Ray couldn’t believe his luck. After his last disastrous date that had left him stranded in Mexico, he had really thought that his karma with women was the worst in all of Chicago. Not tonight, though.
His date was beautiful, decent, nice, and she had offered to cook for him. What more could a guy want?
Her dress was also very sexy when she opened the door and Ray was hoping that he just might get lucky tonight. Dinner was perfect – okay, to be fair Ray wasn’t real big on mushrooms, but the pasta was al dente and the mushrooms were actually really tasty.
“Would you like a glass of wine, Ray?” She asked and Ray saw the twinkle in her eye and he could already see the evening going in the right direction.
“Yeah, I’d like that.” Ray smiled at her and she filled his glass. And then she filled hers with water.
“Uhm, you’re not having wine yourself?” Maybe the bedroom wasn’t on the menu tonight, after all. Which woman tried to get a man drunk to take advantage of him? … and what kind of guy needed alcohol to let a woman?
“No, thank you. But do enjoy yours, please.”
“Uh, right, okay.” Weird.
The food was so good that Ray actually had a second helping and one more glass of wine. His date seemed to enjoy his appreciation of the wine, even though she continued to stick to water. So at least he didn’t feel like an ass about it.
After dinner they settled on the couch and she put some music on, so Ray asked her to dance. It was beautiful, she was lithe on her feet, the light was low— it was the perfect evening.
He spun her around and back in his arms and suddenly they were so very close. Ray leaned down to kiss her and brushed his lips against hers.
Just a chaste kiss, a gentleman-kiss because Ray wasn’t in this for the sex. He was looking for some romance and you never knew if your date might not turn into the next big one of your life… yeah… right. A guy could dream, though.
She smiled shyly and they settled back on the couch, making small talk, until she started to yawn and made noises about work and an early day tomorrow and how working on the weekend was such a chore – Ray got the picture. No romance tonight for him.
He sighed and made his own excuses of “oh hey, it’s really late and I still need to feed the turtle” and “I got this report that needs to be finished”, and they did the polite dance and then Ray found himself on the other side of her door.
His karma sucked.
Ray arrived back at his apartment feeling really low. Was this going to be his Friday night? After half an hour of sitting on his hands, being depressed, and bored to death, Ray decided he didn’t need a woman to have a good time. He grinned, grabbed his keys, and shrugged into his leather jacket.
On the way to the car he dialled the number of the consulate.
“Hey, Fraser. What are you doing buddy?”
“Hello, Ray.” And Fraser always sounded so damn happy when Ray called that Ray sometimes called just to make him sound like that. “I am going through my father’s journals to find—ah, it’s not important. How was your date?”
“Date, shmate. My luck sucks. Listen, you wanna come over? Watch a game or something?”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Ray.”
“Don’t worry, so, what do you say?”
“Yes, I’d like that. It’d be my pleasure.”
“My pleasure,” Ray breathed out a puff of laughter. “You’re a freak. I’m almost there.”
There was a second pause.
“Ray, are you calling while you’re driving?”
Ray shifted gears and changed the phone into his other hand.
“Me? Never. I’ll be there in ten.”
He smirked at Fraser’s sigh. He knew Fraser just loved to correct him.
Ray drove them to his apartment, already feeling a little better about his shoddy date.
“You want a beer or something?” Ray asked with his head stuck in the fridge.
“Maybe not a beer, but I’d take water.”
Ray smiled and fetched himself a beer and Fraser a glass of water.
Fraser was sitting on the couch, rubbing his eyebrow as if he was trying to erase it. Ray grinned. “What’s eating you?”
“I-ah, your date wasn’t very successful then?”
Ray shrugged and dropped onto the couch next to Fraser. “It wasn’t bad—dinner was nice. She did this thing with mushrooms and pasta, really good. Anyway, we danced and when I kissed her she said she had to work early tomorrow.”
“It’s sensible not to, ah, hasten into things if she knows that she will have to get up early—“
“Fraser, you don’t have to make me feel good. She made an excuse, okay? I get it. Jesus,” Ray rubbed at his face, “is it warm here, or is it just me?”
