Author's Note: This is a story exchange I did with the wonderful jma. I hope I got everything! The plot for it changed several times, but I finally got it!

Dedicated: to jma! :D You're amazing! I have a kindred spirit for boys love and husky boys! ;D This one is for you!

Warning(s): Adult Situations, Language, Sexual Content

Home for Christmas

It was hard to believe I was back here. I don't know why I had returned. It was probably because this had been the only place I had been happy. I had walked away from it all a long time ago, and now I was hoping that I might fix the mistakes I had made. Hopefully the old saying wasn't true and bridges didn't stay burned.

Christmas was filtering through the room like white noise beneath the lively chatter. I held my cup of eggnog like it was my lifeline and I was on the verge of drifting off into the Atlantic. My sister had dragged me to the damn Christmas party because she thought it would be a good place for me to meet everyone. I had barely prepared my self for returning here, let alone meeting everyone.

He was standing across the room, in a fuzzy green sweater that should have never looked so good, doing everything in his power not to look over at me. I had tried several times to meet his eyes, but he just kept running away. I was tired of being here already, and it had only been an hour since I had arrived. But it was painfully obvious that I didn't belong here. I was still an outsider, tagging behind his sister.

"Casey," Cora said, drawing my attention away from Levi and his tight jeans. I turned around to face her, resolving to not look at Levi again. I was not going to become some pathetic stalker.

"What?" I asked, downing my second cup of eggnog, really wishing I had something to spike it with.

"Did you even hear a thing I said to you?" She asked, glaring at me. We were identical twins, but I never saw the resemblance. Cora was slim and voluptuous, with long cascading hair of golden ringlets and a pair of blue eyes that could get her out of any speeding ticket--that is, if her impressive boob job didn't do the trick. She looked like a 1920s starlet, and I had no doubt she could have given Audrey Hepburn a run for her money.

I on the other hand was husky, with stubborn hair that always looked like I rolled out of bed, and my eyes had so far not gotten me out of any speeding tickets. We were identical in the general sense, but there was nothing truly about us that resembled one another.

"No," I said truthfully, unable to stop my self from hazarding a side glance over to Levi again. He was laughing and my chest ached, knowing I probably would never know why. I'd never be there to make him laugh, to make him smile, to make his eyes glaze over with pleasure--at least, not ever again.

"What's wrong?" Cora asked, waving her hand in front of my face. She didn't know about the short, illicit affair I had, had when I visited her two years ago. As far as I knew, no one did.

"Nothing, what did you need?" I said, forcing my self to look back at her. She was giving me a skeptical look and I could just see the gears in her head rolling.

"Have you met Levi?" She asked. My face instantly colored, memories flashing behind my eyes, stirring my blood. I shook my head and turned to get another cup of eggnog.

"Levi!" Cora yelled and I scrunched my shoulders up, wishing I were a turtle and could just retract my head. I spun around, glaring pointedly at her, trying to turn my oh-so-sweet sister into a burning pile of ash. She ignored me and waved her arm, "Levi, come here!"

Levi looked over at us, his eyes narrowing into an annoyed glare. He ambled over though, his tapered hips swaying with his walk. I knew every hard muscle on that body. It was burned into my mind, haunting me like a stubborn ghost. His eyes settled on Cora, purposely avoiding me. I couldn't help but try and take another peek into those green eyes. Green really didn't do them justice. They were so vibrant in pigment, layers of hues; emerald, jade, hunter, and forest, with traces of swirling leaf green. I could spend hours losing myself in the small world that they created, a paradise that had once been offered to only me.

"What's up Cora?" Levi asked, flashing her a dimpled smile that made my stomach do back flips.

"Have you met my brother Casey? He just moved here." She said, waving over to me.

Levi looked at me and I could see it hurt him. Hatred flashed in those deep eyes and the urge to breakdown and cry nearly overpowered me. He tipped his head in my direction, short brown hair dusting over his forehead. "We met once, years ago."

"Oh?" Cora looked between us and I shuffled from foot to foot, wanting to just shrink back into the wall. "Well that's good! At least that means Casey knows someone. So how you been Levi?"

He looked away and I had a feeling that be the last time he'd look over me that night. The air between us was so stifled that it could strangle a person. He shrugged lazily and said, "can't complain."

"How's your dad?"

"Good, I guess. He's been dealing with that Goodworth company, but other then that he says things are fine." Levi said.

As if rehearsed, someone yelled, "John Brown, your soul! What did I tell you all? I ain't selling! Now leave me alone! I'm trying to enjoy a party!"

We all turned to look at the older man, who looked ready to tear apart the pair of suits standing in front of him. His wrinkled face was drawn tight in a glare, the bushy brows above his eyes coming together into one single white caterpillar. He shook his fist at them and I could see him using it to knock both of the men on their asses. "Now get out of here!"

Levi cursed under his breath and jogged over to settle his father down. I turned to Cora and asked under my breath, "what's going on?"

"This company, Goodworth, has been hounding Levi's dad to sell his farm. I guess they want to build this condominium complex. But Harry refuses to sell." Cora said back, just as softly.

She had moved out to Taylor ten years ago, dropping out of college and giving up the business degree she had been pursuing. My father had called her foolish, disowning her the second she said "I do". I wish I had, had the balls earlier to follow in her footsteps and say goodbye to my father. Instead I had listened and I had let ten years of my life pass me by. Now, one controlling father and one abusive relationship later, I was ready to start over. It had taken awhile, but I had finally found the courage to stand up. I just hoped it wasn't too late.

Cora shook her head and turned away, searching for her husband. "Where's Tim?"

"Over there," I pointed. He was a lumbering man that dwarfed Cora. He was a little dumb, a little awkward, but when he looked at her, it was as if he were falling in love for the first time. Cora waved goodbye and walked over, daintily wrapping her arms around his waist. I resisted the urge to sigh and set aside my cup, ready to call it a night.

