by C Richards
Bodie blamed the woman. Doyle was injured and it was her fault. Cowley must be out of his mind bringing more women into the Force, into the Big A. Of course, Cowleys' hands were tied; ministerial pressure from up on high forced the change. These days equality was the buzz word. However, working in CI5 was a dirty job, a hard job, a job for men who could and did face danger and death each and everyday. "Yeah, bring women into CI5," thought Bodie, "but let them do the typing, the filing, the fetching and carrying."
Women were essential to the running of the organisation, and Bodie enjoyed returning to base and flirting dreadfully with them. He was notorious for his (in)discreet liaisons with Cowley's secretaries. He enjoyed the elicit thrill of knowing that Cowley would be less than pleased should he find out. Women were a game to him. Cowley was strict about the non-fraternisation rule, and even more so with his personal assistants who tended to be attractive, dedicated and very capable women. Cowley's PAs were essential for the smooth running of CI5, supporting the old man, regardless of the day or hour. "But," thought Bodie, "keep them in the office and not out on assignment as agents."
The new Tory government headed by a woman ruled that CI5 had to endeavour to put more women agents alongside their male counterparts, something to do with equality laws. The government had to make a show to its supporters, it was lip service, and everyone knew what they really thought about minorities and blacks. But, CI5 was funded by the government, and had to play the game and bend to pressure. Bodie didn't like the idea one bit, he knew it spelt trouble. There was always an exception to the rule and that was Susan. She had been part of the team for a number of years and had proved her worth time and again, there couldn't be many repeats of her.
Amongst the new recruits there was one agent, Tara Becks, whom he had no particular liking for. Her main role within CI5 was Intelligence. The woman had a head on her shoulders, he would give her that much, often matching Cowley and in-step with his devious double-thinking and double strikes. They made a surprising team – Cowley – ruthless, canny and with wisdom that comes with years of experience and Becks – young, bright and determined.
After a short while on the team, Cowley had come to trust her hard diligence, her ability to link patterns of terrorist behaviour, along with what could only be described as women's intuition. All that Bodie had gathered about her was that she'd had a spell in the army, learning the standard stuff like discipline, fighting, weapons and survival – he'd gathered that she'd seen active duty out in the troubled Middle East. She was said to be quick, tough and a damned good shot – you'd have to be to be accepted into an organisation like this. He'd heard that she'd moved up the army ranks quickly with a sharp mind on her side. After a few years she moved into army intelligence where she'd become a noted member of the team despite of her youthful age. As far as Bodie could gather, she had been transferred after a couple of years to MI5, after which she had dropped out, travelled a bit – he didn't know what else. He had never really taken the time to find out. Not that she wasn't approachable because she was, and well liked by others in the team.
Some women who competed in a mans world ended up bitter, losing themselves along with their feminity, sometimes becoming far more remote and cold than many men he'd known. Hard bitches working in a man's world. However, Becks didn't fit that mold. The men in CI5 generally liked her and she was open and friendly. He guessed early or mid-thirties. A couple of the men, Jax and Anson had tried it on with her. They'd retold their stories one bawdy evening at the bar. She had declined their offer with a grin and joke and short kiss on their cheeks, letting them down with good humour and grace. Anson mumbled about her possibly being a lesbian and Jax, in particular, was disappointed 'Oh man, I could just imagine stroking and kissing her pert little...'
"Yeah, we get the picture." laughed Doyle, cutting Jax's imaginings short.
So what was it that so rankled him about her? That her and Doyle had instantly hit it off together? Doyle who like himself often showed a remote front to the world, only let a select few through. But he seemed to have connected with her. He would often find them together laughing at some private joke, thick as thieves. If he happened upon them and wanted to know what the joke was, they would stifle their giggles and say it was too late to explain. He was starting to feel like an outsider with his own partner – his own partner Doyle.
He had thought Doyle was just trying to pull – she was up his street, the type of bird he liked – British born and bred, but with a look that hinted at genes more striking than purely Anglo-Saxon. She had an exotic look and a petite toned frame, making her appear more youthful than her years.
Jax and Anson had proved she wasn't the sort of bird you could easily ask out. With him and Doyle mostly being out on assignments or with their heads down writing reports, and with Becks working long hours close to Cowley – it wasn't as though they met that often casually. She'd been with CI5 quite a few months, if not up to a year before he realised that Doyle and her had slowly formed a close friendship and was now used to seeing her more frequently joining Doyle and the team in the bar after hours. Perhaps Doyle was trying a softly, softly approach with her. If he was, it was the longest pull in his history. Doyle, he reflected, was usually quick and fell for a bird hard and heavy. He didn't know what was going on, but he did know that he didn't like her.
Tara moved along the bar and was jostling for position trying to catch the barman's attention. Doyle and a few of the other men and women from the squad stood casually together, drinks in-hand. Bodie walked up to the group, his eyes flicked over to see Beck's head bent over to the barman's ear shouting her order, trying to be heard above the raucous background din. He moved his attention back to the group and gave them a welcome grin.
"So the Cow's eventually let you free." joked Murphy
"Yup, and not before time. I see a round's being ordered. I'm gasping like a fish." Bodie inclined his head towards the bar and said to Doyle "So have you managed to shag her yet?"
"God, you can be a crude git at times, Bodie." Doyle looked a little exasperated at his partner.
"Takes one to know one," quipped Bodie, nodding his head a little.
"Well for your information, the answer is no. We're just friends," and Doyle emphasised the and, "And she's too much of a pro to mix work and play."
One of Bodie's mobile eyebrows raised in surprise. "That's never stopped us before, so what does that make us then?"
Doyle opened his mouth to answer, a grin forming in the corner of his mouth, his chipped tooth just visible and dangerous glint in his eye. "No, don't answer me and I don't think I'd like to hear it." said Bodie, not sure he wanted Doyle's caustic wit and the truth blended together and thrown at him, once again.
He lifted his dark lashes to catch the movement of Becks returning, balancing a heavy tray laden with drinks, moving cautiously through the crowds and attempting not to spill too much of the cold amber fluid.
"Well, isn't the age of chivalry well and truly dead," she said with a hint of rye sarcasm pitched in her voice, "I thought one of you big and burly men might have given me a hand."
"Well, if the little woman can't handle it, you know what they say..." Bodie said pointedly as hard blue eyes scowled at her.
Silence momentarily descended upon the group. They were a little shocked at Bodie's snide comment and the fact that Becks had not warranted the callous words. Doyle broke the tension, putting a comradely hand to Bodie's shoulder. "Give it a rest Bodie, the war's out on the street not in here." he said quietly into his ear. The unruly mop of curls tickled the side of Bodie's face.
As if a switch had been flicked, Bodie changed his mood and brightened. Full of light he said to Becks, "Well, if you're buying I'll have a Harvey wall banger. Tara wasn't too pleased and stared at Bodie for a moment trying to decide upon the best course of action. She didn't want to stir up any animosity amongst the men she worked alongside, so she decided to let the big mans impudence pass by and she returned to the bar. The colleagues returned to their banter, drinks, and relaxed releasing the tensions of the job.
The barman rang the bell for last orders. "Do you fancy another, sunshine?" Bodie asked Doyle, pleased to have him to himself. Most of the group had already left and he was relieved to see that Becks had left quite early.
"Nah, and I suggest you don't either, you look like you've had a skinful already." Doyle remarked. "Remember Cowley wanted us in at eight tomorrow morning, some trouble's brewing."
"You'll forever be my conscience." smirked Bodie, hanging his head a little and shaking it gently.
On the way out from the bar, Bodie threw Doyle his car keys. "Well, you'd better drive – Cowley'll have me guts if I get pulled over."
Doyle expertly caught the keys in one hand, opened the door to the silver capri and sat inside behind the steering wheel. Bodie feeling a warm glow from having Doyle's company to himself and the alcohol was in a good mood. He couldn't help a little sarcastic good humour.
"Okay, so you put the key in the hole and twist, and that's how you turn the engine on..."
"Yeah, yeah a little less of your cheek, or you'll find yourself walking." Doyle retorted. They both looked at one another, years of sharing the same space and learning each others nuances and moods, instant communication without speaking. They looked at each other and burst into laughter. Two halves of a music hall act Cowley had called them once. It was very apt at times. Doyle slammed the car into gear and sped off down the road.
The briefing room was full as Bodie silently crept through the door, trying to be invisible as he moved further inside. Cowley's booming soft brogue filled the room gunning out information on the terrorists forming the latest threat to National security.
"And so I expect every one of you to be vigilant and keep an eye out for these villains." as he jabbed at a photo mount of mug shots. Cowley's back was against the attendant agents, his attention on the charts. Without turning he raised his voice further, "Och, what time do you call this Bodie? Sit down man. I want you take full note."
Having just been chastised in front of a room full of agents, he felt slightly embarrassed. He grinned boyishly at them. "That old Scot must have eyes in the back of his head." he mused. However, he also knew that the old man had a soft spot for him and usually he could get away with things many operatives wouldn't think of.
"So I want everyone's attention, Ms Becks will continue the briefing." Cowley continued.
Becks stood up from her front row seat and replaced the head of CI5 in front of the charts and photos and the gathered agents. "The Bask separatists have moved their campaign of terror from Spain onto our shores. Through intelligence gleaned by Special Branch, MI5 and CI5 we have been able to identify the group responsible for organising their operations in the UK. As you know CI5 have been monitoring this group over recent weeks, and we believe this is the key group that has been planting incendiary devices which have caused chaos in central London recently." She continued with her thorough briefing, pointing out names, key personalities, places the terrorists habituated, every now and again Cowley interrupted to add a little further explanation or detail that Becks had either overlooked or perhaps did not know about. By this time, Bodie had managed to sit and had found a space next to Doyle. As he sat Bodie gave him a cheeky wink of welcome. Doyle looked skywards in slight exasperation. Bodie seemed to be an expert in living hard and dangerously – the danger was in angering Cowley once too often.
Bodie listened to Becks' clear and articulate rendering of the situation. He had to give it to her, she was a good strategist and speaker, but he still didn't like her. Cowley finally took over and outlined the plan of operation to catch the terrorists.
"And so I want operatives here, here and here," as he jabbed his finger over a map. "Now I want Doyle and Ms. Becks to work together and act as team alpha in the capture of Carlos, Sousa and the others. The rest of you will form a tight net surrounding them, and I want to take them alive...do you hear me...especially you 3.7." The sandy haired man's penetrating eyes locked with Bodie's.
"Sir," he said stiffly, "I don't like it. I would prefer to keep teamed with Doyle."
"Well, this time you're not, and what I say goes." Cowley was in no mood to be antagonised, especially by the late comer. "The set-up will look more natural with Doyle and Becks masquerading as a couple. Two hefty blokes might raise suspicions."
Bodie bristled, but knew there was no arguing with Cowley in this mood. "I expect you to stay close and act as backup." Unable to change the situation, Bodie could only show his displeasure by the stern set of his jaw, whilst nodding his unwilling acquiescence to Cowley.
Tara knew better than to look behind her, she knew Bodie disliked her and she had no real idea why. She and Doyle got along so well, but having his partner dislike her was starting to become very uncomfortable. She was well aware of how close the pair were. She had heard rumours that they were more than just associates – they were always together and very obviously comfortable in each other company. She had caught the way Bodie lightly touched Doyle, and Doyle's body language almost seemed to invite his attention.
She had become good friends with Doyle, and in the time she'd known him, he'd seemed red-blooded enough – she'd noted how his eyes roved over many a pretty blonde or red-head. He hadn't tried it on with her, and she was glad – somehow they'd transcended that opposite sex awkwardness and made it directly to friends. The men were obviously intimate and she didn't discount the possibility that something may have occurred in the past. Even with that special bond between the pair, they certainly could still chafe at each other, and she had often observed friction between the two.
Whatever there was between them, it worked and worked extremely well, making them one of Cowley's top teams. She didn't want to come between them. However, when planning the operation with Cowley, when he had suggested that her and Doyle pair up, she knew it made sense and was necessary. This was the serious business of keeping Britain clean and smelling ever so faintly of lavender and roses. So she had agreed to Cowley's plan.
The operation was in progress. CI5 operatives were placed strategically surrounding a street café in central London where the Bask terrorists were known to meet regularly. The agents assignment was to close in like a tight net, as soon as Becks and Doyle could draw the group's attention and make sure they were away from any members of the public. Cowley wanted this to be a bloodless swoop and that included most importantly the safety of innocent by-standers. Infact, even if one bystander was injured in the cross-fire, Becks knew that CI5 would be made to stand accountable – Cowley and CI5 had already been dragged through an ugly internal investigation with the Coogan case. Their almost unlimited powers so nearly stripped away. Cowley believed in the need to fight violence with violence.
They were trying hard to act normal, like a couple laughing over their holiday photos. Bodie observed them, heads together, grinning at false memories. Their act was good, he could almost believe their intimacy wasn't feigned. They seemed natural together, for a moment Bodie felt rankled. Now was not the time to allow his personal feelings and thoughts to encroach on the present. He pushed them away leaving only his steely exterior visible. A gust of wind or was it a flick of the wrist, the result was the same. Some of the photos flipped over towards the terrorist targets table that they were sat next to. Doyle and Becks then made a planned and calculated move to catch the photos. They moved naturally and disturbed the group who had been deep in discussion. The agents apologised for the disturbance and Doyle put on an innocent and friendly front picking up the photos from around the targets.
Bodie held his breath, he knew their next move would be to try and apprehend the ring leaders. To attack, as the group was lulled momentarily into dropping their guard by these two seemingly inoffensive lovers. The targets weren't to know that they were skilled killers. He knew that Cowley had used Becks in several previous ops which had all been successful. He had no reason to doubt her, but he felt on edge – his place was always next to Doyle. Not being there made him nervous and his hand clenched tightly in anticipation of the coming action.
Carlos and his group were no fools and all the more dangerous for being unpredictable. Who knows how they would react when they realised that they had been sprung. Doyle said something to the ringleader, Carlos, which made him laugh, albeit a little grudgingly. At that moment and caught off-guard, Doyle made his move with fast cat-like skill. He pounced and grabbed Carlos twisting his arm behind his back trying to immobilise him. Surprise is everything, even though Becks was lighter, Bodie was able to see that she was very capable and well trained as she took down another using her expertise and technique against the mans bulk and strength. He was impressed. Alpha team's move was the signal for the surrounding operatives to close in and arrest the others.
They rushed forward, closing the net. It was in that moment that Bodie saw Doyle struggle and Carlos broke free, he was struggling and lashing out a like a madman. Another man came to Carlos's assistance and a fight ensued. Doyle was kicked and punched hard and fell to the ground bleeding. "Where the fuck is his backup?" snarled Bodie running towards the action, but still too far away to help. It took only moments for these events to unfold, but to Bodie, seeing Doyle helpless, everything appeared in slow motion.
He sees Becks using her weight to pin down her man. He knows if she lets go, he will escape. She shouts for back-up, seeing Doyle grounded and she is unable to help. The remaining targets run in panic trying to escape. They can't be allowed to otherwise months of planning will have been wasted.
Becks moves to try and help Doyle, and in order to keep her man down she draws her gun and with one measured stroke whips the butt down hard on the side of his head. The man drops limp to the ground. She scrambles away, rugby tackling the legs of another and brings him down too. Finally, the CI5 backup arrives and brings order to what was so nearly chaos. With so many operatives now in place, the targets are arrested easily. Members of the public stand-by astonished, but safe, around the periphery of the action.
Doyle lay on the ground, a trickle of blood running crimson down his face, Becks bent over to minister to him.
"Where the fuck were you? I thought you were meant to be looking after his back." Bodie growled menacingly at her as he slid over to Doyle's prone and lifeless form, shoving Beck's away roughly.
