Title: Every Day's a Holiday (When I'm Near to You)
Pairings: Chad/Ryan
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 4830
Summary: Chad and Ryan learn more about each other on the rides to and from school. At the Evans family's Christmas party, they finally exchange the Christmas gifts they've been agonizing over all week.
Disclaimer: I admit it! I made it up!
Notes: For layered, at Christmas. Thanks to jazalove for the beta read! ♥


“Chad!” his mom called from downstairs. “Ryan’s here!”

“Coming!” Chad replied, throwing a stack of clothes to the other side of the room. Where was that shirt? Finally, he discovered it, still stuffed in its original shopping bag, under a pair of jeans. He threw it on, grabbed his coat, zipped it up, and… his gloves weren’t in his pockets.

He was about to renew his search through the piles when his mother yelled up the stairs again. “You’re going to be late for school!” He moved on to Plan B: forget the gloves, that’s what pockets were for.

Chad was pleased to see that it was lightly snowing as he left the house. He stopped to catch a snowflake on his tongue, but Ryan rolled down his window and interrupted his mission. “Do you have to rub in the fact that it’s snowing? Get in the car.”

Ryan was wearing about five layers, including a huge ski coat and a hat pulled down over his ears. “Cold?” Chad quipped, sliding into the passenger’s seat. Ryan glared at him momentarily as he backed out of the driveway. “Where are your earmuffs?” Chad asked with an innocent smile.

Ryan mumbled something that sounded suspiciously like “in my book bag,” but Chad couldn’t be sure. “And I suppose you’re wearing a T-shirt as usual?” Ryan asked.

“Of course,” Chad replied, unzipping his coat to reveal his “Real Men Wear Pink” T-shirt. Ryan burst out laughing. “Are you?” Chad asked, pointing to his shirt.

Ryan pushed back the sleeve of his coat, then his sweater to reveal the pink button-up shirt underneath. Chad laughed and gave him a high-five.

Ryan’s bad mood had already alleviated somewhat by the time they pulled into the parking lot at school.


The snow was melted and forgotten by that afternoon. Ryan had removed his thickest outermost layer and was waiting for Chad outside the car.

On the way home, Ryan brought up Christmas presents. “Do you have any idea what Gabriella would like? She’s one of the last ones on my list, and I’m coming up blank.” He refrained from mentioning that he couldn’t decide what to get Chad, either.

Chad shifted in his seat. “You’re getting Gabriella a Christmas present?” Ryan nodded. “You don’t like her, do you?”

Ryan gave him a withering look before returning his gaze to the road.

“What? I’m just asking, I mean, she always says you’re such a nice guy. I don’t want anyone to get the wrong idea…”

“Oh come on Chad, she knows as well as everyone else that she’s not exactly my type.”

Chad raised his eyebrows. “Your type.”

Ryan rolled his eyes, but did not seem embarrassed. “Do you want me to spell it out for you? Is that what this is about?”

Chad smirked and replied, “Naw, man. I think I get the picture. Why don’t you make her a mix CD? She’s always talking about trying new music.”

Chad wasn’t acting weird toward that not-quite-revelation, so Ryan allowed him to change the subject. “I was thinking of getting her one of those foot massager things from Brookstone. Girls like that kind of thing, don’t they? It’s hard to know for sure, when Sharpay’s your basis for comparison.”

Chad gave a kind of weak laugh. “How much are you planning to spend on Christmas gifts?”

Ryan shrugged. “I like giving gifts. Price isn’t an issue.”

“Maybe not for you,” Chad mumbled, mostly to himself. He preoccupied himself with the radio buttons for a few seconds. “Listen, don’t spend too much if you get something for me, okay?”

“Why not?” Ryan asked. He was mentally re-writing his list of potential gifts for Chad already.

“I dunno, I don’t want to feel like I can’t… keep up.”

“There’s nothing to keep up with,” Ryan retorted. They had arrived at Chad’s house, but he wasn’t done with this conversation. “I don’t give gifts to get gifts. I do it to make my friends happy.”

“I know. Still,” Chad protested as he got out of the car. “Promise?”

Ryan sighed. “Yeah, I promise.” So much for having no homework.



Chad was the first one to make it to Ryan’s car. When he spotted Ryan leaving the school building, he could tell that Ryan had not had a good day.

“Hey, I’ve got a headache, will you drive?” Ryan asked, throwing Chad the keys.

