Danny sat in his bedroom, knees pulled up to his chin, watching a Christmas special marathon. He could have gone downstairs to his parents’ Christmas party, but there were way too many people down there. Danny doubted if his parents even noticed that his absence. His phone vibrated in his pocket, but Danny ignored it. Then it vibrated again, and almost immediately a third time.
He slipped his phone out of his pocket and looked at the notifications. Three texts from Greyson.
Greyson (text): Yo! Where are you?
Greyson (text): Upstairs or downstairs?
Greyson (text): Never mind. Just look out your window!
Danny rolled his eyes and got up. He went over to his window and looked down. As expected, there in the yard below, Greyson was looking up and waving at him.
Danny (text): Hey (laughing face) what’s up?
Greyson (text): Get your ass down here. Let’s chill.
Danny (text): Ok. Be right down. They’ll never notice I’m gone.
Greyson (text): Just put some clothes on. I don’t want you scaring your neighbors (laughing face).
Danny (text): They’re used to it (eye-roll face) (laughing face) I’ll be right out.
Danny ran down the stairs and carefully weaved his way through the crowd of guests. He waved to a few people he knew and hoped they’d mention seeing him to his parents. Maybe they’d think he was there after all.
Bundled in his winter jacket, with a red beanie pulled down over his thick brown curls, Danny joined Greyson in the backyard. Even though he’d only known Grey since they met in freshman orientation back in September, they had quickly become the best of friends. Grey lived in the dorms, but since the college was only ten minutes from his house, Danny still lived with his parents. “Hey. What are you doing here? I thought you were going to Colorado over Christmas Break.”
“Ugh. No.” Grey blushed and looked down. “I lied to my parents. I told them I had a lot of schoolwork to catch up on. I just wanted to go home for Christmas, not a stupid ski trip. You know what I mean?”
“Yeah, but now you’re stuck in the dorm. You’re still not at home.” Danny pointed out.
Grey smirked. “I’m not stuck in the dorm. I’m in your backyard. Let’s go get coffee or something. It’s freaking cold out here.”
They walked into the coffee shop, and a young blonde-haired waitress ran over to them and hugged Danny. “Danny! Where have you been hiding? I haven’t seen you since graduation! Do you have a girlfriend yet?” She asked excitedly.
“Hey, Beth. Good to see you. I’ve been busy with schoolwork, mostly, and no girlfriend.” He pointed at Grey. “This is my best bud, Greyson. Grey, this is Beth. We went to high school together.”
Beth said hi to Grey, but her attention was still on Danny. “I have to go. We’re busy tonight, but I’d love to catch up sometime. Maybe you could stop in more often.” She winked at Danny and left to help other customers.
“Future Mrs. Miller?” Grey chuckled.
“Not on a dare.” Danny rolled his eyes. He motioned for Grey to be quiet as he saw Beth bringing their drinks.
His hands finally wrapped around a steaming mug of hot cocoa, Danny nearly moaned. “This is so much better than coffee.”
“Are you sure your parents won’t miss you?” Grey asked.
“Nope. They’re way too busy having the perfect Christmas party to notice that their only child isn’t even home on Christmas Eve.” Danny said.
“That’s unbelievable. I would totally notice if you weren’t there.” Grey said blushing.
“Of course, you would. I’m your only friend. Without me, you’d have no one to talk to.” Danny laughed.
“Idiot. You’re my best friend, not my only friend. Get it right.” Grey rolled his eyes.
“Why wouldn’t you want to get out of here for a couple weeks. Have fun skiing. You didn’t actually stay to study, did you?” Danny asked.
“No. I thought if I told them that I couldn’t go, that they’d stay home. I know I don’t live all that far away, but I’ve been in the dorms for three months. I just wanted to go home and spend the holidays sleeping in my own bed. I wanted to wake up Christmas morning and spend the day playing games with my brother and relaxing. But, no, they went anyway. They told me if I changed my mind that they’d send me a plane ticket. So, now, I’m stuck in the dorm by myself. I’m not at home or on vacation. My diabolical plan failed.” Grey said.
“Why stay by yourself? I’m sure you can find some cute girl to shack up with for the week. Or if she doesn’t mind your annoying personality traits, date her.” Danny shrugged his shoulders and smirked at his friend.
“Yeah, right! No thank you. I’ll pass.” Grey said.
Danny cocked his head and looked intently at his friend. “We’ve never really had this conversation, but I can’t believe that you don’t have a girlfriend, or maybe a boyfriend?”
Grey blushed. “I’ve never had a boyfriend before. None of the guys in my high school interested me.”
