Doyle reluctantly entered Cowley's office, wondering what this "special assignment" was that the Cow had dragged him in for. He was supposed to have two weeks' leave, just like Bodie, but he didn't see his partner being hauled in.
Cowley motioned Doyle to a chair. "I hope you're not too put out by this."
Doyle raised an eyebrow, unused to a conciliatory Cowley. "Er, not too much, sir."
"I don't think this little job will disturb your leave that much. It happens we needed a particular sort of person for this assignment, and it happens you're a match." Cowley paused, sorting through the pile of folders on his desk. Doyle got the distinct impression the Old Man was stalling.
"A match for what, sir?"
Cowley cleared his throat as he handed a folder over. "We have information that one of our top MPs has been...behaving in a questionable manner. We believe he's been--" Cowley hesitated again. "That he's been replying to certain personal ads in a certain newspaper...a paper which caters to homosexuals."
"Ah." Doyle grinned. "Well, you know what they say, sir. To each his own."
"This is hardly a joking matter, Doyle."
"Not really a CI5 matter, either, is it, sir? I mean, if it's just blackmail you're worried about--"
"Not blackmail. Security leaks. This MP has access to very high-level military information. We'd like to know how easily someone could get to that information. We need to know how...talkative he is to his...new friends."
"I see. So where do I come in?"
"The type of ad he's been answering indicates a preference for certain physical attributes and particular interests." Cowley passed him a few sheets of paper, information which had been copied out of Doyle's personal file. "I've highlighted the items which fit his requirements. You're the best match we've got. I want you to compose an ad for yourself, to be placed in this newspaper. Responses will come to a post office box. You will regularly pick them up and check for a reply from our MP."
"You could simply write the ad yourself." Doyle smiled. "I mean, not you, personally--I mean, you could write one for me."
"I could, if I so felt inclined. I do not. You will write it, Doyle. And you will check for replies."
"And if I bag the big one? What then? Do I get to go out on a date?"
"I would appreciate it if you would take this a bit more seriously."
"It normally takes one to two weeks for replies to come in, so this newspaper informs me. As I said, this initial phase shouldn't interfere with your leave all that greatly. If you get a possible match, however, I do expect you to check it out."
"Terrific," Doyle muttered. He leafed through the folder on Albert Tewksbury, MP, and came upon a photo of the man--he was fairly young, with rugged good looks, dark hair and blue eyes. He decided it was time for one last bit of Cowley-baiting. "Mind you, I might not object to following this up. He's not a bad lookin' fella. I could see gettin' it on with him--"
He looked up, all innocence. "Sir?"
GWM, 30s, red-brown hair, green eyes, slim but fit, seeks tall, dark, handsome stranger for fun and games; possible long- term relationship. Like classical music, art, walks on the beach, cozy dinners, dancing til dawn. Photo appreciated. Doyle smiled and shook his head. It seemed like a crazy way to go about finding someone. He filled out the address information, popped the ad in an envelope, and went out to post it.
Doyle's leave time didn't exactly bustle with activity. Wanting to have some time alone, he had holed up in his flat, doing a spot of painting or a little reading, or simply idling away the hours. His job was exciting enough; the last thing he wanted to do was run about in a frenzy during his off-hours. Peace and quiet, that was all he needed.
Bodie rang him up a number of times, trying to talk him into drinks or darts or both, but Doyle put him off. It wasn't that he didn't want to be with Bodie--no, that was definitely not the problem. The problem was, he wanted to be with Bodie far too much, in every sense of the word. And he didn't feel like taking chances, of saying or doing anything around Bodie that would make it obvious. Tall, dark, and handsome--yes, indeed. If Cowley only knew how well the words fit Doyle's fantasies...Doyle would be out on his ear. And who knew what Bodie would do to him. No, it was best to keep such a fantasy quite, quite secret.
At the end of the first week, the early replies to his ad turned up in the private post office box set up for him. Fifteen letters in all. Quite impressive. Doyle took them back to his flat and spread them out on his kitchen table; then he brewed a pot of tea and sat down to peruse them. A photo fell out of the first envelope--of a massive, squat blond man with more muscles than looked comfortable. Doyle made a tsk-tsking sound. Didn't these blokes actually read the ad? This was definitely not tall, dark, and handsome material. He gave the accompanying letter a cursory glance and tossed it aside.
