Christmas: Past, Present and FuturebyPelaam©
As he walked along the town's main street, Caelin stopped to look at the display in the men's' clothes shop. It still looked out of place to see fake Christmas snow, a tree and bright baubles next to t-shirts and shorts, but that was New Zealand. Its topsy-turvy seasons had been the reason for his coming here. Christmas this year was going to be the worst he had ever known and those to come were bleak and empty. His eyes alighted on a shirt so similar to one he had bought Wayne that the memory of why he was in New Zealand flooded into his brain.
"You want me to move out? Separate after fifteen years?" Caelin was stunned to hear Wayne's proclamation and struggled to make sure he had comprehended the hurtful words.
"I need freedom, freshness," Wayne announced. His hands flew in the dramatic way that Caelin knew meant he was uncomfortable with the topic matter and was subconsciously waving it away. "I've grown stale, confined, claustrophobic," the other man continued, now pacing up and down, looking anywhere but at the man who had shared his life and home for so long.
That made Caelin angry although, as always, he hid the emotion from his lover. 'I can't stand confrontation, love. I'm an artist. Negativity will destroy my creativity. You understand that don't you?' Caelin could repeat it word-for-word like a Tibetan mantra and even now it over-rode his own needs. Wayne had been am immensely successful artist, there was no denying that. But over the last three years or so, instead of creating, Wayne had preferred to party. Champagne and A-listers, out till the early hours and sleeping all day. He had done a couple of paintings in that time, but Caelin had felt they sold because of Wayne's celebrity status rather than being good pieces of art.
"So you want me out. Are we still in a relationship or is that over, too?" Caelin could not stop the bitter tone and took a step back as Wayne rounded on him, face red.
"How can I still see you? Did you just *hear* yourself? I need tranquillity and understanding. You never understood me or what I needed."
Caelin stared at Wayne's broad back. As his eyes traversed the body he knew so well, he could see the imperfections. Wayne's dark tresses had some silver glinting through; he was due his hair treatment again. His once toned body now had love-handles and his face had almost permanently red cheeks. Despite which, Caelin loved him and had thought himself loved in return. He preferred to be a stay-at-home lover. Partying was not his forte, nor was making small talk with strangers. He had always believed Wayne when the older man had claimed that the younger men he was so often photographed with were just after the publicity. A cold seed of doubt took root in his stomach.
Have I been so blind, so foolish? he asked himself.
"I'll pack an overnight case," Caelin said, his voice soft, defeated. "I take it I can come back for other stuff?"
"I'll be going on a skiing trip with Armand next week," Wayne announced airily. "You can come back for stuff then."
Bright, beautiful, fake-blond, fake tan, perfectly crafted white teeth. He had been on Wayne's arm on the last few parties the artist had attended. A tentative enquiry from Caelin about their relationship had Wayne shrieking about lack of trust and Caelin had slept alone for three nights.
"Fine," Caelin whispered, defeated. A part of him thought he should try and fight to keep Wayne, part of him was too numb to try. He also knew the older man well enough to know that any argument now would just result in the artist flying into a rage that Caelin had no energy to deal with. This would be a miserable Christmas.
Caelin had finally been determined that he would not allow himself to be drowned by the waves of sorrow. He knew he could not stay and look at Christmas trees and decorations and adverts for huge family gatherings knowing he would be alone. Instead he went to a travel agency.
Christmas there would be summertime, the agent enthused. Sunny days, sea, sand. Perfect getaway.
Caelin had bought his ticket immediately. How could you resist summer in winter and tags to places such as; 'City of sails', 'A place like no other' and 'The windy city'?
His chosen town was small. Most of the shops were along a single main street with additional stores in a mall. It suited Caelin just fine and the locals were so friendly he could hardly believe it. He would find people chatting to him as if he was a friend not a visitor.
Then he had seen the shirt in the shop window. So similar to one he had bought Wayne and it had rocked him to his core.
"Are you ok?"
A concerned voice made Caelin turn. He blinked at the young man who hovered anxiously, a hand on Caelin's shoulder as if to ground him.
"Fine," he lied. His voice cracked as if to emphasise the lie and he felt the tears burn his eyes.
"Come this way," the young man continued, as if Caelin had not spoken. "My name's Blake. I work in the coffee shop over there. Looks like you need a good, hot coffee inside you."
