Bodie flopped on the bed, bounced up and down on it once or twice, testing its consistency.
"Not bad," he announced optimistically to a scowling Doyle who was still standing in the doorway of the poky hotel room, apparently reluctant to come inside, "bit soft and springless, but I've known worse."
"Glad to hear it," Doyle said tonelessly, "I haven't..." glancing round the room, taking in the cracked and suspiciously unhygienic looking washbasin, the thin, threadbare towel hanging on a makeshift hook by its side, the huge, cumbersome mahogany wardrobe, which looked like it'd come out of the ark, the almost bald carpeted floor, and finally, the three-quarter size bed with its garishly-patterned cotton bedspread, on which Bodie was sprawled...
"You're really trying to tell me this is the best on offer?" he accused, "you, the so-called expert on findin' hotel rooms?"
Bodie sighed dramatically. "God, you'd think I picked it on purpose or somethin' just to annoy you. How many times d' you have to be told, everywhere else was full. Or don't you remember how long we drove round in circles before we found this place?"
"Yeah, OK, OK..." Doyle said irritably, perching on a corner of the bed, "point taken. But I'll tell you one thing, mate, neither of us is gonna get much sleep tonight the way you snore. Why the hell couldn't they have found us two singles?"
"Meanin' you'll keep wakin' me up when I do?" Bodie asked sweetly.
"Got it in one," Doyle answered just a sweetly. He glanced round the room again, an expression of outraged distaste on his face. "Christ, I dunno why Cowley couldn't let us go back to London tonight anyway. It's not as if the action even starts till tomorrow."
"Give it a rest, will you Ray," Bodie complained, getting up abruptly, "we're here, OK, and there's nothin' we can do about it, and we're in the right place to pick up Henderson in the morning', so just stop moanin' and let's get to bed. I'm knackered even if you're not."
With that he disappeared through the door with a perfunctory, "Need a leak..." leaving Doyle to control his bad temper alone.
Doyle wriggled back on the bed, inwardly cursing Cowley and Henderson and Bodie, and anyone else who came to mind...
It was bad enough being stuck in this God-forsaken hole at the back of beyond so they could be at the airfield in plenty of time to collect their American charge the following morning, without finding himself in a dump of a 'hotel' like this one, and having to share a bed with Bodie on top of that...
He lay back, trying to get comfortable on the too soft bed, visions of the unpleasant and sleepless night he was sure he was about to endure not doing much to improve his humour, his depressing train of thought only broken as Bodie came noisily back into the room and made straight for the sink, running his hands under the tap.
"If you think this is bad," he informed Doyle, "wait till you get down there," turning off the tap and wiping his hands on the ragged bit of toweling.
"Don't tell me... I can imagine," Doyle said sourly, "where is it anyway?"
"Down the stairs, turn left, second on the right," Bodie told him with the air of a true navigator, as Doyle clambered off the bed.
Once Doyle had gone Bodie yawned, shrugged himself out of his anorak, and put it neatly round the back of the room's only chair, then undressed completely, only leaving his briefs on. Tidy from force of habit he laid all his clothes on the back of the chair, shivered and got into bed quickly, shivering again at the icy coldness of the cotton sheets.
Finding himself automatically sliding to the middle of the bed, he lifted the covers and peered underneath, investigating, and discovered that the bed was undoubtedly so old and well-used it appeared to be virtually springless, in the middle at least, where it dipped down into a huge, round well.
Not giving it a second thought, he pulled the covers up to his chin again and snuggled down, and was still trying to get warm when Doyle came back into the room and started to get undressed.
Bodie watched as Doyle, with obvious bad humour, systematically stepped out of each garment and then left it lying on the floor where it had fallen, or in the case of his jacket and shirt, vehemently almost tearing them off and flinging them across the room to land on the bed... on the floor... wherever they would...
After a few seconds spent observing the irritable performance, Bodie eventually sighed in weary resignation, gave the scattered clothes a nod and said, "Oi... I don't like livin' in a pigsty, even if you do mate, so get 'em picked up, OK?"
Doyle by this time was down to his briefs, which were scanty and orange, and barely covered what they were supposed to cover, and for answer he merely propped his hands on his bare hips and glared indignantly and angrily at Bodie, breathing hard, but not saying anything.
