It wasn't like everything was smooth and easy between them. It wasn't like anything was smooth and easy between them. They fought about absolutely everything. Anything. Laundry, food, dishes. Vecchio had never done a dish in his life. Vecchio was an Italian mama's boy, Ray informed him. Vecchio pointed out that his mom didn't come in to iron his shirts once a week. Ray bounced on the balls of his feet, while his hands curled into fists. But when it came down to it, he couldn't really argue that, even though it wasn't his fault, and at least he knew doing dishes wasn't woman's work.
Vecchio rolled his eyes. "It is where I come from."
Ray gestured angrily at the apartment around them. "You see any women here, Vecchio? Do the fucking dishes."
Vecchio frowned. "I'll cook. How's that? I cook, you wash up."
Ray narrowed his eyes. "I'm not your wife, Vecchio."
"I'm not eating grilled cheese for the rest of my life, Kowalski."
"Besides," Ray looked at Vecchio. He sure had a funny double standard. "Isn't cooking woman's work?"
"Cooking," said Vecchio archly, "is an art."
"Yeah, whatever." Ray frowned a little, then said grudgingly, "What kind of cooking are we talking about?"
"Good cooking." Vecchio kissed his fingertips. "Spectacular cooking."
"Huh," was all Ray said.
"Deal?" Vecchio stuck out his hand.
Ray, still frowning, shook it suspiciously. "I guess. We'll see if your cooking is a good trade off."
Vecchio made ossobuco that night. Without a recipe. Ray ate two helpings, ignoring Vecchio's slightly smug look, and did the dishes while Vecchio sat sprawled in his chair, slowly finishing his third glass of good red wine.
Ray came over after the dishes were done, standing over Vecchio as he dried his hands with a dishtowel. "Good deal?" Vecchio asked, smiling sweetly up at him.
Vecchio's collar was unbuttoned, and Ray could just see the hint of chain holding the cross he always wore around his neck. "Good deal," Ray allowed.
"I know." Vecchio looked pleased.
"Really good food," Ray said, and leaned down, put one hand on the back of Vecchio's neck, rubbing his thumb over the soft hairs there as he kissed Vecchio's mouth, slow and soft. Vecchio slouched back further in his chair, letting Ray lick his way in. Ray knew how much good food - and winning - turned Vecchio on. Ray ran one hand down the soft sleeve of Vecchio's dress shirt.
"You want something?" Vecchio murmured, amused, against Ray's lips.
One of Vecchio's hands was resting lightly on Ray's hip, and Ray twisted his hips slightly, until Vecchio's hand was pressed against the front of his jeans.
"Oh," Vecchio said softly. "That."
Ray pulled back a little. Vecchio stayed slouched there, looking up at him, a slight smile on his face, breathing a little heavy.
Ray thumbed open the top button of his own jeans.
Vecchio raised one eyebrow and slung his arm over the back of his chair. Ray just looked at him steadily, running his thumb down the length of his hard cock through the denim.
Vecchio lifted his chin a little, still just watching Ray with heavily-lidded eyes.
Ray tugged open the rest of the buttons on his jeans.
Vecchio took in some air through his nose, then reached forward, lacing two fingers through one of Ray's belt-loops and tugging him closer. Ray let his hands hang loose at his sides as Vecchio nudged his boxers down his hips. He wrapped one long-fingered hand around Ray's cock, and stroked it slowly, looking up at him.
"This part of the deal?" Vecchio said softly, leaning in and licking the drop of come off of the head of Ray's dick. "Dishes in exchange for dinner and a blowjob?"
"Yeah," said Ray hoarsely, putting his hand on the back of Vecchio's neck again. "Good deal?" he managed.
"Yeah," said Vecchio, running his tongue down the length of Ray's dick. "Yeah, good deal. C'mere."
Ray moved his hips, and Vecchio - not so lazy, not so relaxed now - swallowed him down. Ray kept his hands on Vecchio's neck as he rocked his hips, sliding his dick slowly, slowly, in and out of the damp, close heat of Vecchio's mouth. God. God.
So, okay, maybe there were some things they agreed on.
It hadn't really gotten any smoother between them once they moved in together, but it was a kind of unevenness, a rockiness, that worked for them. Mostly. The first couple of weeks were tough. Hell, the first couple of nights were tough. None of that domestic bliss you hear so much about, no honeymoon period. The very first night - the first night they were going to bed to sleep together, not just fuck and come and wipe down and roll out - they had a knock-down, drag-out fight about who got which side of the bed.
