X MEANS I LOVE YOU
Set six months after Burning Down The House.
Ray writes Benny a love letter.
An established relationship story.
Written: February 2009. Word count: 760.
14TH FEBRUARY 1998 - LAS VEGAS
Well, here I am writing you yet another letter than I won't send. Not because I don't want to, but because I can't. I can't send it because I'm not me, I'm someone else and I'm not here, I'm still in Chicago. That sounded better in my head.
This will make the sixth letter I've written you since I had to leave Chicago. No, wait, I wrote two in December, so the seventh, and like the other six I'll keep it safe in a place that no one knows about until the day comes when I get to come home and then . . . Well, then maybe I'll give them to you.
I still miss you, Benny. I still think about you all the time. I still dream about you. I still - Ah, you donít want to read me being maudlin.
So how's Chicago? How's the guy pretending to be me? What's he like to work with? And how's Dief - you know, I even miss him and his hairs all over my suits.
Oh, who am I trying to kid. I don't want to know about Chicago or the guy pretending to be me or even Dief, I want to tell you what I had planned for today. Because I did have a plan, Benny, I had a big plan. Today was going to be the day when I was going to suggest we made our relationship more formal. Let people know, moved in together, that kind of thing.
And before you ask about Ma, well, she'd have been fine. I know she would have been. Want to know how I know? Well it was a few weeks before I had to go away and she came home from Church really upset because Mrs. Lucini had disowned her son because - wait for it - it turns out he was dating another man. Ma couldn't believe that any mother could disown her son. She said that if God hadn't wanted them to be together he wouldn't have allowed them to fall in love.
Yeah, I know that's a strange way of looking at it, maybe. And I know you'd say 'but that was someone else's son', but remember Ma forgave Frannie and me for getting divorced - and that's the ultimate sin in the eyes of the Catholic Church. So I'm sure she'd have been fine about you and me. She likes you, she likes you a lot - you and furball.
But if she hadn't have been, well . . . You know what, Benny, I'd have accepted it. Sure I'd have been upset, but I'd have had you and you're the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Strange that, even when Ange and I married, even when we were madly in love I don't remember ever consciously thinking, let alone saying, 'I want to spend the rest of my life with her'. I know I took vows and so I guess I did say it, but I never thought it, not for myself. But with you, it's different. I know I want to spend the rest of my life with you.
So that was my big plan. Do you like it?
Not that I was just going to blurt it out, no. I was going to take you out to dinner, somewhere nice and romantic and we'd relax and have a nice meal and then later, before . . . Well you know, then I'd . . . Well I guess 'propose to you' would fit.
But I can't do that, not this year. Because this year I'm here and you're there. I don't know what you're doing and you don't know what I'm doing. For all I know you've met someone else and fallen in love - I don't want to believe that, but I guess it's possible. Except it isn't, because I would know. Somehow I'm sure I would know. Besides you're Canadian; you're a Mountie; you're honorable; you wouldn't do that to me.
So I know you're there, in Chicago waiting for the day I'll come home to you. And I tell you, Benny, that day can't come quickly enough for me. I will come home to you and if you're willing we'll settle down together and raise wolf-cubs. Only kidding about the wolf-cubs.
Well, I guess I'd better finish this and put it away in my safe place with the other six.
So until next month Benny.
In Time is the companion piece to this story.
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