Fraser looked confused. “Not overly, no.” He looked at Ray. “You do look a little red. Are you feeling alright?”
“Yeah, yeah, I—“ Ray shook his head, “I just get the sweater off, if that’s alright with you.”
“Yes, of course,” Fraser said and cleared his throat.
Ray wrestled out of his sweater and straightened his t-shirt underneath.
“Much better. What do you say, let’s see what’s on TV?”
Fraser nodded and they settled on some documentary Dief was very keen on. Ray didn’t care; he felt a headache coming on, so his concentration was a little bit limited anyway.
It was probably just stress. Ray took another long pull from his beer. He should go slower with the alcohol, otherwise he would be drunk and Fraser would see him maudlin. This headache was really turning into a serious piece of work.
Great, a botched date and a headache to top it off. Just his luck.
Fraser kept flicking worried glances at him, so Ray tried to keep rubbing his temples to a minimum. But, Christ, he was still too hot for this room. Fraser would think he was insane if he turned on the A/C.
“Ray, is everything alright? You seem distracted.”
Ray sighed and turned to face Fraser. Woah, the whole world tilted on its axis for a second until Ray managed to stabilize it with a grip of the couch cushions.
“I’m—I’m not sure. I feel dizzy and I got a headache the size of Canada– and it’s not even your fault.”
Fraser quirked a little smile at that before his look turned concerned again.
Suddenly, Fraser’s warm fingers closed around his wrist.
“Ray, you’re sweating.”
Trust the Mountie to state the obvious.
“Yeah, no shit Sherlock. Tell me something I don’t know.”
“I’d say you’d been poisoned.” Fraser said with a little frown on his face. “Mushrooms, you said?”
“Hey—wait—what—poisoned?” There was a hysterical edge to Ray’s voice. How could Fraser say that he had been poisoned— just like that?
“Ray, can you describe what kind of mushrooms you ate?”
“Fraser, you say I’ve been poisoned and you want me to describe some fungus?”
“Yes, Ray, it is necessary to narrow down the possibilities. There is a vast number of poisons, so I need to know which one is most likely.”
“What do I know? They were mushrooms— I don’t believe it, she tried to poison me.”
Fraser’s strong fingers clamped like a vice over Ray’s jaw and forced him to look him in the eyes.
“This is important. Please, try to remember what the mushrooms looked like.”
Ray licked his suddenly dry lips and nodded breathlessly. Oh god, he hadn’t looked that closely at them. He wasn’t Fraser; he didn’t care for stuff like that.
“Uhm, white, smooth,” Ray stuttered.
“Good, were they flat or more cylindrical?”
“Cylindrical, they got pointier towards the top.”
“What was their taste like? Bitter, strong, spicy, mouldy, mild?”
“No, mild. And they were maybe this thick,” Ray showed an inch between his fingers.
Fraser had a look on his face as if he was going through every botany book he had ever read on mushrooms. Come to think of it, he probably was doing exactly that. His gaze flicked to Ray’s finished beer bottle.
“Ray, did you have alcohol with your food?”
“Uh, yeah, why?”
“Now, please, do not panic, Ray. Panic is never conductive to any kind of situation-“
Ray’s eyes widened.
“Fraser, I can’t die like this–I–”
“No really, I had plans. Not much, but I had stuff I wanted to do. I wanted, hell, I want at least one more kiss before I die–”
“No, fuck that. I want sex one last time. I can’t die without having had great sex at least once before I bite the dust.”
“Who am I kidding? I’d take a kiss as well. Can’t be too picky I guess-”
“What? I’m busy making plans before I croak. It isn’t that easy to find someone who wants to kiss me, you know? In case you hadn’t noticed, I’m a persona non grated when it comes to women. I do not want a pity kiss, that’s just depressing.”
“Ray, ah, do you perhaps mean persona non grata? And I would kiss you if the–”
“If the situation would arise, however,”
“You’d kiss me?”
