Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas Coda 3


Brett and Rafferty from THIS ROUGH MAGIC

 

 

Rafferty told himself he didn’t expect Brett to show.

Christmas Eve? Nah. There would be some swell Snob Hill party he was expected to attend or some wingding at the old plantation he’d feel it his duty to soldier through. And it wasn’t like Rafferty was ten years old and still believed in Santy Claus. It was a long time since he’d knelt by his cot praying for a pony or a long lost uncle. He was a big boy now and this was just another night in foggy old San Francisco. A little colder, a little darker than some—but Rafferty’d known colder and darker.

It was well after midnight when he poured a stiff drink, his second of the evening, and turned out the lights in the front of the house. He was lying in bed reading White Fang by Jack London when he heard the faint, familiar scratching at his bedroom window.

His heart sprang into life. He threw the book aside, unfolded from the bed, and shoved open the window. Brett stood in the alley. He grinned at Rafferty and held up a bottle of Dom Perignon.

“I thought I heard the click click click of reindeer hooves,” Rafferty drawled.

“Merry Christmas.” Brett handed over the champagne and climbed through window with considerable agility, given that he was wearing evening clothes beneath a dark ulster. The ulster had a Persian lamb collar, so Rafferty had guessed right. A night on the town for young Master Sheridan.

He shoved the window closed behind Brett, yanked the curtains shut. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

Brett gave him a level look, his eyes as green as spring. “I can leave if you’ve got other plans.”

“Of course I don’t have plans and of course I don’t want you to leave.” Rafferty took him in his arms. Brett’s eyes were shining and happy, his flushed face cold from the bitter night air. He tasted like champagne. 

“I got away as soon as I could.’

“You should have told me you were coming. I’d have…” What? Fixed Brett a meal? He’d have had plenty to eat and plenty to drink wherever he’d been.

“I wasn’t sure I’d be able to make it. I didn’t want to disappoint you.”

Rafferty was touched—and embarrassed. He would have been disappointed, sure, though he’d like to think he was better at hiding his feelings. “I’m glad you made it.”

Brett treated him to one of those rare, unguarded smiles. Six months they’d been…whatever they were, and those smiles still made Rafferty’s breath catch in his throat.

“Did you have a nice evening?” he asked, and he genuinely hoped Brett had because there weren’t nearly enough nice evenings in Brett’s life.

“Not particularly.” Brett reached deep into his coat pocket and pulled out a small parcel, a flat blue box with a white ribbon.

“What’s this?” Rafferty took the box.

Brett shrugged out of his ulster and draped it over the bed post. The first time he’d done that, Rafferty had woken during the night and, thinking someone was looming over the bed, nearly shot the coat. “Open it,” Brett said, and turned his attention to the champagne.

Rafferty recognized that blue box and he wondered uneasily where the hell Brett had found the money to buy whatever was inside. Hopefully Brett and Kitty weren’t back to pawning family heirlooms.

By the time Rafferty had fumbled open the box, Brett had uncorked the champagne and poured it into the only two clean coffee cups left in the house.

“Hell.” Rafferty stared down at the gold pocket watch. He swallowed hard. “I got you a book.”

Brett laughed. “Did you? What book?”

Rafferty’s face felt hot. It had seemed like a good idea at the time, but really what the hell had he been thinking? “Shakespeare’s sonnets.”

Brett laughed again, an indulgent chuckle. He had put his mug of champagne on the steamer trunk that served as Rafferty’s bedside table and was shedding his clothes with quick, unselfconscious grace. His skin was pale and smooth like warm marble. He said, “You’re a romantic, Neil.”

Maybe. He was Irish. It was pretty much the same thing.

Rafferty removed the pocket watch from the fancy box. It was a beauty. The nicest thing he’d ever had in his life. He glanced at Brett now climbing into his bed, and mentally corrected himself. The second nicest thing he’d ever had in his life.

“Thank you,” he said, and he wasn’t talking to Brett.

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

42 comments:

  1. Gorgeous. So glad they were able to keep "…whatever they were".

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  2. Wonderful! I hope you're having even half as much fun writing these as I am reading them! :D

    merentha13

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  4. These little codas are one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever received (okay, that sounds sort of weird, but I live inside my head, and your stories occupy some serious real estate in there!). Thank you, Santa. This was a moving, wonderful peek into Brett and Rafferty's lives. :-)

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  5. Aww..this made me just the tiniest bit melancholy. I so want "whatever this is" to work out for Brett and Neil. I loved where he almost shot the coat. I agree with whoever said that I hope this is as much fun for you as it is for us! Thank you!