Turned out they both were used to the left side of the bed. Even after all these years since the divorce, Ray couldn't spread out on the bed, couldn't just sleep in the middle or anything. The left side was his, had been ever since his wedding night, and -
He glared at Vecchio, which might have been more intimidating if he'd been wearing more than just the worn-soft pair of plaid boxers that sagged a little on his hips.
"What?" Vecchio, sitting on the side of the bed, spread his hands. "What's your fucking problem now, Kowalski?"
Vecchio - Vecchio who, before Stella, and Florida, had been divorced even longer than Ray - Vecchio had a side of the bed too, because even in a dumb-ass marriage that lasted less than a year, Stella - still and always - slept on the right.
"My bed," Ray said, pointing at it. "My side." It had been his side first.
Vecchio narrowed his eyes at him, and stood up, sliding his tie out of the collar of his shirt, and continued to get undressed. "You can be a real asshole, you know that, Kowalski?"
"Whatever." Of course he knew that. "I didn't tell you to move in here, you know. You're a free fucking man." He stomped to the bathroom and brushed his teeth angrily, glaring at himself in the mirror. Fraser had slept on the right too. Ray had always figured that that had been his side, but then, Fraser usually slept on a cot, or a bedroll. Ray didn't think Fraser had ever slept on a bed where he could choose a side before Ray came into the picture. But that first night, so damn long ago now, when they ended up back at Ray's apartment, Fraser had politely let Ray have first pick, and seemed perfectly content to settle in on the right.
God. Ray didn't even know for sure which side really had been Fraser's. Vecchio was right: Ray was an asshole.
He stomped back into the bedroom. "Listen," he said roughly as he came through the door.
Vecchio was in bed, on Ray's side. Vecchio was completely naked, and completely hard. He had the bed turned down, the sheets and blanket pushed loosely down his thighs.
Ray stopped, swallowed. "Listen," he said again, faintly.
"Come here." Vecchio's eyes were dark. He'd dimmed the lights in the room, the only illumination coming from the lamp over on the dresser in the corner. It cast a pale glow over the room, made it look like something other than the sad bedroom Ray hated, had always hated, hated because it was just for him, there was no one else.
Only now there was Vecchio. And Vecchio was saying again, in the same soft, demanding tone, "Ray. Come here."
Ray walked over unsteadily, and stood at the foot of the bed, his dick hard, really fucking hard, in his old, worn boxers. He didn't even like Vecchio. What the hell were they doing here? This wasn't going to work, no way this was going to work. It was fucked up even before, but now Vecchio was on Ray's side of the bed, and -
Vecchio slouched back further against the pillow and blew out a slow breath of exasperation. "Come here, please," he said, and his voice was quiet and smoky, and Ray's cock got harder, and he frowned a little and crawled onto the bed until he was straddling Vecchio on his - Ray's - side of the bed.
Vecchio looked up at him for a second, then reached up, wrapped a hand in Ray's hair, yanked his head down and kissed him. Ray growled against his mouth and shoved down against him, grinding their dicks together and getting a gasp out of Vecchio. Vecchio's hand wound tighter in his hair, and then his leg came around and he heaved up, flipping Ray onto his back, practically sideways on the bed, and crawled on top of him.
"What's your fucking problem, Kowalski?" he said tightly, rocking against him hard, hard.
"You." Ray had his hands on Vecchio's ass, was dragging him down, and God, Christ, it felt good.
"Nah," said Vecchio, panting a little, grinning a little, and god, Ray wanted to smack that smile off his face, wanted to fuck him till he begged for mercy. "I don't think so."
Before Ray could even think of telling Vecchio that, no, really, he was the problem,, Vecchio had him on his stomach, had his boxers off, and had him pinned down firm with a hand flat in the middle of his back. Ray struggled, but Vecchio had him pinned good. Two seconds later, Vecchio was shoving two fingers, slick with lube, into Ray's ass, and Ray yelled out, because Christ, Christ, give a guy some warning, yeah?
Only that's not how Vecchio did things. Vecchio fucked him with his fingers, slow and steady. Ray slowly flattened against the bed, gasping for air and trying to rock his hips, get some damn friction against the mattress. Vecchio settled down half on top of him, his body hot all against Ray's side, and lazily thrust his own hard cock against Ray's hip, talking softly in his ear the whole time.
"Come on, Kowalski," he said. "You want it. You want me.You want me here. You want me to fuck you."
