I was suddenly jerked away by something heavy falling on top of my back. I tried to bolt upright, but I felt like I nearly snapped my spine attempting to. Next thing I know, I heard "All I want for Christmas is You" by Mariah Carey blasting in my right ear. I flinched and flailed around under Ray trying to make sense of everything.

"Wake up baby! Wake up!" I heard Ray laugh.

"Wha?" I moaned, my spine creaking under Ray's weight. Suddenly, I felt myself being dragged off the bed and then the world began spinning. I finally registered that Ray was hugging me as tight as possible and spinning me in circles with my head rolling around and laughing a heartily and trying his best to sing along with the song blaring.

"I don't need to hang my stocking

There upon the fireplace

Santa Claus won't make me happy

With a toy on Christmas Day" and he set me down and jostled me around as I attempted to make my body move fast enough to keep with his movements . He was pretty much holding me up throughout his little dance.

"I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know

Make my wish come true

All I want for Christmas is you

You baby!!!!!!!!!" he sang, and then tipped me back and gave me a long, sweet kiss that fired up all my senses and I gave me more than enough energy to respond.

"Merry Christmas babe," he whispered in my ear while hugging me tight. I giggled and then made a little jump and wrapped my arms around Ray's neck and kissed him again. He chuckled and fell back onto the bed, our lips locked and happiness swelling through us. Today was my first Christmas, and OUR first Christmas! He pulled away and then gave me a playful peck on my chin.

"Come on Levi. Get ready, we got a busy day," he said with a wide grin. I wiggled with excitement and buried my face into his chest. I was so excited!!! I felt him rub my back and then he must've used a remote to turn down the volume.

"I know babe. I'm excited too. Now come on!" he said, smacked my ass and then swung me into the bathroom. After all that was done, we practically danced all the way downstairs and found Patty decked out in a Christmas themed sweater featuring a typical fireplace with a tree, a reindeer pin, snowflake earrings, and a little Santa hat that made her look so freaking adorable. Rosaline wore black slacks and a simple red sweater vest over a white button down, but she had a Santa hat as well and a smile brightening her face that screamed Christmas cheer.

"Morning boys!!!" They both shouted. Patty switched off the stove and rushed over and gave us both hugs and kisses. The kissing was odd, but I barely acknowledged it. It's fucking Christmas!!!

"Come on. Sit! Breakfast will be ready soon!" Rosaline said beaming.

"And cookies!!!" Patty squealed and rushed back into the kitchen. The three of us exchanged glances and laughed.

"She loves em with her coffee." she said shaking her head and returning to the kitchen. Ray and I got to work on setting the table, being entertained by Ray's slightly off-key singing to the Christmas music playing. When that was done, and while the food was being served, Ray pulled me into a hug from behind and nuzzled my neck.

"So fucking happy today." he growled and smooched me on my cheek. I giggled and reached behind me and ruffled his hair. He did the same, and then dragged me to the table and pulled out a chair for me.

"Here's a seat for you Madame." he joked formally. I rolled my eyes and shoved his face away. Everyone took their seats, and Patty clapped her hands together and began a countdown.

"10 .9. 8. 7. 6-"

"Just fucking eat!" Cackled Rosaline, and we all gorged ourselves on the hot breakfast. There was eggs, bacon, buiscuits, danishes, biscotties (Mostly for patty), bannana nut muffins, and just so much food! How they cooked this much, I didn't know, but they must've been here early. So far so good!

After we had cleared as much as we could, we all leaned back and groaned. Even Patty couldn't bear to take a sip of her coffee. Ray draped an arm over my shoulders and then pulled me over and sensually applied kisses up my neck.

"As full as I am, I could still eat you up right now," he said, his voice low and smoothly gliding into my ears. He kissed my cheek and we lazily talked, letting the food settle so we could finally get up and move without feeling the urge to toss everything back up. That took a while. The food was so good, but it was incredibly dense as well. That shouldn't matter though, breakfast is the important meal of the day, and it was fucking Christmas! I think it was gonna take me a while to get over that fact.

We all stood up and cleared that table, our legs dragging beneath us under the excess weight. After that, we migrated to the living room, and sat down to discuss the plans for the day...which also meant moving.

"Alright, where to first?" sighed Ray. He pulled me close and I rested my head against him, feeling my eyes beginning to droop.

"How about we just sit here and roll around?" said Rosaline, and then let out a quiet burp.

"I'm up for it," Patty said, and then stretched herself over Rosaline, who didn't even bother to push her off.

"No no, its friggin christmas. We can flop around any day but this day!" Ray protested.

"Even your birthday?" I mumbled. I felt a tiny light go up through the fog in my brain. When was his birthday. I heard him chuckle and he kissed the top of my head.

"No babe. We're going to be moving...lots," he said, and my heart jumped in my chest. I wonder how that was going to turn out. Ray hefted himself up and pulled me along with him.

"Come on ladies, don't start showing your age now!" he shouted, and I leaned against him and slowly slid down. I was not up for moving around at all, hell even going back to sit on the sectional seemed like too much effort. I made myself comfortable on the floor and extended myself out across Ray's feet.

"It looks like he has the right idea," said Rosaline waving her finger lazily towards me. Ray laid down next to me and I curled up against him.

"Come on baby, where's that energy from this morning?" he crooned.

"Lost in carbs and calories," I moaned and yawned.

"Wanna burn some of that off?" he said hopefully.

"Ray, I don't even wanna sit up right now."

