New Mountie in Town

All Lucysmom told The Moo was that she wanted something nice for Ray K.

Ray pulled up in front of Canadian Consulate right at noon to pick up Fraser for their regular Tuesday lunch. While he waited for the nearby clock tower to finish its twelve bongs, he checked his blond spikes in the rear view mirror, to make sure they were in their regular attractive disarray. Then he laughed at himself. Waste of time. No action for you here, Kowalski.

Ray knew he wasn't doing very well in the Mountie-girl department. The Ice Queen - hands off. That's Fraser's territory and Ray would never, ever consider bird-dogging his partner's quail. That friendly blond from the Bounty wasn't returning his emails. And Maggie - well, that could be something in the future. For now there were two big barriers. One was the thousands of miles between where he was and where she was. The other was the fact that she was Fraser's kinfolk. Of the two, Ray figured that the latter was the bigger problem.

When the bongs finished, Ray threw open the passenger door so Fraser could jump right in. Without looking, he sang out in a loud voice, "Get your Royal Canadian butt in here, Mountie! Time's a-wastin'!"

The head that poked inside the car door wasn't Fraser's. Ray saw a luscious red-head in full Mountie get-up, hat and all, peering curiously at him.

"Do we know each other?" she asked, politely.

Ray gaped. Fraser came out of the Consulate in civvies, his usual jeans and red flannel shirt. He took in the situation and smiled, ever so slightly.

"Sergeant Troy, I'd like you to meet my partner, Detective Ray Vecchio," he introduced the gentleman to the lady first as propriety demanded. "Ray - Sergeant Troy."

"Helene." She supplied.

Ray was still gaping. The name was appropriate. The woman's red hair was a different shade than the red serge, and this made her clash, slightly. Other than that, she was perfect! Unimaginably beautiful! She put out a hand for Ray to shake. It was long, delicate and shapely - perfectly matching the rest of her.

"My guess is the Royal Canadian. . . um. . . destined for this seat is yours, Constable," she quipped, standing aside for Fraser to get in.

Ray let out a single loud, significant, cough. Fraser caught on.

"Sergeant, if you're not doing anything for lunch, perhaps you might like to join Detective Vecchio and me? He's quite the authority on fine eating establishments in Chicago."

"Do you know where to find good ribs, Detective . . . Vecchio, is it?"

* I've died and gone to heaven! * thought Ray. "Get in the front, Sergeant. You'll get a better view of the Windy City that way. Um, Fraser, buddy, didn't you have that, um report, you wanted to finish?"

Fraser whistled for Diefenbaker. Dief bounded into the back seat and Fraser joined him there. "No, Ray, I've nothing in particular to finish at the moment. But, Sergeant, Detective Vecchio is quite right in saying that the front seat will afford you a much, much better view."

She slid in. "View of what, I wonder?" she muttered under her breath, but she, too, was smiling.

"So, I guess you get teased a lot about your name," said Ray, as he and Helene chomped on their ribs. (The ones on their respective plates, not each others') Fraser was picking delicately at a hot chicken sandwich. He was the only one not spilling sauce on himself. He was leaving the conversation to Ray. He figured he'd jump in only if Ray said anything from which he needed rescuing. So far, Ray was doing fine. Anything he said captivated Sgt. Troy. She was gazing longingly at Ray as she ate.

Helene was concentrating just a little too hard on Ray and not on chewing properly. A piece of meat went down the wrong way. She began to cough. Then her coughing stopped and she began to gesture wildly toward her throat. She started to turn blue. Her perfect eyes went wide with panic.

Ray jumped up, hauled her out of her chair and got behind her. He wrapped himself around her from the back and pulled in sharply against her diaphram. Undigested pork flew out of her throat and hit Fraser in the eye. Fraser didn't mind. That wasn't important right now. What was important was that Sgt. Troy was all right.

"I owe you my life!" declared Helene to Ray.

Ray chucked at the floor with the toe of his shoe. "Awww."

"Among the Inuit, if a man saves a woman's life, she's obliged to become his," Fraser informed them.

For the first time since he had known the Mountie, Ray was glad he had come up with an Inuit reference. "You don't have to feel obliged. . ." he said, bashfully.

Sgt. Troy's answer was to throw herself at Ray and reward him with a big, wet, kiss. The kiss held promise of much more.

"I guess I do have a report to finish, after all," said Fraser. "I'll take a cab back to the Consulate, Sergeant. And I'll tell Inspector Thatcher you've been delayed."

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