Notes: Follows directly on from Soft Arithmetic
It was late spring, and warm enough to eat outside. New leaves on the trees and a sharp, fresh smell in the air. After Ray finished up at court (where ASA Irvine nailed that scumbag Malvallet but good), he met Vecchio in the park for lunch.
Ray got there first. "Wow," he said, before Vecchio had even shut his car door. "It's like BOOM, our lives have turned upside down. You ever feel like someone's pulled the rug out from under you and you're flat on your ass and don't know know how it happened?"
Vecchio brushed some fallen leaves off the hood of his car, then turned to look at him. "If you don't want to do this, we don't have to. I thought—"
"No, no! I want to. I just— You know, living with Fraser, that's a big deal." Ray led the way over to the hotdog stand on the corner. "That's— it's gonna be different now. I mean— Fraser. He's not like other people."
Vecchio bumped his shoulder into Ray's. "No kidding."
"Yeah. I mean, this time yesterday I was thinking maybe I should get another turtle to keep Ramona company. Now we're gonna have a wolf!"
"Oh Jesus." Vecchio covered his eyes. "Wolf fur everywhere!"
Ray turned, walking backwards in front of Vecchio, and grinned at him. "And nearly getting killed six days out of seven."
"That's only if we all work together." They reached the stand, and Vecchio held up two fingers to the hotdog guy. The guy started making their dogs.
Ray scratched his neck. "Yeah. What's Fraser gonna—"
"You want mustard?" interrupted the hotdog guy.
"Oh, uh, yeah," Ray told him. "Thanks." He took his hotdog, and bit into it, chewing thoughtfully for a few minutes, savoring the spiciness and tang. Mustard dripped down his shirt and he wiped it off with his thumb, then licked that clean.
They sat down on a nearby park bench overlooking the fountain. Little kids were shrieking with laughter. Ray watched them, and felt kind of relieved they weren't his. Which reminded him— "Hey, did I tell you Jamieson gave me two tickets to the Hawks game Saturday? You wanna go?"
Vecchio grinned around a mouthful of hotdog (no mustard on him, no way) and leaned back on the bench. "Nah," he said, once he'd swallowed. "I got better things to do. Why don't you take your other boyfriend. You know, the one who likes hockey."
Ray blinked, and felt a slow smile spread across his face. "Your loss," he told Vecchio.
Vecchio winked at him, and spread his legs further apart so their knees bumped, and Ray that thought this summer was maybe going to be the best ever.