The Eggnog Effect
Gift fic for: ThatPanicGirlE
Prompt: Mistletoe, drunken office Christmas party, and unrequited love. Holy hell hangovers and no regrets. No angst, light and fluffy and tons of boysecks!
Eggnog fucks me over every single year.
Well, perhaps I'm exaggerating. There may have been a handful of innocent years of my life when eggnog didn't interfere with my holiday plans. But I can date the dangers of eggnog back to my fifth Christmas, when it made its first appearance - and reappearance. Being a kindergartner, I understood 'the rules' of life, one of which was listening to adults. That didn't mean I actually listened. If I had, I would have respected that my father said, "The eggnog is just for Mommy and Daddy and their friends, Jas. But Mommy put cherries in the Hawaiian Punch for you."
As far as I was concerned, having cherries in the Hawaiian Punch was for babies. It was the first time I was allowed to freely walk around during my family's Christmas party, and since I wasn't required to hold the hand of a parent all night, I wanted the cool, forbidden, eggy drink that was for the older people. I was a big boy, after all; I even had a Big Wheel to prove it.
You'd better believe that as soon as my mother turned her back, I pilfered a half-gallon jug of eggnog out of the fridge and booked it upstairs to my blanket fort to consume the whole damn thing. With my steal, I felt like a pirate. I was invincible and daring. And, in true pirate fashion, I guzzled and Arrrgh'd and bounced around my fort singing, 'Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum'. Of course, being five, I hadn't understood that this particular jug of eggnog actually contained rum, which my father had spiked earlier that evening.
So, in the span of fifteen minutes, my little five year old self had swallowed almost a full half-gallon of milk and liquor and egg product while jumping up and down. You do the math. When I returned to kindergarten, my 'What I Did Over Christmas Break' story should have been a special tale of a drunken fall down the stairs, throwing up all over the Christmas tree, a trip to the emergency room, and my first hangover. But I was a kid and overzealous about the Nintendo I'd gotten from "Santa", so I shared that story instead.
However, to this day, I still feel queasy when I whisk milk into eggs for omelets. The color and the froth, and… I'll just stop right there.
Over the years, eggnog has reared its ugly head, hating me with as much viciousness as a beverage can do. There was the time at my church's Children's Choir party, where it was served in the form of flavored cookies. They looked like innocent sugar cookies to me, so I took one bite, had flashbacks of that first eggnog incident, gagged, and proceeded to earn the nickname Jaspuker from my choir mates.
Then there was my first winter dance during freshman year of high school. I was working up the nerve to ask Maria Fuentes to dance when I noticed Peter Mulligan and Charlotte Benson pressed against one another, making out under the mistletoe. Peter had a boner. In seeing his boner, I felt myself grow warm and wired, and wondered how it would feel to be in Charlotte's place. Before I knew what was happening, I'd tented myself a big one. It was a confusing time, being fourteen and hormonal and realizing I was turned on by another guy, so I did what anyone might do. I ran. Only I ran straight into a teacher, who spilled an entire glass of eggnog down my pants, which in turn drew me much unwanted attention, as several wide-eyed students got a glimpse of my now cream-covered bulge. By Monday morning, I was known as Jizzper.
When I decided to come out to my family, I chose Christmas, thinking everyone would probably feel a little cheerier than normal and might be more supportive after some presents and alcohol. My grandfather had expressed his opinion quite intensely.
"You want to lay with guys? Ho, ho, ho! Mo, mo, mo!" he'd chanted before throwing his (thankfully plastic) cup of eggnog at my reindeer sweater. As I sat, stunned and ashamed as the rest of my family reacted, I watched the white-yellow drops soak into Rudolph and couldn't help but feel like it was all the eggnog's fault. I was okay, eventually. My family got over it, then got used it to the idea, then accepted it with open arms. But eggnog still existed, so all was not fine and dandy in my world.
It even was slightly responsible for my first breakup. My boyfriend oh-so-lovingly gave me a bite of "French Vanilla" ice cream, which turned out to be the seasonal eggnog-flavored crap with chunks of even crappier eggnog-flavored candy pieces. I dry-heaved for five minutes. He laughed a lot. I dumped his ass.
Now, I usually try to avoid eggnog at all costs; its presence alone turns my mood sour and Scrooge-ish. There have been times when I think maybe I should try to get into the holiday spirit and embrace the goddamn shit because that's what Jesus would do, but then again, Jesus probably never experienced an episode of drunken projectile-vomiting. But as fate would have it, this morning, on the way to work, Alice Brandon called and forced me to confront the pasteurized bitch.
"Hey, Jasper, do me a favor? Stop and pick up some eggnog for the party tonight?"
After I rode over a curb and stopped cursing, I got myself together and stopped at the nearest convenience store.
See, I got myself into this 'offering to bring food and drinks' mess because "Holiday festivities at Volterra & Sons, Inc. are a company effort, and we should all pitch in and do our share of contribution" (i.e. the weekly company flyer tells us so). At first, Alice tried to rein me in to help with decorations. Yesterday, we'd been in the break room at eight-fifty-five AM on the dot, the same time Edward Cullen always feeds quarters into a vending machine to purchase his daily packet of strawberry Pop-Tarts. He does it every single Monday through Friday at the same exact time, right before we all lug ourselves to our desks to begin the day. I always wonder how he can eat that shit-tastic cardboard that calls itself a pastry, but I don't comment because it is so worth watching him bend over to retrieve them from the bottom compartment.
"You have to help me one of these years. Come on, I know you'd be so good at it, Jas," Alice had commented lightly as she poured herself a mug of coffee.
Because I'm gay, you see. So, naturally, I must automatically have a knack for things like interior design and putting together the perfect outfit. Alice has too much faith in me, but she's biased; we're great friends. She had a gigantic crush on me when I started working for the company three years ago, and ever since she found out that I was out, she became my best girl friend and still proceeds to offer me every "gay" opportunity that arises.
