A/N: Although it is after Christmas, the holidays are still in the air. And who doesn't enjoy some Spashley fluff during the holidays?

Also, this is my first attempt at fan fiction. I love to read, but I never thought I would be writing anything. Alas, after one too many drinks on Christmas Eve, I started writing this on my iPhone before bed. This is the result. If I get a good response, I might progress to writing a full story of something, but I don't know that I have that kind of patience. Comment if you like, feedback is very much appreciated.

Also, I already posted this over at the forum a couple days ago, but this site has a 2 day waiting period for new accounts and I do already have an account on here, but I'm choosing to remain a mystery ;)

Enjoy!


I'm not going to put up this fa├žade that I feel I'm not accepted by my father's religious family, because I haven't felt like I wasn't since going through the "I think I like girls" stage. But that was all just my own insecurity.

I suppose my sexuality just never needed discussing. It was just something that had been silently acknowledged and that was it. But now it's become this...thing. An elephant in the room.

Let's call him Barnaby. Just for kicks.

I've never brought a girlfriend around them, they've never asked me about seeing someone. But now that I'm finally deciding to bring someone special to meet them, and on Christmas of all occasions, I don't know how they're going to take it. I'm kind of wishing I had tackled this sooner, just to know what we're both about to walk into.

"Spence?"

Ashley snaps me out of my thoughts as I almost miss the turn off into my aunt and uncle's neighborhood.

"Hmmm?"

"You're spacing out on me again," she chuckles. "What's got your mind so wrapped up you'd rather be there than focusing on not killing us before we get to your aunt's house?" she teases. "Please don't crash, I am CRAVING some hot chocolate! It would be a real misfortune if we miss out on that," she says dramatically.

I shake my head and a small smile graces my face at her outburst before it falters. "Nothing, I just..." trailing off, lamely.

"Mmmhmmm," she mumbles, still glancing over at me from the passenger seat with a raised eyebrow and an amused smirk on her cute face.

Busted. Smooth, Carlin.

I sigh, taking my eyes off the road for a minute to steal a glance at her, and then back to the road.

"Okay, so...um... I haven't exactly told my family I'm bringing my girlfriend over for Christmas." Cringing a little, I look over at her to gauge her reaction to the bombshell I just tossed at her.

Ashley isn't big on family, although I know she secretly longs to have that void in her life filled. To be honest, I'm not huge on it either, but at least I have one that I spend time with on birthdays and holidays alike. And it would still mean a great deal to me to be able to share Ashley with them and for them to welcome her into it.

Ashley's mother, Christine, is really all she's got. God love the woman, she means well and loves her daughter to pieces, but she's a workaholic and is never home due to business trips all over the planet. She told me once over a rare dinner with Ashley and I, what it is she does. It's something important, complex, but I welcomed a distraction somewhere near the beginning of her explanation.

Hey, I wasn't being rude. I just got confused and then there happened to be a sexy brunette sat across from me trying to initiate eye sex. In front of her mother!

I figured Ashley is either not entirely understanding what Christine's job is either, or she just doesn't give a rat's ass to hear about it.

After all, I couldn't blame Ashley for her antics. We got interrupted at a crucial point, if you catch my drift, when we heard Christine waltz through the front door earlier that afternoon.

Ashley lives with her mother. Since Christine is never home anyway, there was really no point in moving out after high school and getting a place on her own. This way the house is still kept up. And even when her mom IS home, they live in a house that the term "mansion" doesn't even do justice, so Ashley still has her own space and plenty of it.

Typical that we got caught up in the kitchen at the PERFECT time.

Me, lacking a shirt and Ashley missing her shirt AND pants that were dangling from the barstool next to us. Haphazardly, of course.

What? You think we just planned a mid-afternoon rendezvous in the kitchen? No no.

Ashley was loading the dishwasher, bent over, as I strolled in to grab an apple from the fridge. The damn tease was wearing my favorite jeans that make her ass look nothing short of incredible.

That little minx does this shit on purpose, I swear by it.

I had her sat on the edge of the marble countertops as I stood comfortably between her legs that were wrapped around my waist, working on her neck, sucking on her pulse point. Her hands were gripping my back, trying to gain composure to unclasp my bra. One of my hands buried in her hair, lightly scraping my nails on the back of her head, and the other making its way teasingly up the inside of her right thigh. Just after I was earned another soft moan for my efforts, we heard the front door slam shut.

