The Adventures of Benton and Ray
Perils of the Midnight Sun
Frannie wrote me that she thought Fraser had tamed me and that made her happy. It was one line in a five-page letter, but it ticked me off. At first, I thought she meant my manners. I mean what kind of circus animal was I supposed to be? Was I not fit for polite society? Then I thought better of that. I’d been out in restaurants with the Vecchios. So that couldn’t have been what she meant. Nobody with a family that feels free enough to be that loud in public should be throwing stones. Besides, Fraser hadn’t been able to stop Dief from doing practically anything he wanted to do. He’s just been lucky that Dief wasn’t of a mind to wiz where ever or gnaw on anyone that got on his nerves. His luck with me wasn’t much better. I still got ‘Ray, Ray, Rayed’ when I used my ‘tendency to be unflinchingly forthright’ in public. And he still rubbed that eyebrow and cracked that neck whenever I rendered my opinion ‘in an inopportune and boisterous manner.’ So, since I hadn’t become Little Lord Fauntleroy, She musta meant something else.
Then, I thought about that line some more and got even more ticked off. What was I some kind of heaving bosomed babe from one of those books she was always reading? First off, what was she doing thinking about us like that? It was more than a little creepy. And that whole idea was completely off track, too. I was definitely lacking in the bosom department. And it wasn’t like I was swooning all over the place when Fraser was around. Not exactly swooning. I didn’t fall over into his arms at the sight of him. Not just the sight of him anyway.
I admit to some knee weakening when he smiled at me. He didn’t give big warms smiles to just anyone. And the one he gave me when he came home still made my heart flutter. It’s been over a year and it always feels like the first time he grinned at me with that twinkle in his eyes. Okay, so I have swooned once. But that was after a lot of tonguing and sucking happened. I defy any man to stand up after Ben goes down -- scratch that. Just take my word for it. And he didn’t sweep me up in his arms. It was a fireman’s carry. He carried me to the bedroom after draining me; threw me down and really went to work on me. I had to sit on my hip for two days afterward. What a night that was. And it all started because my deranged Mountie thought someone else was interested in my skinny ass.
I was just being neighborly. I could even say I was being a diplomat. It happened when I was in town dropping off things I’d fixed and chewing the fat with the locals. Fraser and I planned on catching dinner at the McIntyre Hotel, so I had the time to kill. I was walking along the main drag when I heard a lot of shouting from the office of Permafrost Adventures. There were a pair of tanned Yahoos yelling at Lars Jergens. He looked confused and then grateful to find me in the doorway.
“What the hell is going on?” I shouted at them.
“This ain’t none of yer business, dude,” The dark haired Yahoo said. California, I was betting.
That pissed me off right away. “You want me here, Lars?”
“Yes, if you don’t mind,” he replied.
“I’d be delighted,” I said. “Now, assholes, what’s your problem?”
“Whoa, that’s the first asshole I’ve heard up here,” the blond Yahoo said. “You American?”
“Yeah. Chicago,” I said. “I’m gonna ask one more time, then I’ll kick your asses down to the RCMP station.”
“Whoa, wait a minute,” the blond said. “We were just tellin’ this guy that we don’t like gettin’ ripped off.”
I looked at them sideways. Lars was one of the nicest guys in town. No way he was ripping off clients. “I’m sure that’s a mistake.”
“Look, he wants us to buy all this food to take on the tour. This ‘special’ food and shit only he sells,” the dark haired guy said. “Like we can’t stock up at the market for way less.”
They didn’t look like they could live for a week without a tanning booth. I wondered why in the hell they’d want with an arctic tour in a tent. “Just out of curiosity, why do you want to go out in the cold wilderness for a week?”
“Two weeks, dude,” The blonde said. “It’s the coolest plan. We found out from our hairstylist that the next Survivor will be in the arctic or someplace really cold. And we thought we could get ready for the next casting call.”
“Stellar plan, man,” the dark haired guy said. “What do ya think of that?”
“I think you’re both going to die,” I said. “Lars, can you give them their money back?”
“What the fuck?” The dark haired one said before stepping into my face. He soon was shoved against a wall with my arm over his windpipe.
“Let me explain a few things. First, I’m former Chicago PD, but I work with the Mounties and can haul your ass to jail. Second, this ain’t no trip to a ski resort. You don’t prepare to be in the bush out here, you die. And I don’t want you taking any of my friends with you.”
“Okay, okay,” the blond said. “We don’t want any trouble. But we really need to take this trip. It could be our big break.”
I let the dark haired idiot go. “Okay, the food packages are cold weather rations. They are designed by the military to keep you alive when you’re working in that kind of cold.”
“But it’s so much food,” the blond said. “We’ll be like porkers when we get back.”
“No, you’ll probably weigh 20 pounds less than you do now,” I said. “You need at least 4500 calories a day out there. You’re burning them up keeping your body temperature where it should be and fueling the activity.”
“Wow, we’d be so ripped,” the dark Yahoo said.
“But that’s not all. If you want to go on this trip, you have to dress the way your told, sleep when your told and sometimes haul ass when you’re told. You don’t question anything, you just do it.”
“We can do that,” the blond said.
I sighed. I didn’t like the idea, but they were grown -- sort of. I looked at Lars. “Make me a deal before they go out, Lars.”
Lars was looking very grateful at how this worked out. “Yes, Ray?”
“Let Frase get a look at them before you take them out. If he thinks they can make it, then you go,” I said. I didn’t want Frase and his guys – including me having to risk life and limb to find the yahoos either.
“I sure will. Thanks, Ray.”
“No problem. Later, dudes.”
So I forget about the Yahoos for the rest of the afternoon and got my business done. When I made my way to the McIntyre Hotel, I find them again at the bar at the restaurant. Greatness this was not.
“Duuude!” The blond said. He wasn’t drunk -- just much too LA. “Ray, right?”
“I’m Blake and this is Todd,” he said. “Let us buy you a beer.”
I was still too much of a Chicago cop to turn down free beer. “Sure, why not. I have a few minutes.”