"Thanks for your confidence in my streamer twisting, Al," I'd said with a smile and a slight roll of my eyes. "But you and I both know I'm not exactly the decorating sort of …"
I didn't finish speaking because, at that moment, Edward's Pop-Tarts had fallen with a thwack to the bottom slot of the vending machine. And oh, sweet Lord, there it came: Edward's ass. He always bends at the waist (never at the knees) and the shape - oh, the shape. His ass was snug against his pants and round and fucking perfect, begging to be grabbed. The slivers of the top of his pockets had smoothed into fine lines and grew tight and my eyes might have rolled back in my head a little.
Then, it was over (it's always so quick, so teasing). He'd righted himself, given a little sigh of contentment at his familiar breakfast, and had grinned at us both.
"Tomorrow's party day," he'd said cheerfully.
"I know," Alice had answered with enthusiasm, clasping her hands and giving a bob of her perky little shoulders. "I'm so excited for karaoke."
I only nodded because I'm lame and couldn't really form words or swallow at the moment.
Side note: I've been trying to figure out Edward's deal ever since he joined the firm back in September; to say I get a strong vibe about which side his sexual preference leans to isn't quite true. Sometimes I get the feeling he's staring at me over his cup of coffee, only to look up and see that he's glancing at the clock behind me. He never mentions a girlfriend and there is no ring on his finger, but there are no telltale signs of a man in his life, either. You'd think that by sitting directly across from him, close enough to smell his cologne or get my foot tangled in his phone wire, I might have made a bigger impression than occasional banter and small talk… but I'm shy. After all this time, I figure that, to him, I'm just another co-worker.
"Mm-hmm," he'd hummed as he opened the Pop-Tarts. "See you out there."
I'd been going for charming, so I'd given him my casual-but-still-sexy flash of teeth and then… saluted. I'd saluted at the man like I was Captain fucking Crunch.
"You have it so bad," Alice had put it, knowing very well of my increasing 'bad' crush on Edward.
Shamefully, I mumbled to her that I'd bring some food and hid behind my computer for the rest of the day, only glancing at Edward with subtle longing when I was sure he was taking a business call and wouldn't notice.
So, that was yesterday, and now today, thanks to Alice and her request, I am going to miss the chance to redeem my dignity because I'm already running late and the Pop-Tarts drop in less than fifteen minutes, and I have to buy the most hated concoction in the world (says me). Oh, and I'm standing in twenty-four degree weather outside a 7-Eleven, staring at a bright red advertisement that reads "FRESH SEASONAL EGGNOG! BUY TWO, GET THE THIRD FREE!"
It's mockery, I tell you.
I walk through the door and a little chime greets me like this is a happy visit, which it would be if I'd stopped for an impromptu cherry Slurpee. It's colder than a snowman's balls, though, so I decide to pass on the ruby-red ice mush.
The eggnog's next to the milk. The cartons are decorated with holly berries and leaves, a token of festivity, and all I can think is the holly is shaped just oddly enough to look like it's smiling at me. "I hate you," I whisper to it, and my hands actually shake as I reach to grab three cartons - I might as well go for the advertised deal - and awkwardly hold them like fickle toddlers. I get a hot chocolate to make myself feel better and pay, and then place the bag full of eggnog in my trunk. The hell if I'm going to let it sit up front with me and my homemade bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.
I run a stop sign and steal Michael T. Newton's (the big boss man) parking spot to save time, and as I casually breeze (or barrel) through the office doors, I see that Edward is already at his desk, obliviously eating a Pop-Tart while scrolling over emails on his computer. I'm too late.
"Yay!" Alice exclaims as I hand over the cock-blocking eggnog and my appetizer. "Thanks for picking that up. Tyler was supposed to bring it - he made it homemade and everything - but left it on his counter! It's a shame, really, it's going to spoil."
"What a tragedy," I say. Before she can catch my sarcasm, I shuffle to my desk. Edward is mid-bite and raises his eyebrows as I drop my man-bag on the floor and let out a elongated puff of breath.
"Rough morning?" he asks. He has a sprinkle of crumbs on his tie. I wish he'd lick them off.
I grin a little as I peel off my coat and gloves. "Does it show?"
I'm being dramatic, really. Even though I just purchased a drink fit for Satan, nothing bad happened. Besides, I still get to watch him eat. His mouth is fascinating, curved slightly at the corners as if he's in on a private joke, a full bottom lip that is absolutely scrumptious when he bites it in thought. I swear, his smile glows. Sure, it could be the glare of sunlight through the windows, but if anyone's had their teeth blessed by some deity, it's Edward.
"Well, at least there's the party tonight," he says, performing the disappointing task of brushing the crumbs off his tie instead of using his tongue. "Are you bringing anyone?"
The question catches me off guard. "Uh… no. You?"
"Not anymore. She can't make it."
She. Of course. Fuck. There it is. The cute ones are always straight, contrary to popular opinion. I try not to act like he just triple-hole-punched my fantasy of bending him over a copy machine. "Bummer. Girlfriend?"
He chuckles. "Not since high school."
"The one who got away?" I'm disappointed, so my charm has just been suffocated by clichéd phrases. Sue me.
"No, not exactly. We just grew up. Things changed… a lot of things," he says, leaning back and stretching his arms. "We're still friends, though."
This is normally where our conversation ends. Just a little morning chat and then it's nose to the grindstone. Edward leans forward to grab a pen and suddenly his foot brushes mine. We both freeze for a split second before moving our feet in a simultaneous retreat.
"Sorry," we say in tandem, but as we do, my phone abruptly shifts to the left, knocking over his pencil cup, and his mouse whips to the gap between our desks. Our phones both beep in protest.
"Fuck," he mutters, glancing under his desk. Whatever movement he makes causes his keyboard to lurch.
"Caught in the chains again?" It's a joke. Under the bridge of our desks, the computer and phone wires braid into a poorly constructed knot and one of us usually ends up getting snarled at some point. Since my feet are free, I roll my chair backwards and peek for myself. Sure enough, his shoelace is caught on the plastic strap tie that's supposed to keep us from kicking everything. Ha.
He jiggles his foot, only succeeding in putting his shoe through a loop of another cable. I snicker and he cracks a grin. "If I keep this up, maybe I'll short circuit something and we can go home."
"If only. Hang on," I say, kneeling on the floor and ducking under my desk. He's actually snagged pretty well. "What were you doing, playing footsies with the cords?"