He leaned over Doyle, panic jittered in his stomach and he gently shook his fallen partner's shoulder. "Doyle, can you hear me, mate?" There was no response and he then grabbed a wrist to feel for a pulse.
"An ambulance is on its way, it'll be here shortly. Don't worry he'll pull through, he's a tough one." McCabe put a mollifying hand on Bodie, but he didn't want anyone's pity and he shook it off, angry and scared to see Doyle unconscious on the ground, dark blood sticking to his golden curls.
Four years of working together is long enough for anyone to care about their partner. Theirs was a marriage, often being together in a day or week far longer than most husbands and wives would be. They had been together in almost any situation you could think of – experience bonding them tightly. Ever since Ray took a bullet to his heart, Bodie blamed himself, somehow thinking he could have stopped it happening, blaming himself for Ray being so thoughtlessly blasted away. It was almost losing Ray, not having him by his side and fear of a future without him that made Bodie admit how much he cared for this fey golly. When irritation had turned into companionship, when partners had turned into mates, and when their friendship had become intimate.
Becks moved closer trying to see if Doyle was recovering. Bodie stared up and glowered, his face reddened with anger and resentment. "You useless pile of shit," he said slowly and deliberately through clenched teeth, "how could you let this happen to him, you were meant to be his back-up. Why don't you go back to filing or whatever it is you do, and let real men do the real work?"
"That's quite enough Bodie," snapped Cowley, as he briskly strode over to assess the situation, the ambulance crew in tow. They efficiently and carefully inspected Doyle's injuries. His prone form was stretchered into the ambulance, a drip placed in one arm and an oxygen mask placed over his face. The pure oxygen began to revive Doyle and his eyelids started to flicker as he slowly climbed back to consciousness.
"You'll be alright now, laddie," reassured Cowley smiling down at the injured man.
"If it's alright with you sir, I'll go along with Doyle to the hospital." A sense of relief washed over Bodie as Doyle came round and a pair of dazed green eyes alighted on him. Doyle managed to give him a weak smile, pleased to see his rock by his side.
"No, I want you back at HQ to interrogate the prisoners and, by God I want answers from those men. Becks, you're with me." he strode briskly towards the ambulance, and climbed in unconsciously expecting Becks to follow.
"How're you feeling laddie?"
"Like I've gone a couple of rounds with Ali."
"Och, you can't be too bad if you can still joke." Cowley smiled gently at one of his best men. He took the welfare of his men personally and seriously. The official line was that replacements were expensive, but Cowley held father-like pride in them, he felt personally responsible for their safety, as it was his decisions that sent them into danger. "We'll have you fixed up in no time."
"Hey beautiful, it's not your fault." Doyle looked over towards Becks who sat dejectedly alongside Cowley. A small smile brightened her face briefly on the otherwise bleak vista.
"Tell that to Bodie."
"Don't mind him. He thinks he's my personal nursemaid at times. It wasn't your fault. The knocks are part and parcel of the job – it happens." Doyle rasped hoarsely.
"3.7, was bang out of order," agreed Cowley, "just for the record," he emphasised, "you did everything by the book. You are not to blame. So you can pull yourself out of that hole of self-pity."
Doyle shifted position and grimaced as he felt a sharp pain stab his ribs.
"Mr. Doyle, until we have carried out test at the hospital and fully assessed your condition, we advise you to lie still." The ambulance crew checked the equipment attached to him and were pleased to see that all the monitors read normal. He lay his head back down, glad to rest, forget the pain and give in to the fuzzy cloud of morphine trickling through his veins. He took hold of Beck's hand and gave it a reassuring squeeze. Her expression softened a little, glad to see Doyle safe and on the road to recovery.
"Maybe you could have an entourage of two nursemaids?"
"Nah, not likely – didn't want the first one." He closed his eyes and drifted off to a dreamless sleep.
Doyle was drowsing gently, thoughts far away, jumbled by a mixture of drugs and discomfort. His rest was disturbed as he slowly became aware of a presence in the room with him. He opened his eyes, which were slow to focus, but which eventually confirmed his feeling. Cowley was standing at the end of his bed reading the report chart given to him by the doctors. His boss took off his thick rimmed glasses to look at Doyle.
"You'll live lad. Nothing's broken, the ribs are bruised, and you have nasty bang to the head. What with the concussion, the doctors recommend two to three weeks off active duty."
Doyle sagged back into the pillows, relieved that there was no serious damage, but frustrated to know he would need to wait before Cowley would proclaim him fit again.
"Make sure you get some rest, and I'll check your progress in a few days. In the meantime, you have a visitor." As Cowley exited, Bodie walked in, an air of quiet confidence surrounded him as he smiled a welcome. He raised an eyebrow and grinned cheekily when he spotted the pretty nurse who had also just entered start to fuss by Doyle's bedside.
"Hey, hand's off," said Doyle "she comes with the medicine."
"Good to see you're up to extra curricular activities already."
"Yeah, you should see her bed bath technique, rubs me in all the right places!"
"You should be so lucky Mr.Doyle, we'll see what matron would have to say." The nurse picked up a tray and left, but not before smiling and shaking her head a little at the pair.
Bodie watched appreciatively as her shapely behind wiggled as she left. He turned his attention back to his partner, who had been propped up on billowy pillows. He was looking more like his usual self. Several visible bruises patterned him in green and mauve, but his normal colour was returning to his cheeks.
"So how're you feeling Sunshine, you look a damn sight better that when I last saw you." Bodie was relieved when he heard that Doyle would be fine, his anxiety lessened by seeing Doyle recovering well.
"Well apart from feeling like I've been wrestling with a gorilla, I'm fine."
"I've brought you a little something – for medicinal purposes only, you know." Bodie delved into a small brown paper bag and pulled out a quarter bottle of Teachers. "Couldn't get the good stuff, so you'll have to slum it."
"You know you're incorrigible," laughed Doyle. "but I'm glad." His laughter came out jagged as the pain of his ribs cut in.
"I know," said Bodie, with an arrogant swagger looking rather too pleased with himself.
"Hey, you look about ready to go home. I thought I'd drop by and see how you are." Becks was pleased that Doyle looked so well after only a few days in hospital. She had discussed the op. back at base with some of the other team members, no one blamed her – it was just how the situation had panned out. People got hurt and occasionally killed – that was the nature of this job. Still, knowing that Bodie blamed her made her feel decidedly uncomfortable. She had replayed the scene time and again in her mind, trying different situations and reacting differently. It was all pointless – what had happened happened. "Carlos and the others talked eventually, I reckon this case is sewn up. Cowley's passed the information on to Special Branch and is letting them deal with pursuing any other members of the movement and policing London." She made a rather bad impression of Cowley "Och, ay, CI5 has more pressing matters to attend to." It was so bad they both cracked up with laughter, or what laughter Doyle could manage with his ribs.
Bloody hell. He couldn't stand the woman and here she was bold as brass with Doyle, again. Two heads turned to see who had entered the room.
"Oh, come on in Bodie, good to see you. You've come to give me a lift home?" Doyle asked breezily, recovering from the mirth.
Bodie's face dropped as he stared at Becks, the intruder, the reason, he saw, that Doyle was injured. "You really have a nerve coming here, don't you." he said through gritted teeth, his resentment boiling over.
"Give over," interceded Doyle, "give it a rest will ya."
"Not while she's here." Bodie stormed over and jabbed at the air in front of Becks. She took a step back, Bodie was physically imposing, the more so in his anger. She felt the danger from his presence crackling like white fire around him. She wanted to do nothing to antagonise him further – she'd heard stories about Bodie – how his anger could run wild. She took a step backwards moving closer to Doyle, hoping his presence would act as a shield to protect her.
"If it wasn't for her you wouldn't be here."
"You can't believe that, do you?" countered Doyle.
"Oh yes I do." spat Bodie, his clear blue eyes glinting shards in his anger.
"Ray, I think it's best if I leave – I'm glad to see you doing so well. I'm only round the corner from you, I'll pop round later sometime." Becks gave Doyle a small peck on the cheek, his stubble grazing her lips.
"Yeah, all right, but you don't have to go."
"I think it's best."
She had to walk past Bodie to leave, his anger tangible and cloying in the room. As she did so, she muttered "Asshole." under her breath, not caring whether he heard or not.
Once out of the room and the door closed, she lent back against the wall needing its solid support. She felt the coolness of the plaster permeate her blouse and chill her back. She lent her head backwards taking a few deep breaths and letting the tension flow away. What was it about that man that made her feel intimidated? "God, I'm made of sterner stuff than this." She took another calming breath "I can't let one chauvinistic bully get the better of me." She pushed herself off the wall and strode out of the hospital, pleased to put distance between the unpleasant scene and herself.
"You've got a bit of a nerve coming in here and treating Tara like that. What makes you think you're my nursemaid, judge and jury?" Doyle was angry.
"I saw what happened, if it'd been me covering your back, you wouldn't be here." Bodie waved his arm indicating the hospital room.
"And you can say that for sure, can you? It could well have gone the same way. Are you trying to tell me that I've never been injured on your watch? I've been hurt plenty. Who do you think you are, Superman or something?" That last barb hit home, and Bodie's anger ebbed, leaving him feeling a little contrite.
"Look she's a good mate and regardless of what you think, a bloody good operative. If you don't like it, you can just go and, and...I don't know what." Doyle felt exasperated by his partner and turned away to slam the last of his meagre possessions into a holdall. "Well, if you want to look after me, then carry this for me, right let's go." Doyle shoved the holdall into Bodie's chest and left. Bodie trailed after him, a position he was used to and one he enjoyed.
"Let me take that from you." Doyle lifted the large casserole dish from Beck's hands. "You sure you made enough?"
"Well, I didn't know when I'd get off early again. Cowley's got some lead on a major gun running cartel he wants us to track down. I made enough for a couple of days, just incase you weren't up to cooking. I hope you like chicken chasseur? I'm not up to your talented culinary standards, but at least it's filling and hot." Becks followed Doyle into the kitchen.
"I'm sure it's fine – you are staying to eat aren't you?"
"Yeah, if it's not a problem."
"Now, why would it be a problem?" Doyle looked up from his ministrations with the dishes and cutlery. Becks shifted uneasily.
"Well, you know...your other half isn't too keen on me being around." A look of confusion crossed Doyle's face.
"Why what has Diane said to you? I thought you two got on fine?"
"No, not your girlfriend, Bodie."
"Ah." Doyle's face relaxed in understanding. He stood slouched against the counter surface, one hip angled out, dressed in his standard uniform of faded jeans, a size too small and scruffy T, bruising fading visibly. "But...he's not here, is he? Come on, let's get some of this food down us. I've told you before, he's not my nursemaid. Whatever's eating him over you, won't make any difference to me. Now, do you want wine with your food?"
Becks nodded and went about clearing the table and placing mats and cutlery.
Doyle and Becks shared a similar outlook on life. Becks had learnt to temper her stress and anger through meditation and martial arts practice. Whereas Doyle's temper ran hot. He found her company stimulating and soothing, a balance of ying and yang. Sometimes they could find themselves talking late into the night discussing and counter arguing over points of contention. Doyle was potentially one of the most moralistic and reflective people she knew. Becks was a rare friend that he could share his thoughts with and knew he could trust. He wasn't prepared to put aside his friendship, just because Bodie took a dislike to her.
Whilst waiting for the food to warm up again, they relaxed with a glass of Chablis. Becks checked up on Doyle's recovery and Doyle checked on how things were back at base. There was also the inevitable small talk about their private lives. "So has Diane made it over to see you yet?"
"No, she's been caught up with her work. They're entertaining a big client and it's important to impress them."
Becks looked a little surprised and pulled a face. "I thought she would have rushed over to see you. I thought you two were tight."
"Yeah, I wouldn't have minded a bit of female care and attention. I could have done with the distraction of her company whilst I'm off work."
The oven chirped letting them know the casserole had finished reheating. Tara began ladling the steaming food on to plates, moving around Doyle's kitchen with easy familiarity. As they were about to sit down to eat, the doorbell rang. "You finish dishing up and I'll see who it is." Doyle moved towards the front door of the apartment and squinted through the spy hole. He undid the security locks to reveal Bodie standing in the doorway, grinning like an idiot, holding up two four packs of beer. He sniffed the air, looking like a lonesome Bisto kid, and pushed past Doyle. "Mmmm, something smells good, looks like I turned up at the right time. I'm starving." He deposited the beer on the coffee table and rubbed his palms together in anticipation of a good meal.
Becks heard Bodie's voice and her heart plummeted to her stomach, her appetite started to wane. She braced herself for the onslaught and the inevitable coming storm. She remembered her last meeting which had been far from cordial, and she was too tired for another uncomfortable confrontation. Doyle was now only too aware of the larger mans resentment towards Becks, he too had been looking forward to a quiet evening, but once Bodie realised she was here, he expected fireworks.
"I do have company." Doyle closed the door and re-secured the locks.
"Ah, the delectable Diane, I presume." asked Bodie. Becks chose that moment to reveal herself and came out of the kitchen balancing two plates of steaming hot food.
"Would you like me to dish up another plate of food? There's plenty." she smiled first at Bodie and then at Doyle, both smiles had subtle undertones and she hoped Doyle would pick up on the hint of panic in her eyes and stop any potential ugly scene, fully expecting the big man to explode at her again. She had no intention of being stuck in the path of St.Elmo's fire or to be chased out from Doyle's apartment.
Bodie stopped suddenly, taken by surprise at Doyle's guest. "I think I've just lost my appetite."
"Come on Bodie, give it a rest, I've really had enough of this. Why don't you join us for dinner? And try and be civil for God's sake." Doyle pulled out a chair from the table and ushered the big man to sit down. He was silent, brooding, deep in thought. He decided to give dinner with the unwelcome guest a try. Becks did seem to be a permanent fixture in Doyle's life, and on a professional level he had to work with her back at base. He didn't want his animosity to alienate Doyle, and Cowley was tuned in enough to see if friction between staff was slowing the cogs from turning well.
"Yeah, fine." though he was still feeling slightly petulant.
"Right, I'll get another plate then." Becks was relieved at Bodie's quiet acquiescence. Doyle had long said the way round Bodie was through his stomach. However, the prospect of eating alongside him made her feel apprehensive, and she wondered if his presence would upset her appetite.
She returned from the kitchen holding another plate piled high with steaming food. Bodie's appetites were legendary and she hoped plenty of food and alcohol would have a soporific effect and calm the man down. She stretched over to place the food in front of him. Bodie was silent as she approached, eyes watching her, long lashes blinking sternly. He looked like he was dying to say something, but was holding back. He was determined to try and be civil to her for Doyle's sake.
As she lent over her silky dark hair flowed over her shoulders softening her face and she gave him a weak smile. He noticed that she normally wore her hair pinned back whilst on duty, having it down suited her. A man of many appetites, he also caught a glimpse of her small cleavage peaking through her V-necked blouse, showing her smooth olive skin. He'd never given much notice to her dark exotic tinged looks before. She usually hid her femininity at work with a business like manner and dress sense to match. To be fair, he hadn't taken much notice of her sexual appeal; his resentment had blinkered him.
He continued to observe her whilst they ate. Dressed casually, with her hair loose, without a façade of make-up to hide a natural prettiness, Bodie found himself admiring her beauty. "You make a good serving wench." he said breaking his silence and into a smile. Becks had started to feel uncomfortable under his close scrutiny.
"Don't push your luck mate." she retorted politely, not knowing quite how to take that last comment.
Dinner was a civil affair, if slightly stilted and awkward in places but at least the out and out hostility had ebbed. She never quite let her guard down and several times had to fence comments and barbs, handling them with wit and aplomb. She started to relax, feeling she was more than equal to standing up to the verbal fencing and his occasional warped sense of black humour. Once or twice, during the evening, she even thought she saw glimmers of real personality break through the shield of bravado and charm Bodie encased himself in. Not an easy man to get to know she thought.
