Berry Bright

by Jane Davitt

The woman's lips are daubed holly berry red, slick and shiny, holly berries under ice. Jim's vision has narrowed to those moving, smile-twisted lips and he can't see anything else.

Not the room, not the guests, not even Blair, beside the woman, Blair whose mouth had been so close to that glossy red one as he spoke to her, with the din of the party making intimacy inevitable.

Holly's red and green. Jim's face is flushed, he can feel it, and he supposes if he has an aura, which he doesn't, it's going to be sour green with envy, bitter lemon with jealousy.

If Blair kisses those slick, curved lips and returns to Jim's side, his mouth smeared bright, Jim's not sure what he'll do.

That worries him.

His vision expands -- no, Blair's just moved closer --

Blair's mouth dashes a snowflake kiss on the woman's snow-pale cheek, on skin, not berry-luscious lips (holly berries are poisonous, Jim thinks, not deadly, but…) and he turns away.

Jim sees Blair now, with a painful clarity. Blair walking toward him, rolling his eyes just a little, a wicked smile beginning to bloom.

Walking up to Jim and kissing him, full on the mouth, in front of everyone, because Jim's under the mistletoe and hadn't realized, because it's a safe kiss, in this drunken, laughing room, with the dangle of cool greenery and pure white berries overhead providing an excuse.

And over Blair's head, he sees the woman pout with disappointment and the heat in her eyes is aimed at him, not Blair and Blair's watching him look, his smile fading -- oh God, Blair was jealous, too --

And now he's looking into Blair's hurt blue eyes, and he knows how to make them happy again, but not here, no. He leans in close and asks Blair a question and he'll hear the answer if Blair does no more than shape the word, but Blair doesn't even do that, just slips his hand into Jim's and leads the way out, out of the door, the party, the red and green decorations a garish clash of color, and into the cool, fresh darkness and then home where they belong.

Where there's no holly, and no mistletoe, either, but where he'll still kiss Blair again and again and again until Blair's mouth is sweet cherry red and smiling.

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