"Matteo!" Hanna says, plopping down on the couch next to him with a sigh. "Never before in my life have I seen someone look as miserable as you are, while wearing a Christmas hat."
"Well, I didn't put on the Christmas hat," he reminds her.
"We thought it might cheer you up," she says, giving him a little pout. Matteo takes a closer look at his friend and guesses she's about three cups into the mulled wine. She's got a big bauble necklace on and a very sparkly dress, she looks like Christmas personified.
She's right though, their Christmas party is in full swing and Matteo isn't really helping the festive atmosphere. If anything he's probably bringing the mood down.
"Have you heard from David?" She asks.
"Of course I've heard from David, he's with his Godmother, not in a rainforest somewhere with no reception."
"Snappy!" Carlos laughs, and Matteo immediately feels guilty.
"Sorry," he mumbles to Hanna, but she just laughs it off and squeezes his arm.
"Don't mind him, he's just frustrated if you know what I mean," Abdi pipes up from where he's sitting on the floor. He waggles his eyebrows suggestively but still adds: "You know, sexually," as if anyone didn't get that.
"How long has it been now?" Carlos asks. "Two days? That's a record for you guys, right?"
"Leave him alone," Jonas saves the day, returning to the couch with more beers.
"I just," Matteo mumbles. "Miss him."
The people around him all go m'awww, making Matteo feel really fucking embarrassed, so he rolls his eyes and tells them: "Whatever, I'm going to the bathroom."
"Matteo," Jonas calls after him but Matteo gives him his best it's fine, really, smile and squeezes past a dancing Sam and Kiki to get to the hallways of Hanna's house. He wanders further than the bathroom and takes a seat on the stairs instead. He gets out his phone and pulls up his whatsapp conversation with David again.
He'd smiled for the camera earlier, all dressed up in his Christmas sweater and Christmas hat the girls shoved on his head, just so he could send the picture to David. David had replied with a row of hearts and then rewarded Matteo with a picture of himself. David's decked out decidedly less festive today, as it is only the 22nd of December and he's having a quiet night in with his family. He's wearing that soft peach-colored sweater Matteo likes. It's incredibly soft and always smells so nice.
He gets another message from David while staring at his picture.
How's it going? :)
Fine, Matteo replies. It's alright. Then: We haven't done presents yet.
Wish I could've been there. David sends.
Really wish you could've been here as well.
"I can't believe this," David says, clearly upset and that just won't do.
"Hey, it's fine, really."
"No, it's not fine," David groans. "It's Christmas Eve. It should've arrived today at the latest. At the latest. And it's still not there, which means it's not gonna get there."
"We should've known better than to trust in the post," Matteo tries to joke, but David just lets out the unhappiest little sigh in reply.
"It's just a present," Matteo says. "I'm sure it'll show up eventually."
"But it was your Christmas present. From me," David says.
"It wasn't some precious family heirloom or anything, right?" Matteo asks.
"No," David replies, sullen.
"They weren't nudes, right?" Matteo asks, finally succeeding in making David laugh.
"Then it's totally fine," Matteo continues. "I'm sure it'll show up after the craziness of the holidays has died down and the post can get their shit back together."
"It just sucks that we can't be together for our first Christmas, and now you won't even have a present from me to open, while you gave me like five presents to take with me."
"They're not much," Matteo feels the need to point out again. "The fact that there are five of them might be the most impressive thing about them."
"I don't believe you," David says, but luckily he sounds a bit less sulky now.
"Well, you're gonna find out tomorrow, aren't you?" Matteo asks.
"And you won't have anything."
"There are plenty of presents under the tree with my name on it," Matteo says. "And then when you get back you'll just have to find a creative way to make it up to me."
"A creative way, hm?" David asks.
"Or," Matteo mumbles into his phone. "You could always send me those nude over the phone."
"Bye, Matteo, have fun with your mom," David cuts that conversation short.
"Have fun with your family," Matteo says.
"Send me a pic of you in your outfit please?" David asks.
"I will," Matteo promises.
"I love you," David says.
And if for a moment Matteo had been comforted by hearing David's voice, he immediately starts feeling gloomy again. Nothing makes him miss David more than hearing him say I love you, but not being able to kiss him after.
"I love you too," Matteo replies.
Christmas Eve with his mom consists of amazing food, watching Christmas movies, sleeping in his childhood bedroom and waking up to the mouth-watering smell of her pancakes in the morning. It's great. She's gone all out this year: Christmas eve dinner, decorating the house. It's been very festive, and honestly, any amount of time he can spend with his mom is great.
He just wishes it hadn't been just him there.
"Next year you're bringing David, right?" She asks when they hug goodbye at the doorstep.
"Yeah, definitely. It's all been planned already and everything."
Next year they're spending Christmas in Berlin with Matteo's mom, and New Year's Eve with David's family. The only reason things didn't work out this year, is that David's Godmother is going on a cruise in a couple of days, and Matteo didn't want to miss out on Christmas with his mom after everything they've gone through this year. He also didn't want David to miss out on spending time with his family, since he hadn't seen much of them since his first semester in college started.
There was no other way than to celebrate separately this year, but that doesn't mean Matteo's not going to mope around about it.
"There you are!" Hans greets him excitedly when he gets back to the flat. "We've been waiting for you to do presents. Go put on your PJs!"
"It's noon," Matteo says.
"What is Christmas for if not laying around in cozy attire?" Hans asks, and he does have a point. So Matteo goes back to his room to change out of his jeans and into some sweats. When he gets back to the living room Linn and Hans are waiting excitedly (impatiently) for him, sitting by the Christmas tree and staring up at Matteo with big eyes. "Are you ready?"