"Niet, no, no more." Vladimir staunchly refused to go along with the latest request that was being demanded of him.
"What, now you get a conscience. Surely it's a bit late for that, my friend?" The suited man had a smooth voice, but there was an intense undertone of iron. "All I'm asking is one more favour, and then, perhaps, no more."
"I can't, it's too much, too much to ask me to do. If I get caught..." he let his voice trail away, not wanting to think about what would happen to him or his family if he was caught betraying secrets from the motherland. Perestroika was opening up Russia into a Capitalists dream.
"Ah, but Vlad, you've been doing very nicely out of this little scheme. Just look at your suit, your Rolex watch, did I see you drive up in a new Merc, and at the diplomats dinner the other evening, your charming wife looked beautiful in that diamond necklace. We've gone too far for you to change your mind now." The man stood in Vlad's personal space, plucking at each item as it was mentioned. He now leaned forward further, breathing only inches away from his face. "And if you don't do this, then maybe an accident might befall you or that lovely wife of yours." The man stepped back and smiled, only the expression did not reach his eyes. "The choice is yours."
"So Mr. Pushenkov, you want our protection." Cowley was seated behind his desk and looked up over the heavy rims of his spectacles. "You and your wife want political asylum and now our hands are going to be dirtied to keep you alive until the official papers are signed by our Foreign Office."
"Mr. Cowley, I didn't know what to do. I heard you are a fair man, a man of principles. Please help me, Irena is innocent in all this, if anything happens to her..." Vladimir sat nervously wringing his hands, perspiration beading on his forehead.
"Perhaps you should have thought about your safety before you got caught up in this dirty little scheme, selling Russian commerce secrets to the West. So now we have to protect you from a bunch of greedy Capitalists and the KGB." Cowley did not look amused.
"My, my you have been a naughty boy." Bodie had strolled into Cowley's office and caught the end of the conversation.
"Sit down 3.7," Cowley passed him a thick file. "I want you to read this and I am putting Mr. Pushenkov into your care. His wife has already been taken care of and is safe. Whilst 4.5 is still off active duty, agent 2.9 will accompany you. She is waiting outside in the car park." Bodie was about to object when the older man interjected, "And that's an order, and I expect to be obeyed. I don't want to hear anything further. If you want to complain, put it in writing and pass it through the official channels."
Bodie knew he had been dismissed. He ushered the nervous looking Russian out of the room and Cowley replaced his glasses and returned his attention to the papers on his desk.
Tara watched the two men exit CI5 HQ. One was medium height, greying who looked anxiously around himself as he was ushered by a taller, powerfully built dark haired agent. He strode across the tarmac confidently, with a hint of arrogance. Tara watched him striding towards her, her right arm resting out of the open window of Doyle's favourite gold capri. There was certainly something about him that was attractive – a brooding hint of danger mixed with sheer animal magnetism. No wonder girls fell for his cocky charm and good looks so easily. He didn't look pleased, but then she didn't expect him to. The only thing she expected when Cowley had put her on this assignment was fireworks, and she didn't want to get burned.
The passenger side door was pulled open irately and the seat roughly flung forward. Mr. Pushenkov was unceremoniously shoved into the back of the car and the front seat righted. Wordlessly Bodie sat down and slammed the door closed. She started the engine and pulled out sharply heading towards the assigned safe house. They left behind the busy streets of Whitehall and the City and headed out of town towards sleepier commuter land in the Surrey suburbs. They had been driving in complete silence for quite some time, no-one talking. She decided she had just had about enough of his petulant behaviour.
"You know, you weren't exactly my first choice for a partner either. Cowley has a sick sense of humour at times." Bodie glanced at her and returned to watching the road speed by. "For Christ sake, we could have the mafia and the KGB on our tail, don't you think we should at least be communicating?" No response. "You stubborn son of a bitch. I've really had enough of this poe-eyed act." She was determined to get a response. She spun the car as it came to a sudden halt, tyres squealing. Mr. Pushenkov was thrown around in the back of the capri, he wasn't used to such rough driving, his eyes widened in fear.
"What're yer trying to do, woman? Get us all killed!" Bodie stormed.
"So nice to hear that the cat hasn't got your tongue." Becks retorted. "I know you can talk, you are capable of being civil. Now please act like the professional you're s'posed to be, before any of us gets killed. Now, shall we be on our way again?"
Bodie was taken by surprise, he had never seen her so fired up. Her dark sloe eyes burned like coals as her tongue lashed out at him. Her anger was arousing him and he felt his cock twitch involuntarily with desire. "Do you know you're beautiful when you're angry?" he recovered his composure and treated her to a cheesy one-liner with an impish grin.
"You are incredible!" Becks was astounded, the man had just gone from moody and petulant to absurd and ridiculous.
"Well you know, you're not the first woman to say so, and thank you for the compliment." he was actually looking quite pleased with himself. A grin had spread across his handsome features. Becks just didn't know what to make of him, she found him infuriating, but also humorous – all rolled together. She would have laughed out loud if she classed him a friend, a category neither of them fitted, despite her prolonged attempts for Doyle's sake.
"I think I preferred you silent." Becks put the capri into gear, checked the rear view mirror and their passenger.
"Well, if you're so taken by me, and I know I'm hard to resist, then I know a quiet little house in Surrey where we can be alone for hours with nothing else to do..." he winked suggestively at her.
"...Except mind a bent Russian diplomat, look out for the KGB and radio back to base every half hour." Becks succinctly finished off Bodie's sentence, trying to bring reality back to the situation. She didn't quite know if Bodie was joking or serious and it made her feel uncomfortable.
"You all right in the back?" Bodie addressed the Russian, back to being business again. "2.9, have you noticed any tails?"
"Then we should get moving before we do."
Becks looked at Bodie whose eyes were back on the road and whose face had lost its humour from moments back. How did Doyle put up with him, she wondered? Bodie carried a reputation for being difficult, but Doyle would always defend him. Difficult wasn't the half of it, she thought. She stamped her foot on the accelerator and sped off.
Despite the salubrious 1940s style surroundings, Bodie paced around the room like a caged animal – muscles bunched and nerves taut. Doyle had warned her that his partner hated babysitting jobs, and doubly so, she supposed, that he was stuck here with her. They had been here for hours now, nothing moved, all was quiet.
Any attempts at conversation had been exhausted ages ago and only boredom remained. The Russian also made poor company. The room was feeling claustrophobic.
"If you don't mind, I'll get some air; I'll come back up with a cup of tea, if you like?"
"Yeah, fine, nothing's happening. Looks like our Russian friend isn't as wanted as he thought. Don't forget the sugar in the tea." Bodie waved her away.
Nothing like the feeling of being needed, she thought. She strolled out into the garden at the back of the house; it was a haven of peace. The place was well-maintained and the government occasionally used it for housing visiting dignitaries. The grounds were large and Becks strolled slowly around admiring the many different plants, stopping every now and again when a particular flower caught her attention, roses were always her favourite. Her mind and thoughts drifted, relaxing, after her dull confinement.
The afternoon sun dipped behind a cloud and shadows enveloped the vista of beauty. Suddenly a shout broke the stillness. The sound of raised voices and struggling rang out clearly. Abruptly her attention was torn back to reality.
"Shit, shit, shit, shit..." She sprinted and covered the ground fast, but there was a lot of garden. She came up to the front corner of the house, but she was too late.
Bodie looked beaten, his hands were tied behind him and he was being shoved into the back of a jaguar; the Russian was already there. A heavy set man sat in the seat next to him and the driver was in the middle of turning the car around, trying to make for a quick exit, tyres screeching. Another heavy was trying to climb back into the moving car.
Instinct took over, she pulled her PPK from its holster and fired. Her aim was true and the man went down, shot but not killed. He scrambled to get out of the way as the car left without him, shots being fired behind it as it exited. She ducked and fired back, but she knew that the distance between them was too great and the bullets had lost their velocity for any serious damage.
The injured man scrambled over the gravel, trying ineffectively to escape her as she approached. She wanted him alive, she needed answers. He fired at her, she ducked, rolled and came to her feet and rushed at him, and with a carefully aimed kick knocked his gun away. Further chops and blows disabled him until he lay still on the gravel moaning gently.
"2.9 to base. Pushenkov and Bodie abducted, repeat Pushenkov and Bodie abducted. One suspect apprehended and disabled, please advise." Becks radioed into base.
The operator replied, "Okay, back-up is on its way, ETA in 20 minutes."
I can't wait that long, Tara was feeling anguished. The longer she waited the further away Bodie and Pushenkov were driven. The injured man was coming around. She bent, yanked him up by his collars and shook him. "Who are you working for and where have they taken them?" she yelled, desperate for information.
He uttered a string of words in Russian, she had a feeling he wasn't telling her to "have a nice day". She repeated herself, snarling directly into his face. He spat at her, and in disgust she punched him hard in his stomach. She rummaged through his pockets, her hand pulled out a sheet of corporate headed paper. "Thank you very much, you've been most helpful." She pushed him away, and read the address on the corporate stationary.
She radioed the address back to base and was told to sit tight for the cavalry to arrive. She paced uselessly in frustration, then went to the gold capri. Rummaging in the glove compartment she discovered to her delight Doyle's handcuffs. She dragged the injured man onto his feet and locked him to a drainpipe, all the while he yelled obscenities at her. Her mind was made up despite Cowley's orders, she climbed into the car and sped off.
The office building was impressive, mirrored façade glinted in the late afternoon sunlight. Aviva Electronics Corps, announced the sign over the entrance. She checked the name on the letter, it read "Sir Alex Perry, MD".
Bodie's life was in danger and she needed to find him quickly. She didn't want to cause any undue disruption or attract unwanted attention, she needed to blend in and become one of the office staff to make her visit swift and rewarding.
She straightened her clothes, checked her hair and reslicked her lipstick. Then walked through the foyer confidently, pretending that she had business here, nodding to security and heading directly for the lift. She crowded in with several smart suited office staff and putting on her innocent lost visitors act, she turned to a young man and politely asked "Sir Perry's office is on the top floor, isn't it?"
Intimidated, and in his innocence and trustfulness he stammered back, "Yes, yes that's right, Miss, straight ahead. When you leave the lift his secretary Christine will greet you."
Graciously Becks silently thanked him and thanked the fact that MDs made a habit of occupying top floor offices. The adrenalin was flowing and she intended to get some answers and find Bodie. The lift dutifully disgorged its human load as it rose higher, gently pinging and swishing as the doors opened and closed. Impatience gnawed at Becks.
Floor 15, and Becks exited alone. She strode up to Christine who was dutifully typing away – her blonde hair tied back tightly in a bun and makeup immaculate, her blouse tied matronly at the neck with a bow.
As Becks approached she scanned the area. Display boards proudly announced that Aviva Electronics conducted business worldwide – a map showed Taiwan, Hong Kong, Czech Republic, Switzerland and Russia. Bingo. At least there was now a connection. Christine stopped typing and looked up expectantly at Becks as she approached. "Can I help you?" she enquired.
"Yes, I've got an appointment to see Sir Perry."
"Could I have your name please," Christine asked scanning through the diary.
"I don't think Alex would have mentioned it, we only spoke a short while ago – the appointment was very last minute." Becks smiled ingratiatingly. It didn't help.
"Sorry, Sir Perry isn't to be disturbed without a scheduled appointment."
Becks wanted to get access to him carefully without alarms and security being alerted. Her mind was focussed – there were others ways of gaining entry which didn't use brute force. She unbuttoned her blouse enough to reveal the v of her cleavage and let her dark cocoa hair fall down around her shoulders and purred smoothly, bending over the desk towards the secretary. "I think you misunderstood me – Sir Perry will see me, he would be ever so upset if he knew you'd sent me away." Becks pouted and kissed the end of her forefinger and placed it immediately on the end of Christine's nose. The prim secretary was so taken aback that she lost control of the situation. Becks smiled, pushed past and let herself into Sir Perry's office through the double doors.
A mature, but vigorous looking man sat behind a highly polished walnut finished desk sipping a tumbler of whisky whilst chatting on the phone. The office was lavish and the cut of his suit was expensive – diamonds twinkled in his shirt cuffs. Sir Perry looked up irritated at the sudden intrusion. Becks prowled over and bent forward over the desk towards him. Her dark hair framing her pretty features and she made sure that there was a clear view down her blouse.
"Sir Perry, I'm sorry I don't have an appointment, but let me introduce myself, Tara Becks." She purred and offered him her hand in greeting. Christine blustered in behind, "Sorry, Sir Perry, I don't know who she is, shall I call security?" Sir Perry waved his PA away, greedy eyes fixed upon the vixen in front of him.
He took hold of Becks proffered hand, "Sir Alex Perry, the pleasure's all mine. Now what can I do for you?" he said suggestively, his voice becoming a little husky. Not letting go of his hand, Becks moved around the desk to face him.
"No, it's what you can do for me. Have you heard of a Mr. Pushenkov, Overseas Diplomat to the Russian Chamber of Commerce?"
Sir Perry's face changed abruptly, no longer acquiescent and smiling, it turned cold and hard and he pulled his hand away, but Becks gripped it firmly. "I don't know who you are or what you want, but get out of here now before I call security." His whole manner changed and he growled aggressively. The change was too hasty, Becks knew that he was lying and trying to cover up something.
She had grown tired of playing games and time was running short. Still gripping his hand firmly, she swung him around and pinned him hard against the wall, her other arm pressed cruelly against his throat. "Now, you've got one more chance, tell me what you know." She could see surprise and fear written his features. He tried to struggle, to loosen the slight woman's grip, but it was no use, she was too well trained.
"I know nothing, I have no idea what you talking about." It wasn't the answer she wanted and impatience was still gnawing at her, her mind worrying over Bodie's safety. She punched him hard in the stomach and he doubled over.
"Where have they taken Pushenkov?" she demanded again.
"I can't tell you – they'll have me if I do." he cried. She dragged him upright by his Saville Row collars.
"I'm from CI5. Tell me now or you'll have to deal with me...and believe you me...I'm far worse." She pulled out her gun and placed the muzzle under his slightly flabby chin. Perry quaked visibly, the colour drained from his face and he swallowed audibly.
"I don't know...they might have taken him to a warehouse we own. It's fairly isolated, it's out of the way..." he stammered, a bead of sweat trickled down his forehead. "I've got the address here." He pointed to his desk and Becks let him go. He took a sheet of paper from his desk and handed it to Becks. She checked the address and turned and left Sir Perry in disgust.
Corruption came in all forms and it seemed those in business could be far more dishonest. People like him were contemptible, they disgusted her. The corporations they ran were so vast that the MDs were outside the law, knighted by the country, upheld by politicians who were probably paid into silence to turn a blind eye. She spat trying to purge the bad taste in her mouth.
She returned to the capri, which had been parked, skewed across the road and pavement. She radioed back to base and briefed them on her lead and where she was going. She received an earful from Cowley, exasperated that agents no longer took direct orders, but she got the go-ahead and was told backup would be on its way and that CI5 had picked up the injured, handcuffed Russian and were sweating him. Relayed through the radio girl, Doyle left a message to find his partner and bring him back safe. Although off active duty he had been at HQ shifting paperwork and catching up on reports – something Bodie always seem to leave him to do.
A traffic warden walked sedately up to the car and cast a scornful eye over the careless parking and then Becks, opening up her ticket book, tsking all the while. There were times when being a CI5 agent had its perks. She whipped out her ID card and flashed it at the warden "Security business, love." Becks said smugly and pulled off, tyres screeching, heading towards Docklands.
