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And One Way To End Up In a High-Rise on Lake Shore Drive

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"Fraser," Ray said, "this sucks."

"I quite agree," Fraser said.

Ray threw himself at the cushy sofa, but it was too well-made to make any kind of satisfying noise. He turned on the giant-screen television, flipped through three channels, and turned it off with a sigh. "Did you even know you had a great-aunt?"

Fraser shook his head. "The terms of the will, though, suggest that she knew me quite well."

"Yeah. All those nice little families out on the street unless you do what she wants."

"The question is why she wants it." Fraser tapped on the glass that looked out over Lake Michigan from a scary height. It didn't make any more noise than knuckles on a drinking glass. "What possible benefit could she expect to derive from dragging us out of the Yukon to live in ... this?"

Ray got up -- it took both hands to drag himself out of the sofa, which was obviously one of those pieces of furniture that waited until you were asleep and then ate you -- and began to pace. The carpet muffled his steps. "Ten years. Ten years we're perfectly happy in one room and a lean-to with a toilet in it, and now --"

"Well, we're obligated for at least twelve months," Fraser said. "We might as well get a feel for the place."

The kitchen had one of those big steel refrigerators like you saw in restaurants. There was a big pile of fruit on one side and a couple of bottles of champagne on the other. Ray shut the door in disgust.

The dining room had a long, shining table with candles in the middle of it.

"Aw," Ray said. "The second bath is only a half. Rip-off."

Fraser gave him a bleak little smile. His shoulders were drawing up, and Ray couldn't blame him. This place was so well insulated that you couldn't hear the traffic below or the noises of neighbors crowding close behind every wall, but you could feel them there. After so much time out in the middle of nowhere, it was like being picked up and dropped in a pickle jar with a hundred thousand other pickles.

One bedroom had a king with a comforter like a snow fort. The other had two doubles. There were enough pillows to build a whole other bed out of. Ray looked at all that bedding, and then he looked at Fraser, and then he just shook his head. He wasn't even going to make a move unless Fraser made one first. There was just no room here for him and Fraser.

He was wandering up and down the little hallway where all the storage was, opening doors and shutting them again to see if he could find just one that would slam, when he heard Fraser's voice. "Ray!"

He sounded ... happy.

Ray found him on the emergency stairwell. "Look, Ray! The window!" He'd managed to lever open a little window, filling the space with cold air. It smelled like exhaust and old snow, but it was real.

Fraser looked alive for the first time since they'd walked out of the lawyer's office in Moosejaw carrying a set of keys that seemed like they weighed eighty pounds. Ray had to kiss him, and then he had to kiss him again, and then he had to press him up against the cold cinderblock wall and kiss him some more.

"You," he said, finally, pulling back just enough to speak. "Hang on. You figure out how to keep the fire door from locking. I'll go get some pillows."