Before Caelin knew it, he had been ensconced in a seat in a corner of the shop, away from any curious eyes. A flat white coffee was placed in front of him along with a slice of decadent-looking chocolate cake.
"Some people can't stand sugar in their coffee, but it's good when you've had a shock, that's why I've given you the cake. Sit and take all the time you need. I'll pop back and see how you're doing in a few."
Caelin stared at the drink, cake and the small packet of handkerchiefs that had been placed before him. He had no more chance of stopping the tears than Canute did the flow of the sea. But once they were finished he did feel better. He was not going to let the memory spoil his well-earned vacation. He took a sip of the coffee. It was still warm and as good as had been promised. He even managed some of the cake.
Blake's comment had Caelin smiling as the young barista took the empty cup and mostly-empty plate away. Another coffee appeared.
"I can't really," Caelin protested, but Blake was determinedly insistent.
"Just chill, man. There's no reason to rush. It's not full-on at this time of day. You here on holiday or visiting family?"
"A getaway from it all. But sometimes you can't get away from your memories." Caelin smiled again, a melancholy movement of his lips at Blake's nod and knowing look.
"I'm sorry, man. But you don't want it to ruin the time you're here. It's nearly Christmas. What have you got lined up?"
"Nothing," Caelin found himself admitting. He had thought in eat in the Hotel. He abruptly realised he had spoken the words aloud at the vehement denial from Blake.
"No way, man. No way are you coming all this way to spend a lonely Christmas. Some friends and I will be heading to the beach for the day. Barbeque, beer, wine, music. Do you surf?"
"What? No, no I don't surf," Caelin said, shaking his head.
"No problem, someone needs to keep an eye on the barbie. You free tomorrow?"
"Um, yes," Caelin confessed. It seemed impossible to do anything but be honest with the young man.
"Cool. I finish here at 4.00pm. Come meet me here and we can swing round to where I live, meet the guys have a couple of beers. By the time Christmas comes round you'll be like one of the gang. Got your cellphone?"
Caelin meekly let Blake add his number to his phone.
"If you don't have plans tonight feel free to ring. No point being alone if you don't feel like it."
Caelin almost felt drained by Blake's energy and enthusiasm. He surreptitiously watched the barista. He was constantly in motion; serving, cleaning, checking the chiller or the coffee machine. The black trousers hugged long, lean legs and encased a tight butt. The blond hair was bleached and gelled into spikes and when Caelin got caught staring, the brown eyes twinkled with humour.
With shaking hands, Caelin had dialled Blake's number from the safety of his Hotel. He had intended to suggest a drink in one of the town's bars, but instead was invited to Blake's house to have dinner and a drink with Blake and his roomies.
So here he was.
Suddenly he felt apprehensive. He was not afraid in the sense that he was doing anything dangerous by accepting the invitation to go to a houseful of strangers. Rather it was a sense of foreboding that he was doing something stupid for a man of his age. He would easily be the oldest and an offer made out of sympathy may be regretted when actually taken up. He was dithering in the driveway, part of him urging a move forward, the other a swift retreat.
"Hey, glad you came. I'll be down in a sec."
There was no turning back now. Blake's voice had been accompanied by an energetic wave from an upstairs window. Caelin swallowed. When he had come on this holiday he had promised himself no looking back. As the front door opened, he took a deep, fortifying breath and stepped inside.
"I brought some beer," Caelin said handing the twelve-pack to Blake. "It was the least I could do."
"Cool, man. Come through, meet the guys."
"Hey, everyone, this is Caelin. Caelin, this is Johann who works at the hospital, Ranjit who's a chef in one of the Indian Restaurants in town and Manu who works in the council but is also a member of our local football team."
Caelin's eyes followed Blake's hand as he indicated his flatmates. He could not imagine four more different men. As he was settled with a beer in his hand he found himself chatting easily. Johann was South African and a physiotherapist. Ranjit's family owned a restaurant in another town, but he had studied, like Blake, in the college in town. But whereas Blake had left his home town to work first in Auckland and then Wellington and had now returned, Ranjit was comfortable and content to remain where he was. Manu was quietly spoken but never seemed stuck for an anecdote to fit in with the conversation revolving around his many and varied family members.
