The Next Christmas by Liam Livings
Blurb: In a snowy small town in England, just before Christmas, garage mechanic David and office worker Christian are preparing to spend the festive period with Christian's parents. The parents who told Christian last year he wasn't welcome to their family festive celebrations since he told them he was gay.
But this year it will be different, the parents welcome their son and his boyfriend, David with open arms; different except for when it comes to their sleeping arrangements.
Will David and Christian's love overcome prejudice and old-fashioned views?
Can David actually enjoy playing Pictionary?
Note: may contain sexually explicit scenes of a homoerotic nature.
I walked through the door to my flat and overheard Christian on the phone in the spare bedroom. I wanted to wash off the garage smell from my body, even though he always said it was sexy, I wasn’t convinced, and it wasn't sexy to me anyway. As I walked past where he was talking, I caught a few words.
“I know it's new to you. I understand that. But he's my boyfriend. We're together. And it's the twenty-first century.”
Knowing it was wrong, but unable to stop myself, I stood outside the door, holding my breath.
“Mum, if I could talk to Dad, I'm sure I could explain.” There was a long pause, then, “I thought he was all right. Now he's met him. Now he's seen us together. That's why we did it gradually over the year. It's not a big shock seeing him at your place.” Another pause. “She won't care, she's too young to care. Besides, he's my boyfriend.” Pause. “I won't stop using that word. Because he is my boyfriend. I know you're okay with it. But why should I kowtow to Dad. It's his problem and he needs to deal with it.” Pause. “Yes, you know I do. We've both been looking forward to coming to yours for Christmas for ages. I know what compromise means, Mum.” He sighed loudly.
I'd heard enough, so I quietly walked outside and walked around my red Mini, with its Union Flag roof, thinking of what I could do now. My hands shook as I held them in front of me. First I washed the bodywork, rinsing off the dirt, then washing it with hot soapy water, then buffing up the metal to an as new shine. Then, knowing I still wasn't ready to go back inside and face any conversation about anything much really, I opened the bonnet and began changing the spark plugs, then moved onto the air filter, and as I was starting to top up the radiator and check the battery's charge Christian's voice appeared behind me.
“We need to go. Are you packed and ready?”
I turned to face him in his skinny blue jeans and a baggy sleeveless Madonna tour T-shirt. “What have I said about clothes in this weather?”
“Are you ready?” He folded his arms across his chest.
“I'm making sure we're safe for the drive. Roads are dangerous. Black ice, white snow, traffic jams. It's all going on at the moment according to the news.”
“So you are ready to go? Great. I'll bring my bag down in a few minutes, then we can be on our way, to miss the big getaway rush.”
“If it snows more, we'll be stuck. We could end up stranded. Stuck at your parents. Because that's the thing about snow isn't it, you always want to be snowed in, and not snowed out. Imagine being snowed out.”
“What are you on about?” Christian started to close the bonnet.
I held his hands gently to stop him. “Nothing.” I bit my lip, remembered what Tony and I had discussed last night, finished what I was in the middle of doing, closed the bonnet and then said, “I'm done now. Come in, it's bloody freezing out here.” I hugged his thin cold body to mine, took off my jacket and wrapped it around him.
“Thanks,” he said, squeezing my hand as we walked across the car park back to the front door of the building.
We stood in silence in the lift, still holding hands, and then Christian said, “I love you, you know, you big silly fuzzy handyman bear. Sorry about the strop yesterday.”
I squeezed his hand. “Love you, too.” I leant down to kiss him, his smooth face against my beard, our cheeks brushing together.
He pushed himself closer to my body, his loose hand reached around to squeeze my bum, and pull us closer together.