Christmas at the Farm
Scene between books 7 & 8
Axel and Caleb
Tiny, perfect snowflakes landed on my face and coated my eyelashes as, head thrown back, I looked up at the vast night sky.
“It’s beautiful,” I said, never meaning it more than I did at that moment. I was the happiest man in the world.
“When we were little, my brother used to say snow is God’s dandruff,” Caleb said. “And then our mother would get mad and say that was sacrilegious.”
I laughed and, in one swift movement, bent and threw my new husband over my shoulder. Duke barked and pranced around us as I carried Caleb across the yard into the farmhouse where I tossed him onto the couch in front of the roaring fire. He stared up at me, smiling, cheeks flushed bright red from the cold.
“Merry Christmas, Axel.”
“Merry Christmas.” I leaned down and kissed him. His lips were cold, and so was his nose when it rubbed against mine, but his breath was warm and his tongue welcoming.
Duke barked, and, reluctantly, I straightened.
“Okay, boy. I’ll get your food.”
I locked the front door and headed for the kitchen. We’d driven straight from the wedding ceremony to the farm in New Jersey, taking our new pickup truck our friends had decorated with Just Married written in special pen on the windows and streamers and tin cans flying from the back bumper. Thankfully, the tin cans had fallen off before we hit the interstate.
I poured Duke some food and joined Caleb on the couch, lacing our fingers together and holding his hand on my lap.
“I can’t believe we’re married,” Caleb said, a dreamy smile on his lips. I couldn’t help but kiss him again. We’d been engaged a few months, and no one had been more surprised than I’d been when Caleb had announced at Thanksgiving dinner that we should get married on Christmas Eve.
I’d waited until later, when we were alone, to question him about it. The holidays held terrible memories for Caleb, and I wanted to make sure he’d thought the whole thing through. But he’d insisted that our wedding would help replace the bad memories with good, and since I would do absolutely anything to make that happen, I agreed. Besides, I’d been so eager to make him my husband, I wasn’t about to argue.
I twisted one of his dark curls around my finger and stared into his eyes.. “Are you happy, Mr. Sullivan-Bryant?”
“Very, very happy,” he replied before pulling me closer and kissing me deeply.
Caleb had come a long way from the shy boy I’d pined over for two and a half years. My big, burly frame, deep voice, and tough-guy demeanor had paralyzed him with fear, reminding him of the man who had invaded his home and taken his entire family away from him. I’d grown in my hair, covering the tats on my bald head and stopped everyone from calling me Ax; I’d been careful not to raise my voice or make any quick moves when around Caleb; I’d done absolutely everything I could to appear less of a threat to him, and in the end, it had all paid off the day Caleb invited me inside his house for a cold drink. It sounded like such a simple thing, but for him it had been a huge step in his recovery.
And now, five years after I’d first laid eyes on him and two and a half years after he’d offered me that drink, we were married.
I couldn’t believe it.
“When did the guys have time to do this?” Caleb asked, gesturing to the brightly lit, fully decorated spruce standing in the corner of the room.
“Jared and Blaze came here last week and set it up. They must have asked Devon to switch on the lights when he came to feed and water the horses this morning.” Devon Lawrence took care of the house and property in exchange for keeping his three horses in my stable. It was a good set-up, as I was reluctant to sell the place but didn’t want to live there full-time either. Caleb and I enjoyed visiting every so often when we wanted to unwind.
I wrapped my arm around Caleb, and he laid his head on my chest, both of us admiring the beautiful tree.
“Lake had to have been with them,” I said. “Those two oafs could never have done such a good job on their own.”
Caleb hummed his agreement, and we sat there until I had to put more wood on the fire.
“While you’re doing that, I’m going to make us a plate of food.” Caleb stood.
Isaac and Morgan had surprised us with a cooler and basket full of food for our wedding night. By the time I’d poked the fire into a merry blaze, Caleb had pushed the coffee table out of the way and made us a nest of blankets and pillows in front of the fireplace.
“What are these fancy sandwiches?” I asked after I’d eased myself onto the floor beside my husband.
“Cucumber and cream cheese,” Caleb said, tasting one. “Delicious.”
I wrinkled my nose. “Sounds like something a bunch of old ladies would eat at a sewing circle.”
Caleb snorted and licked cream cheese off his upper lip. “Open up.” He fed me one of the little squares. I had to admit it was pretty good.