I regretted that move as soon as they opened their mouths. They had a theory about how obeying Lars would help them prepare to be the ultimate survival contestants. It was a detailed theory. I didn’t think plans for world peace had that much detail. But somewhere along the way up here I had learned not to say ‘what are you, nuts’ or ‘bullshit’ which would have kept the argument going at a nastier tone. I just froze a little smile on my face and kept nodding.
That was where Fraser found me drinking a beer and having my back slapped by the young, tanned Yahoos. All sorts of things went across his face before he settled on the polite expression. I introduced them. Dief trotted in and whined about us not getting to our table and making with the food. He went ahead to encourage movement.
“Wow, a real Mountie. This is so cool,” Blake said. “Wanna beer?”
“Thanks, but Corporal Fraser and I have to discuss some police business,” I said steering Fraser toward the back of the restaurant. “You guys have fun.”
I didn’t lie when I said that. I told Fraser about the problem at Lars’ place and my solution. He thought it was a ‘prudent plan’ on my part. Since I had my back to the boys so I could make moony eyes at him, he relaxed. I forgot about them again as we stuffed ourselves and looked at each other after a whole eight hours apart. I know how that sounds, but that’s a little sappy not tamed. He has a great face. I miss looking at it during the day. The funny thing about living up here with Fraser is that we see less of each other than we did in Chicago -- a lot less. It’s worse when he’s patrolling. That photo cell phone helped when he could get through, but I still didn’t like being away from him for long. Even though I had the dual citizenship thing and special permission from the RCMP to carry a gun, Fraser didn’t want to push our luck by bringing me on patrol. In my opinion, no one in town would kick. But you never know. Still sucks. And that’s not tamed.
The Yahoos were gone when we left. Fraser went on and on about a new layer of bureaucracy he had to deal with. Even my super Mountie was confused by the sheer tonnage of paperwork he had to cope with at this post. We were so into the newest multi-part form when we got inside the cabin that I was taken off guard when his mood shifted. While we were taking off our boots and coats, I’m hearing about the problems of storing the copies of the new form. Next thing I know, I’m plastered against the wall. He didn’t scent me. That hot mouth was working mine before I could say a word.
I felt him opening my belt then the top button on my pants. Oh boy. He was really going to give it to me. The thought made me moan into the kiss. Fraser liked that. He somehow gentled and intensified the kiss as he pushed my pants down. My knees were starting to get weak, but Fraser wasn’t letting me slide down the way like I wanted to. He held me with an arm across my abdomen as he got down on his knees. He did scent my groin through my long johns. I’d have to remember to smack Frase in the head if he thought anyone else had been down there. But right then I was busy not falling down and moaning. Then I had to move on to babbling because he had pulled down the long johns and was tonguing me. Thoroughly. And with lots of concentration.
“God, Ben...” I wailed as he swallowed me whole. He had hands on my hips while I threaded my fingers through his hair. I wasn’t pushing him. I just needed to hold onto something. I felt like I would melt away into the floor. He worked me without mercy. I had no air in my lungs as I came with stars behind my eyelids.
Then my knees went. Fraser let me slump over his shoulder then gently lifted me up. By the time my head cleared, I was on my side. Fraser had two fingers in me and was working on a third. I relaxed against them and pushed back letting him know I was ready for him. He murmured appreciatively then pushed inside me. God, he owned me. He knew how to work me better than I thought anyone could. I opened for him moving against him the way he needed Holding him when I thought he was close enough to push over the edge.
“Ray,” He gasped against my neck as he came. I didn’t come that time, but I fell asleep anyway. It was all too intense. I was vaguely aware of being cleaned up. But I didn’t really wake up until Fraser zoomed under the covers with a cold face and really cold hands which he promptly pressed against my nice toasty skin.
“Hey!” I whined with a shudder. “I always warm the hands when I walk Dief solo.”
“I’m sorry, Ray,” He murmured nosing through my hair. “I wanted to get back as soon as possible.”
“Crazy Mountie,” I muttered. I knew this was all about those tanned lunkheads. As he settled around me, I smiled.
That night I came to a couple of conclusions. I wasn’t fond of the tourist seasons. It made things in town unnaturally hectic. Not nearly as hectic as any given day in Chicago, but a little went a long way in Inuvik. I began to prefer the weeks of cold darkness. Aside from having a lot of quality time with Fraser -- there wasn’t much socializing going on -- everything was quiet. Life was very peaceful and predictable.
Then I figured out what Frannie meant. She thought Fraser had calmed me down. I woulda went crazy in all that dark and quiet back in my 2-7 days. Heck, even before that I was restless. Had to be doing something or going somewhere. When I was with Stella we went out a lot and ate and danced. I can’t remember too many quiet nights on the couch save for when I was sleeping on it alone towards the end. I wouldn’t have been able to write a postcard let alone the long letters I was sending back to Chicago every week. I was a very different guy from back then.
Frannie was partly right that Fraser had caused my change in attitude. I knew for certain that he loved me. I knew I couldn’t need him or want him too much. There wasn’t a desperate push to win him over every day. I didn’t have to change to hold onto him. All I had to do was love him back. That made it easy to be content and enjoy each day -- even if those days were cold and dark.
But Fraser wasn’t the only reason I preferred the Arctic winter. Every nut job we’d run into up there had come during the time of the Midnight Sun. There was Whiplash at the beginning of my first one and Canasta at the end. I was very happy after that summer to stick close to home fixing things and learning how to cook anything with maple syrup from Food Network Canada.
The next time the sun wouldn’t go down wasn’t much better. I had just gotten my legal status and the gun permit which was good, because the Dalton brothers had come to town. Frank and Danny Dalton had embezzled a lot of money from a prestigious firm in Toronto. They got the notion in their heads that they could hide out in the Territories until the heat was off. A dumber plan I couldn’t think of. They found the hotel on the internet, for Christ’s sake. There were TVs in the photos of the rooms. And even if the town were as isolated and desolate as they thought, that makes it harder to hide in. Strangers do not go unnoticed. And if you don’t have a plausible story by the end of the first day, count on a friendly visit from the RCMP. I mean it is friendly, but they will want to know what your business is there, if only to be more helpful. They would have been far better off hiding in New York.
Two days after I got the buzz about the two odd city guys that wouldn’t leave their hotel room, Fraser called me to his office. For some reason, he was loaded down with brochures. And he was alone. That meant I got one of those special smiles.
