliver trust Derek with his heart?
Being Oliver’s nurse was truly not bad, but Oliver had made Derek promise not to go into his bedroom ever again. He freaked after finding out Derek had carried him inside the first night he came here. Derek understood, he really did. But the nights that followed, with their surroundings all quiet, without even the sounds of nocturnal creatures, Derek often found himself standing against the bedroom door, fist clenched around the knob, and struggling not to break into the room. He could hear Oliver whimpering in his sleep, and once he even screamed. But in the morning the man always pretended nothing happened the night before. This was the fourth night, and Derek was trying to keep his promise when Oliver started having another nightmare, and nothing could refrain Derek from breaking in when Oliver’s “No!” reverberated inside the cabin. Derek was beside him in no time, holding the shaking man, all the while ignoring Oliver’s plea to leave him alone over and over again.
“No, Oliver,” Derek persisted. “You don’t have to face him alone. You have me. I’ll protect you from him even when he comes to you in dreams.”
Oliver said nothing, denied nothing, and to Derek’s relief, eventually let Derek stay with him, simply lying there, curling up closer as Derek tightened his arm around him.
“You’ve been so brave, Oliver, for fighting back against your ex, though I’m so sorry you have to suffer like this,” Derek said in a hushed tone, afraid that Oliver would bolt or close up again. But the man looked as though he had no more energy to do either of those.
“I was stupid. I knew he had been arrested, yet I ran away from the hospital. But I was so scared. I was afraid he could get away somehow and come after me.”
Well, Derek had his own opinion on that, and honestly, it wasn’t in Oliver’s favor. He was awfully mad at Oliver for running away like that and hiding in a place where there was no one to help him. What if something bad had happened to him?
Surely Oliver could not read Derek’s mind, so he carried on talking, albeit so softly that Derek needed to strain a little to catch it.
“The cab driver that took me here from the hospital was a little concerned over me, but I told him some friends were coming later.”
“But that wasn’t true, was it, Oliver?”
Derek smiled at that, and sensing that Oliver had accepted him more, he lowered himself down until he was lying beside the man on the downy cover. He slipped an arm under Oliver’s shoulders, pulled him in while giving extra care to the arm in cast, and draped his other one across Oliver’s chest. Derek felt something stir inside as the soft quiver he noticed earlier about the man was slowly subsiding.
Oliver felt safe with him -- that was the most important thing.