Any Way You Like It


Party Spirit series #24: After "No Stone"

Loathe seeing him miserable; screws me up when he's despondent and hagridden, persuadin' himself half the evil in the world's directly his fault. Blunder about trying to help and usually end up havin' a blazin' row with him which relieves his apathy but has a tendency to be injurious to my health instead. Cookie's widow started him wallowing in guilt of course. Couldn't blame her for wanting someone to yell at but when I say the look in his eyes after he'd been to see her I got this definite feeling of 'why me?' Wasn't a good few days generally, although they had their moments, and that last bloody bomb was the final straw. Poor little bugger had tear marks on his face which he defied me to see.

Knew it'd have to be something outrageous to snap him out of it so I booked a table at a restaurant in Soho where two blokes sharing an intimate dinner weren't going to be conspicuous, specifically requesting one in a secluded spot. The grin that came down the phone at me told me I'd been understood. Lumme! The things I was finding I could do for Ray Doyle.

I arranged to pick him up and surprised myself again by dressing as carefully as I'd ever done for a date with a bird. I wore black and it was easy to see from the gleam in his eye that I'd done the right thing; he was wearing a crimson shirt--which isn't a colour you'd think'd suit him until you see its effect--with cream cords and jacket. Made a meal of his face and neck in the hall before we left his flat, then stood in the lift with three giggling, self-absorbed teenagers and a couple of OAPs wondering why none of them seemed to notice he was lit up like Regent's Street at Christmas. Ever since we'd opened up to each other about the way we were feeling I'd been half expecting someone to comment on it. Felt it shone out all over me how happy I was.

Ought to have known better than to take the car into Soho on a Friday evening, took so long finding somewhere to park I was afraid we'd lose our table but we were just in time. Ray was enveloped in his happy haze so he missed the name I mumbled to the bloke who showed us to our table and it was all of five minutes before he noticed anything out of the ordinary, most notably that we'd been shown to a corner and were seated knee to cosy knee on an L-shaped settle with high-sided partitions to separate us from the customers at adjacent tables; and not only that but save for a family party of bemused looking Mum, Dad and three nubile daughters all the other tables were occupied by masculine couples.

"Bodie, where have you brought me?" he asked, a grin beginning to burn.

"To some of the best Italian food you'll ever eat outside Italy," I said tartly. "The pasta's homemade by Momma and they do an ossi buchi you wouldn't believe."

"No, and I wouldn't believe you've ever been here before either...have you?"

"Just once. Nearly murdered Jax."

"He recommended it?"

"Got it in one."

"Which bird did you bring?"

"Ingrid. You know, the one you used to call 'that big gymnast'." In fact she'd been athletic in all kinds of ways.

He sniggered. "And was she duly impressed?"

"Wasn't one of my most successful dates, no. Had views on sexual perverts it turned out. Nothing wrong with 'em that cold baths and physical exercise wouldn't cure. Trouble was, her voice was a bit carrying if you know what I mean."

"Like to cure you by getting a bit physical," he said, giving me one of his flirtiest looks.

"Reckon you've got the remedy for what ails me, do you?"

"Certain of it."

"Thought you might 'ave. Wonder if they've got any oysters?"

He shuddered. "If so you can eat 'em. I'm not. Besides, they don't work."

"I wouldn't know." Oysters are a blind spot with me too. "Doesn't matter anyway, this lot sounds fantastic."

The quality hadn't changed any more than the clientele and it was pure enjoyment watching Ray tuck in as he can sometimes be picky over food. He ate his way through antipasto, nibbling a bit of this and a bit of that, snitching bites off my plate in retaliation for my depredations.

"Not bad, this wine," he said, taking a resounding mouthful.

I leaned forward. "It depends."

"What on?"

"On whether it puts you in the mood."

His eyelids drooped and slowly raised again. "That your only criterion, you peasant?"

"Tonight, yeah." I gave him look for look and grinned, ignoring the waiter approaching from his blind side.