“What’s up, Frase?” I asked. There was no way the doing it on the desk fantasy was ever going to happen, but I had hopes.
“Ah, Ray. I just got a call from the Arctic Cabin Inn. The owner has been having some trouble with the guests,” Fraser said.
“Trouble? The Who in a Hotel Room trouble?”
“Nothing that extreme, but they have been demanding room service for their meals three times a day,” Fraser said. “It’s not something the Inn offers as the owners are elderly. The guests have paid handsomely for the service, but they don’t want to set a precedent.”
“I get that,” I said. I had to be careful with my repairs business. No rush jobs and no taking on more than I can handle without stressing out. “What’s with the brochures?”
“I thought I’d introduce myself then provide them with information on the hospitality available in town,” he said. “And I thought I’d invite you to come along to attest to the quality of the restaurants.”
“And I can carry a gun.”
“You have sampled all the restaurants.”
“And I’m packing heat.”
“And you have a discerning palate.”
“And I can bust a cap.”
“You have an engaging way of expressing yourself.”
“Yes, your being armed may be of assistance,” he said. “The constables are tending to other duties out of town. Your demeanor in the face of belligerence may be necessary.”
I smiled. “You need my ‘tude, huh? I like this.”
The fax machine went off just then. I was checking out the pamphlets while Fraser was frowning at whatever came in. The next thing I knew, I was being handed a Kevlar vest.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“The Dalton Brothers are in town,” Fraser said.
“Dinky Dalton?” I asked.
“No Daniel Dalton and his brother Frank,” Fraser replied handing me the bulletin. I read it while Fraser recalled his men then got more information from his superiors. They looked normal enough. I put on the vest anyway.
“Our back-up is about a half an hour away,” Fraser said. “I’d rather not wait.”
“Nah, let’s go,” I said. “They’re embezzlers. How dangerous can they be?”
We were pinned down for ten minutes under a near constant hale of gunfire before I thought to ask a pertinent question. “How much money did the Dalton boys take?”
“Three million dollars,” Fraser replied. He returned a volley of fire. It grew quiet for a while.
“Three million???” I asked. “We shoulda waited. The reason they wouldn’t come out for food is that they have it with them.”
“That stands to reason, Ray.”
I looked at Fraser and smiled in spite of the situation. He glanced over at me curious.
“Seems like old times, doesn’t it?” I asked.
“Yes,” Fraser chuckled.
“But now we can both shoot back,” I said. Then we did in response to a new wave of fire.
In the end, we had to wait for back up. Both sides were too well defended to get to each other. Once the constables arrived, they took the back of the cabin and flushed the brothers out to Fraser and me. They got taken to jail and Fraser and me found the loot. You need a lot of suitcases for three million dollars. Fraser had to have it stored in the vault at the bank. Biggest deposit I’ve ever made.
That went okay, but I was put on edge for the rest of the season. It was quiet though. Inuvik was busy with visitors, but there were no bad incidents. I think that Fraser was even a little bored. I liked boring just fine. That was another change for me. Besides, I knew how to keep my Mountie entertained. I sent him quick photos of myself on our sofa with that special smile when I wanted him home for lunch. When I got polite replies, I knew he was really unable to get away. I knew I would pay when he got home. Sometimes, he didn’t even eat dinner first. But there were other times when he would call after my messages and simply say ‘Do. Not. Move.’ That would be fast but intense. And I know he loved leaving me naked and cross-eyed on the couch. Fraser would later say that the rest of his afternoon ‘passed very well, indeed.’
After a few of those lunch hours, I was almost at the point where I could like the Midnight Sun. And then I got the phone call. I had been working all day on what seemed to be Canada’s oldest working truck when Constable Murphy called. I knew by his tone that it wasn’t a routine message.
“Corporal Fraser has been shot,” he said. “He’s been taken to the hospital.”
“I’m on my way.”
I was so scared. I felt colder than I ever had up there. I musta looked like it too, because as soon as I found the right floor the doc was rushing up to reassure me.
“Mr. Kowalski, please don’t worry. Corporal Fraser has sustained a bullet wound to his left calf. It went through and nicked the bone. He’s in surgery now. Some muscles have been damaged and must be repaired. Then we have to watch for infection in the bone,” he said. “He’ll be down for a few weeks and then he’ll need therapy and time to get strong, but he will recover.”
I don’t know what I had bee thinking would be wrong. The relief hit me hard. I needed to sit down in a hurry. Someone was pressing water in my hand.
“Thanks, Doctor,” I said. “When can I see him?”
“I’ll show you to his room. It will be a while before he’s out of recovery and brought up,” the Doctor said.
“Okay, thanks,” I said wishing I could think. To me, I sounded like an idiot. But that was one hairy roller coaster I’d just been on. My gut was still in an uproar.
They took me to the room and I sunk into a chair by the bed. A little while later, a nurse gave me a cup of tea. I sipped that for a few minutes. My hands stopped trembling. Dief popped into my head. I called Constable Murphy to find out if the wolf was okay. He was, so I asked Murphy to keep him at the office. He had a bed and a bowl there. Murphy offered to feed and walk him. I hope he didn’t think I was unhinged but I made him promise to explain to Dief that I would get him as soon as I could. Murphy seemed cool about it. I hoped he wasn’t humoring me. A snarky Dief is not a good thing.
I more or less stared out the window sipping my cooling tea for I don’t know how long. The next thing I knew, they were wheeling Fraser into the room. He looked peaceful enough. The leg was wrapped to the knee. I scooted out of the way while they settled him into the bed.
“Corporal Fraser came out of the anesthesia but he’ll likely sleep through the night,” the nurse said. “We had to give him something for the pain.”
“I’d like to stay,” I said. “He’ll want me here when he wakes up.” I hated being so raw and vulnerable in front of this woman, but I couldn’t pull it together to not show how I was feeling. She was very nice though.
“That’s fine, sir,” she replied. “But that chair isn’t very comfortable.”
“I’ll be okay,” I said.
When I was alone with him, I moved to the side of the bed. The only thing I wanted to do was touch him. I smoothed his hair back then stroked his face.
