Down on his luck Connor Lewis is not having the best Christmas season. He's lost his job, his father recently died, and now he's about to be evicted from his apartment. A chance meeting with Nelson Robertson, a local executive and billionaire, brings new happiness into his troubled life. Will Santa bring these two men the Christmas wishes they've been hoping for?
“Where am I?” Nelson Robertson asked as he stared up at an unfamiliar ceiling. The last thing he remembered was leaving a Christmas party after drinking way too much alcohol. He should have known better than to do that. He hadn’t felt well when he first arrived and had only intended to put in an appearance since he was the boss. Realizing that just lying there wasn’t going to solve anything, he decided to sit up. Bad move. The room spun, forcing him to lie down. He tried again. This time he succeeded. The covers slipped down, and he realized for the first time that he was naked. Someone undressed me. Maybe he got lucky, met a cute guy and went home with him. No, he would never date anyone he worked with. What he did behind closed doors was nobody’s business but his, and most of the people he worked with were terrible gossips.
Nelson looked around. There wasn’t much in it except a full-sized bed, a nightstand, a dresser and a television. Whoever lived here didn’t have much. Had he been picked up by some lunatic who might be preparing to come through the door at any moment and harvest his organs? He was about to get the hell out of there when a door opened and a young man walked in carrying a tray. Nelson recognized him. The guy worked as a waiter at the local café he frequented.
“Oh, you’re awake?”
The soft voice hypnotized Nelson. “Where am I?”
“You’re in my apartment. Good morning, by the way.” He put the tray down. “We didn’t have the chance to get properly introduced last night. My name is Connor Lewis.”
“How did I get here?”
“I brought you here after I found you staggering down the street last night. I didn’t want you to get hit by a car.”
“You mean I was drunk.”
“A little,” Connor said. “You also had a high fever, although I didn’t know that until I touched you.” He put his palm against Nelson’s forehead. “Good. It’s finally back to normal.”
“Are you a doctor?” He still wasn’t convinced that this guy was on the up and up. Nobody just took a perfect stranger home. Hell, he outweighed the younger guy by at least forty or fifty pounds. So, either he had help getting him to this place or superhuman strength.
“No, I’m a nursing assistant.”
“Have you been up all night?” Nelson asked.
Connor nodded. “Yeah. I had to make sure you didn’t throw up in your sleep and choke. Plus, I had to do something to lower your temperature. For a moment I thought I would have to haul you to the hospital.”
“Thank you for looking after me,” Nelson said. “I don’t know of anyone who would risk their safety to help someone he didn’t know.”
“I know you,” Connor said. “You come into the café where I work part-time. You order the number one, Mocha Mint Chocolate Latte.” He lifted the thermometer. “Say ah!”
“Ah!” So, Connor did recognize him. Connor put the instrument inside Nelson’s mouth. He also took Nelson’s wrist and checked his pulse. Nelson stayed very still. Connor had a delicate touch and soft fingers.
“Your pulse is strong,” he said. He removed the thermometer and looked down at it. “Ninety-seven degrees.” He took a bottle of water from the tray, uncapped it and handed it to Nelson. “Drink this, we don’t want you to dehydrate.”
Nelson did as he was told, studying the younger man as he did so. He had hair the color of hay, a beautiful face, and a charming bedside manner. He wondered about Connor’s true age. The blush made him appear so young and innocent. The long-lashed hazel eyes, the slender nose and curved full lips made Nelson weak with desire. He wondered if Connor knew how truly gorgeous he was. Of all the faces he’d gazed upon, Nelson always thought him gorgeous. “How old are you?”
“Twenty-four,” Connor answered. “Drink.”
Nelson would have guessed much younger. He lifted the bottle of water again and nearly drained it this time. “I better get up and get dressed. I’ve taken up enough of your time.” He moved the cover aside and stopped abruptly.
The color on Connor’s cheeks deepened. “I steamed cleaned your suit and tie and washed your other things. There are clean towels in the bathroom, along with a new toothbrush and some toiletries.”
“Thank you.” Nelson grabbed the sheet to cover his nudity. “I know I’m being silly. I’m sure you’ve seen another naked man before.”
