When they stepped into the restaurant (“Barbecue place, Fraser, you won’t see any table cloths here.”) Fraser found himself wondering why Ray had never brought him there before. He was certainly right about the lack of table cloths; it was in fact a large piece of butcher paper that covered the table.
Unfortunately, he hadn’t had a chance to change out of the serge, so he ordered the chicken, while Ray chose a full slab of baby back ribs. It had been the wise choice, if they way Ray was eating was the standard.
The sauce was dark red on the meat but it soon transferred to Ray’s hands, and his mouth, and the collar of Ray’s shirt after he scratched his neck. The establishment had provided a number of sanitary wipes to help remove the sauce, but Ray was ignoring them, choosing to clean his fingers with his mouth.
Fraser focused on cutting his chicken.
Then Ray started making little noises, and Fraser had to look back up. There was a small smear on the corner of his mouth, and it moved as Ray chewed and was nearly hidden by the shadow of his cheek when he smiled.
“This is good stuff, huh, Frase?”
It took a moment to process the words Ray’s mouth had formed. “Ah, yes, indeed it is. You seem to be enjoying your meal.”
“They’re the best, you want to try some?”
Fraser was curious about the flavor, but the food was secondary at this time. “I wouldn’t want to get between you and your dinner, Ray.”
“Come on, I got like, half a pig here. I have complete faith in your ability to keep Her Majesty’s uniform clean while eating one rib.”
Now Ray’s sauce covered fingers were extended in front of him as an offering. No, the meat was the offering, not Ray’s hand.
He had to say something, it was most distracting. “No thank you, I’m enjoying my chicken. But you do have a little bit of sauce here.” Fraser gestured to his own face.
Ray’s tongue darted out to the side, and Fraser’s hand clenched around his fork. “No, the- the other side.”
And there it was again, but it still hadn’t reached the sauce. Now he could see the traces of saliva on the corner of Ray’s mouth where he’d missed. Certainly Fraser’s own tongue could remove it easily enough, and if it happened to get sidetracked… No. They were partners.
“Did I get it?”
“Not quite.” Fraser felt his heart rate increase as his hand stretched across the table, his eyes locked firmly away from Ray’s as his thumb wiped the sauce away, brushing against the soft skin of Ray’s lip and the rough stubble of his jaw at the same time.
He could see the red stain on his own skin now and lifted it to his mouth for a taste.