**It’s finally here! Time for the Flash Fic Holiday Blog Hop. Yay!!**
Ashton knew he wasn’t Travis’s type. Ash was short and thin, full of bouncy energy, and definitely in touch with his more feminine side. He wasn’t surprised that he didn’t get so much as a second glance from Travis at that first meeting. But the thing was, Travis was exactly Ash’s type. Dark and brooding, handsome as the devil and with an attitude to match, Travis caught Ash’s interest and wouldn’t let it go. Ash had gone after Travis because he was everything that Ash wanted. Except for one very important thing.
Travis had no interest whatsoever in monogamy.
Ash knew what he was getting into. He knew that if he chose to pursue Travis—and a relationship with him—that he’d have to share. And, in the beginning, Ash had been okay with that. Not that he liked the idea of his boyfriend sleeping with other guys, but Travis was always honest when he’d been with someone else. And as they grew closer, developed into more, Ash knew what they had was real. He’d even been heartened by the fact that less and less, Travis was seeking company elsewhere. Ash knew he couldn’t change Travis, and he didn’t really want to, but he thought that Travis was changing himself.
Until about three weeks ago.
Ash sighed, looking around the shop and not really seeing much. They were supposed to be shopping for Christmas decorations together, because Ash loved the holiday and he’d asked Travis to come along. But Travis hadn’t shown up, and that coupled with his secretive behavior over the last few weeks, made Ash think that not only was Travis getting some elsewhere, but, for the first time in their ten month relationship, he wasn’t telling Ash that he was.
It was a shitty time of year for the trust to be broken. Christmas was Ash’s favorite season, and he’d so been looking forward decking the halls, making cookies, and spending some real quality time with Travis. Now it seemed he’d be doing it by himself, and in a sad mood to boot. Maybe Ashton could just hang on through the season. He could pretend that long, just to have one last nice holiday, before he asked Travis for the truth.
“Hey, baby,” a deep voice rumbled behind him. Arms came around his waist, and Travis placed a kiss on his cheek. “Sorry I’m late. I was taking care of something.”
Ash’s split second of relief and elation that Travis had shown up were swiftly replaced by sadness and doubt. Travis smelled like the cold winter wind and snow, but underneath that was something else. Something not Travis. It could be a new cologne or deodorant, but it was probably someone else. Ash’s gut clenched with sadness, and he kept his body stiff. After a moment, he tried to pull away. Travis’s arms tightened and wouldn’t allow it.
“Ashton,” Travis murmured, low and right in his ear. “What’s wrong?”
Ash shook his head, and stammered out “N-nothing.” It was a blatant lie. There was never a time that Travis had put his arms around him that Ash hadn’t melted into his embrace. He tried to keep his voice neutral and even when he added, “I’m fine. Really.”
Travis pulled back, then turned Ash around to face him. He was scowling and his voice dipped even lower. “Don’t lie to me.”
The word broke something inside Ash. He snorted out a mirthless laugh. “That’s funny, coming from you. You’ve been lying for weeks.”
For a moment, Travis looked utterly confused. Then his features darkened, and he lightly gripped Ash’s elbow and tugged him to a more secluded corner of the shop. “What in the fuck are you talking about?” Travis growled, his brown eyes searching Ash’s face. “I have never lied to you. Ever.”
Dammit. Ash didn’t want this to happen. Not in public. Not before Christmas. But he’d been the one to start this, and he had to say what was on his mind. He took a deep breath and did his best to keep his voice soft and controlled.
“You’ve been awfully secretive the last couple of weeks. I have to wonder if you’re doing…stuff…that you’re not telling me about.”
For a moment, Travis said nothing. Then he shook his head and gave Ash a rueful grin. “Of course I have.”
Hearing the words hurt more than he thought they would have. He’d been so sure that Travis was outgrowing his need to screw around. Even when he’d doubted, there had been hope. Until right that moment. Having it confirmed felt like a knife in the gut.
Ash didn’t say a word. He was sure his expression said it all. He simply turned away, and focused his attention on the gorgeous tree in front of him. It was decorated with white lights, and tiny tin ornaments. It sparkled and radiated Christmas cheer. But Ash, for once, didn’t feel it.
“Whatever you’re thinking, just stop,” Travis commanded, keeping his voice low. Once again, he wrapped his arms around Ashton from behind. Before Ash could even protest, Travis put his lips to Ash’s ear and said, “This is the time of year where secret keeping is okay.”
“It’s never okay to not tell me you’ve been sleeping with other guys,” Ash retorted stiffly. “That wasn’t our deal.”
There was a heartbeat of silence, and then Travis laughed. Ash’s anger rose, but Travis kept him tightly wrapped in his arms.
“Is that what you think?” Travis murmured. “Later we’ll deal with the fact that you suddenly don’t trust me and what I’ve done to make you think I would start lying to you. I haven’t slept with anyone else in months, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Right this moment though, I’m going to show you what I’ve been doing for the last three weeks even though it ruins the surprise.”
One of Travis’s arms moved, and Ash could hear him digging in his pocket. Then Travis’s hand reappeared with a bubble wrapped blob sitting in his palm. Ashton cast a wary glance over his shoulder before he took the package, and carefully peeled back the wrapping. What he found was a small glass heart, red and green swirled throughout, with a ribbon tied at the top. An ornament. Ash’s heart missed a beat. It was beautiful, and all the more filled with character because it was slightly misshapen.
“So,” Travis said slowly. “I found this class that taught glass blowing at the community college. Felt right that I should give you an ornament for our first Christmas together. And, you know, my heart.”
“Travis,” Ash breathed. He was at a loss for words. He held the heart up and let the light from the nearby tree sparkle off of it.
“I was late because I was picking it up. That’s where I’ve been—“
Ash whirled around, his action cutting off Travis’s words. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry,” he babbled. “I let my imagination and your past run away with me and you smelled different just now and I’m sorry. This is the most wonderful thing ever.”
Travis scowled. “Smelled different?” He shook his head and frowned harder. “The guy running the class, he’s a hugger. Crap, baby, you really thought I was doing stuff with other guys and not telling you?”
“I’m sorry,” Ash said again. Because really, even though Travis slept around, he’d always been honest. “Forgive me?”
A moment of silence. Then Travis gave a sigh. “Of course.”
Ash threw his arms around Travis and hugged him tight. He felt bad for doubting Travis, and for ruining his wonderful surprise with his worries, but the result was proof that his faith in the man was not misplaced.
“Careful there,” Travis murmured, amusement lacing his tone. “You’ve got my heart in your hands.”
Ash grinned, and peppered Travis’s neck with kisses. This was the first time Travis had even hinted that he was in love with Ash. And that was worth everything to him. He smiled against Travis’s skin and breathed out, his voice no more than a sigh, “And it will always be safe with me.”
Thanks for reading my addition to the Holiday Blog Hop! Don’t forget to visit all the other great stories. You can follow find the other stories here–>