“Ben,” I whispered. “Ben, I’m here.”
Fraser slept on. I kissed him on the forehead then settled in the chair and waited.
I didn’t really sleep. I nodded off then jerked awake through the night. I heard the shift changes both times. Nurses came and went checking on him. Fraser never moved. Before I knew it, I could smell the breakfast trays coming around.
“Ray?” His voice was faint. His hand squeezed mine as his eyes opened.
I eased the bed up to a sitting position, then gave him some water. His eyes never left my face as he drank.
“You haven’t slept, Ray,” he whispered when I took away the glass. I could hear the strain in his voice.
“I’m okay, Ben.” I said. I needed to touch him again. I smoothed his hair again then leaned in for a brief kiss, but he made it a clingy one. “I was scared.”
He nodded at that. “I wanted to call you myself. I knew Murphy wouldn’t let you know that I was in no danger. He can be perfunctory in his reports.”
“It’s okay, I wouldn’t have believed you either,” I smiled. “What in the hell happened, Frase?”
Fraser actually rolled his eyes. “I was exceedingly stupid. A pair of drunken hunters, sportsmen they called themselves, were having an argument in the street. I was making my rounds and went to calm the situation. One of them was gesturing with his weapon as I came up to disarm them. It went off.”
“Jesus. He could have taken off your head.”
“I should have taken a more forceful approach,” Fraser said with a sigh. “I’m accustomed to more responsible hunters.”
I decided another kiss would help. Me or him, whatever. He hummed against my lips. His eyes were very warm when I pulled back.
The nurse came in then to get Fraser ready for the doctor. Two breakfast trays arrived as she finished taking his vitals. I was grateful because I realized the last food I had was early yesterday. Even hospital food looked good. We were eating when the doctor made his rounds. Our expressions must have been something, because he started chuckling.
“The surgery went very well,” he said. “The recovery will take time, but there should be no lasting effects.”
“How long will I have to stay here?” Fraser asked.
“Four, maybe five days,” he said. “It’s the injury to the bone that makes us cautious. You’ll need IV antibiotics. And I can be sure you don’t jar my stitching.”
Fraser nodded but swallowed hard. I was barely staying in my skin.
The doctor looked at me. Seems he was a mind reader. “Mr. Kowalski, the Corporal will have to keep that leg still as much as possible. You have to be fit to take care of him.”
“Hey, I know how to take care of Frase,” I said.
“I’m certain you know how,” he said. “But are you able? You need some rest before I can release Corporal Fraser.”
Well, that was a kick in the head. The doctor beat a hasty retreat. Fraser was staring at me carefully.
“I think you should go home and get some rest, Ray,” Fraser said quietly. “You are exhausted.”
“I want to come home as soon as possible,” he said. Bastard. I still didn’t want to leave him.
“The house is stocked. I been cuttin’ wood forever,” I said. “There’s nothing to do there to get ready.”
Fraser reached over and gently ran a hand across my face. “I need you to be ready. I don’t want helping me to tax everything you have. And you have your customers to think about.”
“I don’t want to be that far from you for so long,” I said. “Please, Frase.”
He smiled at me. “Perhaps, there is a compromise. Go to Mrs. Thompson’s Inn. Leave the number with the nurses station. Just stretch out for a little while. Take Dief. Even if you don’t sleep, you need to rest and not in a chair. We can decide on everything else later.”
That sounded reasonable. But tomorrow morning was a long time without seeing him after all this happened. “Can I come back for dinner?”
Fraser chuckled. “Yes, Ray.”
I left him dozing after breakfast and checked into the inn. Dief was really glad to see me when I went by the post. I was careful not to look into lock-up at the man who’d shot Fraser. I didn’t want to end up in the next cell. Dief and I had a walk. I picked up some clothes and underwear from the dry goods store, then headed for my room. I was only going to stretch out and watch some TV while Dief snored next to me. I remembered getting all propped up on my pillows and turning on the TV. The next thing I new, my cell phone alarm was going off. My bones felt like lead. I barely had time to shower and change for dinner. The Mountie was right again. I had been dead on my feet.
I must have looked a whole lot better. The smile I got that time made me want to lock his door, nurses be damned. I settled for a very long, deep kiss.
“How ya feeling?” I asked against his lips.
He smiled as I pulled back. “I’m easily fatigued and there is pain, but I’m fine.”
“I want you home,” I said. “The sun goes down for a while soon. I can concentrate on getting you better. Maybe give you some incentives to get back on your feet.”
“Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray,” He murmured. That twinkle in his eyes was back. I was finally feeling okay.
Over dinner, we figured out a compromise. I would do my repair work at home and keep the house warm, but at night I would stay at the inn. I made it clear that I would be around the hospital a lot. Fraser was okay with that. God, it was hard leaving him that night. His kisses were deep and lazy. He wasn’t pressing me down, but he held me still letting me know that he didn’t want me to leave either. I had to rest my forehead on his before I could stand up straight.
“What you do to me,” I said.
“What you do to me,” he replied. That smile was back. It was a little loopy from the drugs. As soon as he drifted off I left for the inn.
We got through that week and I got Fraser home. We had to make adjustments until he could walk without crutches. I did the chores around the house. He took over cooking. Not that he had to cook much other than breakfast. The women in town kept sending up dishes that only required heating. I think he took more leave than he would have years ago. The Fraser of old would have used the minimum to get on his feet then did his duty at a desk until he could go back on the street. This version combined his sick leave with personal time so that he could completely recoup at home. He did arrange to have reports e-mailed and set up weekly meetings with Murphy at the cabin. And I made it clear that I was available if they needed extra help. I never said anything about Fraser’s arrangements to stay home for the duration, but I was glad.
There were adjustments in other areas. Fraser couldn’t manhandle me the way he liked -- the way I liked. I missed his weight on me when I slept, but there were some advantages. I could tease my Mountie the way he teased me. Didn’t get to do it right away. Fraser was in pain and the meds kept him loopy. He wanted to be held. He wanted as much contact with me as possible. On days that I had repairs to do or deliver, I made sure to pet him and kiss him as I came and went. I’d even lie down with him on the sofa for a nap in the afternoon. Nothing was better than climbing into blankets warmed by Fraser and sweet with his sleep smell -- except that he was in them. No one made me take a nap since I was a little squirt, but I love them now.
