by Pretty Pretty

Challenge Fic
Standard Disclaimer: due South and it's characters belong to Alliance. I just use them for fun. Hopefully they will return to their world unharmed and ready for other people to play with them.
This is unbeta'd. So overlook the blaring typo's. :)
Grimacing in pain, she tugged once again on the ring.
"Cheap fake costume jewelry!" Francesca yelled through gritted teeth as she tried in vain to get the ring off. Her finger was throbbing and she knew it would be bruised if she ever got the ring off. She stomped out of her room and down the stairs to the kitchen.
"Ma!" Not hearing a response she looked out on the back porch and them down the basement steps.
"Ma!? You down there?!" She tugged absently at the ring on her right hand as she called.
Huffing in frustration, she went to the sink and ran some cold water over her hand.
"C'mon. Come off!" This only succeeded in making her hand even more numb and red.
"Is somethin' wrong Frannie?"
"Jesus!" Francesca jumped at the sound of Ray's voice. "What are you doing here?! You scared the pee out of me!" Ray Kowalski ran his hand through his spiked hair as he apologized.
"Sorry. Ma wanted me to bring these food containers back. I didn't mean to scare ya."
"That's okay. Just put them on the counter." Francesca frowned as she tried once again to get the ring off her finger.
"What's wrong?"
"It's stuck. If I ever get this cheap thing off, I'm throwing it away!" Ray placed the various Tupperware containers on the counter and joined Francesca at the sink.
"Why'd you wear it if it was too small?"
"It wasn't too small this morning! My fingers swelled." Francesca shot him an aggravated look and returned to pulling on the ring.
"You got to twist it."
"Twist it. Like this." Ray reached out and took her hand in his. His face took on a look of concentration as he firmly grasped the band of the ring between his fingers. He started to twist it in circles and pulled lightly.
"OW!" Francesca screamed as Ray tried to pull the ringer past the fleshy part of her finger.
"Sorry." He looked sheepishly at her and she couldn't help but smile at him.
"It's okay. You're just trying to help." Francesca began to feel warm as Ray's nimble fingers held onto her hand. She was suddenly aware of how close they were standing together. She leaned forward slightly and tried to casually take a deep breath. He smelled nice. She never figured him for the type to wear cologne. Of course, she never really thought about it before either. As he tried once again to free her finger from the ring, he looked into her eyes and allowed a small smile grace his features.
"This might hurt. Your finger's raw so... I'm sorry."
"Are you going to twist it again?"
"One more time, then I'll try something else okay?" Francesca looked directly into his pale blue eyes as she nodded. She had totally lost interest in the ring on her hand. Her thoughts were now with the man standing in front of her. She knew she was supposed to treat as a brother and until this moment she hadn't had a problem with that. But as he gingerly tugged again on her finger, she noticed the sweet and gentle side of him. Something she had never taken the time to notice before.
"Ouch!" The pain interrupted her thoughts and before she knew it, he brought her hand to his lips and gently kissed her finger.
"Sorry. This ain't gonna work. I can try one more thing. Okay?" Ray's eyes sparkled as he waited for Francesca to answer.
"Sure. Whatever it takes to get this stupid thing off." Ray's crooked grin caught her slightly off guard. *Is it hot? Why is it so hot in here? * Before she could suggest they get a drink of something cold, Ray slipped her ring finger into his mouth. She took a surprised intake of breath and stared at him with her large brown eyes. She felt a surge or excitement travel through her legs and land in the pit of her stomach. His tongue caressed her finger as his teeth rested on the edge of the ring. His eyes were locked with hers as he sucked lightly on her finger. Then as his suction increased, he used his teeth to pull the ring from her hand. Still holding on to her hand, he showed her the ring between his teeth as he smiled. Placing the ring in the palm of her free hand he whispered.
"Hope that didn't hurt." Francesca could feel his breath on her cheek. He was gently rubbing her fingers as they stood there in the kitchen of her family home. She looked at his face once again and saw something she had never taken the time to see before. He liked her. He liked her more than she would ever know. Not knowing what to do next, she hesitated a moment and then kissed him lightly on the cheek.
"Thanks." Before pulling away completely, she felt his hand slip around her waist. In the time it took to take a breath, he covered her lips with his. Francesca felt the warmth of his tongue on her lips as she allowed him entry to her mouth. Light kisses turned to passionate ones as she leaned against the counter. Ray ran his hands along her back and through her hair as he showed her how he felt. A car door slamming jolted them apart. Ma called through the house for Francesca to help her with the bags from the market. Ray rushed to her aid and left Francesca in the kitchen to think about what had just happened between them. Ray waved politely as he excused himself. The wink to Francesca went unnoticed by Ma as she started to put up groceries. Francesca looked at the ring in her hand and smiled.
"Can you help me dear?"
"Sure Ma. I just have to go put this ring away. I don't want anything to happen to it. It's my favorite."

feedback is appreciated. :)