"Yes, I'm ready," Matteo chuckles.
Hans starts passing around all the presents from underneath the tree. Matteo got Hans a cookbook he's been talking about, and Linn a new badminton racquet because she's been really into it lately. Matteo himself has gotten a handmade mug from Linn from back in her pottery days, before that hobby was quickly abandoned and maybe for the best. Hans has gotten him new slippers and a really nice photo album.
"To keep all those nice drawings your boyfriend keeps making you," he says.
Matteo gives Hans a hug. "Thank you."
"And there's one more for you!" Hans says excitedly.
"Huh?" Matteo asks.
"This came in the mail yesterday," His roommate tells him, reaching under the tree and retrieving another gift. It's from David.
"This came in the mail and you didn't tell me?" Matteo asks.
"It said 'Don't open until Christmas Day' on it, so I thought I'd keep it safe for you."
"Hans, honestly," Matteo laughs, taking the present and video calling David immediately.
David is walking outside with Laura when he picks up. "Merry Christmas, babe," he says before angling his phone to Laura, who wishes him a Merry Christmas as well.
"Merry Christmas, Laura," Matteo says, before the screen goes back to David's grinning face. "Look what came!" He says.
"What? When?!" David asks.
"Yesterday, apparently, Hans hid it."
"I was keeping it safe!" Hans protests loudly so David can hear.
"I'm so happy it got there," David says. "Want to open presents together then? We'll be back in the house in like 5 minutes."
"Yeah, okay, call me back when you're ready," Matteo says.
"I can't believe you," Matteo tells Hans again.
"But wasn't this a nice surprise this way?" Hans asks.
Matteo grabs his present and phone and makes his way back to his bedroom.
"Don't forget we're watching Bridget Jones's Diary after this," Hans reminds him.
"This won't take long," Matteo promises.
"Okay, us single people will just make some hot cocoa while we wait for you then," Hans sighs exaggeratedly.
David is already video calling him back so Matteo hurries back to his bedroom.
Matteo answers and he can see David is back in his Godmother's guestroom as well.
"Hey," Matteo says, feeling just a little embarrassed when he can see his own besotted smile staring back at him in the corner of the video call.
"Hi," David answers, he looks just as happy to see Matteo though, so maybe it's okay.
"Wait, let me prop you up somewhere," Matteo says.
"Good idea," David replies, and they joke around a little while trying to find a good place to prop up their phones so both they and the presents are on the screen.
"Okay, should we just both go at the same time?" Matteo asks.
"Yeah, come on then," David agrees.
"I've got way more to unpack though," David laughs. He's got his five presents spread out in front of him while Matteo's holding his one.
"Lower your expectations," Matteo reminds him, again.
Matteo starts opening the big envelope to reveal a wrapped present inside. By the time he's gotten that far he can see that David's already unwrapped one of his presents. It's a box of his favorite cookies. David is thanking him, already opening the box and taking out a cookie.
Matteo is still working on the wrapping around his present when David is already showing that he's found the new mechanical pencil Matteo got him. "Thanks, babe," David says again.
"I did break the other one," Matteo says.
"You did break the other one," David agrees. "Still very sweet of you."
Matteo focusses back on the task at hand and when he finally manages to free his present, the first thing he sees is a large envelope on top of a thick, beautiful scarf. David is always teasing Matteo about his raggedy scarf that never quite seems to be able to keep him warm enough. Matteo touches the soft fabric and smiles.
"Do you like it?" David asks.
"Yeah, it's great, thank you," Matteo says.
Matteo looks back up to his phone and sees that David is just looking at him now, grinning.
Matteo moves on to the envelope next, he quickly opens it to find that David drew him a card. It's a beautiful drawing of the two of them kissing under mistletoe. Matteo vaguely recognizes the reference David must've used as a picture Jonas took of them a couple of weeks ago, kissing in a bar. In the card they're wearing ugly Christmas sweaters though, and there are twinkling lights everywhere. The mistletoe hanging above them is beautiful. Matteo traces the lines of the drawing, smiling softly to himself, before opening the card.
Matteo, I feel like after meeting you this year, I've already gotten every single Christmas present I could've ever asked for for the rest of my life. I love you, and I can't wait to kiss you on the 26th. Forever yours, David.
"David," Matteo just says. "This is really cheesy." He can't stop grinning though. "I love it. I love you."
David is grinning right back at him, happy and surrounded by the rest of the presents Matteo gave him.
"See, now my presents are just stupid," Matteo mumbles.
"Are you kidding me? These are perfect, the pencil cause you know I needed it, the cookies cause you know I love them. Matteo, it's perfect."
Not long after Hans and Laura both start knocking on their doors to tell them there are Christmas festivities waiting for them. Be that a Bridget Jones's Diary viewing for Matteo, or a real Christmas lunch for David. They reluctantly say goodbye and Matteo joins his flatmates in the livingroom.
"You seem happy," Hans remarks. "Good present then?"
"Good present," Matteo agrees.
Matteo is waiting for David's train to arrive.
He's been waiting in the cold for thirty minutes now, as he was getting way too impatient and antsy to keep waiting at home. Luckily he's got David's scarf to keep him warm. The train's delayed by another 15 minutes, but by the time the doors open Matteo can't even feel the cold anymore. He keeps trying to look over people's heads, trying to spot his boyfriend, and it feels like another 15 minutes pass by until finally, he can see David.
David drops his bag when he sees Matteo, and Matteo hurries over so he can crash into his boyfriend's open arms.