It didn’t take a doctor’s report to tell me when Fraser started feeling better. After two weeks, he was awake more than he was asleep. He was reading Constable Murphy’s reports and replying to them and catching up on work related readings. But the kisses were the biggest clue to his recovery. They were getting more and more hungry. He was making it harder and harder to get out of bed with him or off the sofa. I was trying to be strong. The doctor’s words kept echoing in my head. If he tore anything, he would have to go into surgery again. That would mean more weeks without him being him. I could be strong and wait a little longer. The problem was that Fraser was getting stronger.
After a narrow escape one morning just after the two week mark, I spent most of the day out in the shed doing my repairs. In between that, I was trying to get hold of Fraser’s doctor to get exact instructions. I was sinking fast and needed something I could use against him. He was using everything against me. Of course, the doctor wasn’t much help. I had to keep him still. The repairs were still fragile. It wasn’t what I wanted to hear. Fraser was his normal self at lunch. He nattered away about Murphy’s last report and the latest invitation from Frannie and company to visit Chicago. We entertained the idea of a trip. I agreed to Murphy’s very subtle request of making patrols when I came to town. He was cleaning up the dishes when I went back to work. I got away clean. Should have been tipped off by that.
Two hours later, I came in for something to drink. Fraser seemed to be sacked out on the sofa with the TV watching him. I had a glassful of juice then went to check on him. Okay, I didn’t need to check on him. He just looked too good all tousled not to get a closer look. So I adjusted his blanket then smoothed back his hair before turning to leave. Fraser caught me by the wrist.
“Don’t leave,” he whispered. “Lie with me.”
“Frase, I’d like to but...”
“Please, Ray,” he said. His eyes were as warm as his voice. I didn’t trust him. I really didn’t trust me, but I couldn’t pull away from him. He only let me go when he saw me unzip my coat.
I stripped down to my skivvies then slid under the covers up against the full length of him. He felt even better than he looked. Despite that gleam in his eyes, I thought we were going to nap. I settled against him chest to chest. My head was on his right shoulder. His left side was resting against the back of the sofa. It would have been easy to drift into sleep with his arms and his scent around me. But that wasn’t what Fraser wanted. I could tell as soon as I was close to him. It wasn’t just the erection poking me. I felt a vibe of lust as soon as he had his arms around me.
“Ben...no,” I gasped as he pulled me against him. “Your leg...”
“Will be fine, Ray,” He replied. God, his voice was so husky. I could hear the want in him. “Let me, Ray. Please...”
“No fair, Ben,” I murmured against his lips. “Oh, God.”
He kissed me deeply before I could think of how to stop him. Then I couldn’t think anymore. He was exploring my mouth slowly. I was slipping under, but I had to protect him.
“Ben, no... Your leg.”
He must have felt me getting ready to really pull back. In response, he flattened me against him then turned on his back so I was draped over him. Our erections were aligned. He put one of those big, warm hands on my ass. The other was tangled in my hair holding me in place. The bastard had me. Fraser knew I couldn’t struggle or I’d jar his leg. But I wasn’t worried about me jarring it. I was worried about him getting carried away. I froze against him, but Fraser wasn’t having any of that.
“Ray, please,” he whispered against my lips. “I need you. Now.”
No way, I could say no. My body was moving against him and he had my mouth before I could even think about objecting. And I’d been so scared and without him for so long. I needed that deep, hungry kiss. I needed him wanting me. So I moved against him. And the friction between us felt great. I let him use my mouth, and I was moaning into that kiss. We moved in a familiar rhythm until we were panting against each other. Then there was hot wetness between us. I felt a buzz like no other. Fraser looked dreamy eyed as we slowed to a stop. My bones were noodles, but somehow I got us cleaned up and into fresh clothes. We napped until it was time for supper. I was behind on my work, but I really didn’t care.
Being off schedule I could deal with. I still worried about Fraser being hurt making love with me. We both pulled all kinds of muscles going at each other since we’ve been together. And we were both healthy then. Still don’t know how I threw my neck out. And that’s what scared me. We get carried away having sex. It’s so easy because it feels so good. I couldn’t risk it again. Since resisting Fraser just wasn’t in the cards, I had to figure out a way to get control of the situation until he was well. I thought about it as I headed into town. The dry goods store had the answers I needed.
That night, Fraser behaved himself on the sofa. He played with my hands and petted my hair the way he usually would. But I knew how to read my Mountie. He was biding his time until he got me in bed. He knew that he could drive me crazy enough to let him do anything he wanted. I was certain when I came out the shower after walking Dief. Fraser was propped up in bed smiling at me. I knew he was naked under those blankets and I knew what was under there was rarin’ to go.
“Oh, no you don’t,” I said. “We are not rolling all over that bed. You are not going back under the knife.”
“Shush,” I said. I found the little bag from the dry goods store. “Scoot over to the center of the bed, and keep those hands where I can see them.”
“All right,” Fraser said mildly. His eyes were twinkling at me. Biding his time again.
“Better yet, wrap those hands around the posts in the headboard.”
That got an eyebrow raise, but he did it. He looked at me expectantly. I pulled out two red ribbons. They were an inch wide and very soft.
“I’m going to tie your wrists with a very loose bow,” I whispered. “If you pull free, we stop. I mean it.”
Fraser licked his lips then nodded. He kept very still watching me carefully as I gently tied him to the posts. “Is this really necessary, Ray? We could be careful.”
I smoothed his hair back with a smile. “Do you remember the neck brace, Ben?”
He chuckled at that. I pulled the covers back then settled beside him.
“Besides, I’ve wanted to do this forever,” I said. I began to caress his arms, tracing the muscles. “You never let me touch you as much as I want to.”
Fraser sighed as I stroked his hair. “I try Ray, but when you touch me... I lose control...”
I kissed him gently quieting him. “I’m not complaining, Ben. Never could complain about the way you want me. I just want a little extra now and then.”
I watched him as I ran my hand over that smooth, warm skin. His eyes grew dark and his breath caught.
