Don’t let the fashionable skirt and flawless make-up fool you -- Kellan is the straightest man in his drag troupe. By contrast, his favorite co-star, Casey, is one of the most effeminate gay men Kellan has ever met. Despite their differences, Kellan feels closer to him than anyone else outside his family.
At their troupe’s “Crossmas” party, where everyone and their partners have to attend in drag, a run-in with a carful of bigots gives Kellan and Casey a reason to get even closer. With the lines of sexuality already blurred, will Kellan be the same man by the end of the night, or will he get a gift from Casey that changes everything?
Kellan was tucking into his second cranberry tart when Pat got up and gestured for everyone’s attention. “Alright ladies and gents, time for Secret Santa!” he announced in a sing-song voice. “Remember, you can only take a gift if you brought a gift, and I kept my eye on who had what. Cheaters will receive coal.”
Matt added, “We really did buy coal. We can use it in the fireplace if nothing else.”
Everyone took a seat and arranged themselves in a circle, moving clockwise around the room. Tressa picked up the gift Kellan had brought, an eye care kit including a silk sleeping mask, a set of fake eyelashes, and a travel-sized bottle of eye drops. Kellan chose an oddly shaped gift, which turned out to be a small basket of various on-the-go moisturizers.
“Oh, thank you!” he exclaimed. “I know it wasn’t meant for me, but my skin gets terrible in this weather. I am definitely going to need this Chapstick when we go caroling.” He held up a tiny tube of Vaseline. “I take it this is for my lips, too?” Kellan said with a wink.
“It’s for whatever you need it to do,” said Lucy Ferocious. He casually tossed the black and electric blue-streaked hair of his signature punk-girl wig over his shoulder. “If the first thing that comes to your mind is your lips, then it’s no wonder you’re still single.”
Kellan could have started a cat fight. He and Lucy got on each other’s nerves more than Kellan liked, but it was Christmas, and he had already had a lovely day at his sister’s. Lucy was not about to put a damper on his spirit. “Either way, it’ll be put to good use,” Kellan said. “Thank you.” He transferred all his gifts from the basket into his clutch purse and drained his second glass of punch.
Among the other gifts were packs of pantyhose, thongs with extra strong elastic, and a steamy romance paperback entitled Hung with Care. The latter’s recipient flipped it open immediately and read aloud a passage with so many sack, package, and stuffed puns that his voice was soon drowned out by tipsy laughter and groaning.
Pat called for everyone to settle down. “Okay, we can read through more of this after caroling, when we’re tired and cold and have time to sit by the fire and rest off our buzz. However, we have a schedule to keep for a very good cause, so shall we continue?”
There were no more interruptions until it was time to leave. Once again, Pat addressed the room. “Remember, everyone, we’re collecting for Saint Elizabeth’s Homeless Shelter, which generously takes in LGBT youths whose parents have disowned them. Think back to the hardships you’ve faced, and -- aside from Leslie -- all our problems seem like a minor headache compared to what these kids go through. No offense, Les.”
Kellan’s heart went out to those kids. His own experience had been mild. When his sister hit puberty and suddenly became interested in fashion and make-up, Kellan had followed suit and his sister often dressed him up for fun. It delighted him much more than it did his parents, but after an embarrassing incident involving an unlocked door that proved him to be very straight, his parents became more relaxed. He did a few drag shows in college, but it took him almost a decade to find the Fabulettes. Even then, at least he found a place he belonged. Most of the kids in that homeless shelter wouldn’t have that opportunity without help. He was more than happy to wander door to door in this weather if it meant getting that help in any way.
They tidied up the wrapping paper, grabbed a couple last minute snacks and drinks, then put on their coats and headed out into the cold. Nearly everyone walked along with their partners. As the single ladies of the group, Leslie, Kellan, and Casey walked together. Casey was tipsy enough that he couldn’t keep his balance well, so Kellan linked arms with him for support.
“What happened to your sheer force of will?” Kellan joked.
“My will wanes when I dwank. I mean dwink. I -- pfft, you get it.” Casey snorted and leaned further against Kellan. “Don’t go grabbing anything you shouldn’t,” he said. “Not unless you really need to.”