One Step Away


during Involvement

The moment hung, wide as the space between them, which was wider than those few feet. The weight of Bodie's arm faded into a shadow of the moment upon his shoulders, a brief warmth.

He couldn't compromise the job. Not after giving it so much, not when he had sacrificed everything else to keep it, to follow Cowley and his dream of a sweetly scented England. The road he had chosen on that day, when he had taken the fine-nibbed pen from the old man and signed blue blood across that piece of paper, did not veer from the straight and true, and it did not shrink from searching his lover's dresser, from reading his lover's letters. Did it?

It did not shrink from arresting her father and it did not shrink from demanding to know the truth. Oh god.

The overcast skies, the dull blue of the asphalt were suddenly too bright, and he closed his eyes. Shut it out, shut it all out. Why couldn't she understand? It was who he had chosen to be, such a long time ago. Maybe ugly, maybe violent, but on the side of her angels, of her philosophers, her teachers and her readers, all the same.

He had nearly died for this job. He had lost friends, he had given up peace and serenity for this job, and for all that to stall in the face of love, for the sake of waking up to a slim body and a pretty face… Oh he had known what he was doing when he opened that drawer, when he had asked that question.

Maybe he had even known that it couldn't be fixed, that it was habit more than hope that sent him running out the door, down the stairs. There should be someone to stop your tears, to say they're sorry, to hold your world upright when you thought it was falling down. But it couldn't be him. And she knew it.

He couldn't compromise the job.

At least that was what he thought, that was what he thought he believed. Until he felt the autumn cold reassert its place across his back, sliding down through the fibres of his jacket to caress his skin, and deeper still. It clutched at him, and he felt the emptiness.

It wasn't the job he'd done it for.

He turned and lifted his eyes to Bodie.

-- THE END --

August 2006

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