I looked over my shoulder at Levi, wanting to reach out and call him back over to me. He seemed to me in a heated discussion, shutting off the rest of the world. For the tenth time that day I wondered if coming here had been a mistake.

I walked over to the coat rack at the front of the community center and grabbed my coat and scarf, bundling up. The snow had fallen thick and heavy with the intent on covering the world in a layer of white. I wasn't complaining though, because it was far more beautiful then winter in New York. The snow there turned into slush, taking on a gray color as cars ran over it repeatedly, packing it into the road. Here, it was like a winter paradise. The snow was left untouched, hills of it rolling out into the horizon. I sometimes wondered if this was where you found Heaven.

My mother had once told me, when I was a boy, that God could be found everywhere. He was in the essence of life and if you listened and looked carefully, you'd see traces of him. He was the laughter of a small child, the beams of light that broke through storm clouds, and the feel of a warm hand helping you up. I had stopped believing in God when she died, but now, standing ankle deep in snow, I wondered if there was something to what she said.

But then again, maybe there wasn't. Maybe it was just the majestic beauty of nature, not a manifestation of the holy spirit.

"Casey!" Levi called and I stiffened, a chill rushing down my back. I could remember him calling out my name in pleasure as he drilled into me, driving me to the heights of ecstasy and then easing me down into a wonderful afterglow. He said my name again and I knew there was no escaping whatever it was I had to face. I stepped back into the entranceway of the community center, stamping the snow from my feet. The doors swung closed, sealing in the warmth. It was a week before Christmas and I had no doubt it would be a white one.

"Yeah?" I asked, shyly looking up at him. I felt like a little boy again. I desperately wanted approval, but I knew I wouldn't get it.

"What are you doing back here?" He asked bluntly, his eyes raw with anger and pain.

"I…"

"Don't you think you've done enough damage? Why did you have to come back?" He asked, struggling to keep his tone down.

I swallowed a rock forming in my throat, dropping my eyes. I closed them, gathering up my courage. This move wasn't just about him. I needed it, as much as I needed him. "I came back because I had to."

"No you didn't. You don't belong here."

That hurt, like a slap to the face, but I knew he had a right to be angry. We had spent two nights together, falling in love in a story book sort of way, and I had believed for a short period of time that I'd never go back to New York. But then I had let David coax me into returning into his dangerous arms, leaving Levi without a single farewell. It had been an ass move, and I never expected a warm welcome back. I just didn't expect this much hatred.

"I'm sorry Levi," I said softly, "look… I know I fucked up back then. I probably made the biggest mistake of my life by walking away from you. I don't know what else to say other than I'm sorry. My excuses are shit. I was scared and easily manipulated."

"Sorry doesn't cut it," he growled out, lumbering over me like a mighty oak. He had me by two inches with a set of broad shoulders and arms that had been sculpted from a childhood spent out in the fields.

"I don't know what you want me to say Levi. I fucked up, I know I did. I've been kicking my self for it since I left you. I haven't stopped thinking about you. You're the only thing that ever makes sense in my head and I walked away from you." I said, my voice rising with each word.

The rejection he had felt so long ago was evident in his eyes and I wished I could erase it away. He turned around and walked back to the second set of double doors and for a moment I was afraid he'd walk away. But then he cursed under his breath, spun around and took two steps back. He pointed an accusing finger at me and snapped, "you are so… annoying!"

I couldn't help but laugh. He had said the same exact thing the first time we met. I had questioned his intelligence and he had called me a egotistical city slicker. Somehow that had lead to two nights of mad hot sex and self discovery. I'm still not sure how it had happened, all I knew was that I wanted it all back. I wanted to erase my mistakes and fix what I had undone.

"I know," I said softly, closing the distance between us. I reached up, fingers hovering over his cheeks. "I made the wrong choice. I came back here because I'm ready to make the correct one."

"I never stopped thinking about you either. I waited, expecting you to come back to me."

"I did, it just took me a little longer," I whispered, standing on my toes. I inhaled his scent; the spice of his cologne, the smell of grease, the stale memory of cigarettes. Our lips dusted over one another, his trembling. Then he ceased my mouth, pulling me against him and gripping me tight. His tongue plunged into my mouth and I groaned, every fiber of my body erupting into a million celestial bursts.

When I had walked away from Levi and back into David's arms, my mind had still been here in Taylor. Every time we had kissed or fucked, I had been thinking about Levi. It had been his memory that held me strong when David rose his hand. Our lives had changed in two days and it would take me two years to realize that.

Somehow we had managed to make it to my car and back to Levi's place, all without breaking contact in some form. I was surprised I hadn't gotten in a car accident, but then again over half the town was at the community center. Taylor wasn't big, two thousand people at most. It was an old farming town an hour outside of Columbus, not far off from Irwin. When there was a big event, the whole damn town gathered to celebrate. A few years ago I might have thought the idea of that was stupid. I was born and raised in New York, the simple life was not something I understood. Now I was eager to begin my life in Taylor.

We stumbled into Levi's house, a little ranch with flower boxes in the window that he failed to maintain. He was pulling at my shirt, hands seeking out warm skin. I'd never felt more sexy then the nights I had been with Levi. All the self-consciousness I had was erased with a single look from him.

"I'm going to fuck you so hard," Levi growled out, dropping my shirt by the door.

There wasn't going to be a complaint from me. We took a few stumbled steps back, feet catching around one another. The next thing I knew I was falling back, landing on the couch in an askew position with him on top of me. His lips were branding my neck and his weight was pressing hard into my chest, cutting off my breathing. I eased my head to the side and drew in a gulp of air, fingers anxiously trying to pull off his sweater.