The next envelope had no photo, and the letter looked as if it had been penned by a seven-year-old. The poor fellow couldn't compose an English sentence to save his life. He went on to the next. This one was tall and dark. Very dark. Very black, in fact. The writing had a flowing, poetic style designed to sweep the reader off his feet; unfortunately, Doyle was the wrong subject for sweeping. He threw it onto the reject pile and slit open the next envelope. No photo, just a typed letter. Not exactly romantic.
The author, however, described himself as tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed, and attractive. Right age, too. Could he have already bagged the big one, Albert Tewksbury himself? Didn't seem likely, but Doyle supposed he'd have to check the Mystery Bloke out. He scanned the letter for interests or hobbies, but the writer was less than informative. The fellow spent an entire paragraph going on about how he'd been searching for someone quite, quite special, and how perfectly PO Box 31976 fit his requirements. The only interest he listed was sport, "all kinds," which he'd "be glad to demonstrate." Doyle shook his head. Must think he's a clever bastard, poor sod.
A quick look at the remaining letters produced no further possibilities. There was nothing in that one damned letter which clashed with what he knew of Tewksbury, and a lot which matched. The Mystery Bloke proved to be very discreet indeed--he'd signed his letter "John", no last name, no phone number, merely a PO Box. Doyle felt distinctly annoyed. One phone call could have gone far towards ferreting out the writer's identity, but now-- well, this could be more challenging than Cowley anticipated. Following up what was likely to be a false lead was not Doyle's idea of a simple, unintrusive holiday assignment. He'd have to send the bloke a letter, arrange a meet, go see if it was Tewksbury or not. Bloody hell.
According to his file, Tewksbury favored a certain restaurant favored by solicitors, a fancy place where good- looking young men met regularly to discuss nothing more salacious than their latest briefs. Doyle dashed off a note asking "John" to meet him there on Saturday at six. He smiled as he signed it "George." Then he popped out for a walk to the post office.
Bodie tapped his fingers idly on the table, glancing at his watch for the tenth time in two minutes. 6:05. His date was late.
He took the folded letter from his pocket, smoothed it out, and read it one more time. Six o'clock, this Saturday, this restaurant. George. Not a name he was ever likely to become fond of. Bodie pulled out the crumpled, well-worn ad he'd cut from the newspaper--red-brown hair, green eyes, slim but fit...yeah. But how close to his fantasy would reality turn out to be?
Sighing, Bodie tucked the letter and the ad away. No matter how close to fantasy this "George" was, he'd never be Ray Doyle. And Ray was the only one he really wanted. What on Earth had possessed him to search through the gay personals, he'd never know. It was stupid, risky, and destined for disappointment. Yet here he sat, after finally being bold enough to answer an ad, waiting for the man of his dreams. Or rather, a poor imitation. Stupid.
Bodie checked his watch again. Not only stupid, but a waste of time. He was being stood up. Bodie gripped his wine glass harder. He didn't get stood up, dammit, he did the standing up. Trust someone named George to be a right prick. He should've known better. 'Course, it might have been more sensible not to have come at five to end up sitting here for over an hour just because he was so bloody anxious. Damn stupid.
At 6:15 Bodie ordered another glass of the insipid red liquid which the twits in this place seemed to believe was wine. At 6:20 he decided it was time to forget George, relax, and try to enjoy himself. But Bodie couldn't quite give up. He turned to peek past a curtain out the large front window near his table, giving his "date" one last chance to make an appearance on the street. Maybe the idiot had forgotten where the place was. He surveyed the few pedestrians, then his eyes fastened on a too- familiar figure lounging against a brick wall opposite the bar. It couldn't be. What the hell was Doyle doing there?
But there was no mistaking those slender, sensual hips and legs, that well-muscled chest, that curly hair--it was Ray, all right, and he was watching the bar. Damn. Bodie turned away, scrunching down in his seat. What if Doyle had seen him? The last thing he needed was for Doyle to join him, only to be interrupted by the arrival of Bodie's "date". There had to be a back exit. Bodie scanned the bar, spotted the sign. He dug out his billfold, frantically searching for money to pay his tab. He stood up to slap a few notes on the table when a friendly voice said, "Goin' somewhere, mate? Without finishing your drink?"