"Gotta pass the time somehow," he responds. Playful snark. Just another reason to pine over the fact that he plays for the girl's team.
I gently unravel a wire from the sole of his - holy shit. "You wear Cole Haan?" I blurt. I've never paid attention to his shoes before (my eyes have been elsewhere, like on his back pockets). My closet is lined with Cole Haan; I might be a little bit of a shoe snob.
"Oh, yeah. My closet is full of pairs. These pants are his brand, too."
Well, I'll be damned.
"Just a minute," I murmur, restraining from exclaiming that Cole Haan is practically all I wear on my feet. I may now have to look into pants as well. If my ass could look the way his does… oh, the endless possibilities. I work to pull him free, but take my time as I slip my hand behind his heel, my fingers tapping his ankle and smoothing over his sock. Sweet Jesus. It's only a foot and I'm not into that shit, but other than an introduction handshake, this is the only time I've ever touched him. He's warm. His sock is soft. His muscles are firm even at the base of his calf. I have no reason to be touching his leg, but I am. My hand did it without permission - neither mine, nor his. I don't want to let go.
Update: In addition to his ass, I'm now turned on by Edward Cullen's ankle and leg. I'm slowly climbing the freak-ladder.
It's only been seconds, but it feels longer and I rush to finish and untangle the wires. "You're free," I say. I think he thanks me but my blood is rushing in my ears and my face is burning. There's no hiding a telltale blush. I have no reason to stay under here but if I get up, I'm going to give myself away.
"On your knees again, Whitlock?"
My head smacks the underside of the desk with a crack and I sharply inhale a juggernaut of a dust bunny. I cough so hard I see stars - or maybe because I hit my head - and then I catch a glimpse of the ostentatious tops of Ed Hardy shoes.
Boss Newton. Motherfucker extraordinaire, carries a degree in business and douchebaggery. Pretentious bastard by day, drunken fool by night. Enjoys taking the piss out of me every chance he gets.
I crawl out from under my desk, still red-faced and sputtering. At least now I have an excuse for my reddened cheeks. I'd tell him to fuck off, but the practical-joker universe saw it fit to make this man my manager, and the economy isn't exactly welcoming to the unemployed.
"He ever tell you we played on the football team in high school?" I suppose Mike is talking to Edward; I don't look because I'm ten shades of Elmo and possibly dying from asphyxiation. "He spent more time eating turf grass than on his feet."
The joke isn't what I expected, but I'm sure he's not quite finished. This particular ribbing is due to the joyous privilege of growing up in the same neighborhood as Mike, which meant we were in the same school district. I hated him then. I hate him now. But he thinks we're buddies and always tries to fist pump me in the hallway like he's from the goddamn Jersey Shore.
I get enough air to wheeze, "Let's not get into what you spent your time eating on the sidelines."
Mike must have had his head up every skirt on the cheerleading squad at least once. Not surprisingly, he stills thinks he's the king of the cooch world because he hoots and holds out his fist. I bump his knuckles without rolling my eyes - a Christmas miracle.
Edward eyes me as I sit and hack into my sleeve, then reaches for the water cooler that we're lucky enough to have close by. He hands me a little cone of water, eyebrows furrowed.
"Dust," I choke out and take a grateful sip.
"Uh huh," Mike quips.
"Nice outfit," Edward remarks to Mike, sparing me from having to retort. "Raid a fifteen year-old's locker?"
I cough over a laugh, almost jealous that I can't say things like that aloud. Edward can get away with it since his uncle, Aro Volterra, owns the company. Rumor has it, Edward could have had a nice, cushy seat as Senior Vice President in Seattle, but instead chose to come and run with us lowly financial advisors in the Port Angeles branch. It makes him all the more appealing to know he isn't another power-hungry meathead in a suit. Or Ed Hardy apparel.
"You're just jealous, Cullen," Mike says with the air of a swank-whore, swinging a blue plastic bag beside his leg. Something round is inside. It has to be mincemeat pie. He's the only one in the office who likes it. "The ladies dig my look. I'm stylish and sophisticated."
If getting blown by Irina Denali in the ladies bathroom while wearing a skull-breathing-fire undershirt is sophisticated, then I'm straight.
"Plus, it's party day, so dress code is out the window," he adds. "Looks like you two are what you wear, huh? Uptight suit monkeys?" He snorts, then straightens as the newest female temp walks by in red heels and a Santa hat. Mike, ever the bighead, rattles off a fabrication of "Edward, Jasper, make sure you forward the new shareholder proposal to Jenks. He's expecting a hard copy in the mail, but I'd like him to browse the numbers first thing this - well, good morning."
He grins at the girl, who gives a polite smile and scurries around the corner to HR.
"She's hot. Who is she?"
"Kate," I answer. She and I had discussed the latest Willis film over Thai take-out in the break room a few days ago. "But she's engaged, so-"
"Doesn't mean she won't do me," Mike boasts. "Just wait until later. Watch and learn, Whitlock. I know you're not into vagina, but that doesn't mean I can't teach you a thing or two."
Just what I need. Someone like Mike announcing my sexual preference to my office crush, if he didn't already know. Eggnog and Mike Newton within the same hour. I may vomit.
"Edward knows what I mean," he continues, slapping Edward on the back. "How's your little sexy Bella-ella-ella? Coming to shake her tail feather tonight for the par-tay?"
"She's great, Mike," Edward answers, clicking his pen. "And no, she had to cancel. Her tail feather was needed at the hospital for an overnight shift."
"Aw, damn. That blows." Mike sighs and punches Edward's shoulder. It's hard not to be jealous that he can keep touching him so casually. "Don't worry, I'll save you my leftovers, dog. I have mad wingman skills. Anyway, Whitlock - what the fuck?" He tosses me his keys, which I fumble to catch. "You're in my parking spot. Move. And park me in the right place. Careful, though, I just got her waxed."
Mike walks away (fucking finally) and Edward slowly swivels his chair from side to side, watching him over his shoulder. When he turns back to me, his eyes are comically wide. "I hate that guy."
"God, me too," I agree. I ruffle my hair and jingle Mike's keys. "I'll be back."
