Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Coda 43


Christmas Coda 43

THEMERMAID MURDERS: Jason and Sam

 

 

He didn’t expect to hear from Sam on Christmas Day.

By now Jason understood enough to know anniversaries, holidays and family get-togethers were problematic for his…well, what were they exactly?

More than friends and less than lovers.

In fact, anytime he thought about it--something he mostly avoided--he was reminded of that scene in Young Frankenstein where Frau Blucher declares, “He vass my…BOYFRIEND!”

Except Sam wasn’t. Was he?

As a matter fact, Halloween was the last time they’d really talked. Coincidentally he’d heard from Dr. Jeremy Kyser too. That was after he’d spoken to Sam though.

Anyway, it wasn’t like Jason was sitting around waiting for newly appointed BAU Chief Sam Kennedy’s phone call. As a matter of fact, those months were pretty damned grueling for Jason too. The part he’d had played in Massachusetts ended up giving his own career a nice boost. He was flying all over the country to consult with museums directors and art gallery owners.

No one was shooting at him. That was nice.

It was natural enough, given how much they were both traveling, that they hadn’t actually ever had time for that now legendary date. In fact, they hadn’t seen each other since the summer.

Well, no. It wasn’t natural.

But it was partly the job and partly--

Yeah, no. It wasn’t natural.

But Jason didn’t have anything to lose. He liked talking to Sam, liked looking forward to what they might do when they eventually hooked up again. In a way there were advantages to not seeing each other.  They could talk more honestly, more openly--like to a pen pal or a radio talk show therapist. 

Let’s be clear. Jason vassn’t renouncing…DATING! His schedule didn’t leave a lot of time for anything other than his schedule.

Which pretty much explained June through December. There was no phone call on Thanksgiving and only one very brief call mid-December.

So no. Jason wasn’t expecting a phone call from Sam.

 

 

Holidays were a BFD at Stately West Manor. Not Jason’s favorite thing, frankly. The BFD, not the holidays; he enjoyed holidays. Anyway, he believed in picking his battles. Every year, since time immemorial, his parents had hosted a Christmas Eve party for the movers and shakers of the City of Angels. Attendance, while not mandatory, was strongly encouraged. And being ambitious, Jason understood the importance of networking over the wassail.

When his cell phone rang, he figured it was work. Something about the holidays brought out people’s worst instincts. But Sam’s number flashed up and Jason’s heart flashed up with it. He excused himself to his brother-in-law the congressman and stepped out onto the terrace.

The chilly -- for Los Angeles -- night was scented with orange blossoms (the ornamental trees having been artificially forced into bloom) and lit by hundreds of tiny star-shaped lights strung everywhere you could possibly hang a fake celestial body. From the other side of the French doors he could hear a big band version of “Zat You Santa Claus?”

“Hey,” he said, and he could practically hear the champagne bubbles warming his tone. But he was glad to hear from Sam. No point pretending he wasn’t.

“Hey,” Sam said as terse as ever. But Jason could now recognize the gradations of terseness and this level of brevity was Sam practically oozing holiday charm.

“Where are you?”

Sam seemed to hesitate and for one crazy--and, admit it, thrilling--moment, Jason thought he might be about to say he was actually here in town.

What if this was the night? Light me up with me on top let’s fa-la-la-la-la-la…ahem.

But no. After that odd pause, Sam said, “Vegas.”

“Ah. Too bad. What are you doing in Vegas?”

Sam sighed, and it was a weary, weary sound. “The Roadside Ripper.”

Right. The night air was suddenly frosty, bitter cold. The Roadside Ripper serial killings were one seriously ugly case, and Jason was very glad he had no part in it although a lot of the L.A. field office was involved. The taskforce was one of the largest ever formed.

“How’s that going?”

“It’s not.”

In the background Jason could hear the chink of ice and clink of glasses and a lot of too loud voices. A bar. A Vegas bar on Christmas Eve. Come to think of it, he preferred Stately West Manor.

“You okay?” It wasn’t what he meant to ask. But he didn’t know what to ask Sam, and the fact was, he did wonder if Sam was okay. He worried about Sam, although that was probably ridiculous--Sam would probably think it was ridiculous.

“Yeah.” Sam sounded different. Almost…soft. “Are you having a Merry Christmas?”

“Sure. It’d be merrier if you were here.” Now that was definitely the champagne talking.

Sam laughed that low sexy laugh that Jason so rarely got to hear. “I don’t know. I’m not exactly a party guy. I’d do my best to warm you up though.”

“Yeah?”

“Mmhm.”

“I’m still waiting for that date.”

“I haven’t forgotten.” A jinkle of ice sliding down glass and the sound of swallowing. “So what’s Santa bringing you for Christmas?”

And just like that the tone changed. Still warm, still friendly, but the distance wasn’t only geographic. It made Jason a little melancholy because he was beginning to suspect that date was never going to happen. Still, there had to be some reason Sam continued to phone.

They chatted for a few minutes and then Sam said, “I’d better let you go.”

