Inked Christmas

DECEMBER 2008

1 YEAR AFTER INKED SOULS

KIAN MALLORY

Spending Christmas with Silver’s parents had been something new and exciting—until they opened the door all smiles to find both their children, and how both smiles instantly fell when they saw me.

‘Your parents hate me. No, scratch that. They loathe me.’

Silver sat down next to my hunched form on the sofa. 

‘They don’t loathe you, love. They just don’t understand you. They’re old and set in their ways and you’re…’ He motioned to me as a whole. ‘You’re a bit out there. They don’t understand me, either, with all the tattoos and stuff.’

I looked up at him from underneath my fringe. ‘I’ve never been greeted so coolly in my life before, except from my mum. And she’s a right bitch. They’re your parents. They have to love you. But not me.’

‘Babe.’ Silver slid one muscular arm over my thin shoulders. ‘They’ll warm up to you. It’s Christmas. Mum loves Christmas. It always puts her in a good mood. Besides, Vincent’s here as well. She’s always happy when he comes to visit.’

I rubbed a hand over my face and sighed. ‘I don’t want to change who I am. Not for anyone. But I still want them to like me, and all they do is think I’m ridiculous.’

‘I don’t care what they think about you, love.’ Silver squeezed my shoulders tight. ‘I like you, Kian, no matter what they have to say about it. Next Christmas, we’ll stay back in London. I’m not exactly thrilled about being back, either. Vincent’s the favourite, after all.’

Last Christmas, our first together, had been wonderful. We’d celebrated with my family: my dad, step-mum, and my little brother. It had been nice and cosy and everyone had enjoyed themselves. 

I had no hope this Christmas would be a repeat of the last.

‘Let’s go for a walk.’ Silver stood up and pulled me to his feet as well. ‘We can both use some fresh air.’

We could certainly use an escape from that house. 

We’d only been here for a few hours, but I was already exhausted. 

So we bundled up in our thick winter clothes and went outside. I wasn’t familiar with the small town, so I let Silver lead the way. 

We walked in silence.

When I spotted a graveyard ahead, I knew something was up, and I looked over at him. He stared at the ground in front of him, so he didn’t notice. 

Silently, we passed the open gates. 

I had a feeling I knew exactly where we were going. I both dreaded it and felt a morbid sense of curiosity at the same time.

‘So this is him.’ Silver stopped in front of a big, black gravestone engraved with gold writing. ‘My boyfriend. Ex-boyfriend, I mean.’ He scratched at his forehead, eyes squeezed closed.

I didn’t mind the slip too terribly. They’d never broken up, so this bloke wasn’t exactly an ex. He’d been Silver’s boyfriend till the last second.

I took in the gold lettering: name, dates, and a line about how much he would be missed. If he’d survived the accident, Silver never would’ve left town, never would’ve met me. 

For the life of me, I couldn’t feel sorry about the fact he was dead, because Silver was the most important person in my life. I couldn’t even imagine being without him. 

But I could feel sorry about the grief Silver had suffered upon finding out he was dead—and his two friends besides him.

What would my life have been like if I hadn’t met Silver? Would I still be sleeping around? Trying to find something that would feel right, that would be real? It was a likely possibility.

I slid my hand into Silver’s, twining our fingers, then wondered if maybe it was inappropriate to do so in front of his previous boyfriend’s grave. 

But Silver squeezed my hand in return, so apparently it was a well-received gesture.

I didn’t say anything, since this must be difficult for him: bringing the new boyfriend to meet the dead one. 

This was a person Silver had loved. He might’ve been young, not even eighteen, but that didn’t mean Silver hadn’t loved him any less.

After a while, Silver brought me further down the graveyard, and once again, he stopped in front of a gravestone. This was a stone made out of smooth, white marble, and, to judge from the name, this was the girl friend.

Once again, Silver stood in silence, just staring down at the grave, and I stood quietly by his side, not wanting to interrupt.

I wondered what it must’ve felt like to wake up in hospital and find out your three closest friends were dead—after the car he’d been driving had skittered off the road. I couldn’t even imagine it, because I’d never experienced anything even close to it.

Same pattern repeated itself in front of the third gravestone. 

Utter silence.

When we left the graveyard again, with another stop in at the first grave, Silver let out a low, not-at-all-happy laugh. 

‘I wish we could leave. Go back to London and forget about this place.’

‘We can if you want.’ I was more than eager to leave, but not for the same reasons as he was. I didn’t feel threatened by the people whose gravestones we’d just visited. They were a part of Silver’s past. A past he’d never forget about, but past nonetheless. 