Fraser rubbed over his eyebrow. “Yes, as I said, but—”
“And not out of pity?”
“You know, just to fulfil a condemned man’s last wish?”
“Wow, Fraser… that’s—”
“Would you just listen to me? You are not about to die.”
That gave Ray pause.
“Ah, no. See, the common ink cap is poisonous, but not lethal.”
“Uhm, so… I’m not going to kick the bucket?”
“Not in the next few hours, no. You will get severely sick and may wish you had, though.”
“That–that’s really helpful Fraser. So, uh… I…”
“You look flushed Ray,” Fraser took a step closer and looked at Ray’s pupils, “and your pupils are dilated. It might be best if you lay down, Ray.”
“Yeah, lay down. Sounds like a good idea, ‘m gonna do that. Thanks.”
Fraser went to the kitchen and fetched Ray a glass of water and a bucket. When he came back Ray was lying on the couch with his eyes closed, breathing a little too fast.
“Ray,” Fraser’s warm hand closed over his own, “how do you feel?”
Ray opened his eyes and looked a little green in the face.
“Nauseous, everything’s whirling around, and I can’t make it stop.”
“This will take a few hours. You were lucky Ray, the time of the alcohol consumption is crucial for the poisonous effect of the common ink cap. It is poisonous up to three days afterwards and the symptoms get worse the later the alcohol has been consumed. You’re last beer was less than 5 hours later. You will be fine.”
“Good to know,” Ray groaned.
An hour later, Ray was looking around the room with a strangely focused intensity.
“Ah, Ray, did the nausea abate?”
Ray looked at him and his mouth dropped open in surprise.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
Fraser loosened the collar of his shirt. “Tell you what?”
“I should have known, makes perfect sense. Really,” Ray rambled, unperturbed by Fraser’s confusion.
“But you could have told me, you know? That’s not buddies, keeping it secret.”
“And what is it you think I have kept secret?” Fraser asked with a touch of apprehension in his voice. He smoothed a knuckle over his eyebrow before he could stop himself.
“That you got wings, Frase.”
Fraser was so surprised, he actually looked wildly behind him for a second. “I have—what?”
“Ray, I don’t have wings,” Fraser replied, eyes widening a little.
“Sure you do, you need them to protect me from the toaster.”
“The—ah, the toaster?” Fraser asked confused, glancing over Ray’s shoulder to the kitchen counter.
“Yeah, I saw it bare its teeth at me. Backstabbing son of a bitch,” Ray grumbled.
Fraser paled a little. Hallucinations were not part of common ink cap poisoning. He needed to ascertain which mushrooms Ray had eaten.
“Oh God,” Ray moaned pitifully and held his stomach.
With lightning-quick reflexes, Fraser pushed the empty bucket into Ray’s hands.
The sound of food being regurgitated filled the room and Fraser winced in sympathy. Twenty minutes later, Ray was dry heaving but seemed otherwise empty.
Fraser couldn’t even put into words how relieved he was that Ray managed to get at least some of the contaminated food out of him.
“Are you finished?”He asked gently, pointing at the bucket.
“For the moment,” Ray croaked.
Fraser took the bucket from him and carried it into the kitchen to get better light.
He came back two minutes later and knelt down in front of Ray, lying on the couch.
“Ray, I examined the mushroom remains and—“
“Please, tell me you didn’t lick anything,” Ray tried to look angrily at Fraser but only managed a weak glare.
“No, don’t tell me. I can tell when you lie. Just tell me what you found out.” Ray was still looking a little glassy-eyed but the climax of his high seemed to be behind him if the coherency of their conversation was any indicator.
“Your poisoning stems essentially from consuming common ink cap in connection with alcohol. There were only small amounts of another mushroom family called Panaeolus, I can’t be sure which species exactly, but several of them contain a hallucinogenic toxin. But the amount you ate is not life threatening,” Fraser explained not just a little relieved.
Ray’s body suddenly convulsed and Ray held his stomach, the face a mask of pain.
“You sure I ain’t gonna die?” He gasped. “Sure feels like I am,” Ray pressed out behind clenched teeth.
