three hundred and twelve
Ray isn’t quite sure how it happened. He knows he and Fraser fell through the door of Fraser’s cabin, their quest well and truly over, and Maggie was waiting for them on the other side of it. Fraser must have contacted her sometime during their short “thank you kindly” session at the last RCMP outpost, because there was stew on the table, and clean towels ready for use. It was warm, it was indoors, and after a half-hour shower, Ray stopped looking like Big Bird and smelling like the bastard child of dog and caribou. Clean and shaved, they sat down to eat, and then Maggie produced beer, and Ray can barely remember the rest.
He remembers the first bottle, and the way the beer slid down his disused throat, cooling and soothing, all the way to his stomach, rumbling and making him stupid. He remembers Fraser’s lips around his own bottle, the first time Ray had seen him drink beer, and he remembers trying to convince Fraser that their alive-and-kicking end of the quest was cause for a celebration. He remembers Fraser smiling and agreeing. He remembers Maggie’s braid sliding heavily down over her shoulder to her breasts. She wore a soft-looking hoodie, kind of thin, and he could see the shape of her shoulder underneath it. He remembers Fraser finishing his second beer and bidding them good night, and disappearing into his bedroom. He remembers wondering where he was going to sleep. He remembers Maggie.
They talked, he recalls, about the adventure and all Ray learned from Fraser, Just The Man To Take On Such A Quest. He was telling her about the caribou herd they saw by Franklin Bay, and the little one almost getting left behind in the commotion. He thinks he can remember her smiling at him, how her face was softened by the pale glow of the single lamp. He remembers her making a toast, she on her second beer, he on his fourth. He remembers being silent for a while.
She sat next to him on the couch – no, a bit across, they were facing each other, and then she was closer, because – yeah, he slid toward her, and she got a bit closer, and he put his beer down. He took the beer from her hand and set it down on the floor next to his. He looked at her, and she was still smiling, like she was in no hurry to stop, and her braid hung heavy on her shoulder and it – it slid down again and it looked shiny and soft, so Ray reached out and slipped off the elastic that held it. He pushed his fingers through her hair, unbraided each strand, one by one. Her hair was thick – it fell apart easily, and felt good in his grasp. He remembers how his hand looked against her hair, undone, and then he remembers her face as she stopped smiling.
And then he tugged on her hair, to see what would happen, maybe, he doesn’t even remember why now, but he remembers her eyes, darkened, and then her lips, soft and wet and then they were kissing. They both tasted of beer. She made a soft noise – he can still hear it, like it’s seared to his brain. She tasted good. She smelled amazing. Like open fire and snow and all the things that he smelled like now, and then she was on his lap and he was feeling her ass with his hands – couldn’t stop touching it. It was soft and firm and it moved as she moved against him, slow while they kissed, then faster, while he licked her neck, and lower, and then –
Then she was topless and he was running his hands over her breasts, couldn’t stop touching them, either, they were soft and firm –
And she was warm, she was hot, so hot, and she wanted him, he knows this, she wanted him as much as he wanted her, because she clung to him, clutched at his overgrown hair, while he licked her nipples, one at a time, over and over and over, sucking, pulling, licking, and then moved his mouth lower and kissed her belly, held her ass, and then –
Then he remembers being half-naked, on top of her on the couch, and her quiet gasps, and he remembers kissing, just kissing and kissing and kissing, like they were teenagers, not even moving much, he just – he couldn’t stop kissing her.
Then she moved against him, harder and faster, and whispered his name, “Ray,” soft, like it was skin on a grape, because it peeled him, it really did, and he ripped at her jeans, and then at his own, and then –
He covered them up with an afghan from the couch, so she wouldn’t get cold, and he slid two fingers into her, wanted to feel her with his hands, because she was hot, she was so hot, and she looked beautiful, with her hair fanning across the couch, looking at him with her huge eyes, pulling him in for another kiss. Under the afghan, it smelled like her, raw and real and sweet. He smothered her gasp with his tongue. Found her clit, rubbed it, rubbed it as steady as his hands allowed, and she mewled, and he kept on doing it, until she bit his lip and convulsed around his fingers and he –
Inside her, it was even hotter, sunk balls-deep, she was tight and so incredibly hot, hot, it was so hot –
The afghan was thrown to the floor. He fucked her as she gasped, and her mouth was open and he watched her tongue, pink and wet, and he closed his eyes and could still see her face, and her breasts, moving with his every move, and she was beautiful, just like the first time he saw her, the first time he saw Fraser’s sister, but he didn’t know then, and –
He slid a hand under her hips, to where her soft skin turned damp, he gripped her ass, kneaded it, smoothed it, gripped it again –
“Ray,” she moaned, right against his ear, and clung to his hips with those smooth, strong legs of hers, and he stopped himself moaning, just dropped his face into the crook of her shoulder, where she smelled so warm, and came, and came, and came.
“It’s okay,” she said after she came back from the bathroom. Sat down next to him on the couch, pulled the afghan around her shoulders, covered up. “I know that I could say you came thousands of miles just to be with me…”
He watched her, dumb and mute.
“But I know that you didn’t come alone.”
He found his voice then – he still remembers the sandpaper grind of talking. “Maggie –”
“Don’t worry about it. I’m not looking for more than this, Ray. I’m taking it easy for now.” She smiled, and Ray believed her. She was stronger than he was. Better. “You should, too.”
He wanted to ask her what she meant, but he couldn’t stand the sound of his voice, so he stayed dumb and mute.
She pulled out his cot, put on her pajamas, and fell asleep on the couch, her back to the room.
That was three hours ago, and Ray watches the room change with each minute. You wouldn’t think that a room could change all that much in the three hours, but you’d be wrong.
First, it gets darker, like it did when Maggie’s breathing evened out. Then, it gets quieter, and the floor stops creaking. The wind outside dies down. There’s nobody but Ray, and it feels like he’s alone in the cabin, and then in the world. Just him and the shadow on the couch, the shadow under Fraser’s door. Then, the clock ticks and booms in his ear, one minute of no sleep, two minutes, three – he hasn’t slept for one hundred and seventy-six minutes.
When he counts three hundred and twelve, he knows that he isn’t alone anymore. The wind comes back. The dogs bark outside. Fraser’s door creaks, but stays closed. Maggie mutters in her sleep, turns over. The afghan slides off her shoulder, and she pulls it back up and settles down again. Ray watches his own hands on his lap.
He didn’t come alone.
He should take it easy.
He has a scar on his hand, it’s new. A deep cut, but healed now.
She’s better than he is.
She knows more.
Fraser’s door creaks again, doesn’t open. Ray watches it until it does.