Christmas Countdown: December 11
Beck openly winced as a crash came from the direction of the kitchen. It took every ounce of willpower the big man had to remain sitting on the couch. True, he was perched on the very edge of the cushion, but he wasn't rushing to find out what had caused the sound.
He already knew who was responsible.
"Everything okay in there?" Beck called out.
"Right as rain," Travis' voice drifted out from behind the closed door. Another crash occurred, followed by what sounded like a rolling noise. "I meant to do that!"
Beck got up and took one step towards the kitchen. He stopped, a guilty blush painting his cheeks, as Travis' head popped through the door and his lover glared at him. A streak of what looked like flour adorned the younger man's nose.
"Stop right there," Travis admonished him. "You promised that you'd stay out here while I cooked our Christmas dinner."
"Maybe I could help," Beck pleaded. "Just a little."
"No way," Travis shook his head.
Beck took one more step. "C'mon, Travis. . . ."
Travis stepped completely out of the kitchen and turned his glare up a notch. "You have two choices, Beck. A, you can stay out here like you promised and wait in leisure while a sumptuous feast is lovingly prepared for you. Or, B, I can make you."
"How, little man?" Beck asked, only half kidding. He thought that Travis had learned his lesson about bringing out `thunder' and `lightning' in their apartment. If not, then Beck was more than willing to reinforce the warning.
"You'll stay on that couch now," Travis threatened. "Or you'll be sleeping on it until Christmas."
Beck smirked. "Like you could stay away from sex that long."
It was Travis' turn to smirk. "I didn't say anything about sex, Beck. We'll keep doing that. I just meant that you'd sleep out here. For over a month."
It was a big couch, but not as large or as comfortable as the king- sized bed they shared. As he thought about what the couch would do to his spine, Beck stopped smirking. He also obediently stepped back and sat himself down on the couch.
"Good choice," Travis grinned at him. "Just wait right there, I'm almost done."
"At least let me set the table," Beck pleaded.
"Nope, we're not eating at the table," Travis' voice was muffled as he headed back into the kitchen. "Maybe you want to start a fire in the fireplace, though."
The fireplace was a gas one and starting it only involved flipping a switch. Beck took care of it, telling himself that the holiday wasn't about a meal, it was about being together. Whatever Travis served him, Beck would eat it and be happy.
"I hope you're hungry, `cause soup's on," Travis declared as he came out of the kitchen.
The young man had changed his dirty apron for a clean one and even taken time to wash his face. The apron had writing on it, but Beck couldn't see what it said because Travis was carrying a large tray that blocked it. Beck immediately recognized the tray. It was the same one he used on Sunday mornings, when the two men had breakfast in bed.
Travis came into the living room and carefully laid the tray on the floor. He sat next to it and looked almost shyly up at Beck, immediately making Beck feel guilty about his worry over the meal.
"I hope you like it," Travis gestured to the food.
"I'm sure I will," Beck responded warmly. Travis smiled back and only then did Beck look at the food on the tray.
Beck did a double take. Travis had kept describing his mystery meal as a `feast,' but Beck well knew how his lover liked to exaggerate. Beck had expected something along the lines of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, maybe with the bread crusts cut off to make them fancier. He was wrong. From the plates spread out on the tray, Travis had made a feast.
"Are those herbed zucchini spirals?" Beck asked. Before Travis could answer, Beck snatched one and put it in his mouth.
"Good?" Travis asked, sounded unusually unsure as he watched Beck's face carefully.
Beck swallowed. "It is – Travis, what did you do?" The apartment only had one door, so Beck knew damn well that Travis had not had the food delivered.
"I've been watching you cook," Travis was obviously pleased with himself. "You don't let me help, much, but I've picked up a few things here and there. "
Travis hadn't finished his college degree, but Beck had long known that wasn't because Travis was stupid. The younger man was just easily bored. Beck had always thought that Travis feigned an interest in cooking just to placate him, but obviously Travis had been paying attention.
"What other delicacies do you have in store for me?" Beck asked. He was content to sit back and let Travis introduce him to the meal.
"Well, over here we have jumbo lump crabcakes, that plate's the Andouille Sausge en Croute, the one next to it is stuffed mushroom caps and, of course there's the banana orange crepes for dessert."
"Of course," Beck repeated faintly. He didn't know what was more tantalizing, the scent of the food or listening to Travis rattle off the names of the dishes. "I have never wanted you more."
He reached Travis, only to have the young man dance out of reach. "Nah uh. I slaved over this meal and we are going to eat it."
Beck had heard those words before, but usually he was the one uttering them. He didn't like being on the receiving end, but ended up chuckling as the irony hit him. Travis grinned at Beck's reaction.
"But after we eat, you can do what the apron says." Travis pulled the apron taut, making it easier to read.
`Kiss the cook,' the apron read.
Beck smirked. "Oh, I think that can be arranged. Let's eat."
A meal like Travis had fixed was meant to be savored, but from the expression on his lover's face, Beck had a feeling that Travis wouldn't mind if their feast was just a little bit rushed.
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