He opened his mouth and inserted his foot. "Got sex on the brain, you have."

"Only with you sweetheart," I responded as archly as I could and just as the waiter's hand came over Ray's shoulder to take away his empty plate. "Have some more Valpolicella," I advised, "settle your nerves." I let my fingers linger as they brushed his while I poured and I felt his quivering. I patted his hand, diverting his indignant stare by indicating the waiter's arrival with our second course.

It was cosy in our corner, the single candle stuck in a Chianti bottle creating a little pool of intimacy. Our knees brushed as we moved, reaching for wine or bread. Ray's smile grew broader and broader, filling me with pleasure. Eventually, chin on the quiver, he said, "You're an unashamed romantic, aren't you, lover, bringing me here just so's you can 'old me 'and in public."

"And anything else I fancy," I agreed, reaching beneath the tablecloth. Predictably his eyes glazed. Me, I can eat American style when I want--I left my hand where it was. His fork jerked a couple of times on its way to his mouth. Can't think why.

"Got a bit of rice on your chin," I tutted, leaning forward to capture it with my forefinger and steer it towards his mouth. He nibbled on me as well as he took it in.

"Everything all right, Mr. Cowley?" a voice said from beside me. Ray jumped so hard he nipped my finger and upset the small silver vase containing two tasteful green carnations, a sprig of asparagus fern and what seemed like three gallons of water which proceeded to drip unerringly down the white damask and into my shoe.

I sighed. "Can't take you anywhere, sunshine. Yes, thank you, the food's fine but I'd like a bath-towel and a bar of soap so I can finish this shower. Shift over, Ray, let the dog see the rabbit, bloke wants to change the, tablecloth."

"Cowley?" he said as the waiter soft-footed it away again.

"Didn't think I'd be stupid enough to book a table here under my own name, did you!"

His smile widened further. "Pity you can't stick him for the bill."

I sighed wistfully.

Zabaione, cooked at the table, finished the meal and then, determined not to disappoint him (or myself) I sat and held his hand while we drank our coffee.

"Cowley!" he repeated disgustedly on the way home. "Thought he'd just bloody turned up, didn't I! I'll get you for that, Bodie."

"Is that a promise?"

At the lights I had time to turn and look: it was a promise. My heart began to pound. My place was nearest so I took us there.

"Coffee or anything?" I asked, setting the locks.

"Just a pee...and then you," he said, heavy-lidded.

"Not even a kiss?"

"OK, just one."

As he pulled away he stared at me, long and hard. I gave him a smile and hoped it wasn't shaky. "You want a shower?" I asked him.

"You mean you didn't shower before you came out with me?" he said disdainfully.

"Well, or course I did, but I thought you might..."

"Thought you might put off going to bed with me." He stuck his lip out at me like a kid sulking and I had to kiss him again, feeding on its bee-sting lushness.

"No, I'm not putting if off, just spinning it out, making the anticipation last, that's all."

"Oh, is that it? Well, in that case..." And he strolled casually off towards my sofa and flung himself down there, arms spread along its back, legs sprawled invitingly. Edible. I could've 'ad him there and then, surprised myself when I didn't. Must be developing self-control in my old age.

Shrugging in feigned indifference I made for my bedroom, certain he would follow pretty quickly. I was right, but I did have time to set the scene: dim lights; soft music from the radio; covers thrown back...if I'd had a rose I'd've stuck it behind one ear, as it was I'd made do with a Kleenex.

Saw him lick his lips, breathin' a bit heavy, and reckoned he was as far gone as I was after all. The strains of something soft and classical probably Vivaldi, washed over us.

He came to the side of the bed and stood looking down at me, the lamp lighting his face from below and sending devil-shadows over it. He unbuckled his belt, slowly and with deliberation, and drew down the zip on those soft cream jeans before he began undoing his shirt, a button at a time, lingering over it. I'd been right after all, I decided, he was a bloody prick-tease; I was hard enough to burst just watching him. He balled his shirt and threw it carelessly in the direction of a chair, lifted an arm just enough to let him scratch lazily at his armpit and then began rubbing his palms over chest, shoulders and ribs, almost hugging himself.

