I love Christmas scenes. In Hat Trick Simon and Alex went to Boston to spend Christmas with his grandparents. The entirety of Hat Trick Overtime: A Classic Winter’s Night was the boys having an impromptu Christmas date during a trip to Detroit with the Michigan hockey team. I did skip Christmas in the next two installments, but Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot brought Simon and Alex home and featured an evening with their high school friends.
However, while Simon and Alex were at home, another Christmas gathering happened. Scottie, the captain and goalie for Rainbow High, had his teammates over for an evening of fun. What follows is what can be considered a bonus chapter to Hat Trick 3. This falls between chapters 35 and 36 and features TJ as the narrator.
If you haven’t read Hat Trick 3: Penalty Shot, you should probably stop right here. But if you have read it, I hope you enjoy this Christmas moment with TJ, Bryan, Scottie, Walt and some of their Rainbow High teammates.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!
– Jeff Adams
Friday December 22
I couldn’t believe how things had changed in just a few months. When the school year started, I wasn’t even thinking about playing hockey. I certainly wasn’t thinking about having a boyfriend, much less having a bunch of new friends that I didn’t have to hide anything from.
Uh-oh. Bryan was looking at me. We were parked and I hadn’t been paying attention. I was so relaxed around Bryan that I could let my mind drift and not worry about missing anything.
“Sorry,” I said. “I was just thinking what an amazing Christmas this is.”
“And it’s not even Christmas Day yet,” Bryan said.
“I don’t see how it could get any better.” I smiled at him as I reached into the back seat to grab the tin of cookies my mom had made.
We were at Scottie’s house. He was throwing a team party for those of us who were still in town. From what he’d said, about half the team was expected, so it was going to be a fun night. Actually it was already perfect since I was with Bryan.
I hooked two of his fingers with two of mine as we headed to the front door. Scottie’s front yard and house were decked out for the season with what had to be a million lights plus a scene of Santa and reindeer inflated in the front yard.
“This is seriously extreme decorating,” Bryan said. “I’ve never known someone with so many lights.”
“I love it,” I said, “especially there seem to be decorations on all sides of the house.”
Bryan rang the doorbell as I admired the small lights that changed color on the railing of the porch.
“Bryan! TJ!” Scottie shouted as if he were announcing us to the neighborhood rather than giving a simple greeting. It had taken some getting used to his enthusiasm when I met him, but now I loved his energy and constant excitement.
“Merry Christmas,” Bryan said, giving Scottie a fist bump.
“Feliz Navidad,” I said, one of the very few times I ever used my Spanish. “These are for the party, from my mom.”
I handed Scottie the tin as we entered. He opened it and took out one of the decorated snowflake cookies. From the foyer, Christmas music and muffled conversation could be heard.
“Yay!” He took a bite and spoke while he chewed. “These are yummy.” Once he swallowed continued. “Thanks, TJ’s mom!” He called out as if she might hear across town. “Come on in. You can leave your coats on the couch in there,” he pointed to a formal living room, “and then come on back.”
I took off my coat and added it to the pile, but Bryan kept his. He kept his letter jacket on most of the time. The only times I could think of that he was without it was while we played games and at the Halloween party when we were in costume.
Scottie’d taken over the living room and kitchen. As lit up as the outside of the house was, these rooms were decorated and sparkled more than I’d imagined possible. I wondered if Scottie had added extra decorations for the party or if this was a normal Christmas at the Polan house.
We were greeted by everyone else as we came into the living room. Some of the guys brought their girlfriends or boyfriends, although Bryan and I were the only couple on he team. As with Halloween, I loved seeing the team together. It was too bad several teammates were already gone for the break.
There was an NHL competition happening on the TV as two guys battled it out with the XBox. Lots of guys were signed up to play the winner too. Bryan and I watched the heated game play between Fred and Walt as they were engaged in an overtime four-on-four battle.
Bryan and I settled on the floor, next to each other, our knees touching as we sat cross-legged.
Bryan made me ridiculously happy. It’d been a surprise to discover how awesome having a boyfriend was. I guessed I’d missed out on a lot while I was trying to keep a low profile. Before the team I had my family, who were great, and the others in the community center’s trans group, but not a group like this. Or a boy like Bryan.
Somehow Scottie talked us all into playing a rousing game of truth or dare. I had a hard time not laughing through it because it was weird that a bunch of hockey players took such a juvenile game so seriously. The mix of questions and dares were no holds barred, and sometimes slightly embarrassing, but everyone seemed to have a great time. I gained new respect for my teammates because nothing in the game was mean spirited.
“Can we go stand in the lights?” I asked Bryan after the game.
“Of course,” he smiled. “Take some hot chocolate with us?”