I pouted too.

Ashley is usually ecstatic to see her mother, but I'm guessing that particular bellowed, "Sweetheart, I'm home!" was an unwelcome one.

I know it didn't light up MY life.

I always think this house is just too big for only Ashley to live in practically alone.

I've never been so thankful for the 30 seconds it takes to get from the front door to the rear of the house where the kitchen is.

Being caught in our compromising position wouldn't have made the greatest of impressions on her mom. We managed to get our shit together in the knick of time, although our flushed faces and ruffled hair probably hinted what had just been interrupted.

Thank god Christine isn't a prude. Or a bitch. Don't think I didn't notice that smirk, Christine!

Anyway, she was home for a couple days and wanted to squeeze in at least dinner to get to know her daughter's new girlfriend.

Christine is lovely and you take what you can get with her and her hectic schedule.

"Spencer Carlin!" Ashley nearly shouts incredulously, slapping me on the arm. Once again ripping me from my over-active mind.

I furrow my eyebrows. "Look, Ash, I didn't do it on purpose! I'm as nervous as you now are!" I attempt to defend myself.

She looks unimpressed.

"Okay, so here's the thing," I begin, inhaling a big breath, "they know I'm gay. But not because we've ever discussed that part of my life. It's just been an accepted fact that was never brought up. You're the first person I've ever even considered having them meet, which is important to me. But I didn't really know how to...bring it up."

Her look softens, but she looks as if she still doesn't get it, so I continue, "It's just that, growing up, my cousins had their boyfriends over all the time. Now they're both married. And I've never even MENTIONED a girlfriend..." I see it click. "...ever!"

"So you're nervous how they're going to react to us? Like actually coming face to face with your girlfriend?"

I nod, looking a bit sheepish. "I mean, what if in light of actually seeing it, I make them uncomfortable? I'm sorry I didn't give you a heads up about this before, but I was just nervous that you wouldn't come or something. I want to share Christmas with my family and you're a part of that."

She sighs and I see her run a hand through her hair out of the corner of my eye.

We finally pull up to the snowy curb in front of my aunt and uncle's home, all decked out in white lights. We both unbuckle ourselves, I shut the car off and we sit in a brief silence.

Ashley grabs my hand and laces our fingers together and turns her whole body to face me. I turn my head, still a little unsure how she feels about this.

She looks cool as a cucumber. "Spencer, I know you told me they're a religious bunch. But it's like you said; they obviously know you're gay and if they haven't tossed your cute butt out yet, I don't see why they would now." She smiles wryly at me.

Aww.

I relax a little and when I just smile back, she continues, feigning a cocky tone, "Besides, WE," she gestures between the two of us with her other hand "are hot! I think it's about time you flaunt it and show the breeders what they're missing!"

I laugh and lightly slap her arm. "They're my family, you goober! Not just a bunch of strangers we want to make jealous!" I say, still laughing.

Her smile broadens, crinkling her nose. Then it drops and she continues in mock seriousness, a smile being poorly suppressed, scoffing at my apparent ludicrous statement. She gives me an impressive eye roll, "Whatever. They totally will be anyway."

Ashley is not even close to being a cocky individual. She's confident, not conceited. She's sweet and charming, never arrogant. She's always been one of the most humble and modest people I've ever met. I know she's just trying to lighten the mood before I unsurely introduce her to my family. She knows I find this side of her amusing because she can't pull off the badass act with me, ever.

Aside from my parents, this will be the first time they're going to meet her, let alone even hear about her. I told the parental units not to bring it up to the rest of the family, that I'd let them in on my actual existing love life on my own. They protested and my brothers couldn't give a crap one way or the other, but I just wasn't ready yet for the possibility that they'd suddenly tell me to take a hike, or worse.

After my near internal panic attack this entire drive over here, maybe I should have just let them go for it. Damn me and my strive for independence!

Deciding to leave my own head again and focus on the woman in front of me, I lightly sigh and just look at her. All joking now absent. She's looking back at me lovingly with the smile only meant for me. And I know that regardless of how the rest of our night goes, I'm going home with the love of my life tonight and I could care less if anyone else has anything to say about it.

I lean across the middle console, cupping the crook of her neck and she meets me halfway and our lips meet in a few firm, yet soft kisses. We slightly pull back, but still keep our faces close together, opening our eyes to a silent storm of deep brown and vibrant blue.

