The Guy Thing
Written 1 November 2002
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I'm taking a bite of pepper steak when he asks me.
"Fraser, you ever thought about the guyguy thing?"
I choke and put down the cardboard container from which I'm eating. "Excuse me?" My best friend and partner, Ray Kowalski, just looks at me a moment then puts down his noodles, wiping his mouth on a paper towel as usual, he'd forgotten the napkins when he picked up our dinner.
"Actually, you ever thought about me and you?"
I take a drink of soda and shake my head. "If you mean in a romantic sense, no. Otherwise, yes."
"Do men I mean, guys that are with guys, do they get romantic?" Ray's eyes seem to bore into me.
"Ray, how would I know? I don't see why not. How is two men being in love any different than a man and a woman being in love?" I pick up my pepper steak again and as I began to take another bite, I reconsider and put it back down again. "I am not an expert on love, Ray." With that, I pick up my food once more and begin to eat, my eyes on the television.
"Me either." He's silent while he finishes his noodles, but once he's done, he pokes me with his finger. "Hey." I look over at him and he grins, obviously ready to tease, judging by the look in his eyes. "So, are you going to ask out that new detective?"
"Detective Mallone? I had no intention of doing so. Why? Are you?"
"Nah, she's not my type."
"And you think she's my type?"
Ray shrugs and turns his attention back to the television, a particularly odious commercial about pain relievers seemingly holding his attention. I lean back and close my eyes, tired, my mind on what he just asked me.
Finally, after ten minutes of Ray's voice echoing in my brain, I open my eyes and catch him looking at me. "What?"
"What are you looking at?" I cross my arms, exasperated.
"I see that. Why?"
Ray shrugs. "Just you know, thinking."
"What difference does it make, Fraser?" Ray rolls his eyes.
"I would like to know. And I would like to know why you would even ask me about a 'guy-guy thing'," I say firmly. "I've never thought of a 'guy thing', ever."
"Benton Fraser, it's no big deal." Ray sighs when I stare at him long enough. "Oh, c'mon. I was just asking. I thought " Ray scrubs his face with his hand, "I get lonely. I thought maybe you did too."
"So you're thinking about becoming gay?"
Ray scowls at me. "You don't become gay, Fraser."
"Well, yes, that's right. You're correct. But you're planning "
"I'm not planning nothing! I just thought I'd see what you thought, that's all. Like I said, forget it," Ray sighs, reaching over me and plucking cartons off of the coffee table. He tosses Dief an egg roll and stands, several cartons in hand. "I'm gonna clean up. You want me to take you to the Consulate, or you just want to crash here?"
Glancing at the clock, I'm surprised at the late hour. "I'll just stay here, Ray, if you don't mind."
"Asked, didn't I?" Ray scowled again and heads for the kitchen. "I'm going to bed. See ya in the morning."
"Goodnight Ray." I busy myself with making the couch into a bed I've stayed here often enough that I know where he keeps all the linens.
Once I get settled, however, I'm afraid that his voice and the one in my head is still talking.
"Actually, you ever thought about me and you?"
"I get lonely. I thought maybe you did too."
I try to push him out of my mind. I try to think about anything and everything else in the world but what he said to me. I finally fall asleep after a few hours but don't rest well.
Two Days Later
We've been on stakeout approximately four hours. For the last two days, I have done nothing but think about Ray's words, the way he looked when he told me he was lonely. He looked sad and tired, and I wonder what else he was trying to tell me. If the truth be known, yes, I'm lonely too. But I've never thought about being with a man. Now all I can think about is a man my partner, my friend.
I study Ray's profile in the dusk and decide that if he can have enough courage to admit to me that he's lonely, I can do the same.
"You know he's not going to show, you know this, don't you Fraser?" Ray asks, shooting me an amused glance.
"I, too, am lonely."
Slowly, Ray turns and looks at me. "Huh?"
"I was referring to what you were talking about two days ago "
"Oh. Yeah. That."
