Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Coda 28

Nathan and Matthew from SNOWBALL IN HELL

New Year’s Eve in the City of Angels.
Not so many angels out and about that night, and Matthew and his squad were kept busy with a knifing, two shootings, and an attempted kidnapping. By the time Matt finally got away it was about twenty minutes till the Witching Hour. He made for the Biltmore Hotel, knowing Nathan would be there.
It was standing room only at the Biltmore, dames and gents alike in silly hats and tinsel tiaras, blowing plastic horns and paper fizoos in each other’s faces. Everybody was talking and nobody was listening. The floor was littered with soggy confetti. Champagne glasses were overflowing, and seeing that this was the Biltmore, maybe it really was champagne spilling down the fronts of party frocks and dress uniforms.
Matthew worked his way through the crush of people in the elegant lobby with its parquet floors and rich jewel-toned carpets and carved ceilings. He made it to the bar but couldn’t find Nathan anywhere. He knew what that meant, and his heart sank.
Well, what had he expected? He had thought things were different now, but Nathan had been honest about what he needed, and Matt would somehow have to learn to accept it.
And if he couldn’t accept it… Then he would be equally honest.
But he wasn’t there yet. Not by a long shot. Yes, he was disappointed and, yeah, it hurt like hell that Nathan couldn’t do without for a single night, but Matthew had entered into this knowing he was going to have to take Nathan as he was. So he resisted the urge to search any further. Finding Nathan rolling around in the undergrowth at Pershing Square wasn’t going to do either of them any good.
So Matt left the party as midnight was chiming and drove home through the eerily silent streets. He tried not to think about Nathan or his own disappointment. He thought he was mostly successful, but when he reached his own street and saw Nathan’s Chrysler Highlander parked in front of his house, happiness and relief hit him in a warm rush. And with it a little stab of shame that he had wronged Nathan. It was frightening to care so much about someone you knew so little.
He parked beneath the trellised carport and walked back to the street. Nathan was sleeping in his car, head tipped back, his hat over his face. When Matt tapped on his window, he jumped and then grinned sheepishly, tiredly.
Matthew opened the door and Nathan unfolded wearily.
“Come inside,” Matthew told him.
Nathan threw an instinctive look at the dark windows of Mathew’s neighbors. “No. It’s all right. I just wanted -- needed -- to wish you…Auld Lang Syne. It wouldn’t have seemed right to start the new year off without seeing you.” He offered his hand.
Matthew took his hand, but didn’t release it. “Come inside,” he said again.
He could see Nathan wavering, recognized the longing because he felt just the same. Nathan said reluctantly, “Your neighbors are going to notice if I spend another night here.”
He was right, but Matthew just couldn’t bring himself to care enough to give up the pleasure of being together even for a few hours. He placed his other hand on Nathan’s shoulder, guiding him toward the house. “Then we’ll have to think of some reason for you to visit. Don’t we share a Great Aunt Gertrude? How’s she doing these days anyway? How’s her lumbago?”
Nathan shook his head, but Matthew caught the whisper of his laugh. Then he was unlocking the side door and letting them into the silent and dark house. The door closed behind them. Matthew felt for the chain, slid it into place, and took Nathan into his arms. Nathan hugged him back  fiercely.
“Happy New Year, Nathan,” Matthew said softly, and kissed him.


  1. What a surprise, I didn't expect to hear from them! What they have seem so fragile and precious. Thank you for this lovely glimpse.

  2. My heart breaks for Matthew and Nathan. Their story is always difficult to read because you write your historicals so accurately. The idea they would have to think of a reason to spend the night together is appalling to us today. Beautiful storytelling, though. Thank you, Josh.

  3. I agree with Susan...I've always felt Nathan and Matthew's story was/is so heartbreaking. I'm rooting for them to find a way to be together during that time in America. I really look forward to the next book.

  4. Oh, thank you! I adore Nathan and Matthew and I'm so happy to hear about them. What lovely gifts these codas are.


  5. I like these two. I look forward to the continuation of their story. thank you for the awesome coda.

  6. I really enjoyed this one--not that they aren't all wonderful-- but it's so good to see the two of them sharing the New Year!

  7. I agree with Kay. What these two have seems fragile, something still trying to take root and hold on. Like a small flower trying to bloom in rough soil, you know if it survives it will be amazing. It makes you have hope for it even more.

  8. Heartbreaking about hidden love but I know they will make it - Happy New Year Matthew and Nathan.

  9. Another great surprise! You are really inspired these days!

    It is difficult for me to be partial, but Nathan and Matthew are really one of my favorite couples among your always unique characters. So glad to see them together! Even though it isn't easy given the time they live.

    Thank you, dear Josh!



  10. Matthew and Nathan! Thank you, that was sad and sweet.

  11. I was just thinking about these two last night and here they are! I feel a re-read coming on. Thank you so much for this coda.

  12. It's never going to be easy for them, is it? So bittersweet. Makes me long for sequel even more now. :-)

  13. Bittersweet yet hopeful too, i do hope these guys make it... in a sequel it would be best ;-) Thank you, Josh!

  14. Just found the Christmas Codas. Frigging awesome!!! I'm going to read them all! Love you so much right now, Thank you!!!!
    It's a little too late for Merry Christmas, so a Happy New Year!^^

  15. Just the right amount of ache for the holidays.

    Thank you for writting about those two again.

  16. Thank you so much, You're very kind. :)

  17. The codas were all wonderful, Josh. Thank you so much!

  18. Oh YAY! (They are my favorites.)


  19. Thank you for another great tidbit teaser. I'm really looking forward to the novel (hint, hint) 8-) or the wee novella 8-( that you are writing. 8-) Sorry big fan of long stories. Sad to see this is the last coda. Have a great and prosperous new year, Mr. L.

  20. Very late commenting, and very late wishing you a Happy New Year, Josh :) *grins sheepishly*
    I've just bought the Holiday Codas ebook, but I knew you had posted these beautiful snippets on your blog as well, so I thought I'd comment here...
    Nathan & Matthew are, with Adrien & Jake, Will & Yaylor, Nick & Perry, among my favourite couples of yours. They never fail to move me deeply. This coda said so much in so few words.

    He knew what that meant, and his heart sank.
    he would be equally honest
    happiness and relief hit him in a warm rush
    and feeling ashamed at having thought wrong of Nathan...

    They know they have to savor every moment they can steal to be together. You've captured so effectively, once again, the fragile, precious quality of their relationship... bittersweet, heart-breaking, and yet life-affirming and honest.

    Thank you,

    1. Thank you! Matt and Nathan are two of my very favorite characters, so I'm always happy to seem enjoyed and appreciated. :-)