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  • Meg Bawden

Dante's First Christmas

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! What a rollercoaster 2018 has been. As a present for 2018, I give you a short story involving Luca, Atticus, and Dante. You don't HAVE to read their previous short story to understand, but it would help. I hope you enjoy this short advent story!


Blurb: Luca wants Dante's Christmas to be amazing, but when they get an unexpected guest, it could ruin everything he's planned.





Dante's First Christmas


He was a bit curved around the tummy, but he didn’t look too shabby. Not too shabby at all. Luca turned from one side to the other, checking himself out in the mirror. The gut was bulging more than he was used to and a thin layer of sweat clung to his skin already, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle. He could do this, even if the cotton was too heavy and stifling.


The door to their bedroom creaked open and Atticus paused at the threshold, eyes wide and mouth agape. He had a towel loosely wrapped around his hips, but otherwise the top half of his body was bare. “What are you doing?” He asked, his gaze trailing over Luca’s outfit.

Luca opened his arms, grinned, and did a little spin, nearly tripping over his big, black boots.


“I’m Santa Claus.” To make a point, he tugged on the fake white beard strapped to his chin. “Ho, ho, ho.”


“No, no, no.” Atticus pinched the bridge of his nose the way he always did when Luca came up with one of his awesome ideas. “You’ll scare the hell out of your son. He’s nine months old. He doesn’t understand what Santa is.”


Luca patted his belly, which happened to be a pillow stuffed into his bright red suit. “He’ll love seeing Santa Claus.”


Atticus waved his hand and sighed deeply. “Why am I arguing with you about this? You’re going to do it anyway. When he starts having nightmares, you can lay with him until he falls asleep because it’ll be all your fault.”


Luca snorted. “If I wanted to scare him, I’d sit him in front of the TV and put Final Destination or IT on.”


Atticus began walking into the room, but as soon as Luca said it, he halted and pointed a finger at him. “Don’t even think about it.”


Luca held up his white gloved hands and laughed. “What kind of father do you think I am?”


Atticus sighed and shifted closer. He slid his hands around Luca’s body and snuggled into the pillow that reached Luca’s chest. “This is comfortable. Maybe you should put on a few pounds so I can use you instead of a pillow.”


“That’s not what you said the other night.” He curled his arms around Atticus, dragging him closer. The smell of his favourite cologne teased Luca’s nose, a combination of spice and sweet. It wouldn’t have worked well on everyone, but it fit Atticus perfectly. “I thought you liked my six pack.”


Atticus mouthed his chin in a gentle kiss and laughed. “What six pack? You lost that when you realized you didn’t have to impress me anymore.”


Luca joined in with a chuckle of his own because it was true. He hadn’t given up the gym completely, but he hadn’t worked hard at it either. Between working full time hours and spending every other minute with his family, exercise had been lost with some of his other bachelor lifestyle. He still took a run in the afternoons with Atticus, Dante in the stroller, and visited his gym on occasions, but he couldn’t remember the last time he’d lifted weights.


“Maybe I’ll fill out this suit one day, huh?” Luca waggled his eyebrows.


Atticus shook his head and planted another kiss on his cheek before he moved toward the dresser. “You’re really going ahead with this costume? When did you buy it anyway?”


“The other day.” He rearranged the pillow and kneaded it until it looked like a round stomach again. “I saw it and thought Dante would love it.”


Atticus dragged out a pair of fresh pants and dropped his towel.


Luca took the moment to appreciate the beauty of Atticus’s ass. There was something truly wonderful about it, from the dimples on the side of the cheeks to the way it bounced every time he moved. Luca unconsciously took steps toward him but stopped when Atticus threw him a look over his shoulder.


“No.” He grinned though and made an overdramatic wiggle of his ass as he tugged on his underwear, then jeans. “We don’t have time. Mom will be here soon for Deborah’s party and you don’t want to ruin your outfit.”


Luca resisted the urge to pout. “You’re a tease.”


He shrugged in answer. “You’re the one who put on that ridiculous costume.”


Luca was beginning to regret it. They didn’t get much time together since Dante came into the world. He loved his son, but sometimes he craved his alone time with his boyfriend too.


Atticus’s mom had offered to take him, but Luca wasn’t ready to trust her yet. She’d only just came back into their lives.


“Please tell me you’re not wearing that thing to Deborah’s party,” Atticus said.

“What would you do if I did?”


“I wouldn’t claim you.” He shifted closer to Luca and wiggled his eyebrows, or at least attempted to. “Although, I do wonder what you look like with just the pants on.”


The look in Atticus’s eyes caused a shock of hot lust to shoot through him, rocking him right to the core, and making him hotter than he already was under the suit. The stifling heat grew heavier and he almost considered just shoving off the costume and taking Atticus there, but the thought was interrupted by the doorbell.


He groaned.