"Come 'ere," I said, my voice connecting at the second attempt, "and let me do that for you," but he moved away, giving me first an unreadable look and then a cheeky little grin, and got on with undressing.

He turned his back to me on purpose while he took his pants off and his arse was rounded and sweet, lightly dusted with red-brown hair, and as he lifted each leg in turn I could glimpse the heavy swing of his genitals. I swallowed noisily and found a use for the slipping Kleenex, sweating from fear and anticipation in equal ratio. He was beautiful.

"Come here," I said again, and I held up my arms. He came into them unhesitatingly and I licked and bit my way around his face, lighting him up more fervently even than I'd done earlier on, and when he was gasping and heaving to my satisfaction I laid my mouth by his ear and said:

"Anyway you like it tonight. We've got all night if we need it."

His head turned, eyes searching my face, a huge smile gleaming as he saw I really meant it, then he levered himself up and leaned over me. He took it slow, not rushing me, weaving a spell about me in the silken glide of his skin and potency of his mouth and hands. I was soothed into full arousal with long, lush swathes of his tongue, coaxed into acceptance with firm but delicate flat-palmed caresses, and when I lay under him at last I felt secure in the soft press of him all about me. I was ready for him this time, open and willing, and I could feel the difference immediately as he slid into me, hot but without urgency. I pushed back, welcoming him, lifting myself further to free his way, and then he touched somewhere deep inside me and I cried out, wordless but pleading, and he moved and found it again, and again, until suddenly he gasped, groaned out, "Bodie, ah god! Bodie, I can't...can't stop...can't hold it...Bodie!" and he stiffened, arched over me, and I felt the throb and pulse of his coming within my body; I froze, not wanting possibly to spoil it for him, choking back my own need. He slid away and off me, collapsed down beside me and lay there gasping for breath like a stranded fish, and I stayed where I was not daring to move, unable to think, until his hand closed over my prick and I was coming in huge sunray bursts that spread out to my fingers and toes leaving me boneless, lying half on top of and clutching at him as my sole contact with reality. The world came swinging back; cool air on my buttocks and something that slid, tickling, down my inner thighs, cooling sweat filmed our bodies as we lay clinging together like orphans in the storm.

"...and this is followed by a scene of unparalleled depravity depicting the moral slide of a nation given over to hedonism and the pleasures of the flesh. Within given parameters the overall picture is one of..."

Grinning, Ray leant over and switched the pretentious idiot off.

"Seemed like a good idea earlier," I said weakly.

"Very romantic, soft music," he agreed, getting an arm hooked round me and nibbling at my neck. "Floggin' a dead 'orse 'ere, aren't I!" he added minutes later.

"I only need a breather," I promised rashly, but the look in his eye said he knew better. Very perceptive, is Ray.

"Was it so bad?" he asked, chewing on my earlobe.

"Fishing for compliments are we?" I moved my head the necessary half inch to evade his teeth. "You bloody know it was marvellous. It'll get better too as your technique improves!"

"Cheeky sod. 'ow about throwing a blanket or two this way? I'm getting cold."

"Going to sleep without 'avin' a wash and cleanin' your teeth first?" I said, shocked.

"Tell you what," he snuggled down cosily, "when I 'ave false teeth you can take 'em and do it for me."

I thought I might even be persuaded; the way he makes me feel I'd do anything for the little sod and he probably knew it. Didn't matter, I wasn't proud. From the contented look on his mug I'd succeeded in snapping him out of his doldrums just as I'd meant to. Make me feel all warm and wanted, knowing I could do that for him. I draped myself around him, happily brushing aside his complaints of being smothered.

"Not a bad way to go," I said as I cuddled him to me. "Not a bad way to go at all."

-- THE END --

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