Isaac didn't do the cold. He didn't do singing either. So trudging through the snow in minus temperatures, freezing his balls off to sing Fa lala to complete strangers, was not his idea of fun.
Until the tall, dark and handsome who opened the final door changed his mind.
“What am I doing?” Isaac had meant to ask the question in his head, but judging by the stiffening of Beck’s shoulders as his friend walked ahead of him, he needed to practice his talking to himself technique. He tucked the sleeves of his thick Aran sweater further into his gloves and thanked God… well, his mom, which was close enough… for finding his father’s spare waders in the garage, as he sank into a fresh pile of snow with every step. He’d thought that thermal underwear, jeans, three T-shirts and two sweaters would keep him warm, along with the waders and two pairs of thick socks. He’d been wrong. The cold air bit through the myriad of layers he wore and he clenched his jaw tightly in an attempt to keep his teeth from chattering.
Knowing he was behaving like a petulant child, he stamped his feet as he followed Beck through the snow. At least he thought he stamped his feet. As he’d lost all feeling in them about four blocks ago, he couldn’t be sure. He grunted as, adding insult to injury, fresh flakes of snow began to fall from the star lit, frozen sky. Isaac wrapped his arms around his body and grumbled into his scarf. Wasn’t it bad enough that he’d rejected the warmth of Christmas in Miami with two of his work mates, to drive home for the holidays; but that he’d also agreed to give up the roaring fire in his parents’ living-room, and sole possession of the remote control? Right now his mother would be putting the turkey in the oven to cook overnight and it wouldn’t be long before the scent of roasting bird would start to fill the house. His sister, Dana, would be peeling yams and chatting to their mother as Elvis warbled that he would be home for Christmas. His brother, Avery, would be making eggnog and trying to stop his father from upping the rum content, while his two nephews would be listening to their mother recite ‘Twas the Night before Christmas for the hundredth time. And where was he? Freezing his ass off and wondering if his balls were ever going to return to his scrotum or remain in the back of his throat where they’d crept to keep warm.
Every year he had the same conversation with himself as he brought up the rear behind Beck and his stupid caroling group. Unable to silence the expletive that shot out of his stupid mouth, Isaac flinched at the colder than the snow glare from Beck. His friend grabbed two handfuls of his sweater, sweater, T-shirts, thermals and some skin in the force of his irritation and yanked Isaac away from the group. Isaac found himself pulled up against Beck’s body and met his gaze nervously. He did, of course, have to look down to do so, being some five inches taller than the other man, but in this instance it wasn’t funny—Beck wasn’t wearing his happy face. Toying with the idea of speech for a nano-second, Isaac snapped his lips shut and waited to welcome the new one he was about to have chewed.
“If I hear one more word that doesn’t have a musical note to it,” Beck’s grip tightened and he pressed his nose to Isaac’s, dropping his voice so only Isaac heard him. Opening his mouth to respond he was stopped by the narrowing of Beck’s gaze. “Don’t you dare speak. Not. One. Word. Zilch, nothing, nada. I swear to the singing herald angels; I will beat you down. I don't give a shit if it is the season of goodwill to all men. Do you understand me?” Lifting his hands, Isaac curled his fingers around the back of Beck’s neck and kissed him hard and fast. Which probably wasn’t the best decision he’d made all night, because he found himself on his ass in the snow where Beck had shoved him. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” Beck complained. He wiped frantically at his mouth with his gloved hands then spat fluff from said gloves onto the white snow.
“You told me not to talk.” Isaac retorted, taking the hand Beck held out to him and clambering to his feet. “I was just saying yes.”
“Move for God’s sake.” Beck urged Isaac on and jabbed him in the side with an elbow as he stomped ahead, grumbling about his now non-existent chances of hooking up with anyone because he had ‘Isaac breath’.