Edward nods, then does something I don't expect. He salutes.
He's mimicking my gesture from yesterday and I'm instantly embarrassed, but his smile is not mocking. It's light, pleasant. Entrancing. I smile back and - I can't believe it - his ears turn pink and the mild flush spreads across his cheekbones.
Mother of God.
I shake my head and grin, laughing it off, and all the way to the parking lot, my stomach flips and flutters in a way that I haven't felt in a long time. I've been admiring Edward's bitable behind from a distance, but never have I felt this… magnetism. I'm not so optimistic to think he was flirting. After all, he's into women. Even though he didn't specify. I just assumed… Mike seemed to think he was a ladies' man. Then again, Mike has his head up his ass half the time. But, girlfriend or not, he still has a sexy Bella who was supposed to be his date.
I rub my eyes, knowing I shouldn't be thinking about this. I have a whole work day to sit through. Across from Edward. It's going to be a long day if I keep this up.
Outside, it feels like it's dropped another ten degrees and the cold air brings me some clarity. I shiver and move my car to one of the only spaces left (by the dumpster, of course) and proceed to park Mike's precious yellow Mustang in his 'Manager' spot.
Before I go back inside, I might 'accidentally' kick the car a little.
Surprisingly, the day moves quickly. Business calls with clients, statistical planning, analyzing mutual funds… all in a day's work. Edward keeps his eyes on his own computer the whole day, only speaking up to ask for a paper clip and to comment that it's snowing outside. We miss each other at lunch; Alice pulls him into her corner office for whatever reason and I have turkey on rye and talk football with Emmett. After that, I'm called in for an impromptu conference call in Mike's office (because that jackass can't do anything by himself) and Edward is gone when I return.
My eyes are burnt out by five and I stretch and grumble as my other co-workers don their last-minute Christmas attire (reindeer antlers, snowman pins, Santa hats) and wander over to the opposite corridor that leads to the party. I can already hear Jingle Bell Rock in the distance. Alice has been setting up since three and I'm sure the party will be in full-swing within minutes. I need to get up.
Eventually, I loosen my tie and give one more glance to the front door. It seems like Edward's not coming back. Maybe since his date cancelled, he doesn't see the point of partying. This disappoints me in a heavier way than I expect. It's Thursday, and because of the holiday, we're off until Tuesday. Our little connection earlier will be forgotten by then, replaced by the back-to-work blues and a buildup of paperwork.
I waste a few more minutes straightening my desk, then stand. Since my part of the office is empty, I unbutton my shirt and reach into my bag for my sweater - a dark green cashmere my mother gave me last Christmas - the only festive looking thing I could find this morning. My laundry's atrocious.
I've just removed my shirt and tie and am completely bare-chested when I hear my name.
You would think someone had shouted it into a megaphone. I jump and spin to find Edward staring at me in slight shock before he clears his throat, seeming embarrassed to find me half-nude.
"You - I - Alice - you're the only one not at the party," he says quickly. He takes a drink out of the cup he's holding and clears his throat again. "She told me to threaten you if you don't get your ass over there."
"Oh?" I say, chuckling. I let my shirts dangle by my fingertips. I don't mind stalling to cover myself. I work out. "What are you going to do to me, then?"
Well, hello cup full of confidence. But it's gone as quick as it came as Edward's eyes grow large.
"Tell her to calm down, I'm coming."
I pull a t-shirt over my head, followed by my sweater, and scrub my hands over my face. Remembering to not flirt with handsome straight men is hard sometimes. Edward waits for me, continuously sipping his drink. His ears and cheeks are pink again. He seems … flustered. Weird.
"Where've you been all day?" I ask as we walk, cheerful now that he is actually here. It's only now that I realize he's changed his clothes, too - a charcoal knit sweater is hugging his torso. I'm envious of freaking wool. "I thought you left."
"I got recruited to the decorating committee," he says. "Alice is quite intense."
Ah. His disappearance makes sense. Alice must have had him up to his ears in tinsel. "She's like that every year," I say with a smile. "Sorry, I would have warned you if I'd known."
He waves his hand. "Don't be. I got paid to hang lights and drink spiked punch since three."
"No shit?" We both laugh and he's captivating, both in voice and body. I almost give him a friendly elbow bump before remembering boundaries. Instead, I watch his tongue wet his lips and the bob of his throat as he swallows another sip of what I assume is punch - which reminds me that the flush in his cheeks is due to two hours of indulgence, not my previous shirtlessness. Because he's straight. "In that case, I'd better catch up to you," I say, gesturing to his cup.
"I'll get you something," he offers as we walk into the party. "What would you like?"
"I'll have what you're having," I say with a shrug. "Thanks."
As expected, the party is already ongoing as though it has been for hours. People are digging into the buffet and sampling the punch bowl and swaying to Christmas tunes. In the midst, Alice spots me and bolts over.
"I'm what - five minutes late?"
"Fifteen," she answers with a nudge to my arm. "You'll be lucky if you get one of your own jalapeño poppers - which are to die for, by the way. Tyler and Emmett ate half the tray already."
"I have a whole other back-up tray in my freezer. Maybe if you're nice to me, I'll invite you over to share."
"You'd better," she giggles, then lowers her voice. "So, Edward's looking debonair tonight. There's mistletoe in the corner, you know."
"Can you not say things like that when everyone's around, please?" I hiss despite her hushed words. "Besides, he's not - boobs are what he's looking for, Al. I have an entirely different set of-"
"Edward!" Alice calls out, waving, and I sigh under my breath. It's like having a meddlesome sister, I swear. She hugs me around the waist as Edward approaches. "I love this sweater, Jas. It's so soft. It makes you so huggable."
"Are you drunk already?" I ask her, crinkling my nose. "What did I tell you, more than two cups of anything and you're in trouble. Go slow, please?"
She ignores me and pets me like a puppy. "Feel his sweater, Edward. It's incredible."
It suddenly dawns on me that she's whoring me out. "I swear to God, Alice, I'll carry you outside and stick your head in the snow."