Danny grinned. “What about now? There’s a lot of hot guys on campus. You ever ask any of them out?”
“Well, there is this one guy, but I was never sure if he liked me back in that way. I was too scared to mess up the friendship I was building with him to ask him out and have him end up being straight.” Grey said.
Danny reached over and took Grey’s hand. “I think you should chance it. The dude would be a fool to say no to you.”
“You want to get out of here? We can go back to my dorm and talk about this some more.” Grey said.
Danny’s brow furrowed in concentration. “No. You wanted to go home for Christmas. Your parent’s house is only like an hour away. How about we go there?” Danny said with a smile.
“That’s brilliant!” Grey said, leaping to his feet. “Let’s go!”
Danny motioned for Beth to bring them their check. After paying for their drinks, he went to put the receipt in his pocket, but he noticed some writing on the bottom. He laughed and showed Grey what it said.
“Poor girl. If she only knew.” Grey said.
“Yeah. Her bad luck that she gives me her number the same night I finally decide to stop hiding what I really want in a date.” Danny said, smiling at Grey. “Now, let’s get you home.”
Less than an hour and a half later, they were pulling into the driveway. “Are you sure no one’s home?” Danny said, looking at all the Christmas lights and decorations in the yard and the lit-up tree in the front window. Light snow started falling while they were driving. The snow and all the lights in Grey’s yard looked like a scene straight off a Christmas card. “It’s beautiful, Grey. Your family does an awesome job decorating.”
“Thanks. Mom does the whole inside of the house. Dad and me and my brother do the outside lights and stuff. Well, I didn’t help this year, but it all looks the same. The lights are on automatic timers. So, even though they aren’t home, the lights still go on and off.” Grey said, getting out of the car. He ran through the falling snow to take Danny’s hand as he exited the vehicle.
Danny smiled, and they walked into Grey’s house together. Danny shook the snow off his coat and beanie and hung them by the door. Grey gave him a quick tour of the house, ending in the living room by the Christmas tree.
Grey stood in front of Danny, just staring at him for a moment. “You are so beautiful, Danny.” He reached up and touched Danny’s face. “I have wanted to do this since the first time I saw you back in September.” He leaned in and kissed him. The kiss was tentative at first but quickly grew in passion. Danny’s hands wandered down Grey’s body coming to rest on his hips. He pulled their bodies even closer together. Grey’s hands were tangled in Danny’s curly brown hair. Grey broke the kiss and started licking and sucking on Danny’s neck. Danny moaned in pleasure, but he pushed back from Greyson.
“Let’s save some of this stuff until we’ve actually been on a real date.” Danny laughed.
Grey nearly growled. “Mm. OK, I guess.” He gave Danny one last kiss and led him to the couch. They cuddled close, and Grey pulled a big blanket over the two of them. Danny grabbed the remote.
“Let’s watch the Christmas movie marathon that I was watching before you stopped by.” Danny said and turned on “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”
“Do you prefer classic cartoons or new movies?” Grey asked.
“I love both, but I prefer the classics. Jim Carrey did great as the Grinch, but this cartoon is pure gold.” Danny said.
“I know, right! Mostly I hate the old-fashioned animation, but it just seems to fit the Christmas cartoons. And the stop motion animation in the ones like Rudolph is amazing. Watching classic films is what got me interested in film making, to begin with,” Grey said.
“That’s right. I won’t ever have a problem getting you to watch movies. It’s your obsession and your future career.” Danny said.
Grey leaned in and kissed Danny. “And I’ll buy the rights to your first novel and hire you to turn it into a screenplay. I might even let you make a cameo appearance on screen. It depends on how well your audition goes.” Grey winked and kissed him again.
“After my sexual harassment suit, I’ll own your company!” Danny acted like he was offended.
“It’s not harassment if we’re married,” Grey said.
Danny smiled. “Let’s start with a first date, Romeo.” He leaned in for another kiss. They leaned against each other and watched as “The Grinch” ended and “It’s a Wonderful Life” started. With the Christmas tree lights blinking and the tv playing, they fell asleep in each other’s arms.
When Greyson woke up the next morning, he looked down and smiled. Waking up with the boy that he was quickly falling in love with wrapped in the arms was the best feeling ever. He leaned down and kissed Danny’s forehead. Danny groggily opened his eyes, and Greyson said, “Good morning, sleepy-head.”
“Morning, Grey.” Danny leaned in and kissed him. “Merry Christmas.”
“It’s already the merriest Christmas ever,” Greyson said and couldn’t stop smiling. He had come home for Christmas after all, and not just home to his house. He had come home to the arms of the man that he hoped he’d spend every Christmas with for the rest of his life.