Noel’s First Christmas
The best Christmas presents are those that touch the heart.
Noël White has it all. A successful advertising agency, a huge designer apartment, and enough money to live comfortably. But he’s a lonely man, and the coming holidays only show him what he’ll never have. Oliver, the man he secretly loves.
Oliver Toffey leads a simple life. Living with his little brother and working as a cleaner, he’s searching for the one guy who’d make the perfect husband. Although Oliver is mildly retarded, he doesn’t see it as a handicap on his way to happiness. When he meets a new client, Noël White, he falls head over heels for the lonely man who lives on takeout and always seems so sad.
Unceremoniously, Oliver takes charge of Noël’s apartment and his life, to show him the magic of Christmas and how much he loves Noël.
“I hate Christmas,” Noël White mumbled around the paper takeout bag he held between his teeth. With his satchel wedged under his arm and grabbing the handle of his suitcase in his hand, he tried to open the damn apartment door with his free right hand. Thank God for Bluetooth headsets.
“Ally, please. I don’t have the nerves to attend your mother’s Christmas party. I was raised by two mathematicians who didn’t believe in anything but numbers and logic. There were no trees, no decorations, no carols, and no presents when I was a child. Christmas is something I’ll never understand.”
“Don’t you miss it?”
Noël snorted as he made his way through his spacious apartment until he reached the kitchen. Damn, he felt like a fucking mule. “Miss what? Needles all over my floors, burned food, and absolutely useless crap, someone who knows nothing about me, wrapped in gaudy paper?”
Ally was his right hand at the advertising company he owned and a good friend. But sometimes she annoyed the hell out of him.
“I don’t want you to be alone for Christmas.”
Noël rolled his eyes as he placed the takeout on the kitchen table. “I won’t be alone.”
“Oh? Did you meet someone? I hope he’s not as useless as Rory.”
Right. Noël was too busy to take care of a lover. Or so Rory had told him rather loudly while he’d thrown objects at Noël. Bitchy queen.
One thought of Rory and his blood was up. Four months ago, Noël had returned home unannounced and had found Rory on his hands and knees, while a very muscular, very vocal dude was fucking him through the mattress. Yuck. Noël had wanted to bleach his eyes.
Of course it was his fault Rory had cheated. According to Rory, Noël was a cold-hearted bastard, spent too much time on business trips, and didn’t care for Rory’s feelings. Well, Julio obviously had a magic cock that took care of Rory’s hurt feelings.
Needless to add that Noël had kicked Rory, Julio, and the mattress they’d bounced on, out of his apartment.
“I’ll just go out clubbing. It’s called a rebound fuck.” Noël would never admit there hadn’t been a row of hot guys in and out of his bed since the breakup. He had his pride.
“What? It’s just sex.” Noël sighed as he plopped down on a kitchen chair.
“Will it help?”
“Yeah.” No, it wouldn’t. Of course not. “Look, I’ve just come home and need a shower and food. I’ll call you later. Bye, Ally.” He barely waited for her to say good-bye before he disconnected and threw his cell on the table. His forehead followed swiftly.
Truth was it had been Noël’s fault the relationship with Rory had failed. They’d been doomed right from the start. Noël had tried to care for Rory, but his heart couldn’t be fooled.
There was only one man who owned Noël’s heart. One man he wanted more than anything else in the world. But despite his many flaws, he’d never go there, couldn’t go there.
When he’d first laid eyes on Oliver Toffey, Noël had thought he’d finally met the man of his dreams. He’d been instantly in lust. After just five minutes of chatting, he’d known he was fucked. And not in the good way.
Six months ago, the woman cleaning his apartment twice a week had been fired by her boss after a little bout of theft. As a substitute, the company had sent Oliver. Oliver’s brother, Dominik, who was also the owner of the cleaning company, had called and warned Noël to keep his hands off his brother.
Nothing had happened between Oliver and him, and Noël had no idea what Oliver had told his brother. However, he knew why Dominik had felt the need to have a word with him.
Oliver, although at least ten years older than Noël’s thirty-five, was drop dead gorgeous. And he was slow. Or, as Dominik had phrased it, mildly retarded.
Noël didn’t care. Oliver was charming, funny, damn cute, and never failed to make Noël happy on the rare occasions he was home while Oliver cleaned. Still, he didn’t want to take advantage of Oliver, as Dominik had told him his brother was very trusting and naïve and had been played by men in the past. Noël couldn’t act on his feelings.
Too bad his heart didn’t agree.
He was startled out of his moody thoughts when he heard a faint sound, like a squeak. Tensing, Noël looked at his watch. Today wasn’t a cleaning day. It wasn’t the usual cleaning time either. So why on earth…
When Noël heard the sound again, followed by a rumble, he gasped.
Fuck. Someone was in his apartment. Different scenarios, varying from a burglar trying to steal his shit to his ex-lover trying to steal his shit, raced through his head.
As quietly as possible, Noël stood and listened for more noises. He heard…running water? Noël frowned. What burglar took a shower instead of stealing something? One suffering from obsessional washing? Only one way to find out.
On the way to his bedroom and en-suite, Noël opened a cabinet in the hallway and picked up the old baseball bat he’d stashed there. He wasn’t a friend of guns. But standing a slender five nine, he didn’t consider himself fit enough to defend himself without a weapon of some kind.
He slipped out of his dress shoes. On socked feet, he snuck into his bedroom where the noise of falling water got louder. Noël rose the bat above his right shoulder, took a deep breath, and yanked open the bathroom door.
“Who the fuck are you and what are you—”
The rest of his yelled question was drowned out by a loud shriek and the shower nozzle hitting first the wall and then the tiled floor. Water splashed everywhere, soaking Noël and…an already soaked Oliver.
A naked Oliver.