I stroke the side of her neck lightly with my thumb, smiling at her, my eyes scanning over her face before returning back to her eyes.

"I love you," I say, meaning it every bit as much as the first time I said it and more.

She gives me another nose crinkling grin before she leans up slightly and kisses the tip of my nose. "I love you too."

We're getting lost staring at each other like we did the night we both confessed that for the first time. This happens a lot. We're sickening, I know it.

We were cuddling on my couch. She was lying half on top of me with her head on my chest. We were sometimes talking, sometimes not. Our hands often just roaming, feeling each other, innocently. I've only ever felt that content with Ashley.

We must have both just felt it. Like that was our moment of awakening, even though I think we had both felt it for months, just not ready to vocalize it yet. Something in our air shifted without warning and it was palpable. I guess we both wanted to be the one to say it first because breaking a long comfortable silence, "I love you" spilled past our lips at the exact same time. In matching soft, quiet, and genuine tones.

I'll never forget the way we looked at each other after that.

She's the one who breaks us out of our reverie, "Ready to face the music?"

"I'm ready to face anything with you," I reply softly, like it's the most natural thing I've ever said.

That is so earning me bonus points later.

I'm ready to internally high five myself when she bursts out laughing at me, breaking the heavy moment.

I love that laugh too much to be offended.

"Sweet talker," she accuses sarcastically with a shit-eating grin, narrowing her eyes at me. But I know she means it, beneath the act.

"At your service," I say with a lame attempt at a British accent.

"God, you are such a dork!" she laughs again. "Let's go so I can win over your fam and they can take me in, tell me how great I am while scowling at you for depriving them of my amazingness for so long, inevitably resulting in them telling you to kick rocks with your cheesy lines and bad accents," she teases, finally opening the car door and getting out.

"Next thing we need is your lame jokes. Let's just skip past them, shall we?" she muses while grinning at her sudden burst of wit.

Ashley Davies, it's Christmas! If you think making a mockery of my greatest hits is getting you ANY points with me for later...well...well played. Like I could deny her anything, anyway.

I follow suit, strutting around the vehicle to meet her on the other side, hiding my amusement. She reaches for my hand and I look down at it and scoff, moving ahead and walking backwards facing her.

"Whatever, I," I emphasize, pointing to myself indignantly, "am hilarious. And I know not of these bad accents you speak of, Ashley."

She shakes her head chuckling at me, knowing I'm just kidding. Advancing on me, she grabs my left hand with her own and I let her, turning around to walk forward so I don't gracefully slip and land face first in a pile of snow.

She loops her arm through mine and laces our fingers together with her left, snuggling into my side. "Shut up, baby. You know what a nerd you are. And I wouldn't have it any other way."

My smile breaks free at that, and I remember how we first met, about a year ago.

You should have seen me. Completely irresistible with my suave moves and sweet talkin! ...Okay that's a lie.

She was invited through a friend of my friend to a house party at the place I was living in with my roommates at the time.

Actually, I still technically live there, but I'm always staying at Ashley's.

I had noticed this gorgeous, naturally bronze skinned, brown eyed woman walk in immediately. Her hair dark brown, with a healthy shine, in wavy natural curls sitting just below her shoulders. And despite living in the Rockies and it being winter, she was sporting low cut jeans and a thin, well-worn band tee that had to be no less than 2 sizes too small because her perfectly sculpted abs were on a mighty fine display. Crazy girl didn't even have a coat!

I was drawn to her in a way I'd never felt before. She was drop dead gorgeous and I figured I'd really have to lay it on thick if I had any chance in hell with her. A girl like that is probably approached often so I would need to standout. So naturally, I approached her with that in mind.

I opened up introducing myself and followed it with some subtle (because I DO have class), yet cheesy line. The kind that says "I'm really not a douche, but I want to make my intentions with you clear."

She laughed. Hard.

I frowned.

I thought I had crashed and burned. But a returned introduction, shameless flirting, including more laughter at my attempt to have "game," 3 rounds of beer pong and an indistinguishable number of shots of Jack later, she had me pressed up against my bedroom door in a heated make-out session.

She was the most intoxicating thing I had ever tasted. And that's saying a lot considering my blood alcohol level that night.

It never went further than that. We were both lit up like a fucking Christmas tree, but we decided to forgo the awkward morning after when all the alcohol has worn off, your head is pounding and all you really want to know is where the hell your clothes are.

