[personal profile] rattlecatcher

Stella wanted the divorce, not Ray.

But Ray… well, he kinda needed the divorce. Not, you know, that there was someone else. But …

Okay, back this up. Pretend you’ve married the Venus de Milo. Okay, no, that’s weird.

Pretend you’ve married a supermodel. That’s right, you: decent looking guy, decent job, decent home, decent but not a supermodel. Stands to reason that you’d be the one to move, give up your job to stay home with the supermodel kids, you’d hang with the supermodel friends, etc.

So in Ray’s eyes, Stella’s a supermodel. Not everyone else thinks that, but on the other hand, Stella was a year at the States’ Attorneys office when she got featured by the Chicago Business Journal’s “30 Under 30” article about up and coming up-and-comers.

And Stella herself says that she can’t hang with the cops, since half her cases have them giving testimony, whereas Ray, at a party of Stella’s people might be told he can’t go hang with one specific attorney at the party. Once again, it stands to reason -

(That’s a very Stella phrase, stands to reason, and it makes Ray feel like a third-grader being told to think before he can go outside for recess)

That Ray would not hang with the cops himself but would instead go to the party where he can’t talk to Stewart, the one attorney that would be there that he has a case with later this month.

That would also be the attorney that Ray found himself in the bathroom with after the guy accidentally spilled wine on himself and the conversation was just too interesting to stop.
It was on the Venus de Milo, by the way. Funny, right?

Meanwhile the Venus de Gold Coast doesn’t need her hands to add up the situation and … yeah, see, that got weird.

They got home from the party, Stella and Ray, hours early, and Ray listens to her talking and wondering if maybe supermodels aren’t best enjoyed in a catalog as God intended. The more she talked the more certain he was that life was better without someone complaining. It’d be quieter, that was a guarantee.

“Honestly, Ray, you couldn’t talk with the men who were watching the game? Really?” By the time they got home, Ray had found out that the guys watching the game were from Burke, Lindholm and Fuckwad (or something like that), and two of them were transactional (whatever that meant) and the only one who was a litigator did commercial litigation and Ray had to change what he’d be thinking, because it’d be quieter without a supermodel, and there’d be less italics.

“Also,” Stella said, but she was rolling her eyes and laughing, which meant the big points had been made and all that was left was the insult, “Stewart’s gay, so that means you were alone, in the bathroom, with the gay guy you weren’t supposed to talk to, who’d just spilled stuff on his pants. Come on, honey, how’s that look for me?”

Ray doesn’t answer for several reasons. They are all truthful.

Later on, when she say something else about the Burke, Lindholm and Farquhar guys (like that made it any better), he answered, truthfully, that he didn’t see a reason to hang out with assholes just because they were watching a game.

She files for divorce about three months after he opened the bar. Looking at the timeline, Ray traces it back to that party, because a month after that he got shot. She probably had the papers already, but tossed them, because Stella knows you look like shit if you divorce a cop who just got shot.

A few weeks later he comes out of the pharmacy to see Stella leaning on the car while talking to one of the Fuckwad guys, and thinks huh, but he doesn’t say anything.

A week after the settlement she quits the State’s Attorney’s office and becomes a partner at Fuckwad, but she assures Ray the money is from her family.

Huh.

He doesn’t react outside of that and she picks up his prescription and asks if he’s supposed to be stepping down his meds at all and holy shit, Ray thinks, she wants me to feel pain. And also, which is worse, she wants to see I’m feeling pain.

Which he is, because a bullet to the hip can mean pain in ways no one ever talks about. Mostly because you don’t want to be one of those guys who goes on about their pain, right?

At any rate, Ray decides to get busy on the post-cop life, and decides he’s going to open a bar.

He figures he can tell Stella after he buys it, so he can assure her the money is from the settlement.

He figures it messes with her schedule again, but that’s okay, because he’s busy with the bar and doesn’t have time to file papers.

So it’s six months after the bar opens that the divorce is final, and people say he got hosed, but what Ray knows is that when he goes home after closing, it’s quiet.

Ray didn’t climb into a bottle after the divorce, he just started walking, which was his doctor’s orders anyway. He’s hurting, the flame of sciatica and the bruise in his heartbeat because as much as he realized he wasn’t cut out for a supermodel it was hard to let her go. The only reason he showed any dignity doing it was because he was so pissed off at her that he didn’t want her to know it hurt. But he also didn’t want it to look like he numbed himself, so he loaded up on Motrin and Nuprin and Icy Hot, the type without a smell.

And then, once the papers went through, Ray Kowalski was free, and now, present day? He’s come to realize that just as he suspected, life is quieter than before.

It’s possibly not as straight as it used to be.
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rattlecatcher

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