Written by Beth

Author's Note: I'm thankful for Tim Bayliss, Chris Rawls, and for sex, and not even always in that order. This story is mostly like meringue, but it gets slightly more substantial by the end.


The dinner table looks like a battlefield, but we've left the spoils, escaped to the living room with good wine. I feel sated, decadent, and perfectly happy.

"Okay, um, let's see." Tim leans back into the couch, stares at the ceiling for inspiration, and I look eagerly, fondly, at his long neck, the line of his jaw, the soft curve of his ear.

"I mean, this should be easy. What kind of a person am I if I *can't* come up with something I'm thankful for?"

"Very, very bad," I tease. "Which actually, Tim, might be a good thing, you know?"

He laughs under his breath, then sits up to take another drink of wine. That's right, I think. Get yourself nice and relaxed. We've both been so busy recently that we haven't had much time together and I'm dying to make love to him.

"Okay." Tim puts down the wine glass and looks out the window. "I'm grateful for the trees."

I make a face. "*Lame,*" I say with feeling.

"It is not!" he says fiercely. "I *love* trees! Trees are, are, they're beautiful, and they give us shade, and they're nice in the fall. They're quality life forms all around."

"Maybe," I say, and lean over to pour him a little more Merlot. "But really--I think you can do better. Isn't there something a little more, I don't know, *specific* to your life that you're glad for?"

"Oh. Oh. So this is *serious.* So I'm being graded here."

I have to smile a little because he's so perfectly sweet when he's trying to be sarcastic.

"Just give it the old college try," I say. "That's all I ask."

He stretches a little, then slowly turns to look at me, knowing full well that my eyes are helplessly locked on his torso.

"I am thankful that I only died *once* on the operating table this past spring," he says deadpan.

*That* brings my glance up to his face. His eyes are glinting and his mouth is dying to smile, but he's holding back for effect.

I play it straight. "Good," I say. "Very good. Because you could have done it, say, *twice.* Definitely a bonus there."

He runs a hand though his short hair, then looks at me. "And to think that you didn't believe I had it in me to be properly thankful."

"No, no. I knew that you could do it. I never lost faith."

Tim smiles. "All right, then. Your turn." He's goading just a bit, wanting me to up the ante, I can tell it, and so I give him a long, hard look and then say, as calmly as I can, "Personally, I'm grateful my parents waited until *after* they found out I was gay to disown me."

"Hey!" Tim says, and laughs out loud, the sound just a little bit frenzied. "You are *so* lucky!"

I nod gravely. "Blessed, Tim. I'm downright blessed, and don't you forget it."

"I can really see that, you know? Because really--you were probably *ready* at age seventeen to be without parents." He says this last softly and compassionately.

I frown at him because he's violating the spirit of the thing by being gushy. Tim smiles at me, then reaches out and squeezes my hand. "All right," he finally says. "My turn again. *I* am grateful, Chris, that the two of us have been so busy lately."

"Yeah?" I ask, looking down at our entwined hands, watching as his long fingers stroke my knuckles.

"Yeah," he answers. "I'm grateful because . . ."

I look intently at him, try not to breathe hard.

"Well, mostly because it's gonna feel that much better when I get you into bed tonight," he says confidently, easily.

"Oh. So you think I'm going to just--that I'll--"

"Yeah," he says quickly. "I do, Chris."

I have to laugh then. "Don't get all smug just because you're right. You could blow it at any minute, my friend."

Mercifully, he lets the double entendre go. "Here," he says, leaning forward and picking up the wine bottle. "You're not drunk enough."

"I don't want to be that drunk," I say. "I want to feel you, to feel this."

Suddenly he look stricken. "You don't think that I don't, do you? Cause really, Chris, I just--"

"Stop, stop, stop," I say quickly. "It's not like that at all. It's just that I've had a lot more than you."

"Okay," he says, but he puts the wine down, pushes his glass away a little. I look at him in mingled annoyance and amusement. He can be such a grave little boy.

One good thing to do with petulant children is to distract them. "So," I say. "You wanna watch football?"

He groans. "Fucking Cowboys. No. No I don't. I mean, the least they could do is *vary* who plays, you know?"

"Yeah, but don't you wanna look at the tight little pants?"

"Jesus, Chris," he answers, then laughs out loud. "Way to ruin a manly man sport."

I grin. "That's what I'm here for. To broaden your horizons." Then I take a long, deep breath, because at long last Tim's moving, he's coming alive and inching across the couch toward me. I lean back into the cushions and open my arms to him.

"I'll broaden your horizons," he says, laughing, and then his mouth covers mine hungrily, eagerly. I grab him tight and revel in his warmth, in the scent of him. His large hands are already at my waist, pulling my shirt out of my pants and sliding underneath. It's been so damn long; I want him so much; he feels so fucking good.

"It's okay, baby," he says softly, his voice deep, and I realize that I'm making soft, desperate noises of desire. He tenderly kisses the side of my face, then moves hands down to my belt buckle.