Thankfully, I think despite the alcohol haze we were both in that night, my subtle-tacky line and her husky, beautiful laugh, must have spoke volumes to one another. That this would be the beginning of something special.

I never looked back.

It's been intense and amazing and a beautifully life-altering ride ever since.

Walking up the steps of the front door, I smirk over at her and she bumps her hip with mine as we step up on the porch and I almost slip on a stray patch of ice.

Avoiding a potential cracked skull, "Yeah, I'm so sure my family is just gonna love you to the ends of the earth when they witness all this physical abuse and attempts to kill me," I remark sarcastically.

She just smiles, looking if not a little smug. Before I can stop her, she rings the doorbell and all humor drops from my face and I freeze.

I usually just walk in unannounced like I own the place.

This is awkward.

She must have noticed me tense up a little because she turns to look at me with a reassuring look and a squeeze of my hand.

I immediately relax when we lock eyes. Something about this look in her eyes when she looks at me could calm me even if I was standing in the middle of a hurricane.

She leans close to my ear to whisper in a teasing tone, "I don't get why you're so nervous, Spence. I can charm the pants off the pope. You're acting like these people will somehow be resilient to this package," she gestures herself up and down with a twinkle in her eye.

Ashley Davies! You are on quite the roll tonight with all this cocky behavior. I'm not gonna lie, it's kind of hot.

I don't even notice the front door opening as I'm too lost in dirty thoughts about later tonight.

When I finally snap out of it, I turn to see who has answered the door.

It's my grandma.

SHIT! Run for the bushes!

Right Spencer, because that would be totally stealth. Your grandmother is looking at you expectantly and you're pondering making a mad dash for the bushes lining the front yard standing a whopping 3 feet high. That's some plan you've masterminded there. She won't notice a thing.

"Hi, I'm Ashley. You must be Spencer's grandmother?" My well-mannered better half prevails again.

"Yes dear, I'm Sophie." My grandmother smiles warmly at Ashley. "Come on in girls, it's a bitter cold out tonight."

We're ushered inside and I'm wrapped up in a hug.

"Hi grandma, Merry Christmas!" Don't let my sweet enthusiasm fool you. I'm still contemplating the potential of those bushes as camouflage.

"Merry Christmas, sweetheart."

We pull apart and my grandma reaches over to Ashley and gives her shoulder a light squeeze.

Okay.

Grandma tells us to join her and the rest of the family in the living room.

I enter the room filled with my parents, Arthur and Paula. My brothers, Glen and Clay, my aunt, Jen and my uncle, Mark, my cousins, Nicki and Dani, their little kids, Landon, Hailey and Peyton, and my grandpa, Gene.

My cousins' husbands are apparently M.I.A. Probably downstairs playing that new damn game everyone keeps creaming themselves over, no doubt. Call of Duty: Black Ops, is it? Whatever. I'm shocked and amazed Glen is present.

They all brighten at the final member of the family having arrived.

"Merry Christmas!" is heard from a few.

I return the greeting and my cousin Dani decides to open this one up.

"Hey Spence, who's this?" she nods at Ashley.

I think my hands just went numb.

"Uh...um...I-" I'm stuttering like an imbecile.

"Is this your girlfriend?" Nicki prompts.

Well...that was blunt.

I look over at Ashley and she grabs my hand and smiles at me, obviously un-phased by this whole situation.

My mind decides to stop short-circuiting and I replay the nonchalance of her statement. How normal it sounded, almost like she already knew who Ashley was.

I smile back at Ashley, squeezing her hand, suddenly my nerves start to wash away and I turn back to my family, grin still proudly plastered on my face.

"Um..yeah..yes. This is my girlfriend, Ashley."

I'm relieved when I see smiles throughout the room. I go on to introduce Ashley to the ones she hasn't yet met. She goes around shaking hands and exchanging smiles.

My dad gets up, probably to go get another cup of hot chocolate. The man has an addiction. I've threatened him with Dr. Drew hundreds of times over, but he remains firm that hot chocolate isn't a real addiction.

I think you'd side with me if you saw him. He's like a child. Don't even get me started on his excitement with the marshmallows. As if there wasn't enough sugar as it is!

My dad puts his arm around Ashley and like I so expertly had predicted, offers Ashley some hot chocolate and she happily follows him and his empty mug into the kitchen.

I hear my dad explain excitedly as they exit, "You will love this! Paula gave me a variety pack for Christmas, imported directly from Switzerland! The hazelnut is heaven."

