On Christmas EvebyKen Nitsua©
The seventy-second Christmas Eve of Alan Corwin's life dawned cold and gray, though snow was not yet falling when he awoke before six o'clock. He always woke early on holidays, though he never made anything special of them now. No tree or decorations were placed in the small condominium unit he occupied in the assisted living complex.
It was on December twenty-fourth that Roger Adams had died, bald, wasted, and gasping for breath, on that snowy day twenty years ago. With his passing a light had gone out in Alan's soul, and Christmas had forever lost its meaning.
Alan always thanked his good fortune that he had made enough money in his life to retreat to a reasonably comfortable old age. His heart was weak now, and arthritis had bent him and slowed his gait, but he had retained enough health and mobility not to have to depend greatly on anyone. He preferred loneliness to the empty chatter of nurses and aides with whom he had nothing in common.
He would have no visitors-the social workers and volunteers who made the rounds had learned to avoid him on this particular day. The only person whose company he would have welcomed would have been Jeff Bennett, who lived in the next building and who was, as far as he knew, the only other gay man in the complex.
Jeff, however, having been married in a previous life, had a daughter who had whisked him away to spend Christmas with her family. He had grumbled to Alan about going. "I'd rather be here with you, guy, enjoying some peace and quiet. We could break out my twelve-year-old Scotch, pop in an old William Higgins flick," he leered. This was a comically grotesque sight, as Jeff had no front teeth left, and seldom if ever wore his ill-fitting plate. "The young guys say I give great head," he would say. "They never have to worry about getting scraped."
Yes, it would have been fun to have his friend here today, or at least it would have helped pass the long gray hours. What to do without him?
He could get on the bus and go down to the mall, which would be open most of the day for last-minute shoppers. He knew, however, that after a short while the hubbub, the music, the lights, and good cheer would depress him almost as much as being home. Still, the prospect of looking at the TV alone held no appeal either. There would be too many memories, too much temptation to sip from his own bottle.
He looked at the clock on the wall. Showering, dressing himself and breakfast had taken longer than he expected-it was already eight-thirty. Still indecisive, Alan put on his wool jacket and cap, slowly, with stiff fingers. He opened the front door of his ground-floor unit and tested the weather outside. It was cold and brisk, but not unbearable. The breeze was slight and the grayness was brightening, at least, though there was no hint of sun.
He would get out and start walking. Maybe a plan would come to him. Alan made sure he had his key before he shut the door behind him. He put his hands in his pockets and made his way to the street.
Traffic was light, as the holiday had already begun for many people. Alan walked carefully around patches of dirty snow from last week's fall, wincing occasionally as his arthritic joints protested a careless or too-rapid move. The pain medication always took a while to kick in. Nevertheless, it felt good to be out, and he kept going. Before he knew it an hour had passed. He was tired and chilled to the bone.
Several blocks from his residence there was an intersection with a shopping center on the corner, and a Walgreen's across the street. He could head there and pick up some necessities. Then he would go to the bagel shop across the street, drink a cup of coffee, and look at the traffic.
He walked more briskly, trying to keep warm. Despite his age and stooped body Alan was still an attractive man. His prominent, but well-shaped nose and square jaw formed a characterful face, the strength of which had been enhanced by the passage of years. He retained a full head of silvery hair that set off his large, liquid brown eyes.
He crossed with the light at the intersection, as traffic was heavier here. The Walgreen's was on top of a small rise, and he labored up the parking lot. By the time he entered the store he was panting.
The warmth inside was welcome after the chilly walk. The clerk at the cash register smiled at him and said hello. Alan liked her pleasant manner, though he could never quite remember her name. He turned into the aisle with the dental supplies.
A young man standing in front of the display, wearing blue jeans and a brown suede windbreaker, looked up as Alan approached. He met his eyes and smiled. "Hello," he said.
Alan stopped short. He usually didn't notice people much these days, even attractive men, but it would have been impossible not to take note of this one.
He was tall, and under his clothes Alan could tell that his body was toned and athletic. He could not have been more than twenty or twenty-one years of age, and his face was beautiful-there was simply no other word to describe him. It wasn't just the square jaw, jutting and masculine, the straight nose, or the full, sensuous lips. It wasn't just the lustrous dark brown hair that contrasted sharply with his fair skin. It was the eyes-oh, the eyes. They were large, and a rich, bright green. Roger's eyes had been that color too.
