Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Coda 41

Jake and Adrien from The Dark Tide


“You were laughing in your sleep last night.” Jake’s eyes met mine in the mirror over the sink. He was taking his turn shaving in the small hotel bathroom.

I was?”

His cheek creased and the electric razor accommodated the sudden curves in his still half-bristly face.

“Good to know I’m having a good time,” I said.

His brows drew together and he flicked off the razor. He turned to face me. “Aren’t you having a good time?”

“Yes!” I don’t know who was more surprised at my previous comment. Me or Jake. “Yeah. I’m sure as hell having a better Christmas than the last three years.”

“But?” I had his full and thoughtful consideration. Which still caught me off guard sometimes. Jake paid attention to details. No question. Which could occasionally be dismaying when you were used to--and even enjoyed--flying under the radar.

“Are you having a good time?” I asked.

“Yes. I am.” He said it without hesitation. “We’re both here and we’re both healthy. It’s our first Christmas together. I’ve never been happier. That’s the truth.”

Yes. I could see in his face that it was the truth.

“You don’t mind the fact that every minute of this trip is pre-programmed -- that our first Christmas is being spent running from one end of London to the next?”

He lifted a negligent shoulder.

“Or that the rare times we’re alone, my cell phone rings? Or someone knocks on the door?”

His mouth twitched.

I felt obliged to point out, “We’re having our Christmas dinner in a restaurant.”

“I’ve had my Christmas dinner in worse places. I’ve had years I didn’t get a Christmas dinner.”

I sighed.

He reached out, unhurriedly pulling me into his arms. He didn’t kiss me though. He studied me and I studied him. Jake asked, “Are you fretting over the bookstore?”


“Uh huh.”
I amended, “Well, mostly no. I do hope it’s still standing, but I guess we’d have heard if it wasn’t. No, mostly I just…wish we were home. I’d have liked our first Christmas to have been a little less busy. Less crowded. We’re not even moved in yet. You’ve got this very small window of free time and we’re using it up here. I guess in a perfect world--”

Jake interrupted quietly, “Let’s go home.”


“You’ve convinced me. Let’s leave early. Let’s do the Christmas thing with your family this afternoon and then tomorrow let’s see about grabbing an early flight home.”

My heart leapt at the idea. But… I said uncertainly “I…how can we?”

“Your mother didn’t think you’d agree to come at all. She got you here for Christmas. I don’t think she’s going to kick up too much of a fuss if we check out early.”

He was right. Lisa had been as startled as anyone when in a moment of weakness I’d agreed to her plan for a family holiday abroad. I think I’d partly done it because I hoped the change of scenery would help distract Jake from his own family’s struggle to accept his coming out. There’s nothing like Midnight Mass at St. Paul’s to put things into perspective. Provided you don’t mind looking at the world through binoculars. Or possibly opera glasses.

Anyway, Christmas in London with all the trimmings had sounded good in theory--and a lot of it had even been good in practice--but the thing I wanted most for Christmas was to…well, it would sound too schmaltzy to say it aloud, but through the years there had been a few dreams--no, dream was too strong, but there had been some wistful imaginings about spending this holiday of all holidays with Jake. Suffice it to say figgy pudding had not played a big role in the proceedings.

But the fact that there even were proceedings…that might explain why I had been laughing in my sleep. Joy. It wasn’t just for Christmas anymore.

 I smiled up at Jake. His heart was thumping steadily against my own. It occurred to me that he was a comfortable place to lean--not that I had ever wanted to lean on anyone and I didn’t plan on making a habit of it, but for these peaceful moments...

“Let’s go home,” Jake repeated.

I nodded. “Yeah. Okay. Let’s go home.”

His mouth touched mine. Sweet and warm and tasting a little bit of pre-shave lotion. I broke the kiss to laugh.

Jake looked surprised.

“Best part of this,” I said.

He raised his brows.

“Lisa will totally blame you.”









  1. What a lovely present! Thank you so much for this beautiful coda and the whole advent calendar, Josh. Merry Christmas to you and you loved ones!

  2. Aaww, bless you! Thank you so much for writing about Adrien and Jake again!!! I couldn't believe my luck when I found this! I was hoping so much they'd be there again this year.
    I wish you a merry, merry, merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year!

  3. Thank you for this lovely, surprise present. Merry Christmas!

  4. AAAAAAA! I'm sooooo happy!!! Thank you, dear Josh! And merry Christmas!


  5. Jake and Adrien are always the perfect gift. Thank you for your whole calendar. It was wonderful. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  6. D'awwwwwwww! And also OH BOYS! I really really can not decide who my favorite pair of your characters are, I just love them all, but Jake and Adrien are definitely up there and it's so wonderful to get a happy adorable bit with them! Loved this! ^^

  7. Yay! Jake & Adrien! The perfect coda to wrap up this season. Thank you so much. I'm glad they're getting some quality J&A time. They deserve it. Merry Christmas, Josh!

