Character Bleed/Gingerbread Dreams crossover
It’s Holiday Baking Showdown time! This year, Nate isn’t a contestant. In fact, he’s agreed to be a judge. But he’s never had to critique someone else’s baking on television before, he feels terrible about eliminating anyone, and he hates to disappoint his boyfriend Marcus, the show’s executive producer. And this week’s guest judges are two of the biggest names in Hollywood.
Jason and Colby both love baking, cooking, and holiday recipes, so agreeing to be guest judges on an episode of the Holiday Baking Showdown sounds perfect. It’s good for Jason’s new domestic image, and Colby’s a huge fan of the show. But Colby’s not a fan of crowds and chaos. And Jason can’t help worrying about him.
But with new friends, delicious desserts, and a tacky holiday sweater or two, everyone’s sugarplum dreams might just come true ...
His phone went off a third time, still his agent’s ring tone, over on the nightstand. He groaned.
Colby exhaled, the breath a kiss against Jason’s skin.
Jason grumbled, “No ...”
“She keeps trying ... I’d hate to not answer, if it’s something you should respond to ...”
“... fine.” He stuck out an arm. Flailed. Grabbed electronic nosiness. “Hello?”
“Were you two still in bed? Never mind, I don’t want to know. Check your email, finally.”
“Um.” Jason found Colby’s laptop -- it’d been on the nightstand too; Colby sometimes did some writing in bed -- and found his own email. Colby cuddled up next to him, under his left arm; both of them were comfortable that way. The sheets nudged his feet with designs of sails and ships and waves, from the heap they’d been kicked into. “Okay ...”
“If you don’t want to do it, that’s fine, it’s just GourmetTV, a holiday baking thing, but they reached out and we like this new cozy domestic version of you, so it might be a good idea.”
“I’m still opening it! ... oh. Huh.” He wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting. Hadn’t been an invitation to come and be a guest judge. On a holiday baking competition. On television.
“Yeah, you don’t have to, but they know your mom’s a chef, and they’re all harmless over there, and it can’t hurt. Lighthearted family-friendly seasonal fun, and all that.”
“Oh, it’s for the Holiday Baking Showdown!” Colby had been reading along. “I’ve got some marvelous inspiration from that, for recipes! I love it. I watch it every year. Hi, Susan.”
“Hi, kid.” Susan liked Colby; he’d been good for Jason, she said, both professionally and personally. Jason thought that his agent was sometimes too cynical, but also she was right and he knew it.
Colby was good for him. In every single way.
“Hmm.” Colby reread the email. Ran a hand through his own hair, absently. The platinum blond was growing out; he’d contemplated dyeing it back to brown to get that over with, but hadn’t done it yet. The lighter strands fell like cornsilk over his fingers.
Jason watched the gesture. Felt the usual throb -- lust, love, adoration, pure glee -- deep down in his gut, his heart, his soul. All Colby’s, as ever.
“Do you think ...” Colby looked up. “Would you mind, would they mind, if I came along with you? Two for one, as it were.”
Jason turned to look at him. Sunshine slid across Colby’s face, and swirled through his hair -- nearly the same shade, at the moment -- and painted one cheekbone with gold. Colby also did a tiny eyebrow-shrug -- what, you thought I wouldn’t want to? -- and grinned at him.
Jason wanted to see that grin every afternoon. Every day.
“Oooh,” Susan said, over the phone. “You know they wouldn’t mind. Colby Kent, on a baking show? The world would eat it up, pun intended. You baking cupcakes for that entire production is, like, an industry legend. But, look, kid, a couple things ... first, I’m not your agent, so you should probably get in touch yourself. Second ... you don’t do a ton of public appearances; you sure you want to do this one? It’s not exactly high profile.”
“I know,” Colby agreed. “I would like to, though.”
“Colby,” Jason said, kind of quietly because he was still caught up in that grin.
“Well,” Susan observed, “I’ll let you two talk it over. They don’t need an answer immediately, but by the end of the week would be great. Let me know, okay? Bye, kid, take care of him for me!”
Jason set phone and laptop down, after, a more complicated maneuver than usual because he didn’t want to dislodge Colby from under his arm. Still, he’d been an action star for years and a stunt guy before that; he could be flexible. “Babe?”
“Yes, love?” Colby wriggled out from under Jason’s arm, rendering that effort moot, but arranged himself across Jason’s lap instead, head pillowed on Jason’s thigh, gazing up; so that was just as good. “Go on. Ask me.”
Jason wove fingers through his hair, petting pale strands as they darkened to brown. “You know what you’re feeling up to.” It was a question, and also a statement; he trusted Colby.
“I do, and I am up to it, thank you.” Colby smiled up at him. “In any case it makes logical sense, doesn’t it?”