Christmas Countdown: December 13
“You just want to break my ass, admit it.”
Miles McCabe looked up at his lover, his statement having been made only half in jest. Stephen Connor looked down at him, balancing effortlessly on his ice skates. A smile lit up Stephen’s face and Miles found he didn’t mind landing on his butt on the cold ice quite so much. It was worth it, to see Stephen so free of the stress that his job at the NIH usually brought.
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Stephen teased. “I have plans for that ass later.”
When Stephen offered a hand up, Miles gratefully took it. Once on his feet, though, his skates threatened to fly out from underneath him again. Flailing, he nearly fell right back down, but Stephen grabbed him around the waist and held him until Miles could find his balance.
“I really am quite athletic,” Miles claimed, embarrassed. “It normally doesn’t take me this long to pick up a new sport.”
“Ice skating’s a bit different,” Stephen assured him. He kept one arm around Miles’ waist and encouraged him to try gliding forward again. “You’re trying to balance on a very thin edge of metal.”
“You do all right,” Miles muttered, jealous and not bothering to hide it.
“Keep in mind that I was put into skates almost as soon as I could walk,” Stephen reminded him. “You just have to be patient; it’s a hard skill to master.”
It was a rare day off. The coming weekend was Stephen’s time with his son, Jack, and the boy had already told his dad he wanted to go skating. Miles usually tried to hang back when Stephen had his visitation time, not wanting to intrude on the father/son bonding. Stephen, however, had other ideas, thinking it was time that Jack got used to seeing them as a couple. It was at that point that Miles had been forced to admit that he’d never been skating before. Stephen, being Stephen, insisted on going then and there for Miles’ first lesson. The local rink they were using was decked out for Christmas and was quite festive. It wasn’t Rockefeller Square, but it was pretty.
“There, I think you’ve got it,” Stephen commented after Miles’ movements began to smooth out a bit. “Now you try it on your own.”
Stephen gently extricated himself from Miles’ grip. Miles took one hesitant glide forward without assistance and, when that was successful, tried another. That worked too. Unfortunately for Miles, two seemed to be his limit. When he attempted a third glide, he ended up on his ass again.
Miles didn’t try to get up right away. He lay on his back, staring up at the sky, until Stephen’s face appeared over him.
“We have ice in California,” Miles stated in a conversational tone. “But in reasonably sized pieces, like ice cubes. Not ice rinks.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that,” Stephen countered. “Seems to me that your home state has a professional hockey team.”
“Imported,” Miles said loftily. He could feel the cold of the ice seeping through the denim of his jeans. “Just like everything else. Don’t you know, no one’s actually born in California, everyone just migrates there.”
“Come on,” Stephen offered a hand up again. “When you fall off the horse, you have to get right back on.”
“Horseback riding, I can do,” Miles stated as he gingerly allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. “Although that’s not so easy on the ass either.”
“I’ll give you a nice massage later,” Stephen promised.
After Miles’ latest fall, Stephen was reluctant to let go of the younger man. He kept his arm around Miles, although he shifted his grip as necessary to keep them both on their feet. The funny thing was that they didn’t stand out that much. It was an outdoor, public rink and they were hardly the only couple enjoying it. With Stephen teaching Miles how to skate, it didn’t even seem out of place for two men to have their arms around one another.
It didn’t seem out of place at all.
Miles elbowed Stephen in the side. “So that’s what you’re up to.”
“What?” Stephen turned his big, blue eyes on Miles, the picture of innocence.
“This whole skating thing,” Miles didn’t fall for his lover’s act. He was on to Stephen and was eager to let him know. “It was an excuse. You just wanted us to do something where we could touch in public and not have to worry about offending anyone.”
Stephen grinned sheepishly. “Okay, you busted me. I’m sorry.”
“No need to apologize,” Miles reassured him. “I just didn’t know you were so sneaky.”
“Are you ready to call it a day?” Stephen asked him. He looked Miles over carefully.
“My nose is a little cold,” Miles admitted.
“All right, let’s go home and get you warmed up,” Stephen directed. His own cheeks were rosy from the chill air, but on Stephen, it looked good. Miles had a feeling that his face just looked chapped.
“I think you said something about a massage?” Miles mentioned as he did his best to skate to the rink exit.
“Oh, I think that can be arranged.” Stephen chuckled as he took his lover’s hands and simply towed Miles as he skated backwards.
Miles rolled his eyes at the way the older man was showing off, but he truly didn’t mind. He’d spent the afternoon in Stephen’s arms, in public, and had a massage to look forward to.
Ice skating might just be his new favorite sport.
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