Bodie grimaced, then slowly turned to see Ray Doyle grinning at him. "Hi," he managed.
"'Ello yourself. Come on, sit down. I need a drink even if you don't." Doyle settled in at the table and waited patiently for Bodie to sit back down. Amazing luck, Doyle thought, to find Bodie here, of all places. He'd written the evening off as a waste, having stood outside the bloody place for nearly an hour watching for Tewksbury--he was supposed to meet "John" inside, but decided to watch and wait; after all, if it wasn't Tewksbury, there wasn't much point in going on in to meet some total stranger. Then, with no luck and no prospects for an entertaining night, he'd suddenly spotted Bodie in the window. The sight had cheered him immensely, though it was curious to find his partner in this particular restaurant. "What're you doin' here, mate?"
"Waiting for someone." Bodie downed half his wine. "Be better if you left, actually."
"What?" Doyle raised his eyebrows, and put on his best affronted look. Of all the bloody cheek. "What's the matter, you got a posh date? Am I too scruffy to be seen in your illustrious company?"
"No, it's not like that--"
A waiter interrupted to take Doyle's order, and Doyle nodded at Bodie's glass. "Whatever that is, just bring a whole bottle and another glass."
Bodie frowned. "You mug somebody on the way here?"
"Nah. Secret fund." Doyle had no intention of enlightening Bodie on his "special" assignment, nor on the fact he was charging the evening to his CI5 expenses.
"Okay, so what are you doing here," Bodie asked, "in this 'posh' establishment?"
"Had a blind date lined up. But it looks like a no-show." Doyle took a careful look around the large room just to be sure.
"Yeah? What's she look like?" Bodie checked out the bar as well. There were very few women in the place, and they all looked taken.
"Oh, you know--tall, dark, and...gorgeous," Doyle murmured. Nobody truly fit. There were a few men who were tall and dark, but not what Doyle would call attractive, and a few short, dark, attractive fellows, and plenty of blond men in all varieties. Tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed, and good-looking...Doyle turned back, and saw Bodie. His eyes widened. No...not Bodie--
The waiter appeared out of nowhere, flourishing a bottle of red wine. He deftly uncorked it, filled their glasses, deposited the bottle on the table, and drifted off. Doyle stared at the wine. He stared at Bodie. He picked up his glass and chugged the liquid down, immediately pouring a refill. He took a few more sips, set the glass down, and rolled the stem between his fingers. Bodie? The Mystery Bloke? Impossible. "So tell me," Doyle said as casually as he could manage, "who's this bird you're meeting?"
"What?" Bodie was still scanning the room, apparently oblivious to his partner. He turned back to look at Doyle. "What was that?"
"Your bird. What's her name?"
"Oh. Er...it's Georgina."
Doyle spluttered his drink. "Are you serious?"
"It's a perfectly decent name," Bodie protested, instantly wishing he hadn't used it.
"Georgina? Where the hell did you meet her?"
"Didn't. It's sort of a blind date, too."
"Oh, is it? Looks like you've been stood up, then, doesn't it?"
"Maybe." Bodie felt decidedly irked at Doyle for still being there--for not only failing to take a hint and go, but for blatantly making himself at home. If George did turn up, he was done for. "You know how unreliable birds are--never ready when you are." Bodie checked the room again, searching for that elusive auburn hair. Nobody in the whole damn place had auburn hair. Not male, anyway.
"Yeah. Unreliable is right," Doyle muttered, not caring one whit about birds, not when the possibility that his fantasy was about to turn into reality sat staring him in the face.
Bodie nodded. "And then they go and complain when we turn up late, as if we didn't have a good excuse. You know, just 'cause we were busy saving civilization as we know it, that's no reason to miss dinner at Luigi's." Bodie gave up on his search. He let out a little sigh of relief, glad he was apparently off the hook, while at the same time a trifle saddened that there would be no slim, auburn-haired, green-eyed Ray Doyle imitation to fulfill his fantasies tonight. He turned to smile at his friend, and raised his glass. "Looks like we've both been given the shaft, mate. Let's get sloshed, eh?"
Doyle grinned and clinked glasses. "Now you're talkin'."
