Calum had never spent a lot of time in places where it snowed. It had not been his idea to travel to a state where it did, but Ashton had begged him (and his family) to join the Irwin-Dawkins in a place where they could have a ‘white Christmas’. Calum had been hesitant at first because he was not a fan of the cold. He didn’t even like when it got cold in Australia, so to travel to a place where it actually snowed did not seem like his idea of fun. Still, it was hard for him to say no to Ashton. He spoke to his family about Ashton’s idea of spending Christmas in New York City and they had happily agreed. Even Mali was okay with leaving one cold place for another.
Though they had all been to New York before, it was never during the Christmas season. Not really. Not with any sort of time to actually do anything exciting, such as see Rockfeller Center with its larger than life Christmas tree or go ice skating under the golden statue of Prometheus. All of those things they had already done already since arriving in New York a few days ago.
Their families had gone back to the hotel where they would celebrate Christmas in the morning, claiming it was too cold to be out and about. Ashton had teased them, telling them that they needed to toughen up, but Calum knew he was glad for the respite. It meant they could spend time together alone. No sooner were their families out of sight that Calum felt a hand grab his own, their gloved fingers lacing together. He smiled up at Ashton faintly.
“Come on...Central Park has a ton of snow that we can go make snow angels in,” he said excitedly.
Calum groaned, allowing himself to be led through the streets from the cafe where they had just had lunch with their families toward the park. “You’re trying to kill me. We Kiwis don’t do well in the cold.”
Ashton laughed. “You will survive. I promise. I will have you back at the hotel before you can develop frostbite.”
He scowled at his boyfriend’s back, a string of complaints on his lips as they continued their journey to Central Park though there was no real annoyance behind his words. Calum would do just about anything to make Ashton happy, save like...murdering someone or something equally as drastic. Granted, he would absolutely help Ashton bury a body if he had to. Calum just hoped it never came to that.
Central Park was like no other place in New York City. It was miles of well worn walking paths, old bridges and nature. In the park, the snow wasn’t turned into black sludge by all the vehicles and foot traffic in the boroughs. Here it was pure white. When the sun hit at just the right angle, it looked like thousands of little diamonds were embedded in it, glittering brightly. Despite the cold, Calum found he was smiling.
Ashton gave his hand a squeeze, bouncing on the balls of his feet excitedly. “Look, there’s a perfect spot right over there.”
Calum looked in the direction his boyfriend was pointing. There was a small incline where both children and adults were sledding, and it led into what would have been a grassy area in the summer. A few people were rolling balls of snow through the area to build snowmen. Another group of kids were having a snowball fight. He followed Ashton off the path, their boots sinking into the frozen snow to leave footprints behind them.
No sooner had they reached a spot did Ashton flop down into the snow, spreading his arms and legs out, back and forth, to make a snow angel. Calum shook his head, laughing at his boyfriend’s antics.
“Are you happy now?” he asked, grinning down at the drummer.
“Almost. There’s one problem with making a snow angel,” Ashton replied.
“There’s going to be a handprint right in the middle when I get up.”
Calum let out a laugh, but then his face scrunched up as he considered Ashton’s predicament. Ashton wasn’t wrong; there would be a handprint right in the middle of the angel.
“Okay, I think I can help with that. Take my hands.” He stretched both hands out for Ashton to take, which the drummer did. Ashton then planted his feet on either side of the angel and allowed Calum to hoist him up from the ground. “See? No handprint.”
“You’re a genius.” Ashton’s smile could have lit up the entire city. It sent a warm feeling through Calum from his chest down to his toes. “Your turn.”
He figured he wasn’t going to get away without making an angel as well, so he dropped into the snow and repeated the same process Ashton had demonstrated. When he was done, he reached his hands up so Ashton could pull him up to avoid a handprint. Except when Ashton took his hands, Calum pulled him down on top of him instead of getting up.
Ashton yelped as he landed on top of Calum, a laugh following as he looked down at Calum with a raised brow. “What was that for?”
“Just wanted you close,” he shrugged. “Feels like I haven’t been able to kiss you for ages.”
“You know our families wouldn’t care if we kissed in front of them,” Ashton pointed out. “They know we’re together.”
“True. I don’t know. Just seems weird. Not because you’re a guy or anything. It’d be weird if it was anyone.”
“I know, babe. I understand.”
Ashton’s smile was completely genuine and Calum instantly felt better about it. He knew Ashton would understand, and it wasn’t like his boyfriend was the biggest on physical affection outside of their home anyway. They weren’t a gross couple. Not like Michael and Luke who could barely keep their hands to themselves at any given time.
Calum reached with gloved hands to cup Ashton’s face as he tilted his head up to kiss him. His eyes slipped closed as their cold lips met which sent a spark of longing through him. They had spent so little time alone the past few days they’d been in New York that Calum realized he’d missed Ashton. He’d missed the affection and the kisses and lounging in bed with him until late in the morning. It was probably a little pathetic. Calum didn’t care.
The kiss was deepened when Ashton growled playfully and parted Calum’s lips with his tongue. It stirred a familiar feeling of desire in the pit of his stomach that he wished he could explore in that moment. Except they were in the middle of Central Park, lying on the frozen ground. He broke the kiss with a small smile.
“I love you,” he murmured softly.
“Love you too.”
For a long moment, Calum looked into Ashton’s eyes. A sense of security, of being loved, could be found in them. It made him want to squirm with how intensely Ashton could look at him, like he was the only person in Ashton’s orbit. Calum didn’t think he was half as intense as his lover, but maybe it didn't matter. Ashton wasn’t complaining.
“Hey, I want to take a picture of us.”
Ashton’s words broke Calum out of his thoughts. “Okay. Here?”
“Here,” Ashton confirmed.
Ashton rolled off of him and into the snow beside Calum, on the opposite side of his snow angel. He dug his phone out of one of the inner pockets of his thick winter coat and brought up the camera feature. Holding it above them, Ashton tilted his head toward Calum’s and snapped the selfie.
“Perfect,” he smiled. “I should share it to my Instagram.”
“No, don’t.” Calum said quickly. “Keep it just for us. We don’t have to share everything with the world.”
Ashton seemed to consider this, then nodded. “You’re right. It’s just for us. But if we’re keeping this just for us then I want another one.”
Calum laughed as Ashton got the camera on his phone ready again, only this time Ashton drew him into a kiss. The shutter sound alerted them that the moment had been captured and they broke apart.
“Even more perfect,” Ashton showed him the picture, and Calum murmured his agreement. It was a perfect picture of them.
He asked Ashton to send him the picture, and when he did, Calum set it as the lock screen on his phone. Even if they couldn’t have a public relationship, little moments like this made it worthwhile.
Calum put his phone away and sat up in the snow. “Can we please go back to the hotel now? Please?” He stuck his bottom lip out in a pout.
“Fine, fine. You’re no fun,” Ashton scolded. Calum could tell Ashton was ready to get out of the cold as well by the way he was shivering.
“Yes!” Calum stood up and offered his hands to Ashton for a second time so he could pull his lover out of the cold snow. “Hot chocolate is a must now.”
“With peppermint,” added Ashton, a grin on his lips.
“Of course. I could never forget.” Calum placed a chilly kiss against Ashton’s cheek before he took his hand and led him from the park.