Dinner was served at a large table and, from the comfortable way the men acted, Caelin was certain it was a regular occurrence. There was homemade garlic bread, hummus and guacamole, a large freshly-made lasagne and a huge salad. At the end of the meal they gathered around the TV to watch a replay of an All Blacks match. Although a couple of them already knew the result, everyone was equally enthusiastic in cheering the team on and groaning sympathetically when they lost the ball. The evening flew past in a whirl of good food and even better company.
Caelin did not even notice the time flying past as he became so involved in the game. It was with a start he realised it was already midnight.
"I have to go," he said. "I'll need a taxi."
"No worries," Blake said. "But you can stay here if you want."
"I don't want to cause problems..." Caelin started, but four men had become a whirlwind of activity. He stared as the settee was pulled out into a bed and sheets, pillow and blankets appeared from various sources.
"Well that was subtle. Not."
Caelin looked around and realised as the bedding had been passed over the other men had also been wishing him a good night. He felt a blush stain his cheeks.
"Would you like a night cap? This is good stuff. I keep if for special guests."
Caelin nodded mutely. Blake's voice had dropped into a husky rasp and the dimmed lighting seemed to have made him taller and broader. He accepted the glass and sat at Blake's side on the made up bed. They clinked their glasses in a salute and they sipped their drinks. Caelin was not normally a scotch drinker, but this was rich and smooth.
"It is good," he agreed.
"'Gentleman Jack'," Blake purred.
Caelian watched as the younger man took another swallow. His eyes were riveted to the motion of Blake's Adam's apple. At such close quarter he could see the dark stubble on Blake's cheeks, chin and down his throat.
"You are attracted to me, Caelian, aren't you?"
Blake's question was accompanied by the younger man turning and his eyes seemed to devour Caelin.
"Very much," Caelin confessed.
"I want to meet you again. Alone. Tomorrow? I know it's Christmas Eve. But I don't do one night stands and I don't bed on the first date. I'm really attracted to you, Caelin, but I don't want to take you to my bed with someone else's memory still in your mind. Will you spend the day with me?"
"Yes," Caelin husked. He appreciated Blake's honesty. It would have been very easy to simply have sex and try to exorcise Wayne, but that would be unfair. He suddenly became aware of Blake's heat and musk as the distance between them became mere millimetres. His eyes closed as even they vanished.
Blake's lips were warm, dry and soft. The pressure was gentle and Caelin relaxed into the kiss. A broad hand cupped the nape of his neck and he moaned as he felt a thumb stroke across his skin. The parting of his lips let Blake's tongue slide inside his mouth. It licked over his gums, across his cheeks and sinuously entwined with his own. Caelin was panting by the time they broke apart.
They kissed in between sipping their drinks, their hands never straying below their waists.
"I have to go," Blake whispered, his breath caressing Caelin's cheek. "I don't want to ruin this. Sleep well, I'll see you in the morning and we can sort things from there."
"Goodnight, Blake," Caelin husked.
Caelin spent a relaxed afternoon with Blake, the younger man showing him where they would set up their BBQ on the beach. They had a quiet meal together and a few drinks. Blake accepted Caelin's invitation to his room and they shared a bottle of wine. As the wine was drunk, they stretched out on his bed. Kissing became necking and Caelin moaned softly as his shirt was spread open and a hot mouth sucked at a defenceless nipple. He slid his hands under Blake's t-shirt to find the other man's nubs and tease them into diamond-hard buds.
He did not resist as he was pulled lower on the bed and Blake eased himself effortless between his legs which spread wantonly to cradle him. Each of Blake's kisses seemed to stoke a furnace within Caelin. He whimpered as a hand palmed the throbbing flesh still imprisoned behind his denim cut-offs.
"Promised myself I wouldn't go too far, too fast." Blake's voice was rough with passion and Caelin bucked as the younger man's hand squeezed ay his shaft. "Can't stop myself, Caelin. Got to see you come. You want me to touch you?"
"Yes please please, yes," Caelin begged. His voice became ragged panting as Blake's hand unsnapped his cut-offs and pulled down the zipper. "You. Let me touch you," he blurted.
