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Authors: Ryan Field

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BOOK: A Christmas Carl
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lawyers. He didn’t even want to discuss it as a matter of principle. He told Carl he wanted


nothing to do with Briarwood Manor and he didn’t care what happened to his father or


the estate.


Then Carl finally told Victor all about his experiences with the three Christmas


ghosts and how they had changed his life. He reached for Victor’s hand and said, “Think


of all the things you can do now to help other people, Victor. Think about your father.


Even if he doesn’t know it, he deserves another chance, too. He must love you. He would


have changed his will if he didn’t. Don’t be bitter. You have to forgive. Taking over this


estate will change the course of your life, and many other lives.” Carl remembered the


Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come taking him to Victor’s small apartment. He couldn’t


know for sure, but he had a feeling that Victor had refused to deal with his father’s estate,


and this decision had altered the rest of his life. Now there was still a chance to fix that.


Eventually, Carl persuaded Victor to contact the lawyers and take control of his


father’s estate. But Victor would only agree to do it under one condition. Victor wanted


to turn the entire house into a residence for homeless people living with AIDS. When the


lawyers told him he had complete power of attorney and that he could do whatever he


wanted, he decided to take full responsibility for his father.


Carl parked near the front door at Briarwood Manor. It was already dark outside


and the snow was falling in heavy flakes. There was a Christmas wreath on every


window with a red bow, a huge wreath on the front door with a bigger red bow, and little


white lights sparkled in the shrubs that surrounded the main house. Carl’s stomach


jumped. Everything looked the same as it had sixteen years earlier. Joan opened the front door to greet them and shouted, “Where have you guys


been? We’ve been worried about you. Merry Christmas.”


Carl got out of the car and went to the front walk, looking back to be sure that


Carl Junior wouldn’t slip in the snow. “We’re fine. I just drove a little slower. Merry


Christmas to you, too.” Then he turned back, while he was still walking, and said to Carl


Junior, “Be careful. It’s slippery. I don’t want you to fall and break something.”


The brick walk was covered with snow and Carl wasn’t watching where he was


going. Before Carl Junior could even reply, Carl missed the bottom step and fell


backwards. But while he was falling, a pair of strong hands reached under his arms and


caught him just in time.


Carl Junior pushed his father up, with little effort, and said, “You’d better watch


step, Dad. You don’t want to break a hip.” Then the boy laughed and grabbed Carl’s


arm. He walked him to the front door with a smug grin on his bright young face.


Carl’s eyebrows went up and he gave Joan a look. Then he smiled and said to his


son, “I guess I deserve that. I’ll try not to be overprotective. But sometimes I just can’t


help it.”


Carl Junior patted Carl on the back and said, “Don’t worry. I’m getting used to


it.” Then he hugged Joan and went into the house to find Able and Victor so he could


wish them a Merry Christmas.


The house was filled with people. Christmas music bellowed from the grand


piano and everyone had plenty to eat. The Christmas tree in front of the bay window


twinkled and swags of pine garland made the entire house smell like Christmas. Victor


had planned a Christmas Eve party that night and a Christmas dinner the next day for the residents. Along with his job as director of the homeless shelter in the city, Victor now


ran the private, nonprofit AIDS residence at Briarwood Manor. He’d taken on a great


deal of responsibility and Carl helped him out as much as he could. Victor had been


running both places so smoothly it looked as if he’d been doing it for twenty years. He


hired people to be there all week while he was in the city, and he had several good,


dependable volunteers like Able and Joan. Victor was one of those men who required


very little sleep and he seemed to thrive on the fast pace.


But Carl was the one who always made sure they had private time together. His


life didn’t revolve around money anymore. It revolved around taking care of his son, and


pleasing his life partner. So while Able and Carl Junior were singing at the piano, and


Joan was clearing plates from the tables, Carl asked the pianist to play something special,


and then he crossed the room to the fireplace where Victor was standing and whispered,


“I hope you’re not too tired. I’m going outside to the garage. Meet me out there in ten


minutes. I want to celebrate a few Christmas minutes alone, with just you in my arms.”


The piano started playing their special Christmas love song. Victor’s head went


up and he smiled. “I’m never too tired for you.” Victor had been helping his father’s


nurse. She was trying to get his father to eat something, but his father kept spitting the


food out of his mouth. The old man spent most of his days in a hospital bed in a small


room on the first floor off the kitchen, and the doctors said he didn’t have much time left.


There was always a nurse with him, and Victor visited him on weekends. Victor could


have put him into a nursing home. But he didn’t.


Carl shoved his hands in his pockets and smiled. He touched the top of Victor’s


hand with his fingertips and whispered, “Can you get out there without me?” He knew Victor had limitations, and he was always sensitive to them without damaging Victor’s




“I’ll be there in ten minutes,” Victor said. “Don’t worry. I’ll find my way. I grew


up here, remember?”


Ten minutes later, Carl was holding a thick plaid blanket and leaning against the


back of the old Cadillac. His clothes were in a heap next to his feet and he was stark


naked except for a tattered black scarf around his neck. There was a dim light coming


from an overhead bulb and the garage wasn’t as cold as he thought it would be. Since the


last time he’d been naked in that garage, Victor’s father had installed a low-voltage


heating system and new garage doors to protect the old car from the cold weather.


When he heard the side door of the garage squeak, he looked up and called


Victor’s name. When Victor called his name, Carl tossed the blanket into the backseat


and walked toward the door in his bare feet. He greeted Victor by putting his arms around


his neck and kissing him on the lips.


Victor put his arms around Carl and said, “I can’t believe you’re not wearing


anything but a scarf.” He kissed him again and placed his hands on Carl’s naked ass.


While they were kissing, Carl pulled down Victor’s zipper and reached inside his


pants. He wrapped his fingers around Victor’s erection and pulled it out. When he had a


tight grip, he yanked it a few times and said, “Let’s get inside the car. I have lube in the


back seat.” Then he led him through the garage, to the car, without releasing his grip.


Victor took off his clothes and sat down in the back seat. Carl climbed into the car


and sat on his lap. They did everything they’d done the last time they’d been together in that car, and


this time no one interrupted them.


When they were finished, Victor forced Carl down and fell on top of him. He


pulled the plaid cover over their bodies and held Carl in his arms. Then he sighed and


whispered, “You feel just as beautiful now as you did sixteen years ago. And I love you


sixteen times more.”


Carl’s arms were around Victor’s warm shoulders. He rubbed his cheek against


Victor’s stubble and said, “And so are you, Victor. When you were a beautiful young


football player, I couldn’t get enough of you. You’ve turned into a magnificent man, and


I still can’t get enough of you. And I know, with absolute clarity, that I’m going to feel


the same way when you’re older and you have white hair.” He ran his fingers through


Victor’s hair and smiled, remembering how Victor had looked as an older man.


Victor reached down and pressed his palm against the bottom of Carl’s ass. He


pressed harder and smiled. “How do you know you’re going to feel this way about me


when I’m old? What if I get fat and bald?”


“I just know it,” Carl said, “because I love you.” He rested his head on Victor’s


strong shoulder and closed his eyes. “Merry, Merry Christmas, Victor.”


Victor’s hand went up to the middle of Carl’s back. He pressed his hot palm


against Carl’s flesh and said, “Merry Christmas, my love.”


And when their lips touched, in the distance, barely recognizable, it sounded as if


someone was ringing bells; just like The Christmas Bells of Life, Love, and Hope he’d


heard the night of his visit with The Ghost of Christmas Present.


for more great stories by Ryan Field.


BOOK: A Christmas Carl
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