WHITHER THOU GOEST
Ray and Benton make a decision.
An established relationship story.
Written: September 2009. Word count: 1,111.
Ray Vecchio slammed the front door of his home. It had been a long, tiring day and more than once he'd struggled to keep his temper. He knew all new recruits were green, but he was sure he hadn't been that raw when he first left the academy.
He dropped his briefcase onto the hall table and threw his overcoat on top of it. Where was Benny? The noise of him slamming the door had been loud enough to wake the dead. His lover should be there looking at him, not saying anything, but silently chiding him for not simply shutting the front door.
"Benny?" he called loudly, as he strode towards the kitchen. Just as he reached the door, he heard the sound of the backdoor being closed. Well that explained it; Benny had been outside in the garden.
He pushed open the door and went into the kitchen - there was Benny. His Benny. His lover. The man whom he'd been with for over ten years. The man he loved. The man he would always love. The man who made his life worth living. The man who centered him. The man who completed him. God, you're getting soppy, Vecchio, he thought. But he didn't care. He hurried across the kitchen, but his arms around Benny, pulled him nearer and kissed him.
"Mmm," he managed, a short time later as they broke the kiss. "You smell good." Benny smelled of fresh air, wood smoke and everything Ray associated with the fall. Every time he smelled and tasted Benny like this, he knew just why they lived so far outside of Chicago; it was worth the long journey to and from the station.
"Thank you kindly, Ray," Benny replied, brushing his lips over Ray's. "How was your day?"
"Don't ask," Ray said, now pulling himself out of Benny's embrace and heading for the icebox and a cold beer. He didn't drink a great deal, but he did enjoy a glass of chilled beer when he got home, no matter how cold it was outside. And the day had been a very cold fall day, bright and sunny, but bitterly cold. He snaggled two bottle, opened them, took a long swallow from one, before pouring the contents of the other into a glass and handing it to Benny. "Well?" he demanded, as his fingers brushed against those of his lover.
Benny frowned. "Well?" he asked, taking a mouthful of beer.
"Don't you want to know how my day's been?"
"But, Ray, you told me not to ask."
Ray frowned and rolled his eyes. "Benny, how long have you -" He cut himself off as he saw the glint of amusement in Benny's eyes. His lover was teasing him.
Benny put his hand on Ray's shoulder. "I'm sorry, Ray," he said. "Do tell me how your day went."
Ray shrugged, tugged a chair out from the table and straddled it. "First day with half a dozen new recruits. I swear they get younger each year."
"Now, Ray, you know that it isn't possible. The age of . . ." Under Ray's steady stare, Benny trailed off and instead sipped his beer.
Ray sighed and ran his hand over his bald head. Benny, of course, still had his thatch of dark hair, although it was well sprinkled with grey now, which only served to make his lover all the more handsome. "I'm getting old," Ray declared.
Benny frowned, moved away from the counter he'd been leaning against and sat down at the table, taking Ray's hand, bringing it to his lips and lightly kissing it. "Fifty is not old, Ray."
"Nah. I know. But I feel it. Ah, Benny. It's not just the cops who are getting younger. We had a six year old, a six year old, Benny. Six!" He realized he'd raised his voice and lowered it again. "Brought into day. He'd smashed a window and when a cop tried to grab him, the kid, the six year old, pulled a knife and stuck it into the cop's arm."
"Is the man okay?"
Ray nodded. "Yeah. It was just a flesh wound really, but . . . The kid was six, Benny." He took another long swallow of the beer. And then blurted out what he'd been thinking about for quite some time. "I've had enough, Benny. I'm going to retire." He held his breath and he locked gazes with Benny and waited. "Well?" he demanded, after a minute of silence had gone by. "Aren't you going to say anything?"
"Do please forgive me, Ray, I was calculating."
"I was working out exactly when I would need to hand my notice in, in order to coincide with your retirement date."
"Benny?" Ray barely whispered his lover's name. He couldn't believe Benny was suggesting it, hell, not even suggesting, he was stating it. He hadn't dared to hope that Benny would be ready to retire as well. He knew how much his lover enjoyed, in fact love, his job of running the small local library, which also seemed to involve visiting the homes of many of the patrons to put up shelves, etc. "You'd . . . You're saying you want to retire as well?"
Benny put his head slightly on one side, frowned a little and looked at Ray. "But of course, Ray. After all we did agree, admittedly several years ago now, that when one of us retried, the other would too, in order to spend time together. And also -" Benny stopped speaking abruptly and to Ray's surprise stood up and crossed to the stove, where he bent down to look in the oven.
Ray frowned for a moment and hastily cast his mind back over the years. Of course! He put the nearly empty bottle on the table, stood up and hurried across to where Benny now stood. He sipped his arms around his lover from behind, put his chin on Benny's shoulder and nuzzled his neck. "We will have indoor plumbing, won't we?" he murmured.
He heard Benny sigh and felt him relax in his arms. Seconds later Benny turned around and smiled at Ray. "Are you sure, Ray?"
"That I want indoor plumbing?" Now Ray teased his lover.
Benny's smiled widened. "No, Ray. That you want to move to Canada?"
"Retire to Canada," Ray corrected gently. "And, yeah, Benny. I am."
Now Benny frowned a little. "Because I know we agreed all those years ago. But if you'd rather stay here, I quite understand. And this is quite a rural place and we could -"
Ray silenced his lover with a long, lingering kiss.
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