“Yes,” Connor said. “But none as fine as you.” He slapped his hand over his mouth.
Nelson chuckled. He’d had compliments on his body before. It wasn’t natural. He had to work real hard at that gym to keep it that way. “Where’s the bathroom?”
Connor pointed. “In the hall right outside the door.”
Nelson figured he’d better get out of the room quickly before Connor got a good look at the erection that had suddenly sprouted. Normally young guys did nothing for him. He liked his men older and more sturdily built. Connor appeared on the thin side…. like a delicate little hummingbird.
His clothes had been laid out on a made bed when he returned. Something smelled good. After dressing Nelson walked out of the bedroom and found Connor in a small kitchen cooking. Nelson watched a few minutes. He is so cute. Connor had scrambled eggs. He looked up, saw Nelson and smiled. The entire room seemed to brighten.
“Please join me.”
“I wouldn’t want to make you go to any more trouble,” Nelson said. The sight of Connor cooking intrigued him. Normally he ate out.
“No trouble at all. In fact, I would be honored if you shared a meal with me.”
Good looks, kind, and has manners. Where has this angel of mercy come from? “Okay.” Nelson entered the kitchen. It might be small, but it was clean and neat. The table was set for two. Besides eggs, there was bacon, toast and apple juice. Coffee brewed in a pot on the counter. Nelson removed his suit jacket and hung it on a hook and then he sat down.
“Would like some coffee?”
“Yes, please,” Nelson answered. Connor poured for him. He had very steady and beautiful hands. “How long have you been a nursing assistant?”
“About a year,” Connor answered as he sat down across the table from him.
“Do you like it?”
“Sometimes. I spend most of the day cleaning and sanitizing rooms and putting bandages on boo-boos.”
Connor nodded. “I worked at the children’s hospital a couple of blocks away from here.”
“Where exactly are we?” Nelson asked.
“Down the street from the cafe.”
“I work nearby on Anderson Avenue,” Nelson said. He ate some of his food, happy to find that Connor was a pretty good cook.
“The hospital is on Anderson Avenue,” Connor said.
“How did you get me here, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“I walked you here,” Connor answered.
“But I must have been dead weight.”
“You were heavy, but you did walk on your own. I just had to hold you up a bit.”
“I’m not complaining,” Connor said holding his coffee cup up to his mouth. “You are my first guest.”
“You live here alone?”
Connor nodded. “I don’t have many friends and the place isn’t very big.”
“Are you from Philadelphia” Nelson asked.
“Yes, West Philadelphia. What about you Mr. Er….?
“Robertson. My name is Nelson Robertson.” He’d lain in the young man’s bed, showered in his bathroom, and was now eating his food and he hadn’t even told him his name. “My family is from the Northeast side of Philadelphia. Connor looked up from his plate. “You know the area?”
Connor nodded. “I’ve heard of it.”
He wondered what Connor knew about it.
“What do you do, Mr. Robertson?”
“Please call me, Nelson. I work for a company that manufactures electronics.”
“You mean computers?” Connor asked.
“Yes,” Nelson added. Actually, he was the CEO of Robertson’s Technology, but he didn’t want to brag. “I was coming from our office party last night. I guess I had too much to drink.”
“Did you know that you were sick before you went to the party?”
Nelson nodded. “I thought it was just a head cold coming on. I’ve lived here all of my life but you never get used to the cold temperatures.”
“I like this time of year,” Connor said. “I like the smell of the fireplaces and playing in the snow.”
“You mean you used to like playing in the snow.”
Connor chuckled. “No, I still do. When my father was alive we used to go sledding and build snowmen. It’s not fun doing those type of things alone, but I still like making snowballs.”
“Did you move to this area because of your jobs?”
“Yes, I was just lucky enough to find this apartment so close so I don’t have to worry about a car. There’s a grocery in the area and I can take public transportation anywhere else.”
Nelson had never gone inside of a grocery or ridden on public transportation. He had several cars in his garage at his disposal, and he had a driver who did all the shopping for him. “Do you still have family back home?”
