Rate: for now G, if it changes I'll let you know ;)
Disclaimer: Written with love not for money
Summary: Guy meets guy and, well, you know how it goes....
Just remember: This is an AU, so the usual applies; Things can/will be different. Don't like it? Don't read it.
"Are you sure you wanna do this?" Kevin asks again.
"Yeah. Sure." Scotty answers. He looks around, eager like a little child. After all the shopping and the quick packing they had done yesterday, they had gone to bed early. Then there had been the flight.
And from the small airport, it had been quite a ride to get this high up in the mountains.
There’s forest all around him. On either side of the road are high snow-banks, but the road is passable and Kevin is a careful driver. Looking over his shoulder Scotty can see the suitcases, packed with the clothes that Kevin had bought for him.
Scotty is partially excited for what will happen, and he’s also partially scared. What will Kevin’s family be like? What if he won’t like being in Clean Water Springs or wherever it is they’re going? What if they don’t like him ...? Does his breath smell? Where are his peppermints? He searches his pockets.
“Relax.” Kevin smiles, placing his hand casually on Scotty’s knee. “It will be alright.”
“Yeah, I thought so. You’ve been chewing your nails almost up to the bones.” Kevin grins. Scotty can’t help but smile as well. “It will be great, I promise."
"Yeah. Sure." Scotty repeats to himself. He’s still not sure. He doesn’t know Kevin, he doesn’t know Kevin’s family. They might as well be Satanists who see in Scotty a nice offering for their Dark Lord.... He shakes his bad thoughts away. He used to be more trusting than this. Cheer up!
"I'm sorry. I'm a bit out of my comfort-zone, I guess." Scotty smiles.
"You have every right to be. I'm so sorry for this... dragging you here against your will."
"Excuse me, but last time I checked I wasn't exactly kicking and screaming to get away from either you or this place we're going." Scotty replies teasingly.
By now he no longer knows where he is and he sure hopes that Kevin knows where they're going. They've been driving for what seems hours and the villages keep getting smaller, the snow-banks keep getting higher and Scotty's toes become more numb by the minute. And now the light is fading as well ....
"Here it is." Kevin says, pointing at a sign that says "Walker's Lodge". He takes the small road that seems to take them even further up into the mountains and suddenly, after a bent in the road, Scotty sees this huge wooden lodge pop up.
"Oh, my God, is this it?"
"This is where we'll be spending Christmas. Can it get any more fairytale than this?" Kevin grins. Scotty's jaw drops. Snow-covered house, icicles hanging down from the roof, the huge Christmas wreath on the door, the countless little sparkling lights in the trees outside, but also behind the windows.
There are two sleds next to the door, skis standing up against the wall. It all looks like living Christmas-card.
"I don't know what to say." Scotty gasps. Kevin can't help but laugh at seeing how flabbergasted Scotty is.
"Don't worry. Once you cross that threshold, mom will do the talking anyway... Last chance to run away." Kevin offers and Scotty, for the first time, starts to wonder if turning around wouldn't be a good idea. Perhaps he had been too bold.
What had possessed him to think that he could simply crash their party and act like he could somehow belong to that family? Oh, he knows. It's nearly Christmas and he longs to belong somewhere, anywhere. Even if it's just make-belief for a few days. Especially since he will never again be welcome in the house he grew up in.
But what had he been thinking??? This must the worst idea in the history of bad ideas. For a few seconds he allows the panic to come up, but then the door of the house opens and woman quickly puts on her coat as she walks up to the car.
"Busted!!! Too late to escape." Kevin squeaks. "It was nice knowing you."
The ominous words make Scotty grin despite himself.
"Yeah, you too."
"Kevin! You're here! Justin will open the barn..." At that moment, a young man opens the door and Kevin drives his car in to the barn.
Kevin turns the car around, so its nose is once again to the front of the barn.
“We keep them here to make sure that they are protected from the cold and snow...” He explains while he parks it next to another cars and Scotty can see that there’s a door between the barn and the house.
