Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Coda 20

Sean and Dan from THE WHITE KNIGHT (The Dark Horse series)


“Oysters Rockefeller,” I said.

“Gesundheit,” Dan said, from behind a copy of Esquire.

I leaned on the granite counter separating the kitchen from the den where Dan lay ensconced on the sofa. “But what do you think about them?”

He lowered the magazine and said cautiously, “I don’t think a lot about them. I don’t think I’ve ever had them.”

“I was considering cooking them for Saturday.”

For the past month I’d been appearing in a small theater production of The Long Christmas Dinner by Thornton Wilder. Our last performance was this evening, and on Saturday we were hosting a cast party. It was the first party I’d ever hosted, or even co-hosted, in a long…well…ever.

I wanted everything to be exactly right.

“Well,” Dan said thoughtfully — and the fact that he did give it his serious consideration was one of the reasons I loved him so much, “oysters are kind of an acquired taste. They’re expensive too.”

“I don’t care about that. The expense, I mean.”

“Okay, but I’m guessing they don’t make great leftovers.”

“True.” I frowned. Neither of us ate leftovers, so what did that matter?

“Chief, you should make whatever you want to make. If you want to make oysters —”

“It doesn’t have to be oysters. I just want to make something nice. Something special.”

“Anything you make will be nice and special,” Dan assured.

“Now you’re humoring me.”

He laughed, tossed the magazine aside, and joined me in the kitchen. He looped a casual arm around my shoulders as he stood next to me studying the recipe. “They do look good.”

The wind shook the beach house. I glanced out the picture window at the ocean gray and choppy with whitecaps. The white Christmas lights looped over the deck railing twinkled determinedly in the face of the winter gale.

I said, “I wanted to cook them because they’re the same era as the play. I thought that would be fun.”

“I like that idea.”

I liked the smell of his aftershave, grown-up and masculine, like Dan. I liked the fact he hadn’t shaved yet because it was just us home together, relaxing. I liked how he looked in well-worn jeans, a white Henley, and white socks. I never knew how sexy socks could be until I saw Dan walking around my house in his white athletic socks. And I liked the fact that, even if he thought I was being a goof, he pretended to take me seriously.

Because he did take me seriously, even when I was a goof. Because he loved me and cared about what mattered to me. It had taken me a while to catch on to this, to really trust it, but I’d finally figured it out. Love meant never having to be sorry you were a goof.

I said, “You’re going to be here, right?” This was the third time I’d asked. Being a police lieutenant meant Dan’s schedule could be unpredictable. Not that I couldn’t handle this single dinner party on my own, but it would be so much better with Dan. Everything was so much better with Dan.

He turned his head and met my eyes. I was smiling, but he didn’t smile. Or at least his mouth curved into something that wasn’t quite a smile, could just as easily turn into a kiss. He said softly, as usual understanding me better than I did myself, “I’ll always be here, Sean.”

 

49 comments:

  1. Just lovely. Captures the essence of each character perfectly! Thank you, Josh.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I absolutely love Dan and Sean - they are my favourites - so I was really hoping for a coda for them! Was so excited to see this today, thank you! (⌒▽⌒) I love the Dark Horse series and really have a soft spot for these guys - especially Sean - so I'm glad to see they are happy and taking care of each other :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are they? It's always so interesting to discover which pairings readers like the best.

      Delete
  3. Thank you so much.
    Sean and Dan are one of my favourite couples so I was always hoping we get something more for them. I've always felt there is more to explore in their relationship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think there's probably a full blown Christmas story in there eventually.

      Delete
  4. I have to place Sean & Dan right after Adrien/Jake and Mark/Stephen in my heart. Remember so well first reading their story in 2009 in your Collected Novellas Vol. II. Sean has a sweet vulnerability that Dan is always there to protect. Love that, and this Christmas coda. Thank you, Josh.

    And your version of the "love means" quote is way better than Erich Segal's. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. Sean is a sweetie. Definitely one of my more vulnerable characters.

      Delete
  5. Awww..I love this one! Best Line of the Day = Love meant never having to be sorry you were a goof. <3

    ReplyDelete
  6. What Helena said - Sean and Dan both perfectly and lovingly depicted. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. How nice to read about Sean and Dan again! It's like visiting with old friends...you may not have seen them for a while, but you're immediately comfortable. And Oysters Rockefeller (or even, better, Oysters Bienville)...YUM! These Codas often make me hungry. :-P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Good thing the little coda book is packed with recipes, eh?

