I’d like to sincerely thank my friend and editor, Boy on a String, for his help on this story. He helped plug a few plot leaks and offered more than a few helpful suggestions. Any problems left behind are mine. Thanks and Merry Christmas everyone!
Nick Cringle sighed again. It had been a very long summer. Even though he was only sixteen, he had been thrust into the top position of one of the largest manufacturing and delivery services in the world. His father passed away long before anyone was expecting and everyone had turned to him. Like any good boy, he stepped up to the plate and performed to the best of his ability.
In fact, he had performed so well, that for the first time in decades, production was actually keeping pace with demand. Most of this could be attributed to his young age and complete lack of patience with the bureaucratic red tape. He cut through the red tape faster than anyone had thought possible. More than a few people’s ears were still ringing from the last time someone told him that he couldn’t do something because it was against the rules.
He had to intervene between two truly ancient supervisors. One was enthusiastically following his instructions and the other one chanted, “We can’t do this, it has always been done this way. And it is against the rules!” It even had an accompanying demonstration. Nick listened calmly and then made a minor concession. The stubborn employee gave in for a moment before going on again about the rules. A few minutes later, that employee was treated to the ear-ringing lecture about how it was time to modernize, to enable the company to meet the demand. The aforementioned employee was then promptly reassigned to the custodial staff. That one show of force, so to speak, greased the wheels for all of his improvements. The example employee didn’t suffer… too much.
The last argument that had broken out at work had been over his leave of absence. While his father and grandfathers before him had never taken time off, this was a requirement for him as far as he was concerned. The small town where he grew up did not have many guys his age and the few that were there were afraid of the son of the big boss. There wasn’t any reason to be, as a kinder, friendly family couldn’t be found. No, really.
He won that argument too, which is why he was in rural New York and pulling his fully loaded Dodge Ram pickup into the driveway of his new house. The house was a nice four-bedroom ranch with a full basement and attached two-car garage.
He sighed again as he stepped out of the truck. He pressed the button to lock the doors and set the alarm on the truck before pressing the button that unlocked the house door. He walked in and looked slowly around. The company had furnished the house and it looked stellar. It was just like home. He especially loved the fireplace with a huge bearskin laid out in front. It looked like the one from his room at home. He spent much of his childhood reading books while lying on that rug.
He looked over the whole house before checking the bathroom. He found that they had even provided his favorite soap. They were really going all out to please him. After he washed and dried his hands, he went the room they laid out to be his office, which included a large plasma screen and video camera. His underlings only gave in to him when he said he would contact them daily via videoconferencing. He checked in, letting him know that he had arrived safely and found everything to be satisfactory.
His next step was to drive over to the small, all boys, private school that the company owned and ran. Roughly half the boys attended the school scholarship. The other half had parents that were able to pay through the nose to get the very exclusive education. He was there to complete registration so he’d be ready to start classes on Monday.
It was about twenty minutes before he was pulling into the driveway of the Basler Academy for Boys and Young Gentlemen. He pulled up to the main building and parked in the first of three spots marked “Board Members”. A tall, gray-haired woman stalked out of the front door and walked over to him.
“You cannot park there, young man,” she told him quite sternly.
Nick looked at the spot, looked at the sign and replied, “It says ‘Board Members’ ma’am. I think I’m entitled.”
She lips pursed together momentarily before she ventured a guess. “Mr. Cringle?”
He nodded and raised an eyebrow when her entire attitude shifted.
“My name is Karen White and I’m so sorry about the misunderstanding, sir. We have been having problems all week with some of the more spoiled young men that are trying to register their vehicles.”
“No problem, ma’am. I am here to enroll myself for the next few months.”
She blinked hard, twice.
“I won’t be much of a bother. I have business here until just after Thanksgiving. I’ve decided that since I’m in this area, and I do own the school, it would be best if I actually attended it, instead of using the usual private tutors.”
“I think that is going to make some people very nervous,” she said finally.
“Thanks for being so honest, Ms. White. It won’t be my intention to upset anyone’s applecart. I merely would like to be educated here for a little while.”
“Will your father be here to sign the required paperwork?” she asked as they started to move towards the building.
“I was emancipated after he passed away this past spring.”
She looked shocked and sad. “I’m so sorry to hear that. He was always lovely to talk to on the phone. He always called each one of the staff every Christmas especially to wish us a Merry Christmas.”
