Sunday, August 10, 2014

Jingle Bell Rock

Jingle Bell Rock

*Story contains M/M relations*

Chase loved Christmas mornings.

Correction: he’d loved twenty-seven of the twenty-eight Christmas mornings he had experienced so far.

This was the first one he where didn’t want to get out bed.

He didn’t want to see the laboriously decorated tree or the finely wrapped parcels underneath it. He didn’t want to enjoy the morning sun glinting off the fine layer of snow outside, or wrap his hands around a steaming mug of eggnog-infused coffee.

He didn’t even want to open his eyes. Opening his eyes would mean leaving behind the reprieve granted by unconsciousness. And leaving that behind would mean forcing himself to deal with real life.

Real life was not Chase’s friend at the moment. Not since Amen had left. Nothing had been right since Amen left, and Christmas couldn’t change that. Amen had been his friend, his lover, and his anchor. But for the last fifteen days Chase was having a damn hard time trying to convince himself that life was still worth living.

He’d like to say it was all his fault. At least then he’d have something to work with, something he could change. Problem was, it had been both of them. Stupid fight after stupid fight about itty-bitty, unimportant shit that piled up and nagged at them, until they were both ready to rip each other’s heads off.

Of course now, even if Chase laid there and thought about it until he was ready to go insane, Chase couldn’t come up with a single thing they’d fought about that was important enough to result in this. This loss. This emptiness. There wasn’t one problem he wouldn’t be willing to deal with if Amen would just come home.

But Amen wasn’t coming home. He’d said so when he left. He said he’d never be back. There were a lot of harsh words spoken that day, from both their lips. The kind of words you couldn’t recant if you tried.

Chase buried his head deeper into the pillow and let tears soak into fabric. He didn’t even try to fight them off anymore. He’d stopped trying to do that on day four. Better off to just let them drip out of his eyes at will, then let them build up into a full-out wail and scream session. He’d shed so many tears since then that his eyes felt full of sand.

“Get up, Chase.”

He squinted against the sunlight drowning the room in luminance. He had dozed again. Not too long, the shadows looked the same as they had a (moment?) ago. But he’d definitely been dozing. He blinked once, twice, trying to focus his eyes. Had that been a voice he’d heard? It couldn’t be. No one had a key. Even Amen’s key sat on the counter in the kitchen; in the exact same spot Chase had put it when he’d picked it up off the living room carpet.

Chase rolled over and stared blankly out the window. Bathroom. He needed to use the bathroom or he was going to explode. Besides, he’d heard his mother’s voice on the answering machine three times yesterday, so if he didn’t at least call her today she would be harassing everyone from the local PD’s to the governor’s office to investigate why. No sense in making her worry further; she was already going to be pissed to hear he had no intention of leaving the apartment. Christmas or not.

His head swam and his legs throbbed when he swung off the side of the mattress and sat up. He’d been in bed way, way too long. Yet he fully anticipated his return to that exact spot in all of about two point two minutes.

The image that met him in the bathroom mirror was not a pretty one. Not an ounce of food had passed his lips in days and it showed. His already slim body was starting to look gaunt. His hair, usually slicked and styled, was a mop of total disarray. His eyes were rimmed and bloodshot. He looked and smelled like an invalid – unwashed and dying slowly.

Chase stood in front of the toilet, pulled himself free of his pyjama pants and relaxed. He watched himself in the mirror while he peed. “Chase, old buddy,” he said to the glass, “you are a sorry sight for sur...” His words stopped dead in his throat. Even the urine that flowed into the porcelain below him dried up. Stunned, Chase watched curly blond hair pass the open doorway, bobbing within the reflected surface, before disappearing from sight towards the kitchen.

Who the fuck?...

Chase spun quickly, disorienting himself for a second, grabbing the lip of the vanity to steady his legs. He stared down the hall to where the reflected body should have been standing, nodding unconsciously at the empty space. Okay, nothing there... he was just seeing things. Obviously. Not only was there not a soul in sight, there wasn’t a single person in Chase's life that had such pretty curls.

Slowly, frowning, Chase turned to complete his previous task, shaking his head, and froze again. A voice: hushed but cheerful, soft but melodic, echoed through the hallway.

"What a bright time, it’s the right time, to rock the night away...”

Chase’s eyes flew to the left and the right of the small bathroom. Not a weapon in sight. Someone was in his freaking apartment and there was not a single weapon at hand! Fuck. His stomach fluttered. His throat tightened.

