This title is no longer available as of June 2018.
©2014 Jet Mykles, all rights reserved
Rom looked up to see an adorable young man standing on the other side of the table. Which wasn’t odd. Rom was sitting with two other attractive men and had a beautiful lady seated on his lap. But this man stood out, first because Rom didn’t think he knew him, and second because he had an electronic tablet cradled in one arm and a red-feathered stylus in the other. He wore a distracted almost-frown that didn’t do a thing for his pointy face, and all of his what looked to be sumptuous lavender hair was pulled back into a severe and somewhat unattractive tail. His brown jacket was lined with speckled fur and buttoned so high and tight under his chin that Rom wondered he could breathe. Behind thin, wire-rimmed glasses, he stared steadily at Rom and didn’t smile or pout, didn’t do any number of the things designed to get—and keep—Rom’s attention.
Which might be why he got Rom’s attention. “Yes?”
“I was sent by Mrs. Claus to ask you a few questions.” He gestured with the stylus, making the red feather wave in the breeze of its own passing. “Do you have time now?”
“Sure.” This wasn’t news to Rom. Jannie and Gus—Santa and Mrs. Claus, or, rather, the leaders of the village—had told the team they wanted to start keeping a better record of the reindeer’s lives. The task had begun in Archives, but they might need extra information. He brushed a kiss on Bettie’s cheek as he nudged her from his lap, then stood. “Let’s go.”
“Oh. No.” The feathered stylus waved again as the guy gestured Rom back into his seat. “I’ve only a few questions right now. It’ll only take a minute.”
Rom resumed his seat as Bettie made noises about getting dessert. She and Tun wandered off toward the huge buffet tables at the far corner of the dining hall, but Rov remained at Rom’s side, no doubt hoping to get some alone time with Rom.
Folding his arms on the table beside his empty plate, Rom gave the serious guy with the tablet his full attention. “Shoot.”
“Your parents are Tob and Rena?” He didn’t raise his head, but the angle was still good to see his face. He really was very cute, and Rom was in a good enough mood to flirt a little.
“What’s your name?”
Big blue eyes blinked at him. “What?”
Rom cocked his head, letting his hair spill over his shoulder. He knew he looked good in a loose dark green shirt that showed off his heavy silver medallion in a deep V neckline. But the visual effect seemed to be lost on the frowning man in front of him. “What’s your name?”
Lavender brows crowded down. “What does my name have to do with anything?”
“I like to know who I’m talking to if they’re asking personal questions about me.”
The bookworm only frowned. “My name is Shaw.”
Rom extended his hand over the tabletop. “Hi, Shaw. It’s nice to meet you.”
Shaw looked at his hand, clearly annoyed, then swapped his stylus to free one hand to shake Rom’s. “Hello. Now”—stylus back in the correct hand, his head was again bent over the tablet—“Tob and Rena are your parents?”
Yor and Tik came through the dining hall’s main arch, and heads turned to take in the sight of two reindeer. It was kind of obvious what they were even if their silver medallions weren’t prominently hanging from their necks. They were taller and walked with more assurance than anyone else. It was what being a reindeer did to an elf. Rom waved them over.
“Do we have to do this here?” Rom asked Shaw, marveling that he didn’t choke on the high button of his collar.
It took Shaw a moment to realize he hadn’t gotten an answer to his question. Then he looked up with the same annoyed expression. “Excuse me?”
“Don’t you want to set a time to interview me?” Rom leaned over a bit so he could get a glance at Shaw’s lower half. Dark gray trousers were too baggy to give Rom much of an idea of his legs, and his boots were probably the most boring, plain brown Rom had ever seen. “Maybe over dinner.” Attention back on Shaw’s face, he waggled his eyebrows suggestively. “In private?”
Beside him, Rov laughed, low and suggestive. Yor and Tik made it to the table, stopping behind Shaw, their height making him seem even smaller. Both of them looked him up and down and shot silent questions at Rom.
Shaw didn’t get the suggestion, nor did he realize he was being sized up. “That’s not necessary.” He startled when the two reindeer came from behind him to take seats at the table. “I’ve only a few questions right now.”
Rom laughed softly, unable to remember the last time an elf didn’t want to meet him in private. “You sure? We could meet for drinks at the Mistletoe.”
Shaw tipped his head to the side. “Why would we want to do that?”
Tik burst out laughing. “Are you kidding?”
Shaw glanced at him, then shook his head and bent over the tablet again. “Please, just answer the question.”
“Okay.” Rom sat back, stretching out one long leg, posing. “What was the question?”
Where most elves would take a moment to admire, it was tough to do so when your nose was inches from a tablet screen. “Tob and Rena are your parents?”
