A/N: Just some Matticho fluff for the holidays. :)

The Other Man

Matt watched discretely over the top of the newspaper as Chris headed through their house and towards the small office they'd set up in the house for Chris to work on his book and music. As soon as the door was closed, Matt's eyes narrowed at it in suspicion. Chris had been up to some shady business and Matt was pretty sure he knew what it was, which was why there had been a dry spell in the bedroom. Matt refused to sleep with Chris if the man who made vows to him was seeing someone else. He hoped he was wrong, but he'd already heard too much to have any doubt.

It had started with Chris acting strange whenever Matt came into the room. Chris would shut down whatever he was looking at and then act nervously when Matt lingered in the room to talk. Someone else might not have noticed, Chris was good at hiding his true emotions, but Matt had been around Chris so long and knew him so well that even Chris' acting talent couldn't fool him anymore. Something as subtle as the way he was breathing could tip Matt off to his moods sometimes.

Then, there were the secretive phone calls. Matt had happened upon Chris at least three times on the phone, and he'd drop his voiced to hushed tones when Matt came in, and quickly end the conversation. Matt thought that maybe he was over reacting, being paranoid, because former lovers had cheated before, even after years of what seemed like a stable, loving, relationship, and he wasn't willing to get burned again. He had pushed the hushed phone calls to the back of his mind, but when he found the paper with Chris' trademark scribbly writing on it—he couldn't discount the strange behavior any longer.






Matt had even called that number, hoping to find some rational explanation at the other end of the line. However, what he got after a few rings was the voice of a man, a voice he imagined whispering against his husbands ear, seducing him. He had quickly hung up the phone, tears stinging at his eyes. That night, Chris tried to play around in bed, and Matt shunned him, finally snipping that old stand-by about having a headache.

That had been a few weeks ago. Chris was starting to wonder what was wrong. Chris had tried to question him, grumping that Matt never talked to him about anything when he was answered with a silent, chocolate, glare.

Now Matt was determined to figure out who this other man was, and give both him and Chris a piece of his mind, and maybe something more painful as well. Matt pressed his ear to the door and listened hard, tuning in on Chris' voice muffled behind the wood.

"Do you have pictures yet?"

Matt heard his husband ask.

"You just emailed them to me? Good, I can't wait to see!"

He sounded so fucking excited. Matt chewed his lip, anger steadily building. There were a few moments of silence, then Chris' voice again.

"Ooh, so handsome."

A few more moments of silence.

"Would tonight be too soon? Okay…can you meet me half way? From here it's a little over a two hour drive one-way to Charlotte. If I was gone over four hours, my husband might get suspicious."

Matt fumed. He pulled his spying ear back from the door and hotly began to pace outside, now no longer caring what the rest of Chris' 'secret' conversation held this night. At last the door was opened, and Chris came out all smiles. The bastard. Matt forced his face into a calmer expression, though it took a great effort. His brows wanted to bunch together, his lips wanted to pull downward, he wanted to glare sizzling daggers through the man that dared fuck around behind his back. Chris didn't even say a word, he just got his coat from the closet in the hall and headed towards the door.

"Where are you going?" Matt asked, trying as hard as he could to keep the cutting edge out of his voice. Chris blinked at him, obviously noting his anger.

"I was just going to run to the store." Chris said a bit too quickly. "I wanted to do some Christmas shopping." He added.

Matt watched as Chris shrugged his coat on, and draped a scarf around his neck. He grinded his teeth together, unable to say anything else to the blond, because if he opened his mouth he was going to scream at him. Chris moved over towards Matt, and wrapped his arms around the seething Southerner, whose placid expression was beginning to twist back into a scowl. Chris pressed a quick kiss to his frowning lips.

"I promise I won't be long Matty."

With that, Chris slipped away and shut the door behind him. Matt growled, and stormed around the room, gathering his shoes and hurriedly stuffing his feet into them. He grabbed a hoody and pulled it over his 'The Hardy Show' t-shirt and watched from the front window to see which way Chris went after he backed out of the driveway. His eyes watched until he couldn't see the vehicle anymore, and then he hurried out of the house to his own car. The sports car wasn't very inconspicuous, but it would have to do. As discretely as he could, Matt followed Chris.

