A Holiday to Remember
Life hasn't been easy for Amir since he fled Iran after a brutal imprisonment. The trauma experienced at the hands of the guards left a dark spot on his soul. The one constant in his life since relocating to Chicago has been his lover—now husband—Esmail, whose steadfast love and support has soothed his wounded heart.
But this Shab-e Yalda, Amir wants to be the one giving his husband something special, because even after the darkest nights, the sun will rise again.
Publisher: Mischief Corner Books
Heat Level: 3
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Tropes: Hurt / Comfort, Married Life
Word Count: 18000
Setting: USA, IL, Chicago
Languages Available: English
Whirls of color flashed past Amir. Loud voices drummed against his ears without the words really making sense. He knew them, or rather should know them, but they blended together in one great cacophony humming all around Amir. The light above shone too brightly for his eyes so he closed them, but only briefly—the darkness suffocating. Too much to handle.
The brightness hurt his eyes, but it was better than swirling around in the void of his mind.
Leaning, half-sitting against something solid, Amir stared at the paper in front of him. Though his hands shook he knew what the list should say, so he focused on the lettering as much he could. He counted, timing how long it took before each letter came into focus.
Fifty-eight seconds for the b.
Not bad. Not good, but definitely not the worst time it had ever taken him.
Forty-two for the e.READ MORE
Nineteen for the second e.
Eight for the f.
Beef. Amir was looking at a grocery list. He'd been shopping for foodstuffs for tonight, getting his surprise ready for Esmail. A trolly—the trolly with food he'd picked out—was in front of him. His non-trembling hand was holding onto it, and Amir had made his way to over to the aisle with the bins of candy and nuts.
Somehow during his attack he'd moved to an out-of-the-way spot he actually needed to be.
Being the middle of the afternoon there weren't too many customers for him to have disturbed, but Amir slid a furtive glance around the aisle into the rest of the store. No one was looking. While his heart didn't settle, the buzz in his head dropped down a decibel to something more tolerable, where his own thoughts started piecing together beneath the haze.
Amir went over to the plastic bags and gathered a few so he could get the nuts he wanted for the ajil.
"For the love of—" It took a few tries to get the bags opened and filled with what Amir wanted, but the simple task of open, scoop, fill, twist, and knot allowed the buzz inside him to die down. "Fine. Good."
It wasn't until Amir tried moving into the more open area of the store that the thrum of noise hit him again. Hard. Forceful. He swayed, then grabbed onto the trolly like a lifeline. His hold stiffened around the bar, his steps wobbly. Metallic gray with rainbow edges pushed into his vision.
A gentle, sweet voice—a familiar one associated with an almost painful kindness—pushed back at Amir's panic. He blinked owlishly a few times, the gray vision fading away. A beautiful redhead stood to the left of him, near the deli.
Amir was rewarded with a bright smile from the store's assistant manager.
"How—" Amir searched for the right words, pushing the Farsi aside. The parched aridness in his throat made the words rough to say. "How are you today?"COLLAPSE