We tore at each other, lost in the need to get down to the bare skin. It was as if my memory was coming undone, slowly being peeled back to reveal all the layers that created it. His hard, sculpted abs, the moon cresting over his broad shoulders, the glint of a silver hoop through his left nipple, the fall of his hair in his eyes; it was a relapse of memory, but so much sweeter.

When we were down to nothing he bent me over the couch, my ass high into the air. His hand came down hard, slapping me and drawing out a sharp yelp. "I never get tired of seeing this ass."

My eyes fluttered and I looked across the room, taking everything with vague interest. Levi was kissing his way down my back, lips burning a trail to the tattoo stamped on my lower back--a tramp stamp was what they were called, right? It had been my only act of rebellion till now. I got it right after high school; a set of barbed wire shaped into rose thorns, a blooming red rose in the center. Some of the barbs were made to look like they were piercing my skin, drawing blood. I believed that with love comes pain, but if we can conquer that pain, then we can find love.

Levi stopped at my tattoo, tongue flicking out and tracing the coil of barbed wire on the right side. A shiver shot up my spine and I arched like a cat in heat, moaning out. My eyelids lowered halfway, vision blurring. I could make out the bookshelf behind the couch; it was black walnut and filled only halfway with novels and car books. On top of it was a photo of Levi with his arm around another handsome man, both of them smiling as if they were blissfully happy.

Ice shot through my veins and everything inside me went numb. It was like I had swallowed a gallon of snow and my body was going into shock. Then, with my body frozen, it shattered, a bat slamming into an ice sculpture. I spun around, shoving him away as I roared, "don't touch me!"

Levi's eyes grew wide with surprise, but I didn't care. I suddenly felt vulnerable and shaken and just really, really pissed. I was tired of being taken advantage of. All my life I had let people walk over me, and he was suppose to be the one person that was different. I fucked up, I admit it, but I wasn't going to be a pawn to make up for it. I didn't deserve that.

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" Levi snapped, his chest heaving, his cock wilting with his anger.

"What's wrong with me? What the fuck is wrong with you?" I shouted back, wanting to punch him. I balled my hands at my sides, trying to control the urge.

"What in the world are you talking about Casey?"

"Who is he?" I threw my arm back, pointing at the photo that was now glaring at me.

Levi looked at the picture, his face hardening into a stony mask. His jaw tightened and his eyes darkened until they almost seemed black, like endless forests shrouded in night. I was lost in his eyes and I didn't know how to find my way out.

"My lover," Levi said, his words resonating in the house. The silence that followed was so great that it was loud. It was the kind of silence where you could hear all the small sounds, the fragile noises that usually get forgotten in the day.

"You bastard!" I screamed, snapping, my entire body trembling. It was like someone hit a switch and all I wanted to do was cause pain. I was done, so done with everything and everyone. I was going to punch him, it was the first thought that came to mind, but then my hand dropped and I hooked my index finger through his nipple ring. As if guided by someone else, I pulled hard until Levi let out a scream of pain.

He tore out my heart, I tore out his ring.

I dropped the nipple ring on the floor and spun around, gathering my clothes as quickly as possible and dressing as I rushed out the door. The cold air hit my bear chest as I shrugged on my shirt and coat. I didn't look back to see if he followed. I got in my car, started it up, and backed out, flying down the road as if I were trying to escape Hell. Maybe I was. Maybe I had left one, only to enter another. Maybe I was paying for sins I didn't know, and my punishment was always to run.

---

I was walking down Main Street with Cora, bundled up in an attractive pea coat and Burberry scarf. My hands were shoved deep into my pockets, my right rolling my phone around idly. It had warmed up to a bearable thirty five degrees, so Cora had roped me into helping her finish off her holiday shopping.

"So explain to me again what happened?" Cora said, not able to wrap her pretty blond head around everything. I had spilled to her the details of the night before, it all surging up and out of me like a great tidal wave. I was still pissed. I wanted to hit something, hurt Levi some more.

"Levi and I had an affair two years ago when I visited you. I left him to go back to David. I came back here to apologize. We almost fucked, until I realized he had a lover. I ripped out his nipple ring." I said, giving her the bullet points.

She stopped walking, turning to give me a dumbfounded look. "Are you fucking serious?"

"Yes," I grimaced, feeling like shit, "I am."

"Jesus Casey!"

An elderly couple looked at us as they passed and I quickly grabbed Cora's arm, steering her down the road. I dropped my hand and rammed it back into my pocket. "I know! I know I fucked up, okay? That's why I came back to make up for it!"

"You and Levi?" She shook her head, readjusting the purse on her shoulder. "I mean, I knew he was gay… but, wow! And whose his lover now?"

"I don't know. I just saw a picture of them in his house," I grumbled, expression darkening at the memory.

"Dwayne? Holy shit!" She shouted, earning a glare from a parent.

"Stop cussing!" I hissed, smacking her upside the head. She glared at me but clamped her lips shut. I slumped my shoulders, hunkering in on my self in a mix of warm and the desire to curl into a fetal position. "So he's with a guy name Dwayne? Yuck."

"I didn't even know Dwayne was gay… God, you sure do know how to stir things up Casey."

"Thanks," I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes, "it's what I set out for."

"Sorry, okay… look, just give me a minute to wrap my mind around this."

"Well don't strain yourself."

"You don't need to be an asshole Casey," she shot me a glare.

My expression softened. "You're right, I'm sorry… I'm just pissed. I mean, I know I fucked up two years ago. I gave into my fear and doubt and went back to David, but… but… but… I thought I could make up for it."

My voice cracked and my anger gave way to tears that swelled up inside me. I clenched my hands in my pockets, sucking in a shaky breath. "Sure, I did fantasize a little about him forgiving me, but I knew how unlikely that was… but to… to try and sleep with me and then so coldly admit to being with someone else! He had no remorse Cora! He was going to fuck me and just toss me aside!"