No, I wanted to get away from the parents, who hadn’t said a word to me besides the initial chilly hello.

He blinked at me, like he was surprised I was even there for a moment. 

‘I’m sorry about this.’

‘About what?’

‘Bringing you here and then not saying a word.’ 

Our hands were still linked. 

An elderly couple walking by cast us a long look, but it was of no matter. I could hold hands with my boyfriend if I wanted to without worrying about other people’s reactions. 

If they didn’t like it, they were free to look the other way.

‘This is your personal pain. I’m just happy you chose to bring me along with you. I hope I was of some comfort.’ I stepped in closer, so the rest of our arms were in contact now, too.

‘You were.’ He squeezed my hand tight. ‘You’re great, you know that?’

‘Well, I try. Sometimes I don’t even have to try at all.’

His hand slipped from mine and suddenly he had me in a chokehold. 

‘Cheeky little shit, aren’t you?’

I laughed as I tried to break free. As long as he was set on keeping me like that, though, I didn’t stand a chance. 

‘Got you in a better mood, didn’t I?’

He eased the hold, but grabbed my waist and spun me around. I found myself pressed up against his front—and then his lips were on mine, kissing me with a passion I hadn’t expected so close to the graveyard that held his worst memories.

‘I love you so much,’ he said once he pulled back.

I drew in a deep breath. 

That kiss had caught me completely off-guard—but it had been a good caught-off-guard. 

‘I love you too.’ I jabbed my finger against his thick jacket, which was thick enough that he probably didn’t even feel it. ‘And you know it.’

‘I do.’ He wrapped one arm around my shoulder as we headed back to his parents’ house. 

With each step we took, I felt dread curl in my stomach. 

‘You really want to leave?’

‘If the rest of Christmas is going to be like the past couple of hours, then yeah.’ It was better to be honest. I didn’t want to lie and make myself miserable—and he wouldn’t appreciate me sugar-coating it, either.

‘We’ll give it a couple of days, and if they haven’t changed their attitude by then, we’ll leave.’

‘You can stay if you want,’ I offered, though I definitely didn’t want him to if I left. ‘It’s your family.’

‘They are. But I’m not so attached that I have to stay with them for Christmas. Besides, you’re my family now too.’ His ice-cold fingers brushed the back of my neck and I shivered.

I liked the sound of that. 

We’d been together for a year and four months now. It was the longest relationship I’d ever been in—

Okay, so it was the only relationship I’d been in. But it was a long time. 

It was long enough to know that I wanted the past one year to turn into two, three, a decade. I couldn’t get enough of him. He was on my mind every single day when we weren’t together, and when we were, I couldn’t keep my hands to myself. 

I was happy—and it was wonderful.

Vincent was outside when we got back. He was leaning against the wall next to the front door, having a smoke.

‘Still smoking, are you?’ Silver commented drily.

‘Oh, come on. I don’t smoke that often.’

It was true. I hadn’t found out Vincent was a smoker until months after we’d met. He wasn’t one of those who needed a smoke every hour. He smoked whenever the craving hit him, and it wasn’t all that often. 

‘Why are you smoking now?’ Silver eyed him.

‘Because I’m stressed.’ His eyes fell on me. ‘I had a chat with them about you. Told them to get their act together, as we do live in the modern world. And I told them just how good you are for him.’ He nodded towards Silver. 

His words warmed me. 

‘Really?’ Butterflies fluttered around in my stomach.

‘Did they loosen up?’ Silver’s arm around my shoulder tightened.

Vincent blew out some smoke. 

‘They haven’t yet. I’m sorry.’ The last part was directed at me.

My stomach instantly knotted back into a ball of dread.

Silver led me back inside.

‘That doesn’t sound promising,’ I muttered. 

And it really wasn’t.

Dinner was tense. Hardly anyone spoke, and I kept my head down and ate everything on my plate. 

We all went to bed silently. 

Silver tried to lift my mood, but how could it be lifted when his parents hated me?

When I woke the next morning, Silver was already up and gone. I dressed, made myself presentable, then went looking for him.

‘He looks like a girl, Sylvester,’ I heard Silver’s mother’s voice coming from the kitchen. ‘If you want someone who looks like a girl, why don’t you just find yourself a real one?’

I stopped dead in my tracks.

‘Mum, I’m gay.’ Silver’s voice was exasperated.

‘Why don’t you find yourself a real man then?’

