It was Monday morning. The sun began to work by dawning on Seattle, but the city had already been much busy and breezy all night. Of all sounds, police sirens were the loudest, and you could hear them from your 13th-floor apartment. You, I mean, as this was not the case for Noel Miles. Neither snuffling nor half asleep, the young man had been laying down faced down, hands a-spread on the pillows of his queen-sized bed, sleeping more or less like a baby, since 22:00 the night before. It seemed he was not going to stand up soon, but then his digital alarm box had gotten enough of that, so it yelled louder, for the third damn time, echoing in his suite, Unit 606, on the sixth floor of Borealis Apartments.
“I know, I know,” the sleepyhead stretched out his left hand to shut the box up, but Noel's iPhone came to its rescue. Time to wake up, boy, the phone rang, and as soon as it did, the alarm box whose digits were painted fiery red went off, changing its color back to a cheerful lavender. Maybe, as a sign of relief?
Anyway, the phone was as loud as it could get, and had its owner struggle on the tired bed that was all wrinkled from neglect. Yes, Noel had not dressed his bed before laying down on it. “I'm awake,” Noel begged drowsily, as he reached for his phone; this time, with his right hand. Located just some inches away, he was able to lay a grip on the iOS hardware which he had slept on the previous night.
The person continued calling, so Noel picked it up and lazily placed the phone on his ear. “Bay,” he greeted, and the voice quickly spoke up. “Hey.” Noel's face brightened up after hearing him speak. “I bet you have not stood up yet,” the serene deeply intoxicating voice said, and you could nearly hear the chuckling accompaniment. “And I bet you think about me, every morning, Bay,” Noel replied, now prolly half awake. “Of course, I do, munchkin,” Bay? teased. It was a lovers' thing. “There's no morning I don't wake up thinking about the smiles you would give me every single day,” he continued, “and the fact that I am not single warms me up on these cold mornings.”
“Then always switch off your air conditioner whenever you feel cold, Bay,” Noel teased back, “I'm pretty sure the goosebumps you have on your pores right now are deeper than what you are giving me.” That was a nice shot taken. As much as Bay did, Noel knew his boyfriend all too well. It was Bay's weird habit to sleep with an air conditioner on, wherever he slept, even though it was getting to winter. And no, the same was usually not the case when the real skin-threatening cold of winter knocked on his windows, because his room's heating system would win, every damn January.
“Aww, baby,” Bay made that cliche sound with his mouth. “You better get off that disheveled bed, or I'll come drag you to the bathroom.” Sluggishly, Noel placed his hand on his phone and flipped himself over, now staring at the AI-made lavender haze of constellations on the white decking above him; a source of light in his intentionally lowly lit room, accompanying his once again lavender lava bedlamps placed on both nightstands of his. “I would like that,” he mused, “I really wish you were here with me, Bay.”
“It's been a week already,” Bay affirmed, “and I miss you so bad, I might just fly back and do crazy things with you.” He should have stopped at ‘bad,’ or else Noel's cheeks would not have turned so red. “Okay, alright, you win,” Noel finally sat up, struggling to do so, by the way. “Why do you have to get me horny this early morning?” Indeed, he was. For the fourth time, the alarm box turned on, and Noel was finally able to shut it off for the last time.
“You plowed into my ploy, boy,” Bay chuckled. “It's 6:15 in Seattle, so you might wanna use the bathroom and have fun thinking about me.” He was intendedly not helping matters. “Bay!” “Yes, babe?” Yeah, things were already oozing and getting hot around here. “I might spank your ass from here,” Noel threatened…? “Baby, you wanna do it so bad? or you wanna get spanked that hard?” Okay, these jokes had to be over. “Feed on your own ass, Bay,” Noel rolled his eyes, but deep down within him, he was enjoying this shit. “I'mma just hang up right now.” Eh, one more tease, please.
“Hey, babe, wait,” Bay was not done. “I have something else I wanted to request. Or rather, my parents asked for it.” Hmm, what? “Yeah?” Noel gave him the go-ahead. “Can you come home for Thanksgiving?” Bay sought. “I can come pick you up if you want.” The power of love, Noel smiled. “You are such a spendthrift, Bay,” he verbalized. “That's a lot of money, and a waste, especially when you've been here a week ago.” “I know,” Bay concurred, “but it would be nice flying together with me to see my parents.”
