Notes: Belongs to the foursome universe. Follows, in order of appearance: A Christmas wish, a new love, that's what friends are for, Popsicle toes, twister, tangled up in blue, the list, jazz singer, debut, meet the neighbors, war games, the art of seduction, summer's end.
Archive: Okay to WWOMB, anyone else just ask first.
John Mayer was playing on the bar's stereo system. It was one of those laid back kind of places where they didn't mind if a little beer spilled on the floor or if the ashtrays were overflowing. It smelled of beer and smoke and electricity conducted between men and women, that slightly stale, sweaty, musky kind of mingled perfume that might rise from the sheets of a cheap motel room, as well as the fickle wiring system. Sometimes a small spark flew up from a speaker and you could detect the scent of burning plastic.
Alex didn't really care about the atmosphere at the moment. The stools with slits in the fake leather spouting wedges of foam didn't bother him in the least. Neither did the neon Bud signs, nor the forced laughter from the waitress tottering on stiletto heels.
He could commiserate with John Mayer. The twang of guitar was soothing, the husky voice crying out "why, Georgia, why?" was plaintive. He downed his second vodka straight up. There were no fancy martinis in this place.
He sighed again under his breath. The holidays were a bust. Instead of spending Christmas in the Bahamas as the foursome had planned, Fox had spent the days before the holiday in endless interviews for his book, John and Walter were hot on the heels of a cheating husband case (Alex did feel sorry for his wife, but still, it was Christmas!) and Alex spent Christmas eve singing at the club.
Fox had thrived on the adrenalin rush for days and gained not one pound during the Christmas feast. John and Walter were successful at finding the cheating jerk with his secretary and she wasn't taking dictation, that's for sure. The wounded wife was filing for divorce and taking him to the cleaners for all she could get. Alex ended up getting laryngitis from singing too much.
So they'd spent Christmas quietly, with presents opened late on Christmas day after they slept in. Once they dispensed of the silly gifts-Chia pets and glow in the dark ties, with aliens for Fox, dancing Elvis for John and assorted dogs for Walter, they got to the real gifts, which included plane tickets for Jamaica, at which they all leapt on Walter and kissed every inch of visible skin and some not so visible, in thanks.
They visited with neighbors, popping in and out, dropping off gifts to Jack, Jason and their parents (role-playing fantasy games and books for the kids, a day at the spa for their hard-working folks), a little bottle of something amber for Mr. Svetlov and a Warhol lithograph for Mona and Dirk.
They also stopped by Lisa's with two gift baskets, one full of food and the second brimming with girly toiletries. David got a camera and several toys. Their next visit was with the gunmen and Fox included some new high tech toys the guys could fuss over, restaurant gift certificates and a bottle of Merlot that Alex picked out and a boxed set of the 'Godfather' trilogy.
They also made a stop at Scully's and spent part of the day playing with William and all the new toys everyone had given him. Scully squealed in delight at the Sex and the City boxed set Alex had chosen (he knew her secret vice, how he'd found out he would never tell) and both Dana and Monica drooled over the gourmet gift basket that included various cheeses and accompanying crackers, a bottle of red wine, decadent chocolates, spreads and dips and spicy cheese popcorn. They gave Monica a gift bag with Tarot cards, healing crystals, incense and a new age CD that she fawned over.
It wasn't exactly as they'd planned but all the same they were together and they all enjoyed sharing the holidays with their friends and neighbors and Fox's son.
But the long day had exhausted them, not to mention the various meals and snacks consumed at each house, so they fell into bed with barely enough energy to kiss each other good night.
New year's was a different story altogether. Walter and John were helping the F.B.I. with a kidnapping case as consultants and Fox was stuck in New York, snowed in at the airport, where he'd gone for a book signing.
And Alex was sitting at a bar, drowning himself in vodka and generally feeling sorry for himself.
The mistletoe was drooping from the ceiling and streamers in preparation for the new year's party swooped down like birds of prey.
"What are you doing New Year's Eve?" a female voice whispered in his ear.
"Probably spending it with Dick Clark and his ball." That sounded kind of suggestive. "Uh, you know the ball dropping thing," he amended. He looked up. "Ah shit, Lisa. I didn't know it was you."
Lisa gave him a shit-eating grin and hugged him fiercely. "You don't come visit much anymore. Nothing between Thanksgiving and Christmas. What do you do, spend all your time in bars now?"
