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Westron Wynde

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It's the second hour of an evening stake-out marked by relentless rain and high winds. Ray murmurs “it was a dark and stormy night,” his eloquent hands making bunny quotes to emphasize the cliché.

You smile and say “Ray, the literary spirit moves you.”

He chuckles and responds “Nah, I got that from Snoopy in a Peanuts cartoon.”

You don’t get the cultural reference, but you nod politely.

“How ‘bout you, Frase? This weather make the literary spirit move you?”

Without considering what Ray might read into it, you quote from the Medieval English poem that had already been running through your mind this night : “Westron wynde, when wyll thou blow, the small raine down can raine. Cryst, if my love were in my armes and I in my bedde again.”

Ray’s response is first a noncommittal “huh,” and then a tentative query. “This about that robber chick?”

You shake your head no, and say nothing. You don’t dare say “it snowed for a day and a night and a day – it was too cold for rain – I am still too cold – and I am drawn to your warmth”.

Diefenbaker’s sudden whining attracts both your attention and Ray’s.

“Aw, hell no, Dief,” Ray begins, and then turns enough towards the back seat that Dief can read his lips. “Hell no, if you go out into that rain and come back in again, this car’s gonna smell like wet wolf for who knows how long….”

You too turn towards Dief, and you see it’s not a need to answer nature’s call that has Dief whining. It’s your father’s ghost.

“Hello, son.”

You give the apparition a small nod, but no spoken greeting. You try to avoid public conversations with someone unseen by others – it can be quite awkward.

“Romancing the Yank, Benton?”

You find yourself rising to your father’s bait. “No, I am not.”

“Not what, Frase?” asks Ray.

You tell Ray you were talking to Diefenbaker. Dief snorts at the misdirection.

Your father continues, undeterred. “Reciting poetry to him? Next thing you know, you’ll be discussing who left the empty butter dish in the refrigerator.” Detecting your blush, he adds “Well, let’s not you and I discuss the butter.” And then he is gone again.

When you rub your knuckle against your eyebrow, Ray spots the tell; he just doesn’t know it’s the aftermath of interacting with your appearing and disappearing father, so he tries to guess what’s on your mind. “Frase, you still thinkin’ about that poem, about someone who isn’t that chick?”

Ray sounds not at all as if this were a casual question asked to alleviate some of the boredom of the stake-out. He sounds somewhat nervous, somewhat hopeful.

You have said that you don’t gamble, but you suddenly feel so compelled by an image of a past season's hard-frozen snow finally melting and a new season's warm rain falling that you chance telling him “No ‘chick,’ ” and, feeling as nervous and hopeful as Ray sounds, you kiss him.

Ray’s smile after the kiss is more dazzling to you than the flashes of lightning that have accompanied this night’s rainstorm ... and he says “When we go off shift tonight, how about I show you some poetry Kowalski-style -- you ever hear the phrase ‘poetry in motion’?”