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  • Writer's pictureBrigham Vaughn


Updated: Dec 20, 2023

Dark green background with evergreen branches, ornaments, metallic ribbon and confetti. White text saying "celebrate Brigham Vaughn's 10 Year Publishing Anniversary with The 12 Days of Christmas. Day 5: Anders & Kelly - First Christmas

To celebrate my 10 year publishing anniversary I'll be posting one short story per day here on my blog from December 13-24th.

Every day will feature a different couple and the stories will vary in length. They'll range from sweet to a little bit spicy and hopefully will leave you with a smile on your face and a warm feeling of holiday cheer in your heart.

Thank you for ten wonderful years!




DAY: 5

CHARACTERS: Anders Lindholm & Kelly O’Shea + Kelly’s family

PROMPTS: First Christmas as a Couple + Getting Caught Making Out

NOTES: Set the December after Rules of Engagement ends. Contains mentions of Anders’ grief/moving on from the loss of his wife/child. Also, this one is a bit spicy so be careful who's reading over your shoulder!


Grief didn't just end the moment a person moved on with someone new.

Anniversaries, death days, holidays... well, sometimes the grief rose up and reminded those left behind of their loss.

Sometimes, Kelly caught Anders turning quiet and contemplative at the oddest times.

There was a certain look in his eyes that let Kelly know when Anders was thinking of the wife and young daughter he'd lost in that horrific car accident five years ago.

And Kelly’s heart went soft and pulpy in his chest every time. Because he loved Anders and Anders was hurting.

They had a shorthand now so Kelly could check in.

Kelly would take Anders’ hand and squeeze three times for are you okay?

Two squeezes back meant I'm okay.

One was for no.

On the flight from Chicago to Boston last night, there had been a distinct no. So Kelly had cuddled close, whispered, “I love you,” and heard Anders whisper it back.

He knew that Anders missing the people he’d loved and lost didn’t mean he loved Kelly any less. Sometimes Anders still had to sit with his grief until it eased, and all Kelly could do was sit beside him and show him that he wasn’t going anywhere. That he understood.

But this morning, there was no need for private squeezes.

Anders was laughing. He knelt in the midst of the merry mayhem that was the O'Shea family Christmas and he was laughing.

Kelly's heart felt like it would burst with joy because that was one of his favorite sounds in the world.

He heard that sound far more than he used to, but it was rarely like this, big and uninhibited.

Anders was someone who carried himself with an innate sort of dignity. He wasn’t prone to silliness the way Kelly and his family were at times.

The Boston-Irish O'Sheas were noisy and rowdy, and filled the air with their arguments and love in equal measure.

The Lindholms were a bit cooler and more self-contained.

Kelly adored Anders’ parents and they’d been nothing but wonderful to him when Kelly and Anders went to Sweden last summer. They’d immediately made him feel welcome, but they were quiet and reserved.  They didn’t jostle and argue and fight and love at maximum volume the way the O’Sheas did.

But right now, with Anders laughing and squirming as he fell sideways on the rug, helpless under the onslaught of Kelly's nieces and nephews trying to scale his big body like a fortress, there was nothing dignified about him in the least.

Anders’ face was red and his clothes were disheveled. His shoulder-length hair had slipped free of the sleek, tidy ponytail or bun he often wore it in and fell around his face in messy strands.

Kelly smiled widely at the sight and caught a glimpse of his mother beaming at him. Coming out had been hard but worth it, and it felt both good and awkward to realize that now everyone knew exactly how in love with Anders he was.

And vice versa.

Slightly embarrassed to be caught mooning over his boyfriend, Kelly got up in search of food.

The family had already opened their stockings and presents this morning and had eaten brunch, but the kitchen island was filled with platters of appetizers and desserts for people to munch on at will.

Kelly had been playing a lot of hard defensive minutes on the ice lately, so he was burning through calories as fast as he could consume them. He was in the midst of filling a plate with a little bit of everything when his older brother Pat sidled up.

"It's good to hear Anders laugh like that, huh?"

"Yeah." Kelly smiled and dug a knife into the fancy wreath-shaped cheese ball, smearing the herb-coated mixture across a cracker. “Definitely a big change.”

“You’re good for him.”

Kelly snorted. No shit. He could have told Pat that. He had told Pat that. 

Numerous times.

Clearly, Pat still didn’t quite know how to handle his baby brother and his best friend dating, but he was trying, which Kelly supposed was the most he could ask for.

“I do my best,” Kelly said, reaching for a red pepper-stuffed deviled egg to add to his already-groaning plate.

“Sounds like you’re doing that on the ice too.”

“I’m fuckin’ tryin’,” Kelly groused.

Damn, it was hard being on a hockey team that lost more games than it won. The Evanston River Otters were sitting at the very bottom of the standings this season and it fucking sucked big, hairy donkey balls. Especially after last season.

They’d won the Cup for Lord Stanley’s sake!

With Anders’ retirement, along with the retirement of his top-line wingers Zane Murphy and Ryan Hartinger last summer, everyone had expected the team to tank.

