A Christmas Story, Con’t, Part III
It might seem like Christmas is on my mind lately, and maybe it is a bit. I have a new release out at Pink Petal that is a little Christmas story about finding the truth about attraction and love. You can buy it here:
I also wanted to share with everyone the next bit of Cody and Kriss odd tale of love and discovery. So, without talking any more about it, here is part three of Santa’s Elf.
Cody studied Kriss’s face as he shifted in his lap. “Different how?”
“Well, I don’t normally faint, for one thing.” He curled his fingers into the downy parka he was wearing. “And my stomach hurts.”
“Um. Okay.” Cody glanced around, wondered if his car would start if they needed it, then focused his attention back on his prone guest. “Can you stand? Maybe we should get you off the floor for starters.”
Kriss nodded. “Yeah. It just–” He was cut off by a loud snarling sound. His eyes went wide, his lips parted in a silent ‘O’, and he glanced at Cody, the beginnings of panic flitting over his face. “What was that?” His fingers had whitened in their grip on his coat.
Cody tried valiantly not to laugh and failed. “Your stomach. It was your stomach. When’s the last time you ate?”
“Ate?” Kriss struggled to a sitting position, pushed Cody’s hands away. “I…don’t do that either. Oh, wow.” he doubled over as his stomach let out another loud protest.
“Okay.” Cody stood and held out a hand. “This is okay. We can fix this. Come on.”
Tentatively, Kriss took the offered hand and hauled himself to his feet. “I don’t understand. I’ve never felt like this before.”
“Let’s just get something into you.” He paused to let the sound of Kriss’s stomach die away again. “Soup, maybe, and a few crackers. I think it might be bad if you eat too much too soon. Then you can contact your boss and ask him what’s going on.”
Cody had a sneaking suspicion he already knew what was happening to Kriss, but he was hardly versed in what happened to elves when they reached the end of their quests. If Kriss had never had to eat or sleep or fend off a virus, if he’d come into being as a man in his late twenties and never changed or aged in all the fifteen years of his existence, Cody wondered what else he had never experienced. His mind went immediately into the gutter. He dropped Kriss’s hand and turned his back, shrugging out of his coat to hide his flush. Technically, no matter what he looked like, this guy was fifteen years old. Cody’s thoughts went back to the kiss in the street, the way Kriss had looked at him, and more than just his face flushed with a heady rush of blood.
“Is something wrong?” Kriss’s voice, once again tentative, snapped Cody’s thoughts back like a whipcord and he grimaced.
“No.” he forced a smile onto his face before he turned. “No. Nothing wrong.”
Kriss’s delicate brow folded into an expression of concern and his eyes sparkled. “You’re lying.”
“Well. No. I’m not. It’s fine. Just…you have to admit, this is odd.”
Kriss nodded, slow and slight. “I suppose.” His stomach growled again as he popped open the snaps on his parka and wiggled out of it. His shoulders undulated and his t-shirt rode up just enough to reveal a tantalizing glimpse of pale stomach and a line of hair just slightly darker blond than that on his head disappearing under low-slung jeans.
“Food.” Cody shook himself. “Come with me. Kitchen’s this way.”
As he clicked on the spots above the stove and flooded his tiny kitchen with light, Cody motioned Kriss to a seat at the small table against the wall. He tried once again to focus on the task at hand. It was difficult when he was hyper aware of the man seated not ten feet away who embodied everything, physically, he’d ever dreamed of, and some things he hadn’t known he’d appreciate. Like the fact Kriss was almost a head taller than him. It hadn’t occurred to him that would flip a switch inside him, turning all kinds of emotional floodlights on in his psyche. Every part of him felt lit up like, well, like a Christmas tree. The mental image made him smile.
“Your face changes so much,” Kriss observed, getting up and coming to stand beside him at the sink where he was filling the kettle. “I don’t know what any of it means. It doesn’t always match what you’re feeling.”
“What do you mean, doesn’t match what I’m feeling?”
Kriss’s pale cheeks turned slightly pink. He shrugged. “What you feel is like…” he rested a hand on his own chest, “a beacon. I feel it. Here. Sometimes, your face doesn’t match what you’re feeling.”
That was disconcerting. That Kriss could know what was going on inside his head didn’t give him much space to hide.
“Why be frightened?” Kriss’s long fingers ran down the length of Cody’s cheek. “You don’t think I would hurt you?”
“No.” Cody managed to shake his head and gently remove himself from Kriss’s touch, which was distracting him completely from all logical thought. “I’m a little afraid I could hurt you.”
“How could you?” Kriss’s smile was as gentle as his touch. “I was made for you.” He moved, fluidly cornering Cody in the crook of the counter and wrapping around him from behind. “I’m home.”
Cody groaned. If it could be that easy. If all the impossible things in the world could just be that easy. Still, he arched back into Kriss’s nearness when the taller man nuzzled his face against his neck. He wasn’t sure if the growl of Kriss stomach or his own needy moan was louder in the still room.