A Rez Christmas Short Story
Want to catch up with the boys from Ruin Porn? Haven’t read it but would like to meet them, well read on… as we are so excited to be able to bring you this wonderful Christmas gift from Sam and Jo. This week on their Pen & Drink Monthly report they have a little stocking filler for you, a Rez Christmas Short Story… Heavy Dipping into the Holiday Spirits.
If you don’t have time to read it now and want to curl up with the boys later, you can also download the pdf version, you can find the link below.
Oh… AND there’s a giveaway!
Heavy Dipping Into the Holiday Spirits
S.A. McAuley & SJD Peterson
Evin stared at his laptop screen in disbelief. He shouldn’t have been shocked—his parents had never celebrated Christmas—but this had to be a new low, even for them.
Subject: Need help
Date: December 25, 2014
Natalia can’t come by to spritz the cacti this week. Can you?
Madrid is sunny and warm. You should come here sometime.
So his mom hadn’t wished him a Merry Christmas, which, to be fair, hadn’t happened in decades (twenty-one years to be exact), so he couldn’t be upset about that. And they’d forgotten they’d been to Madrid already as a family, years ago. He wasn’t surprised his mom didn’t remember. Her memory was… selective on good days.
He couldn’t even be hurt that she was reaching out to him for help in fucking spritzing their precious cactus collection. ’Cause plants needed love too, and at least Evin could hold on to the fact that his parents weren’t completely heartless if they didn’t want their fucking arid weather loving, prickly ass, spiny and bulbous fuckstack of desert-born babies to die while they were gallivanting across Europe.
But Madrid? His parents were in Madrid? He’d left there only nine days ago, after the last stop in the European leg of the Made in Americana tour. Nine days. Evin had no words. There were no words in the English language, or any other language, that could encompass how head-fucked he was as he read, then reread, the email.
He didn’t reply.
They could fuck themselves on their shriveled cacti when they got home.
Evin closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and shut his laptop.
No. There was most definitely a language he could find to express how pissed he was.
He raised one middle finger, then the other, and pointed both in an easterly direction.
He took a deep breath and tried to find a little calm, but it was futile. “Goddammit.” He set his laptop to the side, grabbed his wallet and his cell, stood up, and called a cab.
The sun was at the halfway point in the vast blue sky when the cab dropped him off at the front gate of his parents’ home in Malibu. The streets were quiet and nearly empty in their neighborhood, but they always were, with residents and guests locked behind protective walls surrounding opulent oceanside estates. His parents’ house was tucked away from their neighbors on a hill, not beach side, with a 270 degree view of the Pacific. The concrete and glass structure was modest in comparison to some of the other homes in the area, a boxy, modern building with floor-to-ceiling windows and the requisite collection of all-white furniture and accessories.
Evin entered the security code when he came in the front door and was relieved when the alarm gave a cheerful chirp to acknowledge it was turned off. At least they hadn’t changed the code on him without letting him know. This time.
He didn’t bother slipping off his flip-flops when he crossed into the kitchen, any dirt he tracked in would be wiped away by their cleaner before they arrived home anyway. And if he dragged his feet a bit just to see the pristine white tile floors marred with scuffs? Well that was just because he was tired. Not childish and vengeful at all.
He passed into the sterile kitchen of steel and glass accents against white quartz countertops, and pulled a crystal and metal spray bottle out from under the sink. It was way too heavy to be convenient, too fragile to be practical, but it was the only thing his parents had to feed the plants. Jenvive Rene wouldn’t be caught dead with any type of plastic in her home or surroundings.
To fill the silence, he connected his phone to the home audio system and synced it up, blasting some Pandora Christmas station that self-identified as hipster. Apparently SkyNet had followed Evin into his descent into cultural irony.
He bopped his head while he spritzed the cacti, making sure to really feel the groove of the music, to soak it all in, and enjoy the fuck out of the pop-heavy saccharine-sweet tunes, ’cause his dad would have hated that response. He was just getting into the song, arms and legs flailing in a jerky impersonation of Michael Jackson moonwalking to “Little Drummer Boy,” when the music went silent.
Evin cursed under his breath, set the crystal spritzer down, and went for his phone as it rang. He crept up and leaned over the screen to see who was calling. There was no way it would be his parents, would it?
Finn’s name flashed across the top.