"Just cos you're in one of your lousy moods," Bodie went on calmly, holding the volcano-like green gaze, "don't take it out on me, or the room, or your bloody clothes, all right? So get 'em picked up. Now..."
"Pick the fuckin' things up yourself if you're so worried about 'em," Doyle said viciously and didn't move.
In the normal course of things Bodie considered that he took a great deal from his erratic-tempered partner... let him get away with murder most of the time in fact, but on this point he was suddenly and most definitely determined not to budge. It'd never been easy taking Doyle in hand and making sure he didn't take too much advantage, but Bodie reckoned he did pretty well on that score most of the time, and he knew this was yet another of those occasions where he shouldn't give way. Live and let live, certainly... but not this time.
"Doyle, I'm not gonna argue with you about this..." he began menacingly, expecting fireworks any second, and amazed when Doyle suddenly appeared to give way and began striding round the cramped room, bending down to pick up each discarded item, and muttering under his breath about, "Soddin' bloody Army types who thought they had a God-given right to order other people around..." and "Soddin' hotel rooms that were no better than prison cells..." and, apparently worst of all in Doyle's opinion, "Soddin' Cowley, who'd sent them on this bloody wild goose chase in the first soddin' place..."
The crisis over -- at least temporarily, Bodie merely said, "Shut up moanin', will you Ray?" and turned on his side, snuggling into the pillow, "and get that light switched off. Wanna get some sleep."
Doyle was still standing in the middle of the room with the crumpled ruin of his clothes in his arms. At Bodie's words he scowled round the room looking for a place to dump them, and not finding anywhere, ended by dropping them none to tidily on the chair on top of Bodie's.
"Got your smelly socks next to me shirt, have you?" Bodie enquired sleepily from the bed, "move 'em if you have..."
"Christ, I dunno, bloody orders all the time..." Doyle complained, nevertheless rummaging through the bundle of clothes till he found one and then two narrow bottle green socks, and dropping them almost daintily, holding them only by finger and thumb on the floor under the chair, somewhere in the direction of his sneakers.
"Is that it now then?" he asked sarcastically, "got any other orders for the night have you?"
"Nah, don't think so," Bodie's muffled voice answered, "only the light..."
Doyle padded to the door and flicked off the light switch, plunging the room into instant and complete darkness, and began the perilous journey to the bed like a blind man, arms stretched in front to him feeling the air... and promptly stubbed his toe on the bedpost.
As a stream of four-letter oaths floated Bodie's way he was forced to admit to a grudging admiration for Doyle's way with words.
He felt the other side of the bed sink down... a lot... as Doyle apparently found it at last. Bodie rolled over onto his back, knowing what was coming and preparing for the worst, for past experience in sharing a bed with Doyle had taught him it was no use even attempting to sleep until the next stage of the proceedings was over. So he lay staring up at the ceiling, waiting, predisposed to grin and bear it.
He didn't have long to wait either for it began almost immediately. First of all an outraged voice said, "what the hell's wrong with this bed? It's got a bloody great crater in the middle..." and then it began in earnest...
First of all, following his normal pattern, Doyle yanked at least three quarters of the covers in his direction with a very strong, hefty pull, then he wriggled, turned, and apparently temporarily satisfied, lay still for what had to be all of ten seconds...
Then Bodie felt him sit up, thump his pillow to a pulp, and with a heartfelt, irritable sigh, lie down on it again, dragging even more of the covers his way has he did so.
After another ten second breather, he began again... turning... twisting... settling this way and then that... to the accompaniment of well-orchestrated sighs and sniffs, and still he didn't seem to be satisfied.
And it went on and on and on... worse than it had even been before till eventually, tired of being bobbed up and down as if he were on the ocean, and of being left virtually coverless too, his own nerves jangling, Bodie protested, "for God's sake, Doyle, will you lie still. S'like bein' in bed with a bloody Mexican jumpin' bean. What's the matter with you?"
"I'm tense, that's what the matter," Doyle's raw, offended voice volunteered, " and in case you hadn't noticed there's a bloody great hole in the middle of the bed, plus it's so soft you feel you're gonna bounce down right to the floor every time you move. Got no bloody springs left in it at all."