Bodie swallowed a large gulp. He watched Doyle's beautiful, full lips as Doyle sipped his drink. If only... ah, but that was fantasy. Nothing but an auburn-haired, green-eyed, slim-but-fit fantasy...Bodie blinked. Then he surreptitiously pulled out the ad, keeping it below the table, and glanced down at it whenever Doyle looked about the room. Like classical music, art, walks on the beach, cozy dinners, dancing til dawn. Bodie didn't know about the beach walking, but everything else fit. Right along with the age, the hair, the eyes, and the build. Seeks tall, dark, handsome stranger. Bodie's eyes widened. Oh, you know-- tall, dark, and gorgeous, Doyle had said. A blind date, Doyle had said. Been stood up... Doyle? Bodie hastily stuffed the ad away. It wasn't possible. It simply wasn't--
"Somethin' the matter?"
"Huh? Oh, no, not at all." Bodie smiled and lifted his glass. "'m just waiting for you to catch up with me. Had a bit of a head start, you know."
"Too right." Doyle drained his glass. "How many have you had, then?"
"Counting that one?"
"No, this is three." Bodie studied his half-empty glass.
"Okay, I've had two." Doyle poured more wine into his glass and downed half of it. "Now we're even." He topped up both their glasses, and grinned. "Let's keep it straight, shall we?"
It was all Bodie could do to stifle a laugh. "Right. What were we talking about, anyway?"
"I dunno," Doyle said. "Birds, I think."
"Oh, yeah. Them."
Doyle studied the man across from him. What did Bodie really want? If it was him, answering the ad--well, come on, "Georgina"? Just a coincidence Bodie had picked a variant of George? Okay, so it was Bodie. That meant he was looking for a male lover. Which was surprising enough. But beyond that--a male lover who looked like Doyle. He clearly remembered what "John" had written--how he'd been searching for someone very special, and how well the ad matched up. So did it mean that Bodie wanted him, but, afraid to make a move, had resorted to a lookalike substitute? Or did he really want something, or someone else, entirely? Time for a bit of investigation. "Yeah, birds," Doyle repeated. "Bit of an annoyance, aren't they?"
"Too bloody right," Bodie agreed. "Never understand, do they. Never understand the job we do, not one bit. All it is to them is inconvenient. Can't even bloody well talk to 'em about it, can we?"
"Nope," Doyle replied. "Can't talk to 'em. Not like you and me can."
"Yeah." Bodie grabbed the bottle and topped them both up again.
"So," Doyle said, "how come you tried a blind date? Didn't think you went for that sort of thing."
"Oh, did I say that? Nah, it wasn't really blind..." Bodie wondered how to explain it without giving too much away, how to get Doyle to loosen up and admit the truth of why he was here without having to admit it himself first. "You see," he said carefully, leaning forward, arms on the table, "I'd been, well, intrigued by someone, but I didn't want to make a move. Just couldn't bring myself to do it. So I had it arranged." He waited, nervous, hoping Doyle would leap in to confess. After all, if he really had written that ad, and was really looking for a tall, dark, and handsome blue-eyed man, he'd certainly found one. If that was Doyle's idea of the perfect lover, then his own fantasies were a helluva lot closer to becoming reality than he'd ever dreamed. If only Doyle had just said something before--if only he'd tried it on.... Of course, Doyle couldn't have known. And that was why he'd sunk to trolling the gay personals for a second-rate Bodie substitute. So now all Bodie had to do was make certain his suspicions were correct, by getting Doyle to come out and say it. Bodie was damned if he was going to blurt it out first, only to end up being completely mistaken.
Doyle twirled his glass. "Since when were you ever afraid to chat up a bird?" He raised an inquisitive eyebrow. "And just what was it that intrigued you so much?"
"Well, it was all just different, somehow." Bodie cursed silently. Was he giving too much away? Doyle was looking decidedly suspicious. "You know how some people seem too...remote. Can't ever tell how they really feel."
"Yeah." Doyle nodded. "I know people like that."
Bodie drank the rest of his wine, then noticed the bottle was empty. Just as he turned to seek out their waiter, the fellow appeared, bearing a second bottle. "Ready for another, gentlemen?" He poured out the wine. "Perhaps you'd care to order dinner?"
Doyle took the proffered menu. He let out a low whistle at the prices. Then he decided Cowley surely couldn't object, especially as he was doing the old bastard a favor on his time off. "I'll have the sirloin with prawns."
