Anyplace Else(13)

By: Kim Fielding


“My duties are light these days. So many other gods to share the work.”

Grant thought back to when he’d handed in his two weeks’ notice. Rather than considering a replacement, his boss had sighed loudly and said they’d divvy up Grant’s tasks among the other midlevel managers. The empty position would make a good cost-cutting measure. “You can just quit, and others will take over?” Grant asked Predimir.

“No. Every year at Koleda, Chernobog will kill me.”

Tears sprang to Grant’s eyes, and he shook his head. “I saw how much it hurt you. I can’t… I can’t….”

“I have died a thousand times, my love. The sweetest death was in your arms. And you held me. Nobody has done that before. Can you be brave and strong with me for those few days only? The rest of the year, the world will be ours.” Predimir leaned his forehead against Grant’s. “Is it too much to ask?”

“Not if you promise I will be there every year, to be with you when you die.”

Predimir shuddered against him. “Yes. I promise.”

It was ridiculous. Grant had never dated anyone for longer than a few weeks, and here he was, pledging eternal love and support to a thousand-year-old Slavic god. But hell if that didn’t make more sense than spending his life alone, slogging through a meaningless job. So he kissed Predimir, who responded eagerly, moaning deep in his throat and lacing his hands behind Grant’s head.

When they broke apart, Predimir’s pale skin carried a rosy flush. “I want more of that. And….” He pushed his pelvis against Grant’s. “This. You’ll show me how?”

Grant groaned. “You’re a virgin?” Somehow that was the most astonishing bit of information so far.

Predimir’s answering smile held more devil than deity. “For now.”

“Wh-what am I going to tell Miro’s family? They’re expecting me, and—”

A second kiss silenced him. Then Predimir shrugged. “I will explain to them. They’re my family too.”

“Really?”

“Ask Miro’s mother to show you the print hanging in her bedroom. It’s supposed to be a saint, but….”

“But he has orange hair and he’s holding an ax.”

“Precisely.”

This kiss was tender, just the barest brush of lips, but it burned like fire.

“Maybe we ought to get a hotel room instead,” said Grant.

Predimir stepped back, lifted Grant’s hand, and kissed the back of it. “We’ve waited this long. We can wait a bit longer.”

Grant nodded, then glanced down at the ground. “What about your, uh, head?”

“We’ll keep it here under the oak tree. We can visit it every year just before Koleda, and you can tell me how much more handsome I am in the flesh.”

“A new holiday tradition. I can live with that.”

Hand in muddy hand, they began the walk to the village. Grant was still a bit dizzied by his life’s unexpected twists, but there was one thing he knew for sure: he wouldn’t choose to be anyplace else.