“Sure, man,” Chad replied. This wasn’t the first time Ryan had let him drive, though it still surprised him every time Ryan asked.

“What’s up?” Chad asked as he turned the keys in the ignition.

“Nn. Sharpay is…” He left off the end of the sentence, waving one hand around vaguely as he rubbed at his temples with the other.

“Sharpay?” Chad finished for him, laughing. “Sorry, I know how that is. You must have it ten times worse, having to live with her.” Chad moved to turn off the radio, but the Carpenters started playing, so he merely turned the volume down. Ryan loved the Carpenters.

Ryan sighed. “She’s not really that bad, once you really know her. But, she has her moments.”

“Not that bad? Ryan.”

“Well, okay, maybe I have it easier because I’m her twin.”

Chad snorted, but said nothing else about it. “Do you wanna hang out for a while? I mean, just to avoid the ‘Ice’ storm for that much longer?”

Ryan smiled. “Can’t. Wish I could. I promised my mom I’d be home to help with Christmas baking.”

“You’re helping with the baking? Are you sure you shouldn’t just ask Zeke to cater the party?”

“Funny, Danforth. I’ll have you know, I make a mean chocolate chip cookie.”

Chad laughed good-naturedly. “I have no doubt.”

“So, I’ve been trying to figure out what to get you for Christmas, right?” Ryan prompted. “Well, I talked to Troy today, who was no help, by the way. Anyway, I was kidding about giving you a car, and he said—”

“A car?!” Chad interrupted. “Ryan, please tell me you’re not serious. I told you not to do something like that. You promised.”

“Breathe, Chad. I was only joking.” Ryan made a mental note to cross that possibility off the list, even for the future. “But anyway, he said that in all seriousness you were still saving up for one to take Taylor out on a ‘real date.’”

Chad’s grip tightened on the steering wheel, but he didn’t interrupt this time.

“I just figured I’d let you know, if that’s true, you can borrow the car any time. My parents trust you.”

Chad looked somewhat annoyed. “Troy doesn’t keep up with me very well anymore,” he mumbled.


“Taylor and I agreed that we were just friends months ago.”

“Oh,” Ryan said pleasantly. “Well, in that case, you never get to borrow the car.”

Chad smirked at him. They had just pulled into his driveway. “And what if I get another girlfriend?”

Ryan didn’t miss a beat. “I guess you’ll have to wait and see if I approve.”

Chad laughed as he hopped out of the car, so that Ryan thought he wasn’t going to respond. But as Chad leaned into the backseat to get his book bag, he added, “I don’t think we’ll have to worry about that.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” he yelled after Chad’s retreating figure.

“Goodbye, Ryan!” Chad replied, waving and looking satisfied with himself.

Ryan moved to the driver’s seat, his head pounding worse than before.



The school had been buzzing about the Evans twins’ party all week. Everyone seemed almost as excited about it as the fact that Friday was the last day of classes. Sharpay had finally accepted the guest list, albeit grudgingly. She had wanted to invite Troy without Gabriella, but Ryan had insisted on including both Gabriella and Chad. Once their parents had told Sharpay to honor her brother’s wishes, she had to admit that all of the Wildcats should be invited.

On the ride to school, Ryan was mentally laying out his plans for the night. He was hoping to spend most of the night with Chad, but he had to plot ways to keep Sharpay occupied. Zeke’s presence would help him there, but if he hung around too long, she would turn to Ryan to get rid of him. That wouldn’t do.

“Oh, by the way,” Chad said, interrupting his thoughts. “I’m gonna catch a ride home with Troy after school, so you don’t have to wait for me.”

Ryan tried not to look disappointed. He was hoping Chad could come over right after school and hang out before everyone else came and pulled his attention elsewhere.

“Don’t worry,” Chad said, noticing the crestfallen look on Ryan’s face, “we’ll be there in time for the party. We’re just gonna play some 1-on-1, and, y’know, chill. We haven’t really seen each other outside of school and practice for a while.”

“Sounds like fun,” Ryan replied, but his mind was elsewhere. He pulled into a spot in the senior parking lot.

“Oh, and hey, I’ll bring your Christmas gift tonight. We can exchange gifts after the party,” he suggested, giving Ryan his typical thousand-watt smile.

