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Free Christmas read from me!

I can already sense that Christmas is just going to get busier and busier around here, so here's my Christmas story early. Safe for work!



The Magi Still Work Christmas Miracles

"Don't forget to pick up the dry-cleaning"

Sean frowned as he read the text message, and sighed as he put his phone back in his pocket. It had been his hare-brained idea to take Brian home to South Carolina for the holidays. While it had sounded good during the balmy days of fall, now that they were scheduled to depart the next day, and he still had a million errands to run, his natural laziness had set in and he realized he would have been happier staying home on the couch with a beer watching A Charlie Brown Christmas. He popped open the trunk and set the latest round of Christmas presents inside as he added dry-cleaners to his list of things to do.



Within a few hours the shopping was done, and Sean remembered just in time to stop and pick up Brian's sweaters before heading for home. They planned to wrap the gifts together, pack, and grab a few hours of sleep before getting on the road early for the seven hour drive. As he gathered the bags together and juggled them with the plastic wrapped sweaters, Sean wondered again how the family would accept Brian. After getting past the awkward stage of "coming out" he had found that his mom accepted him right away, but it had taken a little longer for his brothers to come around. He knew that once they met Brian, any remaining reservations would fade away.

The front door opened before he got all the way up the steps.

"Did you get—" Brian smiled as he pushed open the screen door and reached out to take half of Sean's load. "Thanks babe."

"Anything for you, your highness," Sean said with a smirk as he slammed the door shut behind him.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Brian asked, setting the bags down on the table in the living room where he already had paper, ribbons, scissors, and tape set out.

"It means I love you kiddo," Sean said, bending down to press a light kiss to the top of Brian's head.

Quick as lightning, Brian turned and twined his arms up around Sean's neck. Bending his lithe body close he claimed a much deeper kiss.

Clamping arms tightly around Brian's waist Sean nuzzled against his mouth and whispered, "You trying to distract me?"

Laughter bubbled up and Brian said, "No babe, we have to get these gifts wrapped. I don't want to show up on your mom's front step empty-handed."

Giving Brian's ass a playful smack, Sean released him and stepped back. "Tell you what; let's kill two birds with one stone. I'll heat up dinner and you get started. That way we get done faster and then we hit the sack faster, and I can still get what I want."

Still laughing, Brian sat down and began to take things out of the bags. "Tell me who gets what."

"All the fishing gear is for my brother Nate. He's looking forward to a deep-sea fishing trip while he's off. That computer software shit is for Adam. He likes all that bullshit." Sean said as he banged open the cabinets looking for a cookie sheet.

"Think your brothers will like me?" Brian asked wistfully as he measured out paper and began to cut.

"Are you shittin' me?" Sean said as he set pieces of leftover pizza on the sheet. "You and Adam are about the same age, I know once you two get to talking I won't get a word in edgewise." He set the sheet in the oven and closed it with a thump. Walking back out to the living room he set a beer on the table near Brian, then popped open his own as he flopped down to watch. "Nate has a stick up his ass, so no tellin' with him, but if you wrapped me around your finger, you can work your charm on him too."

Brian winked as he set the wrapped package aside and started on the next one. "Sean, you were easy to wrap around my finger, I don't think you want me shakin' my ass in your brother's face."

"Hell no!" Sean said as he took another swig of his beer. "You try that shit with him he'd beat you down."

Flexing his muscles Brian said, "Let him try." He winked and started on the next gift. "What'd you get for your mom?"

Sean sat forward and sorted through the bags, "If I had all the money in the world I'd get her a diamond bracelet, but since I don't I had to settle for just a plain gold chain."

"Ah babe, she'll love it because it came from you," Brian said. He reached for the box and started wrapping that one next.

Setting his beer bottle on the table, Sean stood and went to retrieve the pizza. His voice was muffled from the kitchen, "Next year I'll have a steady job, and then I'll be able to get everyone the presents they deserve."

Brian bit his lip before he answered, "Next year we'll both have steady jobs babe, and then we won't be able to go spend the holidays with your family." He set the bracelet aside and went to work on wrapping Nate's gift. He looked up as Sean set the plate heaped with pizza on the table. "We have each other Sean, that's the only gift I need."