Evin scratched at his beard. He had way too short of a time to decide whether or not he was going to pick up before the call went to voicemail. He hadn’t talked to Finn since Madrid. Since he’d fucked Finn and scooted out, back to LA, without really saying goodbye to him. Okay, not saying goodbye at all. Because he was a total chickenshit. But it wasn’t as if he could ignore his bandmate forever. Shit. He didn’t want to.
He slid his finger across the screen and punched on the speakerphone. “Hey, Finn.” “Merry Christmas, Ev!”
Evin found himself smiling. He couldn’t resist with the warm purr of Finn’s voice filling the cold room.
“Merry Christmas, Finn. Whatcha up to today?”
“Ma is force-feeding me. Da is talking my fucking ear off. And I swear they spent more on presents for me, Ritchie, and Miah than we did on them.”
Evin chuckled even as his chest clenched. The Detroit 3 were surrounded by their friends and family today and Ev was alone. That Christmas was just another day in his family had always bothered him, and now more than ever right now as he tried to picture the scene around Finn back in Detroit.
“I didn’t know all of you spent the day together.”
“It’s been a thing for quite a few years,” Finn said. Evin could hear the smile on his face.
Then Finn went quiet.
Evin checked his screen to make sure the call was still connected and watched the timer tick up. Finn gave just a whisper of a laugh and cleared his throat as if he was nervous.
“My parents got something for you too, Ev.”
Evin blinked and stared out the windows at the ocean. “I’ve never met them.”
“Doesn’t matter. It’s like you’re here. With all of us. Miah has this stank face, keeps saying I’m talking too much about you and we should’ve physically forced you onto the plane with us instead of marooning you in LA with your parents.” “Yeah, well, they’re not here. So I’m marooning solo today.”
“Nah, it’s okay. I mean, not okay, but normal. We’ve never celebrated.”
Finn sputtered. “You’ve never celebrated Christmas?”
Evin flopped down in an oversized white chair and threw his legs over the side, dropping his flip-flops to the floor. “Yeah, well, my parents aren’t… religious.”
“Are you fucking with me? Christmas isn’t about religion for a whole hell of a lot of people.”
“You’ve heard the stories about my parents. Closest to traditional we get is that my mother’s heart is like a lump of coal.”
Finn barked out a laugh. “Figures. Coal is natural and organic.”
Evin chuckled, his whole body easing with Finn’s lilt in his ear. The man must have had a few drinks because he was speaking with a tinge of an Irish accent, something he only did when he was tipsy.
Finn continued ranting and Evin leaned his head back on the chair and closed his eyes, listening more to Finn’s voice than what he was saying. When Finn finally took a breath, Evin sighed. “It’s good to hear your voice, Finn.”
“Yours too, Ev.”
“Just… just talk to me more. You have snow there?”
The fact that Ev was all alone on Christmas hit Finn right in the gut and the heart. He was sad and pissed in equal measure. Ev shouldn’t have had to spend the holidays alone, and his fucking parents shouldn’t be such unemotional and selfish fucksticks. Finn couldn’t do much about the latter, but he could make sure Evin didn’t have to spend the day solo. “Yeah, we got some snow. You using your iPhone?” “Yeah, why?” Evin asked.
“Hang up. I’ll call you on Facetime in five.” Finn disconnected the call.
Finn rushed to the bathroom to check his hair, fussing with it just a bit till it was perfect and then checked his teeth to make sure there were no remnants from breakfast. Satisfied he was presentable, because yeah, Ev was going to be on the other side of that video screen and it was important. No, Ev was important, regardless of how they’d left things after Madrid. Hearing Evin’s voice on the other end of the line had solidified how lost to Ev he really was. He went to grab his laptop, because really? There was no other face he wanted to see more today than Evin’s.
“Hey Ritchie, Miah! Get your asses down here!” he yelled up the basement stairs.
He waited, tapping his foot impatiently until Ritchie’s head popped around the door frame. “What’s up?”
“Ev’s spending the day alone so we’re going to Facetime him.”
Ritchie’s face dropped. “Oh hell, that ain’t even right. Hold on, let me grab Miah and we’ll be right down.”
Finn took a seat in the center of the couch, set his laptop on the coffee table, and flipped it open. A few swipes of his fingers and the Facetime app opened. He clicked on Evin’s name, pulled a sucker from his pocket, and popped it into his mouth as he waited for Evin to answer.