Docklands was a derelict area of London crying out for redevelopment. It however, housed many old warehouses and disused industrial buildings. A likely place for any underhanded dealings to take place and no-one around for miles to know. She drove through Bow, Stepney and Charleston, the landscape becoming seedier and increasingly rundown. Council estates sprang up in place of houses. The area was rough, Doyle's old stomping grounds when he'd been a beat copper. She drove down the warren-like narrow streets, the place was confusing – it was difficult to know where you were. She stopped and checked the A to Z map, found her bearings and carried on again, her anxiety quietly building.
She pulled up a street away from the address she'd been given and started walking, not wanting to advertise her arrival by driving directly to the location. It was daylight still, but only just. The place was creepy – deserted and too quiet. She turned into the road on the address and made out a large ruinous warehouse. She had to get Bodie to safety, for the sake of her reputation and standing with him, for Doyle and the squad, for however, irascible he could be, they held him in high esteem.
She cautiously entered through a battered side door and quietly stepped around the debris strewn building. She progressed deeper inside, passing mouldering boxes, old pallets and musty rooms – corners piled high with pigeon excrement. As she crept deeper inside she heard voices ring out faintly. She stopped to try and listen more carefully. Yes, definitely voices. She followed the sounds to where they emanated and crouched down outside a set of double doors. Each door had a glass viewing panel which was now covered in layers of dust and grime. Carefully, she wiped an area clear with the ball of her thumb and peered through.
Pushenkov was being pushed between the two men from the car. They were being rough with him, playing games with his fear for their own sordid enjoyment. She adjusted her position and spied Bodie slumped in a chair, his arms tied behind him, and by the look of the bruising on his face, had been given another beating. The Russians were large, incredibly large – there was no way she could fight them, Christ, by the looks of it, even Bodie had tried and failed. But she still needed to get him out, and if possible, Pushenkov too.
She knew she had the advantage of surprise. She took her gun from its holster and took the safety off, the small click barely audible. She counted slowly, one, two, three, and then burst through the doors, firing shots at the closest Russian. She blasted him away and saw him fall motionless to the floor, blood pooling through his shirt. The other Russian was quick to react and fired back, but she rolled to safety hiding behind some old boxes. He pulled Pushenkov in front of him using the terrified man as a shield. She moved as close to them as she dared, both sets of people shifting slowly about one another as though in a dance.
"Don't come any closer or I'll kill Pushenkov, his blood will be on your hands, or...your friend over there." the big Russian waved his gun at Bodie who was now alert, but battered and helpless. "I think I have the advantage. Just like the British to send a woman to do a man's job." he sneered. "Throw your gun over here."
"Do as he says." growled Bodie. His idea of rescue also wasn't in the form of a woman. She started talking, trying to get the measure of the Russian and to bide her time.
"Enough! Throw down your weapon now," he barked, thrusting at Pushenkov once more and making him whine in fear. Left with no choices she finally threw her gun down at him, but in the same motion swooped down and picked up an old length of pipe. Swiftly, she swung it towards the Russian, striking him and taking him off balance. He fired his gun, but the bullet went wide. She moved in closer and swung at him again, knocking him off his feet. She moved in to immobilise him. Behind her the doors burst open. She recovered a gun, span and squatted ready to fire. Bodie shouted a warning. Her gun snouted at a lithe green eyed man with a mop of unruly golden curls.
"You can put that away now, the cavalry is here." She dropped her aim, relief flooding through her as Doyle, Murphy and Cowley stepped through into the room.
Cowley, organised and professional as ever, ordered the scene tidied up whilst surveying the damage. Becks walked up to Cowley "Are you okay, woman?" he asked bluntly.
"Yes, fine, and very glad to see you all."
"Looks like you've done a first-class job."
Doyle sauntered up to the captive Bodie, relieved to see apart from some bruising he was well. He chuckled a little sadistically "Got yourself a little tied up, did we? Or did your Houdini act not work out this time?"
"Bugger off and just untie me." he threatened, but delighted to see Doyle. "Get on with it, Sunshine."
Bodie stood rubbing at his grazed, sore wrists. "You do realise that you've just been rescued by a damsel...thought it was s'posed to be the other way around!" Doyle teased roguishly. Bodie said nothing, but glared dangerously, eyebrows drawn down and lips pressed thinly together in fury.
"Doyle, take Bodie back to base and get him checked over for injuries. Becks, Murphy, let's mop this mess up." barked Cowley.
The reunited partners climbed into the gold capri, the familiarity of the action bringing comfort to both men. Bodie, naturally protective of his smaller mate, would normally drive, but this time Doyle sat behind the wheel.
"You okay to drive." asked Bodie, his words slightly slurred through a swollen lip.
"Yeah, fine – the ribs are feeling a lot better, plus a gob full of painkillers help!" grinned Doyle. "Anyhow, I look in far better shape that you at the moment."
"Yeah, you've got a point," said Bodie dabbing at his bleeding lip. "As long as it's only cosmetic and they haven't permanently messed up my handsome features, I'll be fine."
"I think it's an improvement." joked Doyle. Bodie swung him stare, slapped him on the shoulder and told him to step on the gas.
Bodie was quiet during the journey, after a short time Doyle asked "Are you okay, mate?" Bodie turned and looked at Doyle.
"You know that bitch has stitched both of us up now."
"You don't mean that do you?"
"I don't know. What's Cowley thinking? There's only one good place for women and that's not on the job."
"God, you're absurd, have you heard yourself? Do you know how misogynistic you sound?" Doyle was incredulous.
"Like I said, there's only one good use for that woman. The woman's incompetent."
"That woman, Tara, just possibly saved your life, Pushenkov's and saved CI5 getting egg on its face. You should be thanking her."
"No way. Two recent jobs – you end up with busted ribs and me ambushed without backup cos she's smelling roses strolling in the garden."
"Oh come on, that's twisting the truth and you know it." Doyle was becoming annoyed. Sometimes Bodie could be so blinkered and pig-headed. "Look, I've been in a lot more scrapes with you and vice-versa – you never told me you thought I was incompetent." argued Doyle.
"Ah, but then she doesn't have your sexy arse." Bodie winked at Doyle.
"You've not had my arse in ages, anyhow I thought we'd both agreed to move on?"
"Yeah, sorry, I didn't mean to drag up the past."
Bodie was genuinely sorry. Both men lived hard and fast, and once they had settled into the new partnership that Cowley had thrust upon them, they had realised that somewhere between the friction of their personalities, there was a strong physical attraction. It had taken a long while to surface. In the meantime, the men had built up a working partnership built on trust and a growing mutual respect for the others operational ability.
At first, both men dodged the issue, thinking the other would smash his teeth in, should their attraction be mentioned. It took almost losing Doyle for the attraction to become acknowledged. One day in the hospital after Doyle's near fatal shooting, Bodie kissed the recovering Doyle, so tenderly, believing him asleep. His green eyes had woken in surprise, and Bodie pulled away abruptly fearing the worse. Doyle needed and wanted comfort and drew Bodie back to him and kissed him tenderly in return. Bodie spent the following months tending and caring for Doyle and eventually they ended up sharing the same bed. The sex was good. Hard masculine sex, often engaged in as a release of tension from the job. Of course, Bodie had to be gentle in the beginning, he didn't want to further injure the convalescing man and he could be surprising gentle for such a strong man. For a long while it was good and they both settled into a relationship built on familiarity, attraction and sex. They could fuck each other hard, when most birds would have complained. There was no need for pillow talk and flowers and the relationship was not exclusive, they still dated women. It was just...uncomplicated sex. For a while it was good, damn good, hairy, masculine fun with someone you already knew and trusted totally.
So what happened? Ann, bloody, Holly is what happened. Once she came into Doyle's life, he told Bodie that he wanted to cool it between them, that he was serious about the woman and wanted to settle down with her. However, she rung Doyle through the mill and after Ann left him, Bodie thought he'd come back, he wanted him back. But apparently, according to Doyle, Bodie couldn't now offer him what he wanted, he'd been changed by the experience and that was the end.
Doyle could be like that, selfish. Take what he wanted and when, just for when it suited him. And just like that, turn tail, change his mind and sod anyone else. But that was Doyle all over, jumping into something fast and damn any consequences. How did he expect Bodie to feel? He still cared about Doyle, you couldn't just stop how you felt, but he hid the depth of his attraction inside his steely exterior. For a while, he took his hurt and frustration out by shagging just about anything willing and of course, booze, but Bodie wasn't into self-destruction and the job pulled him out of his misery. He hadn't been very serious about anyone ever since.
Bodie had become resigned to the end of their intimacy, especially after all this time had past. It's only when you don't have something that you realise how much it meant. He realised now that their relationship had been about more than just sex, that he'd lost an intimacy and sharing that he'd never had before, and he wanted that again. It was difficult to find that in most birds, and occasional men, he went out with, usually things petered out before they really got going, or the girl just wasn't "right'. Whatever, 'right' meant.
Their friendship, their partnership, was important to them both, and they both wanted it to work and to work well – they still lived in each others pocket, mobile ghetto, Cowley had once called them, it was still apt now. Anyhow, somehow far from making their partnership awkward, it actually strengthened it, knowing each other so intimately, they were able to anticipate the others moves and thoughts, the slightest gesture spoke volumes, making and keeping them as Cowley's top team.
"You know Ray, I don't know why you keep defending her?"
"Cos, she's a good mate and a bloody good agent, 'cept you're too stubborn to see it."
"She must give bloody good head, she's got you twisted around her little finger."
Doyle span round to look at Bodie in the face. "You're jealous, you're bloody well jealous aren't you?" A flat refusal would have sounded petulant. Perhaps Doyle was right, perhaps he was jealous. Envious of the relaxed friendship the two had and the time they spent together. Time that Bodie unconsciously called his.
"As hard as it is for your sordid imagination, we are just friends, and friends that haven't fucked. She's a mate, a bloody good one too. And as women go, a damn fine one. But what would you know? Perhaps if were a bit more selective and ditched the bimbos, you'd realise that women were more than just a refuge for your dick." Doyle was livid, and cut callously at Bodie with his remarks.
Doyle swiped his ID card through the CI5 car park barrier and brought the car to a halt. "Well, we'd better get you to the doctor and see if any of those blows knocked any sense into you."
Even though he was still angry with his obstinate partner, he couldn't stop caring. He knew that under all that bravado, there really was a very caring man, but locked under many layers. It was rare for Bodie to give of himself in the many relationships he'd had, especially so, after Marikka had betrayed him, almost killing him emotionally, as well as physically.
Slowly, through Doyle, Bodie had learned to trust again. But whilst the sex and their relationship were good, after Ann, he had realised that one day, he wanted a family. So that when he finally got fed up with playing cowboys he could have kids and be there to see them grow up. Give them the sort of stable and loving childhood he never got. He needed a woman for his future plans.
Unlike Bodie, he didn't usually find men attractive, Bodie was the exception. If a relationship works and you find you're attracted to someone, does it matter if they're a man or a woman? On the whole he enjoyed women's company and their softer, more pliable bodies and the fact that they could give emotionally far easier. Being a man in-touch with his feminine side, he enjoyed sharing himself, be they friends or lovers. In this respect, Bodie and he were like chalk and cheese. Bodie could easily charm a woman into his bed with his physique, charm, good looks and gentle lovemaking. More often than not, women generally wanted more from Bodie, and it was only time that made them realise that nothing more would be offered. Then, either they would tire and move on, or if they became demanding Bodie would ditch them.
Bodie had long said that his main priority was himself, and Doyle had trouble envisaging a future where they were living together. He didn't doubt that Bodie cared for him, but love...he didn't know if the man was capable.
He ushered the bruised and battered man along the corridor, still deep in thought. "You know," said Doyle who had been pondering upon this, "someone like Tara would be really good for you."
Bodie looked at Doyle with an appalled expression. "Not likely mate, but I lied before, she has got a nice arse!"
They took refuge behind a large tree; the sound of pursuit audible in the distance. They stood, backs against the rough bark, panting and breathing hard. "How long before they catch up with us?" Bodie bent over double trying to catch his breath.
"Dunno, three, four minutes max, then Macklin and the new recruits'll be after us." gasped Doyle.
"Best make the most of this breather then. Damn Cowley for putting us both back on a refresher course." grinned Bodie.
"Standard practice after a bout of inactivity." Doyle turned towards Bodie, their faces only inches away from each other, their breath ragged. He lifted his hand and gently stroked his thumb down Bodie's cheek, tracing a fading green bruise. "You're healing well too. Soon you'll be back to your former handsome self." Doyle said with a hint of dry humour.
"You know me, I'm a fast healer. And I'm glad you still agree on the handsome bit." Bodie now tuned to face the slighter built man grinning. Their eyes locked momentarily.
Macklin's shouted orders to 'move faster' and general abuse about being "cretins' drifted closer and louder. The intimacy of the moment broke, and Doyle turned away. "C'mon, we'd better get going before we're sprung."
Doyle pushed himself off from against the tree and started running again with Bodie trailing in pursuit.
He rubbed the towel vigorously over his damp curls, temporarily blinded by hair and absorbent cotton. He jumped and yelped "You bastard!" as Bodie came up behind him and tickled his bare sides.
"You need faster reflexes than that for Cowley to keep you in the 'A' squad, sunshine."
"I wasn't expecting to be attacked in the showers." he retorted slightly indignatly.
"Ah, well...that's the difference between you and me, I always expect the unexpected. I've found it a useful motto in the line of work we're in." Bodie was in a good mood after their hard workout with Macklin. Small rivulets of water trailed down his smooth pale flesh, pooling around by his feet. He left the shower area and Doyle threw him a fresh towel which he caught expertly. Muscles rippled sensuously as he moved the towel roughly over his body, aware of the effect his body was having on a couple of the new recruits by their surreptitious glances. Bodie oozed power and sensuality. He was beautiful naked.
Doyle tucked his t-shirt into his tight faded jeans, they chatted as they finished dressing. "A few of us are grabbing a bite to eat and then going out to a disco tomorrow, do you fancy it?"
"I could get Julie to ask her friend you liked Louise, to come out too."
"Louise, I don't recall her."
"You know," said Doyle, trying to prompt Bodie's memory, "the blonde one, big knockers, works at a beauty salon. I heard she's a trained masseuse."
"Ok, what time and where, you've persuaded me."
"Eight o'clock at Rimini's, the Italian on the corner."
"How are you and that new girlfriend of yours, Nurse Julie getting on?" Bodie was bending and tying his shoe lace.
"Yeah fine. She's more understanding than most about the job and the hours, being that she works shifts too, and caring's in her blood, I s'pose."
Bodie looked up, his face was always transformed into light when he smiled. "Glad it's going well, I only want the best for my Doyle. Who else is going?"
"Murphy and Alison and Tara and a date I've set her up with."
Bodie grimaced. "Not Becks."
Doyle jumped to her defence immediately. "She's all right and unless you've forgotten, she's my mate. Anyhow, she'll probably be too busy with her date for you two to cross much. I know she wishes things were smoother between the two of you. You've managed dinner once with her before, you can do it again."
"Yeah, for the sake of a busty masseuse, I'll come along and play nice."
"That's settled then." Doyle bent and picked up his holdall, about to leave the changing room, when Macklin stopped them.
"I'll see you two back at HQ where I'll have my report for Cowley." he said clipboard in hand. "There's nothing to worry about, you two are back to top form."
"Where else would we be?" Bodie gave him a cheeky grin, raised an eyebrow and exited.
"Louise, Bodie, Bodie, Louise." Doyle introduced the pair to each other and they settled themselves at the far end of the restaurant table. The rest of the group was all ready seated and he was the last to arrive.