With a lopsided smile Sean eased forward and pressed a kiss to Brian's cheek. "I got you something else anyway."

"I know," Brian said, "so did I."

"Then we'll go to the poor house together."

When all the gifts were wrapped, Brian picked up the plate of pizza and beckoned to Sean. They snuggled together on the couch and did indeed watch the Charlie Brown Christmas while they ate. Once the show was over, Sean reminded Brian that 6am would come awfully early. He shooed Brian into the bedroom and said he'd pack all the gifts in the car and join him soon. "You better wait up for me," he scolded.

"No worries on that front Sean," Brian said with a saucy wink, "I wouldn't dream of going to sleep without my goodnight kiss."

"Brat," Sean said. Once Brian had left the room Sean picked up all the presents and took them to the car. He smiled as he set them in the trunk next to the large wrapped box that was already there. Brian's present, all ready to go.

---

It was only a seven hour drive, but because both Brian and Sean depended on work whenever they could get it they didn't plan on staying longer than 2 days in South Carolina with Sean's family. They planned to arrive early enough on Christmas Eve to throw themselves into the melee of brothers, wives, and kids, and then have a more restful Christmas day with just the two of them and Sean's mom.

An impromptu football game had broken out in the back yard just as they got there, and Brian dove in right alongside Sean. The game was rough and tumble with Brian and Sean pitted against Nate and Adam. Nate's young sons Tyler and Eric ran interference. Before long they were all rosy-cheeked and laughing, and just as Sean had predicted Brian fit right in.

The game ended when Sean's mother Sheila called from the back door that if they wanted to eat they needed to get in and washed up pronto. The meal was a sprawling, comfortable affair. Brian found himself the object of scrutiny as Sheila, Adam's wife May, and Nate's wife Laureen asked him a million questions. Sean growled, Brian poked his arm, and then answered all their questions.

It was hard to hold the children's interest, and soon Tyler and Eric were romping around the tree with little sisters Scarlett and Melody. The adults, for the most part, stayed at the table nursing a last glass of wine, or a cup of coffee. Only Brian joined the little ones around the tree, and soon he was pinned down while the four youngsters tickled him.

Finally May and Laureen began to gather the dishes, Adam and Nate gravitated toward the TV, and Sheila began to set the room to rights, picking up the discarded Christmas wraps and empty glasses. Sean wandered in to sit beside the tree, ready to rescue Brian should the need arise. He felt peaceful, and happy that his mate had been fully accepted into the tight-knit family.

Strong memories stirred as he sat beside the tree, covered in old battered ornaments and much newer ones that sparkled. His mom had lived in this house for years, and if he closed his eyes the shrieks issuing from the little ones could very well be he and his band of brothers. One memory surfaced, he opened his eyes and scanned the mantel shelf. The book was right there where he remembered it. O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi." In the early days the three boys had sat enraptured as Sheila read it to them. As time passed, and they had traded boyhood dreams for more real dreams of NASCAR and girls, the book had been relegated to the mantel, and was now covered in dust.

When Sheila came into the room, pushing a strand of hair out of her eyes and picking up the next round of glasses, Sean sat forward.

"Mom?"

"Mmmhmm," she said as she filled her fingers with rims of glasses.

Sean stood and walked to the mantel, picked up the book reverently, "Would you read it this year?"

Sheila sighed, "No one will sit still long enough to hear me read it Sean. The kids are too little, and you and you brothers outgrew the magic of it years ago."

Standing beside her he pressed a kiss on the top of her head. "I know someone who'd enjoy it," he whispered.

"Who?"

Sean stepped back and nodded toward where Brian was sitting up to catch Tyler and all a truce, "Brian would."

Smiling indulgently, Sheila rose up on tip toes and kissed his cheek, "You round them up, I'll read."

Fifteen minutes later everyone gathered around as Sheila read the classic story of Della and Jim, Christmas Eve, hair combs, and a watch. Holiday magic descended on them all, and even the children sat round eyed and quiet.

Soon after, Adam and Nate rounded up their respective families and trundled them off home so they'd be tucked into bed in time for Santa Claus. Not long after that Sean kissed his mother goodnight and spirited Brian off to his old bedroom.

