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A Different Kind of Christmas Carol

by Zustara Orur

A story (C) 2002/2003 by ZUSTARA ORUR. Contact address: 1.2 May not be redistributed, commercial use prohibited!

Please see chapter 1 for standard disclaimer blurb and the dedication and acknowledgements section.


"You DO have a nice house", Jeff said to me and rubbed the tip of his nose against mine. I was calm again and we were sitting down in the living room couch opposite the TV and the Christmas tree. We have a real one, not one of those plastic, fraudulent things and we were getting REEALLY comfortable together. Jeff had a hand on my butt and the other arm around my chest, he was making me feel very nice and relaxed.

Right then it had to happen of course... "GODdamn roaches!", we heard dad growl loudly from the kitchen, making me jump a bit as I sat in Jeff's lap. "I thought we got rid of those bastards this past summer!" There was a scatter of giggles from the other kids out in the kitchen as all activity halted momentarily so everybody could laugh at daddy.

"You know they're not roaches, honey", mom added in an amused voice. She's the one with most of the brains in the family. Not that I or my siblings are exactly stupid, but mom's... Well, SMART. Really smart, she knows lots of stuff and can find answers and reason things out like nobody else I've seen. "Now where did you find them?"

"I just moved this box of sink-drain cleaner and they all came scurrying out! I'm getting the bug spray!" He was obviously messing around with something under the sink and had come across those mysterious beetles we'd found living there earlier in the year. We didn't know where they'd come from, nor why they'd chosen to settle in our kitchen, but for a while they had seemed to be firmly entrenched. So firmly we actually had to get a professional exterminator to come over and deal with it, but it seemed he hadn't been as professional as one might have hoped, and appeared to have missed some of them.

"You're not spraying that stuff anywhere near my Christmas cooking, and that's final! Just cool it all right? Let them crawl back into their hiding-places and we'll deal with them later."

Dad harrumphed. "Now I got it. I'm gonna suck them up with the vacuum cleaner. Don't scare them off. Wait until I get back!" He hurried off, eager to do battle with the beetles. We returned our attention to ourselves instead.

"Jeff... I love you", I whispered. "...Stud!", I added, and he almost cringed!

"Don't say that! Now you'll make ME blush!"

I giggled softly. "But it's TRUE! You're a real hunk!"

He did blush just a little, but he seemed very pleased too. "You really think that?", he said.

"You bet your firm butt on it!", I said and put my hands on his pecs on top of his sweater for a few moments before I snuggled in to his chest, my face against his neck. His arms went all around me, and we sat like that for maybe a few short minutes until all traces of breakfast had been eradicated from the kitchen.

My parents came into the living room - FINALLY, in the eyes of my siblings - with a pot of coffee, and a tray with cookies and milk and all that goodness that is associated with Christmas. The vacuum cleaner was nowhere in sight - apparently mom had decided the beetle-battle was to be postponed in order to keep the peace because my brother and sisters would have rebelled against the parental oppression and tied them up if they had been made to wait even a minute longer for their presents! They eagerly got started on the packages while me, Jeff and the grown-ups mostly looked on with quiet amusement. My brother and sisters handed me my presents as they became uncovered in the big pile so I wouldn't have to get out of my boyfriend's warm embrace and I opened them still sitting snuggled in to Jeff, with him glancing over my shoulder with as much anticipation as me to discover what was inside the colorful gift!

Amongst other things, Kirsty got some sports gear, as did Russ, and she also got that Gameboy Advance she'd been whining about all autumn too (and Russ that extra phone line for his internet connection which HE had been whining about), which made them both two extremely happy campers indeed I might say! Jo and me got lots of clothes. I always do, and I LOVE it. I held the stuff up for everyone to see, especially Jeffrey, and I knew he was looking forward to seeing me wearing my presents as much as he was looking forward to the prospect of undressing me of them...! We kids had saved up for a really nice bottle of perfume for mom and aftershave for dad.

"A welcome change from father's day and all those horrific ties I get that I can't ever wear!", he chuckled.