"That's fine. You just have to lay there and take it," he breathed and discretely slid his hand up my shirt. I felt myself getting hard, and it was like that single action made half the contents in my stomach disappear. I stretched my neck and kissed his chin, reaching down and preventing his hand from going up any further.

"You know I don't like being lazy. You're going to have to lay back sometime too," I giggled, and brought his head down to kiss him.

"Really? How's that?" he murmured and I licked his lips.

"Wanna find out?" I asked, and with one smooth movement he had me on my back and his lips were barely an inch from mine.

"Get a room!" I heard Patty holler, and Ray looked at her.

"You really want that?" he asked.

"Sure. Don't forget the video camera," Patty winked.

"One thousand per video," Ray said. I slid out from under him and sat cross-legged on the ground facing him.

"Why so cheap Ray?" I frowned, "isn't it worth two thousand?" He grinned and dragged himself over to me, pulled me too him and began tickling and rolling around with me on the floor.

"Babe, who says we can put a price on this?" he said giving my butt a little tap.

"You did!" I pointed out.

"That's for the video, not you. I would never share you with anyone, especially these old hags-."

"Excuse me?!" I heard Rosaline shout. He cringed and smiled sheepishly.

"Not you Rosie. You're young and "hip". You got....swag and everything." he shivered and I shook his head.

"Whatever." she muttered, got up and stretched. "Come on you fat burros. Time to actually move." she sighed and waddled across the room, "God this is going to be more difficult than I thought."

"Aw but Rosie. Me and Levi ARE moving," he chuckled and I felt the beginning of gyrations. He buried my face into his chest.

"You know what? We don't even have to do anything. I'm happy just laying here, on this floor, with you." he said, his voice low before kissing me on the cheek again. I loved how his kisses always left a lingering warmth that reminded that all this was real and I wasn't going to wake up crying out in cold sweat. I was always thinking about that, whether or not this was all a figment of my imagination. Whether or not I finally went insane and this was all some wonderful fantasy that I lived in while in reality I was locked up somewhere. Did it matter? I'm happy. That's what matters.

I clung for dear life to the side railing, trying my hardest to keep my feet steady and in all the correct angles. Kids and adults glided across the ice, squealing and showing each other up in skill. On the other hand, I had nothing to show off, for I couldn't even hold myself upright! The last time I went ice skating was possibly around 5th grade, and even then it wasn't all that great when a kid nearly sliced open my hand when I fell. I scanned the crowd and caught sight of a familiar person weaving between people and coming towards me with rapid speed. Ray barely stopped in time to avoid impact me, and sprayed a mist of ice on me in the process.

"Shut up," I muttered before he could say anything.

"I was in hockey at one point," he shrugged and leaned against my lifeline.

"is there any sport that you weren't in?" I groaned. I began inching towards him while he thought.

"Well, yeah. But I've been through a lot of them," he then scooted himself and allowed me to latch on tightly to his jacket. He rested his arm around my shoulders, and the shift in weight nearly caused me to drop down onto the ice again. He craned his neck down and kissed the top of my head, breathing out a small laugh every time I wobbled. Once gain we were somewhere far from the prying eyes of the public that knew of our identity, so it was safe. I've grown more accustomed to Ray displaying his affection towards me in the open. I was still slightly uncomfortable with it, but I wasn't as paranoid compared to the beginning. No one knew us here, and if they truly had a problem then I doubt Ray would care, and if they tried to start something, Ray would be there arms up and ready to go. I leaned against him and we both watched families, friends, and couples making thin cuts into the ice and filling them with carefree laughter and squeals of delight. That's one of the things I loved about holidays. The ability for those to forget about the problems, and the little things that taught them how to laugh and smile without thinking about it. I wish I experienced it when I was younger but hey, I am now and as some people say, live in the moment not the past. We came to a shaky stop and I turned around, and with his jacket scrunched up in my hands I popped up and pecked him on the lips. He stared down at me smirking.

"'Sup with that baby?" He chuckled. I shook my some strands of hair out of my eyes and pressed my face into his chest.

"Just a little thank you," I said softly and giggled. His exhale rushed through his chest and his arms encircled me and tightened. Safety was always there when he was around.

"Levi, you know you never have to say thank you...ever."

"Just shut up and take my gratitude," I said closing my eyes and listening to all the noises zipping around us.

"How about you shut up and take my cock?" He growled in my ear. I shuddered and pushed away from him, which was a huge mistake. I started drifting far away from him, staring at his shrinking figure and trying to grasp what was happening. Once I realized it, I began wobbling uncontrollably and attempting to run at him with outstretched arms and crying out.

"Sh-Ray! Oh my god!!!" I shouted out and Ray kicked into gear. He pumped his legs and sliced through the ice and slammed right into me. I felt all the air inside me shoot out as Ray spun me around laughing like we weren't potentially putting people in danger with the swinging blades of my skates flying through the air and our blind movement. When we came to a breathless stop, I glanced over at the railing and saw the girls shaking their heads at us.

"You nearly caused a Christmas tragedy. I have witnesses!" I wheezed. He gently guided me over to them.

"Christ, why don't you just break the ice and kill us all while you're at it?!" Rosaline scoffed.

"Too much work. Plus this one's no good if he's dead," he added patting the top of my head

"Nice to know you're thinking of us," Patty beamed. Nikki's teeth chattered and she rubbed her arms. She had met up with us here, being that she wasn't the one to wake up as early as we did.

