Notes: For aerye
Vecchio's phone rang while they were in the liquor store buying beer. "Yeah? Ma! I'm working, I'm—No, I can't pick up a lettuce, Ma, I'm not gonna be there for—No, just work. What can I tell you? Ma—Yeah—So call a plumber." He leaned his forehead against a fridge full of Riesling, and Ray listened to him for a moment, watching the light from the fridge glow cold on his face and neck, turning the gray wool of his coat silver.
After a minute, Ray figured listening to Vecchio lie to his folks was not the best use of his evening, and he took his beer to the cashier and then went outside to smoke. The streetlights flickered to life, turning everything sodium orange, and the evening moon pouted jealously and disappeared behind a cloud.
Ray leaned against Vecchio's car and smoked one and a half cigarettes before Vecchio came out of the store with a bottle of wine. Ray blew a plume of smoke toward the sky and threw his cigarette butt into the gutter, and Vecchio wrinkled his nose but he didn't say anything about it. Instead he said, "Jesus, she wouldn't stop talking. Asking what I was doing. It's like she suspects." He unlocked the driver's door and let Ray into the warmth of the car.
Ray tucked his lighter into the front pocket of his jeans. "Would that be so bad?"
Vecchio glanced at him as he pulled out onto the road, heading for Ray's apartment. "What we do, that's between us. No one else needs to know."
"Yeah?" said Ray before he could stop himself. "Is that what you told Ange when you asked her to marry you?"
The car engine growled, and Vecchio changed lanes, nearly cutting off a stationwagon. "This has nothing to do with that. This is nothing like that." He pulled up at some lights and shifted in his seat, pulling at his coat where it was rucked up under his thigh. "I was twenty-three," he added. "My family loved her."
"Yeah, well, they like me well enough." Ray leaned his head back. It wasn't worth having this conversation. If they kept having this conversation, chances were they wouldn't have sex, and that would ruin his evening and maybe his whole weekend. But he couldn't help it.
"What is it with you?" Vecchio shot Ray a narrow glare. "You always gotta be pushing something. Pushing perps. Pushing limits. Pushing me." The light turned green, and the car tires squealed as he accelerated too fast, changing lanes again. "You never learn to be thankful for what you got?"
Ray pulled his hat off and ran his fingers through his hair, and then thumped his clenched fist on his thigh. "What have I got? You tell me what I've got. I'm not undercover here. I got no reason to hide."
Vecchio pulled into the parking lot behind Ray's building, but kept the motor running. "Listen, if you're so fucking unhappy, why don't you—"
Suddenly Ray felt tired and stupid. "Shut up."
And Vecchio did.
Ray reached into the back and grabbed Vecchio's wine and his own beer, and got out of the car. He didn't wait, just walked into the foyer, checked the mailbox, and then started climbing the stairs. He was near the top of the first flight before Vecchio came up behind him and took the bottle out of his hand. Neither of them said anything.
Ray opened the door and switched on the light, and went to put the beer in the fridge. There was leftover mac'n'cheese from the night before, and he took it out and heated it in the microwave. He heard footsteps behind him, but he didn't look around. He kept his eyes on the food revolving in front of him.
"Hey," said Vecchio quietly.
Ray leaned his head to one side, stretching a kink out of his neck, and didn't turn around. His back went tense and uncomfortable, and he breathed deep, trying to calm the fuck down.
"Hey, look at me." Vecchio was close, right behind him, and Ray let his breath out in a sigh and half-turned, glancing at him out of the corner of his eye.
"Forget it," Ray told him.
Vecchio's gaze dropped to Ray's lips, and Ray's gut tightened a second before Vecchio kissed him. Vecchio's hand touched his neck, threaded into his hair and tugged a little, but Vecchio's lips were kind, brushing over Ray's. Ray pulled Vecchio into his arms and pressed against him, trying to heat things up, trying to move it along to get past this, but Vecchio didn't start humping him like he usually did. Didn't grab his ass, even though Ray could feel him getting hard. He just kissed him, firm and sweet and serious, until Ray sighed again and softened his lips and kissed back the same.
Finally Vecchio broke the kiss, and pressed his face into the side of Ray's head, his other hand sliding down to Ray's ass but not groping him, just holding him close, chest to chest, dick to dick. "I'm not ready," Vecchio murmured into Ray's hair. "Have to take this slow. Have to be—"
"Shut up, Vecchio," said Ray, and pushed him against the kitchen counter and kissed him again.