Fraser stroked the small of Ray’s back in a soothing caress.
“Cramps are part of the poisoning, I’m sorry.”
“Not your fault, I—ah,” Ray gasped in pain again as the next wave hit, “Am I such a jerk, Frase? The first date tries to get rid of me in Mexico and the second one tries to poison me. I can’t be that bad a date, can I?”
Fraser’s face gentled with tenderness. “I’m sure they had another reason than your dating qualities.”
“Oh God, pass me the bucket, please,” Ray scrambled for the plastic container. Fraser listened to his friend puking his guts out with a sympathetic look on his face. Ray couldn’t have much more inside of him than bile.
Ray slumped in front of his couch. “Why is everyone trying to get rid of me?” Ray mumbled miserably.
Fraser smoothed Ray’s hair away from his sweaty forehead.
“Ray, not everyone is trying to get rid of you,” he said mildly.
“Frase, you are trying to kill me all the time.”
Fraser looked shocked. “I am not trying to kill you, Ray,” he said indignantly.
“Trying to get me killed then, same difference.”
“I am not.”
“Yes you are,” Ray moaned and heaved himself back onto the couch again. He held his stomach and let another bout of spasms wash over him.
Fraser was about to retort again when he looked at Ray’s pitiful figure on the couch, the eyes closed in pain.
He smiled gently. “At least I didn’t try to leave you in Mexico.” He answered tongue-in-cheek.
Ray ‘s lips twitched into a small smile. “No… but one of these days you’re going to drag me to Canada. Mexico was at least warm and they had killer Margaritas.”
Fraser bit his lip to contain the grin that was dying to get out.
“We have summer in Canada. And I did have to learn how to mix cocktails for a case in which—“ he didn’t really want to get into this. It was part of the reason why he didn’t drink and Ray really didn’t need to know this embarrassing story about him. Not now, in any case.
“It’s not important right now. I could, however, provide you with a cocktail should it become a matter of national importance.”
“You would?” Ray asked and it sounded so pleased and surprised that Fraser felt as if he had given more away than the simple fact that he had some knowledge of alcoholic beverages.
“Yes, of course.”
“That—“ Ray yawned, “that’s real good to know, buddy. I want a taster in case you make one, just to be on the safe side.”
“Understood.” Fraser’s eyes crinkled with amusement.
It was good to see Ray tired. This must mean that the worst of his stomach pains must be over. Sleep would do the rest.
Ray’s whole body seemed to relax further and Fraser had already thought that Ray was asleep when Ray started mumbling again.
“You looked through my puke, Fraser. You really must be in love with me. No one does stuff like that for me. Not even in Canada.”
Fraser paled again and looked at Ray with a denial already on his lips. No words came out, though. It seemed as if he was completely speechless for the first time in his life.
Ray cracked open an eye and looked at Fraser.
“I don’t hear any declarations of ‘no’. That usually means ‘yes’, buddy.” Ray grinned a little. An endearing sight, with his ruffled hair and rumpled shirt, a little bit the worse for wear.
Fraser rubbed furiously over his eyebrow. “Ray, you should get some sleep. Rest a little.”
Ray’s grin softened into a smile and he closed his eyes again. “Sure thing, buddy. Sleep sounds good.”
It didn’t take more than two minutes before Ray was fast asleep. Fraser hoped that Ray wasn’t going to remember most of this night.
It was a feeling like peace, Ray thought, when he woke up to the feeling of warm hands on his forehead. His mother had done that a lot when he had been sick as a child. It was a nice feeling, safe. Ray sighed contently and opened his eyes slowly.
He was met with Fraser’s a little anxious-looking face leaning above him; he was apparently checking for a temperature.
“Good morning, Ray,” Fraser said in a low voice and Ray loved the consideration of this man. Fraser needn’t have worried, though. Ray’s headache was nowhere to be seen.
“Morning,” Ray mumbled.
Man, but he felt like shit. A whole nest of furry night crawlers had died in his mouth over night. Ray groaned and stretched his aching muscles.