"OK, so it's not the most comfortable bed in the world," Bodie pointed out philosophically, "but look in the bright side, at least bed. Givin' me a bloody headache you are, bouncin' me up and down all the time."
"Sorry," Doyle snapped out, not sounding in the least bit sorry at all, "shan't move again if that's how you feel," with a deeply offended sigh... and promptly belied the intent of his words when he wriggled yet again, just as Bodie turned over to face him, trying to settle again, the result of the joint movement being that they immediately sank together right in the middle of the bed, and found themselves virtually in each other's arms, nose to nose, furred, ticklish thighs entwined, chests and groins glued together...
The scanty orange briefs and the precious bundle they so flimsily housed were pressed firmly against the similarly housed bundle inside Bodie's own equally scanty, but more decorously-hued navy blue briefs, and, as both tried to free themselves from the embarrassingly intimate contact, the two bundles inevitably rubbed together, causing an equally inevitable and physical response from both of them.
Bodie was in fact somewhat disappointed when they'd eventually managed to separate themselves, and Doyle was lying with one hand firmly grasping the headboard behind him in order to stop himself from sliding to the middle of the bed again and repeating the intimacy, for he was forced to admit that contrary to everything he'd believed about his self-image up to that moment, the impressively endowed orange briefs had felt... extremely pleasant against his own.
"You're gonna have to turn on your side and face outwards," Doyle informed him complainingly, still holding onto the headboard, "or we'll keep slidin' into each other's arms all night."
And what... thought Bodie, dazed and bemused he could even be thinking such a thing... ...is so wrong with that, considering how good it felt the first time? And why... a second later as rationality reasserted itself... ...should I give way to the little sod anyway? Why the hell can't he face outwards? Why's it always me who accommodates him?
Making his stand he therefore replied, "You suit yourself, mate, but I'm staying where I am. You face that way if it bothers you. I'm fine like this..." and closed his eyes, burrowing his head in the pillows, a look of typical Bodie sweetness on his face.
"Sod you, Bodie, you're bloody impossible," he heard Doyle complain, aggrieved, "so bloody selfish..." as he started to wriggle again, and presumably let go of the headboard at the same time, for a second later a pair of small, firm, orange-briefed buttocks planted themselves against Bodie's groin as Doyle inevitably slid back to the middle of the bed again.
"Oh, for Christ's sake..." he heard Doyle protest, "not again... Bodie, we've gotta do somethin' about this..."
"Why?" Bodie asked, unruffled, secretly enjoying the feel of the small bottom planted so lovingly against this most sensitive area of his body, "give it up as a bad job Ray, and learn to live with it. S'not so terrible is it? Keep each other warm if nothin' else."
"I'm quite warm enough thank you," Doyle informed his primly, as he hoisted himself away from Bodie again, grunting with effort as he forced himself to the farthest edge of the bed, and lay there catching his breath.
"I'll fall out soon as I get to sleep if I stay 'ere," Doyle said after a second, "I'll drop off the end of the bed if I move in me sleep."
"So, you'll fall out. You can get back in again, can't you?" Bodie mumbled unhelpfully from the other side of the bed, "not suddenly helpless, are you?"
"No, but you bloody soon will be if you keep makin' clever comments like that," Doyle warned ominously, turning over to face him again, presumably in the hope that the expression on his face, which Bodie couldn't see in the darkness in any case, might add weight to his words.
"Sod it then," Doyle suddenly said, "if there's no other way round it it'll have to do. I'm not fallin' out of bed for you or anyone else," as he allowed himself to slide back to the middle of the bed, much to Bodie's surprise, and settled his head on Bodie's pillow just below Bodie's chin. In the process of getting comfortable he also forced a skinny, heavily furred leg between Bodie's, and flung a lean forearm over Bodie's bare chest, leaving it dangling loosely somewhere in the region of Bodie's back.
"You settled now, are you?" Bodie enquired, "I mean, we can both try to get some sleep now, can we?"
"That's a joke considerin' the way you snore," Doyle said huffily, wriggling a bit closer, his arm closing round Bodie's back.