“That was dad. Christmas was his life. I think he spent the year working, just so that he could be jolly to everyone at Christmas. I miss him a lot, but the business does roll on and I will do everything I can to fill his tremendous shoes,” Nick replied, holding his chin up firmly, with a sad smile on his face.
“Here we are dear. You just have a seat and I’ll talk to Headmaster Stevens,” she said warmly.
He waited only a few minutes before a tall, balding man came out to greet him. “Mr. Cringle, it is an honor to have you at our school. I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your father.”
“Headmaster Stevens, my father had a lot of kind words about you and your efforts here at Basler.”
The Headmaster’s smile brightened a notch. “Ms. White tells me that you wish to enroll here until Thanksgiving?” he asked as he led Nick into his office and waved him to a plush seat.
“Yes, sir. I need to return to the Home Office around then to prepare for our busiest season of the year. I took over for my father when he passed away, but I needed a break. I’m doing a lot of work and I’m only sixteen.”
“We normally wouldn’t accept a student this late, but your father always had us keep two or three spots open for discretionary cases. You won’t be boarding with us, will you?”
“No sir. I have a comfortable house about twenty minutes away.”
“That should work. How about class placement?”
“I’m done with foreign languages. I’m ready for calculus in math. I think I’m about normal for my age for history and English. Science, I believe this year was supposed to be chemistry?”
“You’re done with foreign languages? Which one did you take?”
“As you may recall, our business is international in nature. I spent a few months at a time in total immersion environment in most of the major European nations as well as a few Asian ones. As a result, I’m fluent in a large number of languages.”
“That’s right. I should have realized. Normally, we would give you placement exams, but we’ll just put you into the classes you mentioned. If you can’t handle them for some reason, then we can just move you.”
“Thank you sir.”
“Are there any questions for me?”
“What is your policy on relationships here at school?”
“As instructed by your father, we only enforce that anything that occurs be mutually agreed to.”
“Your personal feelings?”
“It is a difficult thing to grow up. Learning bout your body is a natural process and mutual explorations with friends is normal. Developing something more is inevitable on occasion.”
“Thanks for the answers.”
“Would you mind if I asked you some questions, Mr. Cringle?”
“Of course not, Headmaster.”
“Your father has hinted over the years that he would one day send his son to check out this school, but why did he never come here himself?”
“Father was extremely busy. So he selected people he knew he could trust to run this school allowing him to use a hands-off approach. He also personally funds all of the scholarship students here. If you weren’t aware, he often funds the same students all the way through college and hires them into various aspects of the company.”
“I didn’t know that. Do you know how he selects students for scholarships?”
“I’m afraid that is company business. As one of the oldest companies in the world, I’m sure you can understand that we have developed ways of keeping ourselves competitive.”
“Yes. We do purposely select boys with troubled family lives. That is why we have such a cadre of loving people at this facility.”
“Thank you,” Headmaster Stevens said humbly.
“My pleasure sir. Now, please tell me what has Ms. White all riled up about parking?”
“A small number of our tuition paying students have been misbehaving with vehicles. They have been apparently under the impression that since they pay tuition in full, they can do as they wish. As we have always had plenty of parking, we have allowed students to drive vehicles as soon as they are licensed. The incoming seniors have been a bit of a troublesome batch.”
“I see. Everything is under control now?”
“Yes it is, Mr. Cringle.”
“Excellent. I believe my father always had an open phone policy with you. I’ll continue that. Anything you need for this school, its students or staff, please tell me. Anything at all Headmaster. If it is within my power, rest assured, it will be done.”
“Thank you very much, sir,” the Headmaster told Nick.
“If you don’t mind, I’ll call you Headmaster and you can call me Nick. Okay?”
“It is quite okay with me Nick. I didn’t want to take liberties with my employer that I wasn’t entitled.”
“You have done a world of good for this school, and the boys that attend here. That entitles you to many liberties. Calling me Nick isn’t a liberty though; it is what everyone calls me. Of course, some of the workers add things like ‘the Terrible’ after it,” Nick replied, giggling lightly.
“Already getting that reputation, eh? I’m sure you’ll pull through. As for school, Ms. White will have a schedule for you Monday. Just stop here first thing in the morning. Oh! I’ve got something for you,” he said while rifling through the side drawer on his desk. He then handed Nick a parking sticker so he could park in his spot.
“Thanks Headmaster. I’ll put this on my truck. I’m sure I’ll be the envy of those seniors.”
“No doubt. Take care, Nick.”