This man looked as Roger Adams might have appeared in the first flush of young adulthood, only better still. By the time he and Alan had become lovers, Roger was forty-two, three years older than Alan, still handsome but aging. It had been only a few short years later that illness had struck and gradually depleted him of his energy, his looks, and finally his independence and dignity.
The green eyes had remained, though, after the rest was only a memory. Even now Alan remembered the haunted look in them as Roger stared up at him from the sickbed, robbed of his speech by the virus invading his brain. He realized some years after Roger's death that his lover had been mutely begging for release from the prison of his body. Why had he not obeyed and done the right and merciful thing?
"Far from home and nothing on me, not even a toothbrush," the stranger said cheerfully. "How's that for disorganized?"
Alan found his voice. "Is there something I can do to help?" he asked.
The man shook his head. "You're kind, but no. I'm on a cross-country car trip to see friends. My car broke down here yesterday. Until it's fixed, I'm stranded." He paused, then said, "I stayed in a cheap motel last night, and my bag was stolen out of my room. Luckily I had my wallet in the bed with me, so at least I have money. But no clothes, no nothing otherwise."
"That's terrible, and at Christmas too," Alan said, still fascinated by this handsome stranger who looked so much like a younger version of his dead partner.
The other man scratched his chin. "Actually, there is something. You know a good place to eat? I've been running around all morning trying to straighten this mess out and I'm starved."
"Well," Alan said, thinking, "There are a couple of places near here. There's two pizza joints, one across the street, one catty corner from here next to the supermarket. Pretty nice Italian restaurant next to the first one. Bagel and sandwich place in that lot too. If you don't like Italian, there's a Chinese place a couple of blocks away, but it's not much good."
The other man laughed. "Sounds like there's lots of choices. You've been so nice. Would you care to join me?"
Alan, caught by surprise, stammered, "N-no, I couldn't possibly."
The stranger smiled. "Oh, I really wish you would, Alan."
Now really taken aback, Alan asked, "How did you know my name?"
"Oh, no mystery, I heard the cashier say hello to you when you came in," the younger man replied. He extended his hand. "I'm Roger, by the way."
"Roger?" The man bore the same name as the lover he still missed every day. Emotions long held in check began to flood through him, and it was a moment before Alan could compose himself enough to shake the offered hand. Roger's grip was strong and cool.
"Yep, that's me. So how about it, Alan?"
Alan shrugged. "Okay."
An hour later they sat in the bagel shop, having finished sandwiches and coffee. The meal had tasted better to Alan than any in a long time. His unexpected companion had kept him talking, and actually had gotten him laughing heartily at an anecdote or two. The gloom of the morning was forgotten.
Now, though, the food was eaten, and the coffee was drunk, and his time with this charming stranger was fast drawing to a close. Roger was passing through, and he probably would not seen him again. Returning depression threatened to overwhelm him. They fell silent.
Making an effort, Alan asked, "So, will you pick up your car now?"
"Don't know," Roger replied.
"I would think you would want to be on your way," Alan said, wishing that he wasn't going, or that he could go with him.
"Well, I was hoping to be in California by Christmas," Roger said. "That certainly isn't going to happen now. So I'm kind of at loose ends. I don't feel any need to rush off. This is such a nice town, I hate to leave. Seems that nice people live here, too," he said, smiling once again into Alan's eyes, making him feel giddy.
Gathering his courage, Alan said, "Well, if you're not doing anything right away, we could go back to my place and sit awhile. There's not much there-but I do have some decent Scotch."
He waited for the cordial refusal.
"I'd love to," Roger said. "Show me the way."
They sat at Alan's kitchen table, mismatched glasses of Scotch and a bottle between them. Conversation had once again momentarily died down. Alan looked at Roger as he so often had that day, admiring his beauty as if he were a work of art. The liquor was going to his head-he felt warm and flushed, and there was a tingling in his lower body that he hadn't felt in a long time.
Roger was smiling at him, his eyes direct. Embarrassment rose in Alan. Taking his glass, he struggled to his feet and moved toward the sink, thinking he might wash it out, or something, anything to keep from sinking once more into that hypnotic green stare.
He heard Roger come up behind him. "Alan?"