"Well, isn't this just cosy." Bodie was in a ribald mood finding the blonde and her ample cleavage easy on the eye and to his liking. The restaurant was unassuming and Doyle was a regular here, having made acquaintances with the owner way back during his beat days. You could bet the food would be consistently good. He'd set Tara up with a friend of an old pal, DC Robert Stone, recently divorced.
He knew that Tara usually had to lie about her occupation. Most men didn't want a gun-toting spook for a girlfriend, although this was the eighties, things were still not that equal yet between the sexes. Well, at least tonight her date was in a similar field of work. It was a start. Ever the matchmaker he hoped they would hit it off – he'd find out soon enough.
The evening started off with general polite conversation and as the meal progressed and the Chianti flowed the conversation turned to matters of security and politics, mostly headed by the copper, keen to fight for his place amongst the heavier duty CI5 agents, especially as one was female. He was trying a bit too hard to impress and was coming across as a little borish. The dinner conversation wasn't the most appropriate, but some habits die hard and it seemed talking shop was one of them.
Bodie had a general low opinion of coppers and was only vaguely interested to hear if this one had anything to say. The conversation between Tara and Stone became heated with Murphy and occasionally Doyle throwing in their opinions. Bodie noted that Becks, across the table from him was glowing in the dim candlelight. She seemed to be in her element, confidant, animated and more than holding her own in the discussion. Even with the heated debate, the atmosphere was kept friendly and everyone stayed relaxed. Murphy threw the odd joke in for good measure which kept everyone laughing and stopped the debate from getting too serious. Stone then said something contenscious to which Bodie just couldn't let go, and he too joined in the verbal fray.
"You see, Bodie's absolutely right." said Tara, saluting him with her glass. She was having fun knowing that she had the upper hand in the debate. She laughed at some other comment and when Bodie replied back she acknowledged his repartee with a nod and a casual wide smile directed straight at him. The smile made her look beautiful and accentuated her strong bone structure. Her glittering eyes locked with his momentarily – Bodie held her gaze, then demurely she looked away and rejoined the banter. She glanced back at Bodie and he found himself involuntarily smiling back at her and raised his glass in a reciprocal gesture from a short while ago.
"What's happening here?" thought Bodie. "Becks and me in agreement – surprises will never cease." He was also startled to find himself admiring her, not just for her ideals, which were fairly opposed to the coppers, but for the look she'd given him. Although, rather clichéd, when their eyes had met, he felt a spark of unexpected energy ignite in him again. Looking over at her studying her a little closer, he couldn't deny it, maybe it was the wine, but he found himself attracted to her, despite the fleshy blonde wares that sat next to him vying for his attention.
The music pulsed a beat in time with the flashing lights. The blonde pulled Bodie closer, determined to try and beguile him, ample cleavage jiggling with the baseline. Ordinarily, Bodie would be more than pleased to go along with the seduction ritual. The blonde although pretty was fairly dull company, and Bodie was finding her a little tiresome. He shrugged off her cloying embrace and bought another beer. She sat down sulkily next to him, but he did his best to ignore her. He looked out over the dance floor. Doyle and Julie really seemed to have hit if off with each other, they were enjoying themselves and Bodie spent a while watching Doyle dance, gazing at him move with feline grace. He felt a pang of regret that he wasn't dancing in Julie's place, not that dancing was really his thing. However, Doyle had made it clear that their intimacy was not to be.
After Ann, Doyle had made it clear that he wanted something different from his life. He had confided to Bodie one long evening how much he wanted children. Doyle had never had a loving family life as a kid, and Bodie knew he ached to be able to have that one day and hopefully to be able to give a stable upbringing to a child of his own. He couldn't blame Doyle for that wish...but damn him all the same.
His eyes wandered over to Becks and the copper. They were dancing a little way off from each other and the body language said it all, there was obviously no chemistry. Infact, Becks could have been dancing on her own, writhing rhythmically, eyes closed, unaware of her erotic swaying, seemingly unaware of anything or anyone except the beat, the copper completely forgotten. Bodie was mesmerized by her.
Somewhere during this evening, he'd overcome the barrier of his bitterness towards her. She'd become human, a person to him, someone with character and drive, and he'd realised how beautiful she was.
Doyle stretched out a hand and pulled her towards himself and Julie. Becks woke from her introspection and laughed as they danced together. God, how could he not have noticed it before. As they danced he noticed they were built similarly, Doyle was slim for a bloke, but there was a resemblance, although, of course Becks, was a little smaller all round. He realised that they shared a similar sensibility, he had noted how they laughed at the same jokes – they even shared similar exotic sloe eyes. They were beautiful together, as though born from the same mold.
Maybe that's why the pair got on so well was because they were so similar. The similarity made them great friends, but detracted from being lovers. And why had he disliked her so much? Not only because he was envious of the time they shared together, but because that something he disliked about her, was actually her similarity to Doyle. He'd been so blind. What an idiot not to have seen this before. A newly found desire burned inside him. Bodie's heart skipped a beat, a chill tingled down his spine and most unnerving, tightness grew in his groin and his cock started to strain against constraining fabric. And the woman thought at worse that he despised her and at best tolerated her.
The blonde came over to try and reclaim her date. " Hey lover, what's up?" she purred. Bodie had an itch that needed scratching, at least the blonde was ready and willing.
It was Sunday morning, Bodie rang Ray's door buzzer. They lived in each other pockets, he would regularly pop round if they had a weekend off, usually for an early morning run and later on they both would relax by reading the papers, puzzling over the crossword and sometimes enjoying a slap-up lunch down the pub, with or without girlfriends. Today, Bodie as requested, was a little later than usual. He rang the buzzer again. Still no response. "C'mon Ray, open up." He banged his fist impatiently on the door. Still no response. Worry started to prickle. He went back to the car and retrieved Ray's spare flat keys and allowed himself in, checking the alarm as he passed by, noting that it was not set.
The flat was quiet, but had a recently lived in look. He strode cautiously through the flat, muscles and nerves tensed for action. A moment later he relaxed and smiled in relief. The French windows at the end of the lounge were open and there sat Buddha-like in the shade of an overhanging plane tree was Ray and Tara. He should have guessed that they would be together. They both looked perfectly serene, eyes closed and fore-fingers and thumbs touching in a mudhra. Doyle was in a pair of worn grey joggers, bare chested in the heat and Tara looked tasty in shorts and a tight skimpy t-shirt. Her tanned flesh glowed and her hair was roughly tied back. Out of the office her dress sense really did improve he decided. He greedily drank in the sight of both of them.
He crept up to Ray, made his hand into the shape of a gun and pointed it at his head. "Bang! You're dead Ray. I shouldn't have to tell you to be careful." He was irritated at the lax security. Fear always ate him over Doyle's safety ever since the shooting.
Doyle opened one eye a fraction and squinted up through the bright sunshine. "I knew it was you. I could sense it with my third eye."
"Well maybe you should have checked with your first and second?"
"Sides, knew it was you – could hear you banging and shouting at the door."
"Then why didn't you bloody open it?" Bodie looked skywards in exasperation.
"Didn't want to break my flow of concentration and chi. Anyhow, knew you had the keys."
"I coulda been anyone walking in." Bodie was amazed at Doyle's apparent carelessness over his safety. There were all sorts of criminals that wanted a piece of Ray out there.
"Don't worry we had our own security." piped Tara, pulling her PPK from under the corner of the towel she was sitting on and waving it in the air. It was absurd, correction, they looked absurd. This exotic sylph in front of him and the scruffy hooligan to his left, surely they weren't two of Cowley's finest agents?
"Gods above," thought Bodie "they're as dense as each other."
"You had your eyes closed." Bodie really didn't think he should have to point this out to them.
"Look stop worrying. It's still early and we've not had breakfast yet. Fancy sharing?" Ray asked, hoping food would placate his irritable partner.
"I knew you'd be coming along, so Ray told me get some chocolate croissants on the way, said they're your favourite, well, apart from Swiss role." she joked. She smiled up at him, looking small and vulnerable, it melted through his anger.
Ray went off to fetch breakfast for everyone, leaving Bodie and Becks together.
"That man's wasted in CI5, he would make someone a nice housewife someday." said Bodie taking a seat next to Tara.
"'cept he would need a maid to tidy up after him." Tara noted and they both laughed in unison sharing the joke about Doyle infamous untidiness.
Over the last few weeks, ever since the restaurant outing, Tara had noticed that Bodie had mellowed towards her. At first she found it rather disconcerting, wondering if there was some hidden purpose for it all. Over the weeks she found she had begun to drop her guard around the man and started to relax in his company, especially so as there were no further barbs or threats aimed at her which was a huge relief. She hadn't realised how wearing all the verbal fencing had been. Of course, with Bodie's track record, and considering the office gossip about him, it had crossed her mind that he could be trying to bed her; she certainly didn't intend to end up as just another notch in his bedpost. But despite his smooth charm, he hadn't come out with any smarmy one liners or batted his beautiful eyelashes at her, which somehow, strangely, disappointed her a little. Because now that he seemed to be genuinely friendly towards her, he showed a side of himself she didn't know existed. He acted towards her as he would with Ray, and it seemed as though she was seeing the real Bodie, a man who was tough and needed careful handling, but could also be understanding and caring, all wrapped up with a wry sense of black humour. No woman could have been immune to this honest and rarely seen personality, paired with his masculinity and Irish beauty. She was no exception.
She was still a little unsettled by his u-turn from intense dislike to affability, trying to think of alternate motives. Bodie's reputation with women preceded him, and anyhow, had he been interested in her like that she wasn't sure if she'd really wanted to get involved. She had more pride and self-worth than be used and discarded in that way. Everyone knew that Bodie had women and not relationships. Their friendly association was too green yet for trust to bloom.
"So tell me how you managed it, where I failed?"
"What?" Tara wasn't sure what Bodie was referring to.
Get that angel to sit quietly and meditate." answered Bodie.
"Maybe I'm just prettier to sit next to!" Tara teased and looked at him directly.
"I've tried loads of times to get him interested in the theoretical side of martial arts, just goes right over his head."
"Well, there's nothing intellectual or mystical in what we've been doing. If you can approach it on an everyday level, it's easy to do."
Bodie was genuinely interested to hear Tara's views on eastern practice, he mulled over whether it might include Tantra. "So how come you seem so well versed?" he asked.
"Oh, a long story, but the short of it is that I got disillusioned with my life, British Intelligence, the games and needed to get out. And when I did I travelled." Tara replied.
Bodie was interested to hear how she'd spent her time inbetween MI5 and joining CI5, she'd become a bit of a puzzle to him.
"Well, you know, I did the standard tourist routes, a bit of India, Nepal, Thailand, Hong Kong and then a bit of China, the Great Wall, Beijing..." she chatted about her experiences out there and how it made her rethink her values and get her life back into perspective. Bodie was fascinated, travelling to Africa had made him much of what he was today, and he could relate to what she was saying.
"Will wonders never cease." thought Doyle as he watched the two former adversaries chatting animatedly. They were engrossed deep in conversation and he didn't want to spoil the moment by interrupting, but the tray was awkward to carry.
"Okay you two, breakfast's up." he stepped into the garden and placed the tray on the garden table, catching briefly the end of their conversation.
"Did she tell you about her time at the Kung Foo school in Beijing?" Doyle asked Bodie, as he poured out fresh cups of tea.
"You went to one of those?" Bodie was genuinely impressed. Martial arts were a favourite sport of his, needing concentration and discipline, to know that this woman was also a keen martial artist increased his opinion of her.
"Yeah, spent about three months there. It was a time just to clear my head totally. It's so strict and basic you just wouldn't believe it. Makes Macklin's regimes seem easy." She chatted about her time and what she'd learnt, the routines and some of the techniques she'd learnt, along with a growing belief in Taoism and for her to finally get her perspective back.
Bodie asked many questions, deeply fascinated, and the conversation flowed in between bites of croissant and slurps of tea.
"I know you practice Aikido, but Japanese traditions are generally more formalised and regimented, which answers your very first question, I s'pose what you'd been trying to teach Ray just wasn't up his street." Bodie looked a bit put out.
"Sorry mate, but I think she's right." said Doyle.
"Well, you'll just have to show me sometime."
"Sure, if you like. But I might kick your arse too" Tara was surprised by this request and want to change the topic of conversation to something a bit less intense. Bodie found the idea of being overpowered and pinned to a mat by her, suddenly quite appealing.
Bodie raised one eyebrow and smirked, "I think I'd enjoy having my arse kicked, if it was by you."
Tara felt herself blush and hid her face in her tea mug. "Okay, so that was definitely a flirt." she thought, "but, it is in his nature, and he is a bloke, it doesn't necessarily mean anything." She was trying to convince herself. Well, whatever his reason, if he was flirting a little, she was enjoying the attention. There was something magnetic about Bodie that was hard to resist. A strong breeze gusted and blew a wisp of hair free which flapped irritatingly across her face. She had a half eaten croissant in one hand and her tea in the other. Bodie stretched over and gently tucked the errant strand behind her ear, lightly caressing her cheek. She looked at him, slightly stunned and mumbled her thanks. His gentle touch electrified her and the tenderness of the act melted her somewhere deep inside.
Cowley had asked specific teams in early to plan the finale of an op. Bodie stifled a yawn whilst nodding a greeting to Lewis. He'd had a late night, he picked up a slender brunette at the pub last night, but hopes that her attractiveness was reflected in her personality were short lived. Never mind, it wasn't her personality that he was interested in, and as long as her mouth was adequate for more than just talking, he was too was happy enough, although he had borne the brunt of the lash of her tongue, when he tried to throw her out at 6.30 this morning. Sometimes he wondered why he bothered.
The sex was good at the time, but left him feeling empty afterwards and he'd spent considerable time staring blankly at the ceiling in the dark before tiredness and sleep overcame him. Whilst he'd been screwing the girl, his mind had been imagining someone else. Someone altogether more desirable, but whose unattainability made her so much more attractive. That fantasy brought him to a sweet strong climax that left him exhausted and when he came back to reality, the girl left a sour feeling behind. He'd been glad to throw her out, and immediately tore the soiled sheets off the bed and stuffed them into the washing machine.
He, himself, needed to let hot water run to cold as he stood under the shower faucet, dark head bent backwards giving himself up to the cleansing ritual.
He spied Doyle a little farther along the corridor at HQ, resting slouched against the wall, hair tousled and squeezed into figure hugging corduroys, leaving little to his imagination, chatting to Murphy.
Just behind them, with her back turned was Becks, hair roughly tied into a loose chignon in the nape of her neck, crisp white blouse and a dark, knee length pencil skirt, and he noted with a split leading upwards which teased his imagination. These two were breakfast enough for his hunger.
Doyle spotted him and waved. Murphy turned to greet him "God, Bodie, you look rough, what 'av you been up to? No don't answer that!" he smirked.
"Be fine after a sweet cup of tea an' a shave. Lend us yer razor, Ray."
Becks turned around alerted to the sound of Bodie's voice, breaking off her discussion with Cowley. In stark contrast to how he felt, she looked so very neatly turned out.
"Morning Bodie." she cast her eyes over him. "You all right? Not coming down with anything are you?" She placed her palm gently against his stubbled cheek just for a brief moment making contact. Part of him was touched by her genuine concern and he shivered imperceptibly at her touch. It was an intimate gesture, even if it only lasted seconds. It made him feel cared for, something only Doyle had previously been able to achieve, and the only person in recent times he'd allowed in.
"No. Fine. Be all right, nothing a bit of breakfast won't sort out." he replied flippantly, not ready to lower his defences and certainly not ready to tell her about his rough night.
"Glad to hear it, 3.7," interrupted Cowley, "we need you fit and well for tonight. Right, now we're all here, make your way to the briefing room." Cowley turned and marched away, albeit with a slight limp, expecting the troops to follow. He had never quite left the army behind.
