Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Coda 7


Ridge and Tug from JUST DESSERTS

 

 

It was a good thing Ridge was mighty fond of Tug or he’d probably have killed him by now.

As it was, it had been touch and go for a little while that morning. But killing your lover on Christmas morning was so…so…heterosexual. Ridge had exerted superhuman strength and managed to refrain from conking Tug over the head with the nearest Yule log.

Well hell.

Ridge knew he was behaving like an ass. An all expense paid holiday trip to Montreal? A four-course meal and performance by burlesque icon (if you paid attention to such things – which Ridge did not) Scarlett James at Old Montreal’s Hotel Nelligan on New Year’s Eve? And they’d be staying at the Hotel Nelligan as well, so no hassling with snow and crowds and transportation for Ridge.

Tug had every right to expect his wonderful gift would be appreciated.

The Hotel Nelligan was just the kind of place Ridge loved. Used to love. The perfect mix of Old World and modern convenience. Tug had burbled about the comfy beds and spa tubs big enough for two and rooftop dining on French cuisine.

He didn’t mention disabled access, but that went without saying.

Tug had talked and Ridge had gotten quieter and quieter until Tug had finally stopped talking and said uncertainly, “You don’t--?”

“No, I don’t,” Ridge had snapped out and rolled his chair away from all the candy cane and tinsel Christmas cheer of the front room, down the hall – newly renovated to accommodate his wheelchair – and out onto the deck that overlooked the ocean.

There he had sat, freezing his ass off while the wind churned the water into white caps and blew a wet salty spray into his face.

Tug did not come after him, which meant even Tug knew how much Ridge was in the wrong this time.

Well, it surely couldn’t be that much of a shock to Tug, who had been dealing patiently with Ridge’s moods and outbursts all through the autumn and now through the winter. Even Tug with his unfailing good nature and powerful sense of humor had to know by now what an ungrateful, selfish shit Ridge was.  

But why did Tug have to keep pushing him? Why couldn’t he just accept that Ridge didn’t—couldn’t—

The French doors opened and Tug came out onto the deck. “You still mad at me?”

Ridge glanced at him, struggled inwardly, and admitted, “Mad at myself.”

“I shouldn’t have sprung it on you like that.” Tug leaned against the railing so that he was facing Ridge. The cold wind ruffled his fair hair and turned his nose pink.

He looked awfully cute and awfully repentant, which should have been a relief— it gave Ridge the upper hand in any negotiations that might follow—but mostly what Ridge felt was guilt. Because Tug wasn’t wrong. Ridge was.

Ridge said impatiently, “Why shouldn’t you have? It was a nice gift. A lovely gift. I never had such a nice gift.”

Tug’s eyes brightened, his cheeks flushed with pleasure—or maybe that was the cold again.

Tug's relief encouraged Ridge, though he was afraid to examine why, to go even further. “I used to love that kind of thing.”

“I know. You will again, honey,” Tug promised.

Ridge shook his head. “I don’t want to travel like this.”

“In a wheelchair.”

Ridge looked away and nodded.

He expected Tug to give him the usual pep talk, but this time Tug didn’t say anything. When Ridge looked back at him, Tug said with uncharacteristic gravity, “All right then, honey. We won’t go to Montreal. We won’t go anywhere. We don’t have to travel to have fun together. We don’t have to do anything that makes you uncomfortable.”

Complete capitulation.

Victory.

Funny how much victory tasted like defeat.

Ridge stared at Tug and Tug gazed right back at him with those big guileless blue eyes.

Not do anything that made Ridge uncomfortable? Well hell. This whole relationship made him uncomfortable. Loving somebody as much as he was starting to love Tug was an uncomfortable business. Living was an uncomfortable business, when you got right down to it.

He stared at Tug. Tug stared back at him.

“We’ll always do just exactly what you want,” Tug assured him.
 
Ridge opened his mouth to object. Of course he didn't want--or expect--that much captitulation.
 
Tug persisted, “But can I tell you what I want most for Christmas?”

A tiny doubt took root in Ridge’s mind. It bloomed into suspicion as Tug’s boyish face creased into a lopsided but mischievous smile. The funny thing was, Ridge didn’t mind.
 
He didn’t mind at all.

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 comments:

  1. Wow. Tug is good, very good 3:)

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  2. Oh wow. This one was intense. The "killing your lover on Christmas morning was so…so…heterosexual" line made me laugh out loud and after that... I think I actually held my breath all the way through the coda. :) Thank you again, Josh!

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  3. LOL Best line of the day!! I know it's early, but it's going to be really hard to top that one! Very nice for someone who loves angsty. Wanna give a little hint what's to come on the 14th? Huh?? Do ya?

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  4. Oh, I'm thinking probably just a nice photo on the 14th. :-P

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  5. Wasn't sure if you'd write a coda for any of your Petit Morts - so glad to see these guys! (^▽^)

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    1. It's strangely difficult to predict which stories will jump at me as perfect for a coda. For some reason this one hit me.

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    2. I'm not sure why you should be surprised. Ridge is the perfect Grinch (or Scrooge, your grumpy preference) for the season. Good grief I had forgotten just how grumpy he could be.

      And I think we're ALL enjoying these Codas. Thoroughly.

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    3. That's true. Ridge is someone who would definitely have to work to get into the spirit of the season.

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  6. I'm very glad it hit you, Josh. (hopefully, it felt like a soft snowball)I wasn't expecting a Petit Morts' coda, but I was crossing my fingers. Thank you.

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    1. I wasn't either, but once the idea came, I had to write it. That's the wonderful thing about the codas. They give me a chance to revisit characters without a huge investment of time -- I'm really enjoying this little exercise.

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    2. I'm really enjoying it too!!

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  7. That was really gripping! Tug is obviously very clever...

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    1. Yes, Ridge is always a little unpredictable. :-)

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  8. Another great Christmas present! Thank you so much, dear Josh!

    Ciao

    Antonella

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  9. Still a bit murderous, isn't he? :-). It will take a great charmer like Tug to disarm him - eventually?

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  10. Ah, Ridge...he's such a curmudgeon! But still very appealing. :-)

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  11. What a pair, these two.
    The curmudgeon and the conductor disguised as capitulator. I suspect they could be on their way after all...
    Kelly

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  12. “We’ll always do just exactly what you want,” Tug assured him.

    You nearly got me here! I can only repeat what's been said before: Tug is very, very good. :D

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