“Have some Greek olives and feta cheese.” He fed me a bite of that, and I grunted approvingly as the explosion of flavor hit my tongue.
“Next,” Caleb said, popping an olive into his mouth before putting together another treat for me, “comes caviar and sour cream on an unsalted cracker. That’s what the card Isaac made says, anyway.” He eyed the small mound of dark fish eggs topped with white.
I gripped his wrist before he could get the bite to my mouth. “Forget it.”
Caleb shrugged, ate the bite himself, and moaned and rolled his eyes in ecstasy. “You don’t know what you’re missing.”
“I can live with that. What else is there? I’m starved.”
“Oh, you’ll like this,” Caleb said, picking up another concoction. “Mini chicken and waffles.” He held up a little ball of fried chicken impaled on a toothpick with a waffle the size of a half dollar.
“Now you’re talking.” I eagerly opened my mouth and took in the bite. “Mm, that’s good,” I said while chewing. “What are those?” I pointed to what looked like meatballs.
Caleb offered one to me.
"Oriental,” I said, and Caleb nodded as he checked the card.
We continued in this way until we were ready for the chocolate covered strawberries.
“God, these are good,” Caleb said, closing his eyes as he chewed, dark chocolate on his lips.
“You’re so beautiful,” I said, my heart suddenly overflowing with love.
Caleb smiled shyly and shook his head.
“Oh, yes you are,” I said, and kissed him, nipping at his sweet lips before seeking his tongue with mine. Moving my hand from Caleb’s arm, I brushed it against the hardness in his jeans. “Why don’t we hurry and put this food away, then we can fool around?”
Caleb smiled and jumped up, and within minutes, we had the area clean and were naked on the blankets in front of the fire. I watched the flames dancing on Caleb’s skin as we touched one another reverently.
“What are you thinking about?” he asked, stroking my chest.
“The many things I want to do to my gorgeous, naked husband,” I said. Angling so that my body was to the side of Caleb’s, I leaned down and licked the vein underneath his hard cock. When I got to the head, I flicked my tongue beneath the rim before sucking it.
“Fuck, Axel. That feels good.”
Lately, Caleb had taken to playing with my ass while I sucked him. At first he’d just petted my back, but eventually his fingers had sought my crack and what was in between. It was kind of weird for me since I’d always been a top and never had anyone messing with my backside; but the more he did it, the more I found I enjoyed it. So, when when I felt his wet finger nudging, I spread my legs to give him access. When he pushed his finger into my ass, I groaned around my mouthful of cock.
“Like that?” he asked me breathlessly, and I nodded, unwilling to give up my treat to speak.
Caleb thrust into my mouth, moaning when I played with his balls. After a moment, he pushed his finger farther into me, feeling around. When he stroked my prostate, I almost came off the floor. This time I growled, and the reverberations on Caleb’s cock made him arch up and shoot into my mouth with a surprised cry. I swallowed every drop before pulling off him.
Caleb took in a shuddering breath and let it out.
“You’re gonna pay for that,” he said.
I grinned at him, but the grin wavered when he withdrew his finger from my ass and crawled between my legs.
“Grab a pillow and hold onto it,” he instructed, and without warning, pushed open my ass cheeks and ran his tongue over my hole.
“Caleb!” I shouted. Duke’s head came up from his bed by the tree, and Caleb laughed. Caleb had never rimmed me before. I did it to him all the time, taking real pleasure out of watching him fall apart, but he’d never shown any indication of wanting to do it to me. This was my first time ever, and it felt fucking awesome.
Caleb licked at me tentatively, like he was trying to find out what I liked best. I indulged him by being as vocal as I could. When his tongue penetrated me, I gasped and then let out a long groan. He wiggled his tongue, and I cried out and humped at the floor, squeezing the red velvet pillow in my arms. Trembling, I looked at him over my shoulder.
“You want in there?” I asked him, voice hoarse.
Caleb stopped licking and looked at me, gray eyes huge. “You mean…”
I chuckled. “Of course. I never knew you wanted to.”
Caleb swallowed, eyes moving back to my exposed ass. “I-I never knew I wanted to either, but I kind of do.”
I raised a brow. “Kind of?”
“Okay, I really do.”
I nodded. “Then have at it.” I faced forward again and wiggled my ass. “You might want to stretch me out first, though. I’ve never had anyone in there before.”
Caleb made a strangled noise and then I heard the lube cap open. A second later, a slick finger pushed into me, feeling around.
