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20 November 2013
“Well, fuck me blind.”

Fraser pulls his head out of what looks like a whole entire encyclopedia in one book and blinks at me over the top of his glasses. They look too good on him to be the dollar-store three-in-a-pack specials I know they are. Third pair this year, or so Vecchio says, and as the King of Pinching Pennies Until They Scream for Mercy, he would know.

Me, I don’t do budgets. Life’s too short for math.

And I’d have thought it was too short for this, too, I have to say. But there’s Governor Quinn on ABC7, all beaming and “Love never fails” and whatever else, surrounded by clapping political types wearing what look like actual genuine smiles which they probably bought in bulk somewhere online and, Jesus fucking Christ, signing us into law.

Well, fuck me blind. And to think, all I wanted was a rerun to half tune out while I put away the groceries before the beer got cold. Preferably that show with the hot science geek and the FBI guy—wisecracks, weirdos, and a shit-ton of sexual tension, a good time had by all. Instead, I’m getting profound social upheaval in a thirty-second sound byte. Apparently the revolution is being televised. Who knew?

“Ray?” Fraser’s still looking at me, except now with less blinking and more worried. I realize I’m staring at the TV, which is not that unusual, except I opened my mouth for the fuck-me-blind thing about two minutes back and haven’t said anything else since then, which is.

“Sorry, Fraser, sorry. It’s just—fucking gay marriage, I cannot believe it, after all this time—I mean, have you seen this?”

“Not seen, no.” Pushing away from the desk, Fraser takes off the glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose. “Trudeau alerted me about an hour ago—I believe Mrs DeAngelo had her radio tuned to the NBC affiliate feed when he stopped by for afternoon tea and dog biscuits. And Ray called just after that. He arrived for his criminology seminar to discover that UIC had postponed evening classes without explanation, so he inquired of the other adjuncts until he found someone who knew what was going on. I believe he was as surprised as you are.”

“And you weren’t?” But that answers itself, because really, not a lot surprises Fraser. After fifteen-plus years, you’d think I’d know that. Better question: “Wait—why the hell didn’t you say something about this when I walked in the door?”

Fraser raises one eyebrow at me. “And when, pray tell, would I have had the time?”

As I start putting shit away, I replay the last few minutes in my head. Walk in; drop eight million reusable-because-Fraser shopping bags on the kitchen floor; turn on TV; enter instant state of what-the-fuck. “Point.”

“Thank you.” Fraser’s rubbing the bridge of his nose again.

“Headache?”

“Yes.” He hesitates; then, “Still.”

I nod. First year of law school, last week of classes, and Fraser’s as determined to Ace All the Things now as I bet he was in his Depot days. God, you could not pay me enough to go back to school at my—our—age. But then, I didn’t care much for it the first time, and I somehow doubt that’s changed much. Fraser’s different—well, yeah, he always has been, and thank fucking God for that—but what I mean here is, he loves learning, seriously digs it, and so this whole back-to-school-at-fifty-mumble thing mostly suits him right down to the ground.

Except that judging by both Stella back then and Fraser right now, there's some unspoken rule that says law books must be printed in type no normal person—or even Canadian—can actually, y’know, read. The online ones you can adjust the font on, but Fraser’s a Traditionalist (read: stubborn as fuck) and says he learns better when he Interacts with the Physical Text, Ray (read: ditto, although that might also be true), so he insists on buying actual hard-copy books, which cost approximately a million bucks apiece and weigh more than me and Vecchio combined.

And reading which gives Fraser a headache that will not quit. Except he usually doesn’t admit it, because even though he’s gotten a lot better over time about letting us in on most of the stuff that bugs him (and thank God for that, because this family partnership wouldn't be either one if he hadn’t), he still has trouble admitting to anything he sees as physical weakness. Which means his head has got to be pretty much killing him right now, so although I kind of want to grab him and do the gay-marriage-aw-fuck-yeah dance of triumph around the house, I put that on hold for the moment in favor of getting the last of what I bought on the way home tonight put up so I can go stand behind him where he’s sitting on the couch and get to work on his neck and shoulders.

After all, now I think about it, when you’re married already in your own damn eyes, the law agreeing with you is like that stiff smooth crap they wrap around cake on those Food Network shows Vecchio watches some weekends when there's nothing better on: nice for looks and impressive to people who care about them, but pretty much irrelevant where the basic foundational awesomeness is concerned.

