Allen shuts off the water the moment he hears his phone ring on the third chime.
He tries to rush for it. Already knowing who is on the other side of the line even without having to check the caller ID.
It's one of two possibilities this early in the morning.
His boyfriend or his mother and he sincerely doubts she'd be up this early or calling him unless it was an emergency.
He wrapped a towel around himself, stifling a yawn.
"Wow darling you looking absolutely breathtaking even in the moonlight. How did you do it?" He smiles at his lover. Water dripping down his face as he walks out of the restroom.
"Oh mhm Kenny, my phone is about to call it a day. I will call you right back dear." Allen blows him a kiss.
Hanging up on him. Wishing he could hold him in his arms. But he was serious, had had to go. His phone is on 6% and about to die.
He can call him again and this actually works out for him. He can put it to charge and change quickly.
Walking over to his bed his dries himself off and grabs a set of pajamas and his underwear.
Having already brushed his teeth he walks over to his vanity. Getting ready to untangle his hair. Deciding that this is as good of a time as any to multitask he calls Kendall from his tablet.
They are on FaceTime and all is well for about ten minutes when it's Ken's turn to hang up saying that he's getting a call from his parents and that he'll get right back to him.
When he calls about half an hour later Allen has found himself in the kitchen pouring himself a cup of eggnog and halfway into making himself a sandwich.
The next time his phone rings he has made the mistake of taking it for granted, assuming that his dear love would video call him. He didn't.
"Sorry, it was my parents. They wanna go over later and surprise you with a nice dinner. If anyone asks you are none the wiser."
Ken winks at him and then laughs to himself because wow he really just did that and they can't even see each other. He feels like a dummy but what can you do, he thinks.
"Well as much as I wholeheartedly appreciate them and your heads up, you are cutting it a little close there tiger. Now, please get a move on. Or you will break our little tradition."
Kendall stares at his phone and mumbled the words. "Fine, give me a minute." Before hanging up.
When he calls again it's on a different platform. It works though so who cares about the logistics.
"Alrighty you ready dear? I'm excited. Scared but you know." Allen beams down at the camera.
"This is the third time we've disconnected. Are you sure I can't just Skype you instead."
Allen looked at camera with an intensity now that could have burned had he done so a minute longer.
All humor gone from his face as he yawns tiredly. His shoulders sagging a bit. He is a nervous wreck. Kenny usually does this not him.
There is a pressure here, to get this done right. The task is menial to most insignificant but not to him or them.
At least not today of all days. It's how they met.
Replace a beach in Malibu with a penthouse in Miami and a bonfire with a fireplace and it is basically the same thing. With a couple of minor adjustments of course.
And getting back to the point his lover can't because his hotel room doesn't have a chimney which really is a real shame. Truly unfortunate.
Kendall stifled a sigh. He thinks it is both too early in the morning and late into the night to be awake much less arguing over who's stupid internet signal is shittier.
"You know the drill, love. We light the chimney at 11:59 on the dot on Christmas and while I'm stuck in Shanghai this moment falls only on you. It's too late to change over from Zoom."
Allen adjusts his hold on the lighter. The logs of wood are already in place and there is lighter fluid all over them to roast marshmallows.
The time-zone difference had made things a little difficult but here they are now. Both in their pajamas and a little cold, hungry.
They have had this tradition going since 2008 when they had started dating and haven't been off even by a second yet.
Lightning a fire, exchanging gifts and a good morning kiss before going ham, gushing over how absolutely lovely the presents are.
Even though sometimes they haven't been able to afford the fanciest of gifts. Hell one time, Kendall straight up just got socks and two pairs of shoes.
He on the other hand had gotten tickets to a concert he'd been waiting half a year to go see.
Money had been super tight that year.
To be fair the whole world had been apparently struggling too because of a global pandemic.
So he had felt like this year was his time to shine. To go all out. He bought him an overcoat and suit. A bunch of other little things. And tickets to the Big Apple for New years.
"One, two, three." Allen moves watching the clock and bending down.
Hearing the excitement in Al's voice. Closer to the fireplace to light the fire.
Allen holds up a cup of eggnog. A sunny smile breaking out on his face only to die a slow agonizing death as he stares back at his tablet.
The image of Kendall's face is frozen. Apparently his phone's signal crashed at just the right moment it shouldn't have.
Awesome. Just their luck.
The silence is deafening and for the briefest of seconds Allen doesn't know whether to laugh or cry.
"I'm kidding, oh boy you should have seen your face. It was certainly a close call but I saw it. I swear, Al."
He can hear his boyfriend's teasing tone and he wants to throw his show at him but his annoyance evaporated as soon as it came.
Still staring at the frozen image he clinks his cup against the screen and toasts.
"You're making it up to me when you come home next week." He stared at the Christmas tree and the pile of presents.
They can either get around to opening them in a few hours once they both get some sleep or in a week when they're together again.