“Two,” I said, and Caleb withdrew and pushed in two fingers. I winced at the stretch, but it didn’t take long for me to get used to it, and I told him to try three.
Pretty soon, Caleb was fucking me with his fingers, and I was squirming on the blanket.
“Now your cock,” I managed to say, actually looking forward to feeling him there.
Caleb draped his smaller body over mine and pushed into me. I closed my eyes and moaned. His cock was long and slim and felt wonderful inside me.
“Is this okay?” he asked me, and I nodded.
“You can move now,” I said, and slowly, Caleb began to fuck me.
“Axel, you feel amazing,” he said in a shaky voice.
“You feel pretty damn good yourself,” I said, pushing back into his thrusts.
“Of course, you do. You haven’t been lying to me this whole time about liking to be fucked, have you?”
“No, I love it when you’re inside me.” Caleb said sincerely, and I smiled.
“Well, I love you inside me too. Oh! Right there. Yeah, God, you’re hitting it.”
“Up on your knees,” he said, and I obeyed. Being on all fours for a man was another new thing for me, but I’d do anything for Caleb—walk on glass while tarred and feathered with a million ants crawling over my skin—eat that soy shit he liked to make instead of hamburgers–anything.
Tingles spread throughout my body as Caleb pounded my prostate, making me see stars.
“Yeah, take it, bitch,” he said when I whimpered, teasing me, and I would have laughed if I wasn’t right on the edge of a massive orgasm. Caleb smacked my ass, and I grabbed my hard cock, stroking it until I came, yelling into the velvet pillow.
I collapsed onto the blanket, Caleb still fucking me, a growl building low in his throat as he chased his release. I felt it when he spurted inside me, a kind of pulsing warmth, and when he finally eased out, my body missed the stretch.
I gasped when he pushed the cum back in with his finger.
“I could look at this all day,” he said, pleasure in his voice.
“You’re a kinky little fuck,” I said, resting my head on the pillow. “And did you call me a bitch?”
Caleb laughed, and I heard him get to his feet. He returned from the kitchen with a warm towel and wiped me up.
We cuddled in front of the fire, watching the flames dance, Caleb’s warm body resting on mine.
“That was amazing,” he said with a contented sigh.
“It really was.”
“You sure it didn’t bother you?”
I kissed his shoulder and nuzzled his neck. “I loved it. I may never have thought about doing it before, but having the man I love inside me was nothing short of wonderful.”
Caleb smiled. “I liked it too. I prefer bottoming, though. But it was a nice change, and I loved the noises you made.”
He waited a beat before continuing, “The neighbors three miles away probably loved them too.”
“Hey, now, I wasn’t that loud!” I tickled him, and Caleb chuckled, squirming away from my fingers.
We dozed for a while, not covering up because the fire was so warm. When I woke, I was hard again and pushed against Caleb’s ass nestled against me.
“Round two?” he asked groggily before smiling at me over his shoulder.
“I can jack off on your face…”
“Mr. Romance,” Caleb said.
Before we could do anything, though, Duke whimpered from his bed. Caleb and I shared a regretful look, and I sighed and began pulling on my clothes so I could take the chocolate lab outside.
“Love the reindeer socks,” Caleb said, watching me from our nest on the floor.
I wiggled my toes. “I’m sure you do, since you bought them for me.”
Caleb chuckled and sat up, grabbing his jeans.
“You don’t have to come with me,” I protested. “Stay here by the fire.”
“I want to go out in the snow again.” Caleb pulled his shirt over his head.
As soon as I opened the door, Duke took off running around the yard, pausing briefly to pee at the corner of the fence before continuing. The moon was full and gleamed on the blanket of white on the ground.
Caleb bent and packed snow in his gloved hands before rolling it into a large ball. I helped him, beginning another ball, and before long, we’d made a snowman.
Caleb found some sticks for arms, and I dug around under the snow until I found acorns for eyes. With a smirk, Caleb stuck a fat stick at the base of the snowman like a hard dick. I formed a couple of balls to put at its base, and we laughed like kids.
By the time we dragged ourselves inside, we were frozen and wet. We showered and pulled on the matching red-checked flannel pants Dante and Isaac had given us for Christmas. The clock on the mantel said it was almost midnight—nearly Christmas Day. Caleb and I had agreed we wouldn’t exchange gifts because we’d spent a lot of money on the truck and the wedding, which had been at a small, gay-friendly Episcopal church in the town of Henry. The pastor was a good friend of Hugh’s, the vet who worked with Caleb at the animal shelter, and the ceremony had included all our friends, including Deirdre, who’d flown in from North Carolina.
