A SIZZLING CHRISTMAS MIRACLE BY JESSIE G featuring Ric and Davin from Past Hurts (Sizzling Miami #1)
“Did you see the look on their faces?” Davin knew he was vibrating. The energy in the Bennett House was off the charts. Instead of a private Christmas for two, they decided to host the first ever Bennett House Christmas, inviting their family and friends to help make an awesome holiday for those in need. As had become the norm for their group, everyone jumped in with both feet and overnight they transformed the main lobby from welcoming and functional to festive and fun.
There were at least a dozen brightly lit Christmas trees overflowing with gifts, enough food to feed a small country, cheerful music, and even Jolly Old Saint Nick was scheduled to make an appearance. Still, as wonderful as everything looked, he knew it would be the awestruck faces that would stay with him for a long time.
“Have I told you how special you are?” Alaric asked as they stood on the stairs and watched the festivities. The kids were the most obvious, squealing and laughing as they tried to take everything in. The young men had started out more subdued, definitely too cool for Christmas and Santa, but their elves were hard at work bringing good cheer to all.
“Me?” Davin glanced over and shook his head. “This was a joint effort all the way. I couldn’t have done this without everyone’s help.”
“Perhaps not, but you are the heart of this center and none of this would be possible without you.” Alaric slipped an arm around his waist and pulled him close. “You are special to every one of those people down there.”
“And you?” He didn’t normally fish for compliments. He never doubted that he was loved, but while it was nice to think he was special to the people his outreach center helped, he really only needed to be special in Alaric’s eyes.
“Special isn’t a strong enough word,” Alaric whispered. “I was nothing but a shell without you. You’re the air I breathe, the beat of my heart...vital in every way to my existence.”
Alaric showed him that every day in big and small ways, and now that the outreach center had found its rhythm, Davin was ready to do more for the man who supported him in every way. “I love you, Ric. I don’t think I can explain how much.”
“No words necessary, baby. I feel it every day.” Alaric leaned down for a chaste kiss. They’d agreed early on that the boys and men who came to the outreach center for help should be exposed to a real working relationship so they could see that it was possible for themselves. At the same time, it was definitely not the place for any overt public displays.
“I hope so,” he demurred thoughtfully. He glanced around and spotted Kyle talking quietly with Saul and Javier. They both had similar plans, had discussed them at length and figured out how to implement them, and initially they agreed to wait until after the party to let their partners know. By the broad grins on Saul and Javier’s face, he knew Kyle couldn’t wait any more than he could.
“Hmm,” Alaric hummed as he followed his line of sight. “You and your cohort are scheming again, aren’t you?”
He and Kyle had a lot in common, more than they originally realized, and they’d become really close friends in the months they’d been working together. Davin knew there wasn’t anyone else he could have worked with that would have understood how important his relationship with Alaric was, how necessary it was for him to be where he was supposed to be, do what he was supposed to do, and give what he needed to give. Kyle got all that because he lived with the same necessities and sharing the work at the center allowed them to find a balance that was working in the short term.
It also showed him that it wasn’t a long term solution and when he finally brought it up to Kyle, the relief in his friend was palpable. They couldn’t fault Alaric or Saul or even Javier, who’d come so very far, for being fully supportive of their careers and the center. It had become the norm to find at least one of them helping out daily just to keep them from drowning under the responsibilities. In some ways, that was also part of the problem. He didn’t want Alaric coming to the center to help him after putting in a full day at the office just so they could spend time together. That only made him feel like he was taking advantage of Alaric’s desire to be fully supportive and Kyle agreed that he felt the same way when Saul and Javier came to help.
Davin took a deep breath and met Alaric’s questioning gaze head on. “What if I said I found a way to be home more?”
Those hazel eyes widened in surprised pleasure. “Where do I sign up for that?”
“The funding is there to hire a real director and assistant director, and their job would be running the day to day functions. Our name is on the front, so I wouldn’t want to step back too far, but having them would allow me to scale down considerably.” Davin took a deep breath and assessed Alaric’s expression. Still surprised and pleased, which was good. Really good. Down below, he heard Javier’s excited whoop and was hoping for something similar in a more subdued, Alaric-like fashion. “You never tell me what to do regarding work.”
Now the surprise was different. Considering, definitely interested, but there was a touch of hesitation. “You love to work and it’s important for me to know that you have something that’s your own, some bit of independence. Yes, you’re dependent on me in a lot of ways and I love it as much as you do, but if something ever happened to me…”
Davin took a quick kiss, cutting off the words. He knew exactly what Alaric was going to say. They’d had the conversation before and he appreciated the thoughtfulness behind the worry, but he’d already proven he could survive on his own if he had to and he didn’t ever want to think about it again.
“You know I can handle myself if it comes to that. Until then, which is hopefully never, everything I am is yours.” Davin glanced around and pointed to a spot in the lobby. “We were standing right about there when I crossed the proverbial line, remember?”
