Matt lay in their dark hotel room, cuddled up underneath the covers. He lay in the arms of the man he loved, his head resting on his lover's muscular chest. His eyes were open, his finger tracing little patterns around his lover's belly button. He had a happy, contented smile on his face. There were several condom wrappers on the bedstand, the rumpled sheets a further sign of their passion earlier that night.


 Matt lifted his head, smiling as he gazed into his lover's eyes. "Yes darling?"

 Steven smiled, rubbing Matt's back affectionately. "You still awake?"

 Matt chuckled, leaning up to rub noses with his lover. "No, sweetheart, I'm asleep. Can't you tell?"

 Steven laughed as well. "Sorry; stupid question. Can't you sleep, baby?"

 "I'm not really tired." Matt laid his head back on Steven's chest, rubbing his hair over Steven's sensitive nipples.

 "After all we did tonight, you're not tired?" Steven asked with a hit of amusement.

 Matt chuckled, shifting so he was lying over Steven, folding his arms across Steven's chest and resting his chin of his hands. He peered up into Steven's eyes lovingly. "Well, maybe I'm a little tired, but I'm not at all sleepy. Are you?"

 "Not really." Steven returned Matt's gaze, wrapping his arms around Matt's back possessively. "I was just thinking about Christmas. It'll be our first Christmas together."

 "Yep, and we'll be together every minute of it," Matt replied confidently.

 "That we will," Steven said with a smile. Matt nodded and laid his head down on Steven's chest, feeling content just to feel the warmth of his lover next to his skin. It was silent for a moment. Then, Steven spoke again, sounding a bit hesitant. "Does that bother you, honey? That you're not going to be spending Christmas with your brother this year?"

 Matt looked up at him again, smiling reassuringly. "I'll make sure to call Jeff on Christmas day. He's spending Christmas with his own boyfriend, anyway. I'm sure he'll have a great time up in Canada with all our friends. Besides, baby, I need to be alone with you. This is our time together." Matt pulled himself up Steven's chest, pressing his lips to Steven's in a passionate kiss.

 "We're going to have a great time ourselves."

 Steven nodded in agreement. "We certainly will. As soon as we get to my house and get settled in, the first order of business is to get a Christmas tree! And no store bought one, either. We're going to tromp through the woods, get covered in snow, pick out our own tree, and cut it down ourselves. Sound good?"

 "Wonderful." Matt sighed contentedly. "I think I might be able to sleep now. We've got an early flight tomorrow."

 Steven laughed. "It's at 10:00 in the morning, that's not exactly early."

 "Well," Matt replied with a yawn, "it is for me, so let's get to sleep." Steven just smiled, wrapping his arms securely around his lover and closing his eyes.

"Matt, sweetheart, wake up," Steven whispered, gently shaking the snoozing Hardy.

 "Wha, huh?" Matt mumbled, blinking in confusion. He glanced at the clock, which read 8:00, and sat bolt upright. "Oh my god, it's Christmas!"

 Steven grinned. "Yes it is. Want to go check the tree and see if Santa came?"

 Matt rolled his eyes, punching his lover good-naturedly in the arm. "I'm a little old for that, Steven. But I still can't wait to open my presents!" He leapt out of bed and raced for the stairs.

 "Matt, aren't you going to put some clothes on?" Steven called after him, chuckling in amusement.

 Matt came back into the room, looking slightly embarrassed. "I guess I probably should," he agreed, glancing at his naked body. Their love-making the previous night had been intense, as always, and had left no room for undergarments. He opened up the dresser Steven had let him put his clothes in, pulling out a pair of silk, red-and-white candycane pajamas. He quickly pulled them on, turning to Steven for approval. "Good?" he questioned.

 "Lovely," Steven replied with a grin. He was wearing a long blue bathrobe, under which he had on a pair of comfortable cotton pajamas.

 "Then let's get to the presents!" Matt exclaimed jubilantly. "Steven, baby, catch me!" he dashed down the stairs, his grinning lover on his heels. Matt reached the brightly decorated tree first, plopping down and pulling out the presents with the excitement of a child. Steven sat next to him, delighting in seeing the man he loved so happy.

 They opened various presents from friends and family, taking turns unwrapping their presents. They talked and laughed, while Christmas carols drifted from the speakers and the scent of gingerbread filled their nostrils as they munched on the gingerbread house they had built together. Finally, they got to the final two presents; their gifts to each other. It was Steven's turn to open one, so Matt picked up his present to his lover, biting his lip as Steven took it and unwrapped the small box. The discarded wrapping paper revealed a long grey jewelry box. Steven looked at Matt, his eyes filled with emotion, and gently opened the case.

 "Oh, Matt, it's beautiful," he gasped, pulling out the necklace from inside the box. It had a thin gold chain, and at one end, a small golden heart with a single, tiny ruby at the center. It sparkled in the light coming from the Christmas tree.

 "You really like it?" Matt asked, looking a little unsure.

 "I love it!" Steven undid the clasp on the necklace and fastened it behind his neck, gazing down at the golden heart hanging over his chest. "It's perfect. I'll never take it off, darling. I can ever wear it under my RTC clothes."

 Matt's face lit up like a beacon. "I wasn't sure you'd like it. I'm so glad you do!"

 Steven smiled at Matt, taking his hand and squeezing it lovingly. "You bet I do. Now open mine." Steven picked up the last box under the tree and handed it to Matt. "I'm a little unsure about my present, too, but I think you'll like it." Steven watched as Matt carefully took the wrapping off the shoe-box sized package. Delightful anticipation building in the pit of his stomach, Matt gently slid the lid off the box. He saw a small piece of folded paper inside. Curious, he picked it up and unfolded it.

 "Before you do anything else, darling, please stand up," Matt read. He frowned in confusion, but did what the note said. He glanced at Steven, and was shocked to see his lover kneeling before him, a small velvet box in his hand. His heart began to beat faster as Steven took his hand.

 "Matt," Steven whispered, gazing intently into Matt's eyes. "I love you, and, if you feel the same way, I'd really like us to spend the rest of our lives together. Matt, darling, will you marry me?" He flipped open the velvet case, revealing a breathtaking diamond ring.

 Matt felt all the breath leave his body. His mouth fell open, and he stared down at the man who had just proposed to him. "Really?" he choked out. His chest felt so tight he could barely draw a breath in. "Oh my god, Steven, you really want to marry me?"

 "Yes," Steven replied, not a trace of doubt in his voice. "I love you, Matthew Moore Hardy. I would do anything for you. If I could spend eternity with you, it wouldn't be enough, but I'll settle for the rest of my life. Will you, darling?"

 "Yes," Matt squeaked, his eyes blinded by tears. "God, Stevie, baby, I've been wanting you to ask me for so long! Yes, I love you, I want to be with you forever." Steven's own eyes were filled with tears as well as he slipped the engagement ring onto Matt's finger. He then rose to his feet, drawing Matt into a tight, loving embrace.

 Matt rested his head on Steven's shoulder, wrapping his arms around his lover as tightly as he could. "You're always so romantic, baby," he whispered. "You couldn't have picked a better time! This is, without a doubt, the best Christmas ever."


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