"Nah. I'm just depressed. It doesn't look like me and the guys will be spending the night together on new year's."
"That sucks." She sat on the stool next to him and motioned the waiter over. "White wine, please."
"What about you? Any plans?"
Lisa fluffed her scarf around her neck. "John's taking me out to dinner then we're going to a little club for a drink to ring in the new year. Nothing fancy, just noise makers and champagne cocktails."
"You got a babysitter for the night?"
"Oh yeah, booked her weeks ago."
"Otherwise I could watch David if you like. Seeing as how I'm at loose ends anyhow."
Lisa shook her head. "That's okay but thanks for offering. You should go have fun yourself."
The bartender set her glass down on top of a cocktail napkin.
"Walter and John are helping consult on a kidnapping case. They think it's someone Walter helped catch years ago. He got paroled just a few months ago and it's the same m.o., so, they asked him to give them a hand."
"That's nice. I'm sure Walter appreciates being needed. Fox is still in New York?"
Alex sighed. "Yeah, he's stuck there because of the weather."
"And John is helping Walter with this case?"
"Uh huh. John's a terrific detective. It's right up his alley."
"I'm happy for them then. Cheating husbands and fraud just aren't as exciting are they?"
"Are you kidding? Some of those cheating hubbies he deals with put the guests of Jerry Springer to shame." They both laughed. "And they're a lot more entertaining and fun than missing persons cases."
They finished their drinks in silence.
Lisa put her empty glass down. "Well, I hate to drink and run but I've got to go. Don't drink too much and if you do, call a cab. Don't get all macho and stupid, okay?" She bent down to kiss Alex's cheek.
"Don't worry. I'll be heading home soon too. It's probably going to be just me, pizza and a crappy movie tonight."
"Hey, you might still get lucky and get to spend the night with your guys. Don't give up. Besides Walter and John can't work all night can they?"
Alex shrugged. "I suppose not. Where's John taking you to dinner?"
"Someplace fancy he told me. It's a surprise. I've got lots of time to get ready though. I had a quick drink with a couple of friends." She nodded her head at a table far from the bar, where two women were shrugging into coats. "So all I have to do is fix my face, change and put my hair up."
"Have a good time. And don't worry about me."
"You know I will."
Alex smiled his appreciation and gave her a final kiss good night. She smelt of the rose perfume that he'd picked out for her gift basket. "Happy new year."
"You too. I know you won't spend it alone."
Alex threw down an extra couple of dollars for the hard working bartender and slipped his leather coat on. He wrapped his new cashmere scarf around his neck. It was a luxurious and needed gift from Walter. He was always thinking of his well-being. Alex stroked the scarf, marveling at the soft feel and thinking that he wouldn't mind being tied up with something this exquisite against his skin and being mauled by three delectable and insatiable gentlemen.
When he got home, the house was empty. He sighed loudly, knowing that no one would hear it but feeling satisfied at the sound all the same. He rooted around in the fridge but found nothing but leftovers.
"Yuck, we still have turkey?" He was tired of it already. Of course they had eaten nothing but essentially turkey for days now, in the form of hot turkey sandwiches with gravy, turkey soup and cold turkey sandwiches
He closed the door and began to search through the pile of take-out menus. Pizza sounded just right, hot, gooey, cheesy, saucy pizza. A nice glass of red wine to drink it down and then for dessert, some Christmas cookies while watching that dazzling ball drop in freezing New York city. New York city, where his beloved was ensnared. He sighed again.
Just as he was about to pick up the phone, Alex spotted a post-it note on the freezer door. "What are you doing New Year's Eve?" was written on it, in John's handwriting. He barely restrained a squeal of joy. At least he'd be with John and Walter tonight.
He took the stairs two at a time and burst through the door of their bedroom. He was treated to the sight of John, Walter and Fox barely dressed in only silk boxers. He stood motionless and speechless until Fox prompted, "hey are you going to stand there all night or do we have to drag your ass into bed?"
"How did you get here?"
"You remember that movie 'Home alone' when the mother tries to get back to her son and how frantic she was? I took just about every mode of transportation excepting mule ride to get home in time to ring in the new year with you guys."
Alex laughed huskily and began to shed his clothes. "This is the best gift ever."
All three drew him closer and pushed him into the middle of the bed. They began to devour his hot, silky skin, and in no time, Alex felt not only like he was dessert, but also the main course.
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