"As you know CI5 has been tracking a lead to a major gun running mob. These African countries can hardly feed their own people, yet they turn the cogs and deal in drugs and arms...and sully our shores with their vice. It's our job to flush out this corruption, and by Jove, we have done a grand job ferreting out the dirt." When Cowley got fired up he was wont to wax a little lyrical at times such as this. "We have tracked down the perpetrators and have every reason to believe that the Nigerian ambassador is hiding behind this little scheme. Our boys have been watching the embassy for a numbers of weeks now and there have been some very interesting comings and goings. Becks, will you run the projector and refresh our memories."
She dimmed the lights and the projectors whirred on. Cowley gave a commentary on the names and faces in the pictures, on their connections and their supposed role. It started to build into a foul network of corruption.
"All the evidence we have so far is circumstantial, we need proof, and we will get it." Cowley slammed his fist on the table. "We have every reason to believe that they are peddling drugs, cocaine, heroin, in large quantities and with the profits buying arms and selling them off to the highest bidder to whichever tin pot African country screams 'me first'. Cowley was also want to be a little dramatic. "We need a team to break-in and gather hard evidence." He smiled benignly at Doyle and Bodie. "I had thought about using CI5's crack team of cat burglars," he paused, as mild laughter could be heard from all around.
In a similar case, over two years ago, Bodie and Doyle were required to break and enter another diplomat's house. They weren't such a crack team, as they got caught, but with the help of some small time crooks, who happened to be on their side, everything worked out well. Doyle also gained an admirer in the form of a motherly mature lady called Margery. She was quite taken by her 'golden boy' and Doyle had to pretend more than once that he wasn't available in order to shake off her amorous advances. The whole incident had become a bit of a standing joke at HQ, with 3.7 and 4.5 taking quite a lot of good humoured flack.
Bodie and Doyle grinned humourlessly at the dig. They had hoped that this incident had been forgotten about by now.
"We are however, in luck, you will be glad to hear," continued Cowley. "The Nigerian ambassador is hosting a party this evening to celebrate the independence of its country. I want to put a team in there masquerading as British civil servants. And I need you to discretely gather hard evidence. We need to put a stop to those who want to use England like some summer camp. Lights up." he ordered and Becks obeyed. He outlined the plan, several teams were to be located around the outside of the building to observe, photograph and pass any essential information to the team on the inside. The team on the inside were to locate visual evidence, at which point, CI5 would bust the place.
There was always a problem with embassies, you had to tread very carefully in order not to create an international incident. Careful handling was required. Cowley was keen not to have his department embroiled in a diplomatic farce. "To this end, 3.7 and 2.9 will masquerade as our top civil servant and his wife, gather what evidence they can and then if there is enough, call in the other teams to put the whole nasty business to bed."
It all seemed very straight forward except for the team pairing. Becks was unsure of Bodie's reaction to being paired once again together, especially thinking back to their last assignment.
Bodie's face had darkened a little, but his thoughts were veiled. Becks glanced furtively over to Doyle, hoping he could give her some reassurance of Bodie's reaction. He merely shrugged his shoulders a little.
"This is a black tie do, Bodie. I expect you to smarten yourself up by this evening." Cowley snapped.
"Yeah, I love you too." mumbled Bodie under his breath.
As they all exited the room, Becks caught up with Bodie. Although, their relationship had improved, she was still uncertain of the big mans feelings towards her. "I'll see you tonight then?" she asked hesitantly.
"Yeah, it's a date." replied Bodie coolly as he walked away. At that moment he wasn't sure how he felt about the new assignment and temporary partner.
The mirror reflected back a sharp dressed man. The reflection grinned back. Black tie suited Bodie. He pulled a couple of poses gleaned from the opening titles of the Bond films. He quite fancied himself as 007, one could always dream. He pulled a final pose, he didn't mind playing the clown in the privacy of his own place, or to keep Ray amused during the long hours on op., even if Ray didn't always appreciate his humour. He pondered on being Bond and raised a solitary dark eyebrow and mumbled 'shaken, not stirred'. Well the reality was a lot less glamorous, the danger all too real, but the one thing he would like to swap was the capri for Bond's Aston Martin – British government budgets would never meet that extravagance for its agents. He shook his head in despair, if only he was kitted out by a Q with all those fabulous gadgets too.
He straightened his bow tie, checked his colt and its fit in his holster and finally looked at his new watch. He was really pleased with it – now this was a bit of Bond – a Porche Design. His last watch had been smashed in a raid, and somehow he managed to put the cost of this exclusive replacement through expenses as an 'item of essential equipment'. How that got past the tight fisted Scottish git, Bodie could only wonder. Maybe the old man had let it slip through in a lapse of concentration, or maybe he felt sorry for Bodie who apart from smashing his watch, had also dislocated his shoulder at the time. It was 7pm, he needed to hurry and meet Becks.
He parked outside Beck's apartment on the road opposite and sounded the horn. She had been expecting him and she appeared moments later. She captured his attention as she ran lightly towards him. Her dress flowed out behind her revealing and accentuating her in all the right places. Her glossy locks were loosely coiled up and her make-up gave her an air of evening chic. As she stepped off the kerb into the road she lifted the hem of her dress to avoid tripping in a movement that was very demure; it almost seemed oddly incongruent knowing she was a CI5 agent, at the same time her femininity didn't put the act out-of-place. Checking for traffic from both sides of the road, she approached and greeted him with a smile. She looked nothing short of stunning.
He climbed out of the car and with gentleman-like manners opened the passenger side door for her, and with a small flourish and a feigned posh accent said, "Well, my dear, you look ravishing tonight, your car awaits."
"Well, thank you Parker. You look quite debonair yourself." she replied matching his smile. Bodie in fact almost took her breathe away, the man looked striking wearing a tux. His dark hair matched his suit whilst his pale skin contrasted well. It accentuated his handsome features, whilst still giving him a hint a brooding danger and power. She certainly felt a little stirred by his appearance.
They both settled inside the car.
"So Cowley's pushing the boat out with this op then?"
"Yup, needed a car to match our elevated cover, could get used to driving a Merc."
"We all could!" she smirked. The dress strap over her shoulder slipped a little and Bodie lent over and with one finger delicately lifted it back into position. She looked beautiful tonight, and he wanted any excuse to touch her. It was part of his psyche that he was attracted to beautiful women. She turned, surprised at the gesture, "Thank you", she said feeling tension building between them. Their faces only inches from one another, he could breath her scent, she smelt clean and fresh, her perfume laying musky and promising in the evening air. Before his thoughts and desires got the better of him, he reminded himself that this was not a date. He pulled his building lascivious thoughts back to the present and thought of more mundane matters in order to cool off. He wanted to make sure that this op didn't end up like the last one.
"If tonight gets rough, can you handle it?"
She looked at him directly, not over impressed by his attitude, knowing that within reason she was able to handle whatever Cowley asked of her. Rather than make an issue of it, she decided it didn't require a serious answer and said sultrily, "I think I've handled most things expertly in the past. What did you have in mind?"
Bodie coughed, her unexpected tease made him feel hot again, and he tried to keep his mind on the job. "It's not everyday my backup's wearing chiffon and heels, can you do the job?"
"I think so." She slowly pulled the hem of her dress up to reveal her silky black stockinged leg, a hint of bare flesh tantalized at the top of her thigh; tied around it was a small holster and revolver.
Bodie stared captivated, his body giving away to responses wholly involuntary and carnal. With difficulty, he pulled his attention back. "Very Bond." he managed to say, at last controlling his lustful thoughts.
Tara knew she had scrubbed up well and felt sexy within herself, it made her feel confidant, and she couldn't help teasing Bodie and putting him slightly off-balance. She knew what effect stockings had on most men, and Bodie had just proved that he was most men. She continued with her sultry tease with good humour. "Anything else you would like to see?" enjoying his unease, as she pouted alluringly at him. She felt a spark of fire ignite between them, and she knew that despite all the warnings, she had been inadvertently caught by the intoxication of his persona. Bodie was dangerous and unpredictable, and that danger was exhilarating and fascinating. She knew, that she needed to be strong, that she was now yet another moth caught in his light, and she hoped she was strong enough not to flutter uselessly around, crash and be burned.
He swallowed hard, trying to compose himself and lower his rising heat – his body was betraying him and he had to wriggle in order sit comfortably and rearrange his turgid shaft. The tension between them was a powerful aphrodisiac and had to once again remind himself that they were on an assignment.
"You got your RT?" he swallowed hard, trying to bring himself and the situation back under control.
Safety was always paramount, and she dropped the act in order to check their arrangement for the op.
"RT, micro-camera and knife in my purse."
"Knife?" queried Bodie.
"Well, a girl's got to be prepared!" The woman was surprising, beautiful and not forgetting trained to be deadly. This reminder made her the more erotic and beguiling. Bodie had just started to enjoy the evening.
The party was one of those stuffy, formal affairs, full of polite small talk and canapés. The only thing which made it more colourful, much more colourful were the costumes many of the African guests wore. Bodie slipped into his role of a high ranking civil servant well, using his knowledge of Africa and its affairs to his advantage. He was amused to introduce Becks as his dutiful wife, and kept her close to him. Through slightly gritted teeth, she tried to be charming and slightly vacuous.
They knew they needed to find evidence, hard evidence at the embassy. The numerous stake-outs seemed to suggest that the drug/arms dealing was being run from here, and it was more than likely that both could be stashed here on the premises.
The party was in full swing, guests were becoming well lubricated and relaxed, enjoying the delights and surprises of an excellent and rather exotic finger buffet. Now was the right time to sniff around, when the hosts were a little off their guard. Bodie and Becks strolled off, drinks in-hand, pretending that they were looking for somewhere quieter. They had told their hosts that they were recently wed. As they left the main area of the party, one of them worked as a look-out, whilst the other checked inside rooms. So far nothing.
They climbed the staircase to the upper floor. Once again, they came up blank, time was passing and they hoped their absence wasn't being missed from the party – this was taking longer than expected. Just then, Bodie found a locked door – the only one they'd found so far. Suspicions raised, they were cautious and vigilant as Bodie picked the lock. He managed to enter without too much difficulty – usually Doyle was the master locksmith. They both slipped inside and closed the door behind themselves. Stealthily they rummaged around, the room seemed to be in order until Becks opened what turned out to be a large walk-in cupboard. Stacked on many shelves were bags and bags of white powder.
She whistled quietly in disbelief – there had to a couple of million quids worth of drugs here. Bodie rushed over, they looked at each other acknowledging that they'd found the jackpot. Bodie entered the cupboard, towards the back was a large wooden crate. He cracked open the lid and exposed an assortment of guns and ammunition. He picked one up and tossed it to Becks, who caught it and examined it, turning it over and lobbed it back to Bodie. The Nigerians were dealing in top quality arms.
Becks photographed the evidence. They had to be quick, leave and inform Cowley. They also had to be very discreet, with this amount of drugs and arms hidden, the Nigerians were very serious about business. They couldn't afford to be discovered or have a shoot-out with all the guests downstairs – it was too risky.
They were about to leave, when they heard voices coming closer from down the corridor. They needed to move fast – they didn't want to be discovered. Cautiously, they quickly left the room and closed the door behind themselves – the voices were very near – there wasn't anywhere to go.
Adrenalin coursed through Becks veins – they needed to hide, and fast. Bodie rushed to the nearest door – the handle turned and opened. He pulled Becks in after himself, but the chances were that they had been spotted as the men had turned into the corridor. Becks looked about the room for anything with which to barricade the door. Bodie hissed at her to leave it and dragged and pushed her up against the wall.
Light glinted through the door which stood ajar slightly, shining into the murky room where they stood hiding. He hoped his ruse would work. He hissed again, "Make it look real or we're dead men."
He pushed his body hard up against her again and brought his lips down and kissed her. She reacted in surprise and tried to shove him away instinctively. He gripped her tighter, immobilising her with his weight, through gritted teeth hissed earnestly, "Gotta make this look real, we're newlyweds remember." The men were directly outside by the volume of their voices. He pressed his body against Becks, his weight crushing her, he tilted her chin upwards and kissed her forcibly once more. She gasped a little in alarm.
Realisation came crashing down, she now understood the game Bodie was playing, hopefully the ruse might work. She kissed him back, lips meeting, tongues probing. It felt awkward, their personal space invaded, both used to kissing a hundred times, but never with each other.
As Bodie kissed her, tasting her lips and breathing in her scent, he could feel her heart pounding against him. He glanced towards the slightly open door, the voices were directly outside. The men were arguing over who should have locked the other door last, each trying to appropriate blame on the other. All of them hoping that nothing had been disturbed.
The door to the room Bodie and Becks were in, jarred and opened slightly wider. Becks slid her hand under Bodie's jacket in readiness, fingers resting lightly on his holstered colt. In a reciprocal move, Bodie slid his hand up her thigh to reach the small revolver. She gasped at the sensation, the heat of his hand gliding up her thigh. He kissed her harder, rubbing himself against her, feeling himself grow hard.
She pressed back, gyrating gently against him. He took his lips lower, nuzzling her chin, her neck and the rise of her breasts. His ardour running away with him, he pulled the top of her dress aside to expose a dark erect nipple, which he kissed and nibbled. Becks groaned with pleasure, tightness pulsating in her crutch.
The groan alerted the men outside and they shoved open the door to reveal the supposed newlywed couple in a passionate embrace. They both looked up at the intrusion, looking like rabbits caught in headlights, yet more than ready to shoot should the situation require them to do so. Both sets of hands ready in anticipation clasping each others hardware.
The men relaxed when they saw what they had happened upon and chuckled throatily.
"Mr. Bodie, if she was my wife, I too couldn't wait, but we prefer our guests downstairs. If you could be so kind as to join us shortly." He winked at them and closed the door leaving Bodie and Becks alone and both very relieved. The embrace had been real, there was no pretence, why should the guards think otherwise. They heard two sets of footsteps lead away.
"So they've left us a guard – what should we do?" asked Becks.
"Follow the charade to the end, we wouldn't want to blow our cover now, would we?" Danger heightened his desire and Bodie pressed himself back against her once more, his erection recovering quickly from the interruption. Now he'd sampled her a little, he wanted more, and his desire was urgent and needy.
Bodie's overt masculinity and urgent touch aroused her and she hungered for him again, lust flooded over her. She kissed him back and they held each other in a rough embrace. Bodie kneaded and stroked her breasts and nipples making her gasp with pleasure, and she arched her body against his rigid groin, their desire building.
He slipped a hand between her legs and felt her hot and very moist crutch. He stroked her gently, enjoying the sensation of moist velvet, and then slipped his fingers into her depths and moved them rhythmically whilst still kissing her. She groaned and clung to him. She fondled him through the fabric of his trousers, he was so hard the confinement hurt. Finally, she undid his trousers releasing his hot phallus. Urgency tugged at him and he pulled her panties down, she wrapped her legs around him as he slid his length inside and thrust. They groaned aloud with pleasure, realising they had been building up to this point for weeks. She clung to him as he thrust rhythmically, each thrust eliciting a cry of intense pleasure – the sound of her enjoyment raised the fierceness of his ardour further.
She wanted more, wanted to feel him really deep. She turned around and begged him to take her, her buttocks smooth and exposed in the dim light as she bent against the wall, her vagina hot and swollen with desire. He eased his cock in slowly, so she could feel his full iron length and built the rhythm, he took her roughly, thrusting deeply, enjoying her heat until they both cried out for release. She mewled his name, closed her eyes and quivered uncontrollably. Hot wetness trickled down his shaft and balls, her tight muscular contractions caressed him bringing him to a deep, long orgasm. He groaned loudly with the powerful intensity of the release. His desire completely sated. He hadn't wanted anyone as much as Tara in a long while. They turned, both still breathing heavily, hearts hammering and collapsed into each others arms. Tara rested her head on Bodie's strong shoulder, and he wrapped her tightly in his embrace, nuzzling into her hair.
