Bodie put his key in the lock, turned it and knew at once that he was not alone. Music echoed through the flat, he recognised Billie’s mellow voice singing the blues, and there was a delicious smell he was sure was coming from his own kitchen.
Cautiously he edged inside. A tartan scarf lay in an untidy heap on the couch, a gun and holster thrown carelessly beside it. He looked up to find Doyle lounging in the doorway of the kitchen, a welcoming smile on his face.
“What took you so long? The food’s getting cold, I had to turn it off.” Ray asked
“Traffic. Sorry,” Bodie was contrite but not sure why. “There’s food?”
“Yes, there’s food,” Doyle answered, the smile getting wider. Then he was there in front of Bodie, swift and catlike, his gaze predatory. In fact he was so close that it was no effort at all for Bodie to put his arms around the slim waist and draw him even closer. Ray didn’t object, but settled into Bodie’s encircling embrace his eyes steady on Bodie’s face.
“You’re wet,” he said
“There was shooting,” Ray accused.
“Some. I told Marty to stay put but he tried being Action Man, only he slipped, gave the game away.”
“He got shot.”
“Yep, in the arm. He’s fine.”
“So did you.”
“It’s just a scratch.”
Doyle’s hand reached up to touch gently at the thick padding and tape adhering to Bodie’s temple.
“A scratch!” he muttered. “Cowley told me you were still out of it when he arrived.”
“Yeah. Missed all the action,” Bodie told him. The warmth from Ray’s body was starting to seep in, driving away the chill and the music was soft and mellow, perfect for a slow dance, so Bodie pulled Ray a little closer and began to sway them both to the music. Ray smiled and his arms crept up to encircle Bodie’s neck as he rubbed his cheek against Bodie’s unshaven chin. They didn’t say anything, just danced in slow circles to Billie’s song.
Someday he’ll come along, the man I love
And he’ll be big and strong, the man I love
“Anson didn’t go after the van like he was supposed to,” Bodie continued, murmuring into Ray’s neck, still holding him close, still moving to the music. “Dithered around at the warehouse trying to stop Marty bleeding to death. The local coppers hadn’t a clue what was going on. The buyers got clean away, so did Alvares. There’s no sign of the financier. Cowley’s not best pleased and neither am I. Hours of obbo down the drain because of Marty.”
“Not his fault he got shot,” Doyle pointed out.
“It is too! And it served the prat right, I told him to stay put but he didn’t listen. Now he thinks he’s some kind of hero.” The last was stated with all the indignation of the truly outraged.
“You’re a hard man, William”
Bodie nodded. “I am indeed,” he said. And Doyle lifted his head and laughed pushing his hips closer to that hardness, rubbing gently, his own arousal evident. Then he lent leant forward and touched his lips to Bodie’s, soft and gentle, the sweetest of kisses.
And when he comes my way
I'll do my best to make him stay
“You’ve decided then?” Bodie asked as their lips parted, daring to hope.
Doyle nodded. “I was stupid,” he said. “Thought things would change between us, that we couldn’t be friends, partners, if we were lovers. Had to think it through and decide what I wanted most, what I didn’t want to lose.”
“I was at HQ when the word came through there’d been shooting. It was all confused … jumbled but they said you’d been shot in the head.” Ray touched his fingers to Bodie’s forehead, stroking the crooked eyebrow then moving them down along the side of his face to his lips and resting them there. His eyes were suspiciously moist. “I .. I thought I’d lost you anyway, without ever having a chance to tell you.”
“Tell me what?” Bodie asked, needing the answer, needing Doyle to say it.
“That I loved you and nothing else mattered.”
Their mouths came together again, but this time it was harder, deeper and Doyle willingly opened his mouth as Bodie’s tongue touched his lips. Bodie sighed and let the hunger he felt surge through his body and flow into the kiss. Doyle responded, matching Bodie passion for passion. The fire burned between them as they continued to sway to the music.
He'll look at me and smile, I'll understand
Then in a little while, he'll take my hand
And though it seems absurd
I know we both won't say a word
Finally they drew apart and Doyle reached for Bodie’s wrist, taking it in a firm grasp and pulling him towards the bedroom. “C’mon, we have to get you dry and into a nice warm bed.” Bodie couldn’t think of a single objection.
Doyle began pulling off wet clothes that clung to damp skin as soon as they were in the room and Bodie reciprocated, tugging at Doyle’s clothing, undoing buttons until his attention was caught by Nambi, sitting silently in her resting place.
“She was right,” he murmured absently, voicing the thoughts the carving had invoked. “But she led us up the garden path anyway, we never suspected her.”
“What are you on about?” Doyle stopped in the act of giving a last tug to the shirt hanging off Bodie’s wrist.
“The African woman,” Bodie nodded towards the carving.
Doyle followed his gaze. “It was her, wasn’t it? She’s the one who shot you. Cowley told me.”
“Yep, that old black magic was all hers, spells and gunrunning. Then she finished it off with a vanishing act, quite an accomplishment.” His tone was admiring.
“You’re a mad prat, you know that.” Doyle told him.
“Yeah, but I’m your mad prat.” Bodie said turning his attention away from the little carving to finish the business of unzipping Doyle’s pants.
“That you are,” Doyle agreed as he pulled them both down onto the waiting bed.
Whispers and sighs could be heard throughout the flat; the hiss of steam from hot water pipes, the creak of floor boards settling, the rustling of leaves and the scratch of a tree branch against a window, even the sounds of night owls drifted in through an open window. But none were more pronounced than the moans and cries that came from the bedroom, the quiet words of love and sounds of pleasure that echoed through the flat.
Nambi, banished to the mantelpiece above the gas heater in the living room because Doyle thought she was watching them, remained impassive. But, as the night shadows fell across her face one would be forgiven for thinking her expression could only be described as smug.
Maybe I shall meet him Sunday,
Maybe Monday, maybe not
Still I'm sure to meet him one day
Maybe Tuesday will be my good news day
He'll build a little home, that's meant for two
From which I'll never roam, who would, would you
And so all else above
I'm dreaming of the man I love
George & Ira Gershwin, 1924