"Can we get out of here and go someplace where my nipples won't be popping out through my bra?" she asked.

"Sure. And trust me, he knows exactly how you feel....just without the bra." Ray thumbed in my direction. I shot a glare at him.

"What? You do!" he said and moved my scarf aside, "Look, they're right there, he said. I jerked away and he grabbed my shoulders to stabilize me.

"Why do you point these things out in public?" I hissed

"Because I enjoy embarrassing you," he whispered.

"Prick," I muttered

"I know you love my prick,"

"We'll see," I said and he guided me towards the exit.

We decided to stop for a cup of coffee at a café. Well, hot chocolate for me. In the center was a plate of the pastries that we ordered to go with our beverages, and everyone took turns picking at each other's.

"What I'm trying to understand is how you're ice skating at your age," Rosaline said after a sip.

"These bones don't go out that easily," Patty returned. She dunked her raspberry coffee cake in her coffee and crammed it in her mouth.

"It will with a tire iron...." I heard Nikki sing to herself. I elbowed her.

"Yo, that was my boob!" she exclaimed.

"Really now? I wasn't aware you had such things," Ray said tilting forward to see her. She chucked a blueberry at him and he caught it in his mouth.

"Christ, is there anything that you can't catch?" I asked

"I don't know, your dick?" he retorted

"Must everything be directed towards sex?"

He thought for a few beats.

"Yes....yes it does."

"He wouldn't have that problem if you'd let him do you already," Patty hollered. Rosaline smacked her face with a napkin.

"Yes, why don't we just scream out how big of an erection Ray gets around this boy!" she said a little too loudly. Heads began turning in our direction, and I ducked down low keeping my hand at the side of my face.

"Way to go, stupid." Patty said eyeing the surrounding customers. Rosaline shoved a piece of cake in her mouth and chewed it furiously. We continued in silence for a bit, firing out a topic here and there until we decided to go. We all stood up and left our table, except I realized when we were about halfway to our car that I forgot my scarf. I tugged at Ray's sleeve.

"Hey, I'm gonna go get my scarf, ok?" I said.

"Alright. Lemme go with you," and he turned around and began walking.

"No no, it's fine." I said pulling him back and walking ahead.

"Babe, you know I'm not gonna listen," he said draping an arm around my shoulders. I performed an obvious eye roll.

"Saw that."

"I meant for you to see it."


"None what so ever." I finished plainly and grabbed my scarf from the chair right when the waiter was picking up our stuff. I then heard him mutter something, but I could quite make out what he said. I swore I heard him say something when I bent over to pick my scarf up.

"Excuse me?" I said leaning closer so I could hear.

"I said you're a fucking queer." he said in a low but sharp tone. My jaw dropped slightly and he turned and walked away. I felt someone behind me and I turned around.

"Someone you know?" He asked peering curiously at the waiter.

"No, I was just asking if he was ok with the tip," I lied and threw in a small smile for good measure.

"Oh, jeez Levi, you're too sweet for your own good." He scolded and lead me through the crowd.

"Hey, he works hard for that money," I said knowing how hard a minimum wage job could be.

"Yeah yeah, I'm the 1%" he sighed.


"Does that still bother you?"


"That my family has a lot of money." I stopped him right at the edge of the café.

"Ray, that never bothered me, at all!" He raised an eyebrow at me.

"...ok! Maybe it did...a little. But it was more like I was intimidated. But that's not what bothered me Ray, it's how I feel bad that you spend so much on me and that you refuse to let me buy anything myself." I pointed out. He opened his mouth but we heard the ladies calling us over. A large cloud billowed out of his mouth when he exhaled, and he shook his head.

"We'll talk about this later Levi. But it isn't a big issue to me." and he took my arm and went back to guiding me.

"It's a problem for me though..." I said softly. I didn't know whether or not he heard, but the thought of discussing this with him caused a pit to form in my stomach.

We lounged in front of the TV and settled for the typical holiday shows, though none of us were really paying attention. We were all busy talking, shooting the shit for the time being before we were in the mood to do something. I was happy with just sitting around, as long as we were all together I couldn't care less about where we are.....ok scratch that, I do care but very minimally. Ray massaged my hand that occasionally stirred up a dull ache but I didn't mind. I think he has to control a lot of his strength when he applies it to me.

"I just don't see what's up with kids now a days. They're so disrespectful." Nikki pouted, "Seriously. Work at my place and you'll see shit that kids do that will just completely blow your fucking mind!"

"Coming from one that curses like a sailor..." Rosaline mumbled.

"I'm talking about like....ten year olds here!" she protested

"You were once there!" Patty joined in

"Oh for shits sakes that was like NINE years ago!"she emphasized

"Uh huh," I decided to say to further aggravate her.

"I hate you all." She said flatly

"Take our gifts and burn them then." Ray said looking over at her.

"Hell no! I spent good money on that shit!"

"Then shut up!" He grinned.

"You shut your face Mr. Boner."

"You know who to blame for that."

"You ask for them!" I squeaked.

"Most of the times. But you have your moments." his sly smile appeared and his eyes suggested something very lewd.

"Am I the only one thinking about food right now?" I heard Patty pop in again.

"I'm thinking about it." Ray said.

" That's because your stomach is a bottomless pit." she replied.

"Nah, I have my breaking point."

"Six pizzas later," I heard Rosaline say while she thumbed a magazine she got from the coffee table in front of us. I'm pretty sure it's bee ages since those were replaced because it looked like a spring edition.

