Best Christmas Yet



Written 18 December 2004

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Love has filled my heart.
All I Need
by Beth Nielsen Chapman


He's asleep, worn out from decorating nonstop all day. He's facing away from me but nestled close, just like I like. I hold him tightly, watching the firelight flickering over his long form, and I drop a kiss to his sweatshirt-covered shoulder.

This is our twentieth Christmas together as a couple. Ray still relishes Christmas as much as he ever has, and he's a delight to watch as he prepares for the holiday.

December first, without fail -- even the year he'd gotten a concussion in the incident involving Diefenbaker, molasses and a dolphin -- he decorates our home and starts pestering me as to what gifts I'm going to give him.

I smile as I remember my first Christmas with Ray Kowalski. I thought that giving him gifts that were useful would be welcome. I was wrong. The disappointment in his eyes bewildered me. Oh, he never criticised the gifts I gave him, but even I, as obtuse as only I can be, realised that Ray was upset.

I resolved to do better.

The next year, as we ate our second Thanksgiving dinner -- we celebrate both the Canadian and American holiday -- I casually -- as casually as I could -- asked him for a list of things he wanted and needed. His eyes lit up and he grinned at me. "Good idea, Fraser," he said pointing his fork at me. "I expect the same from you."

That surprised me. He knew I needed some polish for my boots, and some underwear, as well as new socks -- what was the point of a list? Nonetheless, I laboured over my list in private but could only put down those three things: polish, socks, underwear. I didn't need anything else. Dimly, I knew if I handed Ray a list with only three things on it he would be very peeved at me. Not knowing what else to do, I put the list away, ignoring it, hoping it would go away or he would forget.

I knew better. I truly did.

Two days later, he handed me a piece of paper. "Here Fraser," he muttered, putting his cold feet on my formerly warm ones as we readied for bed. I unfolded it and began to read his messy scrawl. There were all sorts of things listed -- from candy to robots to music and movies to a Rolodex. "Where's your list, huh?"

"Still working on it," I stammered. He nudged me and smiled. He knew. I resolved to follow his lead and put all sorts of things on my list. I finally managed to make a list similar in scope as his.

Christmas that year -- and every year after -- was a success.

This year is no exception. He's worn out from decorating and I'm worn out from helping him, but lying here on the floor of our home in front of our small fireplace, holding him in my arms, I feel like a young man again. Of course I shouldn't feel that way, but I do. Pure sentimentality, that's all that is, but I find I cannot help myself. Really, I never have been able to where Ray is concerned.

He turns in my arms and looks at me through half-lidded sleepy eyes. I smile at him and kiss him on his nose. He grumbles but scoots even closer, wrapping his arms around me and twining his legs with mine as he suggestively brushes his groin back and forth against mine.

He kisses me then, his hands rubbing softly on my back as I lose myself in him.

Finally, he pushes against me, breaking the kiss. "Bed, Fraser. We're too old to be acting like teenagers."

I laugh and he grins, that same beautiful smile that he's been showing me since the day I met him. I help him lever up and he gropes my posterior as I bend to tend the fire before we go to bed. "Ray!"

He chuckles and wanders off to our bedroom. When I finish putting the screen in front of the fireplace and head to our bedroom, I find him already in bed, the covers pulled up to his chin.

"C'mon Fraser, hurry up. It's cold in here."

He says that no matter what the temperature.

I remove my clothing and slide into bed, unable to suppress the usual feeling of utter sinfulness at lying in a bed completely naked. I find I do not mind being sinful if Ray is involved.

As he moves into my arms, I tell him I love him. He pauses, looks at me thoughtfully and then presses a soft kiss to the corner of my mouth. "I love you too, Fraser."

And he does, oh God, he does.

He sucks at the place right under my ear that causes me to quiver helplessly in his arms; his hands are everywhere, causing me to writhe in pleasure under him. When he finally fastens his hand around my penis, I am undone. I'm gasping his name as he slides into me, his strong hands holding my flesh tightly as he turns me inside out with his love.

All I am and all I have been for the past twenty years is because of him. He made me live again, made me see that the frivolous things in life are, indeed, a necessity.

He is necessary.

He whispers how beautiful I am, how wonderful I am, how much he loves me, and I close my eyes as we move together, relishing the words and the feeling of him inside me. Call me sentimental, call me a fool, but God I love this man. I cannot live without him.

I am not complete without him.

I never thought to be married, to wake up every day next to someone, to have someone to share confidences and worries, happiness and joy. I have found that someone in Ray.

I knew I was smitten when I met him. I knew I loved him deeply when he came to me for sanctuary. But Ray had been hurt; his heart had been mortally wounded by his ex-wife. Still, I persevered in my suit and he told me, finally, that my feelings were reciprocated. And despite all that life has thrown our way, I have never wavered in my absolute belief that he is the one for me. I truly believe he feels the same.

When we are replete and lying in each other's arms, Ray murmurs, "Fraser?"


Like every other Christmas, he says, "Best Christmas yet."

And he's right. It is.

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