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  6. I love these codas! Thank you.

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  7. my first instinct is to say these guys are some of my favorites, but then i say that about all your characters. like everyone else i'm so enjoying all the codas. love it.

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  8. Me three. I hope you are having so much fun doing these. Great way to start the day.

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  9. You do make a great Santa, Josh. :) Thank you so much.

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  10. That was perfect. Absolutely perfect. If I started pointing out all my "favorite" lines, might as well be retyping the story. ;)

    And gosh, I loved that TRM took place in San Francisco. I'd forgotten. This coda brought me right back there.

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  11. Aw. Thank you all for the nice, appreciative comments. (I check every morning to see how they're going over!) :-D

    I'm so glad these little bits and bobs are being enjoyed--and yes, I am enjoying doing them. More than I expected!

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  12. That was wonderful and touching! You made my day once again :D

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  13. Wow, you brought out my happy tears with this one Josh - knowing what kind of childhood Neil had and the era that both of these guys live in makes their romance especially moving.

    Love hearing how much you are enjoying writing these :-)

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  14. So wonderful knowing there is a present waiting for me each mornng on my computer, from my favorite author! Such a touching moment between Neil and Brett. Thank you, Josh.

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  15. A great "update" on these two who had a HFN ending in the book :-)

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  16. Thank you so much for these little insights into the characters christmas festivities! Best advent calendar ever! TRM is another favorite of mine! Looking forward to the sequel!

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  17. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Josh! These are just marvelous. As stormymonday said, best advent calendar ever! :-)

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  18. Thank you, it was lovely. I still hope you'll write a sequel one of those days... I know, I know ;)

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  19. I'm so happy to see Brett and Neil six months on and still being "whatever they were." I got a chuckle out of Neil nearly shooting the coat as it loomed over them. I'm glad he got his Christmas wish.

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  20. "Maybe. He was Irish. Pretty much the same thing" What a great line! Another sweet surprise. Thanks, Josh.

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  21. This gave me the warm fuzzies. >.<

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  22. My God, Josh. Tearing up here, and that's not been seen for...awhile. I love these. How're you going to keep it up? Any chance of Tim and Jack?

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  23. Thank you so much! I'm taking a break tomorrow, but will be back with another coda on Friday; :-)

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  24. Christmas for all your characters - it's making a simply wonderful December for your readers!!

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  25. I am so enjoying these brief interludes with some of my favorite guys...so happy for Rafferty to get Brett for his Christmas present (well, besides the watch),
    really lovely, Thanks
    Rdafan7

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  26. Love these Josh. Keep them coming.
    Thanks.

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  27. You're all so kind! Thank you. So pleased to share these little glimpses of Christmas with you!

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  28. So sweet and tender!
    They're lovable and show that respect to eachother that makes them so much tri-dimensional. Loved it.

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  29. These historical ones feel very fragile in the writing. Like old ornaments handed down from generation to generation. It's hard to find the balance between the historical reality and Christmas joy.

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    1. I´m certain it is.
      I feel that balance was achieved here, though. There is always some latitude on Christmas stories.
      In this there was no need for Christmas "magic".It was to people who love each other in a room :)
      I wonder if the neighbours, saw Brett getting inside through the window...

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    2. Perhaps Rafferty is lucky enough to have neighbors who mind their own business -- or have bigger problems of their own. ;-)

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  30. Hmm... I like this one so much.
    I especially enjoyed that last line.

    Wow, Josh! You are an amazing writer. So much punch, so few lines. :)

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    1. Thank you, Vivian. These are a nice challenge -- surprisingly satisfying to write.

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  31. This one I had to be very careful because the sequel picks up a couple of days later, so I couldn't introduce anything that might change events to follow. ;-)

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  32. Thanks, Josh. I love these small (but not insignificant) glimpses into some of my favorite characters' lives.

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    1. I'm glad! I wasn't sure the idea would really appeal given how very short some of these are.

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  33. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Josh! I love Brett and Neil and always fear a little for them. Their relationship seems so precarious. It could break any time if it were observed by someone. And now you've got me all sentimental...

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    1. I think this is the perfect time of year for sentiment!

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