Bodie's eyes widened. "You're mad."
"'s okay. Go on, order whatever you like."
"Since you insist." Bodie ordered lobster. The waiter nodded and left.
"'m not used to this," Bodie said. "Don't serve us this well in the pubs we frequent, do they?"
"Money talks," Doyle replied.
"You should know, mate, 'cause you're buying." Bodie paused. "Aren't you?"
"Yeah, I'm buyin'."
"Must be nice to be rich. Who died and left you the inheritance?"
Doyle grinned. "Nobody. It's the blind date. I'm doing an old friend a favor, and this friend is footing the bill."
Bodie sat up a bit straighter, feeling wary. What the hell was Doyle playing at with this "favor for a friend" line? Had he got it all wrong? "And your date didn't even show. What a pity."
"I'm glad, actually." Doyle shifted his chair slightly in Bodie's direction.
"You mean you'd rather have my company?" Bodie asked, more confused than ever.
"'s a lot more fun sometimes," Doyle admitted. "You remember that pair of stewardesses we took out last month? Susan and...and somebody or other...we thought they looked like right little ravers." Doyle lay his arms on the table, leaning in closer.
"I remember. They nearly put us to sleep." Bodie smiled at the memory. "But not in the right way. Couldn't talk about anything but some bloody boring American soap opera." Bodie's smile widened as he recalled the very pleasant evening he and Doyle had spent together after getting rid of the stewardesses. Just he and Doyle, a few drinks, a few darts games, and lots of easy conversation. No longer quite so wary, and feeling a tremendous sense of warmth for the man beside him, Bodie relaxed enough to lean forward until his elbow touched Doyle's. "Glad we ditched 'em."
"Was definitely an improvement," Doyle agreed. He smiled back, raising his glass in a toast. "To good mates."
Bodie happily clinked glasses. "To me best mate." He drank the liquid down.
"Gone sentimental on me, you 'ave." Doyle looked at Bodie's normally hard, controlled features, now softened by an alcoholic haze. It was a very attractive face. With an attractive person attached--the person he felt closer to than anyone else. The idea that Bodie might want him as much as he wanted Bodie sent a thrilling tremor through him as he considered the possibility-- friendship, love, and sex all in one. He shifted his chair closer still, sought out Bodie's foot with his own, and then brushed it ever so briefly against Bodie's calf.
Bodie bit his lower lip as a tingle coursed up his spine. What the hell was Doyle doing playing footsies with him? And those big eyes of Doyle's were positively glowing...or was it the wine? Bodie pushed his glass away. He suddenly didn't want to be any drunker.
"You had enough?" Doyle asked sweetly.
Bodie was momentarily at a loss. "No," he finally replied. "It's just--well, I drove here, and have to drive back."
"Nah, we can get a taxi." Doyle refilled Bodie's glass. "It's my treat, remember?" He favored Bodie with a soft, downright sensual smile.
Bodie swallowed hard. Doyle knew. Had to, the way he kept looking at him like that. He knew, and he knew that Bodie knew, and it was driving Bodie nuts. Just how long would they both stay stubborn enough not to admit it first? Bodie forced his gaze away from Doyle, and looked about. It was this damn restaurant, that was the trouble. It was too public. "Okay," he said as he picked up his full glass. "One more. And then we eat our dinner and get the hell out of here. Right?" He turned his best smouldering look on Doyle.
Doyle jerked, taken aback by the fierce desire in Bodie's eyes. No mistaking that. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "Right," he murmured, as excitement fought the trepidation suddenly rising within. "One more." He raised his glass to his lips.
"Ouch." Doyle rubbed his shin where he'd banged it against the front door of his flat. He could've sworn he hadn't had that much to drink. And he'd had a good meal on top of it. But just how many times had they said "one more"? He couldn't remember.
"Oof." Bodie bumped into Doyle's back. "What're you doin' stoppin' in the doorway, mate?"
"Sorry." Doyle straightened, and managed to get inside, pulling Bodie past him so he could shut and lock the door. He wasn't that drunk, Doyle decided as he flung his jacket over the nearest handy object, which turned out to be plant stand. He was just pleasantly tipsy.