We filled a couple of paper cups from the large pot of cocoa. I added a touch of mint and marshmallows to mine while Bryan took his with no extras.
“We’re gonna be on the porch for a few minutes,” Bryan told Scottie. “He needs to be in the lights.”
“Cool. I love it out there too,” Scottie said. “Have fun.”
We wandered out to the side of the porch. I nestled into the corner, against a post, so I could see the maximum number of lights. Bryan sat carefully on the railing next to me, making sure to not disturb the tiny bulbs.
“They’re beautiful,” Bryan said.
“It’s like stars have fallen on to the house. It’s the most spectacular one on the street.”
“I love that you’re so into Christmas. Ever since Thanksgiving, whenever we go out and you see Christmas stuff you’re so happy.”
“I’ve always loved it. It’s like all the magic clusters into the last few weeks of the year.”
Bryan smiled and lit up the porch even more.
“And I don’t mean Santa Claus and stuff,” I continued. “People get nicer. Everything sparkles. Wishes come true.”
Bryan grabbed two of my fingers and held them. This was our thing and I loved it. It was so simple, but meant so much. My heart sped up every time we did it.
We enjoyed the lights and drank our cocoa. I was pretty sure I could stay in this spot, with Bryan, for hours. It was beautiful and peaceful.
I decided it was the perfect time to give him his Christmas present. I’d been carrying it with me for the past couple days, just in case the right moment came along. This one seemed perfect.
“I’ve got something for you,” I said after a few quiet moments. “I know you’re coming over Christmas night for desert, but I kinda wanted to give you this when it was just us. And this is a beautiful place to do it.”
Letting go of his hand, I pulled a small wrapped package from the pocket of my cargo pants. I handed the small silver package over. It fit in the palm of his hand, which he closed gently around it.
“Cool,” he said quietly. “Should I open it now?”
I nodded. Hopefully he’d like it. I stuffed my hands, which had gone clammy, into my jeans pockets.
He gently opened the package revealing the leather cord first. He held it up, and the the small silver “T” dangled in the air.
“Oh, T, I love it.”
“It was was given to my mom when she named me. When I turned thirteen, she gave it to me on a silver chain. When I started,” I paused for a moment, “when I started being a guy, I put it away. The silver chain was too girly for me all of a sudden. I was thinking about what to get you and the idea of putting it on a leather cord you could wear…”
“It’s awesome. I’ll wear it always.” He put it over his head and it hung down near his heart.
He didn’t drop it inside his shirt so the silver sparkled with all the lights surrounding us.
We both drank some cocoa, as if we didn’t know what to do next.
“I was going to wrap my gift to you,” he finally said, “but I can give it to you now just like this.”
That didn’t make any sense. He was going to wrap it, but yet he had it with him?
“I’ve been thinking about what to get you too, but I couldn’t make up my mind. I finally figured it out this afternoon. Considering what you just gave me I think I made the right choice.”
He put his cocoa on the railing and took off his jacket.
Suddenly I understood.
My stomach did a summersault. This was huge.
“I’d be thrilled if you’d wear my jacket.”
He held it open for me. I put my drink down next to his and slipped into the coat. It was warm and felt great.
“Are you sure? This is you’re favorite jacket.”
“And it’ll be even better because you’ll be in it.” He smiled. “Merry Christmas.” Bryan spoke quietly, as if he’d gone suddenly shy. “Thanks for being my boyfriend.”
“Thank you. It’s perfect. I…”
I didn’t know what to say.
Instead of struggling to talk, I made the sudden decision to try something I’d wanted to for weeks. After my freak out at the Halloween party, I’d been too nervous to even think about it. But now, wearing his jacket and seeing his super cute smile, I was able to summon the courage.
I stepped forwarded, put my arms around him and placed a soft kiss on his lips. He was rigid for a moment, but made the softest moan.
My lips were on his for a few seconds when he began to kiss me back. I loosened my hold on him and he took advantage of that to put his arms around me. He didn’t squeeze me tight and I knew why, he didn’t want to be the cause of a Christmas meltdown.
The electricity that shot through me was unbelievable. It made me a little light headed as the rush of feelings threatened to short circuit my brain. His eyes sparkled with the multi-colored lights, and I saw so much happiness looking back at me that it gave me something to focus on.
This was my first kiss and I was going to make the most of it. My tongue ran along his lips and I hugged him tighter, feeling the heat of his body along with the the warmth from his jacket.
When are tongues finally met, neither of us was timid.
It was awesome.
I thought my body might fly into a million pieces from the overpowering sensations.
I knew we weren’t going to do more than this anytime soon, but I loved finally feeling his body against mine.
I hoped no one inside was watching, but I wasn’t going to stop to find out find out because I kinda didn’t care. Too many fireworks were going off in my brain.