Despite the fact he doesn't sound very encouraging, I forge on. "So have you thought about the guy thing, as you called it?"
He glances at me then looks back out the window. "Don't know how much you want to hear, Fraser."
"I want you to be honest with me."
Ray nods. "Yeah, I get that. Best friends."
"Yes, best friends," I concur.
"Yeah, I've thought about the me and you thing, not the guy thing specifically. Just me and you. If I was gonna be with a guy, I'd want it to be with you."
I am absurdly flattered and smile foolishly. "Thank you, Ray."
Ray looks over at me, curiosity in his eyes. "For what?"
"For saying that."
"Just the truth." Ray shrugs again, and we fall silent.
That night, as I lay in my cot at the consulate, I replay his words in the stillness of my mind, and wonder if being with Ray would be too terribly awful. I close my eyes and think about his hands on my body, the way his stubble would brush my skin as we loved, and my groin burns and aches as I reach down towards myself. No, not awful at all
"Mark my words, Son, it'll never work."
I snatch my hand back and my eyes fly open. With a sigh, I stare up at my father. I can't even find it in myself to be embarrassed that my father almost caught me with my hand on my penis, masturbating to thoughts of my partner. "What, Dad?"
"You and your partner. What kind of lives would you lead if you took that leap?"
"I thought that you said "
Dad frowns. "That was a different set of circumstances, Son."
"Not entirely, Dad. After all, Ray and I are two lonely men in need of companionship, and I'm sure we'd both like to have sex once in a while."
For a moment, I think he's going to have a heart attack if ghosts can, indeed, suffer from heart attacks in the afterlife, but instead he just shakes his head. "I can't believe you're talking to me like this, Ben."
"Dad, I'm forty-two years old. Don't you realise I do know what sex is?" Part of me wonders what has gotten into me, and the other part finds it strangely liberating to speak so freely.
"Well, of course you know what sex is, Ben. But good Lord " My father sighs. "I understand, Ben. I do. The Yank is a good man, I'll give him that. Lately he's had some serious blows."
I sit up. "What do you mean?" Diefenbaker whines and I glance in his direction. "What?"
"You're my son, but sometimes I wonder how you can be so obtuse."
"First the Botrelle case it still hurts him, even now. He still has nightmares."
"How do you know?" I rise from my cot to go get a glass of water.
Dad shrugs. "Sometimes I stop in. Check on him."
I turn and stare at him. "What?"
He shrugs again, but continues on as if I haven't said a word. "And then he thought you might really leave the RCMP to go sing with Tracy Jenkins." I stare at him, astounded. He continues. "And over Christmas, well Son, let's just say he didn't have a happy holiday."
"No buts, Son. The Yank loves you." Then, because I'm standing there, my mouth hanging open, Dad walks up to me, shakes his head and mutters, "Never mind what I said before. Go on, Son, take the leap. You won't be happy until you do. Neither will he."
He disappears, leaving me standing in the middle of my office, dumbfounded. Dief whines again and gets to his feet, looking at the door pointedly.
I run my hand through my hair and shake my head. "No, Dief, Ray's sleeping. It's late." Dief moans and stares at me. "Oh, all right." Truth be told, I badly want to see Ray. Replaying my father's words, I realise he's right I realise that I want Ray, that I need him, and that I love him. I also realise that I'm only lonely when I'm not with him. That thought alone is enough to spur me to action I hurriedly dress and leave the consulate, Dief on my heels.
As Dief and I walk towards his apartment, I enjoy the crisp night air and think about my partner. I love him. And I suppose if I'm being totally truthful with myself, I would have to acknowledge that it's a romantic love. I admit, I probably would have never let myself think such a thing before it probably would never have occurred to me. As my father says, I can be obtuse. Especially in matters of the heart.
But now I'm ready to make that leap.
I start to knock on Ray's door when it's abruptly opened, and I stand there, staring at another man. Another man in Ray's apartment. And Ray is behind him, wearing sweatpants and no shirt, and all I can think about is Ray telling me he's lonely
Obviously so lonely as to take solace in the arms of someone else someone who is not me, despite telling me he'd thought about me and him, not another man.
