Hold My Hand

Debra Fran Baker

dfbaker@panix.com



"Ready to go, Frase?"

"In a minute, Ray. Sir, do I have permission to leave?"

"Perhaps you could stay for dinner, Constable?" I fumed at the way Inspector Thatcher stared at *my* partner as if she owned him. Or at least as if she wanted to own him. No one owned him . . . not me, not Thatcher, and not the other Ray, the one I was pretending to be.

"I think not, sir, although I appreciate the offer. Ray and I have plans for the evening." Fraser turned to me and smiled brilliantly. "Don't we, Ray?"

I enjoyed the look of disappointment on Thatcher's face. "Absolutely, Fraser. Why don't you change and I'll meet you out front?"

"Sir?"

"Dismissed, Constable."

"Thank you, sir. Ray, there's no need for you to wait outside. You can come with me while I change." Fraser didn't wait for me to acknowledge this. He just turned towards his office.

I grinned, nodded toward Thatcher and followed.

=-=

"You know, Fraser, you really should looked for your own place."

"Perhaps." He went to his closet and peered in before taking out a pair of neatly pressed jeans and an equally neat plaid shirt. "How does an Italian restaurant sound tonight?"

I was too busy *not* looking at him as he took off his uniform. The man can fill a pair of longjohns, I'll tell you that, not that he needed to know that I thought so. And usually I enjoy looking at an attractive guy, but Fraser was straining my self-control. "Huh? Italian? Sounds fine to me."

"Francesca recommended a restaurant called Giovanni's." He carefully hung his red suit in his closet, taking his time about it. I could have sworn he nodded at someone, but why would he do something like that?

"You asked Frannie for a recommendation?"

He looked startled for a moment, like he'd been concentrating on something else. "Of course, Ray. She's lived here her entire life, so it stands to reason she would know. I simply asked her where she would take someone for a special occasion, someplace nice but informal, and she suggested this Giovanni's."

I had to grin. I could picture Frannie's face after he thanked her kindly for the information and then walked away. Then the rest of what he said sunk in. "Special occasion, Fraser?"

He stopped buttoning his shirt for a moment. "Why, yes, Ray. Don't you remember? Six months ago, we became partners . . . an