About Someone Special
Author: TC Blue
Word Count: 60048
Page Count (pdf): 209
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Date Published: 2nd edition 12/17/2017
Publisher: Bold Blue Books
File Types available: PDF, EPUB, Mobi
Gracen loves Christmas. It’s his favorite time of the year. So much so that he works as a mall photographer for the season, taking pictures of children with Santa. There’s something about seeing all those happy families that he finds satisfying, which may be slightly odd since he’s so very alone, himself.
Working three jobs is never fun, but when Jesse takes a part time position as a greeter elf at Santa’s Workshop in the mall, he meets Gracen and realizes that maybe job number three isn’t that bad, after all. The handsome photographer appeals to him, even with all Jesse’s family issues.
Two lonely men, one Santa’s Workshop, elf costumes, curl-toed shoes and a camera. They aren’t exactly a recipe for finding that someone special… except maybe they are.
“Not another Christmas collection! Please, Gracie, tell me that’s not what you’re planning!” His agent sounded both desperate and annoyed, which was fair. What wasn’t fair was Alonzo using the nickname Gracen hated. He didn’t mind his full first name. It had been his mother’s maiden name, and as such Gracen appreciated the sense of history and family that came along with it. He wasn’t completely thrilled that it only leant itself to being shortened to Grace or Gracie, or very rarely, the respectable enough but utterly drab Gray.
It was tempting to let Alonzo believe the new collection would be the third holly-jolly assortment in three years. The man deserved it, just for calling him Gracie. If Alonzo hadn’t been one of his closest friends — regardless of how flagrantly he abused Gracen’s good nature with the hated nickname — as well as his agent, Gracen would have, too. As it was, though, he didn’t quite have it in him.
“It’s an Autumnal Celebration,” Gracen said after letting Alonzo stew for a few more seconds. “Well, as autumnal as it can get down here. I’m still culling the wheat from the chaff, so to speak, but I should have the best of the shots to you tonight. Don’t forget to check your email. Last time you forgot for a week, then called me to bitch about when you’d see the proofs.”
Alonzo groaned. “That only happened once, and you do remember what Shelby looked like, right? I was distracted. Once!”
Gracen laughed at the reference to the woman Alonzo had been so head-over-heels for almost a year earlier, well aware of the mocking tone to his own voice. “Once was enough.” He glanced at his watch, then hurried through the rest of the phone call. “If you don’t have the pictures by midnight, call me, okay? Right now, I really need to go. Talk to you later, Alonzo!”
He didn’t know whether his agent had anything else to say because Gracen hung up. Actually, he was sure Alonzo had still been talking because trying to get off the phone with the man was harder than pulling teeth with tweezers. Gracen had somewhere to be, though, and as it was only the second day of his annual fun-job, he wasn’t willing to be late, because Gracen Michaels loved Christmas.
He always had and always would, regardless of his lack of family and seemingly permanent single state. There was something about the pageantry of it all that appealed to the child within, and most days he was happy to admit that even at thirty-one, his inner child was not only still alive, but doing very well. Sure, he occasionally felt the need to spank that inner moppet — usually when the borderline delinquent wanted to blow off work for a day in the park or at the beach or even at Disney — but for the most part, he and his childish side were in agreement. Even with no remaining family, Christmas alone was far better than no Christmas at all.
Not that Gracen was entirely alone. He had friends he loved, like Alonzo: friends who cared equally for him as he did they. He just didn’t generally feel right about intruding on their holidays, outside of the usual Christmas parties and such. It would have been nice to have a lover for the holidays, though. That hadn’t worked out for him so far, but it didn’t by any means ruin Christmas. Christmas was always good.
He felt similarly charitable about a few other holidays — Thanksgiving, for instance, was a perfectly good excuse to slap on a Pilgrim hat, or sometimes an entirely un-PC feathered head-dress and make people smile while he walked down the street snapping pictures of whatever happened to strike his fancy, but that had been days ago. Christmas was the best of the lot. Christmas was when he got to put aside his public persona as a photographic artist and be, instead, Michael Graven, proprietor of Graven Images. Close enough to his real name and sort of a play on words — it was a flimsy attempt at disguise, but it had worked well enough for the last four years. Likely because who would ever truly consider that the man in the elf costume, taking pictures of all the children sitting on Santa’s lap at what was possibly the last privately owned shopping mall in the entire state of Florida could be more than what he appeared?
The parking lot was jam packed when he got to the mall, but it was that time of year and Gracen took the delay in finding a parking spot with a smile. Shopping made the world go ’round, and brought people to Santa’s Workshop, most of them in good spirits, though that would change as panic started to set in closer to Christmas Eve.
His elf costume caught a few glances as he moved quickly through the parking lot, curl-toed shoes tapping merrily, bells jingling at their tips, but he didn’t mind. Maybe the looks were just because his camera bag didn’t quite match his festive red-and-green, but that didn’t matter when he got inside and took up his spot behind the photo station, camera at the ready.
He got to work, snapping shots quickly and efficiently, but doing his best to make sure each picture was as good as possible.
Sometimes, Gracen wished it could be the Christmas season all the time.