Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas Coda 46


Christmas Coda 46

A LIMITED ENGAGEMENT: Adam and Ross

 

 

“Tell the story about how you two got together again,” someone called from down the long, linen-covered table.

 Who?

Marta? Angelique? I couldn’t tell who. There were always so many people at this annual Christmas Eve luncheon. Over the years they had all started to look--and sound--alike.

 “It was twenty years ago,” Ross began, and our guests settled down to be once more amused and entertained by the master. Only Ross could make blackmail and attempted murder sound like the meet-cute opening of a rom-com.

They all sipped their wine and listened and laughed in the right places. Everybody loved the story. After all, the course of true love and all that.

No one had gone to jail. No one had gotten hurt.

Well, maybe Anne Cassidy. Hard to know how seriously she’d taken it. Still waters. Anyway, she was a decade under ground now.

Strange to think…

Ross had reached the climax of the story and was quoting me. “‘You could kill me,’ Adam said, ‘And it wouldn’t hurt as much as watching you marry someone you don’t love.’”

Awww, everyone said, as they always did.

 

 

“I wish you wouldn’t tell that story,” I said that night.

Ross, wearing his red silk dressing gown and slippers, was reading the New Yorker by the fireplace. He glanced up, and smiled.

“It’s a great story.”

“I hate it.”

He laughed. At sixty he was still handsome, still debonair, still charming…still the love of my life. And he always would be.

“Come here, you.” He laid aside the magazine, held out an arm, and I joined him beside the hearth, leaning against his chair--at forty-plus I was a bit old for curling up on his lap. I rested my head on his thigh. His fingers gently played with my hair.

He murmured, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”  

I closed my eyes. “Hamlet. Act 2. Scene 2.”

“Very good.” There was a smile in his voice. His fingers, slim and dry and cool, sent little chills of pleasure over my scalp.

“We haven’t done so badly, have we? We’ve lasted longer than any other couple we know. We’re certainly happier than any other couple we know.”

I moved my head in assent. “Showfolk.”

He chuckled. “We’re showfolk.”

The fire snapped and crackled. Ross was silent, and I wondered if he was nodding off. When I turned my head, he was staring into the fireplace. The flames threw shadows across his face.

“Do you ever regret--” I started softly.

But he smiled again and shook his head. “No. I don’t. None of it.” His eyes shone in the firelight, studying me. “Do you?”

“I got everything I wanted.”

“So did I.”

I pulled a face. He said, “I didn’t know what I wanted until you.”

I turned my head so he couldn’t see the tears.

The grandfather clock began to chime midnight. Soft, sonorous bell tones.

One.

Two.

“Make your Christmas wish,” Ross said. He sounded indulgent, as he so often did with me.

Over the past year he’d had two strokes. Very mild. You’d have to know him  well to ever tell.

I closed my eyes and wished. Twenty more years…

 

   

 

 

49 comments:

  1. Aah, it's so good to know how Adam and Ross doing after all this time. It's beautiful. Thank you for this coda, Josh.

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  2. Awwww. I'm glad it worked out for them.

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  3. That is so nice and eloquently said. Thanks

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  4. Ahh that made me a little bit teary. Thank you.

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  5. Beautiful. Made me think of you and the SO and I hope he's doing well.

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    1. I was thinking when I was writing it this is hitting a bit close to home. The SO would not appreciate the added years or extra stroke. :-D

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  6. Beautiful is the word. Beautiful and sincere and everything love should be. Thank you, so very much. <3

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  7. Ooooh. That touched my heart for so many reasons. And it was lovely to see them after two decades, still appreciating each other, happy to grow old together. What more can one hope for, really?

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  8. Thank you, Josh! It's good to read, that they love each other even after twenty years. Hopefully Ross lives a very healthy life now, I want them to get together older.

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  9. Ah, the oft forgotten couple.
    Nice to see they are still together after twenty years.

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    Replies
    1. AND THEY SAID IT WOULD NEVER LAST. ;-D

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    2. All cats know that the start of any good relationship is grab by the throat and hold em down....

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  10. Awww... Nice to see these two again. Hope they grow older together. Twenty more years!!

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    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting. :-)

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  11. I've always had a soft spot for that story and it's nice to see they're enjoying a happily ever after.

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  12. Lovely, tear jerky anyway and then that last line!!!
    I think this was my first Josh Lanyon read, nearly 4 years ago - hooked ever since!

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  13. That made me cry. So beautiful. Thank you, again.

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  14. It's a good thing I'm usually in my office by myself because it's not good to cry over a story at work. *blushes*

    I often forget about Adam and Ross, but I'm so happy to see them together 20 years later and still happy. Adams wish of twenty more years just chokes me up. I hope they get it and more. :)

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  15. I loved this.... I got a little teary!

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Andrea!

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  16. Sniffling again. What is it with the codas this year that they all make me tear up? Or is this me?

    Anyways, thank you a lot, Josh! This was so beautiful and touching. :-)

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    1. It's not just you. I think I got a bit melancholy with the codas this year. I need some funny ones! :-D

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  17. Thank you, Josh. You should see the goofy smile in my face right now... I loved it!

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  18. I had asked about them getting a coda on a previous post, and I am very glad there was one. :)

    "Over the past year he’d had two strokes. Very mild. You’d have to know him well to ever tell.

    I closed my eyes and wished. Twenty more years…"

    EMOTIONS. So many.

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  19. I'd plead for an Out of the Blue coda, but I am clinging to hope that you will one day do a proper sequel instead, so... ;)

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    1. That might be one reason for the delay. I've started that coda a few times.

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    2. You would be able to hear my scream of excitement from the other coast. ;)

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  20. You've hit very emotional notes without being soppy. I am reminded why I love your writing so much: your talent at consistently portraying pure, honest emotions in characters a reader comes to care for, no matter whether it is a short piece or a full length novel. Thank you so much. I'll now go and revisit A Limited Engagement I read a long time ago. Thank you!

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  21. Seeing who this was, I did a re-read just before. So much emotion packed into that very short story, and into this coda. Teared up too. Being around Ross's age, I'm wishing (at least) 20 more years for a lot of folks. :)

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  22. Thanks for this Josh, it warmed my heart.

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  23. in my head he definitely gets those 20 years and more. that was beautiful, poignant and effortlessly elegant. But no surprise there. :)

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  24. Dear Josh,
    I wasn't able to get to this Coda the day it appeared, and then it got away from me until now. I remember reading ALE way, way back when, when it had its original cover, and I loved it so. Your Coda is poignant, but I believe Adam gets his wish. Thank you.

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