PROPOSITION (WRITTEN FOR LITTLEMISSBOVVER)

Two days, six hours and...Lola glanced down at the Betty Boop watched that adorned her wrist, six minutes since Ray and Claire had their fight. They hadn't spoken since and things had become decidedly awkward in the little box of an apartment Claire and Lola shared. She was moping. Lola had told her twice. Claire hadn't paid attention just kept clicking through the television channels as if she hadn't heard and Lola had left her to it knowing that pushing her friend wasn't the right way to do things but it had been two days! Enough was enough she was calling in back up or she was calling Walt anyway and though she tried to tell herself she wasn't just looking for an excuse to call him part of her knew she was doing exactly that and part of her didn't care.

Now it was all arranged. It was Lola's turn to cheer Claire up. They were going out for a night on the town or so Claire thought but Lola had been plotting behind her back with Walt, they'd both had enough of their friends and their idiotic behaviour and had decided to stage an intervention.

"Where are we going?" Claire demanded for the third time as Lola led her down another winding alleyway and towards some shoddy looking apartment blocks that made their own look like the plaza. Doing her best not to roll her eyes Lola's lengthened her footsteps hurrying towards them "I told you" she muttered, a hurried explanation as she caught sight of a head of blond hair entering the building before them. "We're meeting up with my friend....Rachel" and she had to bite down hard on her lip to keep the pent up laugh from escaping. Ray's codename for the mission had become Rachel overnight, Rachel the new girl who now supposedly worked with Lola at the video store. "So...." Lola struggled to make conversation and not arouse Claire's suspicious nature as the picked their way across the car park towards the dark shadowed building which she was actually disturbed to find Ray lived in. "Have you talked to Ray yet?"

Scowling deeply Claire turned away doing her damned best to make sure the hurt she felt, the hurt that made her stomach churn and her heart beat sluggishly, didn't show in her expression. Her eyes examined the litter strewn gravel that passed beneath her feet but she said nothing. Heaving a sigh Lola touched her shoulder, her expression gentle. "Its been nearly three days Claire don't you think you should at least give him a text? What was the fight over anyway?"

But Claire was as closed up as a clam about the whole situation and as they entered the first block of flats Lola was chewing her lips nervously. Maybe this wasn't such a good idea after all? It was too late now though, they were already clattering up the stars towards room 6B and there was no time for second thoughts. Besides Ray and Claire had been together for more then six months she couldn't let them just throw it away.

Swallowing Lola pulled them to a stop outside the designated door and from beneath her sooty lashes glanced sideways at Claire before knocking. Twice, the signal. Walt opened the door a huge grin on her face and for a moment Lola forgot all about the mission as she leaned up to kiss him once, twice and a more chaste third time noticing Claire's puzzled looks. Quickly she drew her friend inside glad to find the inside of Ray's apartment was much cleaner then the outside. Still...he must've been ashamed of it or something because he'd never invited either of them back before.

"Bathroom is down the hall to the left" Walt murmured giving Lola a subtle wink and a nod. "Rachel is just...er in her room getting ready". Smiling Lola slipped her arm through Claire's and pointedly ignoring the pictures of Ray and his family on the walls led the way down the hall praying that her friend would continue to be as un-observative as ever. She took yet another deep breath as she opened the door to the bathroom and shoved her stunned friend inside. Whirling around, eyes wide and the most animated they'd been in days, Claire barely had the time to say "What the fuck?" before the door was slammed in her face and a soft clicking noise suggested that it was being locked.