"Ok, I get it! I can consume everything in my path that I choose. Now, can we decide on a place to chow down for dinner?" He bellowed. Everyone's minds started kicking into gear...except for mine. I had no idea besides that places Ray has taken me and home. I occupied myself with a string of loose thread on a pillow that was next to me.

"Luca's?" Patty suggested.

"Pass, we had it the other day." Rosaline said.

"Centercourt." Ray said.

"Pizza? Seriously? How unclassy." Nikki sneered.

"Oh like you know anything about class." He shot back.

"More than you!" She deflected. They went into a comeback contest and at some point the other two ladies joined in the squabble. It's amazing how fast they could e at each other's throats, even if it was just in a somewhat friendly manner that they were doing.

"Yo! Stop, stop STOP!" Nikki shouted and holding her hands up. We all stared at her curiously.

"I'm getting hungry bitches, so let's pick a place!"

"The Firepit!" Ray said smacking his hands together. He examined the countenance of everyone and they all nodded, except for me. I just shrugged.

"You'll love it," he said pulling me up from the couch and wrapping my scarf around my neck.

"I trust you with that." I said timidly when he pulled me closer by the cloth around my neck.

"I love it when you trust me." He breathed and leaned in for a soft kiss. I pulled away and stood on my tiptoes to reach his ear.

"You earned it of course. It didn't just come to be magically." I whispered. His hands went to my waist.

"It wasn't easy, eh?" he said softly.

"I play hard to get." I giggled. His hand went down to my butt and gave it a slight squeeze.

"No shit." he laughed and looked behind me. "Better get going. The girls aren't wanting to wait for us t finish this little moment."

"We finish it and we make a mess..." I said trailing off at the end. There was a low grow that came from deep in his throat and the muscles in his jaw tightened.

"Christ Levi," He blow out some air and slipped into his shoes.

"Don't worry, you'll get me back later, remember?" I reminded looking over my shoulder, and we went to our cars.

Dinner was centered around what the restaurant was named after, a Firepit! Right in the center! Oh, and when our order was ready, the flames turned a freakin blue! How cool was that?! I'm hoping that the chemical or whatever they used to turned the flames that color was safe for humans but besides that thought. I was thoroughly impressed and shocked that any place had something as unique as this! The food that I had ordered was spicy, something that I didn't have any knowledge of, and I ended up eating only half of it with maybe a dozen glasses of water before trading off with Ray, who of course, took it all with a stride and said he couldn't even feel the spices at all. We strode to our cars and before the engine could completely shut off when we arrived home, Ray grabbed my head and kissed me with depth and passion that made the windows foggy in no time.

"Whoa..." I breathed and he pulled away, still cupping my face. He stared into my eyes and pressed his lips back on mine again. His tongue dove in my mouth, his fingers went through my hair, his breath intoxicated me. I responded as best as possible, grasping this moment of passion and taking a nip at his lower lip and reaching up to touch his face. I could feel what he was feeling. I felt the connection made itself known and the message that he desperately pushed across through this spontaneous burst of affection made it to shore. Panic.

"Why?" I rasped when he pressed his forehead against mine, "What are you afraid of?"

"I don't know," he panted and kissed me again. This was slower, deeper in thought. He was searching, probing our connection and trying to reveal the very base of the sudden surge of fright.

"I don't want this to be the last Christmas," he said finally, his words barely making it out. Our eyes met and I shook my head while keeping the eye contact strong.

"Why are you worried about that?" I said, my voice weak.

"I'm always worried. I'm always afraid you'll leave me." He choked. I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him with my cheek pressed against his. God, was this what coursed through his head all the time?

"Ray....I can't think of any reason why I wouldn't stay with you.....at all....don't worry.....I'll be here."

"What if I fuck up?"

"You can't fuck up that bad....I trust your judgment." I forced a laugh. The last of the gates to my heart were opening, and the fear that instilled to the very core of my psyche. Was I ready?

"You don't know what I can do...what I've done..." he hugged me tightly.

"I have an idea...and it's fine. I can handle you." I said and tried to pull away from him, but he held me fixed against his chest.

"You have to promise to tell me when I fuck up."


"You have to!' he shouted. I stalled for a few beats and I nodded.

"Of course..." I whispered and slowly rubbed his back. "You know we have to go inside at some point?" I said hesitantly.

"Yeah...but I don't wanna let go," he mumbled burying his face into the crook of my neck.

"I can live with that." I kissed his cheek and continued to enjoy his embrace. We both had the same fears....we both were afraid of the future, we both were living the present together, and we both were running as fast as we can from something in the past. Why, two people that are completely different on the exterior, are we so similar behind the closed doors of the front that we place in the view of others? It always puzzled me, and in addition to confusion was irritation. I kept thinking about how I had this flawed belief that Ray was perfect, that his entire world was absolutely polished without a single blemish or chip in any area of his life. How could I have been so inconsiderate? How could I not even think of the fact that he was just like me and many others, wearing a mask to hide what was truly behind it all. How could I forget that, how could I be so damn selfish? How could I have been so stupid, so naive, so gullible? How could I be so childish? How could I forget that he was just as human as I am?....

"I'm good now." he sighed and pecked my forehead, " Let's go inside and open presents." and I saw the glint in his eyes return. I smiled and tried to get out of the car, but I felt his hand still latched tightly onto mine. I turned back in his direction and looked at him.

"I love you," I said. He smirked.

