Contemporary M/M Holiday
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When physics grad student Fielding Monroe and skirt-chaser and football player Mick Colman become college housemates, they’re both in for a whole new education. Mick looks out for the absent-minded genius, and he helps Fielding clean up his appearance and discover all the silly pleasures his strict upbringing as a child prodigy denied him. They become best friends.
It’s all well and good until they run into a cheerleader who calls Mick the ‘best kisser on campus.’ Fielding has never been kissed, and he decides Mick and only Mick can teach him how it’s done. After all, the physics department’s Christmas party is coming up with its dreaded mistletoe. Fielding wants to impress his peers and look cool for once in his life. The thing about Fielding is, once he locks onto an idea, it’s almost impossible to get him to change his mind. And he just doesn't understand why his straight best friend would have a problem providing a little demonstration.
Mick knows kissing is a dangerous game. If he gives in, it would take a miracle for the thing not to turn into a disaster. Then again, if the kissing lessons get out of hand they can always blame it on the mistletoe.
THE THING about Fielding was, the other shoe always dropped eventually. Because Fielding was like a database. Nothing you ever said or did, or that anyone else ever said or did in Fielding’s presence, was not noted, scrubbed over carefully, hung out to dry, starched, and redelivered in a clear plastic bag sooner or later.
So really, I shouldn’t have been surprised when the delivery attached to that unfortunate comment Regina made in the coffee shop came later that same night as Fielding and I were having dinner.
I had this major burr about eating healthy. The first nutrition class I’d taken at Cornell my freshman year changed my life. There’s nothing like watching autopsy footage of arteries clogged with fat, or a seventy-year-old smoker’s lungs, to make certain dietary concepts very real.
But it was tough eating well, given the fact that I was taking a full load of classes and working two part-time jobs. So I cooked on Sunday afternoons in large batches and stocked away Tupperware containers in the fridge. Since Fielding had moved in, and horrified me with his msg-laden Ramen cups and trans-fatty frozen chicken nuggets, I’d done it for both of us. It worked out amazingly well. The pater approved, and he paid for all our groceries—and not the cheap stuff either, stuff like organic chicken and black rice. And Fielding helped me cook on Sundays. He’d never even made tea before, so I showed him how to chop veggies and brown onions and garlic, things like that. I didn’t love to cook, but having Fielding do it with me made it sort of fun. As deals went, it did not at all suck.
That night, I heated up a chicken-broccoli-mushroom casserole. Fielding inhaled it in less than ten minutes as usual. But he seemed distracted as I tried to make small talk. His mind was clearly far, far away. I gave up and started to clear the plates. That’s when the bomb was dropped.
“I want you to teach me how to kiss,” Fielding said in his most arrogant voice. It came out as a demand, like Fetch me the lamp from the sideboard, wench.
I knew Fielding used that commanding tone when he was covering up his insecurity, so I didn’t immediately get mad. I froze, though, my hands full of dishes. I made myself take them to the sink and put them down carefully, nobly avoiding breakage. I went back to the table and sat down.
Fielding stared at me, arms folded over his chest. “Well?”
“No,” I said.
“May I ask why not?”
“Because that’s not going to happen.” I thought I sounded remarkably calm. In fact, I gave myself a checkmark in the ‘saint’ box for not socking Fielding in the face or laughing my head off.
“But Regina said you have a reputation as the best kisser on campus.”
“I think I’ll have a beer. You want a beer?” I stood up abruptly.
“It’s Tuesday,” Fielding reminded me, as if I should know better. And I did. Fielding never drank during the week. He was a lightweight, and even one beer could make him too fuzzy-headed to study.
I didn’t usually drink during the week either. But fuck, I needed a beer. I grabbed one from the fridge and cracked it open. I turned to find that Fielding had followed me into the kitchen.
“Well? Is there a problem with my request?”
I took a long drink. “The problem is, Fielding, that it’s not going to happen.”
“Ooh, how convincing. You’ve changed my mind with your superior argument,” Fielding mocked.
I stalked into the living room.
Fielding followed. “Why not?”
“Because I said no.”
“That’s not an answer.”
I sighed and counted to ten. I reminded myself that Fielding wasn’t a normal guy. He just didn’t get things like social cues. He was a fucking genius with an IQ somewhere in the stratosphere, but he’d grown up being suffocatingly sheltered and shuttled from school to lessons to workshops. He spoke fluent French and Russian and played the piano like a prodigy, but as far as I could tell, he’d had few friends. So he probably just had no fucking clue how out of line his request was.
“Because, Fielding, I’m not gay,” I said firmly. “Which you’ve probably figured out by now, being my housemate. That means I don’t kiss men.”
Fielding looked confused. “I’m not asking you to kiss me because you want to. I’m talking about a simple transference of skills. The way you taught me running.”
I had taught Fielding to run. I ran three miles every morning, and now Fielding ran with me. Without prodding from me, Fielding would probably never leave his computer, and that much sitting wasn’t healthy for anyone.
“My teaching you the basics of running didn’t involve putting my tongue in your mouth. That is what you’re talking about, right? You’re not asking me to draw you diagrams or maybe talk you through it on a crash dummy?” I was starting to sound a little hysterical.
Fielding arched a droll eyebrow. “One assumes a direct demonstration would be necessary, yes.”
“Then forget it.”
I sat down on the couch and grabbed the remote. There wasn’t much on TV, but I found an old X-Files episode. I swallowed beer. My heart was beating erratically, and my palms were damp. I was extremely uncomfortable. And Fielding just stood in the middle of the living room with his ‘cogitating’ face on.
“Is it an issue of saliva?” Fielding asked. “Transmitting germs? Surely, you didn’t require a doctor’s note from the dozens of girls you’ve kissed. And I’m perfectly healthy.”
“It’s not about germs! Jesus. You are aware that there are two genders, right? Male and female? I mean, you’re not that oblivious.”
Fielding looked insulted. “I’m well aware of the concept and purpose of genders, Mick. But I’m not asking you to impregnate me.”
“No, because that would be unreasonable,” I quipped sarcastically.
“I fail to see your point. Are you suggesting that because I’m male, you can’t kiss me the same way you’d kiss a female?”
“That’s what I’m suggesting, yes.”
Fielding shook his head a little, the way he did when he just wasn’t getting something. “It’s a matter of mouths, isn’t it? Of lips and tongues and head positions, where to place the hands, pressure applied, that sort of thing?”
“As far as I know, both genders share those body parts. I’m assuming it isn’t mandatory to grope the breasts or groin while kissing, is it?”
“Then I fail to see how male and female anatomy comes into it.”
I leaned forward and thunked my head on the coffee table. Really, why did I even try?
“Well, obviously you’re frustrated with me,” Fielding said, sounding a little hurt. “But you needn’t beat yourself around the cranium.”
I turned off the TV. “You know what? I’m really tired. I’m going to bed early. Good night.”
I went into my room and shut the door. And so I didn’t have to spend any more time thinking about kissing Fielding, I did go to sleep—at eight o’clock in the evening.
About the Author:
Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of metaphysical thrillers, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.
As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest writing.
Contact Eli at.... eli at elieaston.com