Double Act


Story #7 in the Emma universe

I don't know why he thought I ought to know about his tawdry little affair. I don't know why he had to tell me then -- blurt it out: "Murphy and I went to bed together last night." Damn them both to hell. Worst thing is, I'd missed Bodie so much that Fran and I had spent a perfectly platonic day and night together, all very matey, and me thinking about what I wanted to do with Bodie when I got back.

Murphy! That sneaky, low, opportunistic . . . I thought I might just slip a little strychnine into his cuppa on Monday morning. Then Bodie walked off without so much as asking if I wanted to go to bed. I spent the whole night wondering if they were together.

One thing Mum always says, and she's right, of course, is that things always look better in the morning. I got dressed and decided that I wasn't going to mention the subject again. The move was up to Bodie. Only, I wasn't sure that I wouldn't rearrange Murphy's face when I saw him again. Bodie was charming, naturally, letting me know that he wasn't about to argue or even discuss. Buried again under that famous Bodie will. That mind of his is like Pandora's box, I swear, full of all these horrible, deformed thoughts and memories that get more and more twisted each day and heaven help the poor bastard who turns the wrong key. Well, it wasn't going to be me.

Having him close and wanting him so much was almost physically painful for me. He seemed blithely unaware and I wasn't sure that it wasn't an act. Maybe I'd reacted in all the wrong ways. Maybe I should have just smiled and said "Oh yeah? Can I play too?" but I was . . . God I hurt. I was afraid, I realized as we drove to work -- terrified that this was the beginning of the end. First Murphy would take my place in Bodie's bed and then as Bodie's partner and I'd have nothing again, and just as I was getting comfortable with loving. It's terrible to be afraid of loving. Maybe I have my own Pandora's box with a slimy key.

Bodie wasn't removed or cold or anything but the same old Bodie as we stopped by the common room for a cuppa and gossip and a quick scan of the sports. Then Murphy wandered in and told Bodie that he was pregnant and Bodie went a peculiar shade of crimson, and I wanted to kill Murphy for embarrassing him. Poor Bodie slunk off looking miserable and I growled and snapped at everyone for a few minutes before I went off to work on one of those tedious desk assignments that seem to make up the bulk of our jobs in slow times.

"He told you, didn't he?" Murphy was standing over the desk. He had the oddest expression on his face -- not at all the gloating victor in the battle for Bodie. "Didn't he?" he asked again.

"Tell me what?"

"That we slept together."

"Oh, did you? How nice for you. He's good."

"You're damn right he is. Doyle . . . "

"Sod off before the others get the idea you're queer," I snapped.

"You listen to me. I wanted to tell you that I'm not a threat to you two -- that's why I came here -- but I'm damned if I'll say it to a face like that."

"What d'you mean?" I shuffled the reports aimlessly, glad of having something to do with my hands.

"I have no intention of discussing my private life with you, Doyle, but I think you should know that what happened Friday night . . . and Saturday morning too, incidentally, was strictly a buddy-fuck. I don't have designs on your partner in any capacity. In fact, I wouldn't have him on a silver platter if the arrangement looked to be permanent, but I liked him as a side-attraction, I wouldn't mind a rematch and I don't think you appreciate how bloody lucky you really are."

There was something hot and uncomfortable behind my eyelids and I was angry at Murphy for bringing it on. "Sod you, Murphy," I snarled, but he looked unimpressed.

"I'm willing to share him," he said and for just a moment I saw red, but he was grinning and I knew that he was having me on. I felt a proper fool and told him so. His reaction was very generous and it made me wonder if I hadn't misjudged him all this time. "Look, I'm game for anything. You want to get in on it, protect your property, you can bring him around to my place a week from tomorrow and we'll work things out." Then he left before I could accept or reject his offer. It was the most left-handed pass I've ever received, but it was oddly flattering and not a little exciting. For a while I refused even to think about why it aroused me so much.

It was obvious that we had to discuss things, Bodie and I, and I told him so on the way home. He took us back to his flat and we sort of fell to fixing tea while we talked. It was easier than saying what I had to say while I was looking at him.

"This situation -- I thought about it a lot today," I said. "You know, we've never discussed how we feel about being faithful and all. I don't know how to feel about it. I only know that I usually don't mind when you go with a girl."

"Usually?" he asked. "When do you mind?"

"Only when I don't have a bird of my own, I guess. Am I being selfish?" I told him how I'd wanted to kill him when he told me about Murphy, but that I knew I couldn't 'cause I couldn't live without him. "I don't like Murph much -- never have. I've been jealous of him all along. I was afraid that you'd come to love him more than you love me." With that admission I had the horrible feeling that I'd said too much, so I took refuge in being sensible and orderly. "I think we should decide how we want to deal with this relationship."