"Casey…"

"And then I fucked up more and let my anger get the best of me!" I sobbed, now just wanting to smack my self.

Her arms wrapped around me, cradling me against her. I buried my face into her hair, inhaling the tropical scent of coconut, and murmured, "why can't I ever do something right?"

"Oh Casey," Cora sighed, stroking her fingers through my short, messy hair. "You were mad… you've been mad. I'm not condoning what you did, last night or two years ago, but Levi was in the wrong too. He should have never started something."

When Cora said she didn't approve, I knew it was bad. My stomach tightened painfully and I groaned, "I thought he was going to forgive me… I really do love him. I haven't stopped thinking about him… and I thought… just…"

"Casey, you have to stop. You have to stop basing your life around other people." She said, pulling me back so I was at arms length, "you need to focus on you. Just you."

I blinked, trying to process the idea. My entire life had been based upon pleasing everyone around me; my father, David, even Levi. I got a law degree because my father wanted me in law, I stayed with David because I believed he was all I could get, and I came back here to seek Levi's forgiveness. I didn't know how to function on my own, or how to even do something for my self.

"Come on," Cora said, wrapping her arm around mine and starting back down the street, "lets go shopping."

As we made our way to the Huxley Toy Chest, the local toy store, we passed a vacant shop snug between the town's only coffee shop and a consignment shop. There was a large realty sign in it with a number. I slowed to a stop in front of the window and peeked in, staring at the empty space. I didn't know why I stopped, but I couldn't seem to move my feet. The wind blew, a frigid gust that made my blood run cold.

"Casey?"

"How long has this shop been for sale?" I asked, tugging her beside me.

Cora looked into the vacant shop and shrugged, "several months. It use to be a pet boutique, but that didn't take off here. Not many people in this town give a rats ass about making their dogs and cats fancy."

"I reckon so," I said teasingly, taking on a fake hick accent.

She kicked my shin, "Casey! Be nice!"

I laughed, rubbing my shin. Damn her heels could hurt. "Sorry, I couldn't help it."

"Why do you care about the shop?"

I looked at it, an idea flourishing in my head. "Well…"

"…do you want to buy it?"

I shrugged, taking a final look. I could see it, a little antique shop. It wasn't me, it was so far from me, and that was why it was perfect.

"Maybe," I said, beginning to walk again, "I have enough money. I mean, I could start it up while I'm with you. And it looks like there's an apartment up top. I could move out of your house."

"What about law? You don't want to start an office here?"

"I hate law," I ground out, "I always have. I just did that for dad."

We walked into the toy store, a train running over head on a track strung from the ceiling. It let out a shrill whistle and steam blew from its smoke stack.

"Speaking of law," Cora said, looking around the busy store. People lined the register, where one poor boy was desperately trying to ring everyone up. The place was a mad house, stuffed bears flying, blocks scattered across the floor. I couldn't think of the last time I had set foot in a toy store. I had bought all my Christmas gifts online. Yeah, I was one of those shoppers. I looked at her and then stepped into the fray, letting her lead the way to what she wanted. "Is Levi going to press charges? For ya know, the whole nipple thing?"

Nipple thing. It sounded so wrong. I shook my head, "I doubt it. He'd have to man up to a few things, and I doubt he wants his lover to know that he was trying to shack up with someone else… what are you looking for?"

"Nell wants one of those Singa-Ma-Jigs. They've been out, but someone said they got some in." Cora said, scouring the place for a display of the toys. I had no clue what they were, or what they looked like.

There was a mass of parents surrounding a round table display. I pointed, spotting the sign on top of the pyramid table, "are those it?"

"Yes!" Cora shouted, jumping into the mayhem head first. I heard someone screech and a woman stumble back. I wasn't positive, but I was pretty sure she had a black eye. I inched my way back, slightly terrified of losing my dick. These women were like a pack of caged wolverines, shot full of speed.

Suddenly, Cora came stumbling out, back handing a woman that reached for her. I gulped and grabbed her, yanking her from the throng. She was gripping a small stuffed toy that was bright purple with a tuff of blue hair on its head, plastic eyes, and a wide 'o' mouth. I stared down at it blankly. "You just gave a woman a black eye for that? What the fuck does it even do?"

Cora began to dance, shaking her ass and swinging her arms in some ungodly form of a victory dance. I shook my head, yanking her towards the register before she broke out the robot. "God, you're such a dork," I said.

She laughed, stepping into line. She gave the thing a squeeze several times and each time she did it sang a musical note that eventually shaped into Oh Susanna. Wow, really? She just had a full out bar brawl for that thing? I would never understand being a parent. I mean, I loved my niece and nephew, but… yeah, I wasn't about to duke it out for some dumb toy.

We bought the toy and headed out, stopping for coffee on the way back to the car. I got the number for the realtor and left a message. I was determined to move on with my life, even if it meant living it without Levi.

---

It was two days before Christmas and everyone was buzzing around me, high on the holiday spirit. I was sitting at the café next to my hopefully soon to be shop, a full figured woman across from me. She was dressed in a Christmas sweater that hurt my eyes. Ghastly didn't even begin to describe it. She was sweet though, like sugar cane, with bottled blond hair and a catchy smile.

We had been talking about the shop and cost, and slowly the topic shifted over to antiques and the town its self. She filled me in on the gossip with Goodworth Estates, and how they had been trying to monopolize the town and turn it into a tourist hotspot.

"Usually I handle all the realty in town, but they have some hotshot and their lawyers, coming in here trying to buy this place and that place. They've been gunning for the Dodd's farm for quite some time." Sarah said, holding a steaming mug up.

"Why doesn't he sell? I'm sure they're offering a nice sum."

"Oh they are," Sarah said, "but that isn't the point. The Dodd farm is as old as the town its self. Its their lively hood, their life. This is a farming town, we don't want it to turn into something else."