"I knew you were smart enough to figure it out," and he released my hand. We both ran towards the door and shoved the girls through as they were taking their time to removed their shoes. We all fell into a pile of coats and curses, writhing and wriggling in attempt to get out from under each other's crushing weight. I managed to squeeze out and I bounded towards the tree. I took a step back and watched Patty deliberately bat everyone with a slipper and slowly squeeze herself out of the group. Eventually everyone untangled themselves and we made a semicircle around the tree.

"Lets take a vote. Methodical, or Anarchy?" Ray proposed.

"Anarchy!" Patty screech and dove into the boxes. Everyone followed, and what occurred then was similar to what happens to ducks in a piranha lake. Wrapping paper was being tossed up in the air, names were being shouted left and right, box after box was torn open and maimed to reach the very object that was inside of tem for whoever it was labeled for. NO box was left unharmed, and shortly after, neither was a person.

"Levi!" I heard someone shout. I turned my head in the direction of my name and an explosion of color smacked my face.

"What?!" I cried out, startled. Rosaline shoved her small gift in my face.

"What is the meaning of this!" She said shaking it.

"Um.....it's a gift?" I replied, puzzled.

"Is that last zero fake?"

"No," I said and smiled. She stared at the card, then back at me, then back at the card, then back at me. She threw her arms around me and kissed my cheek multiple times.

"You're a loco boy you know that?" She said into my ear. She drew away with her hands still clenched on my shoulders and pursed her lips.

"You know I don't need that much right? I do well with just a little bit of money." she said to me. I nodded and shrugged.

"A little generosity never hurts." I said simply. She blew out a sigh and shook her head, "Sometimes too much is a bad thing mi vida. Depending on the person that is."

"Well, I don't think I need to worry so much about you," I replied, and the talk was interrupted by screaming and cursing. We both turned and witnessed Nikki kicking and punching Ray.

"Could you not get me ONE fucking decent gift?! Seriously?!" She screeched. I slid the peculiar box towards me and peeked inside, clenching my teeth to avoid laughing. I nudged it over to Rosaline and she turned pink and held her hand to her mouth.

"Oh my....he outdid himself this time." She said. I slid it back to its place and she hovered over him, her nostrils flaring.

"Dildos, SERIOUSLY?!" she yelled and gave him a hard kick. Ray didn't even flinch, he just continued rolling around and having the time of his life.

"Well...one of them is a vibrator." he said midlaughter and proceeded. I clapped my hand over my mouth when Patty opened the box and curiously fiddled with every single one of them.

"Woah momma! Check out the power on this thing!" she said while a large dong shook in her hand.

"Give me that!" Nikki snapped and snatched it away. She switched it off and placed them back into the box.

"That's it? No thank you?" Ray asked catching his breath.

"Thank you." she said through clenched teeth and chucked it on the sectional. Ray reached over and pulled me over towards him. "Mine is way better than any of those," he hissed in my ear. I had a momentary hot flash in my pants and I snuggled against him. I don't know how much longer he could hold out.

"By the way, this is for you," he said holding a box in front of me. I glanced at the box and took it in my hands. It was from Ray. I looked up at him and he had the biggest grin on his face.

"Come on. Open it baby." he encouraged. I opened it and inside was a titanium bracelet with a metal band with a streak of obsidian lined with bars of sterling silver on each side.

"Look under the band." he whispered. I turned it over and saw "I love you -Ray" engraved and I turned around and gave him tearful kisses. "I'm guessing the engraving did the trick?" he asked me.

"Shut up," I coughed and he held the bracelet in front of me. "May I?" he asked. I nodded and he wrapped it around my wrist for a perfect fit.

"Guess that would look pretty snazzy with the gloves me gotcha," Patty and Rosaline were kneeling in front of me with a box. I paused and replayed everything in my head and realized I haven't open any gifts. I've just been tossing paper and passing them out. I hesitantly took the box from them and ripped the paper open, uncovered the box and showed a pair of leather work gloves. Upon lifting them out, I saw my first and last name was embroidered on the back of the hands.

"We don't believe in presents that are meant to just look pretty," they both stuck their tongues at Ray. He smirked and held up his own pair of work gloves. "you ladies suck the fun out of Christmas presents."

"Why, how ungrateful! When you do some rigorous work during the spring you're gonna be damn grateful that you have those to protect your hands from blisters! PLUS, your hands might have a shot at being baby smooth." Patty elaborated.

"But I like them a little rough." I said meekly. They cocked their eyebrows at me.

"That's not the only thing he likes rough..." Ray chuckled and rubbed my chest. This got them to do a immensely exaggerated eye roll.

"Yo, since all eyes on Levi at this moment. Catch," she said and tossed me a weighted box. She lit a cigarette after that and took a puff.

"What did I say about smoking in the house?" Ray ask punching her thigh.

"Ow, hey!" she said edging away from him, "Just let me have this one. I'll freeze my ass off if I go out there!"

"Uh huh. Right." He said and prodded at the box. "Open it, I wanna see what she got you!" I went through the tearing of paper and the opening of the box and found myself staring at a cashmere black sweater with a v-neck. A sweater could not weigh this much. I turned towards Nikki and cocked my head.

"Unfold the sweater, boo." she said and slid the stick back in her mouth. I lifted it out of the box and several bottles of lube rolled out along with a fleshjack. My mouth gaped open.

"Hey! You got one just like I do!" Ray said happily and picked it up, "Cept mine's the shape of an ass.

"Wh...B....wha..?" I blubbered.

"Why does he get assorted lube?!" Ray asked.