Bodie wove his way into the sitting-room, located the sofa, and sank onto it gratefully. Bloody lovely evening, he thought as he watched Doyle stumble about the room trying to remove his boots while still standing. Simply wonderful. Bodie shrugged his jacket off and tossed it in the general direction of an armchair, not caring where it landed. All he cared about was getting Doyle on the sofa beside him, where he intended to find out if those bedroom eyes Doyle had been flashing at him all evening were real. Bodie kicked his shoes off and propped his feet on the coffee table, knocking off a file folder in the process. He let out an exasperated sigh and bent to pick up the scattered papers.
Doyle, having succeeded in taking off his boots, turned to see Bodie collecting the folder contents. Shit. Tewksbury's file. He spotted the glossy paper of Tewksbury's photo, lying face down, mere inches from Bodie's grasping fingers. "Let me help!" he shouted, grabbing for the photo a fraction of a second too late.
"Who's this?" Bodie flipped the picture over. Then he glanced at the file label. "Tewksbury? The MP?"
"It's nothing." Doyle tried to snatch the folder away, but Bodie held on tight. "It's only work."
"You're on leave," Bodie replied, feeling much more sober than he had a few minutes earlier. He stared at the color photo. Handsome, dark-haired, and with blue eyes. He scanned the first few pages in the folder, automatically picking out key words and phrases.
"Bodie, please--" Doyle leaned over him.
Bodie slapped the folder on the table and stood, shoving Doyle away. "What the hell is going on?"
"Nothing." Doyle moved in close again. "Doesn't have anything to do with this--"
"With what? You gonna come out and say it, Ray?" Bodie's eyes glittered. "Go on, say it! You put that bloody ad in the paper, didn't you?" He grabbed Doyle's shirtfront. "Well?"
"Yes," Doyle replied.
Bodie nodded towards the file. "To flush him out, is that right?"
"Yes." Doyle held Bodie's gaze, not making any move to get out of the tight grip Bodie had on him. "But--"
"Fuckin' 'ell." Bodie released him. He ran his hands over his eyes. So much for fantasy and reality. He looked around for his shoes, and sat down to tug them on.
"Don't go," Doyle said quietly.
Bodie looked up at him, unable to dismiss the aching longing inside. "Why?" he choked out. "You want more laughs at my expense? Haven't you had enough?"
Doyle stared down at him, wanting to erase the pain on that beloved face. "When did I ever laugh?"
"Don't try to explain it, Ray." Bodie stood and strode to the armchair, snatching up his jacket. "I know you weren't there for me. It was just an assignment." He shoved his arms into the jacket sleeves, pulling it tight around him. "Well, I hope you had a good time." He started past Doyle towards the door.
"Dammit, I'm trying to tell you--" Doyle caught him up, tugging at his sleeve to stop him. "I did have a good time."
Bodie sighed, turning to face him. "Yeah? Were you having a good time teasing me with your little games? Touching me with your thigh, shining those big eyes at me like that--having a fun 'assignment', were you?"
Doyle closed his eyes and slowly counted to five. He opened his eyes, gave Bodie a steady look, and said, "You want me."
"What?" Bodie frowned.
"It started out as a job, that's true," Doyle hurried on. "Then I figured out you were 'John', you were the one I'd arranged to meet. And I realized you wanted me." He hesitated. "Don't you?"
Bodie nodded. "Yeah."
"Good." Doyle smiled. "'Cause that went and changed everything. Wasn't even thinking about the damn job anymore, not then. Was only thinking about you." He pulled Bodie close. "Want you, too, you idiot." He cupped his hand round the back of Bodie's head, and leaned in to kiss him.
Bodie's lips parted for him, and Doyle responded, opening to meet the smooth tongue, exploring the soft texture of Bodie's mouth. Then Bodie's arms were around him, holding him tight, and Doyle gasped as he felt the swelling in Bodie's groin. He ended the kiss. "Talk to me," he said nervously, afraid to go on, and not wanting to stop. "Say something, dammit."
Bodie brushed his fingers through Doyle's hair, resting his hand against Doyle's cheek. "What do you want me to say?" Bodie was still reeling from the kiss, overwhelmed by the truth in it, and his own voice sounded far away to him.
Doyle reached to take Bodie's hand in his. "Tell me what you would have said to him. To 'George.' What would you have told him if he'd been real? I want to know."