"Shut up," Ray gasped, and Christ, Jesus Christ, this kept up much longer, he was gonna come right here all over the fucking mattress. "Shut up, Vecchio," and Ray pushed back, shoved Vecchio off of him, and tilted his hips up and off the mattress, his head down, sweating and panting. "Shut up and fuck me. Put your money where your fucking mouth is."
"Yeah," and Vecchio sounded quietly pleased. "Yeah," and then his strong hands were on Ray's hips, holding him steady as he pressed forward, driving his cock in, and in, and in, steadily forward, filling Ray up, as Ray shook underneath him and gasped curses under his breath.
Vecchio fucked him hard that night, fucked him so hard that the sheets slipped off the mattress and the blankets ended up on the floor. So hard that Ray was dizzy and half-crazy by the time Vecchio finally came, digging his fingertips into Ray's hips and gasping out Ray's name.
Vecchio pulled out and - still sweaty and shaking from coming his fucking brains out - rolled Ray over, and took hold of his cock, and went down on him like there wasn't anything else he'd ever wanted in his mouth in his whole goddamn life. And Ray, fuck-dumb and half-delirious with it, his cock hard and swollen and so goddamn ready to come, thrust up and up, and Vecchio took it, let Ray fuck his mouth hard and fast for the whole two minutes it took for him to come, hanging on to Vecchio's shoulders and shooting again, and again, and again into Vecchio's mouth.
And after that, they both collapsed. The sheets were still half-off the bed, the blanket on the floor. They were both a mess, and Ray's head was spinning so hard he didn't even know which side was up, let alone which side of the bed he'd ended up on. All he knew was that his cheek was smushed against Vecchio's chest, and Vecchio's hand was running sleepily through his hair.
Maybe that was part of what worked for them, that they never did really settle down, settle in. They were on each other's case all the time, but that just meant nothing festered. Everything was dealt with in, well, a pretty timely fashion, and hashing things out with fists and fucking? That was okay with Ray.
They fought about stupid stuff, like the toilet seat. Vecchio'd lived with a houseful of women too long - he was fussy about putting it down. Ray, on the other hand, took leaving the toilet seat up as one of the very few perks that came along with getting divorced.
"Don't be such a girl, Vecchio."
"Don't be such a slob, Kowalski," Vecchio shot back in the exact same tone.
"What does it fucking matter?" Ray demanded. "What difference does it make?"
"The difference," said Vecchio, tugging at his cuffs, "is one of decorum. And neatness."
Ray snorted. "Yeah, Vecchio. You are chock full of that decorum stuff. Really. Full of it. Up to here." He helpfully gestured with his hand.
Vecchio looked up at him, smiled. "Put down the toilet seat." And he got up off the chair and took several steps forward, till he was right in Ray's space. "Or I will kick you in the head with these very expensive shoes."
Ray raised his chin, grinning widely. "Really."
Vecchio considered it. "I could."
"Yeah, but you probably won't." Ray nodded at Vecchio's shiny shoes. "You'd get 'em all scuffed."
"Right." Vecchio moved an inch closer.
"You trying to scare me?" Ray took an easy step back and slouched against the wall, one hip forward. Vecchio's eyes tracked down slowly, and by the time they worked their way back up to Ray's face, Ray knew he'd won this one.
"You aren't scared?" Vecchio's voice was low, throaty.
"Not so much, no." Ray tilted his head, then slowly tucked two fingers into his jeans pocket. "You're gonna have to try harder than that."
"Huh." Vecchio looked away for a second, and Ray braced himself just before Vecchio's hand shot forward and pinned him against the wall by the throat, his leg sliding forward to press between Ray's just this side of painful. "How about now, tough guy?"
Vecchio wasn't giving him a whole lot of breathing room here, so Ray just tilted his hips further forward and rubbed his cock up against Vecchio's thigh.
Vecchio shook his head, almost - almost - cracking a smile. "You're crazy." His hand loosened on Ray's throat, then let go, his fingers stroking down it so soft that a shudder ran down Ray's spine.
"Yeah," he said hoarsely, and closed his eyes as Vecchio's fingers kept moving down, tracing over his chest, his nipple, coming to a rest at the waist of his jeans.
Vecchio shifted a little, leaning forward to say, soft in Ray's ear, "You gonna start putting the seat down?" He rocked his thigh against Ray's cock and Ray moaned softly.
"Fuck, no," he managed to get out.
"Oh, now, that's not nice," Vecchio said sadly, and turned Ray around.
And Ray thought, as Vecchio tugged his pants down and kicked at his feet to spread his legs, that really, maybe they didn't solve many problems, but they had a hell of a good time negotiating.
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