The front of the orange briefs was now resting chastely against Bodie's upper thigh, feeling just as pleasant this time as it had done the last. Feeling strangely warm and cozy with Doyle in his arms, Bodie dared to free his arms from their cramped and ticklish position on Doyle's chest, which was clamped against the side of his body, and slipped them round the thin frame of Doyle's back, equally impressed by the hot, velvety feel of it under his hands.
He lay still, expecting a protest at any moment, but when it didn't come he dared to slide one hand right down Doyle's back... down below the indentation of his waist, to the top of the orange briefs, where he allowed the flat of his hand to rest for a moment, feeling patches of light, fluffy down under his fingers.
Still not quite sure why he was doing this, but knowing also that Doyle was still awake, and could have complained if he'd wanted to... and hadn't... he dared even further and slid the flat of his hand inside the briefs to cup one exquisitely firm mound of warm flesh, letting his fingers sink into it, squeezing lightly...
And still there was no protest, and Doyle merely continued to lie motionless against him...
Bodie moved the hand across to the other buttock, wanting to give both an equal share of his attention, and caressed that one too, and although were was still no protest, this time there was a response for he heard Doyle give a little sigh and felt his breathing quicken.
His own breathing quickened very shortly afterwards, as soon as he realised that Doyle was in fact copying the caresses on him and that two small, narrow-fingered hands were now delicately kneading and exploring his own buttocks.
It reminded Bodie of nothing more than the dim, far-off days when the Saturday night ritual was to take a girl on the back row of the pictures and in taut, excited silence attempt exactly this kind of caress, playing the game of seeing how far you'd be allowed to go.
But this, now with Doyle, much to Bodie's chagrin, was even more exciting than the back row of the pictures had been, particularly in view of the fact that Doyle seemed to be reciprocating.
He knew that he ought to say something... to explain his actions, but as he still only dimly understood them himself, he said nothing, afraid to speak in case it broke the spell, and so the tactile exploration therefore continued in a tense silence.
Unplanned... unthought of... it seemed crazy to Bodie that it should even be happening... but it was...
A graphic picture of how Doyle looked in the tight jeans he so often wore, came, unbidden to his mind as he carried on caressing the small, firm mounds of flesh, and it excited him suddenly to think of how many times he'd admired the small, neat buttocks in those jeans, and how he was now being allowed to explore them so intimately. There was a terrible, surging, aching desire in him to explore further too -- to let his fingers slip to the crack between the small buttocks and explore there too but he resisted the urge, afraid it might be too much and scare Doyle off.
Instead, still without speaking, he rolled Doyle onto his back, amazed again when Doyle went with him and didn't resist, and began to run his hands over the skinny, lightly furred chest, and down over Doyle's stomach, feeling the muscles rippling ticklishly under his fingers.
Doyle had his arms round his neck, and when Bodie started to run his hand over his chest, reciprocated by running his over Bodie's back in large, sweeping, spine-tingling strokes of pleasure.
In the darkness, with the covers pushed right down now, Bodie could just see the outline of the bright orange briefs, could tell that the heavy swell of Doyle's sex was already semi-erect, and a wave of excitement and power shot through him that he'd been able to conjure such a response.
Wanting desperately to touch him there, but still unsure, he slowly allowed his hand to circle lower and lower, till he was massaging over the briefs, but still not quite touching the protruding though the heat and scent of it was overpoweringly rich and to his senses.
And it was then that Doyle finally spoke. "Yeah, go on... I want it..." he said softly and breathlessly, "want you to do it... here..." and pulled the briefs down round his hips, freeing the long, semi-erect cock to bob upwards in Bodie's direction.
"You too..." Doyle whispered, and slid Bodie's briefs down too, "want it against me... I wanna feel it..." pushing up with his hips and pulling Bodie down on top of him at the same time so their cocks rubbed and bumped together, spreading his legs as Bodie sank against him, and twining them tightly round Bodie's hips, pulling him in closer.