I scratched the back of my head. I was use to New York, where everyone was looking out for number one. Here, life was like a Hallmark movie; simplicity at its best.

"So why doesn't anyone stand up to them? Turn them down?"

"Because they've got their lawyers and a lot of money to buy people out," Sarah sighed, setting her mug down. Her eyes drifted out and she snorted, "speak of the devil."

I looked out the window to across the street where the feed store was. Levi's father (Harry was his name, I think) had been stopped by a suit. It was a flashback to the Christmas party. I'd never heard the expression "John Brown, your soul" and I still wasn't too sure what it meant, but I knew that it definitely wasn't good.

"Um, if you'll excuse me Sarah," I said, rising to my feet. I grabbed my jacket and slid it on.

She blinked, startled, and looked up at me, "Oh, yes, umm should I send over the papers for the shop?"

"Could you? We'll get everything arranged after Christmas."

"Yes, of course. It was a pleasure meeting you Casey," she said, holding her hand out. I gave it a quick shake.

I quickly walked out of the café, passing a group of teenage boys that were snickering and shoving one another. I vaguely caught part of their conversation, "did you see his sexy mother…?"

Why did I get a feeling Cora was the subject of their conversation? I shook my head and jogged across the street, not having to worry about barreling traffic like I would in New York. I don't think anyone in Taylor would know the true meaning of a traffic jam. I marched over to the feed store, where Goodworth's lawyer was trying to coax Harry into signing.

Levi's father was just an older, slightly hairier version of his son. Not bad looking for an old guy. I slipped on my lawyer smile and said, "Mr. Dodd, sorry I'm late!"

I'd never met the man in my life. He looked over at me, confused and dazed, eyes twitching with annoyance. Before he could get a chance to slip in and give me away, I turned to the lawyer and held my hand out, "Hello, I'm Casey Fletcher, Mr. Dodd's attorney. You are?"

The man looked between me and Harry, confusion muddling his murky brown eyes. Obviously I had just thrown him a curve ball, because he didn't know what to say. Finally he grabbed my hand and gave a firm shake. "Richard Porter, I work for Goodworth Estates."

"What can we do for you Mr. Porter?" I asked.

Harry stepped up, opening his mouth, "now wait just a…"

"It's alright Mr. Dodd, I'm sure Mr. Porter has a very good reason for harassing you once more," I said, shooting Harry a silencing look. He clamped his mouth shut, I think, because of the simple fact that he didn't know what else to do.

"Excuse me?" Richard said.

I turned to him, crossing my arms over my chest. "Well, you do, don't you? Otherwise, I'd advice you to turn around and walk away."

"As of when did Mr. Dodd acquire an attorney?"

"As of now. I'll be representing Mr. Dodd with any handlings that come with the farm. So if you have anything you want to say to him, you better start going through me. And as far as Mr. Dodd is concerned, he isn't interested in selling his farm. Now you can go tell your bosses to take their offer and shove it, and if you dare come back around here to bug him I'll have harassment charges slapped on your ass so fast your cheeks will be chaffing."

I leaned forward, voice dropping, "and don't think you're the only one with strings to pull either, Mr. Porter. I can pull so many strings that I'll put on an entire puppet show."

Richard swallowed, eyes darkening into a smoldering glare. His upper lip trembled as he pulled himself together, giving Harry a curt nod before he walked to his Lincoln. I gave him a polite wave as he pulled away from the curve.

"Who the fuck are you?" Harry blurted out, staring at me cock eyed, a happy ass grin on his face.

My cheeks flushed, warming me against the cold. "Uh… sorry… I didn't mean to jump in there." I threw my hand out for him to shake, "my name is Casey, Casey Fletcher. I'm Cora Applebee's twin, and a friend of your son's."

Yeah, friend was a very loose term.

"I ain't seen you around here before."

"I just moved here." He took my hand and shook it, his grip bone crushing.

He leaned forward and sniffed the air, nose curling and the whiskers of his beard rustling slightly. "You smell funny, what's that you got on? Perfume?"

"Uhh…" what? My face warmed up more. "No, lotion…"

"You one of 'em poofs like my boy?" He cocked his head to the side, sniffing and scratching his nose, "eh, doesn't matter. So yer Cora's twin eh? The city slicker?"

"Yeah, that's me." I'm so confused.

"And why'd you help me out there? I can't afford no lawyer. You even a lawyer?" He leaned in again, studying me as if he could find traces of my law degree someone on my person.

I took a step back, trying to put a bit of space between us. "Yes, yes I am a lawyer… or well I was, back in New York."

"But you ain't now?"

I don't know what I am. I just offered legal help when I was trying to get away from the law. Granted I had taken the bar exam so I could do work outside of New York, but that didn't mean I wanted to anymore. I wasn't even quite sure what came over me, just like when I stopped in front of the shop. There seriously had to be something in the air. It was making me do loopy things. Fucking fresh air. I don't care what people say, it messes with you!

"Well," I began, fidgeting at the look he gave me. It was very parental. "Look, I don't have an office or anything, and truthfully I wasn't planning on starting up. But I know my sister loves this town, and I'm planning on settling in… and I just didn't want to see things get fucked up with. So, I'll represent you as an attorney, free of charge."

He inhaled deeply, chest rising and puffing out. He looked down at me and I could tell he was seizing me up. Finally he exhaled and nodded his head, "I like yer chops boy. Like I said, I can't pay ya anything… but, if yer offerin' then I ain't to proud to accept. Especially if it'll get those dame Goodworth boys off my back."

"Great," I said, reaching into my pocket and extracting an old business card. I pulled out a pen and jotted down my new number on the back of the card, handing it to him. "There's my number. Give me a call after the holidays and we'll see what we can do."

Man, my schedule was getting busier and busier by the moment. Once Christmas was over, I wasn't going to have a moment to spare. And yet, I still didn't have a social life.