Nick shuffled his way back to his truck, stopping to wish Ms. White a good afternoon. He placed the sticker in his front window on the passenger side. He read it closely “Basler Board of Trustees – Chairman”.
Nick’s weekend was spent entirely in his office. He spent the whole time going over the list the company sent him. It took him quite a long time, since he felt obligated to double-check everything on the list.
He jumped out of bed at 6:30 am Monday. He felt fresh as he went to the kitchen for his morning cup of hot cocoa. He had a plain bagel too. After his morning bathroom duties, he dressed in his crisp-looking school uniform and hopped into his truck. He did remember to bring his backpack as well. He was really looking forward to his first ever day of school.
He pulled into his parking spot, right in front of the main door, and was immediately noticed by a taciturn looking older lady. She stalked halfway to his truck before noticing the sticker. Her eyes widened noticeably before she did an about face and confronted a boy, telling him not to cuss at school.
Nick smiled and nodded to her when he went by. He found his way back to the main office and saw Ms. White standing behind the reception desk. “Good morning Ms. White.”
“Good morning Mr. Cringle. I have your schedule for you here. Your homeroom is 110. Here is a map of the school. Think you can find it?”
“It shouldn’t be a problem. Thank you,” Nick replied as he walked out of the office. He almost ran into a hulking student. He was about 6’4” tall, 210 pounds of solid teenager.
“Watch where you are going, newbie,” the guy grumbled.
“Sorry about that. I was paying more attention to my map than to where I was going.”
“Yes you were. Are you another scholarship brat?” he asked, his eyes narrowing at Nick.
“That doesn’t seem like a very nice thing to say,” Nick replied dryly.
“Great! Another one,” the guy mumbled.
“Is there a problem, Mr. Kennedy? Nick?”
“No Headmaster,” Nick replied first.
“Good. Get to your homerooms. Both of you,” the Headmaster ordered.
Both boys walked away together.
“Who are you?” Kennedy demanded.
“Why?” Nick shrugged.
“Headmaster Stevens never calls a student anything but Mister this or Mister that. He called you Nick.”
“Well, Mr. Kennedy, my name is Nick and I asked the Headmaster to call me that.”
“You must have some pull over him.”
“Is that all life is for you? Money, power, and position?” Nick replied sarcastically.
Nick was spared what appeared to be an apoplectic fit by arriving at his homeroom. He walked in and was greeted by the teacher.
“Nick, I presume. I’m Dr. Philemon Jones. You can call me Doc or Doc Jones.”
“Pleasure to meet you sir.”
“I see you’ve met our Lawrence Kennedy,” Doc said quietly as he watched the taller boy stomp his way to the back of the classroom.
“I’ve had the dubious honor, sir.”
“There is never a dull moment here,” the teacher replied with a shrug.
Nick walked back to an open desk. It was next to a shorter brown haired boy. As Nick approached, the boy looked up. His startling green eyes locked gazes with Nick’s deep blue ones. Nick dropped into the seat next to the boy.
“Josh Thomas,” the boy said, extending his hand.
“Nick Cringle,” Nick replied.
“Cringle? The Cringles that own the school, Cringle?”
“That would be the one,” Nick smiled shyly.
“That’s so cool,” Josh gushed. “I can’t thank you guys enough for what you’ve done for me.”
“Our pleasure,” Nick’s smile brightened to a disarming smile.
Josh appeared to almost swoon.
“So, you aren’t a scholarship kid. You just pay for all the scholarship kids,” Lawrence said snottily.
“You’re going to be going on my list Mr. Kennedy and you don’t want to be on it.”
“What will happen to me? Will I get coal in my stocking?” he sneered.
“You are well past coal,” Nick rumbled.
Josh waved his hand in front of Nick. “Ignore him. He’s just pissy because his branch of the family tree has gilded gold instead of solid gold like the rest of the family tree.”
Nick chuckled. Lawrence Kennedy glared angrily.
“Good morning gentlemen,” Doctor Jones took control of the room. “It is time to start another year here at Basler’s Academy for Boys and Young Gentlemen. I’d like to welcome one of our new young gentlemen, Mr. Nick Cringle. Yes, to put rumor mongers to bed, his family does own the school.”
Every head turned towards Nick’s seat and he smiled disarmingly at everyone.
“Right. Everyone should have his schedule. We can start our day as soon as morning announcements are complete.”
The morning announcements started moments later and ended with the Pledge of Allegiance.