He wheeled around. Roger was much closer to him than he expected and Alan bumped the glass of Scotch he was still holding against his chest. Liquor splashed over the light-colored shirt Roger was wearing, spreading in large stains.
"Oh my god," Alan cried, mortified. "Look what I've done."
Roger laughed. "It's okay, Alan, we can soak it before it sets." He quickly unbuttoned the shirt and slipped it off.
Dropping all pretense, Alan stared at the chiseled pectoral muscles, lightly furred with dark hair, each topped with a round pink nipple. Beneath, Roger's stomach was hard and flat, the rows of muscle visible but not grotesquely prominent. Even his navel was perfectly placed and formed.
Alan raised his gaze and met Roger's eyes once more. The younger man smiled back at him, saying nothing. Alan licked his dry lips, and when he spoke his voice was a barely audible rasp.
"You're beautiful," he said.
Roger's smile broadened. "Thanks. You can touch, Alan. I'm not a statue in a museum."
Barely believing it was really happening, Alan raised one hand and ran it lightly down Roger's chest. He heard a soft intake of breath from the other man. He reached the navel and ran one finger lightly around it, then let it descend to the waistband of Roger's unbelted jeans.
Roger's response was to unbutton his fly. White cotton underwear appeared, pushed up by a prominent bulge. Alan pulled at the waistband of the briefs. He gasped as the dark pink head of the cock popped out, the end wet with clear fluid. He pushed Roger's clothes down his thighs until everything was revealed, the cock long and veined and pointing eagerly upward, the balls round and hanging low in their sack. Roger's pubic hair was plentiful but neat.
After Alan had caressed his dick for a few moments, Roger said, "Let's go to the bedroom." He turned and Alan followed. When they got there, Roger sat on the end of the bed facing Alan, pushing his jeans and briefs all the way down. He leaned back on his elbows. Alan stared as if hypnotized at the erection beckoning him. Kneeling slowly before Roger, he gently pushed the young man's knees apart as his head descended into the crotch. His mouth opened and his tongue came out to make contact at last with the organ being offered to him.
Slowly, tenderly, Alan licked the head clean of precum before letting his lips surround the ridge where it met the shaft. At last, he descended the hard veined pole, taking the entire cock down his throat until his nose was buried in the fragrant pubes.
Despite the carpet on the floor, his arthritic knees were aching, but Alan ignored the pain. He began to move his head up and down on Roger's organ in motions he had not performed for years, soon bringing one hand up to assist in pleasuring his companion, the other grasping one of Roger's hips. His partner began to sigh softly. "That's wonderful, man. Suck me."
All too soon, Roger's strong hands grasped his head, forcing it downward. Alan heard the gasps above him as the cock in his mouth began to pulse, filling his mouth with warm liquid. After a split second of uncertainty, he swallowed. After a while, reluctantly, he released the softening cock. He kissed Roger's thigh.
"Thanks, Alan, that was great," Roger said, still breathless from his climax.
Alan looked up. "I wasn't sure I could do that anymore."
Roger said, "You haven't lost your touch, my friend."
Alan smiled slightly. How would Roger know that? Slowly and stiffly he got to his feet, and looked down at the stranger he had invited home and now serviced. Roger sat naked on the bed, his pants and underwear down around his ankles. Most other men would have looked ridiculous but this one looked damn hot like that. Alan felt an ache as his own erection pressed against the front of his pants.
He didn't suppose the ache would be satisfied. His mysterious pickup had gotten himself off. Now Roger would no doubt get dressed, find some excuse and leave hurriedly. Then a thought struck him. Had the man done it for the cash? He didn't have that kind of money. What if he got robbed, beaten, even murdered now? Fear made his heart race. The room suddenly swam before his eyes.
"Alan? Are you okay?" Roger asked, concerned.
Alan put his hand to his chest. He took deep breaths and tried to relax. "Sorry," he managed after a moment. He made an attempt at a joke. "Guess I'm a little out of shape."
Roger stood, took Alan's face in both hands and kissed him deeply, then put his arms around him. Alan's fears melted in the warmth of his companion's touch. Whoever this stranger was, he was not going to bash him.
"You could have fooled me," the younger man smiled, when they broke apart. "That was wonderful. Now it's your turn."
Alan shook his head, embarrassed. "No, Roger, you don't have to do anything. It's okay, really."
