Greg and Perry’s first Christmas dinner together. Cue a storm, a power cut, and rogue red cabbage in the Scottish Highlands!
This is a short story featuring the apparently mis-matched couple Greg and Perry.
Read how they first met – and the romantic rollercoaster that followed! – in the novel ROMANCING THE UGLY DUCKLING.
“What the hell’s going on?” Greg cried.
Everything seemed to be wet. He could smell the damp, and see the water glistening: from the pile of towelling, the smooth tiles under Perry’s knees, and even Perry himself, with hair plastered to his pale forehead. When Perry reached out a hand, Greg watched horrified as dribbles of water ran all the way up his arm.
“Everything is ruined!” Perry cried. “Christmas is a disaster!”
Greg blinked, trying to understand what Perry meant. Personally, he wasn’t particularly fond of the season at the best of times. Too many years of his brothers breaking his toys before lunch, then one or other of them arguing with their parents until someone was either in tears, or on the way to A&E. The teasing and melodrama had spoiled most family celebrations for him. But now he had Perry, he’d been sneakily looking forward to enjoying the glamour and glitz the young London-ite had brought to the previously restrained Scottish isle of North Uist.
“Did you forget to get the turkey out to defrost?” Greg asked. He thought he could see its white, shiny lump of a carcass on the draining board beside the sink. There were other lumpy items piled up around it, which was… also odd. “We can eat late, no problem. We’re not going anywhere else today.”
“It’s not just the turkey!” Perry wailed. “The power’s off and everything in the fridge will go bad. The freezer’s already defrosting.”
They didn’t freeze much food, preferring to cook everything fresh, but, of course, there was always a supply of their friend Dougie’s best rhubarb, and plenty of ice cream, which they both adored. Greg peered at the appliance in question. It was difficult to see any details because their spare duvet was draped over it.
“I’ve been trying to keep the cold in for as long as possible.” Perry bit back another sob.
“Why are you even up at this hour?”
“I’ve barely slept—I’ve been waking every couple of hours, panicking I’d forget something for today’s festivities. So, I thought I’d get up and check on the turkey, start getting the vegetables and tatties ready.” Perry knelt back on his heels, lifting up his worried face. “But none of the lights would come on. I wasn’t sure where the fuses were, so I was going to come back up and ask you. Then… then I found a puddle, right by the fridge.” He grimaced. “It’s soaked right through my socks.”
Greg crouched down and lifted a sodden towel out of his boyfriend’s hands. Perry had it in some kind of a death grip; it took surprising strength to prise it away. Then he offered his arm to help Perry stand up beside him…