Starring Adder and Kalil from Adder.
© Copyright 2009 Ally Blue
“Merry Christmas, guv’na! Spare a few pence for a gent wot’s down on ‘is luck?”
Kalil Sabatino aimed a wry smile at the wiry old man sprawled on the sidewalk at the entrance to his usual alleyway. He wore gray track pants with a silver stripe down the side, battered black dress shoes, and a red sweatshirt with a drawing of Santa sitting by a fireplace. Rudolph’s head hung over the cartoon mantle. “Hey, Harry. What happened to that janitor’s job you said you got?”
“Quit, didn’t I? No future for a businessman such a meself.” Harry flashed a three-sheets-to-the-wind grin, the stained ends of his moustache trailing over the gap where his front teeth ought to be. “Can’t be tied down, me.”
Shaking his head, Kalil shifted the liquor store bag to his left arm, dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out the granola bars he kept forgetting were there. He tossed them to Harry, along with the five dollar bill which was all the cash he had left. “Here. Eat that. Save the money for later. And don’t spend it on whiskey.”
“I’d never!” Harry held out a grubby hand as Kalil started walking again. “Come on, mate. A fiver won’t get a bloke far these days.”
“Take it or leave it, Harry. And for fuck’s sake, drop the accent. You’re not English.” He shot a grin over his shoulder. “Merry Christmas.”
What Harry suggested he do wasn’t very Christmasy, in spite of the involvement of candy canes. Kalil snickered and kept going. He’d spent all the time he was going to spend on the old drunk. Adder was waiting for him at home, busting at the seams to do the whole Christmas Eve thing once he got back.
Adder. Just thinking of the big goofball made Kalil smile. Adder was ridiculously excited about Christmas this year. At first, Kalil had wondered if he ought to worry about the vintage music, the red and green garlands draped all over their apartment, the scary-huge pile of presents, and especially the newfound interest in baking.
It’s our first Christmas together at home, darling, Adder had explained when Kalil asked, somewhat reluctantly, what was up with all the excess Christmas spirit. Last year was interesting, but I’m looking forward to something a bit more traditional this year.
In spite of his surprise at the word “traditional” passing Adder’s lips in a positive context, Kalil agreed. He’d be perfectly happy to never, ever celebrate Christmas on tour again. Adder’s enthusiasm for an old-fashioned holiday was contagious, though Kalil sort of wished he’d stay out of the kitchen. His cookies made great weapons, but they weren’t much good for eating.
A couple of minutes later, Kalil rounded the corner from Piedmont onto 10th Street. The building he and Adder had moved into when they decided to get their own place came into view ahead. Christmas trees blinked in dozens of apartment windows. Instantly, his gaze was drawn to the one on the third floor, on the corner overlooking the park across the street. He and Adder had decorated it last week, stringing popcorn and dried cranberries for the old-fashioned garland Adder had decided he couldn’t live without. Adder’s inability to handle popcorn without throwing it had led to a food fight, which had in turn led—how, Kalil had no clue—to fucking on the living room floor while Adder’s favorite Christmas songs played in the background.
From now on, Kalil would forever associate ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ with pouding things other than the skins.
He grinned. Ah, Christmas memories.
One of the downstairs residents was exiting the building just as Kalil walked up to the door. She held it open for him. He nodded his thanks as he walked into the warmth of the small but cheerful lobby.
One of the two elevators was out of order again, which meant a longer wait than he was willing to endure tonight. He took the stairs instead.
Up on the third floor, he hurried down the hall to the bright, cheerful apartment he and Adder had shared for the last five months. In the half hour he’d been gone, Adder had hung a huge holly wreath decorated with white bows on the door.
Laughing, Kalil fished his keys out of his jacket pocket, unlocked the door and swung it open. “Adder, I’m home. And I brought booze.”
“Wonderful,” Adder called from the living room. “Bring it in here, darling, and we’ll have a celebratory drink while we open presents.”
Kalil took the champagne he’d brought for New Year’s Eve into the kitchen and stuck it in the fridge. After a moment’s search, he found the ice bucket in the cabinet under the sink. There was a dead bug in the bottom. Wrinkling his nose, he dumped the bug in the trash, then washed the bucket with hot water and probably more dish soap than he needed before half-filling it with ice from the freezer.