"Because I know the little guy doesn't pack any!" I heard her say.

"How?!" He asked.

"I assumed. Doesn't look the type.What would he need it for anyway?"

"Well.....what would he need it for?" He slid his eye towards me. I gazed innocently back at him.

"Come on. You've gotta need it for something...well...besides riding his dick one of these years." Nikki said putting out her cigarette. Images of my fingering days while I sucked myself off appeared mentally and I felt the familiar creeping heat in my face.

"Now look, you've got him blushing!" He accused. She held up her hands defensively. "Sorry, I didn't realize he was so easily set off! Christ, do him already."

"Nah, he'll come to on his own." He said and nuzzled my neck "You better tell me what ran through your head later," he said lowering his voice.

"We got one more!" Patty sang raising a smaller one in the air. She handed it to Ray "From your one and only," she said.

"I'm hoping you mean it's from Levi," he said eyeing the box. His white teeth flashed. "Yup, from my little lover," he chuckled tearing the paper. I glanced up at him, watching the excitement in his eyes as he unwrapped his gift. He held the wooden box in his hand and opened it.

"Woah..." he said pulling out a rather expensive watch that I got for him. I really didn't know what to get for him. Electronics were out of the question seeing that I didn't know squat about them, clothing wasn't too high on my list, Ray wasn't much of a reader (He's more of an eater), so I just decided to give him a fancy watch that looked remotely expensive enough for him to don on his wrist with pride.

"Is this why you were flipping through that catalogue that other week?" He asked. I nodded, "Why else? That thing looks like a tumor on my wrist if I wore it." I giggled. Everyone knew that with my stature a big faced watch would look just plain out odd.

"And lemme guess, you got the engraving as well," he smirked.

"Check for yourself," I nudged. He flipped it over.

"No matter what time, or how much time has passed, I'll always love you -Levi" he read. There was a pause, he slipped on the watch, and then proceeded to pick me up, twirl, and toss my around. He shouted endearments, smooched me here and there, and collapsed onto the sectional with me tightly pressed against him.

"Thanks Babe...I love it..." he said and kissed the top of my head, "I love you."

"I love you too Ray," I said wriggling against him. Partly from excitement and the other was due to being dizzy. I did something right. Everyone liked their gifts and I did something right. I breathed out and curled up. Everything went so well today....god I was so happy.

"Don't you dare fall asleep!" I heard someone say and there was a click. I opened my eyes and Patty came into view with a digital camera. "What's a holiday without some pictures?" I cringed at the idea. I wasn't exactly comfortable with pictures but I didn't want to put up any opposition that could potentially ruin the mood. I stood up and we all grouped up in front of her tripod and waited for the timer to go off.

"Now kids, we got five shots, so do whatever the hell you want!....after this first NORMAL picture." We all smiled for the camera and tried our hardest not to blink from the flash. What followed after that was...well I guess odd? We took silly pictures, just doing whatever. In one of them Ray bent me over and slammed his crotch against my ass, Nikki grabbed Rosaline's boob, which was followed promptly by a slap after the picture was done, and Patty was left holding her own boobs and juggling them around. In another we all jumped and hung off of Ray. Hell I was even on his shoulders in one of them! And let's not forget the disastrous pyramid. What proceeded after that consisted of just messing around and allowing Patty to take pictures of us. I didn't mind quite so much after the group photos. I had no problem at all creating and preserving the memories of my first Christmas with any of them. It was them that made it special, and I owed it to them to accepting me with open arms, with the exception of Nikki that is. I wonder what her stance on me is right now. I wonder what exactly happened that made her so emotional that one day....will I ever find out? There was forever that question of his past that meandered about. It is probably a question that won't be answered anytime soon. It sounded really terrible though. Not only is the question of whether or not I'll find out, but also whether or not I want to know. Could this one answer change my view of him as a whole? Could it put our relationship on a different course? Again with the questions. There was always too many unanswered ones and not enough time to figure out one of them before another one appeared. They piled higher and higher to the point where I was shocked that I didn't just explode with questions and smother him with the need for answers. Jesus, just change my name to Nosy Parker.

"Welp, we better get leaving," Patty stretched and groaned. I could hear her back popping from across the room and I didn't fancy that too much. I kept thinking that if she did that constantly she was gonna wreck her spine.

"Yeah, I got shit to do tomorrow," Nikki yawned and stood. It had just hit about one in the morning. Time really flew by just now, I barely noticed it at all! We followed them to their door and assisted them in carrying out their presents to the car. We exchanged tight hugs, gratitude, and farewells for the night. When I pulled away from Rosaline she gave me that look again that made my heart leap into my throat. It was so odd...like there was something she was aching to ask me. There was a question, yet there was also a deeper emotional aspect to it. She knew something...she wanted to know something. I stepped back and we waved them off. Once they were gone from the driveway, Ray led me back into the house, held me close and wasted no time in holding my head in place so I could receive a deep, tender and smooth kiss. My arms went around his neck and followed his lead, letting him back me up against a wall, feeling his lips along my jawline, touching his chest to feel his heart pounding inside. He intensified it and I gathered the cloth in my fists. he pulled away and pierced right through me with his gaze.

"You make me so happy Levi," he breathed and held me against him. I didn't even respond. I buried myself into his chest and took in the feeling of his warm hands rubbing my back. "It so makes up for my parents not being around." I heard him mumbled.

"Really?" I asked. I didn't quite believe it because I knew how much he was anticipating his parents presence today.

