Author's note: This snippet was inspired by a real couple who continue to live this reality even today. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. W!
Author's Warning: There are certain authors who believe all stories should have happy endings. I am not one of them. Real life is not a bowl of cherries and bad things happen. This story has a poignant ending--it is sad but it is also happy. Read it, if you wish. Ignore it, if you must. Your loss, not mine.
"Don't tell me you're looking at that again?"
"You've looked at those pictures a thousand times. Why are you doing so again?"
Ray took Fraser's hand and cradled it next to his chest. "It was the happiest day of my life. Why shouldn't I look at 'em?"
Fraser opened his hand and flattened it over Ray's heart, wishing nothing more than to feel the familiar beat of his one and only true love. "I thought the day I first kissed you was the happiest day of your life? Or better yet, the day I proposed to you?"
"Them, too." Ray offered Fraser a crooked grin. "I guess you could say you've given me quite a few happiest days of my life."
Fraser carefully took the large photo album out of Ray's hands and laid it on his lap. He flipped through several pages before pointing to a picture of Dief wearing a dark crimson bowtie. "Remember the way he growled at Inspector Thatcher when she stood up to protest our union?"
Ray chuckled as he settled closer to Fraser and wrapped his arm around his husband's shoulders. "I'll betcha the Ice Queen pee'd all over herself. Dief looked like he was gonna eat her alive."
"I doubt he would have done that, Ray." Fraser turned the page and immediately started laughing. "The one who was truly in danger of being eaten alive was Constable Turnbull. Frannie was quite determined to marry a Mountie and poor Turnbull did not stand a chance once she spilled her punch on him. I am quite certain I have never seen that shade of red on any man's face before. Wonder what she did to him to make him blush so?"
Ray cocked his head to the side and waggled his eyebrows suggestively. "Frase, she had her hands all over him trying to clean up the spilled punch. How much you wanna bet she manhandled his goods?"
"She didn't! She wouldn't have?" Fraser looked at Ray in shock.
"Frase! We're talking about Frannie here. Subtlety was not her strong point."
Putting an end to the embarrassing subject, Fraser indicated another photograph. "Remember this? It took me several hours to remove all the icing from my ear."
"You poor thing." Ray leaned over and treated Fraser's ear to a loud, wet raspberry. "At least when I fed you your piece of cake, I only got some of it in your ear. Think how I felt trying to smile, chew and swallow my piece with a nose full of icing? I don't think my sinuses ever recovered from that."
"I do apologize for misjudging my aim, Ray. I guess I was just a little too enthusiastic."
Ray slid his hand inside Fraser's shirt and tweaked a nipple. "Hmmm . . . enthusiastic is how I would describe the way you fucked me into heaven on the night of our honeymoon. You rode my ass like a wild man, Frase."
Fraser stared at Ray for a very long time before gently gripping the back of his neck and pulling him close enough to kiss. "I remember, Ray. I do, indeed, remember."
Ray offered his husband an understanding smile before returning his attention to the photo album. "Now's there's a face worth remembering. Huey catching the hat. Did you see the look he gave his partner after he caught it? If those two weren't tearing up the sheets that night, I'll eat your boots."
Fraser ignored his husband's lewd leer and traced the edges of the photograph with a finger. "I thought that was a very brilliant idea you had about tossing my uniform hat to the single men and women. Since we did not have a bouquet or garter to throw, it made perfect sense to use a decorated version of my hat."
Ray blushed upon hearing Fraser's praise. "I do have my moments."
"Yes, you do, Ray." Fraser squeezed his husband's hand encouragingly before turning to the next page of pictures. He tapped his finger against one that showed several couples on the dance floor. "I am still shocked by my father's behavior, the way he kept trying to dance with all the single women and widows that were at the reception."
"Just 'cause he's a ghost don't mean he ain't got the urge."
"Ray!" Fraser's protest was belied by the twinkle of amusement in his eyes. "My father does not have urges."
"Uh huh. Tell me another one, Love Lips."
Fraser laughed and proved his nickname in such a manner that left Ray gasping for air. "Speaking of urges . . . I remain amazed by the fact that we could not control our desire for sex. It was only a thirty minute drive to the Hilton, Ray. You would think we could have restrained our urges for at least that length of time."
Still panting for breath, Ray took the photo album from Fraser's hands and placed it on the couch. "What I can't believe is that Vecchio's the one who caught you blowing me in the backseat of the limo. He never did learn how to keep his big nose out of our business."
"Ray, tell me you're not still jealous. I can't believe it. After all these years?" With a quizzical look on his face, Fraser glanced over his shoulder.
"Humph." Ray followed his husband into the bedroom. "That Dago is still eyeing you, Frase. We've been married nearly thirty years now and he still checks you out when he comes to visit. When's he gonna get it through his thick skull that you're mine? My man. My husband."
"He is only being a good friend, Ray, and I'm sure he knows by now that my heart belongs to you and you only." Fraser held out his hands to his husband. "Ready?"
Ray slid his arms around Fraser's upper torso and, with a grunt, lifted him out of his wheelchair, gently positioning him on the bed before swinging his thin legs onto the mattress. Pulling off Fraser's loose sweat pants and undergarments, he expertly eased him onto his stomach and checked his buttocks for any signs of new pressure sores. Finding no reddened areas, Ray grabbed the bottle of prescription lotion that sat on the nightstand and applied a liberal amount to his husband's behind and hips before moving down and massaging his wasted limbs. A fresh Depends was applied in silence, followed by a pair of soft flannel pj bottoms.
Finished with his nightly task, Ray rolled Fraser over on his side and propped several pillows in front of him. Whistling the familiar Wedding March tune, he quickly took care of his own bedtime duties before sliding under the covers and spooning in behind his quiet mate. "Whatcha thinking about, Frase?"
Broken phrases tumbled helplessly out of the older man. "You still . . . the accident that next day. All these years, Ray, you've . . . ." Fraser buried his face in the pillow he was hugging to his chest and sobbed.
Ray crawled over his husband and tossed all the pillows on the floor, swiftly taking their place so that he could look Fraser squarely in the eye. With a tender smile, he tangled his fingers in the soft curls that lay against the former Mountie's nape and softly kissed him on the lips before moving on to explore the sharp angles of his cheeks, nose and jaw.
"For better or for worse, my love. In sickness and in health. Until death do us part." Ray gently chucked Fraser under the chin, drawing his husband's attention away from the sheet he was clenching in his hand. "Until death do us part, remember?"
Fraser let go of the sheet
and wrapped Ray in a fierce hug, whispering through his tears, "I do, Ray.
I most certainly do."