Bodie started to protest that he would never have actually gone this far with a mere substitute, but he could sense it was important to Doyle. And it was important. Bodie felt an unusual nervous as he searched for the right words. "What I would have said," he began, "was this. I've got a friend, and you remind me of him. This friend means more to me than life itself, but he doesn't know that, because I've never told him. I've never told him I loved him, either. I wish I could."
Doyle let out a pent-up breath. "You know, if I'd been this George fellow, I'd be very envious of your friend just now."
"Would you?" Bodie smiled. "Good thing you're you, then, isn't it." He brought their clasped hands to his lips and lightly kissed their joined fingers. "Is it really all right?"
Doyle stared at him, so unused to seeing this side of Bodie, and surprised to find how much he needed it, needed Bodie, wanted him in all his facets, in every way he could think of. "Yes," he said simply. "It is."
Bodie kissed him. As their lips lingered over each other's, they began a slow undressing. Bodie deftly undid the buttons of Doyle's shirt, sliding it off as Doyle returned the favor, until they were pressed chest to chest. Bodie relinquished Doyle's lips to nuzzle his neck, planting light kisses along his throat while running his hand along Doyle's spine. When he reached the top of Doyle's jeans and slid his hand under the belt, and beneath the fabric of Doyle's soft cotton pants, he felt a responsive shiver. He continued pressing their bodies together, and felt the answering swell in Doyle's groin.
Doyle pulled back. "Keep talking to me." He slowly stroked Bodie's smooth chest, feeling the powerful muscles.
"Don't usually talk much." Bodie put his arms around Doyle's waist, bringing him close again.
"Yeah, well, this is different." Doyle wanted more of the Bodie he'd newly discovered, the one who could be tender.
"'Different'," Bodie repeated, smiling. "That's the understatement of the year." He tugged at Doyle's belt. "How 'bout continuing our conversation in the bedroom?"
Doyle nodded. He led the way down the hall to his room, flicking the bedside lamp on. He turned to find Bodie right there, a hunger in his gaze. "So how does it go in your fantasies?" Doyle asked. "You've been having 'em about me, haven't you? I know I've had 'em about you."
"Oh, yeah." Bodie placed his hands on Doyle's shoulders. "I've had them."
"So who gets to finish the undressing, then?"
"It varies. But usually, it's me."
Doyle's voice was low and husky. "Then do it."
Bodie briefly closed his eyes, then focused on Doyle's belt, fumbling with it as he had never done in any of his dreams. "Sorry." At last he pulled it loose, unzipped the jeans, and began working them down and off Doyle's slim hips. Doyle rocked gently, helping to ease the denim along, until he was able to kick the jeans off. Bodie paused--there was only one article of clothing left. He lay his hand on Doyle's pants, feeling the growing hardness beneath soft, blue cotton. Doyle gasped, jutting forward against the pressure of Bodie's palm.
"Ah," Bodie breathed, "like that, do you?" His own erection strained within the confines of his trousers, but he didn't want to hurry this.
"You know I do, you teasing bastard..."
There was no heat in the term, and Bodie found he liked hearing Doyle use it. "Say that again," he growled as he slid his fingers beneath the elastic band of Doyle's pants.
"I said..." Doyle moaned as Bodie slowly, ever so slowly, pulled the cotton pants down. "--you know I like it..." Bodie cupped his other hand over Doyle's left buttock and gently squeezed. "--you teasing...ah...bastard--"
"Who, me?" Bodie grinned as the pants joined the jeans on the floor. He touched Doyle's engorged cock lightly, then stepped back. "And whose foot was that brushing my leg back in the restaurant, hm?"
"Mine..." Doyle found it difficult to speak, flushed and aroused, his breathing reduced to ragged panting. He would never have imagined it would be like this--the way Bodie lingered over every move, every touch--it was all so wickedly sexy...
"Who's a teasing bastard, then?" Bodie asked. He gave Doyle a steady, appreciative look as he undid his own belt and began to pull his trousers down.
"You are, you sonofa--" Doyle drew in his breath as Bodie tugged at his pants, freeing his cock. "Never knew I could get you so...enthusiastic."
Bodie tossed his trousers and pants aside, moving in close to Doyle. "Glad to see you're in the same state." He pulled Doyle to him, their cocks touching.
