Authors: B.G. Thomas
Tags: #m/m romance, #Novella, #Holiday, #2010 Advent Calendar, #gay, #glbt, #romance, #dreamspinner press, #b g thomas
For Raymond, for ten years—
and for the idea for this story...
I love you!
Al Snug 
THE more I thought about it, the more I knew I had to have
the bed. My boyfriend wanted it. It was Christmas. And while
it was a bit overpriced, I could afford it. Steve on the other
hand, could not.
I’d thought about it for two weeks, and when Steve
casually mentioned it was still at the antique store, I made
up my mind. It was perhaps an excessive gift for a man I’d
been dating for less than two months, but when I thought
about what Steve and I would do in that bed, the scales were
A call to the antique store the night before told me the
bed was still available. So it was quite a surprise when I
arrived at Derringer’s early the next morning and asked for
the large, oak four-poster bed at the very same time as
another customer. The look on both the proprietor’s and the
other man’s faces (and my own, I’m sure, had I been able to
see it) were quite comedic really. Like they’d been caught
doing something they shouldn’t.
“Oh, my,” said Mr. Derringer, the owner of the store. “I
haven’t had anything like this happen in a long time. And it’s
been sitting there two months.”
The other man, youngish, slim, with dark hair and
pretty, wide startled eyes, looked like he might cry. “I… I
think I was here first,” he said.
“I’m not sure,” Mr. Derringer said, adjusting his glasses.
Al Snug 
“I did call last night,” I reminded Mr. Derringer. He knew
me; I’d bought a few things from him in the past, most of
them costly: a standing lamp, an oil painting, and a few
other odd items (more than one with a rather naughty
“So you did, so you did,” he said, looking up, down, but
not seeming to want to look at either of us. “But, ah, you
didn’t ask me to hold it.”
“So?” asked the young man. “Does that mean I get it or
not?” He looked like he was about to go into fight or flight
mode. Which would it be? I wondered.
Mr. Derringer, nervous thing that he was, began to
shake, fumbled with some papers on his desk, removed his
glasses and began cleaning them. He looked back and forth
between us. “You both approached me at the same time,” he
said in that spineless voice of his. He drove me near insane
he could be so insipid. But he also found things that no one
else could. He had a gift for it.
“I’ve got my card out!” the young man practically
“I’ll pay cash,” I pressed. This was ridiculous, and I
didn’t want to be here all day. I did need to get to the office
at some point.
“Cash?” asked Mr. Derringer, his little eyes focusing on
I liked the sound of Derringer’s voice now. Holiday
season or not, cash was always good, and who knew if the
young man could even afford the bed. His peacoat looked
worn, his pants with tattered cuffs were just a little too long,
and his shoes had certainly seen better days.
Al Snug 
“I don’t see why that makes any difference,” said the
young man. “What do you usually do in a situation like
“I…” said Mr. Derringer, “I could use the cash.”
“I’ll give you an extra hundred,” I said and pulled out a
roll of bills.
“No!” yelled the young man. “You can’t do that!”
“I can,” I said. “Do we have a deal, Mr. Derringer?”
“I’m sorry, young man,” Mr. Derringer apologized,
staring at my cash like he was starving.
The young man turned to me. “Look, I really want that
bed,” he said, his eyes wide and pleading. “The… person I’m
seeing really wants it. Anything else would just be a
Person? I smiled at the lack of pronoun and wondered if
that “person” was another man.
“I went through hell to get the money,” he continued.
“There isn’t anything else I want. It’s really important to me.
Oh, those eyes, I thought. Like a big puppy dog, but blue
instead of brown. This young man was just too sweet.
But why did that matter? I really wanted the bed as
well. Steve had a reason for wanting a four-poster bed, and
the idea caused my dick to twitch right there in that little
store. Steve was just crazy in the bedroom, any room for that
matter. I’d never known a man with such a sexual
imagination. My whole adult life had seemed to be filled with
men who considered tickling to be kinky. They’d given the
word “vanilla” a whole new definition. I’d resigned myself to
Al Snug 
sexual mediocrity, and then Steve had shown up in my life.
Finally, I’d met someone with an erotic imagination to put
mine to shame, a man who wanted to fulfill my every
Yet the kid looking at me, and he didn’t seem to be
much more than a kid, really did look like a puppy. One
who’d been kicked just a few times too many and was
expecting me to kick him as well.
“I am going to let you two decide,” said Mr. Derringer. “I
have a few calls to make. You two work it out.” He turned
and practically fled the room.
“Please?” the young man asked again.