"Fraser!" Ray exclaims, sounding surprised. Bitterly, I think the surprise I hear in his voice must surely prove that he has found someone else the man in front of me who is looking at me curiously, and that I'm unwelcome here at this time, by the state of Ray's undress.
"Yes. Well." I nod, feeling sick to my stomach but determined to be polite. After all, it's not Ray's fault that I dithered along, making him think that there could be nothing between us. "I'm sorry to have disturbed you at this late hour, Ray. Dief and I " I look down at Dief and swallow hard. Dief looks up at me, also startled. "We'll just be going. I'll see you Monday, Ray. Have a good night."
I turn and make my way back the way I came, wondering how I could have thrown away the chance to have what Ray was offering me. Dief follows me, muttering about humans. I walk quickly, wanting to distance myself from Ray and his guest. With a deep breath, I step outside his building and look up at the sky, snowflakes falling gently. I know that it's cold outside, but I don't feel the cold. I don't feel. If I don't, it can't hurt.
God. How could this be happening? I'm nothing but a fool. He obviously wanted me, judging by the talk of the guy thing, as he put it, and yet I turned away from him, and he found solace elsewhere. And it hurts, a crushing hurt that seems to take my breath.
I have felt this hurt before, that is true, but I never thought to feel it in regards to Ray.
"Fraser!" Ray comes rushing out after me, barefoot and bare-chested and I turn and look at him, crossing my arms, protecting myself, or trying to. "Where are you going?"
"You're busy, Ray." Is that my voice, shaky and wobbly?
"Huh? No! C'mon, you don't have to go," Ray says, looking at me worriedly, shifting from foot to foot and shivering. I glance over his shoulder and see the man who was in his apartment getting into a taxi.
Suddenly, I have to know. "Who was that, Ray?" My voice steadies and I take a deep breath.
"My brother, Fraser. I was gonna intro "
Astonished, I stare at him. "Your brother?"
"Yeah, who else would it be?" Comprehension dawns on his face and he shakes his head vehemently. "No Fraser, c'mon, you didn't think he and I " He looks into my face, and breathes, "You did. You thought I was with him."
I nod, feeling that if I speak, I would surely break into a thousand pieces.
"Come back," he says, walking backwards towards his apartment building. "Come on in. I was just making some hot chocolate." I follow him, still unable to speak. Dief snorts as if to say that he told me so, and chases snowflakes before rushing up the steps towards Ray's apartment.
Once inside Ray's warm apartment, Ray gently removes my coat, hangs it up on the coat tree near the door and leads me over to the stove as if I were a child. He picks up a sweatshirt that is draped over a kitchen chair and slips it on, still shivering slightly, and he stares down at the pot with water in it.
Gathering my courage around me like a cloak, I touch his cheek, and when he looks at me, startled, I lean close to him and kiss him. His arms slide around me and he holds me close, holds me tight as my tongue slides into his mouth, as his tongue twines around mine.
Ray pulls away from me, looking at me in that intent focussed way he has, and words fall from my lips like a cascading mountain stream and I cup his face in my hands. "I need you, I want you, and while I may have never thought of the guy thing before you asked me, all I can think about now is you and I, together." He starts to say something and I shake my head. "No, Ray I have to tell you I love you, and I want you, and yes, I'm lonely, but only when I'm not with you."
In a low voice, Ray says, "I don't want you to pity "
"I don't pity you, Ray. Anything but. Yes, I can be obtuse. I can be completely blind to what is right in front of my face, completely deaf to what's in my heart." I kiss him again, marvelling at the softness of his lips in comparison to the stubble around his mouth. "But not with you. You won't let me."
Ray pulls away from me again, turns off the stove and leads me over to the couch. "Sit." I sit. He sits next to me and takes a deep breath. "I think about us a lot. And I I want you too. I I need you, Fraser. I need you like nobody's business. But I can't take all this thinking you're gonna leave."
