Karrie Roman © 2018
All Rights Reserved
“It’s just not right, Will,” Jack grumbled.
Will watched him, doing his best to hide a smile, as Jack sorted through their combined decorations. Neither of them had many. Will, because he’d rarely even thought of Christmas in the past, much less celebrate it. And Jack, for a similar reason, according to him.
Here they were, standing before the eight-foot tree they’d bought with only a handful of ratty decorations to adorn it.
“We could get more,” Will suggested.
“Oh we’re getting more. Shops will still be open,” Jack said glancing at his watch. “Let’s go.”
“We could go tomorrow. It’s the weekend,” Will suggested. He was much more comfortable leaving the house these days, but it was almost 8.00 pm and the shops shut at 9.00 o’clock. He didn’t want to be one of those last minute customers.
“Will Blaikie.” Jack shook his head as though thoroughly disgusted. “The Christmas tree goes up on December first. That’s the rule.”
“But why?” Will couldn’t help himself sometimes. He wasn’t used to being so comfortable with another person to be able to take the piss out of them, but he loved doing it with Jack.
“I don’t make the rules, Will. I just follow them,” Jack sniffed as if that settled it. He reached for his keys and stalked toward the front door. Apparently, these Christmas rules were serious business. Maybe he thought Santa wouldn’t come to him if he broke them.
“And besides,” Jack continued, “I am not brave enough to hit the stores on a Saturday a few weeks before Christmas.” Jack shuddered as though the idea terrified him.
Will tried—and failed—to keep the smile from his face as he followed Jack out of the house. He was the bravest man Will knew, so Jack being afraid of Christmas shoppers seemed improbable.
Fifteen minutes later, they were in the Christmas trim department of their local Myers. The display trees looked so beautiful; it was going to be hard to choose which decorations to go with. Will reached out and slid his fingers through blue-and-silver tinsel. He looked up and caught Jack watching him with something akin to horror on his face.
“You do know the Christmas colours, right?” Jack asked.
Christmas colours? No, he really didn’t think he did know them, but from Jack’s expression, he thought it best not to confirm that out loud. “Um…refresh my memory?”
“Red, green, and gold. Please god, tell me you’re not one of those people who like blues and silvers on their trees?” Jack frowned.
Was he serious about this? Will was trying so hard not to laugh. Who’d have thought tough homicide detective Jack Mitchell would be so uptight about Christmas decorations. “Actually, Jack, I like all the colours of the rainbow on my tree.” Will glanced around for inspiration, and realising Jack had to be a Christmas traditionalist, decided to have some fun. “And look at these fairies and masquerade masks. They’ll look amazing.” Will picked up a few of the offending decorations and waved them in Jack’s disgruntled face.
“Ooh, and what is Christmas without some bejewelled dragonflies?” Will asked with an overabundance of enthusiasm. Jack was still just watching him. Maybe he was rethinking the life choices that had brought him to Will.
“Will, do you remember before I moved in, we talked about the future, our goals, dreams, whether or not we wanted kids? You know—all the things sensible couples discuss before moving in together?”
“Sure, I do, Jack,” Will replied, feigning ignorance of where this was going.
“I think we missed something important. I mean, I can negotiate and compromise on just about anything, but Christmas trees have to be done a certain way and that’s—” He gestured helplessly at the decorations Will held in his hands. “—that’s just not it.”
Will smiled gently, put the decorations down, and pressed his lips to Jack’s. “I know, baby. I’m just teasing.”
Jack visibly relaxed. “Oh thank god. For a minute there… You’re gonna pay for that, Will Blaikie.”
With the teasing done, they got back to the serious business of decoration selection. Forty minutes and two hundred dollars later, they were on their way back home.
If Will had thought Jack was somewhat…picky about his decorations, he soon discovered it was nothing compared to the meticulous way Jack went about the actual decorating.
“I just think it was too close to the other gold bauble,” Jack said as he reached to rearrange Will’s baubles yet again.
“But I was doing the red, then gold, then green like you told me,” Will sighed.
“I know,” Jack said, never taking his eyes off the tree. “It gets tricky when you start looking down the tree, though. So on the horizontal they may be apart, but vertically there might be another gold one right above or below it.”
Will felt his mouth gape. “You can’t be serious.”
“What?” Jack replied with a look of complete innocence on his face, as though he couldn’t figure out what Will’s problem was.
“You’re serious.” Will tossed his head back and laughed. He could have so much fun with this. “Wow, okay. So, I have to look all around the bauble to make sure there are no clashes of colour. Got it.”
They worked quietly for a time, Will planning just how he was going to mess with Jack over this. Jack’s face was a mask of concentration, and Will wondered what was going through that unique mind of his.
“I love you. You know that, Jack.”
Jack turned to him and gently cupped his cheek. “I know.” He pressed his soft lips to Will’s.
Will didn’t think he’d ever get used to the thrill that shot through him every time they kissed—at least he hoped he didn’t.
“Mm, you taste good,” Jack murmured. “I’m gonna make us a tea while you finish up.”
It was just the opportunity Will had been waiting for. As soon as Jack walked out of the room, Will got to work. He moved quickly and quietly, undoing the fastidious way Jack had decorated the tree. He lined up all the gold baubles together and then the red and green. He moved the tinsel so it was no longer ‘evenly spread through the branches’ as Jack liked it but rather looked like someone had stood back and haphazardly tossed it onto the tree. Lastly, he shifted the strands so large gaps in the twinkling lights were spread all over.
Once his work was done, he sat back on the couch and waited. It was only a few minutes later when Jack came in, his hands laden with a tray holding their tea and biscuits. He put the tray on the coffee table and collapsed beside Will on the couch. He smiled widely at Will, pressed a kiss to his cheek, and then turned to the tree.
Will watched his smile fall immediately and his eyes grow wide. Jack flicked his glance back and forth between Will and the tree. “How could you?” He asked, aghast.
Will laughed and grabbed Jack’s hand as he went to stand. “Leave it, Jack. I’ll fix it up. You just made it too easy for me to mess with.”
“You know I’m storing up all this cheekiness, Mr Blaikie, and there absolutely will be payback.” Jack leaned over and pulled Will to him. He kissed him soundly before pulling away. “You get none of this”—he said, gesturing to himself with one hand—“until that atrocity has been fixed.”
“Withholding sex? Isn’t that more of a punishment for you?” Will suggested.
“Damn it. You’re right.”
“I promise this tree is going to be perfect, Jack. Because it’s our tree. Yours and mine together. How could it not be perfect?”
“Did I tell you I love you?” Jack asked.
“You did, but I think it bears repeating.” Will sniffed, affronted that it may have been half an hour since he’d last heard the words.
Jack pulled him closer, manoeuvring them both until Will was sprawled beneath him on the couch, their teas cooling on the table. “I love you.” He nibbled along Will’s exposed throat. “I love you.” He kissed his lips, nose and each eye. “I love you,” he whispered and began trailing his kisses lower and lower still…