"So yer Levi's friend?" Harry asked, tucking the card away.

"Uh… sure?"

"Friend friend, or one of em butt buddies?"

I shook my head, "just a friend."

"That's a shame," Harry said, "he sure could use someone like you."

I glowered, tightening my scarf around my face. "Oh I'm sure he's happy with Dwayne." The name rolled off my tongue like razorblades. Not very smoothly, and slicing the entire way out.

"Dwayne? Sure he's happy, but I mean, it isn't like there's much there, ya know?" Harry shrugged, "well… thank you for yer help. I'll be giving you a call."

He turned and walked off, leaving me standing there in the cold, pondering. What the hell was really going on with Dwayne and Levi?

---

"Explain to me again why I came to this?" I asked. It was below zero, my nuts felt like they were ready to freeze off, and I was once again alone at another Christmas event. So far my night wasn't looking good. Happy fucking Christmas Eve!

"Because I refuse to let you be a hermit," Cora said, shoving me towards the line of people surrounding the large evergreen. It was strung up with unlit lights and glass ornaments, a star perched on the top of it. I could see Levi standing not to far away with his father and the man from the photo--Dwayne. The sight of the two together made my blood run cold and I had to remind my self that I didn't care.

"Did you really offer to help Harry?" Cora asked, lifting her arm and waving over to Tim who was wrangling a seven year old and a four year old.

"Yeah," I said, rubbing my hands together and blowing in them, "I guess I couldn't just sit by, not when I knew I could do something."

"You're such a softie." She nudged me and began to walk over.

I followed her, Nell launching her self at me and wrapping her arms around my legs. "Uncle Cady!"

I sighed and patted her head before picking her up. For some reason she could never pronounce my name. I had long since given up trying to correct her. "What's up munchkin?" I asked.

She gnawed on the ear of the stuffed bear she had in her pudgy arms and looked up at me with big doe eyes. I could already tell she was going to be cursed with my curvy form. Poor kid. Though it didn't change the fact that she was damn cute, with her curly blond hair, hazel eyes, and the single dimple in her right cheek. When she didn't respond I turned my attention back over to Cora.

I could feel a pair of eyes burning a hole in the back of my head. I glanced quickly over my shoulder, catching Levi's eyes. His eyes narrowed, smoldering emeralds that were razor sharp. I bristled and hugged Nell a little closer as if she could shield me. Nell squirmed in my arms and shoved, whining to be put down. I huffed and set her down, letting her flee to her mother. Brat.

"What's wrong?" Cora asked. Tim wisely stood silently beside her.

"Nothing," I said distractedly, sparing Levi another look. He was focused on Dwayne, and that just made everything ten times worse. I puffed my cheeks out and turned to look at Cora. Part of me wanted to throw in the towel and just tromp back to the car, screw the tree lighting. But then I decided that I wasn't going to give Levi the satisfaction of seeing me suffer. Screw him and screw Dwayne.

"Really? Then why do you keep looking back at Levi? Why don't you go talk to him?" Cora asked, picking Nell up. The child loved to be held.

"Because," I said indigently, feeling like a four year old my self.

Tim scratched the back of his head, ruffling his blond hair. "Why does he want to talk to Levi?"

Cora and I both just gave him a look and he shook his head, saying, "yeah, I know. Dumb question, right?"

Cora patted his arm and then turned a pointed, motherly look on me. "Casey, if you want to live here, you're going to have to face Levi."

"Really? Because I was planning on just avoiding him."

"Go!" She ordered, pointing with her free hand.

"Cora!" I whined, because I didn't know what else to do.

"Now!"

I bit the inside of my cheek. As if to add insult to injury, Nell pointed as well and ordered in a similar tone, "go!"

I glowered at the four year old and pinched her nose playfully, "brat."

She squealed and swatted at my hand. I turned and looked over at Levi. Dwayne was beside him, built in a similar fashion with hard muscles from days on a farm and a shock of golden blond. He laughed, eyes like drops of honey glowing in the evening light. I hated the spike of jealousy that stabbed through me. It made me stumble and almost turn back around, but I gathered up the remaining shambles of my courage and headed over to him.

"Levi," I said, demanding my voice to be steady, "could we talk?"

Three pairs of eyes pinned me to the ground. Levi was glaring with either hatred or lust, I couldn't decide and I wasn't sure which one I wanted. Dwayne was looking at me with interest, smiling naively as if all was right in the world and the Christmas spirit wasn't actually dampened by old ties. Harry just smiled easily at me and said, "How are ya Casey?"

It was easier to focus on Levi's father then Levi himself. I angled my body to face him and smiled, "Good. How are things going? Anyone bothering you anymore?"

"Nope, ain't had an issue since you stepped in," Harry said, sniffing. "Can't thank ya enough."

"We'll go over everything after the holidays. Don't forget to give me a call," I said, finding my self relaxing under the ease of Harry's smile.

Levi grabbed my arm and jerked me away, growling out hastily over his shoulder, "I'll be back."

I stumbled, barely able to catch my feet as he dragged me off to a secluded spot away from the tree. I wrenched my arm from his fingers, knowing there'd be a bruise soon, and snapped, "Let me the go!"

"What the fuck do you want Casey?"

Why did I come here again? Any thoughts of making amends were blowing away. I straightened my coat and shot back, "I wanted to talk, but now I don't know if I want to!"

"What was my father talking about? What did you do?" He was acting like I had done some great, heinous crime.

"Nothing, besides help your father out! He was getting harassed by Goodworth lawyers and I offered my services." I growled.

"Don't! Don't come into this family, acting like you care, and then walk off and leave!" I could see a crack in his control. His emotions were seeping out faster then he could gather himself.