Pressing himself again the wall by the door, Chase peeked out. The hallway was still clear. If he could just slink his way down the hall, he could pop into the living room and grab the phone. He’d left his cell in the bedroom, but it had died the day before yesterday and, foolishly, in hindsight, Chase hadn’t seen the point in recharging it.

Keeping one hand on the wall Chase slipped down the corridor on hesitant feet. Was the guy dangerous? Was he some kind of freak? Repair guy sent from the landlord? Had his mother actually called someone? And if so, how the hell had he gotten in? Should Chase be worried? Better still, should Chase be freaking the hell out? After all, it was hard to tell crazy from the back of someone’s head. More than likely the man had just wandered in, confused—maybe drugs, maybe mental issues—it was Christmas after all. It brought out the worst in some people.

The living room was empty, thank God. Funny, Chase thought, how self-preservation kicks in when actual danger shows up. Minutes before he’d been convinced he would be happy to die alone in bed.

“Chase Myers!” a voice murmured, delighted, from behind him. “Well I’ll be...”

Chase turned with a shriek, grabbing anything close and holding it out threateningly in front of him. Shaking, he stared at his unwelcome visitor and was... struck dumb. The man was gorgeous! The image of the curls Chase had seen in the mirror was nothing compared to the lovely mane close up: baby blond locks so light they were almost white. And they whirled and dipped around a face that could be described as nothing short of stunning! High cheeks, defined jaw, perfect nose and brow around blue eyes that Chase was more than sure could steal his soul if he looked at them for too long.

Well, if he had to be murdered on a Christmas morning by someone, at least the powers that be had chosen a damn attractive someone to do it.

The blond’s face was bright with a wide smile, “You have no idea how much of a pleasure it is to finally meet you face to face!” The man cocked his head and levelled his gaze at Chase’s ‘weapon’. “Hmm,” the hum lilted the friendly tone with a resonance that was almost sensual. “Are you planning on trying to turn me on?” He pointed at the remote control in Chase’s hand.

Chase frowned and shook his head at the disorienting feeling the man’s voice had over his muscles. And the familiarity in the other man’s words was... distracting. After all, Chase had no idea who this man was or how the blond had come to know his name.

“Nothing personal blondie,” Chase inched towards the phone, continuing to hold the remote control at the man as if Chase actually could manifest magical powers from the little box. “But what the fuck are you doing in my apartment?”

Blue eyes opened wide. “Chase! It’s Christmas!”

Chase nodded. “Mm hmm, of that I’m aware. And how does that answer my question?” He let his eyes travel the last few feet to the waiting communication device.

The other man sighed a heavy, disappointed release of breath. “Really? Et tu, Chase? How terribly disillusioning. After all those Christmas specials and holiday stories? I really thought you would be different.” He lifted a pale and almost delicate hand out to Chase, palm up, and tweaked his fingers back and forth. “Never mind the phone. It won’t help you right now.”

The perceived threat sent Chase stumbling backwards. He grabbed for the phone and brought it to his ear so quickly that it clunked against his skull. With a groan he listened to the echoing nothingness that met him. Dead. He grit his teeth and jammed his finger back and forth on the toggle several times, which, of course, didn’t change a damn thing. With a harsh clatter, the handset was dropped on the end table and Chase narrowed his eyes at the calm intruder. “What do you want?”

“No, no, no, Chase,” the man smiled. “You should know this!” He lifted a hand, twisted his wrist and presented his empty palm with a flourish. “The question is: what do you want?”

Chase sat down hard on the couch. Standing was getting too difficult and exhaustion was taking over his fear. After all, he’d only slept about a hundred and ten hours in the last hundred and twenty. An angry grumble worked its way from Chase's empty belly.

Wearily Chase held out a trembling hand to the other and shook his head. “Stop. Whatever your game is, just stop. I can’t do this. Take what you want. I’m just going to go back to bed. It doesn’t matter anyway.” His head felt too heavy on his neck. With a slow slide he slipped to the right and sank into the cushions of the couch.

“Jingle Bell time, is a swell time, to go riding in a one-horse sleigh.”

That song... someone was singing Christmas carols again. Chase’s grainy lids fluttered open. Morning sun still shone through the windows. He’d slept. But... only minutes again? Was he still – yes, he was still on the couch. And the blond - yes, the man was still there too, sitting on the floor, back resting against the couch.

The blond stopped singing to turn, and chirped at Chase, “Welcome back!” He grinned directly into Chase’s eyes while Chase tried desperately to catch a train of cognisant thought. What the fuck was going on?