"You could wear them honey, but people would think you were insane!", mom joked as she rose up to go out into the kitchen with a big bundle of wrapping paper in her arms. Dad swatted her playfully on her butt as she edged past him to get clear of the coffee table. "Ooh! You sure seem to be in a playful mood today!", she returned. "Sure you don't want to go back to bed and show me some new tricks?" My mom's always like that. Playful, with a bit of sexual innuendo thrown in for good measure. She's not very tall, and a little plump but just a little. Dad loves it, he thinks she's so soft and huggable. He doesn't say it, but you can see it on his face when he and mom hugs. They hug quite a lot as far as parents are concerned I think!

Dad blushed a little, hearing her talk like that in front of Jeffrey. He mumbled an unintelligible reply and for once, mom did not tease him any more. I think she knew why he felt uncomfortable. After that, the family unit dispersed. Kirsty retreated to the boy's room to have a look at the Gameboy (and play some Pokemon or whatever games it was she got along with the thing), mom and dad went back into the kitchen and soon I heard a familiar whirring out there, dad letting out a triumphant roar as he apparently got the beetles' main attack force in one fell swoop with the vacuum's hose. Jo went into the girl's room to listen to the CDs she'd also received. The two played along just fine, there was no sister rivalry between them which was good because it would have been a bit embarrassing if I'd have to share room with Jo and Kirsty with Russ...

Meanwhile out in the living room, Russ inched up to us in the sofa. His curious eyes were upon us both, and he displayed a small smile on his face.

"So...", he started off hesitantly, and I was totally convinced he was going to say 'you're really together huh?', or something like that. What he really said was, "Did you like the new Lord of the Rings movie?", directed at Jeff. He knew I hadn't seen it, and I'm sure he couldn't know Jeff had, I suppose he was just guessing.

Jeff nodded (hugging me a little tighter while he was at it). "Yeah, I thought it was pretty good." Soon the two were having this deep conversation about movies all of a sudden, and I couldn't help noticing Russ edging closer and closer. I was studying my brother more than I was listening to the conversation, snuggling in more and more to Jeff and kissing him on his neck.

"That was SUCH a naff flick!", Jeff said with a laugh. "I can't believe I actually saw all of it!"

"What are you talking about?! Spiderman ROCKS, man!", Russ half-yelled. "...And Tobey Maguire's a really-" He stopped himself short all of a sudden. "Ummm...!"

I looked at my brother, who was just turning this totally beet-red color. He was flushing as red as I can do sometimes, so maybe we do share the same parents after all! "What, man?", I asked in a teasing voice. "Tobey Maguire's a really WHAT?"

"Uuuhhh... Great actor?", he responded, just totally super-embarrassed!

"What a lame cop-out!", I yelled back at him, and he kind of flinched, obviously feeling really uncomfortable all of a sudden. I pulled back on my verbal assault on my poor brother, paused for a few seconds and gave him a friendly yet intense look. "Russ... What were you going to say?", I asked quietly. "I love you, bro. You can tell me anything. Tobey's a really cute guy? Was that it?"

"No", he responded slowly. "I was actually going to say, uh, sexy guy..." He looked down at the floor, still uncomfortable to a certain extent, but relieved that he'd taken the plunge and told me.

I slithered out of Jeff's lap and sat down next to my brother. He was in between me and my boyfriend now and I put my arms around his small shoulders that weren't quite as small anymore as they'd been just a couple months ago. "Hey. It's okay..." My hand touched his opposite cheek so he'd turn his head towards me.

"Oh Timmy!", he cried out and almost tossed himself at me, hugging me tight. "I want one too...", I heard his muffled voice whisper as he clung on to me.

I held my brother and patted him, not really sure what to do. "Is there anyone you like then?", I asked quietly.

"There is one... We've done some stuff, but..."

I caressed the back of his head like Jeff liked to do to me, and he relaxed, sinking in next to me. "So who is it then, someone from school? Anyone I know?"

Russ' answer was really quiet. "You know... It's Keith."

"KEITH?!", I almost yelped. "But he's...!" Russ nodded. Keith was Russ's best friend and he looked like a little blonde angel, a totally sweet-looking kid.