      Delete
  8. I agree with Marilyn, about the "love and being a goof" line :-) so cute, so...Sean. I like how the coda captures Sean's vulnerability and Dan's love and patience. I love these glimpses into my fav characters' lives.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much. The challenge with the codas is to refresh myself as to where the stories left off, and then be true to the individual set of characters. It's fun and challenging.

      Delete
  9. Ah, this was perfect. Sweet and perfect. Like a Christmas cookie.Thank you, Josh. The idea of Christmas story with Sean and Dan, (somewhere out there in the future) also perfect. :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dan is best boyfriend/husband you've created :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He's definitely a white knight sort of guy. :-)

      Delete
  11. Awww... this was wonderful!

    I can't make a hierarchy in your couple though, because each of them is special, and special to me.

    THank you, once more!

    Ciao

    Antonella

    ReplyDelete
  12. So lovely. Thank you, Josh. I love these two — I love the chemistry between them and I love who they become when they are together. (I'm not sure if I explained it correctly...) Anyway, so lovely. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  13. Finally, something abt my favorite Josh Lanyon couple. Thank you, l loved it. Now l feel like reading their story all over again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL Are they your favorite? :-) Then I'm glad I could give them a showcase.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
  14. I loved how you conveyed so much about their relationship in just a few short paragraphs. Dan in well worn jeans, white Henley, and white socks...yum. I love the Christmas codas.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ohhh - how warm and sweet and loving. This is a wonderful snapshot of their relationship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was an easy one. Their problems are so small. :-)

      Delete
  16. I think I wished for a Sean & Dan coda last year and I got it! I love Sean and Dan. Love this coda.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Okay I do love these codas...but they also frustrate me because I want more. I know I am a greedy reader but you do that to me Josh. I guess I will just have to be content knowing the party turned out great:-) Denise had a great way of describing these in her post ~ relationship snapshot; I can't say thank you enough.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one is probably part of a longer story -- much like the I Spy snippet last year. :-)

      Delete
  18. Oh damn! I like all your pairings! Each time you write a coda, it reminds me how much I like this pairing. Takes me back to their stories and how much I like them, and how good you tell their stories! Thanks so much for all your wonderful stories!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Mmm, nice. I might have to visit your guys, maybe over Christmas break, and get better acquainted with them! Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Dan is so very good to and for Sean. This made me think of my favorite parts of their stories. So heartwarming. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lori. Yes, as Eve mentioned, Dan is kind of the perfect boyfriend. :-D

      Delete
  21. You did it again, Josh. The Dark Horse series has made me bought a copy of Charioteer (still sitting on my shelf unread) and just now I went checking out what The Long Christmas Dinner is though I sure as hell won't have the time to read it. :p

    The reading of this series was a special experience for me. The first book is of course a complete story, but after reading the second book, I can't really reverse it and allow the first story to be a complete one. Hm, am I making sense here? Anyway, Sean is very good in his own way too. They are just like these two books, complementing each other. ;-)

    Savanna

    ReplyDelete
  22. The books are interlinked in a way that is not usual -- at least for most of my stories. You can stop at the Dark Horse, but if you start with White Knight, you really do have to go back and read DH. That's my thought. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's so easy to love this sweet goof <3

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am so in love with Dan! hehe I loved this coda. Thank your for the early Christmas gift. I hope you do write another full story for two of my all-time favorite characters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so glad you enjoy them so much, William! :-)

      Delete
  25. Very nice reading about Sean and Dan again. A long time had passed since I'd last read The Dark Horse and The White Knight.

    One of my favorite images here is:
    The wind shook the beach house. I glanced out the picture window at the ocean gray and choppy with whitecaps. The white Christmas lights looped over the deck railing twinkled determinedly in the face of the winter gale.

    To me it suggests Sean's vulnerability and yet with his determination to face all the winter gales that may come his way. He's vulnerable, but he's not weak. At the same time, Dan may be strong and dependable in any situation, but not at the expense of being sensitive and caring,

    Their relationship is solid and true, but there is an element of "work-in-progress" IMO that makes their couple dynamic a very interesting one, in that I believe Sean might slowly find his own path in life that makes him stronger and more assured in handling obstacles and fears. At the same time, I don't see Sean as being constantly and forever the one 'depending' on his boyfriend for emotional support, or Dan being always the one providing this support. I think as time goes by, who knows, they might find themselves occasionally in a reverse situation, where for some reason Sean will be the one providing comfort and reassurance to Dan, if/when Dan finds himself in a difficult situation. They're both human, after all, and they're stronger when they are together.

    Thank you for another beautiful holiday coda, Josh :)
    Paola

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you, Paola. I'm genuinely glad the codas are being enjoyed all the way into the new year. And I agree, no healthy relationship is static, there's always a certain amount of give and take.

    ReplyDelete