Nell Iris' Christmas

Holidays at Nell’s: Day 23

Today, I’m doing things a little differently here on the blog. Instead of recommending a holiday book I’ve read, I’m giving you an early Christmas present. But to be completely honest, it’s not me doing the giving, it’s my dear friend Addison Albright. I asked her if she wanted to write a flashfic story for Holidays at Nell’s as a treat for you, because she excels at flashfic stories, and since she’s one of the nicest people I have the privilege to know, she agreed.

So without further ado; please help me welcome Addison Albright to the blog. 😍

When the queen of short, toe-curling romance that makes you grin ear-to-ear and say cliché things like “aww,” asked me to write a bit of flash for her holiday blog event, of course I jumped at the chance! I opted to write a bonus scene for the Christmas short story I wrote a couple years ago. Déjà Vu is not your typical holiday story. It tries to be dark (much like this bonus scene), but ends up eliciting chuckles and giving you the warm fuzzies instead.

Although featuring characters from a published short story, this bonus scene was written to be enjoyed as a standalone bit of flash.


Déjà Vu – Two Days Before Christmas

Gavin

“Hard to believe it’s only two days until Christmas.” Gavin entwined his fingers with Matthew’s as they strolled through the busy mall. He had a bounce in his step and wore a wide grin.

“I know!” Matthew sing-songed the words in a cheery voice. “Aww, look.” He pointed toward a line of children waiting in line to sit on Santa’s lap. A trio of scary-looking elves with maniacal smiles minded the queue, but Matthew didn’t seem to notice them. “Makes me almost want to have kids.”

Gavin snorted but thankfully didn’t spurt any of the berry-flavored concoction he’d just sipped. “Almost? You’re not being serious, are you?” Because surely, Matthew wouldn’t bring up such an important subject so casually?

“Oh.” Matthew’s laugh had a nervous ring to it. “I didn’t mean to say that out loud.” He shook his head. “But don’t worry, I haven’t developed a sudden overwhelming urge to expand our family.”

“Hmm.” Gavin drew his brows together. Matthew’s words didn’t quite match his body language. “Wanna talk more about it when we get home?”

Matthew kept his face mostly neutral as he considered the question. He opened his mouth to reply, but then a shadow fell across them from a figure looming too close for comfort.

Matthew’s hand flew to his chest, and he jumped when he turned his head toward the menacing, creepy elf, who was now solo as the other two looked on from a distance, no longer even pretending to herd the children.

Gavin stiffened and drew Matthew closer to him. “What do you want?” he asked the elf.

The elf’s deranged grin twisted, and his ears actually twitched. “You’ve been bad boys, haven’t you.” His tone grated like sand being ground against glass, and he inflected the sentence like a statement, not a question.

Gavin shivered. “You know what? How about you go back to work and leave us alone?”

The elf’s freaky grin widened, and he blew a fetid kiss toward Gavin before turning his gaze back to Matthew and licking his thin, cracked lips.

* * * * *

Victor

“Ew.” Bryan planted a warm kiss to Victor’s neck, to that spot just below and slightly behind his ear that always sent a delightful shiver down his spine. “What are you planning for their demise this time? The creepy elf reads like he could be a vampire.”

“Nah.” Victor shook his head. “Been there, done that. It’s a dark elf. He’s gonna jump them in the men’s room and bash them with his tiny toy-making hammer.”

Bryan snorted. “Amelia will like that.”

Victor grinned and pulled his husband down for a proper kiss. After Bryan’s sister—and Bryan—had gotten over their initial horror at the thought that he might be seriously planning to kill off his most popular series’ characters, their dark senses of humor had surfaced, and they’d begun to look forward to the occasional horror-inspired scenes he wrote to let off a little steam.

“She’s going to psychoanalyze it, though,” Bryan added with a comically arched brow.

Ah, yeah. Victor had been carefully avoiding thinking too hard about his rationale for Gavin and Matthew’s initial conversation…Matthew’s slip of the tongue. Was he subconsciously looking to open that same conversation between himself and Bryan?

“Hmm.” Victor kept his tone noncommittal.

Bryan’s eyes widened, likely because Victor was crap at disguising his thoughts. “Hmm back at you.”

“Are you trying to psychoanalyze me?”

“Should I be?”

Victor groaned and ran his fingers through his hair. “I haven’t really thought it through yet.”

Bryan squatted beside Victor and stared up into his eyes while patting his thigh. “I think this is a conversation for another day. I don’t want to blindside you.”

“So this is something you’ve thought about?”

“A little. Hadn’t gotten to the point where I was ready to bring it up and potentially take action on it, though.”

Both of Victor’s brows reached for the sky like a cornered burglar. “You have?”

“Yeah.” Bryan’s nod was decisive. “Still, let’s hold this conversation for another day. I know how much you like to analyze your feelings on heavy conversations before talking them out.”

“Thank you.” Victor’s lips twitched up into a thankful smile. Bryan understood him like no other, and it wasn’t the first time an impromptu discussion had been shelved until he could sort his thoughts before airing them.

“We could, however—“ Bryan affected a farcical wink. “—take a deeper dive into your motivations behind that ‘bad boys’ accusation.”

Victor stood and pulled Bryan into his arms. “Maybe a little Gavin and Matthew roleplaying? Was your comment about vampires wishful thinking?”

“Now you’re psychoanalyzing me?” But Bryan’s grin widened.

“Hmm, maybe those vampires from my first horror scene a couple years ago could turn Gavin first, then have him devour Matthew?”

Bryan laughed, and they both ignored the tinkle of an ornament crashing to the floor in the living room mixing with the scurry of their cat, Felix, running for cover. “Come on.”


Click for blurb

Gavin and Matthew just want to get home to enjoy Christmas Eve in their safe, warm apartment. Should they walk or take a cab? But will either option do the trick when Victor, suffering from his holiday blahs, is determined to undermine this happy twosome at every turn?

Years ago, Victor made the unfortunate mistake of coming out to his family on Christmas. Why couldn’t he have picked a random summer day?

Can Victor’s husband Bryan pull him out of his gloomy mood in order to give the popular Gavin and Matthew the merry Christmas they deserve?

At first glance, it looked like an innocuous white sweater with a wide red band that had rows of demure diamonds trimming the top and bottom edges. Until you took a double-take at the three white reindeer in that field of red and saw what they were doing, which was…each other.

Quote from Déjà Vu

Déjà Vu will give you something less traditional, dirty Christmas sweaters, and the delicious kind of quiet romance Addison Albright does so well. It’ll make you think huh, what did I just read? in the best possible way, and it will leave you with a smile on your face. Maybe it won’t fill you with the overly sentimental feelings we normally associate with Christmas, with hot chocolate in the snow and singing along to Christmas carols (yes, I’m referring to myself 😀 ) but I don’t discriminate. I love ALL kinds of holiday stories. 😀

Victor stretched in the dim early morning light. He turned on his side and lay watching Bryan’s chest expand and contract with the long slow breaths of sleep. The inhalations were steady and dependable, just like the man. Always there, always supportive, always loving. Always.

Quote from Déjà Vu

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