Salem was so far away from Seattle. And no, this is not the capital city of Oregon, which serves as the seat of Marion County. This is, in fact, one of the two county seats of Essex, in Massachusetts, historically known for being the site of infamous witch-hunts, trials, and executions in 1692. But that is a long-history topic. When the couple went there for Halloween last fall, it was really scary for Noel, with cryptic witch-themed lit plastic skulls, wittily kept a recurring six feet away from each other on the sides of the street leading to the Fiddler home. Legend had it the woods near that estate were haunted by the voices of wailing ghosts in the caverns in the middle of summer nights when many families left on vacation. It remains a mystery… why Bay's great great grandfather bought their home there.
“Don't bother,” Noel replied. “You can just come pick me up at the airport.” “Aighty, baby,” Bay smooched kisses on his mouthpiece and Noel gripped his phone tight on his ear. “I gotta go, Bay,” he smiled. “Can't wait to see my boyfriend once again,” Bay pronounced, making Noel blush even harder. “I miss his soft smiles, plump lips —” “— it's enough,” Noel chuckled. “Chat you up later, Bay,” he said, “I have urgent stuff to take care of right now.”
“Don't forget to use a lube, baby,” Bay teased, “'cause I'm pretty sure it's damn cold there.” “Fuck you, Bayern Fiddler,” Noel cussed heartily, cutting the call while they both laughed from each other's ends of the conversation. Heaving a sigh of relief, with the last ounce of drowsiness leaving his body, Noel stood up from his ‘disheveled’ bed, heading straight into his ensuite. “Siri, turn on the lights,” he commanded. “Turning on the lights,” the HomeKit-enabled AI did exactly as she was told. And no, he forgot to use a lube.
By 7:00, after treating himself to a good breakfast, Noel was already on a two-minute drive from 109 Dexter Avenue to his workplace in the Seattle Apple hub at 333 Dexter Avenue North, via 7th Avenue, with his Camaro. You could say he was living his best life. Or was he oh so lazy to walk just five minutes to his office? Probably. Anyway, Noel was a genius, got employed as a junior software developer in Apple Dexter, joined his team in designing unique user interfaces at the Software & Services department, and was the youngest staff in the department, upon employment two years back. Being paid $10,000 per month, it is no surprise Noel had a riverside blue convertible he bought at a starting price of $28,200. Talking about ‘spendthrift,’ he was actually one, in various youthful senses of the word.
As usual, Noel handed his keys to the valet with a smile on his face, walking across the main lobby, gently responding to the greetings of everyone he passed by, with slight bows for those older than him. At least, he was drenched in humility. At 6ft1, two inches taller than his boyfriend who was 5ft11, Noel happened to be the tallest when he stepped into a lift.
When he got to the twelfth floor, where his department is located (where he was known as the Gaylord, definitely because that was the name of his hometown), he walked straight to the office he shared with four colleagues. “Hey guys,” he walked up to his desk, which was littered with files from unfinished work he had left over from the previous day.
“Good morning, Mr. Miles,” Ann Dozier greeted as Noel sat on his desk. “Yeah, good morning, Ann,” he replied with his usual bright-faced smile. “Is your sucker boyfriend back?” Alex asked, standing up with three files in his hand. “Stop calling him that already,” Noel gave him a soft glare. “Those professional soccer and football players are suckers, in my humble opinion,” Alex shrugged. “Plus, I can't forget the day he made a tantrum in the grand lobby, over an iPhone.” That memory made Noel smile, though it was not funny when it happened. What exactly?
Bay Fiddler had always had a grudge against iPhones, and upon reluctantly buying one to “check if the technology had made some usable changes,” he was disappointed and marched his way to the Dexter branch. That afternoon, Noel and some of his colleagues were out for lunch when they spotted his future BF arguing with the grand receptionists in an attempt to “see the software department manager.” Noel's first impression of Bay was definitely not a good one, but after meeting him elsewhere in a bar and watching him expertly goalkeeping in the Seattle Sounders soccer games, his point of view changed. And although Bay remained a staunch Samsung Fold user, it did not matter in their relationship, did it? However, one thing that did not change was Alex Wilson's grudge against Bay, after Noel had separated them from verbally spitting at each other's faces that fateful day.