Caleb was drying off Duke with a towel, so I padded into the small kitchen and made us a couple of mugs of hot chocolate, bringing them into the living room to enjoy in front of the fire.
Caleb grinned at me as he took his. I’d put several fat marshmallows in his, knowing he liked to suck them into his mouth as he drank until they completely dissolved. Caleb began singing a Christmas song, and I joined in, but after the first verse, we both forgot the words and started making them up and laughing at how ridiculous the song got. Then the lyrics got dirty, and we laughed even harder.
“Your mom would really think we were sacrilegious if she could hear this,” I said without thinking, then sobered. “Sorry, honey.”
Caleb’s eyes grew misty, and I wanted to kick myself for making him sad.
“It’s okay,” he said. “I don’t want to act like they never existed. It’s been almost seven years. I’ve got to learn to handle it. I think I am. It doesn’t hurt as bad as it once did.”
I pushed a curl behind Caleb’s ear. “I wish I could’ve met them.”
“What would they think of you marrying someone like me?”
“You mean a sweet man with a heart of gold?” Caleb asked.
I huffed. “No, I mean a big, tatted biker who works in a bar and has a record.”
Caleb picked at the tassel on the pillow. “I never got a chance to tell them I was gay. But I think they would’ve been okay with it, and I’d like to think they would welcome into their home whomever I chose to be with.”
I smiled. “If they raised you, they had to be wonderful people.”
Caleb ran his fingers over the sleeve of tats on my right arm. “I’m sure my brother would’ve razzed me about you for a while, but then I think you two would have really gotten along.” He raised his eyes to mine. “I love you so much, Axel.”
I touched his cheek and said, “I thank my lucky stars every single day that you gave me a chance.”
A couple of tears escaped Caleb’s eyes and ran down his cheeks. “Take me to bed. Please?”
I put our cups on the table before helping him to his feet. I banked the fire, and he turned off the tree lights before we headed down the hall for our bedroom.
Caleb and I had been coming to the farmhouse my grandmother left to me more and more. At first, I could only think about the bad things that had happened there. My grandfather hadn’t been a nice man, and my grandmother had stood behind him. But each time we visited, the bad memories were replaced with better ones as Caleb and I slowly made the house our own. Remembering that was what he was trying to do by having our wedding at Christmas, I realized how smart he was.
I looked around the master bedroom. Gone was the old, scuffed furniture my grandparents had used for years, and in its place the big oak bed and matching dresser and nightstands we’d found at an estate sale. We’d painted over the dull walls, brightening them with white. Over the queen-sized bed we’d hung a colorful picture Tony had painted for us of the farm, and I marveled at how welcoming the room now looked.
Caleb kissed me, and I quickly rid us both of our flannel pants. Caleb kept flicking the small ring in my left nipple, making me crazy with need. I loved his lean frame and long legs. Nothing felt better than sinking in between the cheeks of his glorious ass, and I was more than eager to do it. Lifting him, I walked us to the bed before dropping him onto the mattress.
“Turn over,” I said, voice low.
Caleb did, and I stared at his ass for long moments before grabbing his legs and pulling him to the edge of the bed.
“Fuck me hard, Axel,” Caleb said, the need in his voice matching my own. “I want to feel you all night.”
I growled and grabbed some lube from the drawer—we had the stuff stashed all over the house just like at home—and got us ready. Caleb’s hole was a tight, perfect puckered star just waiting for my cock to stretch it open. As I pushed against it, Caleb pushed back, and soon I was balls deep inside my husband. We quickly set a rhythm that rocked the bed. As always, seeing Caleb on his hands and knees for me awoke something primal, and I grabbed hold of his hips and pounded him hard, the way I knew he liked it. After, when we’d recovered and sweet, sated kisses turned passionate once more, I made love to him slowly, face to face.
Spent and sleepy, we cuddled under the comforter. I heard Duke’s nails on the hardwood as he ambled into the bedroom and then his soft sigh as he settled onto his bed in the corner of the room.
We woke late, and after taking Duke out, I made pancakes and sausage while Caleb and I wished everyone a Merry Christmas on speaker phone.
“You’re not supposed to have time to call your buddies when you’re on your honeymoon, nimnut,” Dante teased me.
“Yeah, well, just shows how special you all are,” I said, plating the pancakes.
