TL: This is a repost of a story. Please check my author notes for more details. <3
It was late on Christmas Eve. Three A.M. and Benton still couldn’t sleep. Tomas was cuddled up against Benton’s side, relaxed, and breathing deeply as his snores barely reached Benton’s ears. They were huddled under two blankets, and the heater was going nonstop as snow sifted down from the sky outside their window.
Benton brushed Tomas’s bangs away from his forehead and sighed. This was their first Christmas together, and Benton was feeling the pangs of his mother being gone. Would she have loved Tomas as much as he did? Would she buy his husband silly fuzzy socks and a matching scarf? Would she tell him all the embarrassing things Benton had done when he was little? Would she still avidly watch everyone else open presents before she’d touch her own? Benton’s heart ached.
His mother was going to miss out on everything, and it hurt because Tomas missed out on meeting her too. Tomorrow, after waking up and having a leisurely Christmas breakfast with his beloved, they would open presents, then head over to Tomas’s parents’ house. There, they would be flooded with cheer and chaos from all of Tomas’s adopted siblings. Benton embraced the whole lot of them as family, and it would be beautiful. But... Benton really wished his mother could be there for this first Christmas.
Benton felt his eyelids start to droop, and before long, they closed altogether. Soon after, fingers lightly touched his cheek. His eyes cracked open slightly. Through his eyelashes, he saw a golden honey-haired woman smiling gently at him. “Momma...”
“Shush, my boy, I’m here,” his mother said gently.
“Did you meet my husband? His name is Tomas,” Benton slurred out sleepily.
She looked down at the sleeping figure next to her son and smiled softly, “He’s beautiful, Benton. He looks kind,” she said and tilted her head.
“He is. He loves me for who I am,” Benton wanted to widen his eyes and sit up and give his mother a hug, but for some reason, he couldn’t break this lethargy that kept him relaxed and mellow.
“I’m so happy you’ve found someone like that. You deserve a man who loves you deeply, my son,” She looked back at Benton and leaned forward to kiss his forehead. Then she bent over kissed Tomas on the forehead too.
“I have to go now, son. I left something under the Christmas tree to welcome Tomas to the family,” crystal tears shimmered at the edges of her softly glowing face. She traced her fingers along Benton’s cheek again, “I love you so much. I’m sorry I left the way I did.”
Benton’s eyes shut of their own accord, and the last thing he remembered his mother saying was one more “I love you,” before sleep crashed over his head, and he knew nothing more.
Benton shot straight up in bed with a gasp, eyes wide. Had that really happened?! His heart was pounding fiercely, and he placed his palm against his chest, trying to calm himself.
He’d jostled Tomas when he sat up, and his husband yawned and stretched, before squinting up at Benton, “Good morning, baby,” he said with a gravely groan and yawned again. “I had the best dream...”
“Oh? What was it about?” Benton asked, hoping Tomas could help him settle himself with one of his crazy dreams.
“I dreamed I met your mother. She was just as pretty as the pictures you showed me,” He grinned up at Benton, “She told me about this one time when you were a kid. She said you climbed the tree in the back yard then tried to slide down it. She said you skewered your leg on a limb and had to go to the emergency room. Afterward, you went around, telling people you were shish ka-Benton.”
Benton’s jaw dropped, “That... I really did that.”
Tomas sat up and looked at Benton with wide eyes, “You did?!”
Benton nodded his head vigorously, “Yes, especially after I had to go back to the hospital because they hadn’t managed to get all the bits of branch out of my leg.”
“Woah...” Tomas blinked a few times, “does that mean I really spoke with your mom?”
“I don’t know, but I had a talk with her too. She said she left something for you under the tree,” Benton’s voice wavered.
“We didn’t put up a tree this year,” Tomas said helplessly.
Oh. Yeah. Benton let his thoughts spin for a moment before blurting out, “but your moms’ put one up! We’re going over there later, right?”
Tomas’s eyes widened, and he gasped and nodded. They both jumped out of bed and threw on clothes as fast as they could. Benton grabbed his keys, and they both tugged on matching parkas and gloves. They tore out of the house and leaped into Benton’s car.
Benton groaned at how long it took for the vehicle to warm up before he could back it out of the garage and drive the five miles to Tomas’s parents’ house. As they jumped out of the car and ran up the salted sidewalk to the front porch, the two held hands.
“Should we knock?” Tomas looked hesitant to just barge in, even if they were expected to come over sometime today, it was still really early.
Benton impatiently rapped on the door, hitting the wood slightly harder than he meant to. They both winced.
Tempest, Tomas’s mom, opened the door. She was a tall, beautiful forty-something year old that could easily be a model if she had ever wanted to. “Boys? It’s only seven A.M. Why are you here?”
“No time to talk!” Benton barged into the jungle-like front foyer and pulled his shoes off. He shook Tomas’s hand impatiently as he followed suit, then the two of them raced to the tree.
“I’ve heard of being impatient for Christmas, but this is ridiculous,” Inessa, Tomas’s other mom, said from the threshold of the living room as she held a spatula. Inessa was also beautiful but in a plump cherub sort of way.
Benton and Tomas started pulling all the packages out from under the tree and reading the labels on them. There seemed to be hundreds of them, but considering how large their family was, it wasn’t a real surprise. At the very end, they both sat down, defeated.
Benton pressed his forehead to the carpet and gulped down the urge to cry. Tomas wrapped his arms around Benton and held him tightly.
“Boys, what is this all about?” Tempest’s voice broke through their sadness.
“We both had dreams about Benton’s mom. She told Benton that there was a present here for me,” Tomas said, his voice rough.
Tempest moved to the tree and pointed to a tiny parcel wrapped in butcher paper that nestled in the crook of some of the evergreen branches. “You mean this? I wasn’t sure who it was for since it doesn’t have a name. It came by courier last night. The only note with it said, ‘for Christmas morning.’ so I put it there where I wouldn’t forget it.”
Benton looked away from the carpet to see what Tempest was looking at. He crawled closer to the tree on his knees and took the package down with shaking hands. He held it tightly for a moment, then held it out on his palm for Tomas to take.
Tomas accepted it gently from Benton’s hands and took a steadying breath as he opened the small parcel. Within the butcher paper sat a black box. Tomas opened the box, and a ring was nestled inside. Benton made a half-strangled laugh, and Tomas looked at him. He had tears streaking his face at the same time he was smiling.
“That was my father’s wedding ring,” Benton said with a shaking voice, and he pulled the ring out of the box and placed it on Tomas’s right ring finger.
They both stared at the ring for a moment, then looked at each other and grinned. Benton’s mother had really visited them. She had somehow made this happen even though she had died years ago.
“So... she also told me you used to sing the batman song while running around wearing nothing but a bedsheet and underwear,” Tomas said mischievously. All of Tomas’s little siblings, who had come to see what the fuss was about, started giggling even as Benton rushed to cover Tomas’s mouth with his hand. Tomas retaliated by tickling Benton, who quickly moved his hands to try and protect his sides.
Benton grabbed Tomas and held him tight until the two of them stopped laughing.
“There is one thing she told me I had to tell you,” Tomas said. He put both hands on Benton’s cheeks and kissed him gently on the lips, “Merry Christmas,” he whispered.
Benton pressed his forehead against Tomas’s and smiled, “Merry Christmas, baby,” he said, then whispered, “Merry Christmas, mom.”