“Let bygones be bygones, Alex,” Hart furrowed at him. “Yeah, whatever.” Ann was not a part of this conversation, as she was busily punching on her iMac; something Alex would have done to Bay's face a long time ago. “I am visiting his parents for Thanksgiving,” Noel broke the silence, switching on his MacBook Pro. “What about your parents?” Alex asked, placing the files in a cabinet beside Hart's desk. “When are you visiting their tree farm?”
“During Christmas this year, I think,” Noel replied. “Maybe, I'll just spend Christmas at your house,” he teased. “I'm visiting home for Christmas,” Alex threw the josh back at him, “and you know I can never permit your BF to stay anywhere near me.” “Chill, Alex,” Hart said, chuckling with Noel. “Anyway, here is the proposed plan for voice memo spot adjustment in the iMessage app for Seattle users,” he passed it on to Alex. “Miles, do you have the M2 standard chip I asked for last night?” Ann requested. “Oh, yes, I do,” he replied. “By the way, I sent you a prototype of the iMessage plan, Hart. Have you seen it yet?” “Yes, I am working on it.”
By Thursday, Noel arrived at the Logan International Airport in Boston, from which Bay picked him up in his gray BMW 4 Series, on an hour-long drive down to the Fiddlers’ Salem home. After a warm welcome from Bay's parents and lovely sister Mira, he was ushered into the luxurious dining patio in the backyard of the house. Every kind of great turkey dinner, including cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pecan pie, cornbread, and the most recognizable of all, grilled turkey, was spread out on the table.
Bay went to meet his father at the barbeque grill, while Noel stayed with his boyfriend's mom and sis, discussing trivial stuff. And, of course, he did not come empty-handed. Mira appreciated his pre-manufactured latest version AirPod, and the Fiddler couple blessed him for his box of chocolate truffles (so they could have a weeklong break from their yearlong sugar-free diet). “Where's mine?” Bay asked. “On my lips,” Noel teased.
“Come on,” Mira chuckled. “Give him a kiss.” Their parents smiled as Bay pecked him on his left cheek. Noel was not getting enough of the public display of affection; he gave Bay his lips, and let him push his tongue past the gates of his pearly teeth. Mira used this as a perfect opportunity to take a pic of them both to upload on her TikTok and Instagram pages, where she had 212k and 52k followers respectively.
After a minute of smooching, they broke the racy kiss, and Mrs. Fiddler led them in thanksgiving prayers. “Alright,” Mr. Fiddler coughed. “What are we most thankful for?” Mira mentioned her coronation as homecoming queen, Mrs. Fiddler mentioned the Lumen Field (home of Bay's Seattle Sounders FC) being chosen as a venue for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, as Bay had been nominated to be a goalkeeper in any of the US team matches. “But I pray the stadium does not crash,” she added, considering the then-CenturyLink Field via Seahawks football fan cheerings won a Guinness World Record for ‘loudest crowd roar at an outdoor stadium,’ with an estimate of 136 and 137 decibels in 2013 and 2014 respectively. Everyone on the table snickered at the thought of it. “Mom, it's really weird when you talk excitedly about sports,” Bay chortled. Yes, it was, for a middle-aged woman.
Mr. Fiddler mentioned his expanding golf club business. “I remember when Bayern used to bring his friends to play soccer on my golf grounds, and I would chase them all away if they were caught,” he reminisced. “I tried to make my son a golfer, but he was not buying it, and I do not regret his choice. Honey, see how much of a professional goalkeeper he is now,” he smiled, looking at his wife, who smiled back. “Oh, dad,” Bay placed his hand on Noel's, “your grandchild may grow up to love your golf lawns too.”
“Shh,” Mira sheeshed her brother. “Noel, what are you most thankful for?” He immediately became the center of their attention. “Uhmm,” he began, “I'm really happy to be in a relationship with your brother, Mira. He means the world to me, and I wouldn't settle for anything less.” Bay's face was aglow. “Babe, you wanna hear what I'm most grateful for?” he asked. “Waking up with you in my arms, your lavender-scenting hair, sleeping like a baby. Forever grateful for your support, bashing my ex, and giving me your good luck hugs. I will always love you.”
The “aww” expression was well written on Mira's face. Fishy, Noel sensed Bay was about to get on his knees to make an engagement proposal, and he just was not ready yet. “I love you too. But we can talk about this later?” he replied, “all the dishes would get cold.” There was chill silence when he said that. “Okay,” Mrs. Fiddler smiled. “Let us dig into our dinner and watch football sooner than later.”
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