Chapter Six

All I Want for Christmas is You

A sharp banging at the door roused Aedan back into consciousness several hours later. It was still dark outside, but it wasn’t long before his alarm was due to go off. They may not have been driving to Matt’s mum’s for a few more hours, but they wanted to enjoy their morning together without rushing.

Matt was dead to the world, so Aedan untangled himself and quickly pulled on his dressing gown as the knocking came again. It was just before seven in the morning.

He hastily made sure he was decent before yanking open the door. He would hate to accidentally flash a neighbour on Christmas morning.

“Merry Christmas,” he whispered. He was aware that if there was anyone else left in the nearby flats they might well be sleeping.

The woman in the hall smiled tiredly back at him. She had a sound asleep toddler in one arm and a large suitcase handle gripped in the other hand. The guy behind her wrestled with several sturdy carrier bags filled with wrapped presents and a grumbling little boy of about five.

“Oh thank goodness,” said the woman, genuine relief spreading across her face. “I would have felt awful not catching you before we left.” She thrust a squishy parcel into his hands, the brown paper wrapped around it well crumpled. “I took this in for you yesterday and worried it was a Christmas present.”

Aedan’s eyes widened as they took in the international postmark and then filled with tears. “It’s for my boyfriend,” he said, his voice hoarse. “Thank you. Really, thank you.”

The adults smiled and nodded as they made their way towards the stairs. “Have a wonderful Christmas,” the guy said.

“You too,” Aedan replied.

He closed the door. A mildly hysterical giggle escaped his lips, then he hurried back into the bedroom. He couldn’t believe his luck.

“Matt,” he hissed, kissing his boyfriend’s cheeks and forehead. “Wake up, it’s Christmas! And guess what? Matt. Matt?”

He watched as Matt stirred and rubbed his eyes, all adorable and rumpled. A smile slowly spread across his face. “Merry Christmas, darling,” he said, fumbling clumsily to reach for Aedan’s arm.

Aedan gave him another chaste kiss on his nose, then placed the long-awaited package on the nightstand by the bed. He knew Matt well enough now to know this could only be fixed with coffee.

Aedan hummed to himself as he clattered around in the kitchen, allowing the smell of the brew and his slightly over the top rummaging to wake up his boyfriend fully.

That old familiar Christmas giddiness thrummed through his veins for the first time all year.

He found a box of mince pies in the cupboard and returned to the bedroom with them and two mugs of steaming hot coffee. “Hey, babe,” he said as he was greeted with Matt’s sleepy smile.

“Hey,” was his reply as he stretched and eased his way up into a sitting position. “Merry Christmas.”

Aedan bounded over to him, carefully not to spill their drinks but too excited to restrain himself. “Your present came,” he blurted out, useless to keep a surprise like this. “It’s stupid, and you’ll probably think I’m an idiot. But it came and-”

Matt pulled him by his robe down for a kiss. “I don’t think it’s stupid in the slightest.”

Aedan arched an eyebrow. “You have no idea what it is yet.”

“So?” said Matt, seizing his coffee eagerly and taking a sip. “I already know it’s awesome.”

Aedan laughed. “You just want to open it right now.”

Matt nodded. “Oh hell yeah.” He laughed, his eyes sparkling.

Aedan’s heart fluttered. He meant it, it was a stupid present. But he was so sure Matt would appreciate it. He hoped it was worth all the fuss.

He picked up the package but held onto it as he slipped back under the covers with his own coffee. “You don’t mind it in its crappy original wrapping?” he asked with a scoff.

Matt shook his head and made grabby hands.

Aedan sighed and hoped his gamble would pay off. If not, there was still his steadfast presents waiting under the tree.

Matt made short work of the packaging, despite the copious amounts of tape wrapped around the thing. Then he had the distributor’s own plastic bag to tear through, but he was laughing, so Aedan knew he didn’t mind. Aedan, on the other hand, was chewing his thumbnail.