Ryan watched him run ahead to catch up with Troy, panic suddenly rising in him. He hadn’t got Chad a Christmas gift yet! “Well, there goes my afternoon,” he mumbled to himself, grabbing his bag from the backseat.


After Chad and Troy had finished playing basketball, Chad disappeared upstairs to change clothes. He didn’t have to dig to find the shirt he wanted – he had set this one aside especially for the party.

“How do I look?” Chad asked as Troy appeared in his doorway, showing off his “Don’t Stop Believin’” Santa T-shirt.

Troy laughed. “Who are you trying to impress?” Chad had clarified his and Taylor’s relationship status earlier that afternoon, so Troy could think of no one else that would cause Chad to care about his appearance.

Chad shrugged and pulled his coat out from under a pile of clothes. “We should go if we’re gonna pick up your girl on the way.”


“Hey!” Troy exclaimed as Ryan answered the door. “We’re fashionably early. Chad didn’t take five hours to get ready for once.”

Ryan smiled at Chad. “Surprising.” Troy shook Ryan’s hand and headed into the house.

“Hey, Ryan,” Gabriella said affectionately, giving him a hug.

And before Chad knew what was happening, Ryan was facing him with his arms spread wide. Unprepared for the hug, Chad hit Ryan lightly on the back a couple of times, and Ryan’s arms slid around his waist briefly.

When Chad pulled back, Ryan slid his hands back to rest on Chad’s hips as he surveyed Chad’s T-shirt. He laughed enthusiastically, throwing his head back in the laugh momentarily. “Very festive. I approve.” His eyes slid up to see Chad’s expression, and Chad gave him a lopsided smile in return.

“Ryan!” Sharpay yelled from inside, and Ryan’s hands dropped immediately.

“Coming!” he yelled back with a grimace on his face. “Come on in, and avoid the karaoke until Sharpay’s had her ‘moment,’” he said to Chad, ushering him in and winking before he wandered off to help Sharpay.

“Man! This house is something else!” Troy said, running up to him. “Why didn’t you tell me there was so much cool stuff to do here?”

Chad shrugged. “I guess I never really…” He didn’t know how to finish the sentence. …thought you’d care? ...wanted to share it with anyone else?

“Well, come on! Let’s get a game of pool going! Gabriella claims she knows what she’s doing, but I say we prove her wrong. How about we play cutthroat?” he suggested, then walked off without waiting for an answer.

Chad spared a glance back to Ryan, who was helping Sharpay set up her “stage” for karaoke. She looked pleased, and Ryan was smiling to himself, so he didn’t feel obligated to go “rescue” him. Still, he hesitated before following Troy’s path to the game room.

When he walked in, Troy was staring at the table in shock, and Gabriella knocked in ball number 7. “Hey man,” Troy said, “I called 6 through 10, so you’re 11 through 15. But Gabriella’s already killing us.” Her next shot missed, however, and it was Troy’s turn.

Chad didn’t care much for pool. He and Ryan had only played a few times, mainly because they were both terrible. It was one thing they could both play without being too competitive about the outcome. The game passed quickly for him, when Gabriella and Troy combined knocked him out in a few rounds. He was fine with that, because the rest of the guests had shown up by then.

He took up Zeke on his request to show him to the kitchen. There they found Ryan’s mom, putting out vast quantities of food for the evening. Zeke immediately became engrossed in asking about what had been prepared, while Chad grabbed a cookie and headed back to the living room.

“Did you help make these?” he asked Ryan around a mouthful of cookie.

Ryan laughed at him. “Wait, let me identify the crumbs on your chin.” He leaned in close, as if he were analyzing Chad’s face intently. “Yes, I do believe those were my crumbs.”

Chad whacked at Ryan’s hat in playful annoyance, trying to ignore how his face warmed up at Ryan’s proximity.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” Sharpay’s voice rang out through the microphone, interrupting all conversation. Ryan fixed the angle of his hat, smiling widely.

As Sharpay proceeded to show off her entire “collection” of Christmas songs, most of her guests began ignoring her and continuing their conversations. Taylor, Kelsi, and Jason even walked off to play a game of pool.

“And now, for my last number,” Sharpay said sharply, earning her the attention she was striving for, “my brother will be joining me for ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’!”

Ryan groaned quietly, before turning to the stage. “Shar,” he said in a whiny voice.

“Come on!” Sharpay demanded.