"Grinch," she says, then takes a cup - my drink - out of Edward's hand and forces him to feel my sweater. I'm not sure if I hate her or love her as his hand glides down my arm.
"It's… very soft," he says, giving Alice a cooperative nod. He doesn't look at me, though. Great, he's uncomfortable.
"Isn't it?" she squeals, then hands me the cup. "I'm assuming this is for you. Enjoy the party, boys. Come find me for some karaoke later!"
Again, I'm left to pick up pieces of my dignity. I attempt to explain. "Just ignore her, if she so much as breathes alcohol, she gets crazy. I had to stop her from taking off her bra at a concert, once."
Thank the freaking baby Jesus, because he laughs and doesn't bolt for another group of people after the cashmere-petting. "It's no problem. Besides, Mike made me feel his pec implants and I accidentally bumped into Irina and got a handful of something I shouldn't have. I've been groping everyone."
My turn to laugh. "Well, cheers to that," I say, holding up my cup to his. We 'clink'. All is well. I take a sip without looking and swallow because I'm expecting punch.
This is not punch.
This is not punch.
Oh, God. No. No. Why? Why didn't I look? The cups are not clear. They're red. I should have looked. I should have checked. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Oh, God. It's eggnog. It's eggy-ness and noggy-ness and it's sliding down my throat.
I can't open my eyes. I can't move. I need to concentrate on not puking, thanks very much.
I can't speak. My stomach rolls. My throat spasms.
Yup. Oh, shit. This is bad.
I'm being dragged. I hope it's someone else to the rescue. If I vomit on Edward Cullen, I will quit and start selling self-help books for the incredibly pathetic to prevent situations like this for all the little boys who will grow up to be me. Maybe join an anti-eggnog campaign. Raw eggs really aren't good for anyone.
I hear a door shut and I'm pushed into a chair and, out of nowhere, a trash can is in my face.
"Go ahead. You're good," he says. Edward. He pats my back. "No one's watching. Just… go ahead."
He thinks I'm going to be sick, and I still might, but I manage to take a breath without gagging. I'm in Mike Newton's office. This is as good of a reason to vomit as any, but I'm determined not to be Jaspuker again. I realize I'm still holding the eggnog.
"Get it away," I utter, pushing the cup into Edward's hands. "Please, take it. Put it outside."
Edward looks at me like I'm one drop shy of a needing a straightjacket, but he obliges, opening the door and setting the cup in the hallway. He pulls the door shut again and I lean over, breathing in long, calming breaths. I understand how dramatic this looks, but I don't care.
"I drank it," I say aloud. "I actually… oh, God."
"Are you, uh… lactose intolerant or something?"
I cover my mouth, swallowing hard. "No, no - I'm sorry. I - eggnog - I can't drink it. I mean, I just did, but this is what happens. When I was a kid, I… ugh." I moan a little and stand, walking to a window and cranking it open. It's snowing and freezing, and little flakes blow in and melt on my cheeks.
"I'm really sorry," Edward says quietly. "I thought… Well, it was what I was drinking and you said… I mean, you brought it, right? I didn't think you would-"
"Not your fault," I say as I breathe in the wonderfully cold air. "Just my neurosis."
In reality, I know that I've simply ingested milk, which I like, some kind of alcohol, which I also like, and spices, which are the same in pumpkin pie… which I like. The egg… ugh, the egg. No - I like omelets. But omelets aren't slimy.
I need therapy.
"Can I do anything?"
Edward's eyes are wide and concerned and I'm totally killing whatever is left of his buzz. I wonder how he would feel if I said 'Just let me stare at you'.
"You can … distract me. Just talk about something else? Yourself?" How obvious are you? "Just do something. Please."
I shut my eyes and lick my lips, trying to discard the taste. Of all times to be merry, this Christmas party was it, and eggnog, once again, had to go and ruin-
My lips. They're not alone. Something - no, two somethings. Smooth. Balmy. Other lips are pressed against mine. Hands are holding my face. Eggnog has sent me into a coma and I'm feeling things that are not real.
But I can still feel the nip of wind on my neck and the lips, the hands - they aren't going away. A mouth lightly sucks at mine and a tongue slips and taps my own, and I push deeper, reach to feel more. A spark starts, growing as my fingers clasp and beg his body to come closer, to prove to me that this is real.
The kiss is still gentle and it doesn't speed or slow, it explores. It picks me up and carries me into something new, and continues to burn and multiply my senses, and when it's broken, I'm left warm and wanting more.
Inches away, Edward breathes in quiet pants. He narrows his eyes and looks unsure. My eyes must be stuck; I can't blink.
"Did that … did that work?" he asks.
It takes me a moment to remember what he means. "I'd say so," I say in an exhale. "But, uh… I…" Quite honestly, I'm wondering if I imagined that.
"Oh, Christ, that wasn't okay, was it?" he blurts, stepping back.
"No, no - I mean, yes. Wait," I touch my bottom lip, feeling a lingering tingle, then point to him. "I thought… I mean, you - you have a sexy Bella."
His eyebrows all but disappear into his hair. "I have a who?"
"Your old girlfriend?"
"Bella?" He laughs nervously, curling his hand behind his neck. "Bella, my married friend who has two little boys?"
Now I'm confused. "But Mike said-"
"Mike says a lot of shit that he doesn't know anything about," he finishes, his smile sheepish. "He and I differ on … what we find sexy."
The room suddenly feels a whole lot warmer. "So, you're…?"
"Not into vagina." He repeats Mike's earlier phrase and I've never been so excited to hear about lady parts in my whole life.
Joy to the world. Edward Cullen is gay.
I'm in disbelief. "Not into vagina?"
He tugs on his turtleneck, exposing just enough skin to make me want to lick under his jaw and perform a heinous crime of ripping through his soft knit sweater. "I'm into you, though."
Okay, screw the sweater. "Into me?" I'm stunned into being on repeat.
"And you're right under the mistletoe and said to distract you, so I just… went for it," Edward says.
I look up. Huh. I am under the mistletoe. The fact that there is mistletoe in Mike Newton's office is disturbing, but I can't complain now.
Edward is fidgeting. I push myself away from the wall and step toward him, wanting to take his hands, but he adds, "But just because you like looking at my ass doesn't mean you want me invading your mouth, right?"