What sounded like a stampede of cattle coming down the stairs was ignored when Evin’s handsome face appeared on the screen. One second heat was infusing Finn’s groin and the next he cried out in pain as Miah’s bony hip made contact with his semi-stiffy.
“Jesus Christ, Miah, watch the package,” Finn groaned and shoved at Miah, who refused to be dislodged.
“Quit your bitching,” Miah shot back, shifting till he was sitting with his legs stretched out and his arm slung over Finn’s shoulder. “It’s not as impressive as the package I gave you.”
“He’s got a point,” Ritchie said and slid beneath Miah’s legs. He waved at the screen.
“Hey, Ev. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas,” Evin chuckled and his whole face lit up. It was better than any damn display of Christmas lights Finn had ever seen. “Looks like you three knuckleheads have been doing some heavy dipping into the holiday spirits.”
“Nah, I think Finn’s mom got a little carried away with the rum in the rum cake,” Miah said.
Miah flipped his hair at the same time Finn sucked in a breath and the mouthful of blond mess sent him into a coughing fit. His sucker went flying and served Miah right when the candy landed in the bastard’s hair.
“Would you get the hell off me,” Finn grumbled and shoved Miah onto Ritchie’s lap. He snatched up the laptop. “I’m sorry I invited them. C’mon, I’ll show you something exciting, like the snow.”
“What the hell did I do?” Ritchie protested.
“Hey!” Miah yelled. “You got sticky shit in my hair.” Evin started to laugh and Finn couldn’t help but join in.
In the living room, Finn turned the computer around. “Here’s the tree.” He zoomed in on a glitter-covered pine cone. “I made this in kindergarten. And here is the gift Ma got you.” He zoomed in on the only present left under the tree before turning the screen back around.
“Did you and the other guys decorate the tree?” Evin asked. “It looks great.”
“Thanks, but I can’t take the credit for it. Ma and Ritchie did it. Miah and I were too busy fighting over who was going to put the star on top.”
“And I won,” Miah exclaimed and snatched the computer from Finn’s hands.
“In here is where the real magic is,” Miah told Evin, walking into the kitchen. Ma was standing at the island rolling out pie dough. He turned the screen around. “Say hi to Evin,
Ma waved with one flour-covered hand. “Hi, Evin. Merry Christmas. Know we’ve never proper met, but still wish you coulda been here. Finnegan’s been a right sod without you in Detroit.”
Finn groaned. It was like fifth grade all over again, when his ma had told the girl from next door that Finn fancied her.
“Thanks, Mrs. Reese. Me too. Merry Christmas.”
The longing in Evin’s voice tore at Finn’s heart. He stepped up next to Ma and was glad to see Evin smiling on the screen. “She’s the best cook in the state,” he complimented and kissed her cheek.
Ritchie grabbed the computer, turning it around to face Miah. “And this is the greedy pig who drank all the egg nog.” Ritchie then walked to the back door and opened it, showing off the snow-covered backyard. “And this is why I wish I was with you in LA right now. Ten inches and still coming.”
“That’s what he said,” Finn teased. “Now will you give me that? I called him.”
Finn yanked the laptop away from Ritchie to find Ev grinning at him. “Let me introduce you to Da. He’s pretending to sleep now, though, so Ma doesn’t give him hell.” He quietly popped into the den to show off how much Da was helping while kicked back in his recliner. “Da’s got the right idea,” he whispered close to the screen.
“I need you boys to shovel the drive before our guests arrive,” Da said without opening
“Ritchie and Miah are on it,” Finn assured him and then smirked at the camera. “At least they will be.”
“Nice way to deflect,” Evin said giving a thumbs-up.
After sending a grumbling and bitching Miah and Ritchie out into the frozen tundra, Finn settled back down on the couch in the basement. He propped his feet up on the coffee table and laid the laptop on his thighs. “Alone at last.”
“It looks like everyone there is having a great time. That’s great, Finn. You look happy.”
He was happy. But mostly because of the man on the screen in front of him. “I would have been a lot happier if you’d have agreed to come home with us. I hate that you’re all alone on Christmas. It’s so beyond not right.”
“I’m not alone, I’m with you.” Evin ran his hand over his beard and coughed. “I mean with all of you. I mean… I don’t know what I mean. It’s just really great to see your drunk, ugly mug.”
Finn pulled a face and that set Ev off laughing again. As far as Finn was concerned, there was no better sound in the world.