"God!" I gasp as he fumbles, as his hands torture me, and then reach out to show him how it's *done*--I bat his hands away and then neatly and quickly unbuckle and unbutton him.

Tim's eyes go wide when I have him in my hand, when I stroke him nice and slow, just how he likes it. Now it's his turn to tremble, to go weak.

"You like that," I say and squeeze for emphasis.

"Oh yeah," he murmurs back, but then reaches down and drags my hand away.

"What?" I ask.

"Let's go upstairs," he says. "I need more room."


Such a nice Thanksgiving. Chris is lying face down on the bed in front of me, slowly rocking hips back and forth and moaning a little bit, completely unselfconscious about his pleasure, his need. When I reach for the lubricant and spread it on my fingers, he moans again, spreads legs for me. I bite my lip, deeply turned on by the sight of him and, yes, deeply, deeply thankful that he's mine.

When I slowly work a first finger into him, Chris sighs in delight; when the second comes, he's even further gone, gasping my name and calling out in high, excited tones.

Seeing him like this is astounding; it's incredible how much he wants to be penetrated, the great erotic thrill he derives from it. I feel myself get even harder as I realize that I'm the one he's chosen to let inside; I'm the one he lowers all of his defenses for.

"Oh . . . that is so fucking good, so sweet!" Chris groans.

"Mmmm," I say, entranced by him, loving the grip of his tight ass on my fingers and the way he sighs when I stretch him.

"I want you in me, Tim," Chris urges a bit later. "Don't make me wait, baby, don't, just right now, okay?" His voice is almost plaintive, very sexy.

"I'm right here, Chris," I say, and reach for the lube again, coat my cock with a liberal amount.

"Yes! Yes!" Chris whispers when I position myself against him and slowly begin to push, and then I'm groaning as his ass spasms and opens for me. I push in to the hilt.

Chris has pressed his face into the pillow but I can hear him sobbing in pleasure, can see his back shaking. I put hands on his hips, caress his flanks, trying to soothe him, but it's not going to work, it's not what he wants. Chris rears back instead, trying to get me to go deeper, to thrust. And how can I resist him, how can I deny him anything? Slowly, carefully, I thrust as deep as I can, unable to stop myself from crying out as I do because he's so, so tight, so hot, so ready. It's the best feeling in the universe, fucking Chris deep and slow and hard, listening to the sounds our bodies make together, and I do it until I can't think, until the entire universe is nothing but aching and throbbing and lovely, lovely pressure. I scream his name and then come like a truck, completely let go for the first time in what seems like forever. It's messy and desperate and intense, everything wonderful in the world.

"Oh god," Chris says weakly when I gently urge him to turn over, to face me again. His chest is smeared with sweat and come and the sheet underneath him is damp.

"So, was that good?" I ask, and he glares at me for an instant but he can't hold it for long--he's too exhausted. I pull him into my arms, kiss him, and stroke his wet, sticky skin, and Chris relaxes, smiles, murmurs contentedly. Now *this* is a Thanksgiving; *this* is how it should go. I drift off to sleep with him in my arms.


Four a.m. and Tim's in the bathroom retching and weeping a little. I'm out of the bed in a flash, wincing as I move but determined to get to him, to comfort him. Of course this would happen on Thanksgiving, and I'm furious with myself for forgetting what memories this holiday in particular holds for him.

I knock hard on the door, loudly say, "Tim's it's Chris. It's Chris. Can you let me in?"

"I know it's you," he says tiredly, then slowly opens the door. He's sitting on the counter, his face tired and drawn. I feel my gut wrench in sympathy.

"Nightmare?" I should keep this calm and understated, not force it.

He wipes his eyes, coughs. "Yeah."

I take a tentative step toward him, my heart pounding.

"It's okay," he quietly says. "You can touch me."

I put a hand on his shoulder, squeeze once.

"I'm so sorry," I murmur.

He nods, sniffs. "You know, it's funny. I'd kind of thought that since you and I--I thought I'd be able to get through one of these without him, you know?" He lays his head down, rests his cheek on my hand for a moment.

"Trauma doesn't just go away," I offer.

"Yeah, well, it's been thirty fucking *years,*" he angrily says. "And I just can't kill the memory; I can't--"

"Don't get mad at yourself. You're not the one--it's not you, Tim."

"You sound like Frank," he says and laughs a little.

"I sound like anyone who loves you," I answer, then reach out and ruffle his hair a little bit. He looks exhausted.

"Let's go back to bed," I say. "Let me hold you."

"You go," he says. "I'll be there soon."


"Soon, I promise," he says. "Really."

I give him a long, worried glance, but I go--I have to. He's got to be able to control *something* about all of this.

Back in the room I change the sheets, fluff up the pillows, then slowly settle down, but there's absolutely no way in hell I'm going to be able to sleep, not right now. The only thing I can do is breathe as softly as I can and listen hard for sounds from the bathroom. Please hurry, Tim, I think, and the waiting begins.