Even in December, the Greek sunlight streamed through a chink in the curtains, painting the bed in heat. François Vernier stretched out in the Egyptian cotton sheets and tried to ignore the dull thud of a hangover playing in his brain. They had started the party early, yet it felt like he’d only just put his head down.
A very disorientated Darryl Burlington emerged from under the duvet with a lop-sided grin. “Merry Christmas, François.”
The nausea came rapidly, and François had to lay his head on the pillow again. “Joyeux Noel.”
Darryl plumped his pillows and sat up. “What a night, eh?”
François nodded. “I need coffee. You want?”
Not waiting for a reply, he got out of bed and padded over to the kitchen area of the vast suite Darryl had taken where he made himself busy grinding some beans. The view down to the Ionian Sea took his breath away and once the machine bubbled into life, he took it all in.
Kefalonia was a small island on the west coast of Greece. François had been to many other Greek islands but never this one. He couldn’t wait to return in the summer when it would be warm enough to dive into those blue waters. François prided himself on always being a participant and hated being a spectator.
Ever impatient, he waited until just enough coffee for two cups had brewed. Filling them, he ignored the hissing sound of more dripping onto the hot plate.
He went through to the bedroom. Darryl hadn’t moved. As fresh as a daisy, he grinned at him. Darryl believed hangovers were for the weak. François didn’t dare glance in the mirror that covered half a wall. But Darryl had insisted on partying into the night so he would have to take him as he found him.
“What are we doing today?” Darryl asked.
François handed him his cup and opened the curtains a little. He didn’t care if anyone saw him naked. It would give them an early Christmas treat. He’d been turning heads since he’d been in his pram. His mother told him that when she’d pushed him through town, people would stop and speak to him. If they were lucky, he would reward them with a smile. Some days he wouldn’t.
He blew on his coffee and took a sip. The hangover had become a little more insistent, and he regretted making quite so many plans for today. “George said he would take us out on the boat. Everywhere is closed, so I thought a picnic somewhere lovely then back here for dinner.”
François went over to his bag that lay on the chair. He rummaged inside and retrieved the gift he had kept secret. “Merry Christmas.”
He handed it to a surprised Darryl. “I thought we weren’t doing gifts. I haven’t got you anything.”
François shrugged and ignored the feeling in his heart. Darryl ripped off the paper and revealed the monogrammed leather notebook from Aspinal.
“Oh, François. I love it. Thank you.”
Darryl reached out his hand for François. He sat down on the bed, and they hugged each other awkwardly.
“Ah you’re awake. I thought you two were going to sleep all of Christmas Day.”
François spun round to see Ezio, the Greek barman they had picked up the night before. He stood in the doorway wearing just a towel. His thick curly hair dripped water onto his furry chest, the inviting glint in his eye that had first prompted Darryl to send François over with their indecent proposal still very much in place.
“François?” Darryl said, licking his lips. “Tell George not to bother with the boat. I think we should stay at home today.”
He pulled the duvet aside, letting the notebook fall to the floor. François glanced momentarily at the gift lying there before putting on his game face.
“Yes, boss. Sounds good to me.”
Ezio dropped the towel, revealing the delights they had enjoyed all night long. François’ cock twitched. Darryl probably had a point. A day on the high seas would only make him seasick. He walked over and kissed Ezio.
“That’s right, boys,” Darryl said. He put his hands behind his head, licking his lips. “Give me a Christmas show.”