A quiet settled between them again.
Finn wanted to tell Ev how much he missed him. About how much their last night in Madrid had meant to him, or hell, the huge significance it held for him in terms of every other man he’d ever hooked up with. But he didn’t know how to say any of that.
While he couldn’t find the right words, he knew exactly what chords on his guitar would match how he felt in this exact moment. But Beelzebub was upstairs and Evin, out of every other person in the whole world, would probably have been able to hear exactly what Finn was trying to tell him with that music. And Finn didn’t know if he was ready to put any of that out there.
They would have plenty of time in rehearsals and the next tour to figure that all out.
“So,” Finn said, finally breaking the silence in the most inarticulate and awkward way ever.
Evin huffed out a laugh. “Yeah. So, tell me about your favorite Christmas memory.”
“Wow, I don’t know.” Finn pulled a blue sucker from his pocket and popped it in his mouth while he considered Evin’s question. At least one of them knew how to keep the conversation going. “There’s been so many. One year, Miah, Ritchie, and I all got new sleds and our families took us to the hogbacks, which have these huge hills. We spent the entire day sledding. Even Da got in on the action and ended up face-first in a snowbank. I nearly pissed myself laughing.
“And then there was the year Ritchie kept sneaking into the kitchen and swiping candy from this god-awful Christmas-themed ceramic dishes Ma sets out every year. When we all sat down for dinner, the goof ball upchucked during grace. I almost pissed, I was laughing so hard.” Finn cracked up, remembering the horrified looks on everyone’s faces as they’d all scrambled from the table. He laughed even harder when another memory hit him.
“Then there was the time our dads were going to provide the entertainment. They dressed up in Ma’s clothes and sang ‘Santa Baby.’ That time I did piss myself.”
Listening to Finn recall his favorite holiday memories, seeing the happiness on his face, and hearing his infectious laughter filled Evin with the warmth he’d been missing all day.
The coldness of his parents and their frigid-ass house was now long forgotten.
“You know what?” Evin asked when Finn finally got his giggle fit under control.
Finn wiped at the tears on his cheeks as he smiled. “What’s that?”
“I have had one great Christmas.”
Finn’s face lit up. “Really? I’d love to hear about it.”
“This one,” Evin replied. “Thank you for allowing me to be part of yours.”
“Aww, dude, next year I won’t be taking no for an answer. If I have to hog-tie you and drag your ass to Detroit, I’ll do it.”
There was no way Evin would miss out on the opportunity if he was given the chance again. “Deal. I’ll be there next year to drink hot chocolate laced with tequila and gorge on your mom’s cooking. But only if Miah and Ritchie do the shoveling. I don’t think my
delicate LA skin could handle that. Merry Christmas, Finn.”
Finn blew Evin a kiss through the screen. “Merry Christmas, Ev.”
Ruin Porn by S.A. McAuley & SJD Peterson
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Published: 28th August 2015
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance
There is underlying beauty in destruction….
Miah Thade, Finn Reese, and Ritchie Meyer are Resonator, an indie rock band with an edge—best friends turned rock stars, known as the Detroit 3. When Evin Rene appears in their life none of them can deny he belongs with Rez.
They may have named their first album Ruin Porn because people get off on seeing how Detroit went from deeply loved to thoroughly forsaken, but they’re determined to prove that blight isn’t the entire story and blight isn’t always ugly.
Ritchie, Miah, Finn, and Evin take Resonator to a level no one anticipates. But no prosperity comes without sacrifice, and no secret stays hidden without a trail of lies. As Rez’s fame grows, so does the intensity between two of its members…as well as their potential for destruction.
Evin and Finn are about to discover the underlying beauty in their ruin porn.
Meet Sam McAuley
I sleep little, read a lot. Happiest in a foreign country. Twitchy when not mentally in motion. My name is Sam, not Sammy, definitely not Samantha. I’m a pretty dark/cynical/jaded person, but I hide that darkness well behind my obsession(s) for shiny objects. I’m the macabre wrapped in irresistible bubble wrap and a glittery pink bow, I suppose. email -firstname.lastname@example.org
Meet Jo Peterson
SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can't cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools. email -email@example.com
Each week, on our Wednesday Author Column posts we will gift to one lucky commenter a Kindle eBook from your TBR list. So be sure to let us know what you think of this fabulous Rez Christmas Story.
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The winner is…..
** Merlino **