Gavin and Matthew just want to get home to enjoy Christmas Eve in their safe, warm apartment. Should they walk or take a cab? But will either option do the trick when Victor, suffering from his holiday blahs, is determined to undermine this happy twosome at every turn?
Years ago, Victor made the unfortunate mistake of coming out to his family on Christmas. Why couldn’t he have picked a random summer day? Can Victor’s husband Bryan pull him out of his gloomy mood in order to give the popular Gavin and Matthew the merry Christmas they deserve?
If anyone understood Victor’s annual holiday blahs, it was Bryan. Much as Victor tried to suppress the undesirable feelings, they managed to push through and cast a pall over everything, even his writing. Bryan had been through it with Victor for enough years now. Victor wobbled his head as if trying to literally shake off the blues and pasted a smile on his face. “How about dinner out tonight?”
“You’re a mind reader. That’s why I went into the office ... to suggest that.”
“Chinese?” There was a place they liked just five blocks away.
Bryan grinned and grabbed their coats. He pointed an index finger at Felix. “We’ll only be gone a couple hours. Behave yourself.” As if that would work. But Victor couldn’t stop a corner of his mouth from quirking up at Bryan’s lightheartedness.
Out on the street, it was darker than expected. Clouds covered the anticipated light from the full moon. Victor shivered and pulled up his collar against the chill.
Bryan nudged him and whispered. “Figure there are vampires lying in wait for us in one of the alleys?”
Victor snorted a laugh. “Doubtful.” And as many people as were out on the streets, they shouldn’t need to worry about an armed mugging, either.
The not-quite-but-almost-last-minute shoppers milled about, laughing and chattering as they left one store and entered another. Jingle bells tinkled as each door opened to let people in or out.
That was the kind of thing that used to bring an easy smile to Victor’s face. Now it felt more forced. Each December as the city came to life with holiday decorations and good cheer, he deeply regretted having chosen Christmas day to come out to his family. Needless to say, their horrific response to the news had not been tempered by holiday spirit as he’d hoped.
Why, oh why couldn’t he have simply chosen a random summer day?
Victor sighed and took Bryan’s hand. Bryan gave it a squeeze and softly hummed along with Mariah Carey as “All I Want for Christmas Is You” drifted out from of one of the shops.
Worth it. Bryan was totally worth it. Five years ago, he’d known in his heart that he would have to choose between his family and the man he loved, and he’d never wavered in his decision. Nor had he ever regretted it.
Still, knowing he’d made the only choice he could live with didn’t take away the pain of knowing his family now thought he was an immoral, sinful person that revolted them. It bothered him even though he was an adult, and all apron strings had been untied for years.
He’d long ago figured out that his personal value system veered sharply from theirs. If they’d been random people he’d met in his life, they would not have become friends. And it wasn’t as if he’d traveled to Iowa to see them more than once or twice a year anyway, so it wasn’t so much that he missed them in his life as that he hated having people who’d once meant everything to him -- and that should support him in life regardless of something as immutable as his sexuality -- thinking he was some sort of cretin.
Bryan added a jaunty little swing to their handhold, swaying their joined arms back and forth to the beat of the music ... until it stopped short. Not the music, but the arm-rocking ... when the streetlamp ahead of them winked out.