Chase opened his mouth to speak but the only sound that tumbled out was a low moan. Worry distorted the perfect face that hovered beside him. “Oh,” the blond sighed, “poor Chase. My little friend is having a very, very bad Christmas.”

Concern only made the beautiful man that much more so. Chase felt his own brow relax as he stared into the man’s radiant eyes. “Who are you?” he asked.

“I’m David,” the man smiled. And then he reached up and gently brushed sticky hair off Chase’s forehead. David’s palm was cool and smooth. His touch felt like a mother’s kiss. Chase felt his eyelids droop, then caught himself and forced them back up again.

What are you?” Chase locked his gaze on soothing blue. “Why do you know me? Why are you here?”

David continued to brush Chase’s face, his expression kind, his fingers trailing cheekbone and jaw-line. “So broken,” David murmured. “Like a cheap toy.”

Chase frowned and flexed muscles to rise, instantly falling back. He was just too tired. And David’s touch felt so nice: comfort and strength, peace and serenity. “You...” Chase’s eyes closed. “...didn’t answer my question.”

When David spoke again his voice was close, breath warm on Chase’s cheek. David’s words reverberated sensuously against Chase’s ear. “A gift,” he purred. “A Christmas gift for the boy who loves Christmas.”

Chase couldn’t shake the feeling that he was half-in and half-out of sleep. If only his eyelids and body didn’t feel quite so heavy, maybe then he wouldn’t be struggling so hard to think. And then Chase's mind clanked reason together so harshly that he could have sworn he heard them fall in place, like the cogs of massive metal gears. Of course, it only made sense – this was just a dream! That’s why he felt so sluggish and weighed down. He was actually still lying in bed, buried under mounds of thick blankets.

"Okay," he told himself firmly, opening his eyes. His dream, his choices – that's how it worked. I choose not to be tired, he resolved silently. I choose to sit up. It wasn’t any easier to do, his body did not suddenly get lighter or brighter, but he did manage to force himself upright. He looked at David thoughtfully. “It’s not Christmas morning, is it?”

“Well, sure it is.” David flashed a glance at a non-existent watch and grinned at Chase’s expression. “It’s just very early morning.”

Chase passed a look to the sunlight streaming in through the window and David returned the silent question by cocking his head. “I thought you would prefer the illusion.” David lifted his hand and waved it casually. Brightness faded to instant midnight and, one by one, the lights in the apartment blinked to life. “Better?”

David rose and perched beside Chase on the couch, while Chase stared out at the black sky. When Chase returned his focus to David, the man was strikingly close. “What are you?” Chase blinked heavily. “Because I know you’re not Santa Claus.”

The expected frown was actually a gentle smile. “No. Definitely not. I’m so much better than that Chase.” David reached out and tucked a filthy spike of hair behind Chase’s ear. When David let his hand fall, he did it slowly, teasing fingertips over Chase’s skin. Goosebumps followed David’s touch along Chase’s neck, over shoulder and chest and David murmured happily. “Chase Myers. In the flesh.”

Though weighted, it seemed, by both sandbags and concrete block, Chase raised his arm and caught David’s questing hand. “Why?...” he started, paused to think, and tried again, “How do you know me?”

“What?” David feigned surprise. “How could I not?” In a move that should have startled and yet felt oddly comforting, David leaned in and pressed a warm forehead against Chase’s. In return, Chase surprised himself by not flinching away. Once again eyelids drooped while Chase breathed in David's scent: cookies left to cool, hot chocolate steaming, fresh-cut pine.

“My little Christmas friend,” David continued, his voice drifting almost absently. “It was such a pleasure to watch you grow, Chase – to watch you enjoy. You have no idea how rare it is anymore. People have changed so much in the last few decades. No one really likes the holidays anymore. You though... you were always different. So I bring you a gift, Chase.”

Chase could feel himself slipping. Sleep began to hedge in, creeping like black fog into his field of vision. “Stay with me Chase,” David’s voice slipped into his mind like silk in wind. “I need your attention for just a few moments longer.”

“A gift?” Chase mumbled.

“Yes,” David whispered, “A gift.”

David hovered so close that it stole Chase’s breath for a minute. Chase wondered if the man had any idea what kind of a reaction manifested when he was that close to someone else. “What’s my... gift?” Chase said, unable to draw attention away from the sight of David’s lips parting as he readied himself to speak.

“A wish, of course.” David said.