We discussed the possibilities for a few minutes and didn't seem to be coming to any conclusions until Bodie said to me: "You're the most important person in my life." Cor, if they could bottle the way I felt just then the world would be a wonderful place. Tough-as- old-shoes Bodie saying that to me. After I heard that I didn't care who he slept with just as long as I was the one he came home to. He didn't want to put up fences and said so, but I didn't mind. I couldn't mind. And anyway, there was Murphy's invitation to consider.

I don't think that either of us really thought that we'd go that Tuesday night. I don't think Murphy believed we'd do it, even after we showed up at his door with a bottle and a lot of nervous good cheer. He invited us in and we all had a few drinks to lubricate the inhibitions a little. It had been a long time since I'd done a three-way with two other men and the thought was a little off-putting as well as being an incredible turn-on. I'm not one to worry overmuch about who does what to whom, but I was a little anxious not to get left out of the party, so I kept inserting myself between Bodie and Murphy whenever the opportunity arose. Finally, I think I did it once too often because when I pushed between them and began to kiss Murphy, Bodie pinned my arms behind me and said, to Murphy: "Do your worst. He deserves it."

Bodie held me while Murphy sucked and licked all over the front of me. He was good, was Murphy, though not a patch on Bodie. Still, he got me going and having Bodie hold my arms like that so I couldn't move or touch, that was very arousing. Murphy gave great head.

Then Bodie pushed me face down into the pillows and somebody greased me with only token gentleness -- I think I was paying for the fuss I'd made, but in a nice way. Then somebody pushed into me, carefully but with determination while the other one held my head so I couldn't twist round and see who was fucking. I'm nobody's fool, and all those years with Bodie and his damned sensitive nose (how in God's name, I often wonder, did he survive in places like Angola where the smells must be intense and not always pleasant?) had taught me to use my nose in bed as well as my eyes and hands. I sniffed experimentally and the hands on my head smelled familiar. Bodie! He knew what I was up to too, and laughed.

"The game's up, Murph, he knows it's you."

"How the hell could he tell?"

"He smelled me."

"God, you two!"

Bodie released me and lay beside me, kissing my shoulder and face and telling me what parts of my body he liked best. It seemed that next to the part that Murph was working out on, he liked my eyes best and then this mess of curls. That's a nice thing to remember in retrospect, but at the time I was too far gone to be grateful for the compliment. Murphy pulled me up onto my knees and fucked me as hard as he could while Bodie -- bless him -- scooted under me and began to suck my cock. It was sensory overload time and I hardly remember coming; just being wrenched out of my body, shaken like a rag doll and emptied out. I vaguely remember the two of them holding me afterwards, but it might have been a dream. I woke up with Bodie's arms around me and Murphy in the bathroom.

"Not half bad. You two could do a double act for a living," I teased.

"Not half bad, you spoiled little sod? It was the greatest experience of your young life -- admit it."

Of course I wasn't about to because I think that my first Christmas with Bodie had been the best, but I wouldn't say that in company. Murphy came back to bed and I gave him a kiss and thanked him. He asked if I was ready for a second go and I had to refuse. I didn't think I'd ever walk again much less be able to get it up just then. So I watched while Murphy had Bodie. They did it face-to-face, and it was obvious that Bodie loved it, but somehow I knew that between them the sex was good and the friendship was too, but the loving wasn't there. It would never be. Murphy knew it a week ago and now he was showing me. I really rather liked Murphy after that.

We lay around and talked after they finished -- lots of comparing notes on old bed partners and memorable sexual experiences and so on and I think we all made a few confession which sort of shocked the others. I learned a few things about Bodie that night which made me look at him in different ways. And Murphy! I never thought that the shy village virgin (Bodie's name and I used to think it fit) was a man of such varied sexual experience. And me, well, I confessed to a couple of youthful aberrations that made Bodie flush. I love doing that even if it means embroidering a little. Stories grow in the telling anyway and I didn't believe everything the others had said. It was a nice night.

Bodie and I left about eleven and he dropped me off at my flat. I don't think that either of us had any intention of going to bed together after leaving Murph's, but suddenly he was upstairs with me and he had that look in his eye. I wasn't sure I was up to it, but I was willing to make the effort if Bodie was. It turned out to be beautiful and patient and loving. I wanted to say all kinds of embarrassing things, but I couldn't be sure they were the things I really meant to say. Undying love wasn't my strong suit, and in fact the idea of declaring it made me more than uneasy. But I think on that night, I was sure at last that what I felt for Bodie was love, honest and enduring, and carrying responsibilities as well as happiness. I didn't say what I felt that night because I knew there would be time enough later when I knew how to say it. Anyway, I think he knew then what it was that I almost said.

-- THE END --

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