With everything else set, he drew a small, silver-wrapped package from the pocket of his jacket and stared at it a moment. “To: Adder ~ From: Kalil” read the tag tucked beneath the dark green ribbon. His heart did funny things when he thought about what was in the box, the fact that he’d actually bought it and how Adder might react to the speech he’d planned to go along with it. But there was no turning back now. He was committed, dammit, and that’s all there was to it.
Tucking the box carefully back into his pocket, Kalil cradled the ice bucket in the crook of his elbow, grabbed the bottle of Bailey’s by its neck and strode toward the living room before he could lose his nerve. “All right, you get out the glasses and—” He stopped, nearly dropping the bottle at the sight that greeted him when he walked into the living area. “Oh my fucking God.”
Adder perched on the edge of a black wrought iron barstool facing the wetbar, one long leg dangling to the floor and the other hitched up so his heel rested on the bar’s footrail. He wore a red and green plaid cardigan, a red Fedora tilted rakishly forward, green leather boots with white fur around the tops, and nothing else.
Or so Kalil thought, until Adder swiveled the chair to face the doorway. Then Kalil saw the ribbon. Oh sweet baby Jesus on a jet-powered tricycle. A gold ribbon wrapped around the base of Adder’s balls, wound down the length of his hard prick and tied in a neat, multi-looped bow just under the head.
He looked like the long-lost love child of Bing Crosby and a demented gay porn star.
Kalil stared, his mouth hanging open. Bizarrely, his first thought was, I didn’t know Adder could tie a bow like that. Hot on the heels of that one came the fervent hope that Vi hadn’t been over to help.
Adder hopped down from the barstool and swayed toward Kalil, grinning in that way he had that said I know exactly what I’m doing to you and am reveling in my own evilness. “What’s the matter, darling? Don’t you like my outfit?” He schooled his face into a exaggerated pout when Kalil managed nothing but a tortured whimper in response. “Oh my. And I bought this especially for you, to celebrate our romantic Christmas Eve together.”
Kalil wondered what kind of person found plaid romantic. Then he remembered who he was talking to. He swallowed hard, fascinated by the way the gold glinted against the flushed skin of Adder’s prick. “Doesn’t that hurt?”
“What, this?” Adder ran his fingertips over the ribbon. It rustled, and fucking hell that little whispering sound had Kalil as hard as Adder in about half a second, though he couldn’t have said why on a bet. Adder lifted a single smug eyebrow as if he knew just what was going on behind Kalil’s zipper. “Just enough to keep me from coming while I sat here daydreaming of you touching me, my love.”
Touching. That’s what was missing from this scene. Setting the bucket and Bailey’s on the floor right where he stood, Kalil knocked the stupid hat from Adder’s head, fisted a hand in his hair—the usual green newly striped with Santa-suit red for the holidays, ho ho ho—and dragged his face down for a kiss.
Adder opened to him with a hungry growl. One long-fingered hand cupped Kalil’s skull. The other wormed down the back of his jeans to squeeze his ass. Kalil groaned into Adder’s mouth and grabbed his bare butt with the hand not tangled in his hair. They’d been together more than two years now, but kissing Adder never got old.
Just as Kalil was really getting into it, Adder pulled away and rested his forearms on Kalil’s shoulders. “Darling, don’t you want to unwrap your present?”
Confused and too turned on to think straight, Kalil glanced at the packages beneath the ceiling-scraping Scotch pine. “What, now?”
“Yes. Now.” Adder’s voice was soft and husky, like it always got right before they fucked. He wriggled his hips, rubbing his ribbon-wrapped cock against Kalil’s lower belly. “Do I need to spell it out for you, sweetheart?”
He didn’t. Not anymore. Grinning, Kalil let go of Adder long enough to shrug out of his jacket. “Crazy bastard. Hold on to your balls.”
Kalil dropped to his knees, undid the ribbon with a swift tug on the loose end and set about turning Adder’s laughter into moans.
Some time later, they lay naked on the floor beside the tree, propped on a pile of pillows they’d dragged off the sofa, sipping Bailey’s on ice while a collection of World War II era Christmas tunes played through the iPod Adder had hooked up to the sound system. Adder sang along to the Andrews Sisters’ version of ‘Jingle Bells,’ his left foot tapping against the carpet and sloshing the liquid in the glass he held on his bent knee. His right hand rested on Kalil’s thigh, fingers keeping time with the music.