Russ shrugged, slightly embarrassed. "I don't know if he's gay for real, or he's know. Fooling around, or something. I don't know about myself either, some girls are kinda hot I think. But when I look at him... I just feel all funny inside, you know? I haven't dared telling him, in case he just likes to...experiment. Maybe he'd think I'm weird or something..."

I nodded. Yeah. I knew all about feeling all funny inside alright. I hugged my brother tight, and he kissed me. Smack dab on my lips! Not a little kiss either actually.

"THAT'S something I never dared do to Keith either!"

"You little rascal!", I said with a laugh and ruffled his hair. "Why don't you ask him over tomorrow? I'll make sure me and Jeff are both here, maybe that will make Keith feel inspired?"

My brother smiled at me. "THANKS, Timmy...!" He hugged me tight again. "I love you...!" He rested against me for a short moment, just savoring the experience of our hug, then he righted himself up a bit again. I had my arms around him still, but didn't hold him quite as tight anymore. "So, have you two 'done it' yet then?" He was having this really mischievous grin on his face as he said it, and he couldn't quite bring himself to look me in the eyes though I knew he wanted to.

"RUSSELL!", I said, feeling highly embarrassed. "That's private stuff you know!"

He blushed just a little, and his grin widened even more, if possible. "Yeah, but I'm just your little brother you know! You can tell me, it won't matter!" I smiled back neutrally, declining the invitation. "Aaw MAAN!", Russ complained. "Nobody tells me ANYTHING!" Then he looked over at Jeff, first at his face and then seeing the tall boy's lap was empty, yet inviting. He quickly hopped out of my grasp and scampered over to Jeff who welcomed him with a friendly hug. Russ settled in quite contentedly!

"Don't get too comfortable", I told him with a grin. "That's my seat you know."

"Oh don't worry, I'm just trying it out a little. Borrowing him for a while, it's alright I hope?" Jeff gave him an affirmative nod. "So, ARE you boffing him yet then?", he then asked and tried to imitate Jeff's precise English pronunciation, a cheeky grin on his face.

"That's none of your business, you little monkey!" He ruffled Russ' hair like I'd done. "Boffing, indeed!"

Russ giggled with delight! It had been a while since he'd been this playful, and it was nice to see. He'd often been so serious lately, maybe this whole Keith business had been bothering him, I'm not sure.

He teased Jeff by poking him in his stomach a couple times, then stole a quick kiss off his lips too! Both of them blushed rather badly, and then Russ stuttered a quick excuse, he wanted to check out his little sister's new Gameboy he said.

I was back in Jeff's arms in little more than a blink of an eye. I snuggled in as tight as I'd go. He leaned down with his head against one of the armrests as one of my arms reached out for the TV remote. All we got is a plain TV and a VCR beneath it, we'd been thinking about getting a DVD player but dad said there wasn't much point since you can't record anything with it. He's so silly, he doesn't even know how to program the VCR's timer, mom has to do that! It's not that he's ignorant of technology - it just doesn't LIKE him very much. If he programs the VCR so he won't miss a ballgame, when he presses play he'll find he either set it to like 4 AM instead of PM and got some stupid infomercial crap instead, or it recorded the wrong channel, or he set it to start recording a month ahead in the future... It's the same with the family computer. He's like Roger in that 'Foxtrot' cartoon strip. Let him even touch a computer and it crashes as a reflex action! Once the computer popped up a little window and said there wasn't enough space on the hard drive. What does he do? Deletes most of the windows folder, that's what! Said he didn't know windows really was stored on the hard drive, he said he thought that stuff was 'in the computer'. Like the hard drive isn't part of all that! He does know how to use tools and stuff however, so he can always fix things around the house when something breaks. He's not a rocket scientist, he blames his technical ineptness on that he prefers to work with his hands (which he actually does, in a way). We usually laugh a little at his excuses and tease him. He's a good sport though, much like Jeff, and we're always careful to not go too far and hurt his manly feelings. We know daddies are supposed to know everything about electronics and stuff, and he knows that too, so it would be easy to harm his pride and we don't want to do that.