Kelly had secretly held out hope that their overall depth of skill would be enough to keep them afloat. He’d been proven painfully wrong.

In the long run, it was a good thing. The team would get high draft picks next summer and, with some time and talent development, they’d eventually smash their way back up to the top.

Kelly was still young. He had time to see that rebuild through.

But fuck. This constant losing shit was painful.

“Seems like Anders’ business is coming together too,” Pat mused.

Kelly nodded, eyeing the crab-and-cheese-stuffed mini peppers before taking two. “Yeah. I mean the freelance consulting stuff he does with individual players now keeps him pretty busy and I think by next summer the skills camp will be up and running.”

“Sweet. I might have to check it out.”

“You’re beyond hope,” Kelly shot back.

Pat opened his mouth to retort just as strong arms wrapped around Kelly’s waist. Instead, he said, “Speaking of the devil.”

Anders kissed the side of Kelly’s head, ignoring Pat. "Hi."

Kelly shivered at the brush of Anders’ lips against his temple, then smiled, setting down his plate. "Hi yourself."

Pat rolled his eyes at them, but he and his wife Aubrey were just as bad. It was Kelly’s turn to enjoy the obnoxious PDA his family had been torturing him with for years. He deserved this shit.

“You two starting to get baby fever yet? I know Ma's chomping at the bit to have you get started on your family,” Pat asked, reaching for a carrot stick.

Truthfully, Kelly had definitely felt that urge lately. Especially seeing Anders playing with all of the kids in his family.

“Baby fever? Sometimes,” Anders said, his tone surprisingly easy considering the weight of the subject.

Kelly blinked. The last time they’d talked about wanting kids Anders had said he wasn’t even close to ready.

He’d lost his beloved baby girl and still needed some time to heal before he was ready to take that leap again. Kelly had no desire to push him any faster than he was ready to go.

Pat jerked his thumb toward the living room. "Well, I’ve got a couple of extra kids you can take home and test out for a few weeks, if you want. It’ll cure you of that desire real quick.”

Anders chuckled.

“I think we're good on that,” Kelly said drily. “But thanks for the offer.”

“Yeah, anytime. Just let me know if you change your mind. Free to a good home.”

“Sure,” Kelly said with a snort. Pat didn’t mean it. He fucking loved his kids, but they were a handful.

As if to prove that point, the sound of glass breaking in the living room made all three of them turn their heads.

“Ahh, shit,” Pat muttered, already striding out of the kitchen. “I bet that was one of mine. Hopefully everyone’s still got all their limbs attached.”

Kelly snickered.

He turned to face Anders, expecting to see him laughing but he looked oddly intent.

“I do think about it, you know,” Anders said, staring Kelly in the eye as he cupped his cheek.

“I know.” Kelly looked steadily back into his beautiful blue eyes. “I do too.”

“I’m not there yet, but I have to admit that the holiday and being around all these kids …”

The look of longing in his gaze made Kelly rub his palm against Anders’ chest.

“Me too. But we’ll do it when the time is right,” he promised Anders.

Anders kissed him, gently pushing his full-length against the counter, and Kelly melted against his body, winding his arms around Anders’ neck.

“I love you so much, Kelly,” Anders said roughly when he finally pulled away, his lips reddened and a little slick.

“You should show me how much,” Kelly teased, pressing their hips together, fully expecting Anders to ease back and promise to make it up to him later when they were alone.

Instead, desire flared hot in Anders’ eyes and he grabbed Kelly’s hand, towing him toward the stairs. With one eyebrow arched in surprise, Kelly followed Anders up to Kelly’s childhood bedroom.

They weren’t staying at Kelly’s parents’ house on this trip. They’d opted to get a room in a nearby hotel. Kelly loved his family, but sometimes there was just too much togetherness.

Still, the bedroom was conveniently empty when they slipped inside. Kelly fumbled with the lock and turned around, moaning as Anders bent and trailed his lips against Kelly’s neck.

“Fuck,” Kelly managed, clutching at Anders’ upper arm, breath coming fast. 

“We're certainly not going to make a baby this way,” Anders rasped against his throat. “But we can always try our best.”

Kelly let out a husky laugh, a little breathless. It always took him by surprise when Anders’ dry humor appeared, especially when he said something with that wicked glint in his eye.

Kelly crowded Anders back, herding him toward the bed. They fell onto it and the too-small wooden frame creaked ominously under their combined weight. They held their breath but when they didn’t go crashing to the ground, Anders kissed Kelly again.

Anders murmured quiet words of need and want as he trailed his lips over Kelly’s Adam’s apple and bit at his collarbone. Kelly felt it keenly too as they made out, the bed squeaking a little every time they moved.

When Anders shifted onto his side, fumbling for the fly of Kelly’s trousers, Kelly helped. They kissed as they got their cocks out and Kelly smothered a gasp against Anders' mouth when Anders’ big hand wrapped around them both.

For a while, it was just panting breaths and smothered gasps between them and then Anders came with a low, ragged moan, body going tight against Kelly’s.

Anders caught his release in his fist but when he went to slick Kelly’s cock with it, Kelly protested, murmuring, “gimmie” as he lifted Anders’ hand to his mouth.