Kalil scooted closer and rested his head on Adder’s shoulder. He felt happy and relaxed with a combination of good liquor, great sex and the man he loved beside him. So what if Adder had taken to dressing like a psychotic Christmas elf lately? He’d made this holiday the best one Kalil could remember. He wouldn’t trade one minute of it for all the money in the world.
The Andrews Sisters faded into Judy Garland crooning ‘Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.’ Adder set his glass on the floor, reached over and plucked Kalil’s glass from his hand. Placing it on the carpet, Adder cupped Kalil’s chin in his palm, tilted his face up and claimed a soft, slow kiss. Adder’s mouth tasted cold and sweet, and Kalil melted into the kiss with a contented hum.
When they drew apart, Adder gave Kalil the smile that always made his heart thump. “Stay right there, my dear. I want to give you your present.”
Present. Oh God.
“I thought that’s what the ribbon around your dick was all about.” Kalil watched Adder rise to his knees and reach for a small box under the tree. The image of the little silver package in his jacket pocket burned in Kalil’s mind. “You mean you got me two presents?”
Adder laughed. “My dear Special K, don’t pretend to be stupid. I know better.” Plopping down cross-legged by Kalil’s side, Adder handed him the burgundy and gold wrapped box. “Merry Christmas, darling.”
Kalil sat up with the box cradled in his hand. It was slightly larger than the one waiting in his discarded jacket. He gave it a gentle shake. Whatever was inside rattled around, the sound muffled as if by a layer of cotton. It had a bit of weight to it, but not too much. He shook it again.
Adder cupped Kalil’s hand, present and all, between both of his. He smiled, hazel eyes bright with amusement. “Kalil. Sweetheart. The best way to find out what’s inside is to open it.”
“I know that.” Kalil shot Adder what was supposed to be a reproachful look, but failed miserably because of the smile tugging at the corners of his mouth. “C’mon, shaking the box first is a time-honored tradition.”
“Indeed.” Lifting Kalil’s hand, Adder kissed his knuckles, then let go. “Open it, love.”
Kalil shook the box once more, just to make Adder laugh, before tearing off the shiny paper and opening the box. Inside lay an ornate silver key on a silver chain. Both looked antique. He hooked two fingers through the chain and lifted it from the box. The key glinted in the multi-colored lights from the Christmas tree.
Knowing Adder, this key had some sort of special meaning, but Kalil had no idea what it was. He met Adder’s gaze, all his questions in his eyes.
Adder’s lips curved into the sweet, open smile Kalil suspected only he ever saw. Taking the chain from Kalil’s hand, Adder opened the clasp and fastened it around Kalil’s neck. “You know that my family has money. That I grew up on a rather large estate.”
“Yeah.” Kalil smiled. It had taken Adder a while to tell Kalil much about his childhood, but he’d eventually gotten around to it. Kalil realized what a big deal it was for Adder to reveal anything at all about his closely-guarded past. That he was one of the privileged few to know it made Kalil feel warm inside every time he thought about it.
“Our house stood on a large lake, but there was also a smaller lake in the woods at the back of our property. I was told the original owners used to canoe there, but it fell out of use with the advent of motorboats because it was too small for a motorboat to go very far.” Adder’s eyes took on a nostalgic shine. “I used to love the place, because I could go there to be alone. I could swim naked in the summer, then lie on the dock in the sun without anyone noticing and getting me in trouble.”
Kalil laughed. “You were just born a nudist, weren’t you?”
“We’re all born nudists. Some of us simply choose to remain so.” Adder leaned forward for a quick kiss. “To continue. There was a small boathouse that once housed canoes for use on the lake, but it had been locked for as long as I could remember. I’m sure my parents had a key, but they wouldn’t let me have it because they didn’t want me playing in that old building. I never really questioned them. But the summer I was eleven, I was diving for treasure in my lake, when what should I find but an old silver key. And what do you think it opened, but that old boathouse?” Adder touched the key resting against Kalil’s bare chest. “Over the next few years, that old place became my refuge. It’s where I went to think while I was coming to terms with my sexuality. It’s where I wrote my first song. It’s where I ran to hide when five boys ambushed me between classes in freshman year and beat me because they didn’t think my clothes were masculine enough. It’s where I decided I would not allow bullies to dictate to me how to live my life. It’s where I laid out my grand plan for my future. Which I must say, has worked out quite well.”