And Jason made himself reply cheerfully, “Yeah. It’s good hearing your voice, Sam.”

There was another of those funny pauses where he thought he was about to hear something important.

“Jason?”

“Yep?”

He could feel his heart thumping with an uncertain mix of unease and hope.

Sam said very gently, “Merry Christmas.”

It sounded…like something else. Jason said huskily, “Merry Christmas, Sam.”

That little click of disconnect felt like the loneliest sound in all the world.

 

 

 

 

 

50 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness. A coda was supposed to make me feel better about them. Instead, here is my heart aching for them again. Poor Sam. Poor Jason. So dysfunctional. But I have faith. You'll figure it out for them. :-)

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    1. They've got a row to hoe, these two. :-)

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  2. I believe in hope and I absolutely believe in these guys. I cried for Adrien and I just cried for Sam and Jason, which tells you how invested I am in them. Your ability to touch us with the humanity of your characters is unrivaled. Amazing heartfelt gift you share with us.

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    1. I'm so glad -- I love writing these too.

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  3. Oh, God, these two kill me! I really need a HEA for them. Please, Josh!

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    1. Welllllll, it will take some doing... ;-D

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  4. My god. This makes me miss seeing (or reading) them spending time together so much! Can't wait for the second book already!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm eager to write it.

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  5. What a wonderful surprise this coda was! You just made my day, Josh. :-)

    Very thought-provoking glimpse, this. And so many images and emotions between the lines there -- can't wait to see what will happen between these two in the next book.

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    1. Yes. I'm already gearing up for that book.

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  6. "I'd do my best to warm you up though" - now THAT'S the glimmer of hope...

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  7. Love it! But now I'm greedy and want the next book now! Great way to start my day. Thanks, Josh!

    Cathy

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Cathy!

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  8. Oooh yes. Awwww

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  9. "He could feel his heart thumping with an uncertain mix of unease and hope."

    I don't think a line has ever so perfectly described my feelings about a coda yet. I was so excited to see Sam and Jason again, but this just left me feeling so sad and heartsore for them. I have a feeling they're going to be as much of an emotional roller coaster as Adrien and Jake were. Anxiously waiting for the next chapter of their story. :)

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    1. I cannot deny that these two have some twists and turns ahead. :-)

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  10. These guys are ripping my heart out. Glad to see a little peek into their 'first' Christmas, and unless my memory is faulty it reminds me of J.X. and Kit's first Christmas.

    You pull your MCs through the wringer, Josh; here's hoping Sam and Jason get their HEA or at least a HFN in book two.

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    1. Thank you, Judy! Yes, Christmas is probably the LEAST wonderful time of year when you're struggling in a relationship.

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  11. Love the coda! I can't wait for the next chapter of their story. Enjoyed The Roadside Ripper mention.

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  12. Perfect!!! This made my day, thank you!!

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    1. You're very welcome. Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

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  13. I hope Sam gets a hug and somebody to care about him because he really needs a Jason in his life.

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    1. He does! Even if he doesn't believe it yet.

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  14. Those two... Damn. This coda made me remember how much I love them. I think they are just after Kit & J.X and just before Tucker & Elliot on my list of favorite characters of yours. So happy to read about them.

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    1. That's pretty darned good placement for one book and a coda. :-)

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  15. I absolutely love this one. While Christmas is billed as the Most Wonderful Time of the Year, for some, it's the most melancholy time of the year. I love how Jason knows Sam's "gradations of terseness" and his "level of brevity." And I like how he's longing for him. I can't wait for The Monet Murders.

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    1. Yeah, it's a tough time of year when things aren't going so well. Not a great time of year to feel lonely.

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  16. This is not a coda, right? RIGHT? More of an interlude. Can't let Jason and Sam stay in this lonely place.
    The two of them desperately need someone to shove them together. Best accidently lock them in a conveniently isolated ski lodge...

    Thank you, Josh, for a glimpse of them!

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    1. More of a bridge to the next book. Correct. :-D

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  17. I love Sam and Jason so much and I'm so looking forward to The Monet Murders.
    Thank you Josh for this wonderful coda.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

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  18. Oh. :-(
    Can we have the Monet Murders soon, please.

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  19. So looking forward to The Monet Murders!

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  20. A connection and a promise. Then six months go by. Conversations, but no physical contact, and their jobs can't fully excuse that. And that gives both guys plenty of time to doubt themselves, to doubt a "them," to rationalize, and maybe be a bit afraid to go forward. Because during the postponement, there's still hope. The holidays arrive and maybe six months seems longer than it did before. Well, L.A. to Las Vegas, or vice versa, is a short flight...

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  21. awwwww! I can't wait for The Monet Murders!

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  22. Oh no...and yet there's hope to tightly hold on to after A Cliffhangerish Coda! ;-) Can't wait for the Monet Murders to have them together again. Please. Thank you, Josh! :-)

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  23. "the importance of networking over the wassail" so Lanyonesque nerdy.

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