I balk, almost gasping. "What? Who - did she tell you that?" I point to the door, meaning Alice, but he already knows.
"Did she lie?" He sounds stricken and won't stop backing up. "You don't like-"
"What - no - yes, it's perfect - she didn't-" I realize what I've just said and cover my face, laughing because this is so embarrassing and ridiculous and hilarious and fantastic. There's no way around it. "It's true. I've stared at your ass since the day you started. Not that I didn't want to talk to you, too. I just thought I'd end up making a fool out of myself. And I thought you were straight."
My nerves spike as we grin and chuckle, drifting closer and stepping back in a shy sort of shuffle.
"I guess we should probably make up for lost time then, huh?" he asks. "If you're up for it, I could start by getting you a drink that won't make you vomit."
"Yeah, I'm definitely feeling better now," I say, feeling my own cheeks grow warm. It's got to be euphoria or adrenaline still rushing through me, or the fact that he is too tempting not to touch, because I run my fingers through his hair without care and pull him close. "Can I thank you?"
I fall a little in love with the way his eyes sparkle in gold and green flecks, with the way his hand settles on and cups my waist. He breathes a yes and I lean until we're back under the mistletoe (it seems appropriate) and the pressure of his chest against mine is too much. My mouth is eager for his and once they meet, I don't want to stop, ever. It's like a switch, a signal, and not only are we kissing with lips, but our bodies. Hands squeeze and legs rub and arms conform to curves and it's hot in this room, hot in my head, hot down my…
I break to breathe and he says the words I'm thinking. "Keep that up and I won't be able to leave this room," he pants.
"I hope so."
After I close the window, I consider rummaging through Mike's desk for duct-tape because my dick probably won't behave itself for the next few hours. Getting drunk might help. "How about that drink?"
Foreplay has never been so fun. 'Behind closed doors' is suddenly overrated. Sneaking in fondles and touches while trying to hide it in front of others is daring and provocative and fucking hilarious. Alice blocks us some of the time - she knows what's going on and is damn pleased with herself for spilling my secret to Edward, seeing as he made his move and it worked out. I'll hear how much I owe her for the rest of my life.
Edward switches back to party punch and I drink, too, and grow more and more intoxicated between the alcohol and his presence (and his hand in mine when no one's looking). I'm definitely in the Christmas mood now, warm and feeling festive - even allowing Alice to crown me with an elf hat for a good half hour - and as the hours pass, the food is eaten and cups are refilled and the music grows louder until everyone is ridiculous and drunk, singing along to The Twelve Days of Christmas and Little St. Nick.
When I get drunk, my nearly-dormant southern accent comes out full-throttle. Edward is amused when I say cookie jaaar and paaarty and daaarlin', and tells me that he likes it. Then I crack up when he states that when Mike laughs, he sounds like a warthog with its head in the ground. Mike has been unsuccessfully flirting with almost every woman in the room, and now even Irina is brushing him off in favor of Tyler's company. When Mike announces to the whole room the party is now taking place in his pants and all the 'chicks' are invited, Edward and I are practically in tears of mirth.
"The only thing that wants to be part of that party is that god-awful pie he brought," I snicker into Edward's ear. "I'll bet you he's prick-deep in mincemeat by midnight."
Edward holds onto me so he doesn't collapse in a fit of hysterics and I cross my arm over his. We don't even look out of place since everyone is now stumbling around and hanging onto each other and declaring drunken 'I looooove you'sto anyone who they encounter. I'm unsteady on my feet, too, and accidentally topple us into the nearest cubicle. He falls into a swivel chair and brings me down on top of him, ass to lap. It's nearly impossible to stop laughing, but once I realize we're out of everyone's line of sight, I lean back and graze my teeth under his jaw, kissing his neck until his hand is tangled in my hair and the other - oh, the other - is smoothing over my stomach, back and forth above my belt buckle, then down into the crease of my thigh.
"Oh, Jesus." My declaration has nothing to do with the celebration of the birth of Mary's child, trust me.
He repeats his action and a vibrating hum sounds from behind my teeth. I reach behind his neck, bringing my mouth to his ear. I lick and suck and he tilts his head, an eager breath leaving his lungs. "Jas?"
The sound of my nickname coming from his mouth is like another fondle from his hand and it feels wonderful. My cock seems to feel it, too, rousing and hardening and wondering why the fuck its being held captive by clothing.
"Can we… go somewhere?"
As he says it, his hand finally goes where I'm dying for contact. He strokes me with those long fingers of his and I have to bite my lip and hiss to keep from moaning above the music. I don't answer right away and he keeps at it, rubbing until I'm arching my back and lifting my hips to feel more. I can feel him under me, too, and as I move, I'm grinding my ass right against his own erection.
I want to reach down and feel him with my own hands, but I can't since I'm sitting on him and we're in a goddamn cubicle in the middle of a party and Frosty the Snowman is not mood music.
"Where can we go?" I ask, thinking of possibilities. I really don't want to fool around in the bathroom. As fun and kinky as it sounds, it's unsanitary. Since it's colder than an iceberg's tit and we're both too drunk to drive, the storage closet is probably the only other place available… unless another couple has already stolen it.
"Can you reenact your eggnog face from earlier?"
I find this hilarious, unsure where he's going with it, but nod and finally stand. "Where are we going?"
"Just let me lead you. But bend over a little so no one sees … that." He smirks and nods at my crotch, which now looks like it has its own built-in tent.
"What about yours?" I give his bulge a playful tap and he catches my hand, lacing his fingers through mine.
"You're going to walk in front of me. Now look sick."
With that, he pushes me out of the cubicle and I practically stumble into the wall. Wow, I am really drunk. I'm pretty sure no one even notices us, but I scrunch my face and put my hand over my mouth for dramatic emphasis and Edward calls out, "Heads up, Whitlock can't hold his liquor!"
I'll get him for that later. Even though it's sort of true if it comes in form of you-know-what.
He holds my shoulders and steers me away from the party, down the hall, and I'm nervous that he's headed straight for the men's room, but he's as slick as the freaking Green Arrow as he pulls a door open in a flash and shuts us both inside.