“You should go, man,” Chad’s voice whispered in his ear, as he placed a hand lightly on Ryan’s back. “Might as well get it over with.” He gently pushed Ryan toward the stage.

Ryan hesitated for a moment, looked back at Chad, then made his way up to Sharpay.

“That’s better!” Sharpay said happily, giggling and smiling down at Troy. Their rendition of Rudolph consisted of Sharpay singing main vocals, and Ryan singing the cheesy interjections.

Ryan was embarrassed by his family’s dorkiness for the first time in a long time as he sang “like a light bulb!” But then he noticed Chad beaming at him from the 'audience' and he once again felt the comfort in his eccentricities that he normally had.

When the song was over, Chad let out a whoop and clapped enthusiastically, leading the rest of the Wildcats to applaud along with him.

Sharpay looked immensely pleased with herself, bowed, then stepped off the stage.

“Now this isn’t just the Evans Karaoke Show! It’s open karaoke!” Ryan informed them. “Let’s get some more of you up here, we’ve got all kinds of Christmas songs!”

No one moved to take the stage. After watching Ryan look desperately into the crowd for another few seconds, Chad yelled out, “Troy and Gabriella!!”

Ryan smiled. “Of course! Let’s get East High’s cutest couple on the stage!”

Sharpay made an indignant noise and stomped off toward the kitchen. Zeke called after her and followed her exit. Chad was conveniently ignoring the glares Troy was sending his way as the rest of the guests encouraged the couple to sing. Eventually they were coaxed onstage to sing “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” After that, everyone seemed more enthusiastic about singing. Jason sang the full version of “12 Days of Christmas,” which most guests took as an opportunity to disappear to the kitchen and get some food. Zeke waited for Sharpay to return to the living room to sing a very specific version of “All I Want for Christmas.”

After nearly everyone had taken a turn singing, Ryan returned to the stage. “I have one more song I’d like to sing, but for this one, I’ll need someone to join me. Any takers?” he asked with an innocent smile, but he was staring right at Chad.

Chad’s eyes widened, and he looked around. At first he was relieved that no one seemed to be looking his direction, but then he saw Troy staring his way with an evil grin.

“Hey!” Troy called out. “Chad hasn’t had a chance to sing for us yet!”

Chad shook his head vehemently, but it was no use. He’d pushed too many people into singing for the night to not reap the consequences now. Luckily, it was only “Silver Bells,” and he only had to sing one verse on his own. He was grateful that it wasn’t “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters. Not that he disliked the song, he was really quite fond of it, but it was distinctly more… romantic than “Silver Bells.”

The party started winding down around 11. Kelsi already had to head home, as her curfew was at 11. After that, everyone started wrapping up their games and conversations. Ryan was being helpful by answering some of Zeke’s many questions about Sharpay’s life. He saw Troy approach Chad across the room, and then they both walked out the door with Gabriella. Disappointment flooded through him, though he hid it as he finished explaining to Zeke about Sharpay’s love for beauty supplies. When he was finally able to extricate himself from the conversation, he was sure that Troy would have already left. He rushed to the door – no need to act casual now with only Zeke and Sharpay there – and yanked it open.

“Whoa!” Chad exclaimed. He was standing right in front of the door. Ryan looked at him in flustered surprise. Troy’s truck was pulling out of the driveway, and the couple waved goodbye.

“I thought you left!” Ryan exclaimed, still a bit breathless.

“Had to get your present,” Chad explained, pushing past him to get into the warm house. “You don’t mind taking me home, do you?”

“No, of course not, I just thought…” Ryan shook his head. “Nevermind. Let me go get your gift.”

While he was gone, Chad spread out on the couch. Ryan’s mom appeared about a minute later, carrying two large mugs. “I made some hot chocolate. I thought you and Ducky might like some.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Evans!” Chad exclaimed, taking one of the mugs. “And thanks for letting us have the party, it was really fun.”

“It’s so good to see my babies making such good friends at school,” she said, before heading upstairs.

Not long after, Ryan came stomping down the stairs. “I was told there was Ghirardelli!” he shouted, rushing to the couch and drinking deeply from his mug.

“Is that what this stuff is? It’s amazing.”

Mmm,” Ryan responded with a nod.

Chad suddenly burst out laughing. Ryan had a milk mustache.

“Ha ha, very funny,” Ryan said, smiling. He licked along his upper lip slowly, and Chad’s laughter died out. “Did I get it all?”