“God, Ben,” I breathed. “I still can’t believe you’re with me. Up until Thatcher got hold of me, I was sure some snow bunny or a native princess would have nabbed you.”
He moaned as I flicked his nipples. “Ahhh... they tried. Tried very hard. I... ahhh... had a lot of food then. Granddaughters and nieces and distant cousins of townspeople suddenly visiting... But...”
I kissed him. The sounds he was making were making me crazy. “But?”
“They realized I wasn’t interested,” He murmured. “Please, Ray...”
I settled my mouth over his again. God, he was hungry. His tongue made love to my mouth. Made me want to untie those ribbons and let him go to town. I pulled out of the kiss to his very vocal objection.
“Slowing down, Ben,” I said. “There’s no stopwatch.”
“You are driving me crazy,” he whispered. “When I’m well, Ray...”
I smiled at him. “All the more reason to do what the doc says. You can nail me when you’re better.”
“Oh, I will, Ray,” He whispered. “I will have you in every way I’ve imagined since this injury. I may tie you to this bed forever.”
I smiled in the face of all that heat. Not that I didn’t believe him. I knew I was in for it as soon as the doc gave the all clear. It just made me smile that he was so into my scrawny self. I went back to petting him.
“Why did the ladies up here back off? Didn’t stop the ones in Chicago,” I said.
“I kept my distance even when I was in front of them,” he replied. His voice almost had a purr in it. I let my hand wander lower.
“I get that,” I replied. “I kinda thought folks were surprised to see you so friendly when you brought me back.”
“I’ve made it clear where my feeling lie,” he gasped. “Ray, please...”
I kissed him again. I was ready to get on with it. My tongue made a slow trip down all that beautiful smooth warm skin. My Mountie was sweet and salty. I liked tasting everything he was. And I mean everything. Can’t complain where the Mountie puts his tongue anymore. Mine went places where I never expected. But when you have that man laying open for you gasping and moaning. It can be inspiring. I would be more creative later. That time, I wanted to bury myself in him. I put a fat pillow under his bottom and had him rest his legs around mine.
“You let me do the work, Ben,” I whispered as I stretched him with my fingers. “Don’t move.”
“Anything, Ray... please...”
I wasn’t going to make Fraser wait. I had to have him. So I pushed into him.
“Ray... oh God... Ray...”
Fraser had that right. He was heaven. I moved inside him and stroked him for as long as we could handle. Fraser was good. He didn’t move. Even when he came, he just froze then exploded all over my hand. That did it for me. I came forever but still managed just to sag a little on my knees. I didn’t even fall over on him. Somehow, I found it in me to clean him up after untying him. He remained on his back, but held me close all night.
We had a routine after that. Fraser’d let me be during the day and let me tie him up before we got down and dirty at night. The weeks flew by. I knew he was improving by the day, but he kept his real progress from me. I had a feeling it had something to do with payback but couldn’t be sure. Then came the day that the doctor gave him his six week evaluation. We made a day of it by going into town early in the morning. I had a lot of work to go over with my customers. Fraser had to meet with his Constables about his return. We had lunch and stocked up on supplies. It was late afternoon before we got home. I was left to rustle supper while Fraser took Dief for a walk.
“I’m gonna miss having you home,” I said over supper.
Fraser nodded. “I’ll miss you as well. Though it will be good to get back to work. I was getting restless.”
“I’ll say,” I laughed. “Maybe you could work nap time into your Mountie routine.”
Fraser smiled at that. “I don’t think that would be feasible, Ray. However, there are the weekends.”
“Fair enough,” I said. “So the doc says you’re up to snuff?”
“I’m top drawer, Ray,” he replied. His voice was soft. “Shall we clean up?”
We did the dishes and tidied up in no time. I headed for the desk to get my journal. I never got there. Instead, I found myself pressed against a wall. I moaned as his thigh separated my legs. God, I was in for it and I didn’t care.
“You,” Fraser murmured against my throat. “Will pay and pay for driving me crazy.”
He bit me along the curve of my shoulder. I cried out. The feeling was as much pleasure as pain. He soothed the bite with that wonderful tongue. My knees were weakening already. I was surprised my erection didn’t poke through my pants.
“I didn’t do anything... I just work...” I gasped as he licked my jaw. He all but growled at my response.
“Since when do you work half dressed?” He asked against my skin. “Since when do you cavort about in your underwear, Ray?”
Okay I did that. I’d been working on small things in the house to keep him company when he was moping. He was in a mood waiting to begin therapy. I thought I’d cheer him up.
‘S-sometimes, a guy needs a little air on his skin,” I replied. Okay, it sounded lame to me, but it was hard to think with him tugging at me ear with his teeth.
Fraser grunted at that. The fingers to one hand wove through my hair. “What about the stretching in your underwear, Ray? I’ve never known you to be a contortionist.”
Okay I did that, but I think Fraser was blowing it out of proportion. I was trying to get him out of bed during his mopey period. It worked. He started hanging out on the sofa while I worked. Soon after, he started puttering around.
“I thought I’d try some yoga. I’ve wanted to for years,” I gasped out.
“Yoga,” Fraser muttered. His mouth covered mine then thankfully ending the discussion. He held my head still and had me pressed close to his very aroused body. Oh, he was top drawer, all right. I could feel how strong he was in the way he held me. And the way he carried me. I didn’t even get the blow job. I was up and over his shoulder then flat on my back in just a few seconds.
He was showing me that he was back. I wasn’t going to make it easy. He had to straddle me to keep me still. My arms were pinned over my head by my wrists. My struggling was ended with a hard, deep kiss. I got lost in the heat of it. I’d missed his weight on me. Missed the feeling of being taken. It wasn’t long before I was moaning for him. He didn’t have any problems pulling my clothes off. And I wasn’t surprised to find my wrists bound to the headboard. I was surprised at the expression on his face as he looked at me.
“You’re beautiful, Ray,” he whispered. His eyes were soft and reverent.
I swallowed hard. “Yours, Ben.”
That got me another long, deep kiss. I think that payback left Fraser’s mind then. He was more into making me moan and sigh and gasp as he re-introduced his tongue to every inch of my skin. Each time I got close to coming, he’d gentle me then start building the sensations again. By the time he filled me with his heat, I was trembling and drenched in sweat. I came like a geyser when he finally let me. Later, much later I fell asleep with his weight on me. I could feel his heartbeat against my back. My Mountie was back.