Roger shook his head, smiling. "Alan, I want to." He bent and in a few swift movements pulled the rest of his clothing off and tossed it on the bed. "I've got an idea. Let's take a nice hot bath."
Memories rose in Alan's mind--languid hours in the tub with his long-ago lover, whispered conversations, clicks and squeaks of nude kisses and caresses, gentle splashes, gasps echoing off the walls, orgasms erupting into the steaming water. He closed his eyes, finding his body responding yet again.
Roger took his hand, smiling. "C'mon. You know you want to." He began to walk toward the bathroom. Alan let himself be pulled along, staring as if in a trance at the V-shape of Roger's shoulders and back, the perfect dimples on the buttocks, the sturdy legs.
In the bathroom, he stood before Roger, who undressed him slowly and carefully as the steam rose from the water running into the bathtub, taking his clothes and hanging them on the towel rack. At last he too was naked. He blushed in shame at the contrast between his wrinkled, emaciated body and that of his friend. "I'm so ugly," Alan said.
Roger shook his head and pressed his fingers to Alan's lips. He shut the water off, stepped into the tub and turned. "Come on in, the water's fine," he smiled.
They sat in the tub facing each other, Alan's legs over Roger's. He could not get enough of looking into the young man's eyes, filled with verdant fire. He leaned forward and Roger's arms pulled him close.
"Alan, I've wanted this for so long," he whispered.
Alan shook his head, bewildered. There was no doubt of Roger's ardor as he kissed Alan gently, sweetly, his tongue delicately tickling his lips. The old man reached out and flicked one pink nipple on the muscled chest with his thumb. This drew a moan.
"Mmm, that's nice." Roger threw his head back, his eyes closed. His cock jutted up stiffly from the water. In a moment, he said to Alan, "Stand up."
Alan obeyed gingerly, not entirely trusting his legs. At last he was on his feet. Strong hands grasped his thighs as Roger took his cock into his mouth and began sucking eagerly. Alan closed his eyes, in shock at the pleasurable sensations he thought he would never experience again. After a few minutes, he pushed gently on Roger's forehead. Roger released him and looked up questioningly.
"Sorry," Alan said. "That's so nice--I didn't want to cum too quick."
Roger smiled. "That's okay. Sit in my lap."
Alan turned slowly and lowered himself onto Roger's body, the younger man supporting him with strong arms. Seated, Alan leaned back on Roger's hard chest, looking at the forearms embracing him, the strong hands caressing his chest and stomach. Underneath he felt the pole of flesh press against his seat.
A hand found his cock and began to tease it once more into erection. Alan's breathing quickened. Roger's other hand was gently pinching and fondling his left nipple. Then it moved underneath his body and Alan felt a finger penetrate him. He gasped as it pressed into his prostate. Roger began to stroke Alan's cock faster, moving his finger inside Alan. The older man's breathing grew louder, more ragged. Finally Alan groaned as the orgasm overtook him, his cock pulsing in Roger's hand, releasing wisps of semen into the warm water.
The finger was withdrawn and Roger enfolded him once again in his arms, bringing his face next to Alan's. He kissed him softly on the cheek as Alan came slowly back to earth, his breathing returning to normal. They sat this way in silence for a long while. The only sounds were their breathing echoing off the tile walls, and the hum of the fluorescent lighting.
Finally Alan turned toward Roger and said, "Thank you."
Roger smiled. "Don't mention it. I enjoyed it too."
"It's been so long," Alan said. He felt drained and content beyond words.
Roger kissed him on the lips. "You know, the water's getting cold. What do you say we get out and dry ourselves off?"
They sat on the couch in the small living room of the apartment as the afternoon light faded. Alan had put on a loose shirt and khaki pants, and slipped on a pair of moccasins. He had lent Roger one of his shirts, which draped the younger man's athletic form perfectly, the way it never had on him. Roger lay with his head on Alan's shoulder, his arm around Alan's chest. His eyes were closed, and the old man wondered if he were asleep.
At that moment his companion stirred and smiled up into his eyes.
"What are you thinking?" Roger asked.
Alan paused a long moment before answering. "I'm trying to think of what I did to deserve this."
Alan gestured with his free arm. "Meeting you. Having you here."
Roger's smile flashed again. "Why shouldn't I be here?"