Chad hesitated. “Almost.” He reached out and wiped the corner of Ryan’s mouth with his thumb. He then sucked the hot chocolate off of his thumb and disappeared behind his own mug to avoid seeing Ryan’s expression. While he was avoiding his friend’s gaze, Ryan suddenly dropped a large box on his lap.

“Well go on, open it!” Ryan said, excited. Chad set aside his mug, then ripped into the wrapping paper.

“No way,” Chad said, once he had the box open. “Ryan--!”

“Now wait, I know what you’re going to say, but I barely spent a dime. I just had to buy the basketball. We already had the Sharpie and the players signed it free of charge.”

“Is it really signed by the whole Red Hawks team?” he said, incredulously, as he turned the ball in his hands.

“Plus the coach,” Ryan clarified. “And, y’know, we have season tickets, real good seats. And Sharpay usually doesn’t use hers.” Ryan didn’t usually use his either, but he refrained from sharing this bit of information.

“Are you sure?”

Ryan shrugged. “The seat is usually empty, might as well fill it.”

Chad gave a disbelieving laugh. “Thank you!” he exclaimed, throwing his arms around Ryan.

“You’re welcome,” Ryan replied with a laugh, feeling very pleased with himself.

“Your turn,” Chad announced as he pulled a medium-sized package from the inside of his coat. “It can’t really compete, but, I dunno, I hope you like it.”

Ryan peeled the wrapping off quickly, anxious to see what Chad got him. “It’s gorgeous!” he exclaimed, pulling out the long, white scarf.

“And soft,” Chad supplied helpfully.

“Yeah,” he said in wonder, running his hands along the material.

“My mom made it. I mean, obviously. I don’t sew.”

Ryan snorted, but didn’t respond.

“I figured, you know, you’re so picky about the cold, and white probably matches more of your clothes than any other color… Do you like it?” Chad asked cautiously.

“Of course! I love it! Did the exclamations of joy not give it away?”

Chad snickered. “Here, let me,” he said, taking the scarf from Ryan. He looped it around the other boy’s neck, leaning forward to wrap it loosely. Once it was on properly, Chad realized how close his and Ryan’s faces were. Ryan seemed to notice, too. Chad suddenly felt very self-conscious. He licked his lips.

“Chad, I—”

“Ryan!” Sharpay yelled from upstairs. “Mom and dad want to go to bed, are you going to take that basketball boy home soon?”

Chad bolted back to his original spot on the couch.

“We were just leaving, Shar, thanks!” he yelled back, clearly annoyed. He sighed. “I guess we should go,” he told Chad.

Chad nodded, not making eye contact with him. He downed the rest of his hot chocolate in one gulp, grabbed his basketball from the couch, and headed for the door.

Feeling very anxious, Ryan followed him to the garage. In the car, he turned the radio up almost instantly to cover the awkward silence he was sure would dominate the ride to Chad’s house. Normally, he would wait for the motor to warm up before pulling out of the driveway completely, but tonight he just wanted to get back home as fast as possible so he could analyze what went wrong.

When Chad reached over to the volume dial a few minutes later, Ryan thought he was going to turn it up further, despite the fact that they were almost at Chad’s house. He was surprised when Chad turned it down and spoke over the music. “I thought this was going to be the song you wanted me to sing tonight,” Chad revealed quietly.

“Why?” Ryan asked, genuinely curious.

Chad shrugged. “It’s your favorite Christmas song.”

Ryan paused, unsure whether now was the time to make the observation on his mind. “You do realize it’s a love song?”

Chad stared down at the basketball in his hands. “Yeah,” he stated.

The final lines of the song played as they pulled into Chad’s driveway. “Thanks for the ride. The party was awesome; I think everyone had fun.”

“That’s good, I’m glad,” Ryan said, waiting to see if Chad was going to look at him again.

Chad reached for the door handle. “Hey, can you wait here for just a minute?”

“Sure,” Ryan said, surprised. Chad hurried into his house and returned shortly, sans basketball.

Ryan lowered his window. “What’s up?”

Chad kneeled down, resting his head on his arms at the edge of the window. His face was very close to Ryan’s. “Am I the only one who thought tonight was kind of…”

“…Anticlimactic?” Ryan suggested. His heart leapt. Had he really just said that?

But then a brilliant smile broke out on Chad’s face. “Exactly,” he responded, leaning further into the car until his lips were only a breath away from Ryan’s.