Please? Did he say “please”? I almost laughed, but knew
it would hurt the man’s feelings. I bet if I had shouted out
“boo” at that moment, the kid might have wet himself. Shit.
It would be like kicking a pup. I glanced down at my watch.
Oh, to hell with the office, I thought. It wasn’t going
anywhere. This young man intrigued me. “I’ll tell you what,” I
said. “Let’s go have some coffee and talk about this. We’ll
both present our case and see if one of us can talk the other
one out of it.”
“I… I….” The young man paused and then seemed to
make up his mind. “All right,” he said, nodding.
I went to find Derringer. “We’ll be back. Don’t sell that
bed, you hear me?” I said.
Mr. Derringer heard me. Most people did.
Al Snug 
WE SAT down at a small table outside The Radiant Cup, my
pick as the best coffee shop in Kansas City. I loved
everything they made, especially their lattes. The young man
had some hot chocolate—cheapest thing on the menu—and
when he’d paid his bill, counting out his money almost to
pennies, it only confirmed my suspicions that this guy had
no business buying such an expensive gift.
I took a sip of my latte. Wonderful. Perfect as usual.
“You’ve been here before?” I asked.
“Nah, I usually just make my own.” The young man
laughed. “I can buy a can of coffee at Aldi’s for what a cup
I nodded. Yes, I was right. “Maybe,” I said. “But then it
is Aldi’s coffee. You get what you pay for.”
“And I want to pay for that bed,” he said excitedly.
“I don’t think you can really afford it. Am I right… what
is your name?”
“Shawn,” he answered.
“I’m Elliot. Shawn, I’m thinking you’ve got yourself in
hock to your eyebrows trying to buy that bed. That ‘person’
you are buying it for. They know it, too, I bet.”
“Maybe,” Shawn said, chin out. “But it sure is going to
shock the shit out of him when I get it.”
I raised my brows despite myself.
“Yeah,” Shawn said defensively. “‘He.’ I’m gay! You think
just because you’d be having straight sex in it that you
should have the bed?”
Al Snug 
“Whoa,” I said. “Let’s not even go there. For one thing,
I’m gay too.” I surprised myself at making the admission. Not
that I was ashamed, but I kept my private life private. There
could be many an important deal lost because of how some
bigots felt about gays.
“You are?” Shawn asked, obviously surprised. “Gosh.
You don’t look it.”
I laughed. Didn’t look it? Was this guy for real? “You
don’t ‘look’ particularly gay yourself, Shawn.”
Shawn blushed. It was a most delightful shade of pink.
“You’re just so… big. I think your arms are bigger than my
I laughed again. “Not quite,” I said. “I just like to keep
myself in shape. It’s amazing what you can do with a
personal trainer keeping on your ass. And there is nothing
wrong with your thighs.” Now what the hell had made me
Shawn went even more red and tried to hide his
expression by taking a long sip of his hot chocolate. I don’t
know if was his blush or the morning sun, but I was again
noticing just how blue his eyes were. Was he wearing
contacts? They were the most amazing color. And huge.
He really was sweet. Like a kid, but the more I looked at
Shawn the more I could see he was no kid. Surely no more
than about thirty, but all man. Handsome too. His skin was
pale, and it really brought out the shadow of a threatening
beard along his jaw. Maybe it was that complexion that
made his eyes look so blue? “How long have you been out?” I
Al Snug 
Shawn almost spit out his chocolate. “What? Why do
“This guy you are seeing, is he your first boyfriend?”
“My second,” he said, chin out again.
“You just come out recently?”
“Why do you want to know that?” Shawn asked.
I shrugged. “You seem so naïve. How old are you?”
“You sure do ask a lot of questions for a guy trying to
talk me out of buying that bed.”
“Just trying to get the lay of the land,” I said. It was
what I did. How I’d become so successful.
“I’m thirty-two. And how old are you, oh Master Yoda?”
It was my turn to nearly spit out my coffee. Master
Yoda? “I’m thirty-nine,” I said. “And I’ve been out since I was
fourteen, so I guess I know a few things.”
“Fourteen?” gasped Shawn, and once again did that
thing with his eyes. Made them look huge.
Oh, if we weren’t both already taken, I thought, I’d take
you home right now.
“You knew you were gay when you were fourteen?”
Shawn asked again.
I nodded. “Coach Brennermyer—”
“No!” I said. “No. He never touched me. But his thighs!
One look at him in those shorts of his, and Janet, my
‘girlfriend’ never had a chance.” As a matter-of-fact, it was
Al Snug 
the coach that had inspired me to get myself in the shape I
was in. I liked my body. It made up for what I considered a