Atticus’s passionate stare vanished. “Shit. She’s here early.” He rushed past Luca and out the door, and the moment disappeared quicker than Luca lost his virginity.


Maybe it was a good thing though because having a boner in this costume would have been plain wrong.


***


“Are you ready?” Atticus smirked at him, the kind of lip twist that told Luca he knew exactly what was going to happen.


Luca ignored him. He squared his shoulders and patted his belly. “Let’s make this the best Christmas Dante will ever remember.”


Atticus nudged him in the side with his elbow. “He’s nine months old, he’s not going to remember this. Do you remember anything at that age?”


He waved him off. “He’ll remember this.”


Atticus sighed. “I’m not going to stop you from making a fool of yourself.”


Luca didn’t bother to reply. The heaviness of the suit made everything hot underneath and the sooner he surprised Dante, the sooner he could get out of it. With a dramatic wink in Atticus’s direction, he hefted up the belt under the pillow and strode out into the family room.


The square room was lit up from the multi-colored, flashing lights of the tall Christmas tree they’d positioned in the corner. A stack of presents sat beneath it, most of them for Dante, and three Christmas stockings hung from the fireplace, each one with their name on it. The flickering fire warmed the room, making the suit feel ten times hotter than it already was. The family room was homely and warm, a perfect feeling for Christmas time.


Atticus’s mom sat on one of the sofas beside Dante’s playpen. She’d been leaning over talking to him when Luca walked in, but as soon as she saw him, she stopped, surprise flashing across her thin, narrow face. She had a similar appearance to her son, with the same wavy brunette hair and sapphire eyes, although Atticus’s was darker. He’d also inherited her nose too. She was a beautiful woman, if he took only her appearance into her account. Atticus’s upbringing made her uglier. But she was trying to make amends and Luca promised he'd try being nice to her.


“Luca?”


“Ho, ho, ho. Merry Christmas,” Luca boomed out.


Dante spun toward him, bright blue eyes wide. He looked adorable today, with Atticus dressing him in a Christmas elf outfit for the party they were heading to in a few hours. He even had the red and green striped hat with brown elf ears. He’d grown into a big boy over the last three months, with a growth spurt hitting him. His doctor had surmised he’d be a tall young man. He was also already a handsome, but Luca may have been biased.

Luca spread his arms. “Santa Claus is here.”


Dante’s eyes watered immediately, his face scrunching tightly as he let out the kind of wail that could have shaken the walls of their house. His little fists curled close to his body.


Luca’s heart shattered into pieces. He stepped closer, holding out his hands. “Oh no, buddy, it’s Daddy.”


But his pleading did nothing but make Dante cry harder the closer he got to him.


Atticus strode past and snatched their son out of the playpen. He held him against his hip and raised his judgemental brows at Luca. “Take off the beard.”


Luca tugged off the hat and unsnapped the beard from his face, letting it fall to the ground. As soon as it disappeared, Dante’s crying turned to simpers as he looked more carefully at his daddy.


Luca smiled gently, holding out his arms again. “It’s Daddy.”


Dante’s mouth upturned into a grin lightning fast and he giggled, loud and cheerful, as he held out his chubby arms to Luca. He made a noise of excitement when Luca took him off Atticus.


Atticus shook his head, but his stunning smile made Luca’s chest clench. He couldn’t get enough of his two favorite boys. “The two of you will make me go gray.”


“I think you already are. I saw a gray strand the other day,” Luca teased.


Atticus’s glare might have scared a weaker man, but Luca savored it. Dante giggled and threw himself into Luca’s chest, burying his face into the soft wool of the Santa suit.


“You’re lucky you’re holding the kid,” Atticus muttered as he fell into the seat beside his mother.


June watched them carefully, a small curl to her mouth. “I think you’re all adorable,” she said softly, unsure, as though she wasn’t certain she’d be allowed to say it.


They’d only allowed June back into their lives right after Dante was born. When she heard Atticus was pregnant, she asked to be involved. If Luca had a choice, his answer would have been no, but he saw the look in Atticus’s eye, the kind that told Luca how desperately he wanted his mother back in his life, and Luca couldn’t deny him that. He wouldn’t deny Atticus anything he wanted.


“We try,” Luca said as he pressed a kiss to Dante’s forehead, causing another burst of giggles.


June nodded, lips pursed, and hands folded in her lap. The silence hung heavy in the air and Luca felt the stifling heat more than ever. He needed to get out of this costume because Atticus was right, this was a terrible idea.


“I brought Dante a present.” June picked up a perfectly wrapped gift sitting beside her on the sofa.


“You didn’t have to, Mom,” Atticus said. He took it from her anyway and slid it under the tree already packed with presents. They’d gone overboard this year.


“Looks like he has a lot already,” she laughed.


Atticus smirked and nodded at Luca. “It’s his fault.”