"It's after midnight," Sean said once he'd closed the door behind them. He reached forward and pulled Brian against the curve of his body. "What say we exchange our gifts now, just you 'n me."

"But your mom Sean," Brian said as he settled back against Sean's solid warmth. "We should wait and open them with her."

"We'll have plenty of shit to open tomorrow," Sean murmured, "but I've been waiting too long to give you your gift."

"Ok babe," Brian said as he pulled away, "but you first, because you're going to have a heart attack when you see what I got you."

"Well that's not good," Sean said, "that might break my mom's heart, if I have a heart attack."

"Knucklehead!" Brian teased. He pulled the second suitcase he had insisted on bringing along out of the closet and opened it.

Sean flopped on the bed and waited. When Brian handed him the package he held it up and shook it. "Hmm, it's not rattling, it's not whimpering…"

"Cute Sean," Brian said as he settled beside him. He watched with a shiver as Sean's long fingers slid underneath the edges of the paper and stripped it all away.

When the wrappings were gone Sean sat in silence without moving for the longest time. At last he reached out and ran his finger over the smooth wood.

"It's a stand, for your prized katana," Brian said a trifle breathlessly.

"I know," Sean whispered. He picked it up and looked at it closely, noting that this wasn't an ordinary stand, the workmanship was flawless; it clearly cost a small fortune.

"I thought it just deserved a better resting place than an old milk crate," Brian said, "I know how much that sword means to you."

"Only you mean more to me kiddo," Sean said as he set the stand back on the bed. A frown tickled between his eyebrows as the words from the story his mother had read earlier began to form themselves in his conscious brain. With a small gasp he looked up and said, "Tell me you still have your guitar Brian."

Eyes widening Brian sat forward, "I sold it Sean," he said. "I really wanted to get you a good gift babe, one to mark just how much you mean to me."

Sean slumped back against the headboard and raised a hand to put over his face, "Everywhere, they are the Magi…" he murmured.

"Huh?" Brian reached up to tug Sean's hand down.

Carefully, Sean set the stand aside, and reached down for Brian's gift. "Great minds think alike kiddo," he said as he sat back against the headboard again. "I sold my sword to buy you this, because I wanted something special to mark this year too."

Realization began to dawn as Brian tore the paper from the box; he gasped and hiccupped at the same time when he unearthed the coveted Mesa Boogie amp. How he'd longed to own this amp, it had been his dream for years. Tears welled in his eyes as he looked up and met Sean's unwavering gaze.

"I love you Sean," Brian said.

Opening his arms, and then holding Brian close once he fell into them, Sean said, "I love you too Brian. So very much."

Setting their "useless" gifts aside for more prosperous times, Sean and Brian eased down under the covers. Fingers twined, soft whispered kisses, each could feel the fervor buried deep inside the other.

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Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
phoenixemrys.wordpress.com
Dec. 23rd, 2010 01:30 am (UTC)
The Gift of the Magi. I love that story. This one too. Thanks so much for such a lovely present! Merry Christmas to you too.
rowenasudbury
Dec. 23rd, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)
:) Thank you so much!

I read The Gift of the Magi to my students every year, even with all the difficult language. I love the story so much!
(Anonymous)
Jan. 9th, 2011 12:23 am (UTC)
WOW really a terrific read so from O. Henry to O. Rowena, two great works of literature now for straights and gays, masterful.
rowenasudbury
Jan. 10th, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I really love that O. Henry story, and I just had to "imitate" it to show how much I love it. :)
(Anonymous)
Jan. 27th, 2011 07:35 am (UTC)
b-e-a-u-tifulllllll..............

lovely....
I almost wept at the end...great work..i am hopelessly romantic and so it applead to me specially...great job
rowenasudbury
Jan. 28th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
Awww...thank you so much! I too am a hopeless romantic, and I was beginning to think there weren't that many of us left :) Thanks for taking the time to read and reply!
anne_barwell
Jul. 6th, 2011 09:32 am (UTC)
Hadn't read this one of yours before. Love it, just the romance and feel good I needed tonight :)
rowenasudbury
Jul. 6th, 2011 03:27 pm (UTC)
Ahhh...thanks :) I love these two "voices in my head"...and one day I'll write a longer story about them. As it was, this one turned out longer than I'd expected it would ^^
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )