Chicago winters make Fraser's skin crawl.
It's not an obvious thing, and of course Fraser wouldn't ever complain about it, but Ray can see it in the way he tilts his head, the way he looks at the dirty gray snow on the curb. It makes sense, too, after a while - Fraser's used to real winter, snow up to your hips and air so sharp it makes your lungs ache. Chicago's nothing but a half-assed imitation, something to remind Fraser of everything he doesn't have, here, and he hates it, hates it with every inch of his body.
And bringing it up only makes it worse, makes Fraser's eyes go sad and far away, so Ray keeps quiet - lets January and February and the last bitter dregs of March slide by. He keeps Fraser distracted with work and life and slow, hot sex, pressing his lips wet and sloppy against the back of Fraser's neck, holding on to him while winter passes by, leaving them sweaty and shaking in Ray's bed.
But toward the beginning of April, it starts to be easier. The line of flowers along the front of Ray's building start poking up, orange and yellow, even though there are still patches of snow in the shadows. The sun comes out, warm and lazy through the curtains on Sunday mornings. The college kids start wandering around in shorts and sandals, the parks fill up with tourists and families, the store on the corner starts stocking strawberries and melons -
- and Fraser's face smooths out.
"Spring in Chicago, Ray," he says. "It's not like anything else, really."
And Ray watches Fraser smile, and he kind of agrees.
And now - once shoemaster goes to the bathroom AGAIN - we're going to watch Odds. Because.