Luca shrugged unapologetically. “Every kid needs to enjoy their first Christmas.”

June hummed in agreement. “He’s not going to remember it though.”


“Hah!” Atticus shoved a finger in Luca’s direction. “Isn’t that what I told you?”


Luca snorted. “Yeah, yeah. That’s what you told me. I’ve heard the I told you so argument before.” He grinned and winked, signalling his teasing, but Atticus’s eyes had already narrowed warningly.


“We have to leave soon. At least get ready for Deborah’s party.” Atticus pointed at the stairwell.


Luca pouted, but it didn’t last long. He grinned again and passed Dante to Atticus, before he bounded up the stairs, nearly tripping over the large black boots again. Once he made it to the room, he proceeded to take off the hot, thick suit. The cool air fluttered against his sweat-soaked skin as it was exposed, and he savoured the feel of it. By the smell of his underarms though, he’d need another shower.


He made sure it was quick, an in and out wash that would have made Atticus bitch at him about how useless such a short shower was. But Atticus enjoyed half an hour baths where he soaked his entire body about five times before he was satisfied.


The doorbell rang through the house just as Luca stepped out and grabbed a towel. He frowned but ignored it because Atticus would answer it anyway. He had no idea who it could be though, because they weren’t expecting anyone else.


Once he had some nice clothes on—a pair of jeans and a plain, dark green polo shirt—he headed downstairs again.


Atticus met him at the bottom of the stairs, panic in his wide eyes. His hands gripped the railings so tightly that his knuckles turned white.


Sirens sounded in Luca’s head and his protective instincts made him curl his hands into fists, ready to fight whatever threat he was facing. “What’s wrong?”


“Luca….”


“Luca! My boy!” A voice Luca dreaded since he was a kid sliced through the silence of the house and something thumped.


Luca’s body turned cold, his skin prickling with goose bumps. He unconsciously shivered, a chill creeping down his spine and sitting at the base of his back. It couldn’t be. Fuck. He hadn’t seen him in years.


“Where’s Dante?” Luca whispered furiously. He didn’t wait for an answer though, and he shoved past Atticus, heading straight to the family room. His chest felt heavy, like his lungs weren’t getting air. He could breathe again when he saw his son in June’s arms. She held him out of reach of Luca’s dad.


His dad lounged on the ground, leaning against the sofa like he couldn’t sit up right, which was probably the case because he reeked of alcohol. He was waving his arm about, muttering something to June about Luca’s childhood and how he was a great role model.


June didn’t look like she believed him if the twist of her lips had anything to say about it.

Luca swallowed around the bile that rose in his throat. He couldn’t deal with this today, not on Christmas of all days, especially not when he’d planned to make Dante’s Christmas the best day it could be.


He straightened his spine and took two more steps into the room. “What are you doing here, Dad?”


His dad squinted at him, blinking, then grinned. His broken and rotten teeth flashed at him, reminding him of the decades his dad had spent on the booze. “Luca! My son! My boy!”


Something roiled in his gut, a sick feeling that made Luca want to gag. It only dwindled when Atticus’s hand touched his lower back, reminding him of his family. Atticus had only met Luca’s dad once and it involved crude words about the two, thin black lines at the corner of Atticus’s eye that made Luca’s fist meet his dad’s jaw. Atticus had been the only reason he hadn’t beat him to a pulp that day. He’d told Luca he didn’t care what Luca’s dad thought about Atticus being a carrier, but Luca had. He wouldn’t let anyone disrespect Atticus.


Luca inhaled deeply, smiled softly at Atticus, and stepped closer until his sock covered feet nearly hit his father’s thigh. “What are you doing here, Dad?”


He tilted his head back, his grin widening. “Can’t I come see my boy?”


His words slurred, barely forming in his mouth, but Luca had been around his dad when he was drunk long enough to understand them.


“No.” Luca crouched, his knees protesting. “I want you out of my house.”


His dad laughed, shoving Luca lightly on the shoulder like he’d told him an inside joke. “You’re funny.”


Luca’s teeth clenched, and he glanced at Dante in his grandmother’s arms. His son watched carefully, inquisitively, and it reminded Luca that Dante was learning new things every day. He didn’t want Dante to see his grandfather like this. He never wanted his son to see his grandfather ever, which is why Luca made sure he stayed away.


“Dad, I want you to leave. Now.”


His dad’s laughter boomed around the quiet room and he went to slap Luca on the shoulder again, but Luca moved, and his dad fell forward onto his stomach. It only made him chuckle louder though. It also gave him a proper view of Atticus and he shoved himself up on his hands with some struggling. “Hey, it’s your boyfriend. The carrier. I see you got him knocked up. Finally. Carriers are only good for one thing, spreading their legs and having our babies. Ama’ right, Luca?”