With what appeared to be the slightest of movements, Blake's hard, hot length was against his own. Caelin heard a whine of need and want and dimly realised he had made the sound. A large hand caught both eager organs and began to stroke. Hot lips, sharp teeth and soothing tongue kissed nipped or licked his face, neck, collarbone and nipples until Caelin was overwhelmed with sensation. The need to come was a fire in his veins and his hips pumped frantically to get the last infinitesimal stimulation needed. His climax shimmered just beyond his reach and then he froze before convulsing, his orgasm so powerful his vision dimmed to grey in its aftermath.
"That was incredible, babe."
Caelin peeled open his eyes to look at Blake. The younger man was smiling at him and Caelin felt the tears prick at his eyes. He could scarcely believe this beautiful man was praising him. He dropped a kiss into the bleached hair as Blake nuzzled happily against his neck.
"Thank you," he whispered.
"Ok if I rest here a while?"
Blake's voice was drowsy and Caelin's arms tightened around the long, lean body.
"As long as you want," he said.
Caelin had lost all track of time. He had swum, played volleyball, eaten, rested, played cricket and been drinking. Daylight had faded into darkness and as it did, bonfires were lit and music played. He had then danced, discreetly, close to Blake. He was stunned to realise that it was actually beginning to get lighter once more. It was rapidly approaching dawn.
"Come on, baby. This way."
Feeling Blake's hand slide into his, Caelin let the younger man lead him away from few still dancing and the many now sleeping.
"Where're we going?" he asked.
"To a little place I scouted out and left some essentials."
The mysterious reply created a heated coil in Caelin's lower belly. Although they had been drinking, Caelin knew that, compared to the others around them, he and Blake had consumed the beer quite sparsely. He was experiencing a pleasant buzz, but knew exactly what was going on. He felt himself hardening as they rounded a small bluff and out of sight of the remaining revellers.
A shudder ran through Caelin's body as Blake crouched to pull a black bin bag from a crevice in the rock invisible to the older man's eyes. Instead his gaze was drawn inexorably to the shadowy crevice of Blake's body as the board shorts hung low on slim hips. Caelin licked his lips as Blake stood up. There were two bags in his hands. He gave the bulkier to Caelin.
"Just over here."
The cliff was concave, affording a niche just big enough for two, hidden from open sight. Caelin watched as Blake set his bag down and then delved into the one he held. A plastic sheet was spread out and then a large duvet. From the smaller bag there was a bottle of champagne and plastic glasses. With a wolfish grin, Blake stepped out of his shorts and then the skimpy swim-briefs he wore.
"Let me see you."
His voice was a hoarse rasp and Caelin hurried to lose his t-shirt and Bermudas, hesitating only briefly before shedding his own swim-briefs. The older man let himself be lowered onto the duvet and then beneath it. Blake straddled Caelin's lap. The older man looked up at him and then Blake's warm lips were brushing softly against his.
"You're beautiful," Blake whispered against his mouth. "You're perfect. He was a fool for not holding onto you tightly and for letting you go."
A low groan erupted from Caelin's chest as the younger man's mouth melded against his. Caelin could feel the solid erection showing him just how beautiful he was and how much Blake wanted him. To the older man Blake was perfection and Caelin suddenly felt very lacking. Wayne's hurtful behaviour came back to him as well as his own doubts.
"Blake, I don't think..."
Blake's lips were back on his, silencing his fear with hot, gentle kisses. Slowly, Blake moved up and down on Caelin's lap, creating a delicious friction. It was heavenly, it was divine. Blake's mouth covered his every time Caelin tried to speak until all he could do was moan softly as an agile tongue delved deeply, teasing, exploring.
One hand gently cupped his face as Blake adjusted his position to claim Caelin's mouth. The older man's hands grasped at the naked back of the man astride him. Caelin was equally afraid of Blake continuing or stopping, but the touches and soft sounds of appreciation were overcoming his hesitancy. As the need to breathe became overwhelming, they broke apart. As Caelin panted, Blake's mouth continued its erotic assault, finding new places to amorously assail; ears, nose and neck all falling before the younger man's conquering lips.
As the soft lips continued to caress Caelin's face, Blake's fingers teased his nubs and the older man arched, electricity shooting through him. Blake's hands continued their gentle exploration, moving downward slowly against Caelin's skin, down to begging, dripping flesh. With a whimper Caelin tried to spread his legs but Blake's position preventing him. With a quick motion, the younger man moved to kneel between now spread limbs, his fingers teasing up and down Caelin's sensitive inner thighs.