by Kitty Fisher
"What d'you want to keep that for?"
"Because." Embarrassed, Doyle tucked the cinema ticket away. Sentiment: he rarely admitted to it.
"But, are you actually going to keep it ?"
"Yeah -- along with all your love letters..."
"I haven't..." Bodie blinked. "Oh." Hands in the pockets of his leather jacket, he seemed to consider. "You're a romantic."
"Me?" Doyle sniggered and kicked at the step as they walked up to the bridge. "That's your line -- flowers for birds, wining and dining."
"That's because it's what they want. Birds."
"I've never given you flowers."
"Never wanted them." He shuddered at the thought. Maybe.
"Do you really keep all this stuff?"
They walked along, high above the river, the walkway almost busy with people hurrying home, past an old man playing a penny-whistle and dancing slowly from foot to foot, bobbing his head at the occasional chink of coin in the cap begging at his feet.
Doyle shrugged, slowing down. Where the bridge bellied out over the water he stopped and leant on the railing, staring down at the oily darkness, listening to the slop of it washing against metal and stone, to the distant noise of traffic, to the cowardice in his own voice. "Yes."
"Things I've given you?"
The summer night was dark, the streets bright with electricity. The two men were stared at, their intensity at odds with their surroundings.
Doyle looked at him, then turned away. Bodie said nothing.
For too long.
An age later, Doyle sighed and turned, expecting to be alone. He was. Then his gaze led to the foot of the bridge, to the cluster of late-night stalls and saw Bodie jogging back, grinning.
Doyle reached out, a grudging smile on his own face. Then he was almost laughing. "You are such an idiot."
"Knew you'd appreciate me being romantic!" Bodie stopped, his face softening. "It's silk, ever-lasting according to the label."
"With no thorns?"
Doyle laughed again, though the sound was mixed with the sharpness of sudden desire. "Bodie, take me home and fuck me?"
A question, a demand. Bodie shivered and almost growled; "Yeah, or I'll have you here and give them better entertainment than that bloody film."
He was certain that memory was true.
Sitting cross-legged on the single bed, thin cotton sheet rucked under him, covers on the floor, he frowned, trying to remember more, but nothing else was there of that night. Careful not to upset the order of things in the battered old shoe-box he fingered through the papers, the ticket stubs, the odd detritus of everything. At the bottom, hidden, was the silk flower. He pulled it out, uncurling the long stem. Pushing everything else aside he leant back against the wall and stared. The colour had faded; it was a sorry thing. But Bodie had given it to him, one time had fucked him and twisted its stem around his cock, and though they both laughed he had come hard, bucking off the bed into Bodie's warm palm, crying out his pleasure as Bodie filled him with heat.
He shivered. Aroused by memory.
By what was no longer there.
A small whimper escaped his lips -- he wouldn't think like that.
Remember the rest. Bodie's lips on his cock... He sighed, tilting his hips, the shape of his arousal clear under the worn softness of his sweats. Bodie kissing, deep and long and possessing...
Doyle moaned, easing down the wall, spreading his legs, pushing the restriction of cotton aside to let his erection spring free, hard and needy.
Letting his fingers drift under the fabric of his shirt, he closed out the world around him, denying the scent of chemical pine and the silence and the narrowness of the room. Instead he was spread on a hillside, and Bodie was there, and all he could hear was the sound of his own and his lover's breath; the breeze stirring the long grass and distant birdsong; all he could smell was Bodie, the sweet spiciness of his naked skin and faintly, roses, the scent of wild briar warmed by the sun.
Quite still, quite lost, he waited. Splayed and patient, until Bodie smiled, that small smile, and reached for him, pulled him close and kissed him. Limb against limb in the sun's warmth, the grass scratchy against his back, he arched up, opening himself, and gasped as he was entered, the pressure sweet and intense, perfect, whole. Bodie's skin was cool under his fingers, the muscles of his back taut. Then he pushed home and Doyle cried out, the sun bright in his eyes...
And the grass was gone, leaving worn cotton and emptiness. Denial made him curse aloud, wanting to scream at the terrifying loss, but a mouth was there, calming against his own. And, though he knew it was impossible, he sighed into the impossibility and offered everything for this moment of reprieve.
He had to see. Breaking the kiss, fighting fear, he looked. And saw Bodie. There in the shabby room, all perfect poise, dark and lovely, his weight making the old bed creak, his warmth easing the cold.
One smile. And Doyle reached for him, sobbing, went to him with all the love he had never shown naked on his face. Went to him without reservation, need a fine scoring of acid that etched itself on every nerve. He opened himself and whispered the words he had never had time or courage to say -- 'I love you...'
And Bodie just smiled, as if he knew everything there was to be known, and touched him, holding him as he came with such intensity it was as if the world shuddered to an end.
He slept. At some point the lights went out.
Waking alone to the bright glare of sunshine, for a moment he was held by the dream, by Bodie's warmth against his skin, by those eyes smiling. Then, like blood from a wound, memory leached back. Sorrow kept him still, then he moved his hand, pressing it to his eyes. After a moment he sniffed aloud and uncurled, though he stilled as something tickled against his skin. Wide-eyed he raised up slightly, staring down, quite bewildered.
The bed was red with petals; a thousand drops of colour vivid against the greyed cotton. His body was covered in the same, their velvet soft against his skin, clustered at his groin, his belly, his thighs. He reached up and more were thick in his hair, their scent glorious, improbable. He crushed one between his fingers and lay back, adrift on a petal sea.
Pain spiked into his heart and the loneliness was more than he could endure.
He shivered, and tears blurred his vision until he closed his eyes against the sting.
Unseen, more petals began to fall from the air, until the stark room was a blaze of colour. As they fell they lifted, and turned in the air as if stirred by an invisible hand, slowly dancing around the room, turning into a whirl of scent and sense and memory, until eventually nothing else could be seen, and nothing else was there.
-- THE END --