Doyle trembled, exhilarated by the contact. "More," he said. "I want more..."
"You got it," Bodie replied. He took Doyle's wrist and pulled him down onto the bed, where they rolled about, ending in a comfortable, side-by-side embrace.
Doyle couldn't get enough of Bodie--the feel of the muscular body against his own excited every nerve. He touched every part of Bodie that he could reach, lapped and sucked every inch of smooth skin. He entwined their legs, rubbing calves and thighs together, delirious with the pleasure of flesh against flesh. And Bodie reciprocated--hands and mouth all over Doyle, caressing, tasting, finding the spots where a little pressure made Doyle moan in delight.
"Not enough," Doyle murmured, lost even as he was in a haze of sheer lust. "Touch me there--" He guided Bodie's roaming hand to his cock, and Bodie wrapped his hand round the shaft and pumped with a rhythm strong enough to bring Doyle to the edge. He relaxed his hold, massaging Doyle's abdomen in a gentle, circular motion.
"You're evil," Doyle whispered in Bodie's ear, giving the lobe a quick bite.
Bodie brought his other hand to cup Doyle's balls, lightly kneading the taut sac. "Am I?" he purred as he thrust his own rigid cock against Doyle's with a new, more insistent rhythm. "Want me anyway?"
"Want you...ah..." Doyle let out a gasp as he neared the edge again. "Need you..." He ran a finger along Bodie's straining cock, pleased at the moan the touch elicited. "Love you..." He found Bodie's mouth and plundered it, keeping his hand on Bodie's cock, Bodie's hand joining his as they stroked each other, working to a frenzy, until Doyle broke away from the kiss with an incoherent shout, head back, body rocking as he came, the shattering release shaking him utterly.
Doyle sagged back into a limp sprawl on the bed, his senses slowly recovering. As Bodie frantically shoved his cock against Doyle's thigh, Doyle idly reached to grasp him, one quick, hard stroke enough. He watched, fascinated, Bodie's shuddering orgasm, loving the expression of pure ecstasy on Bodie's face. Warm liquid spurted over Doyle's abdomen, mingling with his own cooling semen. As Bodie gradually subsided into a relaxed state, limbs casually draped over Doyle's form, he let out a long, satisfied sigh.
Doyle nuzzled his neck and cheek. "Wanna do that again. Lots."
"Um." Bodie nestled his face among Doyle's curls. "I'm willing to oblige."
"So kind of you." Doyle leaned over Bodie to grab a few tissues from the box on his bedside table. He dabbed at both their bellies, then tossed the tissues at the waste bin. "Messy bastard," he murmured, snuggling up to Bodie's neck again, arm flung over his chest.
"Look who's talkin'." Bodie suddenly grinned. "I can think of a couple ways to avoid that in future." He placed his hand on Doyle's buttocks, giving them a gentle pat. "Not, mind you, that I want to remove what we just did from our repertoire."
"Good," Doyle replied. "'Cause it was fantastic." He stretched his entire body, yawning.
"You goin' to sleep already?" Bodie tweaked a curl.
"Stop that." Doyle batted Bodie's hand away from his hair. "'m not sleeping, 'm just resting a bit. Got loads of stamina left." He yanked the bedcovers up around them. "You've got my pillow."
"What?" Bodie gave him an exasperated smile as Doyle tugged at the pillow cover. "Thought you were using my shoulder for that."
"I am. But this is my favorite pillow." Doyle yanked the pillow free and shoved the one on his side under Bodie's head. The exchange made, he settled in again, head resting on Bodie's upper chest. "And that's my side of the bed, as well."
"Yeah, guess so." Doyle smiled. "Hey, I just remembered something."
Bodie, feeling warm and content and loved, waited for enlightenment. "What's that?"
"You know that huge drinks and dinner bill we ran up--and the taxi--"
"I did wonder how you were paying for it all."
"Gonna put it on me expenses," Doyle said, chuckling. "Let CI5 pay for the evening."
Bodie laughed softly. "I like it."
"Best assignment I've ever had." Doyle lifted his head to place a light kiss on Bodie's cheek, then nestled down again. "Love you, John."
"Love you too, George." Bodie kissed Doyle's forehead before reaching up to flick off the lamp.
-- THE END --