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He’s already exited the room, rounded the corner, and stepped into the open hallway; standing in between zoned areas alleviates the need to further announce himself. But Kevin has just opened a door, calling, “Kevin Cozner, preparing to descend the master staircase—” in the sort of scandalously slightly-raised voice that he would normally only employ after Raymond’s hands have been inside his pants for quite some time. Kevin doesn’t simply raise his voice. Under normal circumstances, he requires coaxing, tempting, undoing—and thus it’s such a victorious feat when Raymond does manage to finally break an octave. To makes things impossibly worse, Kevin trails off on the last word, pausing at seeing Raymond in the change of clothes. That’s also usually a hard-won sign of sinful success: working Kevin up so much that his meticulously well-spoken words finally fail him.

He hesitates in the hallway, only a short distance from Raymond, not quite within arm’s reach, but close enough that Raymond could have him pinned against the wall and stuttering louder in a matter of two seconds.

Assuming they were back together, of course. Raymond is suddenly, horribly, painfully aware that they’re not together. He no longer has the right to corner Kevin, to back him against a hard surface, to hike his strong legs up around Raymond’s waist and—

Those actions are no longer welcome. Perhaps the thought isn’t either. Raymond swallows the near insatiable thirst that Kevin so frequently inspires in him, and he ineloquently notes, “Oh. I see you’ve changed into your... mock turtleneck.” This is, of course, another nail in Raymond’s proverbial coffin: Kevin is irresistible on most days, but especially delectable in that particular shirt. The black fabric is stretched tight across his breast, practically sculpted to his body, stretched so taut over his pectorals that Raymond can make out the hard lines of his scrumptious chest right through the fabric. His biceps, his arms, even his throat are carefully wrapped, like hidden presents waiting for Raymond’s attention. The upstanding collar defines the elegant shape of Kevin’s neck in a most alluring way. Raymond remembers the exact day and hour that he bought it for his beloved husband, knowing exactly what kind of night he was in for.

Kevin answers, “And you into your... exercise shorts,” with just enough of a pause for Raymond to wonder. Is Kevin eyeing his legs? He can’t tell, because his own gaze is lost along Kevin’s clavicle. The bronze shimmer of his stubble fills Raymond’s peripherals, and all Raymond can think about is the scratch of that tantalizing beard along his inner thigh.

He can’t bear the thought of them parting and another man getting the chance to gently untuck the hemline and run undeserving hands up Kevin’s bare stomach. If there’s one thing Raymond loves, it’s running his hands underneath a fitted turtleneck glued to Kevin’s body. And hearing Kevin gasp over it. Maybe even moan. He sounded breathy, observing Raymond’s clothes, or perhaps that was only wishful thinking. The detective in Raymond insists that Kevin’s voice was wavering and raspy, compromised: he was speaking in that halting, pornographic drawl that makes Raymond want to utterly ravish him.

But Raymond is also compromised and can’t be sure. Maybe at least a small part of Kevin stills cares for Raymond, still wants to curl up in the master sitting room with him, preferably right atop his lap. Or maybe Raymond’s a fool that needs to stop projecting his own attraction. He’s never been attracted to anyone the way he is to Kevin, and he knows that if a divorce does go through, he’ll spend the rest of his life miserably alone.

Raymond forces himself to meet Kevin’s eyes. He might be grinning like a wolf, salivating over prime prey.

But Kevin sucks in a desperate breath and turns towards the staircase, hurriedly moving on, while Raymond’s left to stare after his pert bottom and hope it’s not the end.