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"I used to imagine you with her."
Fraser's voice in the dark was soft and even, expressionless, like he was talking about the weather. "You. With her. How you'd be. This was before I'd scraped together the courage to imagine you with me."
Ray patted his hand reassuringly, but he hardly seemed to notice. "And then one night when I was imagining it, she turned to me -- this was in my fantasy, you understand -- she turned to me and said, 'Come on, Ben, hold his hands for me.' "
"Jesus." Ray's mouth was suddenly dry. Christ, Fraser pinning his wrists so Stella could -- it was kind of ugly, really, but jesus. Hot.
"So after that I imagined the three of us together. My role evolved from being a utility for her -- taking care of contraception, assuring you didn't move, making sure you were in the proper condition to --" Fraser swallowed loudly. "From an assisting role to a more active one. And then one night --"
"Fraser, what?" Jeez, he had something more embarrassing than this?
"I don't want to repeat something that will be needlessly hurtful, Ray."
"I don't give a fuck about her, Fraser, you know that." He'd been saying that for years, but lately it had surprised him by being true. He had Fraser now, and Fraser didn't want to need him, but he did, and that made all the difference.
"She and I had been alternately -- well, at any rate, she looked at me, again, as she had done that first time, and she said, 'No, you know what, Ben, you go ahead. I'm done with him.' "
I'm done with him. Jeez, if that wasn't Stella all over. Amazing how Fraser could have captured that, knowing her such a short time. "So then what? That when you made a move?"
"Well, this would have been in late August or early September --"
Fraser hadn't said anything until January at the earliest. "What the hell took you so long?"
Fraser turned on his side and looked at Ray. Even in the dark his eyes were intense.
"I had to be certain she was telling the truth, Ray."
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July 5, 2004