With winter holidays approaching, it's supposed to be a time for romance and togetherness for Colton and Ben. Except climate change has erased the chance for a white Christmas, their rent is going up, and neither of them have energy after working all day and barely getting to see each other. As their frustrations mount and finances dwindle, it almost seems more likely they'll be single for the new year rather than doing anything special for each other.
Colton isn't willing to give up without a fight, though. He might not be able to give Ben his dream of visiting the moon, but he can bring a bit of the moon to Earth. Rekindling some of his own hope and romance, he decides to put his skills as a chef to good use and go all out in preparing Ben a meal -- and a night -- not to be forgotten. The world might be a grim place, but if he shoots for the moon, maybe he can hit a bit of holiday magic.
Colton started with a mental list of everything he'd do if he had no limits. Take Ben to the moon, obviously, which was not an option. He could buy a couple of entries into the Moon Lotto that always ran this time of year, but that was not an ideal replacement since it would just be a disappointment. Millions of people played. It would only be okay to give Ben something like that if it was an aside to something else.
And then Colton figured it out. If he couldn't take Ben to the moon, he'd bring the moon to Ben. He'd heard Ben talk enough about it over the years, seen pictures, read articles. He'd recreate something here, in their home, and he'd do his best to make it as much like the real thing as possible.
Most things, of course, were out. He couldn't give Ben a returned-from-extinction pet like he knew Ben wanted, and a pet was out anyway. They'd decided long ago when Colton had confessed to wanting something it was just too much -- the rent would increase again for the privilege of owning a pet, and the last thing he wanted was to make the rent go up again.
But Colton knew where his skill was, and the thought of a cooking challenge excited him. He spent the hours before his shift looking up the kinds of food people on the moon ate, either regularly or the most popular items at the theme park. By the time he went to work he was in a good enough mood other people noticed.
"He say yes?" asked his manager when he clocked in.
"What?" asked Colton.
"You look happier than I've seen you in years. You get engaged?"
"Uh, no," said Colton, unsure how to reply. Marriage was not something he and Ben ever discussed. It was only paper, after all. Like most things in life, they could technically do it. But it meant nothing. No one was required to offer them benefits, taxes would leach their money the same as if they didn't bother. There were few people to invite to a celebration they couldn't afford to have anyway, even if they could find a venue willing to host.
"Oh, sorry," his manager said, looking actually regretful she'd mentioned it.
"I'm taking your advice," said Colton, knowing that would cheer her up. And he wanted to tell someone anyway. "I'm planning a special meal for us when I have those days off."