Ryan saw the cue he was given, and closed the distance. Their lips brushed together gently, but Chad pulled back after only a few seconds. Ryan was confused until Chad said, “Well, aren’t you going to get out of the car?”

Ryan scrambled for his seatbelt and got out of the car as fast as he could. Chad laughed at his actions. “Oh yeah, I’ll give you something to laugh about,” Ryan challenged. He worked his fingers under Chad’s shirt and tickled his stomach lightly.

“Oh, ah, jeez, your fingers are cold,” Chad said between giggles. “Stop!” Ryan had managed to turn Chad around and trap him between himself and the car. He stopped the agitating movement of his fingers and placed both of his hands flat against the skin above each of Chad’s hips. Then he leaned in and claimed Chad’s mouth with his own. Now that he knew Chad wanted this, he didn’t hesitate to take control of the situation. When Chad’s lips parted just slightly, Ryan slipped his tongue into Chad’s mouth and deepened the kiss. His hands now warm under the layers of clothing, he slid one back and up the smooth skin of Chad’s back. Chad pulled him closer so that there was hardly air between them.

When they finally parted, Chad smirked at Ryan. “A little enthusiastic, don’t ya think?” He leaned in before Ryan could retort and gave him another thorough kiss.

“I blame the Ghirardelli,” Ryan said, laying kisses along Chad’s jaw line and down to his neck.

“Why? Is there,” he swallowed, “alcohol in that stuff?”

Ryan beamed at him. “No, but you still taste like it,” he explained, leaning in for another kiss.



Ryan was on Chad’s doorstep again the next day.

“I thought I got rid of you,” Chad joked, checking behind him for a wayward mother or sister. Seeing no one, he pulled Ryan into the house and gave him a proper greeting.

“Nice to see you, too,” Ryan said, a bit breathless, as they parted. “I brought part two of your Christmas present.”

“Part three,” Chad clarified.

“I am not a Christmas present,” Ryan argued. “A Christmas present is something that seems cool enough when you get it, but then you put it aside by the next year when you want something new.”

Chad shook his head. “No, a Christmas present is something awesome that you’re ecstatic about at first, and then slowly it becomes part of your life. You’re still ridiculously happy when you think about the fact that you have it, but at that point everyone knows, so you don’t go around shouting about it on hilltops anymore.”

“You’ve been out shouting on hilltops?” Ryan’s nose scrunched up as he laughed. He looped his arms around Chad’s neck and leaned in.

“What can I say? I really like that basketball,” Chad whispered as he captured Ryan’s lips once again.

Ryan let the kiss continue, but when Chad pulled away, he smacked him hard in the arm. Chad only laughed at him. “Do you want the gift or not?”

Chad made a face. “Not really, no. Haven’t you shown me up enough on Christmas gifts?”

Ryan rolled his eyes. “This one’s for me as much as it’s for you.” He handed Chad a cylindrical package.

Chad tore the wrapping away and immediately started laughing. “Perfect,” he said, then took the canister of Ghirardelli hot chocolate mix into the kitchen. As they waited for their drinks to cool down slightly, Chad wrapped his arms around Ryan and pulled him close.

Their lips had barely met when Chad’s mother called from upstairs, “Chad! This room’s a mess! I thought our deal was you could go to that party with your friends as long as you cleaned your room after!”

“I know, mom! Ryan’s here now, I’ll take care of it when he goes home!”

“Thanks so much for the scarf, Mrs. Danforth!” Ryan called back up the stairs. He felt somewhat the antagonist in this situation and wanted to make it better.

“Oh, you’re welcome dear!” Mrs. Danforth said, her tone sounding pleasant.

Ryan moved to put the milk back into the refrigerator, but paused as he was closing the door. “Chad, why is there a picture of Michael Crawford in your refrigerator?”

Chad laughed. “What’s the matter?” he whispered in Ryan’s ear. “Jealous?” He kissed the back of Ryan’s neck softly.

Ryan twisted around to face Chad, responding, “Very. I think you’ll have to make it up to me.”

Amidst the enthusiastic kiss that followed, Ryan worked his fingers into Chad’s hair, Chad lifted Ryan onto the counter, and the drinks were forgotten for a while. The mugs of hot chocolate went cold before the boys returned their attention to them, but hey, that’s what microwaves were for.


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