We're in Newton's office again.
Before I can laugh and make a joke about the bathroom actually being a better choice, Edward is sliding his hands up my sides and it's my turn to have his mouth on my neck and I swallow my words.
Here is good. Solid walls. Closed blinds. Raucous Christmas songs outside to block the sound of-
"Mmph," Edward moans as I cup his ass (oh for the love of Cole Haan) and squeeze, and it's just as firm as I imagined. I absolutely cannot wait to see it with my own eyes.
He continues to kiss me as I pull on his sweater, tugging it over his head, only to be met with another cotton tee. "Too many shirts," I protest with a laugh and rid him of the other. I run my hand over his chest, trying not to salivate over the perfection that is skin and definition and ripples of muscle.
"Not fair," he says, curling his fingers under my cashmere. "We should match."
"You already saw me," I tease.
"Not long enough. And I was trying to be polite and not stare. I'm going to stare this time, just so you know."
Well, I'm already ogling his body and he's only half-uncovered. But fair's fair. I remove my shirts and before I can blink, he's tugging at his belt, unclasping and unzippering and I'm struggling to catch up. I lean on the desk (trying to forget it's Mike's) and kick off my shoes and as I reach for my own belt, I stop to watch him strip down to blue boxer briefs. All I can say is I'm sending Calvin Klein my Christmas bonus.
It's almost painfully slow, but we bare all and I'm fixated. We're both staring and watching and studying, and he's rock hard and stunning, and I just can't help it; I stroke myself. He strides toward me, wraps his hands around my neck and I kiss him as he bumps against me. My cock throbs in my hand, impatient - just like me. He must know, or feel it, or read minds, because he rocks forward and, instantly, we are a tangle of skin on skin. We move and our hands travel, and over his shoulder, I grant myself a magnificent view of his toned, muscle-cut ass, watching it tighten and flex. I sink my hands into said ass cheeks, and it's better than I ever imagined.
Fuck off, Pop-Tarts. I don't need you anymore.
I feel myself slip into a dizzy blur of heat and stirring flutters in my stomach. Edward grinds into my hip and the friction of every move is so hot and slick and pulsing with want, and I know I'm going to come undone in record time if I don't stop for a moment. I reach down and grip him, slide my hand from base to tip, curling my fingers and thumbing his slit which makes him groan.
"So, what was all that about me not holding my liquor, hmm?" I press, pumping him gently. "Seems like I can hold up pretty well. You seem a little weak in the knees, though."
"Oh-ho," he chuckles breathlessly. "Is that so?" He stops my hands from working him up, all smiles and red cheeks. "You haven't seen anything."
Edward slides to the floor, fingertips dragging down my torso, until he's kneeling and gripping my hips. He pushes me back against the desk and I automatically grasp the sides. Oh, my God. He's going to… to…
He teases me with a lick first, and even that teeny, tiny contact makes my body jerk. I steel my hands, knowing I'm in for a ride, and I don't even care that the room is swaying a little because his mouth is warm and wet and envelopes me, and I'm no longer in control of rational thought. I gasp and let my head hang back, panting at the ceiling and moaning as he swallows around me, clearly practiced and fucking intense. No games, just tongue and teeth and thumbing strokes. He's on his knees, but I'm at his mercy - on another planet, high and still climbing.
This is going to be ridiculously quick (yes, he maneuvers like a Hoover). I'm impressed. And getting hot as hell.
"Edward, my - mm, God." It's so good. I'm pushing into his mouth, now, and can't control myself or slow down. He grabs my ass and I fist his hair and arch my back and curl my leg, pressing my heel hard into his shoulder blade. I'm eager. I'm close. I try to tell him this but he sucks me harder and I end up speaking in mm's and oh's and oh's and OH's.
I manage to stutter "I'm going to-" before I actually do, and I thrust and pant and he swallows his victory. I come down slowly, head lolling and hands shaking. My legs are Jell-o and I grapple with a tissue box before I can grab one and hand it to him. He wipes his mouth and grins in a way that is beautiful and knowing and fucking smug.
"Knees a little weaker?" he asks.
"Knees are nonexistent," I reply, making him laugh. He's proud of himself and should be. "Oh, God. I should sit."
I sit back on the desk, because otherwise, I would fall over. I'm semi-grossed out that my bare ass is on Mike Newton's desk, but I get a kick out of thinking of the look on his face if he'd ever finds out what has gone on atop his precious manager's oak top.
"Dizzy?" Edward asks, and I nod. "Me too. Lay with me?"
"What about you?" I grasp his waist and nod to his still-erect self. "I'm not all about taking and not giving back."
"Hearing the way you were moaning, I wouldn't last ten seconds," he explains lightly. "I need a few minutes."
I'm immensely warm after such activities, so when we stretch out on the floor with our discarded clothes acting as mats, I'm not cold. I'm confident that if I had to walk out into the snow this very moment, I'd still be a solid block of heat.
"Tell me about the eggnog," he says, amused. "There must be a story there."
I groan in mock-protest, but I spill. It is quite the tale, after all. We bond even more when he tells me how he can't eat tuna fish after eating an expired can on a camping trip. After that, we share random tidbits. He loves hockey and swims on the weekends, and we both enjoy football and gourmet cooking. He has a sister, Rosalie, who lives in Manhattan. I tell him about my collection of Simon and Garfunkel and he grins and admits to having a signed copy of Bridge Over Troubled Water that his grandmother gave him. We laugh and sigh and hold hands and I'm absolutely content.
It doesn't take long before our hands graze and wander over shoulders and stomachs, and small kisses and touches turn to groping, and true to my word, I'm not one to not fulfill my part of the bargain. As I'm bent over Mike Newton's desk, feeling Edward's hips thrust and crush against my ass, filling me along with his desire, I have to smile at the thought of that bastard going home alone while I'm freshly, gratuitously fucked and fulfilled, having gotten the best gift of all.
I wake with splinters in my stomach, cotton in my mouth, and hammers in my skull. Ugh, the motherfucking aftermath of all Christmas spirits, the holy-hell hangover. Reluctantly, I lift my head off my makeshift cashmere pillow and squint at the fiery ball of sun coming in through the blinds.