We moved easily back into our routine. Fraser and I made up a huge batch of his prized stew to give to all the neighbors who had helped us out. As always, the winter had been hard on everyone’s vehicles and machines, so I had a lot of business. Life was greatness as we went into the warmer weather and the Midnight Sun. I wasn’t even uptight about it this time. Fraser reasoned that when we were in Chicago, we could have been blasted getting something from a convenience store or hit by a drunk driver. Not that there aren’t drunk driver’s in Inuvik, it’s just that vehicles are so few and far between, it’s easier to get out of their way. Then there’s being lawmen that makes life even dicier. It’s just something we had to live with. So I went into the summer with a better attitude. It was really pretty there in the warmer weather. And I got to see a lot more of Fraser’s skin outside the bedroom or the bathroom. The sight of that man chopping wood should be made into a painting. The Midnight Sun could be cool.
Anyway, I had this new attitude about the whole light around the clock thing. That didn’t mean that I didn’t expect something screwy to happen. What surprised me was that it began with a call from Frannie.
“Hey, Frannie,” I said when I recognized her voice. “Sorry we haven’t gotten back to you about coming down there. Fraser just got his schedule figured out. We’re going to come back before the holidays.”
“Sounds great, bro,” she said. “But that’s not why I’m calling. There was a bounty hunter here looking for you.”
“Janet Morse?” I asked. Okay, I didn’t like that. Not that she was a problem anymore, but I still didn’t want news of her to get to Fraser. Possessiveness must be catchy.
“No, Morse sent this one here to find you. She’s got some jumpers they think are heading for Canada. Morse must have thought you were still here and could reach Fraser.”
Oh, great. Now, we’re getting referrals. “Who is she and what did she want from Fraser?”
The Mountie in question walked in then. I mouthed ‘Frannie’ at him and he nodded.
“Her name is Sandy Cheeks and she’s from Texas,” Frannie said. “I couldn’t understand half of what she was saying. But she’s looking for a Daniel Coombs and Laurence Shackleford who rabbited on a robbery charge.”
“From Texas to here?” I asked. "What's wrong with Mexico?"
“She said they weren’t too bright. ‘Dumber than a sack of hair’ was the phrase,” Frannie replied.
An arm wound around my waist and I was pulled flush with Fraser. He rested his head on my free shoulder and threatened to nibble my neck. I tilted my head to let him then tried to sound normal.
“Do they have a nickname?” I asked.
“A nickname? Why?” She asked.
“Just humor me.”
I bit back a groan as he sucked on my skin. Fraser smiled against my skin.
“Yes, they do,” Frannie said. “Dirty Dan and Pin Head Larry.”
That sounded like something up our alley. “Thanks for the warning, Frannie. I’ll let Frase know... oh, God...”
“Jeez, guys. Get a room,” she said. I think she was laughing.
“Got one. I’ll call you about our trip. Bye.”
Fraser spun me in his arms then kissed me thoroughly while seriously feeling up my backside. He then released me with a smug smile.
“Shall we eat?”
The subject of the bounty hunter didn’t come up until desert. Mrs. Swenson baked me my favorite kind of cobbler for getting young Mr. Swenson to stop putting granola up his nose.
“So this bounty hunter believes that Dirty Dee and Pinhead Larry are heading for Canada,” Fraser said.
“Dan,” I said. “Dirty Dan. Dirty Dee lives in Chicago. These guys are from Texas.”
“I thought that fellow in Chicago was Dirty Dee Dammit,” Frase said.
“No, no. He’s always saying ‘I’m Dirty Dee, dammit.’ But that’s not his name,” I said. “It’s like saying ‘I’m Gumby, dammit.”
“I don’t follow,” Fraser said.
“Don’t worry about it,” I said.
“Very well. I’ll see about finding out if any of the three have crossed the border and try to ascertain if they are heading this way,” Fraser said. “Shall we clean up?”
“I’ll get it. Why don’t you run a bath?”
He smiled at that. “All right.”
I planned to reward him for not even bringing up Janet Morse. And he wasn’t trying to spare my feelings. It honestly just didn’t seem to cross his mind. What a guy.
During the weeks that followed, we got word of Sandy Cheeks chasing her jumpers all over British Columbia. The fugitives were causing mayhem in each town they went. They seemed to be free by sheer force of dumb luck. Ms. Cheeks, for all of her reported blustering, was not very good at apprehending them. Reports stated that she telegraphed her presence and that of law enforcement by trying to call them out for a gunfight or to toss them around using some martial art. All three seemed to be heading north.
Three days later I was waiting for Fraser at McIntyre’s when the doors burst open. She had huge hair and looked like a ski shop had exploded all over her. It was all very trendy looking, but luckily it was still fairly warm out. She would freeze in the winter. She stood with arms akimbo scanning the room which save for me and the waiter, was empty.
“Anybody here the law?” She asked. Yep, there was the drawl.
Since Fraser was due any minute and I was the law once, I figured it was close enough. “Can I help you, ma’am? I’m Ray Kowalski.”
“Hey, ain’t you the feller that Morse gal sent me to?”
“That’s me,” I said. “Have a seat.”
“Thanks, don’t mind if I do,” she said then chuckled. “Well, no wonder I couldn’t find you. This ain’t no where near Chicago.”
“That’s for sure.”
“Never did find that Mountie neither,” she said.
“He’ll be here in a few minutes. He lives up here,” I said. “We’ve heard about Coombs and Shackleford. Been tracking your whole trip.”
“You don’t say.”
I ordered her a beer. Fraser walked in a moment later. Dief considered Sandy then went to curl up in a corner. Fraser glowered at the wolf, but that was enough for me. I introduced them hoping we could solve her problem and get her and the jumpers out of town as soon as possible. For her part, Sandy was making moony eyes at Fraser.
“Wow, Janet said you was cute as a bug’s ear,” she smiled.
“You’re both very kind,” he said. He gave her the small smile with no teeth and it did not reach his eyes. “But to the matter at hand. Your fugitives have not been spotted in the area as yet.”