"Yeah....if i couldn't spend it with them of course I'd want to spend it with you. It was something I always thought about at this time of the year since I first started crushing on you," his hand went to the back of my head and he pressed us closer together, "I never thought this would come true," he sniffled.

"Yeah....neither did I..." I said softly and allowed him to pick me up without a fight and carry me up the stairs. Once in the bedroom our lips met and I led him onto the bed. He followed me on there and we laid side by side and caressed each other's bodies. He peeled off my shirt and then his and teased my nipples with his tongue. I moaned and shuddered as my jeans became strained. His breath was hot against my chest and I reached down and rubbed his cock through his jeans. I slowly began unzipping them and reached inside, feeling the pulsating mass. He lifted his head off and let out a loud groan and pinned me on my back. He slid his tongue in my mouth and I proceeded to stroke him, taking a glance when he pulled away and kneeled in front of me, thrusting into my hand till it became slick with precum. His body was magnificent, and with his cock out over his jeans still on fueled my lust for him. He gazed at me and bent back down, kiss and sucked on my neck. I stroked him faster and faster listening to his moans. He was getting close. I rubbed my thumb against the underside and brushed it across the very tip, producing swears from him. His dick pulsated more and more, my hands became slicker, his kissing became more intense. His tongue probed my mouth and his muscles twitched under his skin.

"Wait, Levi, stop stop stop..." he moaned. I kept going and right when I'm sure he was about to go past the point of no return he grabbed my hand.

"Stop...please..." he panted. I released it and watched precum ooze onto my stomach. I was so tempted to go down and lick it off, so tempted to finish the job, but I felt the hesitation. The pull that held me back from going further. The ropes tightening around my body. The puppet strings that jerked me front getting too close.

"Are you ready to go all the way?" he asked, his voice low and soft. He finally lifted his head and fixed his glazed eyes on mine, "Are you ready to have me inside you?" The walls were thrown up. The windows and doors were barricaded. A last stand was initiated and it held. I wanted to run out of the room and sob in the snow to chill the burning guilt that I felt deep within me. I wasn't ready....as much as I wanted to be I wasn't ready for that...how terrible I am for that, even after today. My bottom lip quivered and I shook my head. He smiled, nodded, and kissed my forehead, "it's alright babe. No rush," he said gently as though he was trying to calm an injured animal. He fell back into bed and held me as best as possible without painfully bending his erection.

"It won't go down," I said softly. He chuckled and kissed my cheek, "Thanks to you it won't."

"I'm sorry," I said quickly. Now I felt cold inside. Without warning malice and spite squeezed through the cracks and entered, having another visit, ensuring that they were still there, that they will always be there and in control. I huddled as close as possible to him and squeezed my eyes shut. He drew the covers over us even though we were still in our clothes. His hand went to my cheek and he brushed my lips with his, followed by moving the hair out of my eyes so he could have a full view of the windows to my soul. Once before there was a stranger that could not see behind what was sealed shut and unknown. Now, he was someone that could see it all. He rose and lifted me effortlessly and led me to the bathroom, where he drew a bath and stripped me of the rest of my clothing. As I sat on the countertop and watched him do the same, he took my wrist and began peeling the bandage I had placed over it the previous night. I tried to pull away but he held fast and proceeded. The cut had scabbed over, and it glistened with the antiseptic ointment I had smeared over it. He used a single knuckle and lifted my head up to his by my chin and showed his affection, his love, his acceptance. I could tell he wanted to show me everything that was locked away inside of him, everything that swam through his mind by the day, his hopes and fears, dreams, his past. So much was said through touching. However, not everything was said. Some things required words, and he was not ready to speak them. As I am not ready to let him completely inside, neither was he. After that one kiss, he cradled me in his arms and lowered us into the tub. The warmth engulfed and soothed the aches from the day, and the company was pleasant. We bathed each other, letting our hands wander to places and linger there for longer than necessary. We both were hard by the end of it, but we did not act on them....very much that is. When we were dry, we guided me back into the bedroom and we slipped into bed together and entangled ourselves in the process. The warmth that we shared through our bare skin was delightful.

"I love you," he blurted out, breaking the silence. My eyes snapped open and I was surprised to realize that we have no spoken for almost an hour. I nuzzled his neck and kissed it. "I love you too, it says it on your watch," I giggled. He raised his rest and it glinted in the lamplight.

"Oh yeah....good thing it's waterproof." he smirked.

"Yeah...I forgot you had it on." I said

"Hence why if it wasn't I would've been screwed. I forgot too." he laughed.

"It could always be fixed if something were to happen," I said and raised my own gift that was given. I fingered the band and felt it's smooth finish. Was it expensive? Did he really mean what was said in the engravings?"

He touched my hand that was touching my bracelet and kissed my cheek. I stopped playing with it, pecked him back.

"You're so wonderful to me Levi," he mumbled, his eyes drooping. I closed my eyes, nodded, and cuddled with him till we both drifted off to sleep.

I awoke in the middle of the night and stared at Ray's sleeping face. His even breathing was the only thing that I heard in the dark, silent night. The only light that was available was the little bit of moonlight that streamed through the windows. The clouds were out to stifle the light of the stars from their blazing glory. His face could be seen clearly though, and it was all I wanted to focus on. I felt a small smile come to when I saw how uneven his brown hair was as well as how tightly he had me held against him. His bare shoulders peeked out from over the covers while I was buried up to my neck in them, knowing that it was not only the fine comforter that was keeping me so comfortably warm. I took in a deep breath through my nose and came to realize how thirsty I was. I took a moment to debate whether or not it was worth the trip, but the longer I debated, the more prominent the pain in my throat became. I slowly began pulling myself from Ray, but he stirred in his sleep and wrapped his arms tighter around my body. I eventually untangled myself from him, and slipped out of bed and pulled on a pair of flannel pants that I extracted from the drawer and made my way quietly towards the door.