Kevin is barely out of the car or the young man, who had opened the door, greets him with a hug.
"This is Scotty."
"Nice to meet you. I'm Justin. Justin Walker." Scotty and Justin shake hands.
One look at each other and then a smile forms on both their faces. They like each other instantly.
“Come in. How much luggage do you have?”
“Coupe of suitcases. They can wait.” Kevin answers.
“Come on in, coffee and hot chocolate are already on the table. We were expecting you.”
Justin invites and at that moment another man comes up to meet Scotty.
"My older brother, Tommy." Kevin introduces.
"Nice to meet you.” Scotty gets greeted by Tommy with an unexpected kindness.
Kevin then introduces his father, William, to Scotty.
"Nice to meet you, sir." Scotty and William shake hands. The man seems to hold Scotty's hand just a little bit longer than needed. His eyes lock with Scotty's and Scotty has the strange feeling that he's somehow be 'scanned'. Then a smile comes to the older man's face.
"Nice to meet you as well." William's voice is warm and kind as he invites Kevin and Scotty further into the house. Scotty tenses up, feeling that he can no longer escape the stupid idea that Kevin and he had agreed to. Why is he here?
He can immediately recognize that this is a close-knit family and he has to accept that he has no business being here. He should have stayed where he was. At least he'd be alone on his own. Now, he'll be just an outsider and still alone...
The moment Scotty crosses the threshold it's as if he gets wrapped up in a comfortable blanket. The house is warm inside, chasing away the cold he had felt the last hour or so. There's the smell of freshly baked cookies, mixed with something roasting in the oven. The fireplace makes the room bathe in a gorgeously pleasant yellow-orange light.
The family is in the middle of decorating one of the largest Christmas-trees that Scotty has ever seen. And the entire place looks like a set from a Hollywood Christmas movie, with all the decorations and the holly, there's even a mistletoe and Christmas stockings by the fire-place...
Scotty quietly takes it all in. The Christmas-cheer is so overwhelming that it feels unreal to him. He can feel a hand on his arm.
"Do you like it?" Nora asks.
"It... It sure is different from what I'm used to." Scotty manages to stutter.
"In case you couldn't guess, it's mom's favourite holiday..." Kevin says cynically. "Every year, she pulls out all the stops and the house gets decorated even more bombastically than the year before..."
"And just when you thought that that would impossible..." Justin starts.
"... Mom finds a way to make it work." Tommy finishes. Scotty smiles.
"Boys! You make me sound like a terrible person!" Nora scolds.
"You are!" Tommy says, wrapping his arms around his mother to give her a little kiss on her nose. "That's why we love you."
Two young women enter the room, trays filled cookies and warm drinks. They introduce themselves as Julia, Tommy's wife and Tyler, Justin's girlfriend.
"It's so nice to meet you. We all heard about Kevin's idea. And we think it's great!" Julia laughs.
"Julia and I already have started up the rumour-mill, by discussing you and Scotty at Mrs Jackson, at the grocery-store..." Tyler grins. "She practically fell off her stool trying to listen in on our conversation. We had barely left or we saw her talk to Mrs McCord... That means that Mrs Winter is the next to find out... Especially now that both ladies have cell-phones."
When Tyler sees that Scotty has no clue as to what they're talking about, she explains:
"The ladies Jackson, McCord and Winter are in a perpetual war for the best gossip. If anything happens in this town, they'll want to know about it.... And if you want a gossip to get started...."
".. the Jackson Mercantile is the place to start the whisper." Nora finishes with a laugh. "So, once we're done with the warm drinks and cookies, can we go back to decorating the tree? I'd like to have it done before dinner." Nora continues.
" Scotty and I would just love to help, don't you?" Kevin asks Scotty.
"Yes, of course... If it doesn't bother anyone?"
"An extra pair of hands is always welcome." William says. "Besides, you're rather tall, so perhaps you can reach a few places that still need decorating, without having to climb on a chair or something. Or that will required me breaking my neck."
"Where should we put those?" Tommy points at the luggage they had carried in, while Kevin and Scotty finish the last of the decorating.