Oh well, but I digress...

"My parents are back home tomorrow", Jeff said all of a sudden as both of us were busy not watching the family movie that played itself out on the TV screen, the volume set so low we could hardly hear the actors' voices. Usually, all of my family would be in the living room until we went for the traditional Christmas day walk, just to get out the door and get some air. It was hard to make us kids walk for very long because we always wanted to admire/play with our new presents. This time however my entire family had decided to give us some space. Mom and dad kept themselves to the kitchen, I could hear muted music coming from Jo and Kirsty's room, and whoops and yells from mine and Russ' where the two were busy playing that Gameboy. "I'd like to invite you to come see them, but... Well, I don't know..."

I hugged him tighter. "Jeffrey, handsome! Of course I'd come if you want to invite me that is! I understand, you said they don't know... Does that mean they don't know ANYTHING?"

He sighed. "They don't. Maybe they suspect. I mean, they knew my personal problems were because of Felix, and I suppose they understood my feelings for him were very strong since I reacted so badly after we two parted ways. Not sure if they knew I thought I loved him, but like I said, maybe they suspect. I haven't actually TOLD them anything..." He paused. "I've only spoken to William about this, it was so much easier. I know he hasn't said anything to my mother and father about it, he couldn't."

"I'll come, and I'll give you courage. Maybe you don't want to tell them at all? We can be just friends except up in your apartment..."

He smiled at me. "Thank you little Timmy", he said and kissed my neck too. "That won't work though... Some of the staff saw when I carried you upstairs yesterday evening, they wouldn't gossip behind my back, but something would slip out of them and my parents would know anyway sooner or later."

"Do you think there would be a problem?", I asked softly.

"There would be MORE of a problem if I tried to hide it from them I think..." He sighed. "I don't know, Timmy. I don't know. I mean, they care about me and all... They took me away from London for my sake after all. They're also very conscious of their own place on the social ladder, you know? That's why we moved to THAT house." He paused again, and suddenly his facial expression changed from somber and serious to rather bemused. "You know the old bat that used to live there... She sold us the house for... Well, a LOT of money, because she was too old to live there anymore. There are no lifts so she couldn't get up and down the stairs, and she was really stingy too and didn't pay what it cost in upkeep to maintain the building in a good condition. The roof was all leaky and the garden a total mess, we had to renovate the place for months after moving in. It wasn't anywhere as nice-looking as it is now, it had this really damp, musty smell on the inside, the floors were scratched and dirty and the windows were unwashed and even the air itself felt filthy and greasy. You could see all the dust floating around when the sun shone in through those grimy windows." We shared a small smile. "...Anyway, we bought the place and she moved into some kind of retirement home for the filthy rich...and there she died! It was no more than a week later! If we hadn't bought the house when we did, her relatives would have inherited it instead and boy were they mad or what! They'd been waiting for her to croak for DECADES, and when she finally did the place was ours!" He giggled, and then I giggled too, lots and lots! He kissed me, first on a cheek and I started to calm down, and then on my mouth and those giggles were strangled by his soft lips and I found myself melting in his gentle grip!

"MMMmmm!", was all I could respond with. He released me so I could take a breath, and when I had barely finished he did it again! He went straight for my lips with his own, and I made another, "MMMmmm...", for him. He had to grip me firmer or I would have slid down to the floor I think, my muscles just plain went on strike on me, it was rather funny I think!

His eyes looked at me so softly, so intimately. "If she hadn't sold the house, Timmy... We would never have met. Hers was the only house in town big enough to contain the egos of both my parents, and if it hadn't been available they would have moved somewhere else instead! I've been thinking lots and lots about this during the past year... I'd never seen you, and my life would have been empty and desolate from now 'til forever. I love you so much, sweet Timmy!"

I sighed much like a swooning schoolgirl. "Oh Jeffrey!", I managed and he grinned back at me, a bit amused of my display I think... Oh. Maybe the hand he had stuck down the back of my pants had something to do with it...! I still had no underwear on, and he fondled me quite shamelessly I have to say. ...And I was loving every second of it! I was thinking thoughts like taking him to my room and kicking out my brother and sister, locking the door and strip down in front of him...