Was this guy for real? “They are.”
“And you’ve been a reindeer for ten seasons?” Seasons being the winter season, the only one that counted at Santa’s Village.
The quill’s feather fanned the air as Shaw scribbled. “You began as Prancer?”
“And you’ve been Dasher for…?”
Shaw nodded, as though Rom was only confirming what Shaw already knew. His lips shaped silent words as he clicked the on-screen keyboard. Rom exchanged grins with Yor, who seemed as bewildered as he.
“That’s all I need for now.” Shaw began to turn, never looking up. “Thank you.”
Rom’s jaw dropped. He was just going to leave? “Hey.” When Shaw kept moving, Rom stood. “Hey!” He looked at Yor and Tik. “Is he kidding?”
“Let him go, Rom.” Yor chuckled, smiling up at Bettie as she and Tun returned with plates piled with little cakes and tarts.
A hand stroked his arm, and Rom looked around into Rov’s deep green-gold eyes. His smile was what Rom had expected to see on the bookworm’s face. Rom leaned into that smile, prepared to take what was offered and forget the snub, but…
Wait. He brushed a kiss on Rov’s lips as he stood. “I’ll be right back.” Without pause or looking back to see everyone’s reaction, he hurried away from the table after the bookworm with the high collar.
Why? Who knew? Obviously the guy from Archives wasn’t interested. Was it cliché that Rom was intrigued by the one guy who wasn’t? Yeah, probably, but that didn’t mean Rom didn’t want to know why.
Outside, he spied his prey on the wide steps that led down to the street. Rom caught up to him easily and snagged his arm. “Hey.”
Startled, Shaw gathered the tablet to his chest, the quill brushing his nose as he blinked up at Rom. “What?”
Grinning, Rom used one finger to right the angle of the fragile wire-frame glasses that had come askew. “Didn’t you hear me calling you?”
More blinking. “You were calling me?”
Good question. Shaw was cute enough, but he wasn’t the most stunning of elves, and the absentmindedness was a little off-putting. But he was intriguing, and if he got that confused frown off his face, he’d probably look better. “Don’t you ever look up from that tablet?”
Shaw’s frown increased, the bridge of his pointy nose scrunching. “Why?”
Rom could see that this conversation wasn’t going far. People were passing by them. Snow drifted down from the sky, making lacy wet patterns on Shaw’s light purple hair. “What are you doing tonight?”
“I’m having a party at my place.” At least, now he decided he would. “You should come by.”
“Because I’d like you there.”
If possible, those eyes got wider. “Why?”
“Because I think you’re cute.”
The frown dissipated into an adorable pursing of lips. Rom finally noticed the sheen of fine purple lashes, several shades darker than his hair. “Me?”
A blink. Another. Then laughter. Yes, that was the sound that burbled from Shaw’s mouth. Although it produced a delightful smile that brightened up his face, Rom wasn’t all that pleased with being the object of amusement. He waited, but the laughter continued. “What’s so funny?”
Shaw stared at him for a moment’s quiet, then started laughing again.
“Forgive me,” Shaw sputtered, clutching his tablet for support. “I just…” A peek up at Rom threatened more laughter, but he squelched it by closing his eyes and averting his head.
“So?” Now that the laughter had died, Rom was willing to get back on point. “How about it?”
“Sure I am.”
“Oh. No.” Shaw shook his head. “No, no.”
“You and me? Oh no.”
“It simply wouldn’t work.”
“I’m not talking a lifetime here. I’m talking a night.” Rom reached toward the shining lavender hair that wafted in a light breeze. “If we like it, maybe two or three.”
Still visibly amused, Shaw backed up to prevent the touch. “I’m sorry. I don’t think so.”
“I apologize. I realize you’re used to instant gratification when you show an interest in someone, and I suppose I should be flattered—”
Rom really didn’t like his tone.
“—but that sort of thing isn’t for me.” Shaw gave a winning smile that made him look a thousand times more attractive. “Thank you. Truly.”
Astounded, Rom watched while Shaw turned to walk away. He wanted to ask, wanted to pursue, but at the moment there didn’t seem to be a point. Eyes on the sway of Shaw’s ponytail as the smaller elf descended the stairs, his nose already buried in his tablet again, Rom told himself to just get over it.
Startled, he looked around at the little man who had a hand on his arm. Rov. Cerulean hair, topaz eyes. Tasty little cock. A moaner. Rom had done him a few times.
Rov smiled. “You okay?”
“I’m…fine.” Pulling on a smile, he wrapped an arm around Rov’s shoulders. “You’re coming to my party, right?”
Rov settled comfortably into Rom’s side. “You’re having a party?”
“Sure. A party of two.”