Nick was pleasantly surprised to find that Josh shared most of the same schedule as him, including physical education at the end of the day. The only difference was that Josh had German class while Nick had a study hall.
The morning flew by as various classes came and went. Nick and Josh were just sitting down at a table after going through the lunch line when they heard a commotion behind them.
Lawrence Kennedy stormed up behind the two boys and moved to attack Nick. Nick reacted instantly. He set his food down on the table at the same time he started to swing around.
“I got a reprimand because of you!” Lawrence bellowed.
Nick dodged two full swings from Lawrence before backing off a little ways and waiting in a defensive stance.
Lawrence was huffing like an enraged bull, “If I’m going to get in trouble, then I should at least get some satisfaction out of it.”
Nick didn’t answer, although he did see Headmaster Stevens arrive along with what looked like the physical education teacher. They both stopped and watched as Lawrence tried repeatedly to get a hit in. Nick kept deflecting or avoiding the shots.
“Lawrence Kennedy, you will cease this instant!” Headmaster Stevens roared.
He didn’t. Nick was forced to block three more shots. To this point, he hadn’t thrown a single punch. Nick suddenly popped a surprised Lawrence to the side of the head, stunning him. He fell to the floor and looked too dizzy to try to move.
“Mr. Cringle, what the hell is going on?” the Headmaster demanded.
“I don’t know sir. Kennedy here just started to attack me claiming that he was trying to earn enjoy the reprimand he received earlier.”
“Ah. I see,” Headmaster Stevens said gravely. “Does anybody else here have a different story from Mr. Cringle’s?”
Not a single person indicated that they did.
The Headmaster turned to the man that was beside him, “Coach Wilson, would you help me get him to the nurse?”
The coach nodded and leaned down to help the dazed young man to his feet.
The Headmaster discretely rolled his eyes at Nick before following the coach.
Nick turned around and sat down at his table. Josh sat down wide-eyed across from him. “Nick, you didn’t even get reprimanded.”
“Why would I? I was obviously defending myself. I used the minimum of force to subdue him,” Nick said matter-of-factly.
“But fighting isn’t allowed, no matter what.”
“I guess when you own the building, there are some exceptions,” Nick replied dryly, his expression clearly stating that he didn’t want to discuss the incident any further.
A redhead sat down next to Josh and looked over at Nick. “What is your training in?”
“This and that,” Nick demurred, not wanting to be specific in just what he was trained in.
“I’m sorry if talking to me got you on anyone’s bad side,” Josh murmured, looking at his lunch tray.
“You are not accountable for other people’s behavior,” Nick replied firmly.
“I take it by your comments that you are the Nick Cringle that everyone is talking about? My name is Bill O’Hallaron,” the red-haired boy introduced himself.
“Pleasure to meet you Bill,” Nick said, giving the other boy a firm handshake.
“Is it true that your family owns the school?”
“Thanks for the scholarship. This school has really given me a chance.”
Nick smiled at the other boy. “It’s our pleasure, believe me.”
“So, what are you doing here?” Bill asked.
“Going to school, of course,” Nick smirked at him.
Bill stuck his tongue out and said, “I meant why are you in this area? Why show up to our school now?”
“Oh. I have business in this area until Thanksgiving. I figured that since I’m in this area, I might as well attend the school that the family owns.”
“Business?” Josh asked.
“What does your father do?” Billy asked just after.
“My father passed away early this year. I’ve taken over the day-to-day things that he was in charge of doing. I’m in contact with the Home Office frequently when I’m not here. In an emergency, I’m sure that they’d call here too.”
“Oh. I’m sorry to hear about your father,” Josh said.
“Me too. I didn’t mean to pry too much,” Bill told Nick sincerely.
“It’s okay guys. It came as a surprise, but I’ve been training my whole life for the job. Schooling here is my last little chance at a normal life before business takes over completely.”
“Sounds rough. At least you have something for you though,” Josh said quietly. “My family died and left me with nothing. If it wasn’t for your family, I would have been lost in the foster care system and probably would have committed suicide.”
Nick reached across the table and placed his hand over Josh’s. “Our foundation gets letters every year and we do our very best to address the needs of everyone we can. There is probably a letter of recommendation from my father in your file. He was known to personally keep track of every student he brought here on scholarship. This is especially true of orphans. So long as you continue to do well in school, I’m sure there is something waiting for you at the company.”
“What are you, a couple of fags?” a new kid walking up said.
