Take Me Out
Warnings (highlight to view): nothing to warn for
due South Flashfiction challenge: naïve Fraser
Author's Note: Lines and situations shamelessly stolen from "Woman of the Year", script by Garson Kanin. No copyright infringement is intended.
"I'm sorry," Fraser said, pinching the bridge of his nose, "but I'm afraid you'll have to explain that to me one more time."
Ray bit back the scream of frustration. The guy behind him tapped him on the shoulder again. "Hey, buddy," he said, "tell your pal it ain't rainin'."
Ray nodded and turned back to Fraser. "Guy, ah, wanted you to know it ain't rainin'."
Fraser looked up like he could see through the brim of his hat, then stuck out his lower lip so the shiny inside was showing a little, like a tease. If Ray'd known Frase was gonna do that today, he would've worn the looser pair of jeans. "Ah." He swivelled round and smiled at the guy. "Thank you kindly."
The other guy muttered something that sounded like, "--in' freak."
No argument there, Ray thought.
"Okay, you listenin'?" he barked. Fraser snapped to attention. "Now, there's nine innings, and in every inning each team has to make three outs. When those are all done, game's over, right?"
"Yes, but if each team makes the same number of outs, won't the game always come out even?"
"No, see, because an out is just--well, it's just an out." Ray's head was swimming; this was worse than high school exams, trying to remember everything you'd ever learned and puking it out for everybody to see. Before he could figure out another way to put it so Fraser would understand, he heard the sharp CRACK of the bat, and snapped his eyes back to the action. The umpire made a motion with his hands--
"BALL! That wasn't never no ball! Whaddaya do in your spare time, burn down hospitals? Ya lousy graverobber!"
If it hadn't been raining before, the spit flying from the guy's mouth was enough to get Ray's hair damp. He was starting to wish he had a big-ass hat too. He began to explain the difference between a ball and a strike to Fraser in the middle of the downpour, but he was drowning, here. Drowning on dry land.
After about a year and a half, Fraser nodded. "So a missed opportunity is only considered a strike when the ball is thrown between the batter's knees and shoulders."
Ray breathed a sigh of relief. "That's it. You got it."
"Hmm," Fraser said.
Ray frowned. "What 'hmm'?" he demanded.
"Well, it occurs to me that if the batter were particularly gifted in the art of deception, he'd stoop down and fool the pitcher."
Ray closed his eyes.
Another CRACK! and the whole stadium erupted. Ray tried to stand up and watch and talk at the same time, but with the guy still storming behind them, he could tell none of it was getting through. Finally, Fraser held up a hand, then turned around again. "Excuse me, sir, would you mind lowering your voice? My friend is attempting to explain the nuances of the game--"
Ray sank back into his seat and prayed for strength. This was going to be the worst Cubs game of his life.
And that was really saying something.
"A double play!"
Fraser shifted up onto one knee with the roar of the crowd, his grin wider than the Mississippi, his eyes gleaming like a little kid's at Christmas. His hat was long gone, the top two buttons of his henley were unbuttoned, and he looked more relaxed than Ray had ever seen him.
And Ray wanted to tear the rest of his clothes off and fuck him in full view of the rest of the spectators, the Cubs, the Orioles, their coaches, managers, mascots and water boys.
"Have another peanut."
Fraser reached into Downpour Guy's paper bag. "Thanks," he said, still grinning, and the low familiarity of the syllable jacked Ray up even more. "A home run would win the game, wouldn't it?" he asked Ray.
"Nothing less," Ray agreed, annoyed by the frog in his throat. He coughed a couple of times to clear it.
Fraser raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Instead, he shifted again, and damned if he didn't get closer, jamming his thigh right up against Ray's in the process.
His hard, corded, muscular thigh.
Fuckin' hit it out of the park, finish this torture, I'm beggin' you guys--
The batter stepped up to the plate, and Ray watched as he struck one, two--
"MAN!" The groan from behind them was echoed across the stadium.
"Oh, too bad. We lose." For a guy who'd really been getting into it, Fraser didn't sound all that disappointed.
"No, no, we tie. See, they didn't break the tie, so we go into extra innings. They play until somebody wins."
"Oh." Fraser glanced at his watch. Shifted again.
"You got someplace to be?"
"No. I just--" Fraser took a deep breath, then turned full on to Ray, as full on as he could in those tiny plastic seats. Ray had to do a little breathing of his own before he could force himself to meet Fraser's gaze.
"I don't need to see any more of the game," Fraser told him in a nice, calm voice, that would've been convincing if it wasn't shaking. "I've learned a great deal about baseball from you today, Ray. You're an excellent teacher. And I'd like...that is, I want..." He trailed off and stared at the hat resting in his lap, his hands twisting the brim all to hell.
Fraser was drowning on dry land, and Ray had to do something. So he picked the Stetson up off Fraser's lap and set it on his head, gently, carefully.
"Yeah. I've seen enough, too. Of the game." He jerked his head to the side. "C'mon."
Fraser stared at him for a breathless moment, then they stood together. As they wove their way around the pairs of jutting knees, Ray saw the guy salute them with his half-empty bag of peanuts.
send feedbackleave a comment on my livejournal
leave a comment on Dreamwidth
Back to due South fiction