Don't Go In The Kitchen
"I'm shit sorry, Frase." Ray dared a quick glance at his lover, afraid that he had finally done the deed that would send Fraser into orbit.
"And as I said the first one hundred times, Ray, I am not mad and there is no need for you to apologize." Fraser took the towel Dief held in his mouth and passed it over to the man hunched down beside him. "Here, wipe your face."
Ray did as he was instructed and grimaced at the mess he made on the bright yellow cotton dishtowel. "I can't believe I...." Pulling his jacket collar up around his ears, Ray scooted closer to Fraser and laid his head on the shoulder that had offered him comfort on so many days like this that he had lost count. "You ever gonna forgive me, Frase?"
Fraser smiled his thanks to Mrs. Epstein and Mr. Merriweather before sliding his arm around Ray's dejected form. "There's nothing to forgive, Ray." He pulled the slender man close to his side and kissed him softly on his cheek.
A movement out of the corner of his eye caught his attention and he directed a stern frown at the wolf sniffing the spot where he and Ray sat. "Dief, if you value that nose of yours, you will back away this very instant." Dief went perfectly still, testing the resolve of his partner. An eyebrow raised in warning was aimed at him and the wolf wisely retreated, his gaze never wavering from his objective.
Ray felt something kick him in the hip and, looking up, he found Mrs. Latskey hitting him with her walker. The elderly woman didn't say a word-she didn't have to. Her gaze said it all. A blush stole across Ray's cheeks and he respectfully dropped his gaze as he took the item she held out to him. "Umm... thanks." The walker slapped him one more time and Ray lifted his head just in time to see Mrs. Latskey share an understanding smile with his lover.
"I'm never gonna live this down, am I?" Ray buried his face in the open folds of his jacket and let out a moan of pure misery.
Fraser relieved his lover of his burden and, once again, pulled him close, tangling his fingers in the damp strands that lay against the back of Ray's neck. "There is nothing to live down, Ray. These things happen. It was a genuine mistake."
Ray turned his head to the side and stared incredulously at Fraser. "I set your damn kitchen on fire, Frase! Totally ruined our first Thanksgiving together." Digging out his wallet, Ray started counting the bills he had stuffed inside. "And I'm gonna pay for fixin' everything, you hear, Frase? Everything." Ray stared at the wad of cash he held in his hand and tried desperately to blink away the tears that were blurring his vision. "I can't fucking believe I ruined our first holiday together as an honest to goodness, 'I belong to you, you belong to me,' couple. Shit!"
Kissing a tear-damp cheek, Fraser gently took the money from Ray's hand and smoothed out the creases of each bill before placing them back in his lover's wallet in the proper order of denomination. As he slid the battered wallet into the side pocket of Ray's jacket, he made a mental note to craft a new one for Ray and give it to him at Christmas.
"Our first Thanksgiving together is not ruined, Ray." Fraser indicated the collection of steaming dishes sitting at his feet. "My new neighbors have made sure of that."
"But... but your apartment... we can't eat in there. The smoke, the mess from the fire extinguishers...." Ray indicated the open door the two men on the floor sat next to.
An enigmatic smile spread across Fraser's face as he pushed Dief away from the platter of sliced turkey with the toe of his boot. "Mr. Jameson and Mr. Coleman have graciously offered us their apartment. The two of them are going to Cleveland to spend Thanksgiving with Mr. Jameson's younger sister."
Shifting around so that he could kneel in front of his dejected partner, Fraser framed Ray's face with his hands and playfully rubbed noses with him. "And Ray? Mr. Jameson was quite delighted to inform me of the fact that there are clean linens on the bed in the guestroom."
Ray nearly toppled Fraser over on his back in his haste to stand. "Then what are we sitting here for? Get the lead out, Frase. We've got a holiday to celebrate!"