“That’s rich coming from someone that is regularly screwed by his friend, David,” Nick replied coldly.
The boy turned a ghastly shade of white.
“Sit down before you fall down David,” Nick said a little more warmth in his voice.
“How did you know my name… and… and…” David seemed unable to get it out.
“I know everything about everybody. I see you when you’re sleeping and I know when you’re awake. Creepy, isn’t it?” Nick laughed.
Josh was the first to laugh. “I just got it. Your father was named Christopher, wasn’t he?”
“Of course. And he named me Nicholas. Nicholas Christopher Cringle.”
“Would that make you Jolly Old Saint Nick?” Josh asked, laughing.
“I don’t know about old…” Nick replied with a snicker.
“I should… go,” David said uncertainly.
Nick turned serious again whispering, “Davey, it is very hard dealing with mixed emotions on sexuality. One thing you shouldn’t do is lash out at everyone in an attempt to deny the feelings in yourself. You’ll only end up tearing yourself apart. There is nothing wrong with being gay. You should try to tone down the sex and keep it to those you love though.”
David blushed a deep red, but he nodded.
“You should go to the chapel and do some thinking. It might help you out.”
“I will. Sorry about the comments, guys.”
“Don’t worry about it,” Josh replied.
“Are you gay?” Bill queried as soon as David walked away.
“Yes,” was Nick’s succinct reply.
Josh stared wide-eyed.
“Don’t worry Bill, I know you’re not.”
Bill’s mouth open and closed.
“Getting off with a friend doesn’t make you gay,” Nick added.
“How the hell…” started and stopped at Nick’s raised hand.
“I told you… I see everything,” Nick winked.
“This is too weird,” Bill replied after a long moment of silence.
“You should try my life sometime. It’s time for our next class,” Nick said just as the bell rang for the class change.
Josh and Bill exchanged glances.
There wasn’t further conversation until the last period of the day. Bill joined Josh and Nick in the locker room to change for class. Nick was unselfconscious about stripping down and changing in front of the other boys. He noticed both Bill and Josh watching him. Bill watched with curiosity and Josh watched with interest. Nick winked at both before mooning them. He laughed at the shocked faces and went off to the gym to await the coach.
They all did a series of benchmarking exercises before heading back to the locker rooms and hitting the showers. Nick was totally unselfconscious in the shower. Although he was average as far as growth was concerned, he did have a very nice bubble butt, which Josh spent much of the time staring at. Nick took notice of every detail of Josh as well.
The next three months passed quickly. The two boys often studied together. They ended up being a great help to each other. With Nick’s natural ear for languages, he was able to help Josh with his German without any troubles. Josh was a scientist at heart and he helped pull Nick from indifferent to excellence in chemistry.
During this time, Nick’s days were long and he started looking a little drawn out. Josh was more or less attached to Nick at school and Nick pretty much preened in Josh’s presence. As Thanksgiving approached, Nick started to get more and more moody. Josh started peppering him with questions.
Finally Josh had enough and confronted him, “What’s wrong Nick? Please tell me this time!”
“I will be leaving for the Home Office soon.”
“What about us?” Josh asked, shocked.
“I’d really like it if you went with me. Will you?” Nick asked, turning so that he could stare directly into Josh’s eyes.
“With you?” Josh asked in surprise.
Nick took Josh’s hands, “I know we’re both young, but I’ve really come to love you in the last couple of months. I’d really like it if you went with me.”
“I don’t have any family keeping me here, but I don’t know if I’d be able to go. Technically, I am a ward of the school.”
“I’ve checked into it. It is possible. You’ll really have to want to go though.”
“Would it be possible to visit first?” Josh asked, blushing.
“That can be arranged. You will have to promise to not discuss anything about our trip with anyone though.”
Josh blinked. “Why?”
“You’ll understand. Trust me. I will need your solemn word that you won’t discuss the trip with anyone.”
“I swear that I won’t tell anyone about our trip.”
“Thanks bud. I’ll talk to the Headmaster. I don’t think he’ll have a problem with you coming home with me this weekend.”
“Absolutely. In fact, I can go talk to him right now,” Nick replied, standing up from the lunch table.
Josh stayed at the table while Nick left to talk to the Headmaster. The man agreed readily enough and Nick returned a few minutes later.
“I just wanted to tell you that our trip is a go. I’ll call home to arrange transportation. It should be here just after nightfall.”
“Great!” Josh replied, totally thrilled about the possibility to see Nick’s real home.