Kalil stared into Adder’s eyes. His throat felt too full for speech. He laid both palms on Adder’s cheeks.
Adder rested his hands over Kalil’s. “For a long time, that old boathouse was my safe place. The place where I could go and be simply myself, without any need to hide anything. You’ve become that for me now, my love. You are my safe place. My heart and my home. So I thought the key to the only other safe place I’ve ever known would be an appropriate gift.” He bit his lip. “I do hope you agree, darling.”
The rare sign of nerves on Adder’s part loosened Kalil’s tongue. “I love it. This is…I can’t believe you’re giving me this.” Beaming, he rose to his knees and pulled Adder into his arms. “Thank you, Adder. Thank you.”
Adder’s arms went around his waist, holding him tight. He rested his head in the curve of Adder’s neck, confident that Adder knew how humbled he felt to have been given such a meaningful piece of Adder’s past.
Judy Garland faded into ‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas,’ which always made Adder misty-eyed, and Kalil was reminded of the little box in his pocket. He drew back, heart pounding. “Okay, my turn. Hang on.”
Trying not to notice the half-teasing, half-anticipatory grin on Adder’s face, Kalil pushed to his feet and forced his suddenly-shaking legs to take him across the room to his discarded jacket. He picked it up, fished the package out of the pocket, went back to where Adder waited and plopped back down onto the floor before his knees could give out on him.
“Here.” He thrust the silver-wrapped box at Adder, hoping Mr. Super-Observant wouldn’t notice the tremor in his hand. “Merry Christmas.”
Adder closed his fingers around the box. He held Kalil’s gaze for a long moment, his expression unusually serious. Kalil wondered what that meant. Did he already know what was in the box? Kalil didn’t see how he could, but Adder always seemed to know things that ought to be impossible for normal people to know.
Of course, he was hardly a normal person.
Just when Kalil felt on the verge of exploding from sheer anxiety, Adder finally turned his attention to the gift in his hand. Kalil watched, every muscle tight with apprehension, while Adder meticulously removed the green ribbon, untaped the shimmery paper, folded it and set it aside. He shot a wide-eyed glance at Kalil before opening the lid of the black velvet box. Kalil dug his fingers into his thighs. His stomach churned.
“Oh, gods.” Adder lifted the wide white gold band from its satin bed. The tiny diamond chips embedded in the top reflected sparks of light onto Adder’s awestruck face. “Oh, my darling. This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.” He turned it, and his face lit up when he found the inscription on the inside. “‘To Adder, all my love forever, Kalil,’” he read aloud. He slid the ring onto the fourth finger of his left hand and threw himself into Kalil’s embrace. “Thank you so much, my love. I shall treasure this ring for always.”
Adder went stiff, and Kalil cringed. He hadn’t meant to just blurt it out like that, but he got stupid when he was nervous. “I know we can’t really get married here, but maybe we could have like a committment ceremony or something. I mean, we don’t have to, I’ll totally understand if you think it’s a stupid idea or whatever, we can just—”
“K. Stop.” Shifting in Kalil’s arms, Adder pressed a soft kiss to his lips. “No need for your nervous babble, love. You surprised me, that’s all.” He grinned. “Yes.”
Kalil stared, confused. Adder arched an eyebrow. Then Kalil got it. Pure joy swelled in his chest. He tackled Adder to the cushions with a triumphant whoop. Laughing, Adder rolled on top of him and claimed a deep, lazy kiss.
Predictably, the kiss turned heated, the passion rising between them like it always did. They made love on the floor while Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Pearl Bailey and Nat King Cole crooned the holiday classics.
Lying sprawled across Adder’s chest afterward, Adder’s fingers in his hair and Adder’s heartbeat against his cheek, Kalil thought he ought to find that weird. But his whole life with Adder was weird.
Wonderfully, heart-fillingly weird.
Sex to a soundtrack of old Christmas tunes seemed normal by comparison.
Cuddled on the floor in Adder’s embrace, with soft music playing and the lights from the tree casting an ever-changing light over the two of them, Kalil let out a contented sigh. It might not be a conventional relationship, or a conventional life, but it was theirs, and they were happy together.
That was good enough for him.