It seemed Jeff knew that I was getting awfully turned-on, he stopped his hand movements (yet let it rest there inside my jeans all the same), he shook his head at me and smiled, apparently in disbelief I wanted to go to bed with him right then and there on Christmas day! He did the second-best thing though, he laid down flat on the sofa and made me scoot up on top. His hand went down the back of my jeans again, but he was careful about it, neither of us were too keen on sprouting an erection in my parents' living room, and being two horny teens that can happen at the slightest of provocations (I'm only too aware of that myself!)...

"Jeff. You would have seen someone else. I mean, there are other cute guys out there you know." The TV was still babbling in the background, though our attention was hardly focused on it.

He shook his head at me. "I admit the reason I first became attracted to you was purely physical", he said in a low voice. I mean, how could I not? You're sweet as honey, little Timmy..." For once I didn't blush, I just smiled at his compliment. "You reminded me of Felix, what I had seen in him at the very beginning when I first got to know him... I was a bit afraid at first you see, because I had thought Felix pretty too and hoped he'd be nice but he was just nasty plain and simple... But your very first smile changed that immediately. His smiles were always more like smirks even at the best of times, and more like sneers when times weren't so good, but there wasn't a single bad thought hidden in yours. It was just a smile, a warm and friendly one, just like the one I always hoped Felix would give me except he never did... Not even the time I told him about my feelings for him."

"You know WHY my smile was so friendly?", I asked Jeffrey. "I thought you were so handsome I just felt myself do it, you know! I don't know what else to say, you looked at me and that made me smile!" I paused. "Then, as I started to get to know you, I just thought you were the greatest guy there is... You impressed me so much, I wanted to be your friend... I wanted you. You're my hero!"

Jeff rubbed his nose against mine again, pleased at hearing my praise. "You always smiled at me when I looked at you, and sometimes you'd blush bashfully too and turn your head away a little...", he said softly. "That made me hope, that made me happy."

"Well Jeff, you got me now! Smiles, blushes and everything!" He hugged me tight, so tight I almost groaned. It was so nice being in his strong, strong arms!

"Yeah, I gotcha. And I'll never let go!"

We snuggled together for... Well, as long as my parents let us, really, with the TV going unwatched in the background wasting electricity. After a while the 'rents came in to interrupt whatever activities were going on to announce it was time for lunch. My little sister (littlest sister actually) brought her new Gameboy to the table and continued playing it until mom and dad told her to put it away or it would be taken away from her. She whined and said it wasn't fair, but in the end she relented of course. Russ looked at us lots and lots and grinned, and we smiled back in a hidden sort of way when nobody was watching us. Wasn't quite time to bring this up with the rest of the family, the boy had to sort out his feelings on his own first.

We all talked about all sorts of things, except school, because none of us kids wanted to talk about that on Christmas! Kirsty and Russ wanted to go skiing. Jo is into horses and wanted to go riding (would have to be indoors though, but that doesn't matter since she practices horse-jumping). Jeff said he wouldn't mind doing some skiing himself, and I just happened to mention his family had a ski lodge in Aspen. I thought maybe I'd goofed there, but Jeff wasn't angry and said the place was unused for most part of the year anyway, when he'd lived in England they had flown over maybe once or twice a year and that was it. Last winter they'd been too busy to move in to use it much, but this time he'd love to go he said and promptly invited all my family to join whenever we had the time to come.

Mom and dad said they'd have to think about it, and Jeff knew it was their decision to make, he didn't push them. Russ and Kirsty started whining, and Jo too actually after a little while, and I made Jeff promise to teach me how to snowboard if we ever went skiing together so soon we had at least a half-promise we'd go. The kitchen quieted down a couple hundred decibels after that was said, which everyone was greatly thankful for!

My parents believe in a stout lunch and a late dinner, and to help make room for that dinner they decided we'd have an afternoon walk instead of the before-noon walk we'd just missed. The sun was shining brightly for all the good it did; the air was really biting our cheeks, it was even colder than the day before. The sky had cleared up almost entirely since the nightly snowfall, showing a nice blue vault arching overhead with only a few feather-shaped wispy clouds that sailed on towards some unknown destiny near the horizon, high, high up in the air.