"Go with me... do it with me..." Bodie sighed, "don't stop now... it's gotta happen..." as he started to move against him, rubbing and thrusting, his face buried in Doyle's sweet smelling neck, his hands on his shoulders, vaguely aware that Doyle's hands were still on his buttocks, pushing him ever closer and Doyle's hips working expertly underneath him, drawing the pleasure from him with each thrust.
"Good... you're good..." Doyle said, "God, but you're good at it. More... more... yeah, that's it... harder.. much harder..." sighing, and then jerking upwards uncontrollably as Bodie gave him what he demanded in jolting, ecstatic, burning bursts of pleasure...
"Sorry I was ratty earlier on," Doyle's voice said in the darkness, "wouldn't have done it if I'd known this was gonna happen."
"Forget it. Neither of us knew it was gonna happen," Bodie answered.
They were lying on their backs apart, not touching, both staring up at the ceiling, both still in shock from their lovemaking.
When there was no answer from Doyle, Bodie added, "Look, it's just one of those things. It happens sometimes. It's no big deal. We'll get over it. In the mornin' I'll bet you it'll be like it never happened. Like a dream... it mustn't louse anythin' up between us, Ray. We've got a good partnership goin' for us. We can't spoil it..."
"We'd better make sure it never happens again then," Doyle whispered accommodatingly.
"Probably won't ever want it to happen again," Bodie said, "this was just an accident. The bloody bed and the closeness, and..." He paused, as if struck by a sudden thought. "How long since you had a girl?"
"What? You mean actually made it with one?"
"Dunno. Couple of weeks. Hasn't been anyone since Carol."
"Yeah, that too then," Bodie offered consolingly, "same for me. Remember Cindy?"
"The one with the legs?"
"That's the one. You see..." with an unmistakable note of relief, "we're too randy, that's our trouble, mate. Can't leave it alone for a minute, so if a substitute presents itself like it did tonight, we'll make do with that instead."
"You mean you've done this before then?" Doyle asked disbelievingly.
"Christ no," Bodie protested, "didn't mean that. Just that you were here and I was here, and we got closer than we usually do, and... the inevitable happened, OK?"
"OK," Doyle agreed, but sounded uncertain about it.
There was a silence for a few seconds till Doyle said, "Christ, but it was good though. God, Bodie, I..."
"Leave it, Ray," Bodie said sharply, "no inquisitions, OK? There's no point. I mean... as it's not going to happen again."
"No, I suppose not," Doyle agreed again.
He turned on his side, leaning on an elbow, looking down at Bodie in the darkness. "Wanna ask you a question though. You gonna answer it?"
"Depends what it is."
"I wanna know if it was as good for you as it was for me," Doyle said straightaway, "it felt like it was... I sensed it was... but I wanna know. You gonna tell me?"
"Yeah, it was good," Bodie said after a lengthy pause, "you know it was. You didn't need to ask."
"So what if we wanna do it again?" Doyle pursued, "what do we do then?"
"We don't do it again. That's all there is to it, OK?" Bodie said vehemently. He turned on his side irritably, pulling the covers up to his chin. "Gotta get some sleep. Early start in the mornin', remember?"
"You're gonna think this is crazy..."
"Stupid, sentimental shit..."
"I've never made love to anyone before and not kissed them. Roll over for a second, will you?"
For one long, aching moment Doyle thought Bodie wouldn't do it, to him, but then he did, and Doyle captured his mouth with his own in a first, all-consuming kiss, and knew for certain that even if Bodie never wanted it to happen again, he would -- if only to know the sweetness of his kisses again...
It occurred to him that no one could kiss so sweetly and so thoroughly and so meaningfully without at least having affection for the person they were kissing, even if they either didn't know it, or hadn't admitted it to themselves yet, but he didn't say anything... merely allowed Bodie to turn on his side again and drift off to sleep once the kiss was over, as he did himself only a few minutes later.
But when they woke in the morning the bed had seen to it that they'd somehow landed in each other's arms again during the night, and the second kiss was even better than the first, so that in the end it really wasn't a problem at all, admitting they were at least fond of each other, and yeah, well, maybe they might want to do it again sometime, when the mood took them...
And, as it turned out, the mood took them again much sooner than either had expected, so much sooner in fact, that they ended up being late for their rendezvous with Henderson...
-- THE END --