To Every Thing There Is a Season
Bodie reached over, lifted Doyle's wrist and peered at it. "You're six minutes slow, mate. Better get that watch seen to."
"Can't be late for Macklin on Monday, can we?" Anson looked up from his newspaper. "The grapevine says he's got it in for you after what you did on the last training course."
Removing his arm from his partner's grasp, Doyle stood up and shrugged on his jacket. "You take your Superman watch if you're worried. Pick you up at seven, okay?"
Bodie gave a smile of contentment. "A whole weekend off."
"You're due at the training centre midday," Anson reminded them as they left the room.
"Remember about the food," Doyle said, walking down the corridor. "Don't want you fading away. Harry said this place is miles from civilisation."
Doyle stopped the car and stared out through the windscreen. "All these country roads look alike in the dark. You sure this is the right turning?"
"No." Bodie examined the map by the light of the torch. "Half the roads aren't marked on here. Should have brought an O.S. map: I'm navigating by guesswork."
"Well, the signpost says something with a y and a lot of w's."
"If there are two l's in it then we're okay." He consulted the instructions. "The place is up a track marked 'no through road' about a mile from here."
"Hope the sign's in English," Doyle remarked as he drove on, the car's windscreen wipers working overtime. "I didn't pack my foreign phrase book."
Bodie leaped for the front door, unlocking it in record time as the rain lashed down on him, and disappeared inside. He re-emerged a few moments later to make a dash for the Capri, hauling out food and his holdall from the boot.
"Couldn't find the light switch," he called, as Doyle took his own bag, hastily locked the car and headed for shelter.
"Hell." Doyle turned just inside the doorway and bumped into the solid frame of his partner. "It's bloody cold in here, and we need the torch."
Bodie went back out into the rain to fetch the torch from the car and investigated the cottage, finding paraffin lamps in the kitchen.
"Basic," was his terse comment. "Not even electricity. Let there be light," he intoned, as Doyle lit one of the lamps. "That's a bit better. Don't know about you but I'm freezing my balls off standing here."
Turning to him, Doyle frowned slightly. "Didn't think it would be quite like this. You want to find somewhere more comfortable?"
"Not on your life." Bodie grinned. "No tv, no phone; just you and me, sunshine."
"I think it's trying to snow," Doyle remarked as he slurped his coffee. He added another log to the fire, before returning to the jigsaw puzzle he had found in a cupboard.
"We used to do our training in weather like this," Bodie said, peering over his partner's shoulder. "Doesn't that belong in that corner?" He reached down and slotted the piece into place. "Mist, rain, snow. Slogging our way over the mountains, across flooded streams, not another living thing in sight…"
"Except the sheep," added Doyle. "Explains a lot. No finesse, that's your trouble."
"Haven't heard you complaining." Bodie concentrated on the puzzle.
Doyle fitted the corner pieces together, then said, "As anniversaries go, this one isn't up to much so far. I vote we move the mattress and blankets in here tonight. It's the only warm room in the whole place."
Bodie looked down at his Superman watch, and smiled.
Looking out at the weather and deciding he was better off indoors, Bodie poked the fire, stirring it into life. He checked the time on his watch, made tea and took it into their makeshift bedroom.
Doyle stretched, blinked, and raised himself on one elbow to accept the mug. "Ta."
Bodie got back into bed and put the pillows behind him against the wall. "As anniversaries go…" He gave a quirky grin.
They drank their tea in silence.
Eventually Bodie asked, "You fancy doing anything in particular today? Like finding a pub?"
"Only if you want to." Doyle set his mug on the floor, and hauled himself up. Turning slightly, he looked at his partner for a long moment. "It was okay last night, wasn't it?"
Bodie put his tea down carefully. He lifted his fingers to Doyle's face, trailing them across the badly set cheekbone. "Let's stay here, make the most of it. The rest of the world can wait."
Doyle locked the front door and slid into the driving seat of the Capri. "At least we're going back in daylight," he said as they drove off. "And the rain's stopped. You want the radio on?"
"No, stick a tape in," Bodie decided. A little while later he added, "Thanks, Ray, for everything. It was great."
Doyle flicked a glance at him. "Remember that when Macklin's doing his worst. How are we for time?"
"We're okay." He held up his left arm and pointed to his wrist. "Superman's still ticking."
They drove into the training centre, parked and headed for the reception area.
"Odd," Bodie said, glancing out of the window at the session in progress. "That's Anson out there and Murph. All of our lot. They've already started."
Macklin's voice carried down the corridor behind them. "So the two lovebirds have decided to join us. You're late, gentlemen."
"It's only a quarter to twelve," snapped Doyle. "We're early."
"What's going on, Macklin?" Bodie demanded. "We're here and on time, as per orders."
Macklin opened his office door and nodded in the direction of the wall clock. "It's a quarter to one, Doyle. It obviously escaped your attention but the clocks went forward yesterday."
Doyle leaned back against the wall and gave a snort of laughter. Ignoring Macklin's puzzled glare, he turned to his partner. "Your watch isn't any better than mine, mate."
Bodie gave an embarrassed grin. "Even Superman can't always tell the right time," he said.
-- THE END --
Written for a writing weekend exercise, May 1998.
Published in Discovered in a Letterbox 8, December 1998