“Of course,” Alaric agreed, but he didn’t look. Those hazel eyes were ablaze with possibilities now, which was exactly the response he was hoping for. “Is there something else you’re interested in? Work-wise, I mean.”
It was eerie how easily Alaric read him. “Did you know that Owen drafts building plans to sell online and to local contractors?”
There was no doubt Alaric knew that, he was there when Owen mentioned it and was too observant not to see Davin’s interest in going further with his drafting. “So, a much smaller role here in the Bennett House that will allow you to explore your architectural interests and still have more time for us.”
“Yes, that’s exactly what I want.” Davin squared his shoulders so Alaric would see that he sure of his request. When he was hesitant, Alaric always made him talk it out and then sit with it a while before forming his request. Only when he conveyed full confidence in both of them doing their parts did Alaric make his own decision. “And I want you to decide how I do that. What days and hours I’m allowed to work on either, when I need to be focused on us, and I want the full burden of the household.”
Alaric considered his request and Davin could see him weighing the possibilities carefully. When he hatched this plan with Kyle, he knew that there was a good chance Alaric would need a few days to think about how they should proceed and that he might not get his answer right away. Not that he thought for a second that Alaric would refuse, that wasn’t it at all, but he never just blindly agreed to anything unless he was sure it was in Davin’s best interest.
“Tell me why you want the household stuff?” Alaric asked. “We’ve discussed this before and your answers were vague at best.”
“Taking care of our things is another way I can take care of you.” Davin had prepared himself for the question because they had discussed it before. Yes, they had a lovely woman who did some cleaning and cooking for them because their schedules were crazy, but everything she did was something he wasn’t doing for Alaric and it rankled. “You do so much to support me and care for me that I need to know I’m doing my part. Yes, I’m dependent because we both like that, but I’m also your partner and I need to do my share.”
“And you think you aren’t doing that now?” The question was asked in that quiet tone that warned that he should be careful how he answered. Alaric had a zero tolerance policy on Davin minimizing himself or his efforts in any way. Davin was glad he took the time to think about all the ways this conversation could go.
“Creating this place to help people has been very rewarding and helped me put the past to rest once and for all, but it doesn’t feed my soul the way caring for you does.” Davin smoothed his hands up Alaric’s chest and tried to convey how much he needed this. “I feel like I’m constantly hungry to do more, to have you ask me and tell me to do more for you. Every night I’m here when you’re at home, every weekend you come to work with me even though you worked hard at your own job all week, every business trip you take that I can’t go on—they all take pieces of my soul. I don’t want to be empty again, Ric, and it terrifies me to think if I keep going on this way, I will be.”
Just saying it aloud made Davin shiver. Being with Alaric made him whole, but he never forgot the empty years and he would rather admit to being afraid than risk it becoming his reality again.
“I’ll never let that happen.” Alaric’s promise warmed him from the inside out, as did the fierce determination in his gaze. That response was the only reason he could so easily set aside his pride and show how vulnerable he truly was. It was only for Alaric to see, to care for, and that worked just fine for them.
“I want this, Ric.” Davin repeated the same words he used when he showed Alaric the building the first time, meaning them with the same reverence today as he did then. “Can I have it?”
“This you can have.” Alaric pulled him closer and Davin gratefully tucked into the embrace. “I’ll need a few days to work up a plan, but I’m sure you’ve spent hours researching and preparing...”
“I made a PowerPoint presentation.” Davin grinned and felt Alaric’s answering chuckle.
“I love you, Davin.” With a gentle nudge, Alaric tipped his head back and demanded, “Take me somewhere private so I can kiss you properly.”
“Yes, Ric.” As Davin led Alaric to his private office, he heard the unmistakable sounds of Santa’s arrival and there was a deep sense of accomplishment in knowing they’d brought joy to so many. But his Christmas miracle wasn’t under the tree in a brightly wrapped package, it was right at his side, wearing a wicked grin that promised more than just a kiss to celebrate their newest plans.
Merry Christmas from Jessie G and the Sizzling Miami clan!
© 2015 Jessie G Books, Inc. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jessie G and Jessie G Books, Inc. with the appropriate and specific direction to the original content here at MM Book Escape.
Past Hurts (Sizzling Miami Series) #1 is the full story of Ric and Davin. If you haven't read their story you can find it here...
**NOTE: At the time of this posting PAST HURTS can also be found in KINDLE UNLIMITED.
Visit Jessie G Books for the complete list of the Sizzling Miami Series www.jessiegbooks.com
I hope you enjoyed Ric and Davin’s latest Christmas story and the first stop on a thirteen month tour. The guys from Sizzling Miami, Devils Pride MC, and The Forgotten Soldier series will be appearing on different blogs throughout 2016 with little slice of life moments like this.
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