A Nicky and Marco Christmas Story
"Oh God, what’s wrong with Nicky today?" Rory asked, glancing over at Logan as they ate their supper. Usually, Nicky ate with them, despite his new status as part of the alpha pair. In many ways, he was the same old Nicky, now that he was used to his role and didn’t feel the need to show Marco what a badass he was. Since the injection of wolf’s heartsblood he’d received months ago, he and Marco had experienced a lot of problems—and a lot of tension. The pack had all felt it and reacted with a nervous restlessness. Rory had hoped all that was over with and things were getting back to normal, but from the look of Nicky’s long face, that didn’t seem to be the case.
Logan shook his head and sighed. "He and Marco got into a huge fight yesterday and Marco stormed out and took Ian with him. They said they were going into the woods, and didn’t say when they might be back.
"But tomorrow’s Christmas!"
"I know," Logan said quietly. "Before he left, Ian said we’d celebrate as soon he got back, but he wasn’t sure when that would be. You know how loyal he is to Marco."
"What in the hell did Nicky and Marco argue about this time?"
"I’m not sure. Nicky won’t talk about it."
"Must have been pretty bad to leave him at Christmas."
Logan nodded and shrugged, casting one more glance at his best friend Nicky, who was dejectedly stirring his mashed potatoes with his fork and not even making a pretense of eating. Logan looked back down at his plate and thought about the empty hours without Ian stretching ahead of him and suddenly lost his own appetite. He wondered again what Nicky and Marco could have fought about that was so serious it made Marco leave him—at Christmas!
It had all started over the mistletoe. What a silly thing to argue about, but that was frequently the way it happened with him and Marco. Nicky loved him so much, but the man could get on his last nerve like no one else in the world. Nicky blew out another long breath as he finally threw down his fork and gave up the idea of eating altogether.
Nicky loved Christmas—had ever since he was a little boy, and he had put himself in charge of decorations for the lodge this year. He spent hours at his sketch pad, designing a plan and a theme and then rounded up some of the older children to help him put his plan into action. Marco and some of his wolves had already brought in a huge blue spruce and put it up for them in the great room, not too close to the fireplace and strategically placed near the window overlooking the circular driveway in front of the lodge. Nicky and some of the older boys took care of getting on the ladder to place the lights and the higher ornaments and the rest of the children had fun placing the ones on the lower half of the tree. Perhaps a lot of extra tinsel and angel hair went on the floor as well, but it was all worth it to Nicky in the end, because the tree was gorgeous.
They decorated the mantels and the stair rails too and even placed mistletoe over the doorways. And that’s when the trouble started.
Marco came in late in the afternoon after the decorations went up and looked around, admiring and complimentary about how beautiful everything looked. When he spotted the mistletoe, however, his eyebrows came together, and he shook his head. "Nice touch and very funny, but you’ll have to take that down, Nicky."
"Honey, you know how possessive the wolves are about their mates. I don’t want any trouble over the holidays."
"Well, that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard a wolf say, and that’s saying something."
Marco flushed and his lips tightened for a moment before his tone became that patient, I’m-explaining-something-to-a-child tone that Nicky hated so much. "I said no, Nicky and that’s an end to it. Take it down, please."
Nicky crossed his arms over his chest and glared at him. "That’s an end to it, huh? No. I think not."
Actually, the whole infamous wolf jealousy thing hadn’t even occurred to Nicky when he was putting up the mistletoe and he still thought it shouldn’t be a concern. If anybody didn’t want a kiss, they could just stay out from under the stuff—easy enough. Of course, there were those sprigs hanging down from all the lights, but really, shouldn’t people be able to control themselves. They didn’t have to give a kiss, after all. Still, some young idiot might decide it was a good chance to steal one from somebody else’s mate and it would be on like popco’n as the kids said. He shrugged and decided he probably should just take it down and put it on the mantels around the candles. Arguing with Marco like this was just being--
"Silly—it’s childish and silly, Nicky, to argue about this of all things. Just do as I say, please."
The fight that started then was pretty epic, and ended with Marco storming off, slamming the door behind him. Hours later, Logan had told him that Marco and Ian had taken off to the woods, and Ian told Logan he had no idea when they’d be back.
If ever...Nicky might as well say the words that kept echoing in his mind. He and Marco had broken up before over his refusal to accept the wolves’ archaic jealousy and possessiveness and it had been the worst time in his entire life. Hell, he’d almost died from it. He didn’t think he could take it again.
Disconsolately, he gave up on his supper and went up to his lonely room, so empty without Marco’s vibrant presence. He was alone, on Christmas Eve. And maybe even after that. He walked over to the window and stared at the snow flurries that were falling. The scene outside the window was so achingly beautiful that it made his eyes fill with the tears he’d been choking back before now. He missed Marco so much.
Why had he argued with him over something so pointless and stupid? His warm breath fogged the window panes and then caught in his throat. He and Marco had been arguing ever since they met, it seemed, and most of the arguments—it must be admitted—were Nicky’s fault. At least it seemed that way to him now, as he watched the snowflakes drift down, coming faster now. They were beautiful in the light shining over the driveway, lighting up the front of the lodge.
Where was Marco tonight? Was he warm and dry? Nicky struggled for a moment to contain all the emotion trying to burst from his chest. Moving away from the window, he threw himself on the sofa and flung a forearm over his eyes.
When he woke a few hours later, he could hear soft music playing somewhere close by. He sat up, rubbing his eyes, wondering if he was imagining it, but no—it was definitely music. He got up and followed the sound to the bedroom and stood in the doorway, blinking his eyes. Marco was stretched out on the bed, wearing nothing but some black pajama pants. The hard planes of his muscular chest gleamed in the light coming from the lamp beside their bed. He held out a hand to Nicky.
"It’s about time you woke up. I was going to give you five more minutes and then come get you."
"What—what are you doing here?"
Marco quirked up an eyebrow. "I live here, remember? Why? Do you want me to leave?"
He looked so handsome lying there in their bed. So warm and he smelled so good. Nicky caught his sweet, freshly showered scent all the way across the room. "No," Nicky said, shaking his head. "I thought…I mean, you never said…I thought you’d left me at Christmas." His eyes filled with tears and Marco looked horrified. He sat up and held out his arms.
When Nicky got closer to the bed, Marco pulled him down and into his lap, then peppered his face with kisses and little love bites on his jaw and his throat.
"Left you? On Christmas? How could you think such a thing? You know I’ll never leave you, sweetheart. I just needed to get away for a little while."
"Away from me…"
"No. Never from you. And especially at Christmas." Marco kissed him again, teasing his lips with tiny licks of his tongue. "Away from myself, really, and my damned jealousy. I know you’re mine, and why I immediately thought of someone else maybe kissing you under that mistletoe is my own problem, not anybody else’s. I thought I’d better cool off before I really blew things with you again. I took Ian to the woods for a run to calm down and try to come to my senses. I’m so sorry, sweetheart. Do you forgive me?"
Nicky nodded, nestling in the warmth of Marco’s embrace and wondering why he had ever been so upset. "Of course I do. It’s just my insecurity," he admitted, looking up at Marco. "I just love you so much."
"Not half as much as I love you. And I always, always will." He leaned down for another kiss. "Merry Christmas, baby. Except you’re wearing way too many clothes."