**Challenge director said Christmas tree on a beach and burned burgers, so I brought back Luis and Shane for another week to tell the story. Enjoy!**
When Luis and I met in the pet store a year ago, I thought we’d have nothing more than a hot fuck or two and then move on with our lives. But despite our differing pet preferences, we’d somehow made it work. It hadn’t always been easy, but we were still going strong. I loved him, though I hadn’t told him yet, and I was pretty certain he loved me just as much.
I wanted to ask him to move in. I wanted to be with him every day. But I just didn’t know how. And I couldn’t see how it would work long term. My cat hated him, and Luis hated Angel right back. There was no way they would ever learn to get along. I couldn’t give either of them up, but I couldn’t imagine a peaceful cohabitation.
Nicodemus was easier to get along with. I wouldn’t say I actually liked him, but I could tolerate him. Nico was huge, full of an energy I just couldn’t understand, and was always attempting to knock me over. But he was a big goofball, and vehement about protecting me from the rabbits in the backyard when I was the one that let him out at night. At least if we were in the same house, I didn’t fear getting scratched to hell or hissed at constantly. Luis didn’t have the same luxury.
For months, I’d been trying to come up with some sort of solution but I couldn’t see anything that wouldn’t end up with at least one of us miserable. Besides, Luis had never once brought up the topic in conversation. It made me think that he didn’t want to live with me. Or perhaps he just couldn’t see a way for it to work either.
I pushed all that aside, though, because Luis had arrived on my doorstep. With a final pat to Angel’s head, I met Luis on the porch. He was just gorgeous all over, and even after all this time, he still took my breath away. I sincerely hoped that never changed. Luis gave me a sweet but heat laden kiss, and then held up a scarf. I stared at it suspiciously, and when he motioned for me to turn around, I gave him a wary glance before complying.
He wrapped the scarf around my eyes. The wool was scratchy, and I had to fight not to pull it off. It was dense, and dark, and when he asked me if I could see, I shook my head no.
“What’s going on?” I asked, a little bit of fear and worry leaking into my tone.
He kissed me softly on the cheek, and then his breath gusted over my ear before he whispered, “Just trust me. I have a surprise for you.”
His deep voice made me shiver, and I was nodding before I made the conscious decision to agree. Luis took my hand and led me off the porch, helped me sit in the passenger side of his car, and then shut the door soundly. Before he made it around to the driver’s side, I heard panting a second before a wet nose was pressed into my neck. I pulled a face, and leaned out of reach.
“Hi, Nico,” I said quietly, giving the dog an awkward pat. At least I managed to get a hand on fur. Nico gave a little, happy bark, though it echoed loudly in the confines of the car.
Luis took my hand and placed it on his thigh once he was situated in his seat. He made small talk as we drove, but with my vision cut off, I was finding it very hard to concentrate on the conversation. I dug my fingers into Luis’s thigh, using the contact as a way of grounding myself. I must have gripping too hard, because after a while, Luis reached down and loosened my hold, rubbing his fingers along mine.
“You’re all right,” he said. His voice was low and reassuring, and I relaxed just a fraction. “We’re almost there.”
I nodded fast. I trusted him, or else I wouldn’t be doing this, but it was very disconcerting. I blew out a relieved breath when Luis finally stopped the car. I felt another kiss on my cheek, the Luis told me to wait while he came around and opened my door.
Once I was standing on my own two feet, I could tell the ground was different. I shifted my shoes ever so slightly. The feeling was familiar, but it took me a few seconds to realize I was standing on sand. He’d brought me to the beach? In the winter? What the hell was my boyfriend up to?
Luis took my right hand and brought it down until my fingers came into contact with Nico’s warm fur. With a little bit of coaxing, I gripped onto the dog’s collar. Nico was tall enough that I barely had to lean. Luis kept a hand on me until I was stable, and then I sensed him taking a step back.
“Just another minute, okay?” His voice was still soft. “Trust Nico.”
I nodded again. The dog kept me safe from vicious rabbits, I figured he wouldn’t let me walk into the lake. I heard Luis walking away, and I almost called out to him. I bit my tongue just in time. He’d asked me to trust.
The time seemed to stretch indefinitely, but finally, Luis called out in a strong sure voice. “Nico! Come!”
When the dog started walking forward, I had no choice but to follow. Nico seemed to sense that I was at a disadvantage, because he moved slowly and leaned against my leg as if he thought that would give me extra support. We walked for perhaps twenty feet before Nico stopped, and I stumbled a little next to him. I took a deep breath, and was assaulted by unusual scents. Sure there was the smell of the lake, of the sand, of the cold crisp air. But inexplicably I also smelled pine. And…was that cooking beef?
The scarf was suddenly pulled from my face, the wool crackling with static electricity as it passed over my hair. I blinked in the twilight, my eyes having to adjust after so long in the dark. When I could focus, my jaw actually dropped. There, planted right on the beach, was a fully decorated Christmas tree, complete with twinkling lights. Next to it was a small patio table, two chairs, and a portable kettle grill where burgers were happily sizzling away.
“What the fuck?” was out of my mouth before I could check it. Luis just laughed, used to my language by now.
“With Christmas only a couple of weeks away, and both of us busy with a thousand different family obligations, I thought we could have our own special little Christmas right here.”
“On the beach?” I asked in disbelief, then winced at how accusatory it sounded. Luis, however, was unfazed by my tone. He just gave me a little smile, and a half shrug.
“It’s romantic.” Luis tried to tug me closer, but my brain was still stuck on the Christmas part of the equation.
“Your presents are still at home. You could have told me and I would have brought them. Shit, Luis, how can we have Christmas without—”
He cut me off with a hard, deep kiss. The kind of kiss that usually led to him laying me flat and fucking me hard. When he pulled back, my lips felt swollen and I was panting for breath. He grinned down at me, his dark eyes sparkling.
“The only present I need from you is for you to say yes.”
“Yes to what?” I was still breathing hard. Maybe I missed something.
“Move in with me,” he said earnestly. His face was serious as he gazed into my eyes. Then a huge smile broke out on his face. “I found this sweet little house that I know you’re going to love. I want you to look at it with me. There’s already a fenced in yard for Nico. And there’s an enclosed sunporch that your little devil is going to adore. And I won’t ever go out there, it’ll be his space, so he won’t feel the need to scratch the ever living hell out of me. It’ll be perfect.”
“Yes,” I said.
“I swear, Shane. We can make it work. Angel and I won’t ever be best friends, but at least we’ll tolerate each other a little better and—”
This time I was the one to cut him off with a kiss. He grinned down at me when brought it to a close. “I already said yes.”
He gave a whoop of joy, a sound I hadn’t ever heard him make. He kissed me again and again, murmuring thank you in between the meeting of our lips, and I couldn’t help but grin at his enthusiasm. This would probably be a good time to tell him I loved him.
He gazed at me with adoration. “Yes?”
“Your burgers are burning.”