Copyright December 2000
Ray climbed down from the ladder and dusted his hands off. He looked around, taking great pride in his handiwork.
You done good, Ray. This is the best plan yet.
His inner self congratulated him, giving his ego a quiet boost. But with the encouraging pat on the back came just the smallest of doubt.
What if my plan fails? Because if this doesn't work, I don't know what else to do.
Ray sighed heavily as he gathered up his discarded tools. With one last glance around, he turned out the lights and headed to bed.
Operation Obvious was ready to be put into action.
The morning sun greeted the clear bright blue skies with a brilliant smile. Ray looked out the window, amazed with wonder at the blanket of snow that sheltered the great city. He never tired of the winter holidays. Even when he was making a last minute suicide run to the shopping malls for one more gift, he still managed to come away with his happiness and joy intact.
No Bah Humbug for Ray. No way, Hosea!
Familiar sounds reminded him of his plan and the young man took up his station at position Alpha. He maneuvered himself into the correct pose and waited patiently. It was merely seconds before his prey came into sight.
A rumpled Winston stumbled toward the bathroom, one eye opened to insure his avoidance of slamming into solid, put the hurt on you, objects. He smiled drowsily at Ray, mumbling something that with the greatest of effort could be interpreted as a good morning. Patting the young man on the shoulder, Winston pushed right past Ray into the bathroom, closing the door with another garbled question concerning the readiness of breakfast.
Ray frowned, staring face to face with a solid piece of wood. This was not how his plan was suppose to work. Sighing, he looked down and checked himself out.
Yes, yes. Everything was in place and looking good.
Ray scratched his head, his mind pondering the failure of the first phase of Operation Obvious. He snapped his fingers when the answer light bulb flashed on in his brain.
Too early in the morning for this. Sleepy brain cells need the proper incentive to wake up and smell the roses.
Ray nodded and moved toward position Beta, the kitchen. The sight that greeted him there made him even more determined to gain the successful outcome of his plan. Ignoring the lip locked Peter and Egon, Ray went about the business of making the best Christmas Eve breakfast the world had ever tasted. He hadn't spent all that money on cooking lessons for nothing.
A hungry growl alerted him to Winston's approach. He quickly prepared a plate of food for his friend and stood at the entrance to the kitchen, ready to capture his prize.
Winston was in the process of pulling on his sweater when he reached Ray. This time both eyes were open but still maintained a hold on drowsiness. But the moment the scent of coffee and food was detected by the tall black man, those dark eyes snapped to attention.
Winston nearly fell over himself trying to reach Ray and the plate of nirvana the young man was holding. He took the large dish and paid homage to the gloriously cooked food as he sat down at the table.
"Thanks Ray. You outdone yourself, buddy. I think I've died and gone to heaven."
Winston abandoned all conversation, devoting his complete concentration on the steaming plate. A shade of unhappy frustration floated across Ray's face as the second phase of his plan bit the dust.
Darn! Darn! Darn!
Ray looked at himself again and then checked the kitchen entranceway, making note that everything was as it should be. He watched Winston, his eyes glowing with unspoken emotions.
Maybe obvious is too obvious. Should I go for subtle?
Ray would never have the chance to deliberate on that thought. Janine came flying into the kitchen, her face animated with excitement.
"Guys! Guys! Do I have a job for you!! And the client is paying major bucks because it's the holidays!"
Operation Obvious was put on hold as the four men took off to save the city from another round of ghostly wickedness.
Ray stood beside the couch, fresh from his shower. He had on his best Santa boxers and happy snowman T-shirt. His hair was damp and tousled, his face flushed with expectation.
The young Ghostbuster watched his three friends as they sprawled out on the floor, their stomachs full, their minds at ease and their attention focused on the Christmas movie, "It's a Wonderful Life." Ray's eyes glowed with love as he observed the one man who had captured his heart.
Operation Obvious was on its final approach and Ray was totally certain his plan would succeed. There was no doubt in his mind that this last phase would bring him the love he so desperately desired.
Ray smoothed the soft cotton fabric over his chest and abdomen. He gave his boxers a brief shake, assuring himself that everything down below was behaving themselves. Clearing his throat, Ray initiated his offensive move.
Stretching his arms above his head, his fingers reaching for the ceiling, Ray called out to his friend.
Laughing dark eyes turned in his direction.
"Yeah, little buddy?"
Ray continued to stretch, his hands waving at the ceiling.
"Would you like me to make you some hot chocolate?"
The black man shook his head and turned back to face the television.
"No thanks Ray. I'm so stuffed buddy. There's no room in this stomach not even for hot chocolate."
Ray dropped his arms, completely defeated. He had done everything short of shouting out his wants and wishes.
I give up.
The young man sighed sadly, his eyes burning with the threat of tears. Ray shuffled away, his heart breaking with each step he took. Stumbling upstairs to his bed, he grabbed hold of his pillow and allowed a single tear to escape.
Winston rubbed the back of his head, disbelief in his eyes.
"Whatcha do that for Peter?"
The dark haired scientist sat up and smacked his friend again on the head.
"Ow! Dammit Peter! What's your problem?"
Winston rolled out of hitting range and got to his feet, his dark face reflecting confusion and a touch of irritation. He watched warily as his fellow Ghostbuster got to his feet.
"What's my problem? You are, you idiot!"
Peter pointed to the ceiling.
"Are you really that blind Winston? Good God man! The whole firehouse is loaded with the stuff. Hell, it's all I could do to keep Slimer from eating the darn things."
Winston looked up and instantly felt his world crumble. There hanging from the ceiling was some mistletoe. The tall black man closed his eyes, ashamed of how he had carelessly neglected Ray's shy overtures.
"I'm an idiot. A complete and total fool."
Peter threw his arm around Winston's shoulder and hugged his friend.
"You'll be an even bigger fool if you don't open up your heart and see what is standing right in front of you. Ray loves you Winston. And if you're completely honest with yourself, you know you love him too."
Laughing, Peter pushed the dazed man toward the stairwell.
"Now go give Ray one wet, give me your tonsils, kiss. Me and Egon want to hear hot and heavy groans coming from upstairs. And we won't take no for an answer."
Ray rolled over and closed his eyes, unable to stop the flow of tears down his cheeks. He hid his face in the depths of his pillow and gave into the sob that was nearly choking him.
A warm hand slid across his shoulder and down his arm, startling Ray into turning over. His eyes grew wide with disbelief as he gazed up at Winston's smiling face.
The older man pressed a finger to Ray's lips, silencing his questions. The silent command was obeyed, acknowledged by a simple nod.
Reaching behind his back, Winston pulled out a sprig of mistletoe. Holding it over Ray's head, the black man leaned down and whispered the softest kiss across Ray's lips. His hands stroked tenderly over the younger man's torso, teasing nipples and belly button before pausing to play with the waistband of Ray's boxers.
"Merry Christmas, my beloved Ray."
Winston stole another taste, his tongue savoring Ray's open mouth.
"And a happy New Year to the man who I hope will spend the rest of his life with me."
Ray threw his arms around his large lover and offered a humble thanks to the small piece of greenery that gave him the best Christmas present ever.