"Fight fire with fire." she whispered hoarsely.
Bodie pulled on his trousers tucking his shirt inside. He bent and picked up Tara's crumpled knickers from the floor and dangled them from one finger.
"I believe these are yours." he said with a smirk. She took them suddenly feeling embarrassed and straightened out her clothing.
She looked a little dishevelled, flushed, strands of hair escaped its fastening. It made her look vulnerable, something he didn't normally associate with her. It made him feel like cosseting her and he tenderly tucked tendrils of her hair back into place. He took hold of her hand and led her out of the room.
The solitary guard sprang to life on seeing the couple leave the room. His only suspicions aroused were of a voyeuristic nature.
"I've been instructed to escort you downstairs, Mr. Bodie." He ushered them along the corridor.
"Could you show me to the nearest ladies, please?" asked Becks.
The guard pointed her to a door on the ground floor.
Becks relieved herself and did whatever ablutions were necessary. She peered at herself in the mirror and delicately wiped at her smeared make-up. Suddenly tiredness pulled at her and she rested her palms on the edge of the basin, dropping her head and sighed as realisation dawned. "Christ, I've just become yet another notch on Bodie's bed post. How did I allow myself to get shagged so easily?!" she wondered. The truth, which she'd be denying to herself, was that she'd been falling for him bit by bit, slowly for weeks now.
Well, at least he was a good as his reputation. It was a physical and emotional ride that she wasn't going to forget in hurry, she was still buzzing from the high.
A group of ladies entered the washroom, chattering loudly, pulling her thoughts back. She'd hoped to be able to radio back to the team waiting outside the embassy, but she'd lost her chance. They'd have to find another way of alerting them.
Bodie waited for her outside in the plushly furnished corridor. Satisfaction written across his face, like the proverbial cat that had got the cream. He trusted Doyle one hundred and ten percent, trusted his instincts, damn it, trusted him with his life on countless occasions. Perhaps Doyle was right once more. Maybe someone like Tara could be good for him. It was obvious that there was a spark between them, a fire. Would he give her a chance? Could he allow himself to care? Open himself to possible hurt and betrayal? A relationship always hinted at commitment, he debated the pros and cons. Didn't women want to get their claws into a man, change them, dream of marriage and children. He shuddered at the thought, that might suit Doyle, but he certainly wasn't ready or wanted to go down that route. However, the thought of Tara excited him, he knew that he wanted her.
As Tara left, she met Bodie outside. He looked at her with concern, You all right?"
"Yeah, fine, no really." she lied. Inside her emotions were in turmoil. One more moth burning, they cried. Her mind told her not to be a fool and forget him, but her emotions rallied and wanted more, were drawn to him. Be careful, her mind screamed, at least play this by your rules.
Together they walked forward, determined, knowing that they needed to get word out without alerting everyone in the embassy. The party was still in full swing. A goon whispered into the Nigerian ambassadors' ear and simultaneously looked over to Bodie and Becks as they rejoined the crowd.
"Ah, Mr. and Mrs. Bodie, so nice that you could join us again." The ambassador approached them and ushered them into the centre of the mass of garishly dressed guests, imperiously waving for the attention of a waiter, who supplied them with fresh flutes of champagne. He kept them close during the evening, suspicions possibly alerted. They were caught up with small talk for a larger part of the evening and couldn't make an exit without drawing undue attention, especially after their long absence. Impatience nagged at them, they needed to inform Cowley. Eventually the conversation lulled, Bodie made pretence of turning away to grab a passing waiter with a tray of canapés. As he did so, he whispered for Tara to leave. If only one of them left it wouldn't look so conspicuous. Women were always leaving to powder their noses. Whatever happened once the troops had been informed he would help handle the situation inside the embassy.
Politely nodding to people and feigning that she was hot and needed some fresh air, Becks made her exit. She knew however, she'd been followed by of the Nigerian security men. She stood at the entrance pretending to gulp down the cool night air. She strolled nonchantly forward, coming closer towards the road. She was relieved to note CI5 operatives strategically placed, waiting in cars and a couple strolled by. They in turn were alerted by the absence of Bodie's presence by her side. She saw Anson and Lewis move surreptiously closer, moving into position near her. She turned abruptly, sensing the guard immediately behind her. She feigned surprise and shock at discovering him quite so close and broke into nervous giggles. The laughter being infectious, the black man joined in. His guard was momentarily down, Becks kneed him hard in the groin and as he doubled over, chopped him on the back of the neck. Anson and Lewis swiftly dragged him off into a nearby car. The whole operation was so swift that if you'd blinked you would have missed the action. She walked confidently up to Cowley's red Ford Granada and climbed inside, relaying their discoveries.
Based on her inside knowledge, Cowley fine-tuned the raid. Special Branch was in on the act and would evacuate all the guests on the pretence of a coded bomb warning. CI5 would then move in and arrest the ambassador and his cronies. Of course, they had diplomatic immunity and it made Cowley mad that British justice couldn't touch them, but at least they could be expelled and the Nigerian government given a severe reprimand, for what it was worth. They would of course deny knowing anything. These cases frustrated Cowley, if he had his way he'd throw the book at them. But then he was no politician, and was glad to keep it that way.
The raid went smoothly, CI5 operatives arrested the men with quiet, deadly professionalism, and soon Cowley was standing in the embassy room disdainfully looking at the packets of drugs and weapons.
"Och, they were running this scam right under our very noses for months and we couldn't touch them till now. You did a good job Bodie." He turned to smile at his operative, then scowled, "but did you have to take so blinking long checking the situation out?" Cowley was a hard man to please. Not that Bodie was about to explain to him what had caused the delay, that would certainly be left out of the report.
It was late, past three in the morning, and the raid was winding down. Cowley had given all operatives leave to go home. Small groups of CI5 agents were slowly milling around. Doyle squinted at Bodie, using a street light for illumination, he smudged at a mark on his cheek.
"Hey, whatcha doin?" Bodie batted Doyle's hand away.
"You've got lipstick all over you, what have you been up to?"
Bodie only smiled and winked back at his mop haired companion. Doyle was left staring. Turning he crossed over to Becks who was chatting to Jax.
"It's getting late, shall I drive you home?" Bodie posed it more like a statement rather than a question. Becks ran a hand tiredly through her hair.
"No, it's all right. I'll cadge a lift from one of the other squaddies that live a bit closer by." She didn't trust Bodie and she certainly didn't trust herself around him. She'd decided to avoid him to protect herself from falling further under his spell. It would only ever end in tears.
Surprised at being rebuffed, he started to argue his case. "...your place is on my way home anyway. It's only a short detour..."
Tired, and not wanting to argue, she acquiesced and Bodie chaperoned her to the Merc. As he drove, they chatted laconically about the raid, not mentioning what had happened between them only hours before. She closed her eyes and lent her head back against the rest. "Play this on your terms, don't ask him in." she chanted to herself, "don't get used. Respect yourself."
They pulled up outside her apartment and Bodie, ever the gentleman when it suited him, escorted her out of the car.
"I think I can manage to get home from here, I'm a big girl now." she said trying to shrug off his presence.
"Yeah, of course you can, but I'd like to see you to your door."
They walked in silence, tension starting to build. Tara tried determinedly to stick to her resolutions, which were starting to waver dangerously. Bodie was wondering why she was being so stand-offish. He knew they'd both really enjoyed each other company and this time the op had run to plan, so he couldn't work out her change of attitude. It rankled him and he wanted to understand just what she was thinking, not that Bodie ever had much luck understanding the inner workings of a woman's mind. He was hoping, considering what she did for a living, she would be different. For one, Cowley never suffered fools and hoped she wouldn't be one for games.
Standing by her door, she rummaged in her purse for the keys and as she opened the door she cordially thanked Bodie and mumbled goodnight as she started to close the door behind her. Bodie was bemused by the cold dismissal, and put himself in the doorway to prevent the door shutting.
"I thought things had changed for the better between us. Don't I even get a goodnight kiss?"
Tara's mind screamed out 'no!', but Bodie didn't wait for a response, he bent and kissed her so gently that her resolve melted again and she kissed him back, once again lost to her senses.
He pulled away slowly, savouring the caress and taste of soft lips. His eyes partially closed, unbelievably long black lashes fanning out. "Goodnight Tara." He turned and left.
Tara stood on her doorway stunned. Her resolve gone, she had been ready to oblige him and give in. Her body still rang hot and tense, lips burning from his tender kiss. Her body betrayed what her mind had been trying to reason away. She wanted him. No man so far had made her lose herself like he had. A dangerous man indeed, but one she wanted not only for one night, but as part of her life; hopes would be in vain, she guessed where Bodie was concerned.
He slammed the car door shut after himself, and before he drove away, he gave one last glance towards Tara, who still watched him leaving.
He drove off heading for home and his bed alone. A consummate professional in the art of seducing women, he knew he'd captured her. This chase had been all the sweeter for it being wholly unexpected, yet Tara wasn't just another game to him. He knew he could have bedded her again tonight, but it had been a long day and night and he knew they were both tired. Somehow, she'd come to mean something to him, she wasn't another woman to be shagged, to get off on. He wanted her, to taste her, to stroke, to breathe in her scent, to hold her in his arms and make love to her. He wanted to share himself with her, trust her, be with her, come home to her, take refuge with her when days were long and wearing. Since his mercenary days, only Doyle had come anywhere that close. The older he got and the longer he stayed in this game, the longer and more lonely the nights became; he wanted share his life with someone. Maybe he was just getting sentimental, but increasingly he felt an ache of need inside himself, needed someone to help obliterate the past and soothe the present.
"Get away with you two. I don't want to see either of you until next week." Cowley waved a folded file at them. He put on a pretence of being irritated by the pair. He was actually really pleased with them, but wouldn't let it show. They'd been working on several different cases recently which had taxed, drained and injured them, but they always pulled through for The Big A. He was well of the adage – 'all work and no play...' They deserved some extra time off. "Ms. Becks can finish off the report on the Nigerian ambassador, her grammar is far superior to yours Bodie. She'll actually make the report readable!"
Bodie feigned hurt and shock, bringing his hands over his heart, "I'm hurt, Sir, and for four whole years you've had to drag your way through my reports, whilst I was under the impression that I was on a par with Shakespeare."
"Only with the bards spelling, 3.7" Cowley jested. "Now off with you. If you hang around any longer, I might just change my mind."
"Consider us gone all ready, we're not even here." chimed Doyle.
"Speaking to spectres, Sir." retorted Bodie.
"So are you going to tell me how you got lipstick all over you last night?"
The pair were sitting in Doyle's other favourite squad car, a RS2000, outside Bodie's flat. Bodie turned and smirked cheekily at him, clear blue eyes sparkling.
"Nope." he said smugly. "Don't believe in kiss and tell."
"Yeah, like since when? Go on." pleaded Doyle. "Buy you lunch."
Predictable as ever, Bodie gave in. "Well, after Tara and me found the drugs stash, we were almost discovered and we had to create a diversion." He paused dramatically. Doyle listened raptly, eager for a good story. "Well, Cowley is forever telling us to be creative," he took a deep breath and put a serious look over his handsome features. "We had to pretend we were newlyweds...in all senses of the word." Bodie laid the emphasis on the word 'all' and gave Doyle a knowing nod of the head.
"You randy toad!" retorted Doyle, bemused by his partners antics, especially whilst he was meant to be on duty. He then turned serious. "Tara's too good a mate to mess around, and no offence, used by you."
"She didn't complain at the time."
"Yeah, I know you, Bodie and your score with women. Don't mess her around like all the rest."
Bodie was irritated at being reprimanded by his partner, Doyle was no angel when it came to women either, and he didn't think he had a right to preach. He hesitated, starting to feel defensive, but changed tack almost immediately. His thoughts on Tara, he suddenly felt good inside, something just felt right. This was Doyle's place to fall hard and heavy for a woman, he had cool and detached practiced down to a fine art, usually.
"Yeah, you're right Doyle, but I don't intend to mess Tara around. I like her, really like her." He paused and turned to look directly at Doyle. "Look, I know I didn't take to her initially, but things are different now, there's an understanding between us. A bit like you and me, it feels natural, like I don't have to try too hard when we're together. She takes me on face value, let's me be who I am without pushing."
Doyle was astounded, his partner wasn't usually one for long speeches, especially about his feelings and women. "You sound serious about her."
"Yeah, I am." Bodie surprised himself with his words. Wanting to change the mood, Bodie brightened. "Look, a mate owes me a favour, what d'you say to spending our days off in the country. You, me, Julie and I'll ask Tara? He's got a lovely cottage, the girls'll love it. There's great fishing to be had."
The offer was tempting, he could do with a few days off unwinding away from the Smoke and Doyle could also keep an eye on any developments between his two best mates. He was about to agree when he paused.
"Hang about, as long as it doesn't turn out like those other infamous weekends of yours in the country. You don't seem to have much luck." Doyle was referring to a couple of times when Bodie had got caught up with criminals and terrorists whilst in the country.
"That was ages ago. Anyhow I won't let that happen again. Scouts honour." said Bodie putting two fingers to his temple in a salute.
"I hope I don't regret this, but you're on."
Tara put down the receiver, she didn't know what to make of the phone call, her thoughts were in turmoil. Infact since the op. all her emotions had been in turmoil. She had been pleased when Cowley had kept her at HQ, so she could spend time just thinking, immersing herself in work to take her mind off how she felt.
Bodie with his usual cool demeanour had just invited her along to a long weekend away with Doyle and Julie. He didn't give anything away on the phone, she had no idea under what pretence she would be there, whether as friend or lover. He said that he'd pick her up at 8.30am, the morning after next and that he was looking forward to it. And that was it. God, she wanted to go, she ached to be near Bodie. It was crazy, how could one man reduce her to a near emotional wreck? Her job demanded control, she didn't normally let her emotions bother her, she was normally quite detached when it came to lovers, quelling her attachments in order keep her focus. Somehow this man had got right under her skin.
She woke with a dawn that brought bright azure skies – the late summer heat wave England was experiencing was holding out. Anticipation kept her from sleeping further and by 7.30, she had breakfasted, showered and dressed.
Her impatience made her pace a little waiting for Bodie to arrive and every now and again she would peer out of the window. Finally she heard a car horn blast, and she picked up her holdall and met Bodie half way to the road. He greeted her with a small peck on the cheek and took her bags from her.
Bodie ushered her into the capri to sit alongside Julie in the back. As she bent over to clamber in, Bodie eyed her tight rump lashviciously, and Doyle gave him a warning glance to which Bodie gave his best innocent look.
"Right people, a cosy fit. If everyone's ready and comfortable, we're off." announced Bodie cheerily.
"Now that's some cottage." exclaimed Julie as they all disembarked from the hot cramped quarters provided by Ford. Doyle whistled. The 'cottage' had turned out to be a Georgian gate house situated at the entrance of a large country estate with vistas as far as the eye could see. The so called 'cottage' was far grander than the passengers had expected, having conjured up pictures of rambling roses, pink walls and thatch.
Bodie was pleased with his little surprise and the effect it was having. "Well people, don't just stand here gawking, there's a car to unpack, walks to discover and fish to be caught." He started to busy himself with unpacking the car, depositing his friends luggage onto the pea shingle driveway. Julie, being a nurse and therefore of a practical nature, organised settling themselves into their salubrious new accommodation. Bodie's priority seemed to be to make sure the beer they had brought along was packed into the fridge to chill.