"What? I'm not going anywhere! I told you Levi, I'm here to stay. I moved here. Moved! And don't you dare tell me what I can and can't do!" My voice kept rising and I had to remind my self that we were in public. I hazard a cautious glance around and then glared back at Levi, jamming finger in his chest. "And you know what? I don't have to explain my self to you! I came here to see if we could just set our differences aside, because I'm here to stay, but fuck it! I'm done apologizing to you and feeling bad about something I did two years ago! And you know what else? You're the one that fucked up now! So screw you!"

"I fucked up? I didn't do anything!" He smacked my hand away.

"Fuck that! You're the one getting ready to screw my brains out when you have a picture of your lover right in my fucking face! I felt bad Levi, real bad about what I did to you. I beat my self over it while David sent me to a fucking hospital! I'm sorry I left you. I'm sorry I let that jackass have power over me. But I've paid for it more then enough. And I'm done explaining my self to you. The fact is, I'm staying here. Not for you. Not for anyone but my self, just me."

I spun around, face hot, tears dampening my eyes. I hated this. I hated that I wanted to cry. I loved him, I always had. That love was what kept me alive for two years. Now it was at my feet. But Cora was right, I had to do this for my self. I wasn't going to lean on anyone else, anymore.

I was two feet away when Levi called out, "I lied."

I froze, shoulders hunched up. Slowly I turned to look at him, blinking rapidly, stray tears sliding down my face. "What?" I whispered, startled.

"I lied," Levi said, taking a step towards me. "Dwayne isn't my lover. He's my roommate. He has a fiancé. They're getting married this summer."

I stood there, not sure what to say, my mouth just hanging open. Levi rubbed the back of his head, eyes drooping like a puppy dogs. His beautiful, luminous green eyes, which caught the moon light like snow dusting a tree. I took in a shaky breath, afraid to say anything, not sure what he was getting at. He didn't need me to talk though, he took another step forward and kept saying, "I was mad. Mad as hell that you left me. Damn it Casey, you hurt me bad. Real bad. In those two days I fell in love with you. But then you went back to him and I've been sitting here for two years, wonderin' what I did wrong. I wanted to hurt you the same way you hurt me."

"Levi," I murmured, not sure if I should be mad as hell or just hurt. I scrubbed at my eyes, wishing the tears would stop. "What the fuck? I didn't do it on purpose!"

"I know," he closed the distance between us, "and I've been kicking my self since you walked away that night. I knew I fucked up as soon as the words left my mouth. Jesus, this has all gone to hell, hasn't it? We both really fucked up…"

I sniffled, asking weakly, "how's your nipple?"

He chuckled, rubbing subconsciously at his chest, "sore, but it'll heal. Thinking of getting the other one done."

"It was really sexy…"

"He put you in the hospital?" Levi asked, pulling my hands from my face.

I blinked rapidly, more stray tears escaping. I licked my lips, which tasted salty, and said, "yeah… we got into a really big fight. I told him I didn't love him anymore, that I hadn't for awhile. He went crazy. Neighbors ended up calling the police I guess. I don't know, he knocked me unconscious. I was out for three days."

"Son-of-a-bitch," Levi growled, his hands tightening around mine protectively, anger sparking his eyes like a building storm. I felt warm from the thought of him still caring. "I'll kill the bastard."

I shook my head, pulling my hands away and wrapping my arms around my self. "It's fine… I left didn't I? When I woke up, I knew that was really it. I was done being controlled. I told him I wouldn't press charges if he agreed never to bother me again. I packed my things and came here."

"Baby…"

My stomach squeezed tight, desire pooling inside me. He hadn't called be baby in so long.

"Can we get back to where we were?" Levi asked, large hands cupping my cheeks and warming me up. "Or did we mess things up to much?"

I shrugged, looking up at him, afraid of the answer that might be written in his eyes. "I… I don't know."

His hands fell away from my face, his eyes dropping gloomily. Tears built up, my anger dissolved and leaving me hollow. I felt a sob bubble up as he pulled completely away. Quickly I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to force back the new tears that threatened to tear through me.

"Hi," Levi said, startling me, "Levi Dodd, pleasure to meet'cha."

I opened my eyes and looked at him, dropping my gaze to his extended hand. I sniffled, jumping from his hand to his face, which was warmed in a welcoming smile. My own twitched into place and I drew in a shaky breath as I took his hand and shook, whispering, "Casey… Casey Fletcher. I just moved here."

"Nice to meet you Casey Fletcher," Levi said, hand squeezing around mine. "If you need anything, anything at all, just let me know."

I laughed, unable to help my self, and said, "I could think of one thing I need…"

"So can I," he said, pulling me against him and wrapping his arms around my waist. His lips met mine, warming me to my toes. I threw my arms around his neck and held tight, savoring the feel of his lips moving against mine.

In the distance I could hear the children's choir singing and I was vaguely aware of the Christmas tree being turned on, but my focus was on Levi and how hot my body was getting. I pulled away and took his hand, saying, "come on, lets go watch the lights."

Levi threw his arm around my shoulder and steered me towards the edge of the crowd. I nestled into his side as we listened to the choir sing carols and stared up at the dazzling tree, which glimmered iridescently. When the night grew cold and the final carols were finished, I waved goodbye to my sister and Levi told Dwayne to go and get a drink. He gave me a knowing smile and I squirmed like a teenager. Levi chuckled and led me to his car.

We rode in silence, the hum of Christmas music gently flowing from the radio. Before the commercials came, the disc jockey announced Santa's location over New York. I smiled and looked out side, the snow holding a soft blue glow. We pulled into Levi's driveway and I looked at the house, wondering if this time things would end on a better note. The last two times I was here I walked away, planning on never looking back.

I climbed out, tossing him a wink, "coming?"

As soon as we reached the door, his arms were around me, hauling me up against him. I raked my fingers through his hair and pulled him down for a kiss, making it very hard for him to unlock the door. He threw open the door and spun me inside, kicking the door shut behind him. I took a few steps back, my breathing becoming shallow, my heart slowing into prominent thumps.

