by Pares

"Where'd you learn to do that, anyway," she said with a lazy smile in her voice.

He gave her a smug look and shook his head.

"Nu uh. You don't get all the Vecchio secrets in one night."

She pinched his dark, flat nipple and he plucked her fingers away, lifting her hand to his mouth, to graze it with small, pecking kisses.

Snuggling close, Roz rested her head against the flat of his chest.

"That was pretty nice. I mean, on a scale of one to ten..."

"Lady, you want a second date? You better say it was an eleven."

Roz brushed her mouth against his cheek.

"What's your shoe size? We can split the difference..."

He tugged on a lock of her hair.

"I knew you were a smart ass, soon as I saw you."

"If I'd know you were this good in bed, I could have shown you just how smart my ass was a lot sooner."

He laughed again, still toying with her hair.

"So. Seriously. You wanna know anything about me? I mean, we didn't do a lot of talkin'... before."

"Well. Yeah. What do you do? And if you're on furlough from the State Pen, I *don't* wanna know."

"I was inside once, yeah. In Joliet." He smoothed her shoulder. "I was sort of undercover, though. Easy. Easy. I was a cop."

"No shit?"

"I'm serious as a heart attack. True blue. I even had a sidekick and everything."

She poked him.

"Now I *know* you're lying."

"Ow. Hey. I can hear your eyes rolling from here."

He hugged her close and she settled again.

"You were really a cop?"

"One of Chicago's finest. For 16 years. Detective first grade, when I got out."

"So. What happened?" He could hear the wariness in her voice. Even as her fingers found an old lump of scar. "You got shot?"

"Yeah. I got shot. A couple of times, actually."

"Oh, man. I'm sorry. I don't want to upset you," she tried to sit up and he hushed her.

"Nah. It's no big deal. It was... for a good cause, you know?"

"A good cause?"

"The best."

"Well. Okay then. If it was for a good cause..."

"What about you? What do you do?"

"Hey. No changing the subject. You used to be a cop. What do you do now?"

"I'm kinda... in between now. I retired with full pay. I got married again. Was happy for a while, but that went south. And now... I wander the Earth."

"Like that guy in Kung Fu?"

He grinned at her.

"Like that guy in Kung Fu."

"Seriously. Come on. You probably produce pornos. You do, don't you?"

A belly laugh.

"Jeeze Louise, lady. No. I don't produce pornos. I'm in town to see about a little somethin' a friend told me about."

The baby started to cry.

"Oh, crap. My kid's awake."

"You got a baby?"

"Uh. Yeah. I was getting to that."

He sat up and tugged his boxers on, padding along behind her and peering with interest into the crib.

"A little girl, huh? What's your name, kid?"

"She doesn't really talk yet. She can say 'camembert' though. Frasier taught her that."

She hoisted her daughter out of the crib. "Ray, this is Alice. Say hello, Alice."

The baby drooled amiably and grasped Ray's finger when he gently prodded her bare belly.

"She's a real cutie. Bet she drives all the guys wild. Huh, baby? Oh, yeah, you're a heartbreaker. Just like your mom."

Roz grimaced a bit and kissed Alice's sleep sweaty scalp before putting her down with a bottle of water.

"Okay. So the cat's out of the bag. Professionally, I'm a single mom. And I produce a talk show for

Frasier Crane."

"The radio guy?"

"He's the one."

"Huh. My pal Benny, he tunes it in on his radio up there in Canada. He's got some kind of superconductor or something, sucks in radio waves from all over the place. Sometimes he gets languages even *he* doesn't understand."

"He's a brain, huh?"

"You got it. Like your buddy Frasier. What a poindexter."

She laughed out loud.

"Oh my god. Don't ever tell him I laughed at that, or I will have to hurt you. Fraiser's a good guy. He's always been there for me."

"He your baby's pop?"

"No. That's another story, and not a very interesting one. How about you? You got any kids? With your ex? She *is* your ex, right? Oh my god, you're a bigamist!"

"You're giving me whiplash here! I have two ex-wives. Both legally exed. Okay?"


"I don't have any kids, but my sisters do. Maria has three, and Frannie just had a baby with her husband Len. It's his second kid. Her first. Probably only. You should have heard her bitch about getting her figure back. They could probably hear her jazzercising in Muskogee."

"So you're, like, everybody's uncle."

"So far, so good. You got a single, old Italian guy. The only way I coulda been more stereotypical woulda been if my ma had named me Sal."

"You've got issues, Ray. And you're not old! I mean... how old are you?"

"I'll be 41 in November."

"You're practically a teenager," she scoffed. She held up a warning finger. "If you ask me how old I--"

"Enough with the death threats, already. You're giving me a complex."

"So. Old man. Wanna go back to bed?"

"I dunno. Let me find my cane..."

"Oh, let *me* help..."

"Cripes! You're seriously gonna cause me the agita. Watch the hands, sister. I'm an officer of the law..."

She nestled close and they made out for a while in the hallway.

"I like you," he said, when she let his lower lip slip from between her teeth.

"I like you too, Ray."

"Hey, you ever been to Florida?"

"It's too hot," she said dismissively.

"How about bowling? You like bowling?"

"I have two words for you, Ray: rented. shoes."

"Oh, I think I'm in trouble, here," and he rested his forehead against hers.

"I think it's time to put out and shut up, Vecchio."

"She's a tomcat," he told no one in particular. "Come on, baby. Let's hit the sack."


Touch my Smonkey!