I startle, jerking my head to the right and immediately lay it down. Sudden movement. Big mistake. Room spinning. I might end up being Jaspuker after all.
"Fuck," I rasp. I carefully narrow my eyes to the voice instead of looking. "Hi."
Edward is propped up against the wall, knees to his chest, looking just as terrible as I feel. In seeing him, all thoughts of possible vomiting exit my head. I am frozen, now, wondering what is running through his mind. I hope to God last night wasn't a drunken act of lust on his part, because only five seconds into consciousness, heavy-lidded and head pounding, I already feel memory echoes of our touching and tasting, and lips on fire.
Despite the pain, I give him a smile and - Hallelujah to the lucky stars - he smiles back. "How do you feel?" he asks.
"Like I could shatter if I so much as move an inch," I say honestly. "You?"
"Awful. I puked in Newton's plant."
This makes me feel a little better, surprisingly, and I grin wider even though it hurts. "No shit? Good for you."
"I figure it's my own personal way of giving him a lump of coal," he says, tapping his fingers on the edge of the plant's pot. "Though, I feel kind of bad. It's a nice Ficus."
"I think it's plastic," I point out. "Puke away."
He tries to chuckle, but grimaces. "Give me a minute, that might actually happen."
I want to go to him, let him lay his head on my lap and give him a good morning kiss. But I am glued to the floor and my breath is bordering on being a biological hazard. "So… if we want to get technical… eggnog aided in making you sick, huh?"
"Technically," he recurs with an eye roll, smirking, "whiskey did. And probably the last three cups of punch. But I have no regrets."
I laugh and my stomach lurches, quickly shutting me up. We lay in self-pity and slight agony until finally, we both groan and stretch and pick ourselves and our clothes off the floor. It's the total opposite of how I ever imagined waking up next to him, but it's worth seeing his unruly hair and freshly-stubbled jaw.
Since we both feel like shit, we don't cuddle or launch right into frisky conversation, but we stick together as we dress in our rumpled clothes and stumble back into the restroom. We splash our faces and rinse our mouths, try to tame our wild hair and pee out a ton of what we drank the previous night. In the middle of washing my hands, I'm gripped by nausea and nearly lose the battle with my stomach, but Edward's cool hand kneads the back of my neck and I'm fine within a minute.
"Magic hands," I joke, and he blows on his fingertips like they're precious before cracking a grin and squeezing my hand.
At our desks, we bundle in our outerwear and gather last-minute belongings. I look at my cell-phone and read a text from Alice:
I actually had to dance with Mike Newton and kiss him under the mistletoe so he'd stay away from his office. You're welcome. P.S. Tell Edward I said good morning. ;)
I make a mental note to make her as many jalapeño poppers as her little body can handle.
When I see Edward glancing at the break room, I nudge his elbow. "Thinking about Pop-Tarts?"
"God, no," he laughs, putting a protective hand over his stomach. "Water."
"Good idea. We should eat, though, right? Soak up the alcohol? Maybe we could hit the diner." I'm hardly hungry and almost positive that's a myth, but I don't want to say goodbye, even if the thought of my memory foam mattress waiting at home for me sounds like absolute heaven right now.
Edward looks wary, too, but says, "I could go for some juice, maybe? Vitamin C helps."
It's very likely that he has juice in his own refrigerator at home, so maybe he doesn't want to say goodbye either. It's definitely possible that I'm going to fall hard for this guy, and I realize that doesn't scare me at all.
"Sounds good," I say.
The parking lot is full of snow and devoid of all but our two cars. We hold hands until we separate, and even with a hangover the size of Texas, I feel on top of the world.
At the diner, we slide into opposite sides of a booth and glimpse the specials. "We could probably handle hash browns and toast," I tell him. "I'd stay away from the sausage, though."
"Well, fuck, that's all that's been on my mind since last night." Edward's mouth curls into a slight grin and I snort into my menu.
The hostess brings us complimentary glasses of water and we both sip with caution. After a few minutes, I still feel all right and Edward gives me a thumb-up, so I relax and lean back into the cushions. We're good.
"Merry Christmas Eve, by the way."
"Oh, right," I say, rubbing my eyes. "I almost forgot. Any special plans?"
"Just dinner with my parents," he says. "Presents and brunch with the family tomorrow afternoon, then… being the laziest son of a bitch I can be until Tuesday."
"Amen," I say with a laugh. "If you want - well, you know, if the laziness permits you a break - maybe we could have dinner before then."
I'm shy again, suddenly. Regardless of the dry humps and body fluids we shared yesterday, my ability to turn back into the chicken-hearted guy who stares at cute asses from afar isn't hard to channel.
"I'd really like that." He smiles the smile that makes my stomach flutter and he starts to inch his hand toward mine before-
"How are you boys this fine morning?" Our waitress has arrived. She's a perky, pleasant redhead, who giggles when I dig deep for a drawl of, "Not too bad, how 'bout yourself, ma'am?"
I can't help myself sometimes. I'm still a southern boy at heart.
"Can I get you something to drink? Our coffee's brewed fresh, as always, of course! You look like men who enjoy a good steaming cup of caffeine. God knows I can't start my day without it!"
Edward looks amused and folds his hands, nodding his head as she lists off the entire diner's supply of beverages, pausing only to cock an eyebrow at me. It takes me a minute to realize the waitress is flirting with us, doing that weird eye-batting thing as she talks.
"We also have our seasonal eggnog available. Free refills, too!"
Of. Fucking. Course. I cough and Edward openly snickers.
"Orange juice," we say together, grinning as she bounces away without a clue. Under the table, his shoe brushes my leg. Not by accident, this time.
"You realize you can't knock it anymore," Edward says, resting his chin on his fist. "If there was no such thing as eggnog, I might not have gotten the balls to kiss you."
"Keep telling yourself that," I laugh, reaching over and finally entwining my fingers with his. "It was the mistletoe."
Like I said before, eggnog fucks me over every year. So what if the fucking took place in my boss's office as I was bent over a desk? Just a little holiday twist, is all.
'Tis the season to give and receive, right?