“I thought being reborn would feel nicer,” Ray muttered and Fraser had the audacity to smile at him.
After a trip to the bathroom Ray felt considerably more human. He was wary when it came to breakfast, but the slice of dry toast stayed inside his stomach, so all was good.
Ray was jittery all through his morning preparations and practically vibrating when they had finished breakfast.
“Okay, can we finally go and pick her up for trying to poison me?”
“Of course, Ray,” Fraser said seriously. “Would you mind describing to me, first, though, what exactly happened?”
“Sure,” Ray stretched. “She said she’d cook and when I arrived everything was already ready. I took a seat and she filled both of our plates out of the same pot right in front of me. We ate a few bites and then she asked me if I wanted a glass wine, I said, sure, why not, and she filled my glass.”
“She didn’t drink any alcohol then?”
“No,” Ray looked darkly. Thinking she didn’t want to get drunk in front of him had been a nicer thought than knowing she had wanted to poison him. “I even asked her about it but she just said I should enjoy my glass.
“And you drank it?”
Fraser sounded as if Ray had been needlessly careless so Ray snapped at him. “Of course I did. I don’t get poisoned on a daily basis.”
“I’m sorry,” Fraser said mildly. “I didn’t mean to insinuate any fault in your behavior. I am just trying to get all the facts.”
“Yeah, I drank it. We moved over to the couch a little while later and she asked me if she should re-fill my glass and before I could say anything she had already started pouring. I thought, whatthehell, and said yeah she could. I asked her again if she wanted to join me but she said that she only rarely drank but that she liked the smell of a good bottle of wine.”
“I see. What happened then?”
“As I’ve told you, we got dancing and then I… I kissed her,” Ray almost stumbled over that last part and looked quickly away from Fraser’s eyes. “A-and then she did the whole I-have-to-get-up-early-routine and that was it. I drove home and called you.”
Fraser looked thoughtful before he nodded. “It might be advisable to speak with her.”
Ray rolled his eyes. Had he said that or what?
They called Huey and Dewey who had shift this morning to ask Ray’s date to come in to answer a couple of questions.
Once at the police station, Ray made a beeline for the interrogation room.
“Ray, we can’t go in there.”
“Why not?” Ray asked with his hand already on the doorknob.
“We are not handling this interrogation.”
“We are not?” Ray asked in a voice dangerously close to exploding.
“Ray, you know that you are not allowed to. You are personally involved in this. You are, in fact, the victim in this. Come on, I asked Lieutenant Welsh and he allowed us to listen in.”
Ray gnashed his teeth but followed Fraser into the room leading to the other side of the two-way-mirror. He had been so looking forward to this interrogation.
Huey had apparently already taken her personal data since they were already going over the events of yesterday night.
“I already told you that I made a dish with mushrooms. I don’t know what this has to do with poisoning anyone. I didn’t poison Ray— he was fine when he left my place.”
“Isn’t it correct that you repeatedly offered Ray alcohol while abstaining from it yourself?”
“I—yes, I had to work the next day and I get a headache from wine. What has that got to do with anything?”
“Are you trying to tell us that you prepared a dish using the fungus known as common ink cap, without knowing that it was poisonous in combination with alcohol? And you want us to believe that?” Huey asked sceptically.
“What are you talking about? Listen, I have no idea what a common ink cap looks like, alright? I bought Coprinus Comatus, they are known as shaggy ink cap—not common ink cap. And they are not poisonous, with alcohol or without.”
Ray looked over at Fraser and saw recognition at the name flitter over his face.
“What? You think she’s telling the truth?”
“Well, it is highly likely to confuse the two sorts of fungi since they belong to the same family and look very much alike. She is also correct that the shaggy ink cap isn’t poisonous.”
Huey checked again the name on his list.
“It is a definite fact that spores of the common ink cap have been found in the case of Ray Vecchio. Can you prove your claim?”
The young woman looked at a loss for a second before she exclaimed, “Yes, of course. I still have the receipt from the supermarket. Wait a second.” She started rummaging in her purse before she came up with a white slip of paper. “Here.” She held it out to Huey.