Fraser’s back muscles are all super tense, just like I figured. I dig in, and he lets out a little moan and drops his head. My cock twitches against the button fly of my jeans—that sound out of Fraser’s mouth will never not turn my crank, swear to God—but I ignore it (for now), keep my hands moving slow and steady and sure, pushing in and then up and out, tracking his sighs and the way he lets go gradually under my hands.

Usually by this time we’d have company in the chair to the left, legs crossed and paper up and bifocals sliding down his nose, unless it was his night to cook or he decided Fraser needed a foot rub along with the back attention that’s my usual job. Huh. I dig my thumbs in under Fraser’s shoulderblades, feeling for the knots he stores there like they’re valuable, and press in hard.

“So. Vecchio?”

“Ahhhh. On. On his—his way. Class—ah! Class postponed. Mm. Right there. Yes. Please, Ray.” Heh. I love those words in Fraser’s voice, no matter what context he says them in.

“Dinner?”

“Three Happiness. And yes”—he holds up the Hand of Fraser, and I shut my mouth—“extra ghost-pepper sauce. But—milk?”

“Got it.” I keep rubbing, and his hand drops back to the couch, like it’s suddenly too heavy to lift.

“Ah. Ex—excellent.”

And y’know what?

I kind of think we are.

*****

Thanksgiving 2013
Vecchio wipes his hands on the dishtowel tucked into his dress slacks and cracks the wall oven’s door to check on the dressing. “Kowalski, damn it,” he says for approximately the eighteenth time.

“Vecchio, damn it,” I say right back, also for the eighteenth time, because I am creative like that. From where I sit at the table, mashing the living daylights out of what, in my opinion, are gonna be the world’s best mashed potatoes, I can hear Fraser’s sigh over his sink full of dishes—hell, given the size of our kitchen, I can practically feel it on the back of my neck—but he hasn’t actually said anything yet. Staying out of this one so far. Smart man.

“A whole turkey, you turkey. Whole. Not a turkey breast. Not a chunk of turkey. Not turkey parts. A whole turkey. The classic, like, Thanksgiving fowl, in all its glory. Was that really too much to ask?”

“Okay, listen—and y'know, I feel like I’ve said this, like, a bunch of times already, but whatever. First off, the fact that I am the grocery go-to guy in this house does not obligate me—”

“Obligate. Wow. Been reading Fraser’s dictionary again, K?”

“Yeah, you like that one? Fuck off, V. Anyway. Where was I?”

“Ranting like a loon.”

“Right.” I mash down bigtime on a particularly stubborn piece of potato, pretending it’s Vecchio’s pointy Italian head. “As I was saying: I do groceries. Normal, everyday, three-cops-gotta-eat groceries. Milk, eggs, lunch meat, lettuce, cereal and Smarties and whatnot. Coffee for the sane people, dried leaves in boiling water for the Mountie. Typical eats for typical days, this is what I’m saying.”

“And saying, and saying, and saying—”

“Whatever. Point is, I do the standard-issue stuff. Normal-people food. Everyday provisions R me. Which means you know what I do not do? I do not do fancy crap. I do not do specialty items. I? Do not do gourmet.” I decide not to tell Vecchio about the blob of spuds that just landed on his collar, courtesy of my waving the potato masher like a fucking fairy wand to illustrate the ridiculousness of Ray Kowalski Doing Gourmet. He’ll find it eventually, and I’ll pay for it then.

Oh yes I will indeed. Because half the fun of winding Vecchio up is the ways he takes it out on me afterwards.

I shiver, which messes with my mashing a little but who cares, a few lumps make it taste better, and tune back into Vecchio for the nth time.

“Kowalski. Turkey on the hoof—”

“Claw. Foot. I don't know, shoe? Something that is not a damn hoof, because birds do not—”

“—Whatever. Whole turkey, on or off whatever the hell turkeys have at the end of their little birdy legs, is not gourmet. Not at Thanksgiving. At Thanksgiving, a whole entire turkey is the definition of standard. It’s the epitome—”

“Epitome? Wow. Been poking your nose into Fraser’s law books again, V?”

“Fuck you and the Mounted Patrol horse you never rode in on, K. As I was saying—”

“And saying, and saying, and—”

“Let him finish, Ray.”