Something flared inside of Luca, a fury that hadn’t burned for a very long time. He grabbed his dad’s upper arm tightly, ignoring his cry of protest, and tugged him until he was wobbling on his feet. Luca faced off with him, jaw clenched, and eyes narrowed. “If another filthy word leaves your mouth about Atticus, I don’t give a damn if you’re a drunk fool, I’ll make you regret it.”


His dad grinned, his bad breath fanning against Luca’s face. “Didn’t know you cared about a piece of ass.”


Those words snapped something inside of him. He hauled his dad toward the entrance, ignoring Atticus’s soft protests, and ripped open the front door. He threw his dad out, watching him stumble over the step and crumble into the freshly fallen snow that surrounded the path leading to their house.


His dad spluttered and turned to sit on his ass. “You’re kicking me out?”


Luca felt Atticus’s heat at his back, a familiar comfort that gave him strength every time he dealt with the man who tried to raise him. In the end, he raised himself. “How many times do we have to do this, Dad? I’ve given you lots of chances to get sober and each time you promise to do it, you ruin it. And now you’re here, at my house, insulting my partner, because what? You’re lonely?”


His dad pouted miserably, a first for him. His gaze shone with a hurt Luca hadn’t seen in his eyes in a long time. “I wanted to meet my grandson. You’re keeping him from me.”


Luca snorted “No, you did that to yourself. Look at you, you’re shitfaced.”


His dad shivered from his spot in the snow. The thin sweater he wore wasn’t going to save him from the cold, but there wasn’t a jacket hanging from their hook, which meant he’d come in just that anyway. “I can’t do it. My friends keep inviting me to the bar.”


Luca held out his arms in frustration. “Then don’t go. Do you know how many times you’ve used that excuse? How many times I had to pick you up out of the gutter since I was only six years old? I didn’t get a choice because you’re my dad, but I won’t let my son suffer the same thing. I’m going to give him a good life and if that means making sure he doesn’t worry about where his drunk grandfather might end up for the night, then so be it.”


His dad dropped his head. “I’m trying.”


Luca laughed, the grief he’d nearly forgotten about weighing him down. When was the last time he felt like this? He couldn’t remember. Probably the last time he saw his dad. “No, you’re not. You never really tried.”


“When are you going to forgive me?”


Atticus wrapped his arms around Luca and pressed against his back. It lit a fire inside of him, a reminder of the people he needed to be strong for, that he needed to protect. He’d spent too many years trying to fix his father when he couldn’t. “When you get sober.” He shut the door, the click of it not really satisfying, but signalling another end of an interaction with his dad, at least until he popped up again.


He pressed his forehead against the cold wood and sighed.


Atticus held him tighter, his chin resting on Luca’s shoulder. He kissed Luca’s cheek, a soft touch of lips against his heated skin. “Are you okay?”


“No.” Luca swallowed and touched the back of Atticus’s hand that rested against his stomach. “I don’t think I’ll ever be okay when it comes to him.”


“I’m sorry, baby.”


“Don’t be.” He turned in Atticus’s arms and dragged him closer. “I have you and Dante now. You make me happy.”


“But he’s your dad.”


He nodded sadly. “Yeah, by blood, but until he gets sober, I won’t risk him being a part of our lives. I’m a father now and I need to take care of my family in a way he couldn’t.”


“You’re an amazing dad and Dante loves you,” Atticus whispered. He kissed Luca gently.


Luca revelled in the taste of his boyfriend against his lips. Love exploded inside of him and it was continually a revelation that he’d do anything for Atticus. He didn’t need to crave affection from a father when he had a partner who loved him wholeheartedly now.


“Even when I dress up as Santa Claus and frighten him?”


Atticus chuckled. “It was a nice try. Maybe when he’s older and he understands Santa a little better.” He cradled Luca’s jaw and stroked his cheek with his thumb. “But you tried and that’s what matters. Dante will always remember these little things you do for him. We might not have had the best childhood, but we can make sure our son has a good one, and you’re already doing that. You’re not your father.”


Luca touched his forehead to Atticus’s. “Thank you.”


“It’s the truth, and maybe one day he will get sober.”


He snorted. “I know my dad, Atti. He’ll never be sober. He’s promised me he’d try too many times. I won’t do that to Dante. I won’t let him hope for something that won’t happen. I know what the disappointment feels like.”


“Okay. I support you.” Atticus caressed the length of Luca’s cheekbone. “I love you.”


“I love you too.” Luca kissed him again, deeply, and full of passion that made Luca’s own toes curl in his shoes. “Let’s go make our boy’s day the first of many awesome Christmases. Hell, maybe next year he’ll have a sibling.” He waggled his eyebrows.


Atticus rolled his eyes. He allowed Luca to tug him toward the family room. “Keep trying, Luca. Maybe you’ll convince me one day soon.”


Luca laughed loudly.


© 2020 by Meg Bawden

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