"Where are you going?" I jumped and whirled around. Ray rubbed his face and lifted himself onto his elbows and looked at me with groggy eyes.

"I just need some water," I said quietly. He nodded.

"Holler if you need anything," He said and flopped back into his pillow. I squashed a light laugh and gingerly went down the stairs. I felt my way around till I reached the kitchen and flipped on the light, shielding my eyes to reduce the pain in my retinas. Once I was somewhat adjusted. I got myself a glass and gulped it down. It felt cool and refreshing rushing down my throat, but the chill that followed wasn't all that fantastic. My body quaked for a second, and I set the glass in the sink, turned off the light, and left the kitchen. Before mounting the staircase, I took note of the glow coming from the living room. The yearning to see the tree rose, and I went to satisfy it. As the tree came into view, so did my exposed torso. My scars reflected the light from the immaculate tree, and I bit my lower lip. The light seemed to highlight my mistakes of the past. God...what have I done to myself? The extent of some of them were shocking, and the one that was recently made that one day burned at the thought. I turned over my wrist and stared at it. Why did I do it? Well....that answer was pretty much simple. I slowed down and whatever I was running from ran faster, caught up and sunk the tips of its claws into my flesh. I sighed and shook my head. I can't always run, but it's the best I could do for now. Tears stung my eyes. I wasn't strong enough. Damn it I wasn't strong enough! I should've fought back with everything I had rather than just let things get out of control. I gritted my teeth and crossed my arms. What was done is done. I can't change it, but I could always learn from it. Remember, one step at a time. Not everything will be solved at once. It takes time. I continued staring at the lights, the ornaments, the tinsel. The base seemed a bit bare without the gifts, but that didn't matter at all. Knowing that the gifts disappeared in the atmosphere of joy lightened my mood.

"Levi?" and there was a light, warm touch on my shoulder. I jumped and stumbled forward, but strong hands pulled me back and I fell back against a solid support.

"Whatcha doing down here?" Ray asked rubbing my arms, "You're freezing." he hugged me and kissed my neck, "And sorry for scaring you." he apologized.

"It's fine," I said and kept my eyes fixed on the tree.

"Beautiful, isn't it?" He said with awe. I nodded.

"You alright?" He asked. I shrugged and looked back up at him. He kissed me on the cheek and rubbed his against mine.

"It's not as beautiful as you are though." he said and kissed my cheek multiple times. The corners of my mouth tilted up and I squirmed in his hold. "Much better," he said.

"Don't you ever wonder Ray? Why I did this to myself?" I asked softly. He turned me around and shook his head. "Not really. I use to but now I get the general gist of why you did it." My gaze fell to the ground.

"It doesn't bother you at all?" I asked with my voice just barely above a whisper. He cupped my face, lifted it up and gently shook it.

"Levi, if it bothered me don't you think I would ask you to put your shirt on by now?" his gentle laugh was husky and laced with the aftereffects of sleep, but it still offered some peace. He took his hands away from my face, looped his lower arms around my waist, and pressed me against his body, "Do you think I would touch you this much if I wasn't comfortable with your body?" I didn't know how to respond to that. "Do you think I would've stayed if I couldn't bear to look at your body every day?" he breathed. He closed his eyes and exhaled again as his hands slid up my sides and along every ridge, every line, every bump, every single imprint of my past that was profound on my smooth, pale skin. "Don't know I accept you for who you are?" He opened his eyes, "Don't you know I love you for who you are?" he fired a round at my garrison, a warning shot that mark the beginning of the last and final battle to get inside. I jerked my head to the side and clenched my teeth, choking back tears. I felt his breath flowing past my ear, "Don't fight it Levi..." he whisper and squeezed me against him. Water spilled from my eyes and I cursed myself for this. I hated my lack of control over my feelings, it downright irked me when I would just cry at every touching moment that occurred between Ray and I.

"God damn it!" I hiccupped and slapped my hand against his chest. He chuckled and wiped my tears away as best as he could considering the lack of anything to wipe it with short of taking off his pajama bottoms. He buried his face into my hair and rocked me side to side.

"I don't mind this at all," he mumbled. I sniffled, coughed, and shivered.

"Come on Levi. You're gonna get sick," he said grinning and shaking his head. He threw me over his shoulder and I let out a groan of annoyance.

"Deal with it," he said before I could say anything. He clamped my legs together to prevent any flailing. He lowered me onto the bed and then crawled on top of me and kissed me. In the middle of it, he blindly reached around and jerked the covers over us, and I guess he managed to find the tissue box as well because just as there was enough distance between us, he held a tissue up to my face. I gratefully took it and wiped my eyes and blew my nose, "God I'm so unattractive when I cry," I laughed.

"Nah, you're just as cute," he said and tried to kiss me. I stopped him and shot out of bed, "One moment!" I said and ran into the bathroom. I splashed water on my face, patted it dry and hopped back into bed.

"Babe," was all he said with a smirk and we had an extended goodnight kiss that ensured sweet dreams and a huge erection.



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