Kelly licked his palm clean and felt Anders shudder. “Less messy that way,” he said, although he’d have done the same thing if they were at home. 

“Let me suck you?” Anders whispered and Kelly would never say no to that.

He nodded frantically, gasping and biting at his lip when Anders slid down the bed and took him in his mouth. His hair was still loose and Kelly gathered it, pushing it out of the way so he could better watch Anders’ head bob over him, his eyes closed, intently focused on Kelly’s pleasure.

With little warning beyond a quick thump to Anders’ shoulder, Kelly came with a hoarse, strangled shout. His body tingled when Anders slid off, licking his lips to get the last drop.

“Well, that's definitely not going to make a baby," Kelly said, breathless as he rested his head against Anders’ shoulder. “But I’m not complaining.”

Anders laughed and kissed his forehead. "Not likely. Guess we'll have to keep trying." He gave Kelly a little wink.

Kelly didn’t know how they’d actually go about it when the time came.

Surrogacy? Adoption? It didn’t matter much to him. It was just nice to see Anders feeling relaxed enough to joke about the topic at all.

And well, if it meant they had hot little encounters like this? Kelly would happily play along.

For a few minutes they lay on top of the covers, half-dressed and lazily exchanging a few kisses.

Kelly was just contemplating if they could get away with taking a nap when Anders chuckled.

“Is that a poster of me on your wall?”

“Fuck!” Kelly said, his face going very warm as he squinted at it. “I forgot I still had that up.”

“How many times did you get yourself off to it?” Anders teased.

“Ugh. More than I can count,” Kelly admitted, covering his face with one hand.

“Maybe I should get one of yours and hang it in our bedroom.”

“You wouldn’t,” Kelly protested, craning his neck to look Anders in the eye.

“Wouldn’t I?” Anders’ expression was filled with mirth and Kelly laughed, straining to kiss him.

Anders rolled on top of him, deepening the kiss and Kelly sank into it, all thoughts of embarrassment melting away.

The jiggle of the doorknob made them spring apart and there was a horrified groan.

“Ahh, fuck, my eyes!” Pat said from the doorway. “For fuck’s sake, zip up your fuckin’ pants, you filthy animals.”

“You could have knocked,” Anders said drily, as he tucked himself away.

Kelly scrambled to do the same, his face radiating heat as he closed his zipper. He’d thought he’d locked the door properly but apparently not.

“I didn’t know I’d have to!” Pat said. “Fuck, I could have gone my whole life without seeing that.”

“What did you come up here for?” Kelly grumbled. He stood, trying to smooth down his green sweater. “It’s safe to look now, by the way.”

Pat slowly lowered his hand from in front of his eyes, squinting as if he didn’t quite trust them to be telling the truth. “Con showed up with the kids and now that we’re all here, Ma wants us to take a picture of the whole family before anyone heads out.”

Their brother Connor had recently separated from his wife, Viv. Figuring out when Connor and the kids would arrive on Christmas day had been complicated by the couple’s fighting.

“We’ll be down in a few,” Anders said, smoothing his hair in the mirror over the dresser.

“Good. Cause I’m not comin’ up to get you again,” Pat threw over his shoulder as he walked away, very pointedly leaving the bedroom door open.

“Maaaaaaaaa,” Pat bellowed as he jogged down the stairs. “I found them. They were in Kelly’s old bedroom. Two guesses as to what they were doing and neither of those are playing chess.”

“I fuckin’ hate him,” Kelly muttered under his breath.

Anders laughed, eyes twinkling. “You don’t.”

“Sometimes I do,” Kelly shot back, but he was already heading into the bathroom to find some mouthwash and make sure they hadn’t made too much of a mess of themselves.

Ten minutes later as they were greeted by whistles and catcalls, Kelly decided he hated all of them.

But as he and Anders squished themselves into the large group of noisy people and Kelly’s father stood behind the tripod-mounted camera trying to get them all into the frame, Kelly grudgingly admitted there was nowhere he’d rather be for Christmas than here with Anders and his family.

Even if they were all a bunch of assholes.


Enjoyed the story? Please leave a comment and tell me what you think!

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6 Kommentare

17. Dez. 2023

Sweet, funny and hot. I loved it!

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Brigham Vaughn
Brigham Vaughn
17. Dez. 2023
Antwort an

Thank you so much! I am so glad to hear that!

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17. Dez. 2023

I love Kelly feeling safe and happy and welcomed with Anders at family Christmas! Just sooo sweet and then that spice! Happy Holiday indeed!

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Brigham Vaughn
Brigham Vaughn
17. Dez. 2023
Antwort an

I really feel like spending time with Kelly's family is good for BOTH of them you know? And I love the idea that they can't quite keep their hands off each other!

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Helen Smith
Helen Smith
17. Dez. 2023

Spicy and funny, my favorite combo. Love the closing line! 😁

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Brigham Vaughn
Brigham Vaughn
17. Dez. 2023
Antwort an

I thought it was a fun combo and I'm glad you thought so too.

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