Time for Christmas

Time for Christmas

Publisher: Torquere
Wordcount: 4500
Published on: 2013-12-04
Publisher Line: Sip (All I Want - Holiday)

When your partner works a late shift for the holiday, and there's nothing waiting at home except the damn Christmas tree, why not stay at the office yourself? Tim doesn’t care much for the holiday anyway, and there’s always more paperwork. A push out the door, a pot of stew, and a little holiday magic lets these two lovers find time for Christmas.

Excerpt

There were no stars visible through the city lights, and the snow seemed to materialize out of the light haze and the fog. But it was pretty, in its own way. Tim settled his hands lightly in his pockets, ignored the bus and started walking. There was plenty of time.

It was late when he unlocked the door to the brownstone and let himself in, shaking the snow off his coat in the foyer. He knocked the snow off his shoes and set them by the door, knowing better than to track any weather into the house. Pulling off his socks and rolling up the wet cuffs of his slacks, Tim hopped into the kitchen to check the clock over the stove. As he'd suspected, just after midnight. Perfect.

He pulled the pot out of the fridge and set it on the stove, turning on the burner. It was an old, cast iron Dutch oven they'd picked up at some point, one of the countless "adventures" he'd been dragged on over the years. Tim dumped the meat, the spices and the broth on top of the prepped veggies, giving it all a stir before putting the lid on.

Then he went to find dry slacks.

The house was warm, so he kept the dress shirt on, though he hung the tie over the closet doorknob. A fresh pair of slacks and socks and Tim planned to ensconce himself in the living room by the softly crackling fire. An old book and a glass of wine he'd procured while adding some to the stew would help the hours pass. Tim hovered over the chair, about to sit, when the dark mass of the tree caught his eye in the firelight.

"I'll never hear the end of it." He set the book down and got up to turn on the tree lights.

With the wind picking up, and the snow pelting the windows, the glowing tree did make it easier to read. And somehow, made the room seem more cheery and cozy, not that Tim would admit it.

When the fire was nearly down to embers, Tim set the book aside and rose. The night was dark, though night in the city was never completely black. The snow still caressed the windowpanes, bright specks appearing out of the darkness to linger or fade, each in their season.

A snowy Christmas morning usually meant a long day in bed, curled under the covers. Emily would be proud of him.

Heady steam rose with the lid from the Dutch oven. He scented, seasoned, stirred, and tasted. Perfect. The lid replaced, a flick of his wrist dialed the burner down to keep it warm.

A sudden clatter in the living room preceded the stereo turning on. It was thankfully a CD, and not the overly chipper holiday radio. Something soothing and classical but wholly in tune with the season accompanied the entrance of a man with closely-cropped white hair, neatly trimmed beard and a broad smile on his wind-chilled cheeks. "Cold out there!"

"Don't you dare put your freezing hands on me, Christopher."