Chase tried to summon strength to pull away but contrarily found himself doing nothing of the sort. Instead, when the gentle pressure of arms circled his shoulders, Chase felt himself slumping into the hold. “A wish?” he mumbled into skin that was clean and warm and firm.

“Of course,” David said, hands slipping to stroke Chase’s back. David was humming. Soft, meaningless notes skipped over Chase’s cheek and Chase found himself nuzzling against a man who was really no more than a stranger. “What’s your wish, Chase?”

Your mouth, Chase thought, stifling the comment before it left his lips.

“Whatever you want, Chase. It’s your wish.” David’s fingertips trailed lightly up Chase’s spine and the resulting goosebumps danced over every inch of his body.

Whatever I want, Chase’s mind echoed.

David turned his face and returned Chase’s nuzzle. “Anything.” David’s mouth was close enough to Chase’s skin that he could feel the softness of the fine, blond hair that barely existed above David’s lips. “Just ask.”

Had it not been such a chore to keep his head upright, Chase would have considered throwing it back in laughter. After all, he seriously doubted this beautiful, charming... creature would allow him anything he wanted.

David beamed and purred appreciatively into Chase’s cheek. “You might be surprised.” His fingers never stopped their casual stroking. “I have a ridiculous fondness for you Chase. I have for quite some time. You intrigue me.”

David pulled back, gauging Chase’s expression, and Chase found himself unable to tear his eyes away from the other’s mouth. The soft smile, the smallest peek of perfect teeth, the sensual dart of pink tongue over similarly coloured lips. “Say it,” David whispered.

Chase knew, without knowing why, that it would be the most erotic dream of his life. And he craved it – craved the closeness that he’d been starved of the last several days, yearned to feel someone touching him, holding him, showering him with attention. You, he thought. I want you.

“Say it,” David prodded.

But the words fumbled on Chase’s tongue. Something tried to hold back the admission even as he struggled to force it out. He wrestled with his conscience for reasons his exhausted mind was unable to understand.

David’s lips ghosted over his own and Chase opened his mouth to taste David’s breath: peppermint, chocolate, vanilla. He couldn’t stop the low groan that tumbled from his throat. David’s voice was soft, gentle, “Say it.”

“You,” the word came out on its own accord. And even as he spoke it, Chase felt emotion bloom in his chest. It twisted him. Made him want to weep into the couch cushions and beg forgiveness – even as his lips parted and his chin moved to meet David’s kiss.

It was everything Chase had ever imagined a kiss could be. Willing, giving and taking, sensual overload and erotic bliss. Yet the moment they touched each other Chase knew exactly what was breaking him. No matter how fine David was, how good the kiss became or how gratifying any of it proved to be, it wasn’t Amen. Amen was the man he loved. And no matter what, Amen was the only one who could make the empty go away.

Tears spilled from Chase's filling eyes and slipped down his cheeks. A soft sigh, bordering on sexual in its gratification, was breathed against Chase’s mouth. “I like you Chase,” David smiled, pressing a cheek against Chase’s tear-dampened one. “I really do. So I’m going to do something that I never do. A special favour just for you.”

He pulled back, reaching for Chase’s face, cupping it with both hands, and looked directly into Chase’s eyes. “I’m going to give you a chance to change your mind.” He paused, waited for Chase to regulate breath, and then said slowly, calmly, “Chase, what do you want?”

“Amen!” Chase choked. And though it came out with a silent sob that racked his entire body, he said it again. “I want Amen!”

“You’re sure?” David crooned, a small smile growing on his face. “You probably won’t get another opportunity to know what something like me can do to your body. I can take you to heights you’ll never experience agai...”

Chase shook his head, forcing his body to respond and cutting David's words short. “No. Amen. Only Amen.” Chase wasn’t even tempted. Not anymore. He knew, more than he instinctually knew how to draw breath. “Please...”

“All right then.” David released him and Chase fell back in a slump. “Good night, Chase. Merry Christmas.”

Chase watched David rise and begin to walk away. “Wait,” he called. “When? How?”

David lifted his finger to his lip. “Shh. Sleep now. Dawn is coming. It’s almost morning.”

The world was silent around them. Through the window a soft snow had started to fall, the white striking against the black of the sky – another illusion no doubt – but peaceful, soothing. The cheerful flakes were mesmerizing as they looped and spun.

“Wait,” Chase stopped David at the door. “So... you’re... an angel?”

David grinned. “Close enough.”

“And this... what you’re doing, what you say you’ve done... this some kind of crazy Christmas wish for me?”