He walked over to the radio and flicked on the radio, Josh Groban's Believe filtering softly into the room. He held out his hand and I felt a rush run through me. Gently I took his hand, letting my self be spun around his living room, as if gliding across a ballroom. He was surprisingly light on his feet, and I found it easy to fall for him all over again. The moon crested over the floor, casting our world in silver twilight. I stared up into his eyes, understanding for the first time what my mother meant.

He guided me back against him, our lips meeting, tongues grazing. I felt my control fall away. We waltzed from the living room, down the hall, and into his bedroom, passing through darkness and light like fleeting spirits. He took my hand and twirled me out, letting go so I could fall against the bed. I looked up at him, watching with heavy eyes as he peeled away his sweater. There was a bandage over his left nipple and I knew I should have felt bad, but all I could do was smile.

"This time," Levi said, after finding some lubricant and walking up to the bed, "I'm not letting you go--ever again."

"I'm not going anywhere," I said.

I pulled my shirt over my head and undid my pants, shucking them off with my shoes and socks. I sat there in my boxers, chest rising and falling. With David I had always been self-conscious of my body. I was round where most men were solid. But with Levi, all I felt was sensual.

"God you're beautiful, you know that?" Levi's eyes were deep with lust, and I knew every word he said he meant.

"Sometimes I forget," I mumbled, reaching out for him, stretching my fingers.

"I'll make sure you never forget again," he stripped down until he was naked and took my hand. I pulled him towards me and leaned forward, pressing a kiss against his navel.

I trailed kisses along his hard abs, running my tongue over the flesh and tasting the salt of his skin. He curled a strand of messy hair around his index finger and nudged my head back. His hard cock was almost at face level and I greedily wanted to swallow it up. Instead, I pressed a single kiss against the head and slipped back on his king sized bed. He was one of those simple guys (I loved that about him) so his bed had two pillows and a solid colored sham.

He climbed on the bed and grabbed my ankle, tugging me down so I was on my back. He reached up and peeled my boxers down, my own throbbing dick springing up. My boxers flew over his shoulder and I spread for him, opening up. He parted my thighs and I tipped my head back, eyes fluttering closed. Sex had always been so rough for me. The two nights I spent with Levi had been the most pleasurable ones of my life. He was strong, but he was gentle. His rough hands rubbed against my smooth skin, making me feel so raw and sexual.

Slicked fingers pressed against my puckered entrance and I spread my legs wider, rising my hips up to let him in. He pressed deep, all the way to his knuckles, adding fingers and spreading me. I let out a flushed cry and reached back, curling fingers into the pillow shams.

He flexed his fingers, hitting the spongy spot deep inside me. He leaned over me, whispering, "I love when you make that face," his lips sealed over mine and I cried out, letting him swallow up my moans.

He pulled his hand out and without breaking contact, prepared himself. He then angled my legs high around his waist and pressed the head of his large cock against my entrance. Levi took it slow, pushing in gradually. I made a mewling sound in the back of my throat and clutched onto his back. It was like someone was igniting a firework, and as soon as he pushed all the way in, they went off like the Fourth of July.

He shifted, moving us so he was sitting up and I was in his law. I squeezed my arms and legs around him, using his back as leverage to rise up and down, impaling my self on his shaft. My mouth pressed over his, lips dusting and tongues tangling, panting with exertion. Sweat trickled into my eyes and I squeezed them shut, arching up as he hit a sweet spot.

"God," I moaned, "oh God!"

It was all around me. The way his hand moved up my back, the way his lips grazed my throat, the soft groan that escaped him and the feel of his heart; I could feel God around me, racing through time and pulling me towards happiness.

"Ride me baby," Levi murmured, teeth sinking into my shoulder as I dropped down on him ground.

I rose up as he grabbed my hips and lifted, letting him slide out. I made a discontented sound but listened to his silent instructions, turning around. He sat me down again, slamming up into me, and pressing his chest against my back. After a bit of angling, he hooked his arms under my knees and spread my legs wide as he rose up somewhat on his knees. It was a position that let him go deep, drilling up into me.

"AH!" I moaned loudly, reaching back to brace the back of his head, his lips against the back of my neck. "Levi!"

My world narrowed to a single point as everything inside me exploded, a spasm of crazy muscles. I reached down between my legs with one hand and stroked, drawing me to the point of breaking. My orgasm hit and I pulled Levi down with me, letting us freefall together.

He dropped me gently onto the bed, pressing deep as the last of his climax trickled off. When he had emptied his cum into me, he pulled out with a squelch and fell down on the bed next to me. I lay on my stomach panting, just barely turning my head to look at him.

He had a content smile on his face. "Shit, Casey… I forgot how good it could be."

I pushed my self up so I could move closer, laying next to him and resting my head on his shoulder. He instantly wrapped his arm around me. I sighed softly and said reluctantly, "we should probably clean up."

"Just rest," Levi murmured, "Dwayne will be gone for awhile."

I looked up at him and I knew that twinkle in his eye. We went three more times, seeing how many positions we could try before we finally hauled our asses into the shower, where we lazily washed each other's bodies. Levi changed the sheets, throwing soiled ones in the laundry.

Levi fell asleep first, wrapped in my protective arms. I looked out his window, into the night. The sky had cleared up, stars softening the horizon. I looked down at Levi, gingerly tracing the hard line of his jaw. He was so peaceful when he slept, like a child. He squeezed him a little closer and pressed a kiss to his forehead, whispering, "Merry Christmas."

I couldn't change the past, but I could shape my future. I had, after searching for so long, found my home, and I wasn't going to let it go. This was where I belonged, right here with Levi in my arms.

The End



Okay! I hope you liked it jma! I just wanted to go with a simple story that ended with a hot sex scene. :) Hopefully you like it! Review!