Connor shook his head. “No, it’s just me. I was an only child and my mother died shortly after giving birth to me. My father raised me. He died last year from cancer.”
“I’m sorry to hear that,” Nelson said. He didn’t think that nursing assistants made a lot of money. That would explain Connor’s meager possessions. He probably had to use every penny he had to bury his father. Nelson finished his food and pushed back from the table. “I really should be going so you can get some rest.” He reached into his pocket and found his cell phone. He added honest to the list of Connor’s credits. He could have taken the phone and the wallet and cleaned him out. They had both been laid out on the bed next to his clothing. He’d been surprised to find that everything in his wallet had been there, including the cash and change he had on hand and all of his credit cards. “Hello, James?” he said, after having pushed the speed dial button for his driver. “It’s Nelson. Yes, I’m alive. I need you to pick me up.” He moved the phone from his ear. “What’s your address?”
“Two hundred Kerlerec Street,” Connor said. “Bottom floor, apartment A.”
Nelson repeated it to his chauffeur. “No, I spent the night with a friend. Okay, I’ll see you soon.” He disconnected the call. “James is on his way.”
“Is he your brother?”
“No, my chauffeur,” Nelson answered.
“You have a driver?”
Nelson nodded. “Yes. I was supposed to call him last night after the party, but apparently, I was too drunk to remember that. I wonder where I was trying to walk to?”
“You were heading in this direction,” Connor said. “We’re just two blocks away from where I found you.”
Nelson chuckled weakly. “The lord takes care of fools.”
Connor rose and took their empty dishes and put them in the sink. “We can sit in the living room and wait.” He led the way.
Nelson grabbed his suit coat and followed. He must have left his heavier coat at the office. He promised himself that he would never drink that much again. The living room was small too, but cozy. There was a tiny Christmas tree near the window. There were no gifts beneath it. Nelson sat down on the sofa and Connor sat down in a chair. “How come a nice fellow like you doesn’t have any friends?”
Connor shrugged. “I’m not really good around people.”
“But you’re a nursing assistant.”
“Young folks are different. I don’t have to find things to say to them. They are only interested in video games and clothing. Adults want to talk about politics, the environment, and their money market accounts.”
“And you’re not interested in any of that?”
Connor shook his head. “That kind of crap bores me to tears.”
“What are your interests? I’m sure you have some.”
“Survival,” Connor answered. “I just take everything one day at a time.”
Nelson hadn’t met too many introverts before. Maybe it was because Connor was an only child and didn’t have any living relatives. He reached into his wallet and pulled out his business card. “Call me if you ever need anything or if you just want to talk.”
“I don’t have a cell phone,” Connor said.
“Borrow one from a co-worker,” Nelson said. “Everyone should have at least one friend.”
Someone knocked at the door and Connor went to answer it. “It’s for you,” he said.
Nelson stood up and James entered. “James, this is Connor Lewis. He gave me shelter and nursed me during my period of stupidity.”
“Yes sir,” James said. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Lewis. Thank you for taking care of my boss.”
“Any time,” Connor said.
Nelson walked toward the door. “Thanks again.”
Connor stepped aside so they both could leave. “Have a nice day.”
“You too,” Nelson said. He looked back once as he and James walked away. Connor waved and then closed the door.
Nelson and James walked down the hallway. They stepped outside. It had started to snow again. Nelson spotted a legal-looking sign on the building as he exited, surprised to read the word written in bold red letters at the top of the sign Condemned. What? It had a January 2nd demolition date on it.
Wondering about the condemnation sign, Nelson followed James to the [what kind of car?] parked at the parked. Neither man spoke as they climbed inside the car.
“I was very worried about you when you didn’t call, sir,” James said as he started up the engine. “What happened to you?”
“I got drunk and I think I had a fever. Connor brought me to his place after finding me staggering down the street.”
“I don’t think I’ve heard you mention that name before. Is he a close friend??” James asked.
“Not exactly. He works at a cafe I frequent. He was just being kind to a stranger.”
“You don’t find many people like that nowadays,” James said as he drove away from the curb.
Nelson agreed, “No, you don’t.”