He checked the receipt and sighed resignedly.
“Miss, it only says ‘Mushroom #57’ on here.”
She looked crestfallen for a moment. “Wait, I bought them already weighed and wrapped. The name was on the package. The wrapping is still in the trash underneath the sink in my apartment.”
Huey nodded. “Alright, I’ll go and check up on that. Can we get you something to drink in the meantime?”
“Yes, water would be nice.”
Huey nodded and went out of the room to call the next blue and white in the area of her apartment to go and check her trash.
Ray felt another headache coming up. He believed her, no way was she lying. He was so stupid.
“So, what?” Her indignant voice filled the interrogation room. “Ray went home, got sick, and then he called the cops on me claiming I had tried to poison him?” She asked incredulously and Dewey threw a nervous glance towards Ray and Fraser hidden behind the mirror, before he shrugged uncomfortably.
“He couldn’t have called and asked me if I had experienced similar symptoms or anything? It was more likely that I had tried to kill him? See, that’s the problem with men nowadays. How are you supposed to find a decent one when they rather think you want to poison than kiss them?”
Ray winced. Knock-out. God, she was dead right. He was sick, what kind of guy thought like that? Something was seriously wrong with him. He had just jumped to conclusions, and after all of his bad luck it just hadn’t seemed that unlikely.
Before Dewey could answer, Huey returned with a bottle of water and the news that the blue and white that had answered his call had confirmed her story. The wrapping did indeed say Coprinus Comatus.
Ray’s date was allowed to go home – not without her parting words that they could wish Ray to hell should they see him.
Ray hadn’t thought it was really possible to feel worse than he had last night.
“Let’s go and ask a few questions at the supermarket.” Fraser’s quiet voice pulled Ray out of his musings.
It didn’t take long for Fraser to figure out that all of the mushrooms were labelled wrong.
The manager of the supermarket was hysterical when they informed him that all of his mushrooms #57 were, in fact, a poisonous variation of the same fungi family.
They traced the order back to the central market where apparently the boxes had been mixed up and therefore labelled incorrectly. Ray sighed and handed the case over to the proper authorities.
Ray was silent on the car drive back. He took them back to his apartment without asking Fraser for his approval. They climbed out of the car and were just about to ascend the steps to Ray’s apartment building when Ray sighed deeply.
“What’s wrong?” Fraser asked carefully even though he could guess at least five things Ray might be upset about.
“I’m just—I’m not normal, Fraser. What kind of guy thinks that a woman would poison him without even considering an accident?”
Ray went through his pockets to look for his keys.
“Ray, the way it happened made it highly possible that it was done on purpose and not by accident. It is understandable that someone in our profession would be a lot more inclined to consider a motive behind such an event than a mere coincidence.”
Ray shook his head while he opened the door. “Let’s face it, okay? I’m just not made for romance. I get that, it’s alright. It all started with a date and I didn’t even get a real kiss and it ended with me almost dying –and don’t correct me, it felt like dying-“ Ray ranted even though Fraser hadn’t even tried to interrupt him.
Ray sighed defeated and slumped against the wall in the darkened hallway of his apartment building. He rubbed his eyes in a tired motion. “And I didn’t even get a kiss out of the whole business—what if I died tomorrow, huh? I’d still die alone with not a single person who would kiss me,” Ray all but whispered before he threw Fraser a weak smile. “And I do remember that you offered and that was really a pretty decent thing to do at that time but—I’d rather be kissed by someone who wanted to kiss me all along—“
Fraser’s brow drew together in a line and he bit his lip for a second. Ray took in the sudden tension in Fraser’s stance and expected to be interrupted at any second, so he hastened to get through the rest of his sentence. “And, I’m sorry, you know? For all the stuff I said to you last night. The stuff was just messing with my head and I felt really low and—“
Suddenly Fraser was moving, pressing Ray against the wall. Strong fingers gripped Ray’s face gently and Ray looked confused into Fraser’s blue eyes before they fell closed and Fraser’s warm lips pressed softly against Ray’s.