Futilely she struggled with the handle twisting and turning it every which way until a voice from the shower stopped her. "There's really no point. Those bastards planned this whole thing. We're stuck in here until we come to a compromise so to speak" and the bath curtain was pulled back to reveal Ray Person laying stretched out in the empty tub his large chocolate brown eyes only showing a hint of curiosity as they ran over her form.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" Lola muttered while pacing up and down before the bathroom door her expression slightly panicked her teeth having nearly bitten through her bottom lip. For the past half hour there had been shouts and yells and the sound of smashing from the little room Ray and Claire were holed up in but now there seemed to be a lull... It was that which had her worried. Sighing Walt grabbed her hand pulling her to a halt and then tugging her until she ended up pressed against his chest, her arms winding around his waist for comfort. He smiled and placed his cheek on the top of her head letting his hands rub her lower back soothingly. "It'll be fine, I promise. Much as he might be protesting now, Ray loves Claire and he'd never intentionally hurt her". Then lifting his head Walt used his fingers to tilt Lola's chin up kissing first her forehead, her eyelid and then finally her lips stifling her gasp of pleasure as her body moulded into his.

"Fucking wanker" Claire mumbled from where she sat on the toilet seat her arms around her knees and her chin resting upon on them looking determinedly at the ceiling and only risking glancing at Ray from the corner of her eyes when she was sure he wasn't looking. "Claire would you please fucking just-" Ray was cut off when the loo roll was flung over and hit him straight in the face. Sighing he grabbed it and stood up carefully picking his way over the glass strewn floor towards her. At the sound of his approach Claire glanced up eyes widening almost as if with horror when he took her hand and pulled her effortlessly to stand too. She hadn't even got time to protest before his lips were down on hers. Crushing, claiming and saying everything she hadn't given him the chance to before.

Five minutes later they broke apart panting slightly and foreheads pressed together. "I fucking love you, you crazy bitch" Ray murmured his eyes gentle and shining, his fingers combing through her hair and his other hand resting on the small of her back. "Even though you are stubborn and violent and start ridiculous fights over which cereal is better...I love you. I want to marry you Claire".

Holy fucking mother of...Claire pulled back so violently landing with a thump right back on the toilet lid that she was sure her bum would be bruised. Her face was pale and her eyes were huge saucers in her face. "You want to...you what?" she stuttered looking like any minute she might pass out. Unfazed Ray held her hand and grinned. "Marry you. I was going to ask you that night before you got all het up about Captain Crunch and his bloody marshmallows but...I guess now is as good a time as any" he joked and with Claire watching in awe he sank down on one knee his free hand moving to take a small velvet covered box from his pocket.

She began trembling now and had to blink rapidly to clear her vision as he looked up at her none to steady himself but a real, blissful and beautiful smile on his lips as he popped open the lid to reveal the most beautiful diamond ring she'd ever set her eyes on. "Claire...I don't really know how to say this and I'm not really good with words anyway but...Will you marry me?"

Ear pressed to the door Lola's mouth dropped open and her hand around Walt's tightened until she was nearly crushing the bones. "Say yes you little idiot" she breathed, green eyes shining.

"I...I" Claire faltered sucking in a deep breath a single tear spilling from her brimming eyes and trailing softly on her cheek only to be brushed away by Ray's gently thumb. Shakily she sighed and nodded her arms going around his neck, eyes shining brilliantly with tears "Yes!" and then she was kissing him and he was laughing and somehow through it all he managed to slip the ring onto her finger. "I was thinking sometime in July?" Ray teased mentioning next month with a casual shrug hips lips finding the hollow beneath her ear making her gasp slightly. "I was thinking next week" Claire taunted getting to her feet and pulling him up with her. "Now if someone could please unlock the damn door we could all go celebrate?" she suggested and the door was wrenched open and Lola shot at them like a cannonball, bouncing up and down in her heels kissing first Ray's cheek and the Claire's, cooing over the ring, making little comments, suggesting they go out for some drinks...talking non-stop until Walt laughingly pulled her away.

"What are you doing?" Lola demanded arching an eyebrow as he helped her into her jacket. "I think" Walt murmured fixing her hair over the back. "That when Claire was talking about celebrating...It was a private celebration for just her and Ray" he grinned. And Lola finally cottoned on, blushing she grabbed his hand and all but yanked him from the apartment shouting after her about 'safe sex' and how she wasn't ready to be an aunty yet!