The previous winter, Leon followed his twin sister Sara to a new town where she could be with her partner, Amber. There, Leon’s boyfriend Nick, friends Jeff and Daniel, and their nine-year-old daughter Abby, swiftly swept him up into their lives, a newfound family.
After a year of growing their relationship, Leon is ready to take it to the next level. Nick, however, has been stalling. When Ben, Abby’s best friend, is suddenly abandoned, Leon is excited to finally care for the children he’s always wanted. Haunted by the mistakes of his past, Nick attempts to reconcile his feelings of inadequacy as a parent with Leon’s wishes.
Against the backdrop of winter holidays filled with traditions from around the world, it is up to Leon to decide if he’s willing to stand by Nick, or if he should find his happiness elsewhere.
Catch a Falling Snowflake, the fourth story in the Snow Globes holiday series, can be read as a stand-alone, but greater enjoyment will come with reading about these characters in the order written.
- 1 To Be Read list
Publisher: Ninestar Press
Pairings: F-F, M-M
Heat Level: 1
Romantic Content: 2
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay, Lesbian, Pansexual, Transgender
Tropes: Adopted Child, Families/Raising Kids, Trapped Together
Word Count: 18700
Setting: Small town, Mountains
Languages Available: English
Series Type: Continuous / Same Characters
Catch a Falling Snowflake
Ava Kelly © 2020
All Rights Reserved
The community center was quiet for a Thursday. With vacation and beckoning winter celebrations a day away, Nick expected the ebb of youthful visitors to slow down. Besides, early afternoon was always the calmest, no matter the day. Perhaps that was why he’d chosen this particular time for the support group. Sure, it served those who worked nights, unlike most of the other meetings usually held in the evenings, but Dr. Mahler had had a few requests to organize one during the day, and that was where Nick came in.READ MORE
He’d been back in his hometown for two years, and soon after settling in, he’d started attending one of the grief support groups. Not that his loss was still fresh, not after years, but as a check-in with himself. As an example for others that, yes, survival was possible. He’d made friends with the local therapist; she was supportive, and he’d booked a session or two when he needed an objective ear. He was doing well.
With a smile to himself, Nick checked on the coffee thermos on the side table, then made sure the heaters underneath the windows of the meeting room were turned on. Outside, snow fell in sparse flakes. Not enough to settle and disrupt activity, but enough to give the air that chilling bite of winter.
Beyond the hills on which the town stretched, the mountains rose toward the gray sky, covered in thick pine forests. He’d missed the view. Missed the people, the smells, the buildings.
He was back to stay. No matter what happened, he wouldn’t leave again. He’d made sure to have some safety nets this time around, just in case. Volunteering for the center, for one, running this group for another, and Dr. Mahler, whom Nick had grown to trust after two years.
Nothing, however, was more important than the people in his life.
Footsteps and voices from the corridor pulled Nick from his musings. He turned to greet the two people walking in, and then another, and another, until six strangers sat in the circle of folding chairs, staring at him. Nick cleared his throat.
“I guess we should start,” he said. “Hello, everyone. My name is Nick, and I’ll be your group leader here. I’d like to remind you that this is not a therapy session, but only a space to talk. If you feel like you need more, Dr. Mahler is here.”
He gestured then, to the side, where a small office was nestled behind glass windows, door closed. The doc waved at them from her desk, legs kicked up casually onto it, crossed at the ankles, an open book in her hand. She grinned and gave them all a thumbs-up.
Around Nick, a couple of people nodded, someone waved back, and the youth with their nose in the collar of their hoodie snorted. Nick made a mental note to check later on their age.
“Doc will be here until tonight, so if you wanna sneak back after we’re finished…”
That, at least, earned him some chuckles. Nick tried not to read too much into it. He’d been to meetings full of strangers before. This would be no different. Determination reinforced, he took a deep breath.
“We’re here to talk, but don’t feel like you have to. You can just listen, if that works. But I’d like to remind everyone to be mindful and respect the privacy of these meetings.”
All nodded, and Nick copied the gesture with a thank-you.
“Has anyone been to one of these meetings before?”
Headshakes and muttered noes.
“Well.” Nick shifted. “We talk about those we’ve lost. We talk about us. The weather. Sports. Music. That movie last week with all the sword fighting.”
“And blatant disregard for proper archery,” a woman said.
“Does it help?”
Heads swiveled to the person in the hoodie.
“It can,” Nick said. “Sometimes it helps to just be around people who’ve been through similar things. Not everyone processes in the same way, though, so it might not be as useful.”
“Have you— Did—” Hoodie shook themself into silence, and Nick nodded anyway.
“I’ve been there. Actually, this week marks a sort of anniversary for me, so I wanted to start by telling you my story if you’d like to hear it.”
That got him their attention. Curiosity and wariness, too, but it was to be expected. First time could be scary, especially under the strain of mourning. Nick remembered with clarity his first visit to an informal support group. His first group session, though, was hazy around the edges. He leaned forward, elbows on knees, and clasped his hands together.
“I was born here. With the exception of college, I’ve lived here for twenty-six years. I had a wife and a best friend and a baby on the way.”
He’d had Lauren and Jeff, twins he’d known since childhood. Through shenanigans and quiet moments and major decisions, they’d always been there. Nick and Lauren had gotten married right after college, and four years later—
“My wife died during childbirth. I watched it happen, and it’s not an image I can ever unsee. It broke me enough that my immediate thoughts were harmful toward myself and the baby. A girl. Innocent and frail, and not at fault at all. I left before I even held her once, and then spent the next seven years healing. Wasn’t pretty. Hurt a lot.”
Nick swallowed and shifted, pausing to collect his thoughts.
“What happened to her?” Hoodie asked.COLLAPSE