Fraser’s fingers smoothed tenderly over Ray’s cheekbones, just holding him very gently in place while Fraser’s lips moved against Ray’s. Something like electricity zapped through Ray’s gut and made him moan softly against the pressure of Fraser’s lips.
Fraser drew back a little, his hands still cradling Ray’s face. The look on his face was warm and open. Ray’s whole body felt filled with fluttering butterflies all of a sudden.
“That—“ Ray croaked and licked his lips, “that didn’t feel like a pity kiss, Frase.”
“It wasn’t,” Fraser murmured in a low voice.
“I don’t think I’m over yesterday yet,” Ray whispered.
Fraser smiled a little and leaned in again. His lips touched Ray’s and Ray felt the butterflies inside of him take flight.
Slowly, Fraser’s tongue slid inside of Ray’s mouth and Ray’s knees actually gave way. He locked his arms around Fraser to keep upright and felt Fraser press him closer against the wall. Fraser’s tongue was slick and brought a million nerve endings back to life.
Fraser only released him when his erection brushed Ray’s and Ray gasped for air.
“You really want me,” Ray whispered in a voice akin to awe. “You weren’t kidding.”
Fraser just smiled a little crookedly. “I wouldn’t joke about something like that, Ray.”
“You know,” Ray mused thoughtfully, “other guys, when they like a girl, they pull her pigtails or make her drop her school books or something. They don’t try to endanger her life in wildly bizarre ways. Couldn’t you have, I don’t know, simply messed my hair and be done with it?”
Fraser looked surprised for a second before his eyes crinkled with laughter.
“At least I never tried to poison you.” Fraser said with as much of a serious face as he could muster.
“True enough,” Ray conceded and tightened his hold around Fraser’s body. Fraser’s fingers were moving through his hair in an almost hypnotic caress. “You never cooked for me, though.” Ray murmured into Fraser’s ear.
“Mhm…” Fraser paused for a second, “are there any food allergies I should know about?”
Ray drew back a little, confused about the practicality of the question, and looked at Fraser.
Fraser’s face was carefully blank and Ray scrunched up his nose suspiciously.
“Why? I say ‘hazelnut’ and you’ll find a way to mix them into my food, just to see my throat swell up?”
Fraser had the wide-eyed innocent look going. “Is that what would happen?”
“I didn’t say that,” Ray hastened to assure, then he saw Fraser’s lip twitch.
“You’re making fun of me, I can’t believe you’re yanking my chain,” Ray accused and Fraser chuckled breathlessly.
Fraser was looking at Ray with such tenderness that Ray’s throat closed up. Without conscious thought, Ray leaned closer and kissed Fraser again. He deepened the kiss until he felt Fraser’s grip on him tighten. He drew back a little and smirked.
“You better be careful, I know where you sleep,” Ray informed Fraser and had the pleasure of seeing Fraser bite his lip.
Suddenly, there was the topic of Fraser and bed and sleeping and Ray’s person all in the same sentence and Ray swallowed nervously. He was sure that anything Fraser would come up with would be mind-blowing but… maybe they could go slow with this?
His sudden apprehension must have shown on his face because Fraser’s gaze softened and he smoothed his fingers over Ray’s cheek again.
“Maybe you could cook and I do the dishes.”
Ray smiled gratefully at Fraser for bringing the topic back to safer ground.
“I make a mean sandwich.”
Fraser bit back a smile. “Ray, Tony has a pizza special on Saturdays. What would you say if we go and have a look at his menu instead?”
Ray chuckled. “Lead the way, buddy.”
But Ray didn’t let go of Fraser’s hand when Fraser stepped back to give him some room. He might be new to this and he might not be able to read women very well but he knew that Fraser wasn’t going to dump him in Mexico any time soon.
He might still end up being dragged to Canada. But Ray had the hunch that he wouldn’t be left there alone. Should he die in the snow, then it would probably be with Fraser’s lips frozen to his own and that might not be the worst way to go.