Friday, December 18, 2015

Christmas Coda 40

Adam and Rob from WINTER KILL



“We could toss a coin,” Rob said. “Heads my family. Tails yours.”

“Let’s just go to your family for Christmas.” Adam glanced at the clock and set his coffee cup in the stainless steel sink.

“If we do go to my family, we’ll for sure go to yours next year. We’ll trade off.”

“Yes,” Adam said with brisk indifference. He was already on his way out the door. In that charcoal gray suit he looked as handsome and stylish as if he was headed for a GQ magazine shoot and not a day of chasing bad guys through the mean streets of Klamath Falls.

Rob put down his coffee cup, following Adam down the stairs that led to the garage.

Adam had been working out of the Bend satellite office for the past four months--which was exactly how long they had been living together.

Rob said, “It’s probably only fair to go to your family. But I can’t deny I’m looking forward to the fun of sharing our meet cute story with the aunts and uncles and cousins. The adorable tale of how a serial killer brought us together...”

Adam, still in motion, threw over his shoulder, “Sure. Up to you.”

Rob stopped midway down the stairs. Adam’s mind was clearly not on the holidays. It wasn’t on Rob at all. He hadn’t even remembered to kiss Rob goodbye. Not that it was a huge deal, but they were both conscious of the fact that they had jobs with a higher level of risk than working in, say, a hardware store.

But Adam was preoccupied with work. Not a big case or anything like that. He was just trying to fit in with his new team, his new boss, his new coworkers, his new partner. The truth was, Bend  was overjoyed to get him, thrilled Adam had opted for their satellite office rather than Portland, but Adam couldn’t see it. He was in high gear all the time. And given the fact that he was by nature an overachiever…Adam giving that extra 110% was frankly exhausting. But Rob got it. Adam had given up a lot--everything--to move to Nearby and be with Rob. Rob was determined to make as much easy for Adam as he could.

Adam jumped in his SUV, hit the automatic garage door opener, and zipped out into the wintry morning. Rob walked slowly back upstairs.

* * * * *


He was digging Jack Elkins' pickup out of the snowy slush and mud when his cell phone rang.


“Howdy.” Rob leaned the shovel against the tailgate.

“Hey.” Adam sounded funny, almost self-conscious. “I think I forgot to say goodbye this morning.”

Rob wiped his forehead, squinting at the white sun through the dark branches of the towering pines. What time was it? Two? Three?

“No worries. You can make it up to me when you say hello.” He was smiling, anticipating that moment. He definitely preferred their hellos to their goodbyes.

“Rob. About Christmas. Whatever you want is fine.”

“Same here,” Rob said. “It’s one Christmas out of all the Christmases we’re going to spend. Who cares whose family goes first?”

There was a sharp silence. Had he said the wrong thing? How could promising to compromise be the wrong thing?

Adam said something gruffly.

“What?” Rob asked.

Adam said clearly, “I just want to be with you.”

Rob’s heart lightened. “Yeah, me too.” A sudden thought occurred. “What if we don’t go anywhere? It’s our first Christmas together. What if we stay home, just the two of us?”

“No, I’m not saying that,” Adam said. “You want to see your family, of course.” He added in that carefully neutral tone that Rob was getting to know meant he cared a lot. “Unless that’s what you want?”

Rob grinned inwardly, but he was touched too. “Hm. I don’t know,” he mused. “What would we do? I mean beyond cook and eat and sleep and…you know, make snow angels.”

He could hear the smile in Adam’s voice. “Snow angels, huh?”

“Welllll, unless you have a better idea.”

“Oh, I have a couple of ideas,” Adam said softly.  



  1. Thank you, Josh! Such a lovely coda - frankly, Rob and Adam are among those of your characters I was worried the most for, so it's nice to see them in such a good place. I appreciate your codas and Xmas stories so much, they are my to-go read in the bunch of juvenile cardboard characters descending on the reader nowadays.
    And thank you to Johanna for the wonderful coloring sheet - she captured their joy and Adam's stylishness so well, it made me grin ;-)

  2. I love these codas so much. I was worried about these two. They had so much to negotiate and they had such a rough start. This was just what I needed to start my day. Johanna, just a beautiful page, as always. Thank you both so much! <3

  3. I was looking forward to Rob and Adam's coda. Love it!

  4. A lovely update on these two, Josh. Thank you. And a sweet drawing from Johanna!

  5. Thank you, that I now see the future of the two more clearly. I am looking so forward every day to open the Advent calendar.
    And thank you Johanna for this snow angels :-) !

  6. I don't think I've ever made a snow angel. What a delightful drawing. Thank you for the smile today and every day.

  7. So sweet! I'm so happy Adam and Rob are doing all right. I wish we could have another peek at them and their "snow angels" during those first Christmas holiday together...

  8. Awww. This coda is such a sweet, beautiful one! Thank you so very much, Josh. Rob and Adam's relationship started in such dark circumstances that the thought of them even considering making snow angels while spending their first Christmas together makes me smile fondly.

    Also, this reminds me of two of my very favorite lines in Winter Kill when Rob ponders over his feelings — how something had changed in him and how life would never go back to the way it had been — near the end of the story: "[...] But it was kind of like the first time you saw butterflies covering carrion. Or noticed soft, white snow angels in a graveyard." Such powerful images.

    Christmassy coda-snow-angels without graveyard — even better. :-)

  9. And thank you for your kind words about the coloring picture, everyone. I'm so glad you guys like it! It was a lot of fun to make. :-)

  10. Yey, coda :-). And a lovely one at that. Loved it!


  11. Everytime I scroll through my book list, this cover always catches my eye and I wonder how Rob and Adam are doing. I'm glad to see they're living together and working things out. The coloring page is so cute! Thanks for the update on these too. :D

  12. Aah. So sweet. No sobbing emotional wreck and no getting eaten by the abominable snowman.
    And another picture from Johanna.
    All in all, a good day.
    Thank you.

  13. I love the illustration. So Sweet. :)

  14. Great coda! I loved Winter Kill and it is such a pleasure to read this and find out they are doing fine.

    -Andy Slayde

  15. Oh, thanks for this Josh...this coda brought a big smile to me face! :-D

  16. I love the codas so much! Thankyouthankyouthankyou for writing them, they're such a wonderful treat!

  17. I just finished Winter Kill and I fell in love with Rob & Adam. This is such a great bonus to a story that's still so fresh. Thanks, have a super holiday!

  18. PERFECT timing, as I just finished Winter Kill tonight, so I got this lovely coda to keep the party going!

  19. Just found this... Love Winter Kill and Rob and Adam. Thank you!

  20. Sooo Late, but thank you. <3