First Christmas

an excerpt



Chapter One


Ian was sitting cross legged on the bed, working on his laptop, when Mac walked in from the bathroom. He had a towel wrapped around his waist and was using another one to dry his hair. He gave his hair one last rub and threw the towel back into the bathroom, just missing the hamper.

"Damn!"

"One of these days," Ian said, "you'll hit that thing."

Mac shrugged but didn't say anything. He began to get dressed. "You getting ready?" he asked a few minutes later.

"Ready?" Ian queried.

"Dinner." Mac sighed. "With Neil and his wife, their anniversary, remember?"

"Is that tonight?"

"Lord, Ian, how could you forget? What're you working on now?"

"Same as always. More clues to help me find the Ix-chel device."

"I thought it might be something new to be so distracting. Come on, you'd better hurry."

Thirty minutes later they were climbing into Mac's car and heading across Chicago.

"Mac, how many years have they been married now?" Ian asked.

"Three. I know you've not known them long, but I thought-"

"Just wanted to make sure you knew," Ian interrupted with a grin.

"Bastard!" Mac laughed.

"Nope. Parents are gone but I did have some."

The passing comment had Mac thinking again about Ian's background. Ian had no family left anymore with whom to celebrate the coming holiday. After his parents died, he had spent a few years being pushed from pillar to post by the system before he was finally taken in by his only living relative, his uncle Roger. Unfortunately, the old guy seemed more interested in training Ian to follow in his archaeological footsteps than being a father figure to a teenage boy. Not that Ian had objected; he'd been as fascinated by the subject as Roger. Still was, as Mac knew only too well. But Mac was pretty sure that holidays and celebrations had featured low on the importance scale in Ian's small family.

Mac had never expected when he gave a lift to a stranded hitch-hiker than the man would become vital to his happiness. He and Ian might have only been together a little over four months, but, as far as Mac was concerned, Ian was now the most important part of his family. Okay, he didn't have much of a family either. His parents were dead and the only relative left he liked, and had any contact with, was his Aunt Cecily, but she lived down in Florida now and he rarely saw her these days, though they did still write regularly. He smiled at the thought of the outspoken seventy year old lady who had always liked to shock her rather staid family. He decided he had to make an effort to go and visit her, and take Ian along. He was pretty sure they would get on famously. But not for Christmas; there wasn't time to arrange that.

Christmas had never loomed particularly large in Mac's life either, especially not since he left the service and worked hard to build up his business, but now he had someone special to share it with he wanted to enjoy it again.

Other than Ian, the people Mac considered as family where those of his choosing: his friends who helped him to run the Tomcat Line; Hank, Neil, and Leslie, and by association their respective families. Between them surely they could give Ian a Christmas to remember.

"You're being unusually quiet," Ian said. "What's going on in that devious mind of yours?"

"You think I'm devious."

"No, I don't think it, I damn well know it."

"Not on my own there, Professor."

"Don't think I didn't notice how you avoided answering the question," Ian commented.

Mac sighed. "It's nothing serious, something I would prefer to discuss with you another time though."

"Oh, now I'm curious- and not a little concerned."

"No, there's no reason at all to be concerned," Mac reassured as they pulled into Neil's driveway.

Ian pursed his lips but didn't press further, though Mac expected a grilling when they got home later. He'd have to find a way to distract his lover until he'd time to make plans. Now how to distract Ian? Mac grinned as his mind provided him with various scenarios.