I was warm in my new coat, I still felt the scent of Jeff on it I thought, and I pretended I was snuggling in to his strong body as I put it on! We walked rather briskly to prevent us getting cold, but as there was no wind nobody really suffered from that cold. It was actually rather nice! These were all The Daddy's old neighborhoods, he took us past all the places where he used to hang out in the late sixties and early seventies when he was a kid, doing mischief like tossing moldy, rotten apples at the windows of Jehovah's Witnesses (once actually smashing a pane when the apple wasn't quite as mushy as expected), getting chased after stealing strawberries in people's gardens and all kinds of stuff none of us kids were EVER allowed to try! We'd all heard it before of course, but we laughed just as much as Jeff did anyway at hearing what our delinquent dad had been up to in his youth. Mom merely smiled quietly in the way parents do when it's clear they want to make certain their kids don't pick up any bad habits being demonstrated by a grown-up. She knew of dad's antics in the past of course and was cool about it, she wasn't mad at him for bringing it up. Jeff was quite amused, neither of his parents had ever misbehaved the slightest he said, they were so boring in comparison. Both mom and dad was quick to assert there's nothing wrong with being 'boring' and Jeff nodded politely (if skeptically), but when I did too he smiled at me!

"Maybe boring isn't so bad after all", he said all of a sudden, looking me in the eyes just like he'd done when we'd been standing together under the mistletoe. "I know you're a well-behaved boy..." He couldn't resist trying to kiss me of course, and I let him. We both stopped right in the middle of a street, and Jeff placed his lips on mine no less than three times!

"Yuck! Do you HAVE to slobber all over each other like that in front of other people where they can see?", Russ announced to us. He didn't look particularly disgusted however, his eyes were trained on us, studying us with great interest! Both me and Jeff scooped up some snow and pretended to try and catch him so we could rub his face in the cold, white stuff, forcing him to run around weaving in and out between sisters, parents and parked cars yelling at us to cut it out and giggling madly! We laughed back evilly and promised all sorts of nasty treatments, maybe we'd even kiss and slobber on HIM too, what would he think of that huh? That 'threat' produced more giggles and he had to hide behind mom so she would tell us to stop! All of us boys were quite worked-up after that so we had to unbutton our jackets for a little while to vent the excess heat. The walk was resumed at a slow pace, us walking up ahead in front, me and Jeff on either side of Russ, both holding a gloved hand on one of his shoulders. He looked up at us periodically and smiled (looking more 'up' at Jeff than me since he's the taller of us two). Suddenly a snowball impacted at the back of Jeff's head in a great cloud of spraying icy particles! He yelled as snow came down his neck and touched his skin and we all spun around, looking for the culprit. First we suspected dad or Kirsty (because it would be exactly the thing they'd do), and then when they both asserted their innocence with great vehemence we glowered at Jo. She complained loudly we were being unfair (and silly too, since she'd hit that age when girls generally think boys are childish and immature, they themselves being considerably further along on the development curve). Then I cast mom a glance and she was barely able to contain her laughter!

"It's her!", I yelled and pointed at her, hardly believing my mom would even THINK of chucking a snowball at my boyfriend, and then dad started to laugh deep down in his chest and of course mom immediately lost it. We ended up chasing HER instead and mercilessly pelting her with snowballs (all of us did, even dad and my other siblings) and she yelled at us to stop and begged us to relent and laughed just as much as everyone else! She did manage to return a couple shots however, and she did so with a frighteningly accurate aim, her last one striking me right on my forehead and I just sat straight down in a snowdrift next to the sidewalk out of sheer surprise! Of course everyone immediately gathered around me to check if I was okay, and I was. The snow was so cold it was impossible to pack it into a hard snowball, so I wasn't hurt the least. Then I got a hug and a kiss from mom, and Jeff, and Kirsty and Russ!

It was just the bestest Christmas walk we'd ever had!

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