  8. Won't Angus and Natalie be surprised! It's lovely, Josh. Thank you so very, very much. Merry Christmas!

  9. Don't tell my family, but this is the best Christmas present yet! :D Especially to see Jake and Adrien happy and relaxed together. I'm so glad they are both finally getting a Christmas they can be happy on. :)

    Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  10. Best Christmas Ever
    Thank you for giving us Adrien and Jake.
    Merry Christmas.

  11. Adrien and Jake are the best present ever. So they are happy, healthy, Jake’s business seems finally fine - Adrien should stick his pretty nose into something very soon or he will not be Adrien with an e.

  12. I often wondered how their Christmas in London went. Now I'm glad I know. It's nice to see Jake so comfortable in his real skin, and I get the feeling Adrien will soon find he doesn't mind leaning on Jake at all. Thank you for the wonderful peek, and Merry Christmas to you!

  13. Lovely. Thank you & Merry Christmas!

  14. Thank you! Every single snippet at Jake and Adrien is to be cherished....

  15. So fittng for it to be Jake and Adrien on Christmas Day - thankyou and happy christmas!!!

  16. Merry Christmas! Thanks so much for this. I'm in the middle of re-reading this series for the up-teenth time so it's perfect timing.

  17. A beautiful ending to another Josh Advent Calendar. Thank you for it all. <3

  18. Won't Angus and Natalie be surprised! It's lovely, Josh. Thank you so very, very much. Merry Christmas!

  19. Thanks so much for this one, Josh. I'm always so happy to get a glimpse into Jake and Adrien's "post-books" relationship. *happy sigh*

  20. Thanks so much for this! Only downside? Even this little bit of those two and I just know I'm going to reread the entire series for the fifth? time!!! Ok, I take it back, not a downside, great way to start the New Year! Merry Christmas!

  21. Thank you so much for this year's calendar and codas, and for saving the best for last. Merry Christmas. : )

  22. What? No Lisa making an appearance?? :-)
    Thank you so much for this!

  23. I think in a few years we might get a ficlet or novella of Jake and Adrien :D.

  24. As with the others, I thank you so much for this. I've always wondered about the moving in and the cat and dog, but this is so much... just perfect!!!

    Again, my thanks.

  25. Loved this - thank you. Merry Christmas to us! :-)

  26. Lisa will so much blame Jake! I miss them! Thank you for this coda. I STILL have hope there will be other A&J adventures yet. :D Happy Hollydays.

  27. Lisa will so much blame Jake! I miss them! Thank you for this coda. I STILL have hope there will be other A&J adventures yet. :D Happy Hollydays.

  28. Joy! Thank you so much for this! :-)

  29. Aw, what a great week-after-Christmas present! It's nice to revisit these two every so often.

  30. Always my favorites of the codas, thank you very much!

  31. A belated thank you for ALL the codas, they really are like special little treats :-)

  32. Absolutely loved this. I am glad to see Jake so at ease. It is great that they went to London but their first Christmas together shouldn't be with family far away from home. Good that they are going home and spend some quality time together. Always a pleasure reading these two. I adore Jake.

    Just finished listening to Winter Kill. I can not wait for The Mermaid Murders to be released. I am looking forward to finding out more about Sam Kennedy.

    I hope your holidays were awesome Josh! Have a great new year.

    -Andy Slayde

  33. ((Trying again to leave a comment here. I've given up recently, because I don't managed it anymore from the technical side. I’m using Firefox this time))

    This was a great present for the readers, thank you very much. I'm sorry I missed it on Christmas Day. But it is a great way to start the first work week of the year.

    I love to see them relaxed with each other. BTW Lisa blaming Jake reminds me of my parents-in-law blaming me - as I found out later - because their son always wanted to leave earlier than planned when we were visiting. We laughed a lot about this, considering that I was usually the one pushing to stay a bit longer.

    I wish Jake and Adrien and you all the best in 2016.

    Be well!


  34. I can not — CAN NOT — believe I missed this coda. No matter what I read or who I read, only these two live in my heart. Adore them. Thank you for sharing them with us again this year, Josh. ❤️

  35. oh, so sweet! I'm glad they gave in to Lisa, she wanted everyone in London so much... even if they do leave early.

  36. I generally try to answer every comment and note personally, but I'm just too pressed for time these days. But I do read everything and I'm very glad this year's Advent Calendar met with your approval. :-) This is something I do totally for readers, so as long as you're enjoying this little gift, I will try to keep providing it. :-)

  37. *happy sigh* these glimpses into their lives are so wonderful and perfect. Magical. Thank you, Josh!