‘He is a real man. Just because he isn’t all buffed up and masculine doesn’t make him any less a man. So what if he wears make-up? What does it matter if he works as a hairdresser and dyes his hair? That’s nothing to you, is it? I’m happy. That should be enough.’

‘I just don’t get it.’

‘Apparently not.’

I blew out a breath. It bothered me that they didn’t approve of me, of course it did. They were Silver’s parents. But at the same time, I was damned if I was going to change for them. 

That wasn’t going to happen in, like, ever. I was happy with who I was, and nothing was going to change that. And the people who mattered the most—Silver and my family—didn’t mind it. They loved me for who I was.

I took a deep breath, did a mental brush-down, then strode into the kitchen. They weren’t going to intimidate me into not being me

‘Morning, babe.’ I stood on tip-toe and placed a kiss directly on his lips, with a louder smack than usual, just for the heck of it. 

I might be upset, but that didn’t stop me from being defiant. If they already didn’t like me, it didn’t matter if it got worse. I had nothing to lose, and I was going to treat my boyfriend the same as I always did.

Or a little bit exaggerated, perhaps. 

‘You’ve got tattoos,’ she said, after turning away from the both of us.

‘I do.’ I looked down on my arms. Down one arm were butterflies in various colours, and on the inside of the forearm on the other, I had an intricate pair of scissors, as a homage to my chosen profession. 

The butterflies were because they were pretty, and I wanted a sleeve with butterflies and flowers and rainbows and happy things—much like Chloe, though she stuck to only butterflies. 

Only the butterflies had been inked on my skin so far, but it was a work in progress. 

‘Your son is very talented.’

‘He’s done them all?’ She turned now, a flicker of interest on her wrinkled face.

‘I wouldn’t have anyone else ink something onto my skin. I’m his canvas.’ I smiled lovingly up at Silver. ‘Want to see the biggest piece he’s done?’ I turned my back on her and wrung my T-shirt up, showing off the big, magnificent peacock, which had been the very first tattoo he’d given me.

‘You did that?’ She sounded surprised, which… really? Hadn’t she ever seen her son draw? Or seen the skill he possessed with a tattoo needle?

‘I did, yeah.’ Silver grinned. ‘That’s the first thing I ever did on him. Back in January, right after last Christmas.’

‘It’s beautiful.’ She still sounded shocked.

I let my tee fall back down and turned back around. She blinked once she was faced with my front again, and I was once again reminded that she did not approve of the way I looked.

However, I thought there was a small smile when she turned away. Maybe we’d broken the ice just a little bit.

‘You sure it’s okay that we’ll be out for the evening?’

Silver’s mum fussed with her purse, while her husband stood patiently out on the porch waiting for her.

‘Yeah, yeah. Go out and enjoy an evening with your mates.’ Silver all but shooed her out the door. ‘Have some drinks with your food, have loads of fun. Don’t even dare come back before midnight.’

She patted his cheek in a motherly fashion. 

‘You enjoy your evening, too.’

‘I will.’ He grinned widely, which to me held loads of promise, but which she didn’t seem to pick up on at all.

‘You’ll have the telly all to yourself. No more news for tonight.’ She tottered down the stairs, completely oblivious to the fact that the last thing we were going to do while alone was watch the telly.

Silver closed and locked the door once their car drove off, then he turned to me with a smouldering look. 

‘Ready?’

‘I was born ready.’ I jumped on him, and his hands grabbed my arse to keep me lifted while he ascended the stairs.

He kicked the door to his room open, then closed, before depositing me on the bed. 

Clothes were thrown around haphazardly as we got rid of them, and finally, we were both pressed together naked on the bed, hard and aching.

I’d come expecting to be celibate for the entirety of Christmas. 

After all, it wouldn’t be the best impression to have sex in his parents’ house while they slept down the hall. But with them out for a few hours and Vincent gone with some of his old mates, too… 

We took the opportunity presented and ran with it. Or shagged, as it was.

Condoms were a thing of the past, and when my ankles rested on his shoulders, he pressed into me bare. Having sex bare was… I didn’t have words for what it was. 

It was amazing: the pleasure so raw and so intense. Wearing condoms was nothing at all like this—and I was never going back to being fucked with one again, at least not if I stayed with Silver. 

Which I hoped I did.

He leant over, bracing his arms on the bed on either side of me. The position bent me almost in half, but it was one of our favourites. 

I’d got a lot more limber after I started seeing Silver than I’d ever been before. Being folded over like this was no painful stretch. It only served to intensify the pleasure as he thrust into me, hitting that sweet spot head on with every single thrust.