"In Kevin's room." Nora answers. There's a soft protest coming from Kevin and Nora
joins them as they go up the stairs.
“I know that you had asked for the kids' room because it has two separate beds, but I want you to take your own room, because Sarah and the kids will join us for Christmas, so we have to put Cooper and Paige in their own room.”
“Mom...” Kevin says insistently with a nod at Scotty. “Scotty and I are not... you know..”
“Having sex?... No need to be a prude now...” Nora answers. “I know you’re not dating for real, but you’re both adults. I’m sure you can behave as such and sleep in one bed together.” She rolls her eyes as if Kevin had said something really foolish. Kevin opens his mouth to protest, but Scotty surprises himself by calmly stating:
“Of course, we’re mature adults. And we can behave as such. One bed is not a problem.”
"Kevin, mature?..." Justin asks incredulously.
"Adult?" Tommy adds.
"Yes!" Kevin bites back at his brothers. "Scotty's right. We are. Well,... he is. And we'll deal with this."
"Yeah right!" Tommy laughs out. Kevin sticks out his tongue at him.
"Your dad and I have redecorated all the bedrooms this summer. It was about time to overhaul all the rooms. All new beds, new closets, new wallpaper, fresh coat of paint and, most amazing of all, a central heating that actually works."
"That'll be the day." Kevin's cynical reply however gets silenced by Tommy.
"Nope, little brother, it actually works. No more waking with ice on your blankets if the wind hits our house from the North."
"Wow, buzz-kill, I loved the freezing room, while sleeping under the warm blankets." Kevin sighs.
"Oh, yeah, that's right. You were that idiot who thought it was sooooo romantic." Justin pretends to suddenly remember. He opens the door to the room, turns on the lights and allows Scotty to enter the room as well.
“I’ve decided to make changes, get rid of anything that could remind you of Gregory...”
Nora says softly. “There’s also a new mattress on the bed. The old one is in the shed. I’ve taken away the picture that used to be here. Hope you don’t mind?” Kevin shakes his head, his eyes fill with tears.
“Oh, honey. I’m sorry.” She puts her arms around Kevin and hugs him. “This must be so hard. Are you sure you want to do this?” Kevin takes a step back, away from his mother.
“Yes, mom. I do. You were right. Gregory had an entire planet to go to for this holiday. But no. He had to come here... He’s just doing it to mock me... I’m not accepting it.”
"And you shouldn't have to, baby. Dinner is in 20 minutes. Be downstairs on time." Nora says and with a quick nod at both men, she leaves the room as well.
"I'm sorry." Kevin says. Scotty doesn't answer. He quietly looks around. The room is almost bigger than his apartment used to be.
The wallpaper is sweetly decorated with little blue roses. The paint is white and blue. It all looks so fresh, pleasant and new. The wardrobe has enough space to put away what they brought and then some.
There a desk, probably for Kevin to work at. There's another door that leads to an ensuite bathroom, which has a large shower-cubicle, a toilet and a double sink.
"I think they've decorated this room with Gregory and me in mind." Kevin's voice is soft, as if this realisation hurts him. Scotty remains quiet.
They have everything they could possibly need. Including an elephant in the room, in the shape of that large bed, where apparently they are supposed to sleep together.
"It's alright." Scotty eventually says.
"Are you angry?" Kevin asks.
"With you? Because of the bed?" Scotty asks flabbergasted. Kevin nods with a shy look on his face. "Of course not. It's not your fault. And don't worry about it. We'll deal with it.
I trust you." Kevin notices that Scotty seems a bit surprised by his own words. As if he hadn't expected to say them out loud.
"And you can.... trust me.. Like I trust you." Kevin replies. Their eyes meet and suddenly they both smile at each other. They're both embarrassed, shy, but somehow relieved that they can be this honest with each other.
"Why don't we unpack? We're expected downstairs in 15 minutes." Scotty reminds Kevin, wanting to change the subject.
END OF CHAPTER FOUR