Haven Vadillo gets grumpy during the season of good cheer. Everything bad in his life has happened to him during the twelfth month of the year. He was kicked out of his home by his parents in December. He found out too late that Hamish Abernathy, the man he fell in love with in college, had a boyfriend -- also in December. He just can’t seem to catch a break.
Years later -- you guessed it -- in December, Hamish turns up in his life once more, and Haven isn’t sure what to think. And the confessions and accusations that fly during their first meeting in over a decade don’t help.
Can these two men work their way through misunderstandings and hurt feelings to make this Christmas a season worth celebrating?
“Tell me why you’re here, Hamish.”
He smiled sheepishly. “You were never one to mince words, were you? It’s something I always appreciated about you. Still do.” Setting aside his now empty mug, Hamish leaned closer. “I wanted to see you.”
“You have. What else?”
He sighed. “I wanted to come clean. I ... look. I was hurt when you shut me out of your life in college, and it pissed me off that when I tried to talk to you about it, you pushed me away.”
“But I --” He held up a hand and I stopped. Probably a good thing since I had no idea how to finish that sentence.
“Let me finish. Please.” All I could do was nod. He continued. “I was pissed, but I was a hypocrite because I ... I knew why you acted the way you did. And it was complicated because I had a boyfriend, I hadn’t told you about, and I couldn’t admit what I felt. What I still feel, after all these years. Because it was wrong.”
I was stunned. Was he -- “What?”
He rubbed the back of his neck. “Yeah, I flirted and teased you from the day we met because I thought you were cute and strung a little tight and needed an outlet. But when I started to feel more than friendship, and I saw that you felt the same, I didn’t know what to do because I had let things go too far, and I’m sorry. That was shitty of me. I should have said something, admitted things, but I was a coward, and I was kind of cheating on my boyfriend. I waited until the last minute to tell you about Kellan, and I saw your facial expression, and I wanted to take it back. But you just turned and walked away. I had never felt so helpless in my life.”
I felt something snap inside of me. “You? You felt helpless? Do you have any idea what that did to me?”
“I don’t, but not for lack of trying. You wouldn’t talk to me!”
Seriously? “You’re not saying this is my fault, are you?” I growled.
“Yes! Well, no, but it was all so confusing and frustrating and I’m just ...” He sighed. “I’m sorry, Haven. I’m so sorry.” He looked as tortured as I felt.
I rubbed my temples, trying to ease the tension that had been building since Hamish’s astounding revelations. “I’ve been living with this guilt, this regret that I should have been the bigger person and been able to move on ... that I needed to get over myself. Get over you. I don’t know what to do with this, Hamish.”
“Is it fair of me -- well it probably isn’t -- but is it fair to ask if you still have any feelings left? For me?” He chewed his lower lip, something I remembered he used to do when he was anxious.
I glared at him. “Of course, it’s not fucking fair. It’s presumptuous and entirely like something you would do.”
“Answer the question anyway.”
“Yes, damn it. I do! That never went away, no matter how much I wanted it to. But how does that change anything? Just because you admitted your feelings for me doesn’t mean that I’m just going to jump into bed with you. You don’t know who I am anymore. Even in college, you only knew the parts that I let you in on. You don’t know about my childhood or shitty parents. You’re here for an interview and you live ... where do you live, anyway?”
“Three hours south of here. If I decide to take the job, I’ll be moving closer.”
I took a deep breath and closed my eyes briefly. “This is a lot to dump on a guy you haven’t seen in over ten years.” As bizarre as this situation was, though, I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit of hope.
Hamish touched my hand briefly. “I know, but I thought it was time to come clean, since I had this opportunity to see you. It’s a little crazy and out of the blue, but I needed to do this. Maybe you needed it, too.”