I tried to keep my moaning to a minimum, just in case someone did come home, but eventually, I lost all inhibitions. 

Who wouldn’t, with this man doing his thing so wonderfully? 

He knew my body better than I did by now, and I knew his. We could get each other off in a minute or draw it out for several.

Now he was drawing it out, his thrusts deep but slow, not quite enough force in them to bring me over the edge, but enough to make me vibrate with pleasure.

‘You’re so gorgeous, babe.’

I opened my eyes—when had I closed them?—to peer up at him. He was intent on the task, drops of sweat gathering on his forehead. 

‘Get me off,’ I begged. ‘Please.’

He changed rhythm, driving into me now with enough force to rock both me and the bed. It was enough. With a few strokes of his hand on my cock, I came, spurting onto my own chest and over his fingers.

‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’ I chanted, spine bowing and head tilting back.

‘Fucking gorgeous.’ He bent his head to suck on my neck, intensifying my pleasure. 

I was reduced to incoherent moaning.

He kept on thrusting even after I was milked dry and the pleasure was almost intolerable by now. 

He was close. I could tell by the way his thrusts changed back to slower and deeper.

The slow trickle of semen down my skin barely preceded his collapsing atop me. 

I wrapped both arms and legs around him, enjoying the sensation of being filled up by his cock as well as his semen as it slowly trickled out of me.

‘You’re always going to be my first choice,’ he rasped against my ear.

‘Hmm?’ I was too blissed out to know what in the world he was on about.

‘Not my parents. No matter what they think, you’re always going to be my first choice.’ He pushed himself up and sat back on his knees, slowly withdrawing his cock from my body. 

Once it was out, his fingers circled my hole, catching the trickling semen on them before thrusting them back into my body.

‘Oh!’ I bucked against him, my nerve-endings working on high gear.

‘You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, Ki.’ Fingers came out, to be replaced by one long, deep thrust of his slowly-softening cock. ‘We’re good together. You’re always going to be… My. First. Choice.’ He emphasised each word with a thrust of his hips.

‘Oh, god.’ I threw a hand over my eyes.

He held my legs spread wide, gripping them at the ankle. I was open and ready for whatever else he wanted to do to me, but he only kept thrusting until he got so soft that it was impossible to continue anymore.

‘You are a fucking sex god,’ I said once he let my legs down on the bed so I could stretch out properly, feeling wonderfully sore and properly shagged.

He barked a laugh. 

‘Hardly that high up the ladder.’

‘Oh, you don’t give yourself enough credit.’ I removed my arm from my eyes and pushed myself up on my elbows so I could look at him. 

My come was rubbed all over both our stomachs. His was still trickling out of me and covering his dick, so it was all shiny-looking. 

‘We should shower. I didn’t know we were having sex, so I didn’t douche.’

I hadn’t been uptight about cleaning out properly in the beginning, but back then, we’d been using condoms. Now that we were fucking bare, it was more important than ever.

‘Put the sheets in the washer too, less we forget about them entirely.’

‘Wouldn’t want your mum to find them.’ That was a horrifying thought. Christmas was shaping out to be not a pleasant experience to begin with—wouldn’t want to add to it.

‘My thoughts exactly.’ He pulled me up on my knees and flush against him, then kissed me deeply. ‘Happy Christmas, love.’

‘It isn’t until tomorrow,’ I pointed out.

‘Think of it as your early Christmas gift.’ His hand slid down my back to cup my arse, squeezing a bit while his index finger slid in-between the crack to slip in my entrance.

‘I like these kinds of gifts,’ I whispered against his lips, pushing my arse out to try and get more of his finger inside.

‘I know you do. And I like giving them to you.’ He grinned.

‘Never stop.’ He thrust his index finger in and out of me, and if he kept this up, I would be ready to go another round in no time.

‘Want to move the second round to the shower?’

My thoughts exactly. 

‘You have no idea just how much I’d like that.’ I paused, then added with a wide grin, ‘Sylvester.’

He swatted at me, and we stumbled across the hall, still naked and covered in our own bodily fluids. 

Thankfully no one had come home early and we walked to the bathroom undetected. So did our rendezvous in the shower; which was faster, dirtier, and louder than our session in bed had been.

Happy Christmas, indeed. 

As long as I could have this, I could tolerate disapproving parents and everything else the world wanted to throw at me. 

With this, I could take anything. 

As long as I had him, everything was possible.

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