Quick warning: this post will contain some spoiler-ish moments for stories I’ve written. I say “-ish” because really, when you’re reading queer romance stories, it’s not like you don’t know that the guys are gonna end up together, but hey. It’s the net. You were warned.
T’was the Night Before Christmas…
If you read the way I read, sometimes you get a wee bit, uh, involved with the characters lives, and you wonder what happened after the story ended. One of the things I love about short fiction is how often authors will revisit characters from novels and give you a glimpse of the happy ever after, or a day in their life. But since most of what I’ve written has been short fiction, I haven’t had the joy of doing that myself yet.
So, I figured it would be fun to check in with everyone on Christmas Eve.
James and Andy are wrapping presents. Neither of them are good at planning ahead, and James is still recovering. James almost has the walking-with-a-cane thing down, but the snow isn’t helping. They put on some music, cracked a beer each (a naughty indulgence for James, who hasn’t technically gotten the go-ahead for alcohol yet) and are working their way through the things they bought for Brooke and Sarah. Every now and then, James looks at Andy and thinks, this is real. Andy catches him looking and asks what he’s thinking, but James just smiles, and gives him a kiss.
Out in British Columbia, Luke is taking his customary winter vacation in a rented cabin, but this time he’s staying through the season as a special guest of the owner’s nephew. There’s a little box under the tree for Luke that Rick is nervous about—how do you surprise a guy who sees everything that happened?—but it’s going to turn out fine. Luke’s going to pretend he has no idea what’s in the box, even after he touches it.
As is tradition in the Quinn household, Kieran and Sebastien joined Kieran’s father, brother, and his brother’s girlfriend for church. Sebastien suffered through it quietly, and Kieran held his hand to let him know it was appreciated. After, they opened their stockings before bed (another Quinn tradition), and Kieran had to hide more than one thing Sebastien had put in his stocking before his father could see it. Apparently, Karen and Sebastien had at least one shopping trip together, because Kieran saw the same look of panic on his brother’s face at least once, and now Kieran needs some brain bleach.
A strongly conservative and highly bigoted CEO surprised the business world by donating 90% of his yearly profits to building shelters for LGBT youth. A hotel set to host a “Save the Family” conference erupted in instantaneous white-hot flame and was destroyed completely, and was the third place to agree to host the conference this has happened to. Tristan and Lewis turned off the news and started planning their next move. Neither really care for Christmas. Tristan doesn’t think too much about how they came to be together, even now. Lewis will likely never know.
With their on-again-off-again relationship currently firmly in the “on,” Detective Stoler doesn’t push when he sees his boyfriend sniffle over a Christmas card. He checks later, and sees it’s unsigned, and doesn’t recognize the handwriting. It just says, ‘I’m happy, and I hope you are, too.’ He wonders who sent it, but knows his guy will tell him when he’s ready to do so. They snuggle in to watch movies, and exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, since Stoler is working the Christmas Day shift.
Winston spends Christmas with his great-uncle and Kosta in Suffolk, and has almost got the coin-flipping thing down. He tries hard not to slip up when he doesn’t remember things everyone else does, and checks his phone for dirty texts from Jack before he goes to bed.
When Chris unwraps a key, he’s not sure at first what it’s for, until he remembers the last thing Lightning Todd told him. Liam helps him move in over the winter break. Chris starts classes again in January, and when his boss Tracey comes back to work, he accepts her offer of a part-time job.
Julia and her husband have to cancel their Christmas Eve plans when she goes into labour a couple of weeks early. Julia has a daughter. She names her Leah. Graham isn’t too sure about being an older brother at first, but he takes to it the first time Leah smiles at him.
Connor and Mark do their best to have a quiet evening together, but a stream of the departed tend to show up during the holidays, and this one is no exception. Mark helps Connor bring peace to as many of them as they can, and when they finally fall into bed late at night, neither of them see the handsome man who appears and kisses Mark’s forehead.
Noah spends the holiday alone, as he prefers, but a certain red-haired young man does drop by to wish him well, and it reminds him he’s not alone. In many ways, Noah is healed. And though he tries not to bleed, but isn’t afraid to.