We disconnected and ate, then went for a walk in the snow. Devon had been there early to let the horses into the corral, and they whinnied at us as we walked by. Almost a foot of new snow had fallen overnight, all but obliterating our lewd snowman’s features. It coated everything down to the smallest twig in perfect white and crunched under our boots as we moved. Caleb and I held gloved hands, swinging them between us, chatting about the wedding ceremony and the short reception after, our breath smoking in the stinging air.
“Tony put a honey baked ham in the cooler,” Caleb told me. “I’m going to warm it up with the rolls and make some green beans for lunch. Does that sound good?”
“My stomach’s already growling,” I told him. We circled around the pasture and started back for the house, stopping to give the horses some apples. Duke dashed around, chasing birds and any other creature he spotted, barking and kicking up snow.
“Your nose is red,” I told Caleb as we peeled off our layers of clothing in the front hall.
He grinned at me. “So is yours. Oh, look! Someone hammered a sprig of mistletoe over the door! I didn’t see that last night.”
I looked up, and sure enough, there was a bit of the green plant hanging over our heads. I pulled Caleb to me and pressed my mouth to his, loving the way he stood on tiptoe and circled his arms around my neck, opening his mouth for my tongue to enter.
Duke decided to take that moment to shake all the snow off his fur, most of it landing on us, but Caleb laughed in such a carefree way, I couldn’t find it in myself to give a damn that we were wet again.
We changed clothes, and Caleb started on the food while I got a roaring fire going in the fireplace. I’d forgotten how quiet everything was out in the country. Serene and peaceful–something that had been difficult to appreciate when I’d always been waiting for my grandfather’s booming voice to call my name.
Before long, the smell of hot food filled the cabin. Taking a puzzle off the shelf, I set it on the dining room table and lifted the lid.
“Which one did you pick?” Caleb asked, bringing in two glasses of iced tea.
“Not the one with miles of snow and a lake,” I said with a snort. When we’d bought the puzzles, Caleb had chosen a scene that was going to be nearly impossible to put together due to its consisting of only various shades of white, gray, and blue.
“It’s challenging.” Caleb picked up the box lid. “This one’s going to take us about three seconds. Puppies with scarves. Really?”
“You love puppies.”
Caleb grinned. “I do.” He began separating the edge pieces from the others.
Christmas carols played from the radio in the kitchen while we worked in silence and the food warmed in the oven. Occasionally, one of us would slip the other a piece that looked like it might go to their side of the puzzle. At my back, the fire crackled and Duke snored from his bed.
When lunch was heated, we ate in the kitchen, then returned to our puzzle after clean-up, the hours slipping away in peaceful harmony.
Just before dark we heard a truck, and Caleb hurried outside with a bag of goodies while I waited at the door and waved to Devon.
“Whoosh!” Caleb shuddered when he crossed the threshold of the warm cabin. “It’s so cold out there.” He nuzzled against me, and I wrapped my arm around him while we watched Devon drive away. I called to Duke to go out and do his business and then had to order the big dog to come back in when he attempted to piss on every single fence post and tree in the yard. He bounded inside, and this time, Caleb and I managed to avoid being splattered with snow when he shook out his coat.
After feeding Duke, Caleb and I curled up on the sofa.
“It’s snowing again,” Caleb said, looking out the window.
He turned to me. “This has been a perfect Christmas.” His brows dipped in a frown. “Oh my God, I haven’t thought about it all day, Axel.”
I knew he meant what had happened to his family. I kissed his head. “That’s good, baby. That means you’re healing.”
He swallowed. “Then why do I feel so guilty about it?” He closed his eyes. “I don’t want to forget them.”
I pulled Caleb onto my lap. “You’re not forgetting them; you’re letting go of the pain of that day. And that’s okay because you should let it go.” I paused, thinking. “But you could honor your family somehow every Christmas. That might make you feel better.”
Caleb gazed at the twinkling tree. “I like the idea of doing something every year in memory of them.”
“You could donate to a cause. Or plant a tree.”
Caleb took my hand and kissed it, right where I had his name tattooed over my fingers. “That sounds perfect. Thank you.”
I shook my head. “You don’t have to thank me.”
Caleb’s eyes were brimming with so much love, it hurt my heart to look at them.
“I want to. Because you saved me, Axel. You’ve been my safe place, and now you’re my husband too. I love you.” He launched himself into my arms, and I held him tight, stunned into silence at how lucky I was to have Caleb’s love.