My eyes fluttered closed as we kissed. It was suddenly too much to keep them open.
I don’t know how long we kept at it, but we jumped back when a dog barked loudly from the sidewalk.
I stood in front of Bryan and watched to make sure I hadn’t freaked him out. He looked happy, almost in a daze, complete with a goofy grin. I was pretty sure I looked the same.
“I guess you like the jacket,” he finally said, sounding like he was catching his breath.
“Yeah. Very much.”
The grin I had was huge, and I couldn’t stop it.
“I’ve wanted to do that for a while but I didn’t…”
“I know,” I interrupted. I felt bad I’d kept him from it, especially knowing how good it felt. “Every time we say good night lately I’ve wanted to get a kiss and I know you have too, but I was scared. Tonight it was time to go for it.” We continued to stare at each other, as if we were worried one of us might disappear. “I’m glad I did.”
“Me too. Again sometime?”
“Oh yeah,” I said, possibly too eager.
I knew I couldn’t let us go too far. There was so much that I simply couldn’t do with him. He knew that and I was sure he wouldn’t push me. But it also wouldn’t be fair to get either of us too turned on, which I suspected would be really easy to do given how I was feeling. The tingly sensations radiating through me made we want to keep exploring with Bryan, even as my brain said no.
“I’ll let you lead,” he said. “I don’t want to ever cross a line. As good as that was, I want you to be okay.”
“What did I do to deserve you? You’ve got to be the best guy ever.”
He hesitated to move closer so I made it okay by taking the initiative to hug him. I was surprised by how much I wanted the closeness after being scared of it for so long.
“You’ve made it easy because you’ve told me what’s going on. Do I want more? Yes. And you can surprise me like this anytime.”
I melted as he put his arms around me again. We sort of snuggled into each other. My brain screamed that he was too close, but I ignored it. If I could’ve I’d have punched that voice in the face.
Despite being wrapped up in each other, Bryan shuddered after a few minutes had passed.
“Cold?” I asked.
We’d been outside longer than we expected to be and now he wasn’t in his coat. Mine was inside where I’d left it.
“A little,” he said. “But I’m also enjoying this,” he added, quieter.
“Let’s go back inside,” I suggested, “warm up our cocoa and hang with our friends. Maybe we can kiss some more when you drop me off tonight.”
He nodded. “I like this new kissing thing you’re into.”
I felt my face heat although I wasn’t sure if he could see the blush with all the colored lights around. “That was my first,” I said quietly. “It sure won’t be my last though.”
He took a couple of my fingers in his hand.
“I’m glad I was the first.”
I knew I wasn’t his first. We’d had the talk about who he’d dated and what he’d done with them weeks ago.
“What don’t you go sit by the fire and I’ll grab drinks,” I said, as we got inside.
Bryan slowly let go of my fingers as he strode away. Pride swelled in me as I saw that he still wore the T over his shirt. He sat down next to Scottie, making sure he left room for me.
At the cocoa pot, I filled our drinks as Walt came over.
“Awesome,” he said as he filled his cup with Coke, “he gave it to you early.”
I looked at him confused and then realized what he meant.
“Yeah.” I ran my hand over the outside of the jacket, across Bryan’s name that was stitched on the left side.
“Good. He was nervous about that. You guys are really great together. I had no idea when Bryan told me he was asking you out that he’d end up so happy.”
“I didn’t know I’d end up so happy either. He’s pretty incredible.”
We turned from the table with our drinks.
“Uh-oh,” I said, “looks like he’s watching us. He must’ve sensed we were talking about him.”
“I can handle this,” Walt said. “Follow me.” I did as he said and when we got to Bryan I handed over his hot chocolate.
“Do I need to worry about what you two were talking about?”
“Not at all,” Walt said. “I complemented TJ on the jacket and then let him know if he ever needed embarrassing stories from elementary school or something that he could ask me. I’m thinking the fifth grade baseball debacle would be perfect.”
“You wouldn’t dare,” Bryan’s eyes narrowed.
Walt winked at me and walked away without another word.
“He didn’t say anything, did he?”
“No, you big goof,” I nudged him as I sat down and he looked relived. “Although I may need to get you to tell me.”
He took in a deep breath. “Maybe. It’s not me at my best though.”
“We can trade stories. I have plenty that fit that description.”
“We’ll see,” he said.
Scottie leaned in and whispered to us. “Love the jacket and the necklace. I’m so happy for you guys.”
“Thanks,” we said. After a quick look at each other we burst out laughing since we’d said it at the same time.
Scottie smiled and got up from his fireplace perch to mingle in with another group.
Bryan and I leaned against each other, our arms and legs touching. It was comfortable here, even the warmth of the fire through the jacket was perfect.
After tonight, there was no way this couldn’t be the best Christmas ever.