At the Byrnes Vinyard, Jesse is always busy during the Christmas season with the restaurant and the winery both. He partnered with a local deaf and hard of hearing organization, and has enjoyed the new hires. He doesn’t date much, but one of the volunteers at the organization is training with him to run a marathon, and there’s definitely chemistry. Jesse isn’t sure he’ll work the next grape picking when there’s a perfect frost for ice wine.
Christmas is a bit awkward at Anthony‘s house since he started dating his sister’s ex, but Robert just shrugs it off. None of Robert’s gifts were particularly romantic, and Anthony couldn’t be happier. On the other side of town, after making Mikhail suffer through the Muppet Christmas Carol, Geoff finally agreed to watch the famous Canada-Russia hockey game on DVD. He fell asleep half-way through, but Mikhail didn’t mind too much.
Being the only out couple in their High School wasn’t without incident, but Will and Ryan managed. Christmas break, and their first Christmas together, has been pretty much magic, though it hasn’t snowed. Will bought Ryan skates for Christmas, and is planning to teach him to skate on the Canal. Ryan will fall down a lot.
Since Dylan and Carey moved in together, not a single sailor has been lost that set sail from Fuca. Dylan’s art continues to garner praise in the community, and he and Carey plan to open a gallery featuring local art in the New Year. For Christmas Eve, they spent the day with Carey’s mother and brothers and the various nephews and nieces. The hot chocolate swirls itself whenever they kiss. On the other side of Fuca, Keith and Niall enjoy a quiet evening together, sitting by their tree and listening to the weather. Niall tells Keith the things he hears on the wind, and they make a game out of trying to link the bits and pieces. Their tree is potted, and Keith will plant it outside come spring.
Julian and David take a walk together along the canal most nights, unless the weather is truly bad, and they make a point of doing so on Christmas Eve. Every time, Julian watches the Grand Trunk. Every time, there is no train. He still believes.
A detective with a bad reputation tells everyone who might ask he’s fine on his own for Christmas, as he’s got some gin and a good book. Instead, he visits a priest, who is surprised to see him but makes no comment other than a thank-you when the detective takes up position beside the priest at the shelter, feeding the homeless and—sometimes—looking as though he’s noticed something in the corner of the room. He’ll deal with that tomorrow.
With Bill stationed overseas for the holidays, it’s just Cameron and Tate at home. They Skype with Bill, who asks them for a visual care package. They deliver.
Famous Author Benny Matthews takes time off his latest book tour at Christmas to visit his home town of Grand Rue. He doesn’t visit his family, spending time with an old friend and a local mechanic, and when he leaves this time he knows he’ll be back. Vengeance might not be justice, but it’s close enough.
For Luc, Anders, and Curtis, this year Christmas falls on a full moon, so they spend much of their time renewing their bonds. Curtis wraps a leather jacket for Anders, who hates winter, and enchants it to stay warm, and fashions a lost-wax-cast silver ring for Luc, who appreciates unique things. Luc surprises Curtis with a gorgeous vintage calligraphy pen, and presents Anders with a dress shirt he will likely never wear. Anders buys both men dildos. Luc’s takes batteries. Curtis’s glows in the dark.
Paul met a guy through a gay swim club, and they’re dating. It’s their second Christmas together, and Paul’s pretty sure it’s going to last. His boyfriend asked him about the shirt in his closet with the cut in it, and offered to have his mother fix it. Paul told him not to bother.
Every year Charles tries to outdo himself with a Christmas Cake of style. This year, it’s a tiny winter wonderland, with fondant figures of his whole family, Anna included. Anna’s mother is wearing pink.
After nearly two years of almost never dating, Aidan is shopping for Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve and reaches out for a copy of the latest Christopher Moore book and his hand collides with another man reaching for the same book. They both try to let the other have it, and Aiden finally agrees to buy it. He helps the man find something else, and by the time they’re standing in line together, Aiden gets up the nerve to ask him for his number. The man gives it.