“Shut up, Ben,” and we're trying and failing to make it an order, both of us knowing the other one's doing everything he can not to laugh.

Fraser’s lips quirk up at the corners in that patented not-smiling-not-smiling-no-smile-here thing he does when Vecchio and me get into bickering-for-fun-and-sexual-favors mode. “Right you are. I’ll just be setting the table now.” Shaking his hands free of the final suds, he steals the dishtowel from Vecchio’s waistband, taking it with him as he heads towards the corner cupboard in the dining room.

“Use the good china,” Vecchio calls after him.

“I wouldn’t dream of doing otherwise, Ray.”

“That’s Fraserese for ‘duh,’ Vecchio.” The second towel I didn’t know Vecchio had snaps against my ass, wiping the smirk off my face and sending a tingle through me from my cock to the ends of my fingers and toes and back.

Oh, I am in for it tonight.

Aw yeah.

“As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, not only is a whole turkey the epitome of standard-fucking-issue foodstuffs where Thanksgiving’s concerned”—I start to say something about what the hell are foodstuffs, but he turns that professorial glare on me and I decide to quit while I’m behind—“the stock I make from it is also a key ingredient in zuppa di tacchino italiano, which I happen to know that you, Kowalski, love only slightly less than life itself.” I raise an eyebrow at him à la Fraser. “Mama’s Italian turkey soup, bello idiota. Which, thanks to you, I’m now gonna have to steal Frannie’s turkey carcass if I’m gonna make it right for us this year.”

I can actually feel the corners of my mouth turn down more with every word Vecchio says. His turkey soup is legendary, one of my favorite things he makes, and given the cooking rivalry him and Frannie have going on, getting any ingredient out of her except maybe salt is gonna be next to impossible.

And really, after last year’s spumoni debacle? I wouldn’t even take bets on the salt.

My getting-some-tonight groove starts heading towards the bummed-out blues. I’m about to do the unthinkable and apologize, which I will maybe live down when we’re all ninety-eight thousand years old and sharing a three-to-a-bed room in some terrifyingly clean Canadian nursing home—excuse me, Fraser, my bad, assisted-living facility—when the smell that’s been bugging me for a while now suddenly identifies itself.

Uh-oh. Guess Vecchio bitched so much he forgot to keep basting, and now his bird’s run dry. Funny, ain’t it, how instantly cheerful moral superiority can make you.

“Hey, Vecchio?”

“You sorry yet, Kowalski?”

“Nope. But you’re gonna be. Because I think you just talked your turkey to death.”

*****

Christmas Eve 2013

Man, I love to watch.

Right this minute, I am watching Fraser fuck the living hell out of Vecchio. They keep a chair in the corner of their bedroom for me just for this—Fraser even makes Vecchio keep his dry-cleaning off of it, which greater love hath no man—and right this minute I am slouched in that chair, shirt off, boots up, the tips of my fingers right inside the open fly of my jeans, and I am hard as a rock just from watching them go at it.

So many things to love about these men doing this. I want to jack off—God, I want that so bad, I’m not even touching myself and I’m already leaking like crazy—but I don’t want to miss anything, I want to see and hear everything.

How hard Vecchio tries not to moan when Fraser pauses on the upstroke with only the head of his cock in Vecchio’s ass, and how every time Fraser bottoms out on the downstroke Vecchio loses the fight. The sweat slicking Fraser’s hair to his forehead as he fucks Vecchio into the mattress. Fraser’s fingers interlaced with Vecchio’s up by Vecchio’s head, like he’s holding hands with Vecchio at the same time as he’s holding him down. The look on Vecchio’s face as he turns his head towards me, trying and utterly failing to open his eyes and wink at me. The flex of the muscles in Fraser’s ass as he puts it to Vecchio, harder and faster and rougher than he ever used to want to do until Vecchio convinced him nothing was gonna break if he let go once in a while. Vecchio’s thighs trembling as he works to stay on his knees under Fraser’s hammering thrusts. Fraser’s rough voice muttering things I can’t hear that make Vecchio groan and say “please” and “God” and “Benny, I can’t, I can’t, if you don’t shut up I’m gonna come” (Fraser’s shy about dirty talk, but Jesus fucking Christ is he good at it).

