“J” or “Dreams” wanted a happy Consuming Me Pinto fic so this is it. She wanted something about a tree, but in their time period, Regency, there were not yet Christmas trees. Sorry!

Advent Day 12

 I stood back as Chris stepped down the stairs his coachman had set up for his carriage. He was dressed quite formally with a top hat and gloves, his cravat neatly tied at his throat, an elegant evening overcoat over his other clothing, more for show than warmth.

There was a December chill in the air to be sure but the coldest weather was yet to come. Not that Chris ever seemed to care about the weather.

“I shan’t let a little bit of inclement weather stop me from looking my best, Zach,” I recalled him saying, quite fondly. That is I was fond of him saying it.

He glanced in my direction and offered me a dazzling smile that caused my heart to flutter, my stomach to tingle, and my balls to tighten.

He was here, at last. And I was filled with a thrilling anticipation.

“All right, my good man,” Chris said to his coachman. “Be on your way before the weather turns temperamental. Should you decide to stay overnight in the village, tell them to look to me for the charges. And come back to fetch me in exactly one week.”

“Yes, my lord. And a Merry Christmas to you.”

“And to you and your family as well.” Chris handed the man a small bag of coins and the man beamed happily.

“Thank you, sir.”

Chris moved to stand beside me then, his face carefully not giving anything untoward away. We watched his carriage drive away down the long road off the estate together. When it was gone and out of sight, he put his hands on my arms.

He did not lean in to do anything else but the feel of his hands on me, even through his gloves was a thrill.

“Welcome and Merry Christmas.”

“And a very happy one to you, my friend,” Chris said with a teasing lilt. He looked toward my house. “Shall we? It is a trifle cold out here.”

I led him inside my country home, which would house only the two of us for the next week. I had already dismissed by staff to go and make jolly for their own holidays.

Chris set his bag down at the foot of the stairs that led to our bedroom, where we would stay for the next definite future, and I would happily reacquaint with him all night.

But just then I took his hand in mine and removed the gloves so I could feel his bare skin with mine.

“Zach,” he murmured, the light in his blue eyes enchanting me.

“I have quite a feast ready.”

“A feast?”

“Mm. A turkey roasted to perfection. And many accompaniments including roasted chestnuts and a Christmas pudding which I shall light aflame when we are ready to consume it,”

I dragged him off toward the formal dining room, making him laugh as I did so.

“I have yet to remove my overcoat, oh eager one.”

“Well do so then.”

Chris discarded his coat on the nearest piece of furniture as we entered the dining room.

He smiled wide when he saw all the greenery I had the servants lay out. Boughs of holly and ivy and mistletoe. Glittering candles. There was hardly any space that had been left bare.

“Oh and I have smoking bishop too,” I declared, pointing to the bowl of mulled wine.

“You’re positively glowing as though you were Father Christmas himself. I did notice the growth of beard, perhaps you intend to play the part.”

I laughed. “Perhaps I should. But before we have our feast there is yet one more thing before our true celebrations can begin.”

Chris gave me a quizzical look. “And what is that pray tell?”

I took him to the side board where lay, tied together with yet more greenery, holly, and yes, mistletoe, with dark mulberry colored ribbons.

His eyes widened. “You remembered.”

“Of course I did. How could I ever forget you mentioning we ought to be handfasted? And though it may not make us legally wed, I believe under the eyes of God and this house, and each other, we are.”

I wrapped the greenery and ribbons around our wrists, entwining us together.

“In the joining of the hands and the fashioning of a knot, so are our lives now bound, one to another…” I tied a knot of the ribbons about us. “May this knot remain tied as long as our love shall last.”

“Forever then.”

I smiled and kissed him. He kissed me back, moving closer, his eyes closed, his lips pink like his flushed cheeks.

“I love you.”

“And I love you.”

Taking our still linked hands and arms, I brought him to the table.

“Not only is it our Christmas but our wedding feast, too,” I whispered.

“You are a very romantic, merry gentleman, my dearest Zachary.”

And that night and every night after was magic.