“Well, you’d know fer sure if they were,” she replied with a swig of her beer. “They’re both uglier than homemade soup, and jumpier than a rattlesnake in a pickle barrel.”
Fraser blinked at her. “However, some of the hunters have reported some unusual signs around some trapping sheds near here. We plan to investigate them tomorrow.”
“You just give me a holler and I’ll come a-runnin’,” she said. “I’ll be there faster than a barefooted jack-rabbit on a hot greasy griddle in the middle of August.”
“Good. Where have you taken rooms?” he asked.
She cackled then and slammed him on the back. “Ain’t you the smooth talker. We ain’t even broke bread.”
“I think he meant so that he could get in touch with you,” I said. My smile was small, too.
“Yes, that's right.”
“Oh, I get it,” she smiled. “Hard to get. Well, I’m staying here.”
“Very good,” he said. “We’ll be in touch. Ray, why don’t we settle up?”
Wow. He wanted out of there worse than I did. I was worried about offending the cook, but when the waiter came with the bill, he also had food packed up in boxes. From the aroma, it was our usual. The waiter looked sympathetic. Fraser looked grateful. I gave him a whale of a tip.
We were home before he spoke again. He savored a fork full of his dinner then looked at me. His eyes were warm though he seemed a little sheepish.
“I’m sorry to change our plans so suddenly, Ray,” he said. “It’s inexcusable, but I don’t have the patience for that sort of attention anymore. I found her behavior completely disrespectful of you.”
“Don’t apologize, Frase,” I said. “You kept me from acting like a jerk to get us out of there.”
Fraser smiled with that warm smile. “We have to find those fugitives, Ray. I don’t think I can tolerate more than a few days with her in town.”
I heard that. “How are those leads?”
“Very solid,” he said. “There has been a rash of petty crimes that point in a straight line to those sheds.”
“I say we get some shut eye then get the drop on them,” I said. “Give them to Ms. Cheeks and run all three out of town.”
Fraser chuckled at that, but he didn’t disagree with me. We set the alarm for 4 am.
I am not a morning person. Even living in the wilderness didn’t change that. But there were times when I could make an exception. I was awake the moment the clock went off. I was dressed faster than Fraser because he had the uniform bits to fool around with. So I had a quick cup of coffee and fed Dief. That’s when I noticed the answering machine light blinking. Our house phone was my work line. Anybody wanting Fraser for work called the cell phone. I kept the volume down so it didn’t bother me. I wondered who would have left a message late last night.
“This is Sandy. Don’t ferget, just give a holler and I’ll be there faster than a barefooted jack-rabbit...”
“Yeah, yeah... the rabbit,” I muttered turning the message off.
Fraser stepped out of the bedroom and put on his hat. “I’m ready,” he declared. We didn’t even bother with breakfast.
The plan was simple. Fraser and I were going to flush the jumpers out and Murphy was going to be waiting. Since those sheds didn’t have a back door or window to leap through, he just planned to tie ropes to the back of the structure and make like we were pulling it down. It was reasonable to assume that two not so bright guys from way south of here wouldn’t know how sturdy those sheds were.
Things were going smoothly. We managed to get into position without so much as a stir inside. Fraser had just looped one of the ropes onto a top corner of the shed when the quiet of the morning was shattered.
“DIRTY DAN AND PIN HEAD LARRY! I KNOW YER IN THERE. COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP!!”
I almost leapt through my skin. Fraser looked startled too. We waited. And they came out. They also started shooting. I looked at Fraser. He had the expression of a man who had had enough.
“I suggest we take a direct approach,” Fraser said. “They aren’t looking this way. Let’s just walk up behind them and give them something they can’t argue over.”
“Right on,” I said.
We eased around the shed. Sure enough, they weren’t looking our way. They were blasting the heck out of the two spots where Murphy and Sandy cheeks had taken cover. We needed to move before that crazy dame poked her head up and blew our surprise. Fraser read my mind. He started stalking toward them. I did the same. The gunfire masked what little sound we were making. Ten seconds later, we had muzzles pressed to the backs of their thick skulls. Ten seconds after that, they were handcuffs. Somehow, Ms. Cheeks wasn’t pleased.
“Well what kind of high handed business was that?” She demanded. “That ain’t sporting sneakin’ up on them like that.”
“Now, just a minute...” I said.
“Ray, allow me,” Fraser said. I could almost see him gathering up his patience. “Ms. Cheeks, this is not a sport. This is a matter for law enforcement. Your methods have not only allowed these men to remain free, you’ve endangered the officials who were trying to assist you. Now, the matter is settled. I will see that your paperwork is processed. I expect that you will be able to take your prisoners with you by the end of the day.”
I knew that wasn’t usually true, but I had a gut feeling that Fraser would make that happen. We turned and walked the men back without a glance at the bounty hunter.
Fraser did the majority of the paperwork because he was faster than anyone else in the office. An hour or so later we had breakfast at McIntyre’s. My Mountie didn’t look as bright eyed as he usually did in uniform.
“You didn’t sleep much, did you?” I asked.
“No, not really.”
He looked into space then back at me. “I suppose I may have been worried that such a ridiculous set of characters could cause us real harm. Not listening to my own advice.”
I smiled at him. “Don’t beat yourself up. This means a lot to me, too.”
He got distracted then. It was the television of all things. He must have been tired. “Ray, aren’t those men familiar?”
I looked up at the screen. It was a preview for another of those Survivor shows. Sure enough there were my tanned Yahoos.
“Jeez,” I chuckled. “One of the idiots will probably win.”
Fraser’s smile morphed into a great big yawn. He immediately looked embarrassed.
“I don’t know about you working this beat, Frase.”
He cracked his neck and hung his head for a moment thinking. “It occurs to me that since I started so early, perhaps I could split my shift and take a longer lunch. Maybe take a nap.”
Those eyes were warmer than warm and that smile was white hot.
“That doesn’t sound unreasonable to me,” I said smiling back.
Maybe Fraser did tame me. Never thought the word ‘nap’ would give me a boner. But the Super Mountie napping during a workday? Maybe I had tamed him, too.
Perils of the Mad Trapper