"Leave?" I echo, confused.
"Leave," Ray states firmly. "First, I thought I'd lost you forever because of the whole thing with you not listening to me. And then "
"No Ray. You're not going to lose me." I turn to face him. "You have to believe me. I may "
"You could be sent back to Canada any time, and then where does that leave me?" Ray takes a deep breath. "I can't stand thinking of that, Fraser."
"Come with me," I say, impulsively taking his hand. "If I go, come with me."
Ray's eyes widen. "Fraser, what do you mean?"
"I mean, come to Canada. Live in Canada with me if I'm sent back home."
Ray looks at our joined hands for a moment, then lifts his eyes to mine. "As what? Your friend?" His tone is daring but hope shines in his eyes.
"My best friend, my lover, my everything," I say recklessly. The words are freeing, the thought exhilarating.
He studies me for a moment then smiles. "You mean that. Thought you said it wasn't a guy thing for you."
"Yes," I say simply, waiting for his answer. "It's not."
He searches my face and then nods. "Yes. I'll come with you."
"And I'll come with you, wherever you lead," I breathe, leaning into him, taking his mouth again, running my tongue across his lips before I lean back and smile at him.
"Anywhere I lead?" Ray asks, a huge smile on his face.
"Anywhere," I acquiesce.
"C'mon," he says, still holding my hand, leading me to his bedroom.
Butterflies as big as hawks are flying in my stomach, catapulting off of my ribs as we get closer and closer to Ray's bed. I've never done this before with a man, and I'm more nervous than not. Thoughts rush through my mind at two hundred kilometres an hour will he like my body? Will he like being with me? Will he change his mind? Will I change mine? Will he let me lick him? My penis hardens instantly at the thought of licking him and I chew on my lip, now wanting nothing more than to give this a try.
He looks at me, then down to the bed, then back to me. "Are you sure?"
I nod, unable to think of anything but licking his collarbone. He pulls his shirt off as if he's reading my mind and I instantly move close enough to do what I want.
He laughs and cups my head as I run my tongue across his skin. I slide my hands up and down his back as I find another sweet spot to lick and he gasps as I slide my hands down his buttocks. "Please, Ben " he whispers, and I push his sweatpants down, exposing his penis. I sink down to my knees and kiss his hip before I realise something. He's completely shaved here. My penis throbs at that realisation and I lick my way across his bare, smooth skin, revelling in the smoothness of it.
"God, Ray," I mumble, licking my way to his other hip before moving back to his penis. "God." I lick up it, swirling my tongue across the head and taste his pre-ejaculate. Eager for more, I begin to suck the very tip.
He sways and his hands sink into my hair. "Ben "
I rub myself through my jeans as he gently rocks his hips back and forth, the tip of his penis sliding in and out of the circle of my lips. With a shuddering call of my name, he orgasms and I swallow instinctively. I'm so hard I hurt, and he trembles as he watches me free myself from my jeans, stroking myself, trying to reach the release I need. He lowers himself to the floor facing me, and begins to touch me. The second his hand is on me and his lips are on mine, his tongue in my mouth, licking every trace of himself from me, I close my eyes and orgasm, pleasure shooting through my body in waves.
When I open my eyes again, he's licking his fingers clean of me and I pant in excitement, standing up and toeing off my boots and hurriedly removing my clothing so I can be naked against him.
He smiles up at me, amused, and I sit on his bed. "Join me?" Ray nods and soon enough, we're laying face to face, our hands on each other's body, our mouths fused together as we slowly learn each other's body, as we slowly love each other.
We finally fall asleep in each other's arms, and in the middle of the night, I wake, disoriented at first, my arms empty. Then I hear Ray's steady breathing and I reach out and touch him to make sure that this isn't a dream. He smiles in his sleep and scoots close to me, putting his cold feet on my leg. I slide my arms around him and smile into the dark, closing my eyes, letting sleep claim me again. My last thoughts are that no, I don't think it's a guy thing it's a Ray thing.