David’s grin grew. “Honestly?” Chase looked up quickly, and David shook his head. “No.” David stepped into the doorway, turning back only once. “It was his.”

Chase’s mind flooded with questions. Something akin to a scream threatened to fly from his throat. He sat up quickly, dragging his hands over rough couch cushions in an attempt to race after David... and realised he was nowhere near the living room. Dirty sheets and stained covers pooled at his waist. He was sucking in breath harder than a Hoover Deluxe.


Chase looked at the cell phone lying lifeless on the nightstand and instantly began to fling his legs from the bed. He had to call Amen! Toes met carpet and... Chase stopped dead. Wait a minute. He couldn’t just pick up the phone and call! Not over a stupid dream! The thought was ridiculous. Sure, it had felt real. But he was also starving, dehydrated, and so deep into over-sleep and emotional exhaustion that anything would have felt real.

And he almost didn’t call. He almost laid back down on the mattress and finished sleeping the day way. If it hadn’t been for the computer. The computer that was on, but in sleep mode. The computer that hadn’t made a sound in over two weeks. The computer that suddenly slipped open Windows Media and picked a song.

Doo, doo, doo, do … Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock....

Chase’s breath stilled in his throat but he waited no further. He leapt from bed and tore into the living room. Trembling hands fumbled for the phone – the phone that lay, off its cradle and haphazardly tossed when found to be useless last... night? Chase continued to hold his breath as he tentatively brought the device to his ear, all but sobbing into the unit when he heard the familiar buzz.

‘Ten numbers,’ he told himself. ‘You can do it. One at a time.’

Tears ran from Chase's eyes as he listened to the phone connect and spit back the pattern of numbers with beeps and clacks. He had to lift his left hand to grip his right when it started to ring, just to stop himself from slamming the phone back down in fear. The ring trailed off, yet didn’t. An answering ring drew Chase's attention. The phone rang in his ear again. And answered itself from a distance.

Chase followed the sound slowly, stopping at the door to the apartment. He waited, to hear the ring just one more time, to let the sound confirm his suspicions just that much stronger, and then yanked the door open.

He didn’t even say hello. Amen started to sob the minute Chase saw him. Chase dropped the phone, still ringing and stepped across the hallway. “Please...” Amen whispered.

Chase grabbed him, harder than intended, but the need to touch Amen outweighed the fact that Amen’s head cracked hard against the wall or that their teeth clunked together when their lips met. His mind melted with the feel of Amen’s body against him, the familiarity of his kiss. Chase knew he smelled disgusting, that his breath had to be worse than a chain-smoker with a hangover, but Amen didn’t pull away. They sank into each other until they were breathless. And even when the kiss broke, they didn’t pull away. Chase pressed into Amen’s neck and ground stubble against skin until Chase could formulate speech. “I’m so sorry....”

He felt Amen shake his head, no. “Me. I’m... Chase, I’m sorry.” Chase’s shoulders were crushed as Amen pulled him closer. “I wanted to come back. I swear. I just... you didn’t call... and the days kept piling up. And then it felt too late. But I missed you so much.”

Then he just stopped talking and while the hallway echoed with silence, Chase looked up, and was struck by the emotions that danced in Amen’s eyes. Amen’s voice caught, he cleared his throat and tried again, “You picked me.”

Chase reached for Amen's face. “Every time.”

Their lips found each other a second time. And it was warm and sweet and filled Chase with a glow that relit his soul. No matter what, no matter where, this was where Chase needed to be. He broke Amen’s trembling kiss and spoke with a similarly shaking voice, “I’m so glad you’re back. It wouldn’t have been Christmas without you.” He kissed the corner of Amen’s eye, tasted tears. “I love you.”

A fresh run of moisture fell from Amen’s eyes. He crushed Chase tighter still. “I love you too.”

The phones began to request voice mails from one another on the floor; snow began to catch and drift outside the hallway windows. Children’s laughter bubbled through the apartment door beside them. And somewhere, not so far from that spot, a special being grinned through the final notes of his favourite chorus...

"That’s the jingle bell, that’s the jingle bell, that’s the jingle bell rock."
The End

Copyright © 2011 AF Henley

Jingle Bell Rock” ~ was composed by Joseph Carleton Beal and James Ross Boothe, and released in 1957 under the Decca (9-30513) label, by Bobby Helms.

I make no claim on the lyrics referenced in this fiction.
This fiction is in no way associated with, indicative of, or based on the actual song.
All rights to both lyrics and song belong to their respective owners. 

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