About a half an hour later Matt watched Chris from a distance as he pulled into the parking lot of a Wal-Mart in a town called Troy. It was about half-way between Cameron and Charlotte, and the obvious rendezvous for Chris and his 'secret' lover. Matt pulled into a space in the next row over, and left the car. He made his way towards Chris, ducking behind other vehicles until he had a good view of his husband. Chris was grinning from ear to ear, shaking hands with 'the other man'. He was a little taller than Chris, with blond hair that fell over his forehead, and Matt could see the way his muscled legs strained at the material of his too-tight jeans. Matt nearly lunged at the man.

Chris yelped in surprise and flattened himself against the side of the car, while the guy darted around the trunk and grabbed a discarded cart in order to keep Matt away from him.

"What is this, Chris!" Matt yelled, his hands fisted at his sides, as he and the cart man did an awkward dance, one trying to get to the other, and the other just trying to stay safe. "You think you could just pull the wool over my eyes Irvine! I know what you're doing!" Matt grabbed the end of the cart and shook it, causing it to rattle up and down, up and then the wheels banging down against the blacktop.

"Matt!" Chris shrieked. "Wha—what are you doing!"

Matt let go of the cart and turned towards Chris, his eyes full of rage, sitting beneath a sheen of tears.

"What am I doing? Chris, what are you doing?" Matt jabbed his finger into Chris' chest.

"Matty I-I-was just—

"Fucking cheat--"

"It was supposed to be a surprise!" Chris spat back, and shoved Matt away from him. "Calm the fuck down! What's wrong with you? I was just--" Chris again in his explanation was cut short.

"Coming to meet your other lover!"

"No, assclown." Chris snapped. "I was coming here to meet a breeder." Chris reached for the door handle of the car, and opened it. Matt blinked, confused. Chris held out his arms and there was a happy yip, and a puppy bounded out into them, covering Chris' face in wet kisses. Matt just stared.

"I…I'm sorry if I caused any problems." The guy said timidly, seeming unsure about whether to release his cart-shield or not. "I was just bringing him the pup. I breed Goldens."

Matt looked from the trembling guy with his hair falling over his forehead, and sticking to it, back to Chris who was scowling as he clipped a leash to the pup's collar--the Golden Retriever pup.





Matt paled, and slapped himself in the forehead.

"Oh God, I—I'm so…so sorry." His face quickly colored hot red. He extended his hand towards the breeder, in a gesture of apology, but the guy just cringed away, his hands raised palms out in an innocent manner.

"Uh, yeah. Well, thanks Mr. Irvine and I hope your crazy ass husband enjoys Louie." The guy scampered away. Matt looked down at the toes of his shoes, completely embarrassed. He could feel Chris still scowling at him.

"Matt, I should slap you for even thinking I'd cheat on you." He growled. After a few moments of silence, Chris sighed, the anger melting from his face. The dog was whining and his golden tail was thumping happily against Chris' leg. "Merry Christmas." Chris said quietly, and handed the loop of the leash to Matt who reluctantly took it and wrapped it around his wrist. When he looked up, Chris saw that tears were streaking his tanned cheeks.

"Chris…please forgive me. I'm so stupid…" He sniffled, and rubbed his nose against the sleeve of his hoody.

Chris moved towards Matt, and tilted his face upwards, and kissed away his tears. His lips pressed against Matt's, then moved away.

"Don't worry about it…come on baby. It's cold out here." Chris gave the pup Louie a scratch behind his pretty ears and got into the car. "Let's just go home. This time, I'll follow you and terrorize the guy who's waiting for you in our driveway." Chris smirked, his cobalt eyes flashing.

Matt sniffled again, and smiled a little. That sparkle in Chris' eyes let him know that things were okay between them. He made his way to his car, the puppy in tow, tangling himself in his leash. Matt hoisted the pup into the back seat, then ducked into the car, shaking his head at his own stupidity. The puppy sounded an excited bark, and hopped up over the center console. His pink tongue bathed Matt's face, washing away the tears. Matt started the car, as he held back the eager pet with one hand, and wondered to himself how he'd managed to get the best gift of all time: Chris Irvine, who loved him no matter how many times he tried to kill an innocent dog breeder.

I know it's early, but Merry Christmas. :)