The Perfect Prezzie
Christmas Eve. Thirty minutes until the shops closed. Raymond Doyle was a desperate man. Devoid of even the faintest glimmer of inspiration, he stalked the high street, peering hopelessly into shop windows, despairing of finding the one item that would deliver him from the sorry situation his own big mouth had landed him in....
"Come on, mate. You might as well tell me. You know I'm going to guess eventually."
Doyle hunched himself lower in the passenger seat, glaring at his partner, Bodie, who was so arrogantly confident he hadn't even taken his eyes off the road to see if his statement had had any impact. The truth of the matter was, the bastard was right. Bodie would eventually guess what Doyle had bought him for Christmas. He did it every year. Doyle, however, was not about to admit it.
"Delusional, you are," Doyle dismissed, turning his attention to the windscreen and trying to appear as arrogantly confident as his partner. He knew he didn't do it anywhere near as well, but he could give it his best try.
Bodie just smirked, which made Doyle want to thump him one. Since Bodie was driving with his usual disregard for the speed limit, however, Doyle restrained himself.
In actual fact, Doyle was at a rare advantage this year simply because he had yet to buy Bodie anything at all. He hadn't thought of anything yet, but that wouldn't stop him from winding Bodie up if he could.
"Rack your brain cell, sunshine," he invited, stretching out in his seat, forcing himself to relax and adopt an attitude of annoying indifference. "You will never guess this prezzie." And having thrown down the gauntlet, Doyle began to pray for inspiration.
Twenty minutes to closing time and Doyle was trying to accept the fact that the only bird he would be dining on this Christmas would be crow. Not that there weren't hundreds of perfectly acceptable presents displayed in every shop window. The trouble was that over the past two weeks Bodie had spent every spare minute guessing, thereby eliminating every appropriate and inappropriate item that Doyle himself had been able to think of.
Loath to admit defeat, Doyle continued to tramp through the dirty slush coating the sidewalks, no longer even stopping to gaze at the wares on display but simply cataloguing as he went by. And then he saw it. Coming to an abrupt halt, he stared rapturously through the window at one of the few things Bodie had failed to guess and which Doyle could unload elsewhere in a hurry if he had to. Talk about your eleventh hour deliverances, he thought, catching sight of his watch as he pushed open the door to the shop - five more minutes and he would have been out of luck.
Later that same evening, Doyle once again found himself with his back to a time limit. Bodie was due any minute and although dinner was taking care of itself in the kitchen, he had only managed to pull on a clean pair of jeans after a hurried shower. Barefoot and bare-chested, he was now fully occupied with trying to get the big red bow and its matching ribbon wrapped around Bodie's present. At the moment, the intended prezzie adornment hung around Doyle's neck like some kind of ludicrous bow tie.
Doyle was having serious second thoughts as he attempted to wrestle Bodie's present into submission. Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea to give in to his last minute desperation, but there was nothing he could do about it now. Like it or not, Bodie was going to be receiving a green-eyed calico kitten for Christmas, with - Doyle cursed as needle sharp milk teeth sank into his thumb - or maybe without a big red bow around its scrawny neck. He held up his hand and stared bemusedly at the tenacious bit of fluff firmly attached. Which bit of fluff went flying when the buzzer sounded and Doyle jerked in reaction.
Carefully closing the bedroom door, Doyle hurried to the intercom, calculating just how much chance there was that he would be able to get the bow on the damned cat before Bodie made it up three flights of stairs. Or even if he had a hope of delaying....
"...yle, let me in for Christ's sake!"
So much for delay. Doyle depressed the release and hustled back to the bedroom where he discovered that the kitten had disappeared. He found it a minute later playing with the dust bunnies under his bed, but it was having no part of being coaxed out.
"Where the hell are you, Doyle?"
Admitting defeat, Doyle climbed to his feet and went to greet his impatient partner. He got as far as the bedroom doorway before Bodie appeared. Leaning against the frame with arms crossed over his bare chest, he attempted to summon up a gracious grin. The semblance he managed faded as he watched Bodie's expression change from impatience to... he wasn't quite sure what to call it but even as he watched, Bodie's blue eyes seemed to glow.
It was only as Bodie reached him and slipped two fingers beneath the bow that hung loosely around his neck that Doyle remembered it was there. Confusion fled as Bodie's hands curved around his shoulders to draw him closer.
"Never thought you could feel the way I do. Want me the way I want you," Bodie murmured passionately, warm breath stirring soft curls.
"Want you?" Doyle echoed, no longer confused but definitely stunned.
"Oh yes, Ray. Want you so much," Bodie declared. "Couldn't think of a more perfect prezzie."
A finger under his chin brought his surprise-softened mouth to just the right angle to let Bodie's lips claim it, and by the time it had been set free, Doyle had forgotten he'd ever intended to offer anything except himself.
"Ray, wake up!" Bodie whispered urgently.
Too well loved to work up anything remotely resembling urgent, Doyle attempted to soothe his new lover with clumsy/sleepy pats.
"Give over, mate. Wake up. Somebody's in your lounge."
That got Doyle's attention. He sat up, commanding silence with an impatient shush and holding the bigger man in place with a hand planted firmly in the centre of the smooth chest. He listened attentively for a moment, then relaxed as he recognised the sounds. He sank back down onto his human pillow.
"Nothing to worry about. It's just your Christmas prezzie."
"My Christmas prezzie?"
How could three simple words convey so much fear, doubt and hurt? Doyle wrapped his arms around the tense torso and squeezed hard. "Your other Christmas prezzie, love. Give it to you in the morning."
Petting his newfound love to sleep, Doyle hoped Bodie would like his second Christmas prezzie as much as he'd liked the first.
-- THE END --
Originally published in Motet Opus 4 in B and D, Keynote Press, November 2000