The ring of bruises around Fraser’s left bicep, faintly yellow and blue under that ridiculously smooth pale skin, reminding all of us that sometimes it’s Fraser being held down and Vecchio—or me—reaming his ass.

God. I could watch them forever.

They’re not gonna let me, of course. Later tonight—or tomorrow, I’m easy, I can wait (sometimes)—I’ll be in that big bed with the handy-dandy cuffs tucked away on all four corners and the nightstand full of toys sitting conveniently nearby. Maybe Fraser will be in my chair, watching Vecchio fuck himself on my cock as I lie there, spread-eagled, pushing my hips up as far as I can to hit the sweet spot inside Vecchio’s ass before my weight comes back down and the plug in my own ass pushes right on mine. Maybe they’ll both be in the chair, heavy-eyed and hungry, looking at me kneeling upright in the middle of the mattress as I bring myself off with my left hand, my right hand cuffed to my ankles behind my back. Maybe I’ll slide into Fraser’s ass and just lie there, impaling him, using all my strength to keep him from moving, while Vecchio fucks me into him with hard, fast strokes.

Not that any of these things have ever happened or anything. This is all just purely hypothetical.

Or maybe we’ll come up with something new. It happens sometimes, even after all these years together. You’d think we’d be bored by now, given that there’s only so many ways Tab A can fit into Slot B. Even if you happen to be lucky enough to have more tabs and slots available to play with than the average person, which I am happy to say we do, and even if you don’t actually get tired of any of those ways, which I am happy to say we really very definitely do not.

As a matter of fact, though, the opposite is true. I’d say we are about as far from bored with one another as it is possible to be and still be human. (Which at least two of us demonstrably are, and Fraser does a pretty good imitation of the species, so on balance I’d say we’re good there.)

That used to amaze me, that we could be together, the three of us, for weeks and then months and then actual years and never get tired of one another. (Yeah, we want to kill each other every once in a while, but that’s a different problem.) That we could still be learning new things about each other, still be figuring out new ways to push each other’s buttons in bed and not push them out of it. Over time, though, I’ve figured out one big constant thing that makes us work: whether it’s about who does what chores or about being on time or about me asking my partners to make love with me by letting me watch them make love to one another, all three of us do our best, every day, to make the other guys happy.

Which is why, for Christmas this year, I’m giving Fraser a penny jar. One of those goofy-ass things newlyweds get as a gag gift, where you’re supposed to put a penny in the jar every time you have sex the first year you’re married and take one out every time you have sex for the rest of your married life afterwards. Already got it bought and wrapped and everything, along with a bunch of rolls of pennies (and Jesus, does buying rolled-up change from banks make them look at everybody like they’re contributing to some national copper shortage, or is that just me?).

There’s another thing in there, too. A voucher, which is a fancy word for a piece of paper with a promise on it. A poker IOU is a kind of voucher. So is a job contract, and a will, and a mortgage for a house big enough for three people to live separately and together.

And a marriage license, which is what the voucher in the jar is about. (Which maybe makes it a voucher voucher, although just thinking about that hurts my head.) Because that law Quinn signed before Thanksgiving goes into effect on the first of June next year, and Stella says the court clerks are going to start issuing marriage licenses to same-sex people around that same time.

And I know Vecchio doesn’t want to be married. We’ve talked about it a lot, on our own and with Fraser, and Vecchio’s been very clear that twice was more than enough for him and I’ve pushed him enough on it that I believe him to the core.

I also know that Fraser does want to be married, for a whole lot of reasons. Which is handy, because so do I.

So the voucher that’s about the license is about the fact that tomorrow morning, with Vecchio’s blessing, I’m gonna ask Fraser to marry me. Because I know it will make Fraser happy, and because I want to do it, for Fraser and for Vecchio and for me.

And because, now, I can.

And finally, because I know this to be true: marriage will give us some protection under the law from the homophobic asshats of the world, but it won’t change our family. Won’t make Fraser and me somehow more legit than each of us and Vecchio, or make what Fraser and me have with each other better than what we have with him and him with us. Vecchio will be there on Christmas when I ask Fraser to marry me, and he’ll stand up for both of us when we actually do the deed, and him and Fraser will keep sharing a bedroom and I’ll keep fucking with him and he’ll keep fucking me, and the three of us will keep building our crazy shared life.

Because that, my friends, is how it works with bone-deep love.