It was obvious as soon as Matt got through the wrapping that it was a jumper. But when he shook it out, that was when he gasped, joy lighting up his face.

“It’s musical, too,” said Aedan. He leaned forwards and groped for the button he knew should be there waiting for him.

Sure enough, when he found the right pressure point, tinny music suddenly blared into the tranquillity of their flat.

“Make my wish come trueeeee!” the voice sang. “All I want for Christmaaas – is YOU!”

The ugly jumper had the title lyrics knitted into the front to match. Because it was true.

“All I want for Christmas is you,” he said to Matt.

Matt laughed, his eyes glassy as he stared at the ghastly creation. “I love it,” he said. “It’s perfect. I’m going to wear it all week.” Then he looked at Aedan. “But mine’s frighteningly similar. Do you want it now?”

Aedan chuckled, seriously hoping he hadn’t got a hideous jumper as well. He liked kitsch. Fugly was Matt’s M.O. But he nodded eagerly all the same.

Matt hugged his jumper with obvious affection, making Aedan’s heart sing. He surged forwards and kissed Aedan on the lips. “You have to close your eyes for a sec.”

Aedan huffed, not sure why there was a need for subterfuge. They’d wrapped their presents last night. But he did as he was told, dutifully closing his eyes.

Matt kissed his cheek again, then Aedan felt him leave the bed and heard him pull his own dressing gown from the back of their bedroom door and rustle into it. There were a few seconds of silence where he presumably went to go retrieve his present. Come to think of it though, Aedan didn’t remember seeing a gift addressed to him under the tree last night.

“Okay,” said Matt. His voice sounded a bit strange. “You can open your eyes now.”

Grinning, Aedan complied.

Then his heart all but stopped.

Matt was by the side of the bed. On one knee.

Aedan squawked in the most undignified manner as he slapped his hands over his mouth, tears springing immediately into his eyes.

Matt was trembling from head to toe. But his hands were steady as they held up the ring box towards Aedan.

“I love you so much,” Matt managed to croak. He cleared his throat and grinned sheepishly. “Aedan, will you marry me?”

Aedan almost fell off the bed in his haste to throw his arms around Matt’s neck. This couldn’t be happening. He couldn’t possibly be this lucky, this blessed.

“Babe!” he shrieked, shaking just as badly as Matt had been. “Oh my god, babe. Oh my god, oh my GOD! YES!”

Matt was laughing as he pulled him to the carpet, tangling them both together. “Oh thank god, I was going crazy holding that in.”

“You proposed,” said Aedan, hardly daring to believe it. Tears streamed down his face, the happy kind though this time. “You really want to spend the rest of your life with me?”

Matt took a deep breath and maneuvered them so they were both sat on the floor. He held the ring box in one hand and cupped Aedan’s cheek with the other. “Yes,” he said. “Please don’t ever doubt it.”

Aedan wiped his face and bounced on his heels. “Can I see the ring?” he begged, unashamedly.

Matt laughed, a throaty sound where he dropped his head back. His relief was palpable. He first leaned over to touch his lips to Aedan’s; a kiss filled with so many promises. Then he offered up the box. “Just something to add a little sparkle to the season,” he said, in a turn of phrase that sounded an awful lot like Aunt Eileen’s life-long mantra.

It was stunning. Aedan couldn’t have picked better himself.

It was a solid silver coloured band, although when he picked it up he suspected the metal was platinum. Across the band in a diagonal were three fat diamonds, flanked by two fine stripes of very small and delicate looking diamonds. It fit perfectly on Aedan’s finger.

He choked back a sob as he admired it, then dragged Matt back into another hug. “This is the best gift you could ever…I’m so…”

He couldn’t seem to finish a thought.

Matt didn’t need him to. He kissed his lips and looked into his eyes. Aedan’s horrendous but fabulous Christmas jumper had fallen to the floor alongside them, and Matt picked it up to show Aedan the inscription.

“All I want for Christmas is you,” he said with a grin.

“All I want forever,” Aedan amended, “is you.” 

The End

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