Nick’s eyes twinkled brightly when he winked at Josh and rushed off to call the Home Office.
The rest of the day passed quickly and Josh signed himself out of school. Headmaster Stevens was there to wish him a good trip. Josh climbed into the passenger seat of Nick’s truck. It was only the third time he had been in the truck. Most of their interactions had occurred in Josh’s private dorm room.
“We’ll go to my house and wait for our transportation.”
They got back to his house and Nick pulled the truck into the garage. They went into the house proper and Nick directed them to the living room. He quickly got a fire going in the fireplace and stretched out on the bearskin rug. Josh joined him, after looking at the mysteriously closed double-doored office. Nick had given him a tour the only other time he was here, but hadn’t shown him the office. Soon they were both lying in front of the fire, staring at the ceiling. Josh forgot all about that office when Nick started talking.
“If you could have just one thing for Christmas, what would it be?” Nick asked into the comfortable silence.
“I think it would be to have a family of my own,” Josh answered after a long silence.
“That’s a very nice wish,” Nick replied thoughtfully.
“What about you Nicky? What would you want?”
“I’ve been thinking about that for years, because I have to answer it. I finally came to school here, to search for that answer. What I want and need is a boyfriend and a family.”
“What do you mean, you need to have an answer to that question?”
“The family business. In order to succeed, I have to answer that question for myself. I think I have. That’s why I asked you to join me.”
“You mean that you want to have a long term relationship with me?” Josh asked surprised.
“I always do everything all the way. We’ve hit it off so great in the last few months, I can really see us being together for a long time, if you’re willing to try.”
Josh grabbed Nick’s hand and told him, “I’d be honored.”
They closed the deal with a long kiss.
When the kiss ended, Nick slowly stood up. “It’s time to let you in on some secrets then. You’ve got to trust me. Think you can do that?”
Josh’s eyes widened a bit before he responded affirmatively.
“Good. Our ride is here. Come over here and take my hand.”
Josh did so. Nick smiled at him with his brightest smile before he waved his hand at the fireplace. The fire went out and the whole fireplace morphed to a large enough size that they could both walk in. Nick walked in and brought Josh with him. Josh was bug-eyed. Nick grinned at him and laid his finger to the side of his nose and then gave a nod and up the chimney they rose.
“Nick! We’re flying!” Josh stuttered out.
“You haven’t seen anything yet dude,” Nick replied quietly.
Indeed, he hadn’t, for sitting on the roof, gleaming in a bright cherry red was a sleigh with nine reindeer. Nick directed Josh to climb in while he greeted each one of the reindeer, whispering to each one. He grinned at Josh, whose eyes were wide open.
“Are you ready Joshy?” Nick grinned.
Josh nodded, unable to talk.
“I’ve always loved this part,” Nick said and let out a laugh, which sounded suspiciously like ‘Ho Ho Ho’. “Now, DASHER! now, DANCER! now, PRANCER and VIXEN! On, COMET! on CUPID! on, DONDER and BLITZEN!”
Lights seemed to swirl from beneath the sleigh and reindeer as the whole thing lifted off from the roof. “Hit the running lights, Rudy!” Nick shouted. A distinctive red glow came from the lead reindeer. “Take us home boys!”
Nick pulled Josh tightly into him as the sleigh picked up speed, heading north.
“How?” Josh was finally able to sputter.
“My dad was Santa Claus Josh. How is that possible? To the human being, all things are possible. It’s only our own thoughts of limitation that limits us. Or so I’ve heard. When he died this past spring, I inherited the big suit.”
“You’re not old enough! I know you’re my age. You can’t possibly be Santa Claus.”
“I’m really sixteen years old, just like you. This will be my first year in the big suit, but it had to happen sometime. I’ll only look old on the big night. Other than that, I’ll always be me.”
“You want me to be your partner?”
“Yes. Definitely. I think you’d be a great friend, a great lover and a great father for our son.”
“How can we have a son?”
“Magic. There always has to be an heir to the suit. Things happen. You’ll see.”
“I don’t know if I’m ready.”
“You’ll do fine. I know. I’ve been looking for a long time to find someone. I think you’re the best in the world.”
“Nothing but Josh.”
“I can’t believe it, but it is a dream come true.”
Nick let out a remarkably powerful and deep “HO! HO! HO!”
“Let’s see what happens,” Josh smiled brightly.
“Let’s!” Nick replied, kissing Josh soundly as the sleigh flew them home.