I smile after them. They bonded over hot chocolate the first time they met. It's ridiculous, but I can't help but love them both for it.

Turning back to my family, they're all grinning at me knowingly and I blush.

"What?" I ask shyly.

A few chuckles resonate through the room.

"It's about time!"

"We were starting to think you were never going to introduce us to her."

Hold the phone. I'm confused. I thought they didn't know about Ashley at all.

My mom saves the day. "Spence, honey, I know you wanted to be the one to tell them, take it in stride, do things on your own and all that jazz. But seriously, your father is impatient. He finally found someone as cuckoo for cocoa with marshmallow puffs as he is. Clearly you couldn't expect that man to contain his excitement?"

A laugh gets caught in my throat and I close my eyes, my blush reddening a few shades darker. I smile, embarrassed.

"You guys all knew?"

Nods all around.

"No one thought to maybe bring it up? I've been panicking about this for weeks, not to mention thinking up a storm at how to broach the subject of me even having girlfriend for months!"

I feel Ashley come up behind me, wrapping and arm around my waist and planting a chaste kiss right under my ear on my jaw.

Not a single look of disapproval from any of them.


I. Am. Mortified.

Throughout dinner, my whole family proceeded to make a mockery out of my "paranoia." And Ashley, the little traitor, did nothing to put a stop to it! She just sat beside me, laughing at my expense. If she hadn't had her hand firmly on my thigh under the table, rubbing it after someone would get carried away with their jokes at me, I might have been a little upset. But she always knows how to keep me calm.

On the upside, I'm pleasantly overjoyed with how easily everything flowed after the big revelation, or more appropriately, lack thereof.

Ashley fit right in with my family. Kept up with conversation and was every bit as polite and charming as usual. I think my aunt is in love with her.

Aunt Jen thinks she's the next Martha Stewart, only she's adamant that prison holds no place in her future. Ashley complimented all her little festive knick knacks around the house and they chatted about recipes. Ashley is quite the cook, I'll have you know.

How I landed such a diamond in the rough, I really won't ever know. I'm not too shabby myself, but it's as if there is nothing in this world my girl is incapable of.

Presents were exchanged after dessert and we sang some Christmas songs with each other as my grandma would play the piano, it was a Carlin family tradition. It was also tradition that Glen would butcher them.

As immature as it is every year, it wouldn't be the same without him doing so. Clay is always sat next to him and he really puts forth the effort to sing to his highest potential. It's hilarious seeing him frustrated when Glen bursts out with something inappropriate and drowns out Clay's "voice of an angel."

My cousins are currently helping their parents clean up and everyone but Ashley and I is tied up with the kids and their new toys in the living room. Glen and Clay took off a few minutes ago and Ashley and I are standing in the hallway after seeing them out.

"I can't believe I was so worried and frantic over nothing," I say as I lean into Ashley, burying my face in her neck, breathing her in.

She wraps her arms loosely around my waist and I can feel her silent chuckle at me. "Yeah well, I told you we had nothing to worry about. I've never led you astray before," she says lightly.

I move my head up and give her a noisy kiss on her cheek. "Where would I be without you?" I say sarcastically even though it's an entirely true statement.

I get her trademark smile back.

Suddenly I'm just ready to wrap this night up. "Let's go home, yeah?"

She entwines her fingers in my left hand and nods her agreement, leading us back into the living area to say our goodbyes to my family.


Ashley and I are curled up in front of her fireplace, sitting on the floor with my back leaned against her couch and Ashley between my legs. There's Christmas music playing lowly in the background, but we're just sitting contently, wrapped up in each other staring into the fire. She's playing with my fingers that are wrapped around from behind, resting on her stomach and my cheek is pressed up to hers.

Considering how nervous I was toward how this Christmas could have turned out if all my worst fears had been true, I have to say, I can't fathom being happier than I am right now.

Ashley quickly became family to me and even my parents took an instant adopting to her. But to finally know that she's a welcome member to my whole family has my insides jumping for joy. That in itself is the greatest Christmas present I could ever hope for.

As if reading my mind Ashley turns her head to the side, planting a long loving kiss on my lips. Breaking apart, she nuzzles our noses and I can hear the smile in her voice, "Merry Christmas, Spence," she whispers in her low raspy voice.

I can't help the smile that spreads across my face, kissing her again. "Merry Christmas, baby."