Doyle sauntered up to his partner after having checked out the place. "Looks like we should be in for a good weekend. I put the fishing gear in the porch, here shove these into the fridge too." Doyle produced a plastic sealed container and thrust it at Bodie who was in the process of swigging at a warm beer. A look of delight crossed his face, anticipating homemade cakes from Julie.
He peeked inside, "Oh bloody hell, Doyle, maggots!"
"Well, we've got to stop them lil' blighters from wriggling quite so much in this hot weather."
Bodie shoved the offending item into the fridge and closed the door.
"You seen Tara, Ray?"
"Yeah." he smiled, chipped tooth showing, "she's outside clearing the city smog from her lungs."
His feet crunched upon the gravel as he approached her. She had been drinking in the beauty, the city pallor left her face as the sun glowed hot and bright bringing out the warm tones in her skin. Not more than a couple of hours out from the clutches of CI5 and already the tiredness seemed to have dropped from her. She heard him approach, turned and smiled warmly. He came up close to her and slipped his hand into hers and pulled her into a slow stroll.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" she said.
"The view or you?" Bodie said smoothly. "Both are stunning."
She smiled again at him and pushed him gently with her shoulder, not one for falling for one liners, but flattered nonetheless. He wanted to tell her again how beautiful she was, or let her know that she tied his insides up, or how much she was beginning to mean to him, but all these things seemed too gauche to say out loud. Instead, he bent down and placed a gentle kiss on top of her head. She looked up and he moved his lips lower, placing them tenderly upon hers. The kiss melted both of them, both now knowing what they wanted from each other, and hoping they had the time to allow it to develop. They pulled apart a little looking deeply into each others eyes, volumes being spoken without the need for words.
Doyle watched the exchange, propped up by the porch. His doubts about his partner's intentions with his friend evaporated. Rarely had he seen the man wear his emotions so visibly and honestly. Ray remembered a time when that look had been reserved for him. It was a part of Bodie that he rarely gave away. A pang of regret, at what could have been, at what they could have had, flittered through Doyle, but as soon as he acknowledged it, it fled. He had no place to feel that way about Bodie, he had renounced their intimacy a long time ago now. He knew he had never felt as strongly about Bodie, as Bodie had for him – the relationship would have been too one-sided.
Only he knew Bodie could be vulnerable, needed to be loved, needed someone to care about in order to try and make sense of the mad world they both lived in. He hoped that both Tara and Bodie could develop something special between them. Hoped that they could have what Bodie had searched for with him, and what he wasn't able to give.
If any woman, could understand Bodie, understand the job and pressures he was under, understand when he needed space, understand when he needed to be held, just plain understand the mad hours they did – it had to be Tara. She was living the same job.
Even though he'd thrown their relationship away, the man still meant everything to him, and he guarded him jealously. Most women didn't meet the high standards he set for a potential mate for Bodie, but he was glad to see Tara with him.
"Ray, I've got the picnic hamper packed and ready. See if Bodie knows a good spot where we can eat." Julie broke his reverie. He turned and gave her a hug. He too was glad to have someone to share himself with, and their relationship was developing well.
"Hey, you ready to eat Bodie?" he yelled. It was a silly question, as occasions where he wasn't hungry were far and few between.
"Yeah, I know a good spot down by the river." Bodie returned to the 'cottage' and helped Doyle carry the hamper, rugs and glasses. Lunch promised to be a stylish and lavish affair.
A short stroll later, the group settled themselves by the lush bulrush lined banks of a clear, fast flowing river that promised good trout fishing. The sun was strong and high ahead, and they sat shaded by the boughs of an old oak tree. Lunch was mouth-watering and full of delicacies washed down by flutes of champagne. Bodie, a lover of good food and occasional good living, couldn't help aping the upper classes and entertained the group with his mimicry and humour.
It felt odd to be so off-guard, but, as Bodie mused, to be switched on all the time, would mean certain burn-out. In order to live and work in CI5, you needed an off-switch otherwise the strain would send you over the edge, just look at Tommy as an example. He never could turn off, and ended up enjoying the job, and the killing too much. He got reckless in the end and that was his undoing.
"Well, this won't do." Doyle prised himself off the rug, stood and stretched. "Not going to keep my trim figure by lounging around all afternoon. Anyone fancy a stroll to walk off lunch?" Julie stood and accompanied Ray.
"Tara, Bodie, you joining us?"
"Mmmmph." said Bodie, fully laid out on the rug with his eyes practically closed, arms bent supporting his head. He looked very comfortable and sleepy and didn't look as though he wanted a walk. Tara smiled at his repose.
"Nah, you guys go ahead, I'll keep his nibs here company. Make sure no terrorists creep up on him unawares!" she joked. Bodie only managed an unamused "Urgh."
Tara watched Doyle and Julie walk away hand in hand. She settled herself against Bodie's prone form, far from being fat as Doyle so often joked, she could feel solid muscle. She held him close and rested her head upon his shoulder; he pulled her a little closer. They dosed in the heat, comfortable in each others presence. Tara woke a little later disturbed by the overhead buzz of a small plane. She resettled herself and slid a hand inside Bodie's shirt. She unbuttoned it a little, the skin under her palm was smooth, cool and pale, in contrast to Bodie's face and arms which had tanned to a light reddy brown from constant exposure to the sun. She stroked his chest lightly, experiencing the milky softness, tracing the occasional raised pucker of an old scar. Only when her fingertips brushed across his nipples did he stir.
At first he thought it was a fly and batted it away – still asleep. However, the stroking continued and he woke, muzzy, to the added pleasurable sensation of having his neck and earlobe gently nibbled.
"What are you up to, you little minx?" He rolled over and grabbed Tara into a tight embrace, eliciting a small squeak of surprise. He used his body weight to pin her to the ground and kissed her. Her caresses had aroused him. Sleepily at first, he rubbed his confined erection up against her, slowly regaining wakefulness. In reaction, she writhed back. His desire was urgent, he wanted her, but not like he'd taken her that first time. He wanted to make love to her, show her that he was considerate, patient, that he cared for her, and cared enough to be gentle. That his infamous 'love 'em and leave 'em' reputation was wrong – that it was a blanket with which to cover his true emotions. Emotions he wanted to share with her.
Heedless to his urgent need he made love to her slowly, gently, caressing her smooth skin, kissing every inch of her, taking time to taste and savour her, and to revel in her reactions to his tender lovemaking. He took things very slow, and he held himself in check, thinking of her pleasure first, until she begged him repeatedly to enter her. As he did, they both gasped at the delicious intensity of the union, of belonging together and being as one. He brought Tara to a slow, sweet, juddering climax and finally, he came too and collapsed exhausted by her side.
She lay naked on the rug, looking replete, a picture of exotic flushed beauty amongst the grass and leaves in the open. "Christ," he thought to himself, "if only I had the energy, I'd take her again." Making love to her was deeply satisfying and he rolled over and cupped a breast and bent to lightly kiss the pert ruby nipple. She shuddered again at the stimulation.
"Surely you don't want more?" she asked in surprise, knowing full well that both bodies were incapable of giving more at this moment. She sat up and spanked his bare bottom which glowed white starkly against her tawny skin.
"For someone who likes to be buttoned up, you're really a closet exhibitionist, aren't you?" she chided.
"In certain circumstances, even I can make exceptions. 'Sides there's no one around for miles." He relaxed back down and stretched his pale musculature, his spent cock contrasted darkly with his pale tones.
"Come here, beautiful." His strong hands pulled Tara back down upon him, both revelling in each other's nakedness and the hot, sticky contact of skin in the summer's heat, and the soft breezes which caressed over them.
Doyle reeled in his third catch of the morning. He'd started off early allowing Bodie another lie-in. He'd left a note on the kitchen table with a rough sketch of where he'd staked his fishing claim, hoping his partner would meet him later. Ordinarily, he might well have turfed his partner out of bed, but he was sensitive that it was Tara he was sharing it with. They'd been inseparable since they'd been down here. They had really hit it off with each other and he was genuinely pleased for both of them. It was about time that Bodie found someone worthwhile to share his affection with. Only Doyle knew just how caring the man could actually be. A soft bear of man encased in steel.
He was about to cast off again, when he spied a dark haired figure walking towards him laden with fishing gear. He waded back to the bank edge to give him a helping hand. They fished in companionable silence for another hour or so, the silence only broken by a loud rumble emanating from Bodie's direction.
"Well, my stomach says it's almost lunchtime, what d'you say we call it a day and head back for some grub, Ray?"
"Yeah, fine. I'll get Julie to grill the trout I've caught."
"Well, you know, I would have contributed 'cept the one I caught got away, it was that big!" said Bodie spreading both hands wide.
"Yeah, yeah." said Doyle dismissively shaking his head at this friends blatant lies. They packed up their gear and strolled back.
"You and Tara seem tight." Doyle was fishing of another kind, keen to find out how things were developing.
"Yeah, the woman's a veritable siren," sighed Bodie, "who needs a work out with Macklin, she's keeping me fit!"
Doyle gave a throaty chuckle, he well knew Bodie's capacity and sexual appetite, and if Tara could keep up, well, things boded well. He knew from the outset that that they'd be well matched.
"She's fun to be with, sometimes we don't need to talk, but we know what the other is thinking or feeling, you know what I mean, Ray. And, she's not half as cranky as you can be!" Bodie flashed Doyle a grin.
"Ta, mate, love you too. You two look really happy, like your worries have fallen away."
"Yeah, I feel good Ray, really good. I think she's someone I could learn to trust."
"Sounds serious mate, you seen a doctor recently?" Doyle tried to keep a straight face, but Bodie sensing the humour tried to tickle his partner's sides.
"Don't forget she came with your recommendation, if it all goes pear shaped, I'll know who to blame." replied Bodie. Underneath the humour, both men knew that trust was something not given easily, especially by Bodie. He threw a punch at Doyle, and they indulged in some light sparring, revelling in each other's company. Doyle, the lighter of the pair dumped all his gear except the fish and ran off shouting out behind him, "Well, if I don't get this back to Julie, we won't have any lunch. Bring my gear back, will ya."
"Oi, you devious little cretin." shouted Bodie indignantly, "come back, I'm not carrying all your stuff too, you devious little golly!"
Doyle sprinted away, putting a fair distance between each other, he waved back at his partner from afar. Bodie resigned to his fate loaded up all the fishing gear, muttering something about not being a pack mule.
"Mmmm, that smells fantastic." Doyle busied himself around Julie. The both of them made a formidable team of chefs. They had once again rustled up another gourmet meal.
Tara had been on-hand to help with the fetching and carrying. "Tell me where you'd like these dishes to go." Tara asked, slightly flustered. Domesticity wasn't her scene, and Julie had proved to be a little fussy about the order of things. Julie however, was in her element, and seemed especially pleased to have two willing kitchen hands. Tara set the laden dishes on the table ready for another gourmet alfresco lunch. She glowed with relaxation and good living that they were all enjoying to the maximum. The fresh trout was ready to be grilled on the barbeque, the coals glowed red hot. As she turned, she caught sight of Bodie trudging along in the heat weighed down by two sets of fishing gear. Her heart went out to him, he was a bit of a sorry sight.
She turned back to Doyle, "You callous bastard, what a mean thing to do in this heat." she gently chided, knowing the two men were forever pulling stunts on each other.
"Seemed like a good ideas at the time, put a bit of conditioning into the man, have you seen how much food that one can put away."
Shaking her head a little at him, she ran down the driveway to give the struggling man a helping hand. Bodie welcomed the help even if it was only the last few yards. His face was slightly flushed and perspiration beaded on his brow. Once they arrived back, he dropped all the gear in one movement onto the ground, grabbed a beer and swigged it down thirstily.
"Christ, that's better. You owe me one Doyle." he finally managed to gasp.
"Hey, look on the bright side." said Doyle innocently.
"What bright side?" growled Bodie dangerously.
"You've had a bit of fitness training and as I was able to get back so quick, lunch is about to served!"
"Yeah, yeah." Bodie wasn't convinced, but he looked over at the spread and brightened considerably. "You girls," emphasising 'girls' and including Doyle in that expression, "have done a great job." All the exertion had made him hungrier than ever.
He caught Tara as she was walking by and pulled her close.
"Don't thank me, I just take orders from Julie – I couldn't have rustled this up in a thousand years – not the domestic type me, but I'm learning!"
"Still lunch looks great," and he bent down and kissed her.
Tara pulled away grimacing, "Urgh, that's horrible, you're all sweaty," wiping her hand over her mouth and face.
"Blame Doyle, " said Bodie pinning the man with a hard stare.
"Now if we were stuck in the middle of nowhere, then, I'm you gal for fixing lunch. Dehydrated rations, grubs, roots, berries..."
"...wild caught rabbit, larvae..." Tara and Bodie rattled off lists of things taught to them by the army in order to survive in the wilds. None of them terribly appealing to Doyle.
"Couldn't you just get your credit card out and pay for a meal in the nearest pub? Britain's not that big you know, you're bound to come across one at some point if you keep walking in a straight line."
Bodie rolled his eyes and threw his empty beer can at his partner, who ducked expertly out of the way. He then strolled off to wash before he ate.
A little while later, the friends were resting on the grass, replete from their lunch, chatting idly between themselves. Doyle had his back propped up against a tree with Julie tucked up against him. Bodie was in his usual repose, lying flat with Tara sitting close-by. They made sure that some part of their bodies was touching, wanting sub-consciously the reassurance of contact.
Julie had been really curious to know why Tara seemed to so dedicated to her job and tried her best to casually move the conversation on. "Tara, what you do is so dangerous? Do you never just want to settle down and have kids?"
It wasn't the first time she'd been asked this question and it changed her mood from cheerful to sombre. She could feel Bodie shifting next to her.
"No," she replied with certainty in her voice, "Kids just don't fit the picture for me."
Julie looked a little incredulously at her. "God, I want loads, couldn't think of my life without children, why not, if you don't mind me asking?"
Tara paused thoughtfully and gazed out into the distance, then back to Julie. The question was an intrusion, but she wanted to answer it now with Bodie by her side. Maybe he would understand her better, trust her more. Perhaps this was her best chance to make him understand what she wanted from life and her motivation. Even though it was difficult for her to share her deepest feelings, she continued.
"I was a teenager with my younger brother when we were caught in an explosion set by the IRA – I watched him die whilst I survived. Ever since, I've been driven to get the bastards and those like 'em, and to protect innocent people from dying pointlessly in someone else's war. All my life I've been in the Forces or security – I don't know or want to know anything else. Working with Cowley makes me more determined – I can learn so much more – his mind's a knife cutting out the corruption. I couldn't give that up to sit at home stuck with a crying kid, and kissing hubby when he comes home from the 9 to 5."
"Very noble," muttered Doyle, "once said I was married to this country. I think you are too, girl."
"Sounds inordinately sensible to me." mumbled Bodie, squeezing Tara's hand in support.
"Isn't it lonely? What about men in your life?" Julie asked.
"Yeah, sometimes you can feel really alone – it's not something that you can often share with anyone." Tara paused again, thinking before speaking again. "But mostly, you know you're doing damn good job. I can't describe the satisfaction of putting criminals away – knowing you've helped keep people safe. But equally there's camaraderie in the Forces that you don't get anywhere else – I've got some fantastic friends. And men..." Tara looked down at Bodie. "Definitely, room for men in my life, or a special one. I'd love to find someone who would support the work I do, be there for me when things get rough, believe in what I do..."
Bodie had been listening attentively, not daring to hope that perhaps maybe there was more than enough common ground for him to dare a relationship with the woman. He woke fully and sat up when Tara had been talking about men and candidly looking askance at him. He pulled her roughly towards him, "...and give you a damn good rogering when you get home!"
"Yeah, that too." she managed to say in between the laughter.
-- THE END --