Party Spirit series #11: After "Fall Girl"

I didn't get to talk properly to Bodie for several days after Marikka died; think Cowley was being careful not to let him get too near me at first, having seen Bodie's face when he came down from that gasometer and almost knocked me for six and knowing Bodie's temper, not one you choose to rouse unless you're George Cowley himself. I saw him in the distance the following morning being ushered into Cowley's office by Betty, and I saw him coming out again nearly two hours later. I'd never seen him look so exhausted as he did that morning; if he'd slept at all it didn't show, huge great bags under his eyes and his face gone all gaunt ...

Had he loved her that much?

Cowley let him back on active after the debriefing; gave the pair of us a lot of foot-slogging jobs that didn't need much thinking about but had us running all over London the best part of three days. And he didn't like the way Bodie was looking either, though when he caught me watching him watching Bodie he gave me his best glare, guaranteed to sear your socks at sixty paces.

Mine were asbestos.

I glared right back, and after a second or two he backed off and gave a little nod that said, "Yes, I'm worried about him too."

He'd've been chewing his nails if he'd seen Bodie in action! Oh, he did everything I asked him to, almost well enough to avoid me noticing anything, but he didn't talk or take any real interest in what he was doing; didn't appear to care we were doing jobs that wouldn't have overtaxed the tea-lady. He was weary and depressed and ever so slightly on the defensive, as though he expected me to start bawling him out. Boot was on the other foot; felt as guilty as hell at having to spy on him and all the things I'd had to say to Marikka but I didn't know how to say so or even if I should. Almost wish he'd lose his rag with me, offer a pithy opinion of me and my morals and habits, get it all off his chest and get back to living.

Too much to hope: takes things hard, does Bodie, for all that sod the rest of the world, I'm OK pose of his. But he bottles it up, won't tell you when he's hurting: people who don't know him can't usually see beyond the uncaring shell. This time though, he was all on the exterior, hurting so bad it made my teeth ache to see it. I watched the women, perfect strangers some of 'em, come over all motherly and gentle with him -- and he never even noticed he was so turned in on himself. Late in the afternoon of the third day, as we legged it back to where we'd parked the car prior to spending three and a half hours dodging round and round Regent's Park Zoo in order to witness a meeting taking place between two people who weren't supposed to know each other and record it on film to be used as and when Cowley saw fit, I sneaked a look his way his way and asked tentatively: "You got any plans for this evening?"

"What? Me? No," he said, coming back from wherever it was his attention had been.

"Coming for a drink then?"

"Huh? OK, if you like."

Oh, Bodie, yell at me, curse me, belt me one -- anything ...

Decided it was better not to go to his local; too many memories of Marikka for my peace of mind. I could still recall the abstracted, smug look that had lurked in his eyes, that cat-in-sight-of-the-cream gleam. And boy! was she worth it ... Nice lady, Marikka. We'd talked quite a lot about my partner but she was much too discreet; told me very little I didn't already know.

He was even worse company than he'd been that weekend, sitting there staring at nothing and not hearing me until I repeated my banalities far too loudly. After a while I gave up saying anything, discouraged and funnily enough that got through to him, 'cause he gave me a twisted little smile and said ruefully: "I'm not a lot of fun to be around. Sorry."

"Me, too, For a whole lot of things."

"It wasn't your fault, I know that. You did what you had to do. What I would have done."

"What, spied on your best mate?"

"If necessary."

"Was -- for a while. Cowley explained ..."

A CI5 first, that. But although Cowley can be ruthless bastard he doesn't play around with innocent lives the way Willis does. He wouldn't last long, Cowley'd see to that. I said so.

"S'pose that's something, yeah." He fingered the rim of his glass for a moment in silence.

"I'm sorry about Mar ---" he shook his head, stopping me. "Bodie," I said gently, "she was a lovely lady. Deserves some kind of epitaph."

"You think I don't know that?" His eyes were very dark, shadowed. "If I'd trusted her, if I hadn't been so certain she'd set me up, she'd still be alive ..."

I hadn't thought of it like that, but the poor devil was right: if they hadn't taken Marikka out there to talk to him but kept her in Safe House 7 ... The world's full of ifs.

"Shouldn't get serious," he said, more to himself than to me. "Shouldn't mind what happens ... Didn't do Claire any good to either, knowing me. Nor Judy ..."

Judy? Oh yeah, the girl Krivas had killed. Bodie'd cried for her; I wondered if he'd cried for Marikka.

"Don't be daft," I said, purposely offering a dose of his own black humour, "you've 'ad enough women in your life to satisfy a dozen blokes -- and none of the rest of 'em came to any harm. Three out of hundreds not bad going." That lit a brief flicker of animation, don't know if it was anger or disgust or what, and though it died too swiftly he didn't lapse back into that awful apathy again but curled his lip in acknowledgement of man's frailty and said wearily:

"Maybe I should go out and find another bird. 'ave a good screw, make up for all the frustrations ..."

We left well before closing time, neither of us in the mood for drinking much nor talking much either; know each other too well for trivialities at times like that. What little Bodie did say was fairly significant though.

"Feels a bit like havin' concussion -- so much happened and so quick didn't have time to take it all in while it was going on and know I can't believe there's nothing I can do to make it better."

Poor sod, too stunned even to get angry.

Crossing the road to the car he stepped out without looking and got a stream of abuse from a grey-haired old bat driving a Toyota much too fast for the back streets of Kensington. Bodie just shrugged, implying he wouldn't have cared if she'd hit him and I hustled him away quickly before her tongue went into overdrive.

"You look where you're going and stop jay-walking," I admonished him. "Don't want to spend the rest of my evening scraping you up off the road with a teaspoon. I only just 'ad these jeans cleaned."

Didn't even rise to that as he usually would've, just muttered, "Sorry," and waited for me to open the passenger door.

He only realised I'd locked the car and followed him into his place when he practically shut the door in my face.

"Just want a leak. Should 'ave 'ad one at the pub."

I think he believed me, he was that far gone. I came back into the sitting-room and found him slumped in an armchair with his eyes shut and he nodded when I asked him if he wanted a coffee. His kitchen looked like a battlefield and I had to wash up a couple of mugs for us. He left his until it was nearly cold and drank it in one long gulp and then stood up.

"Early start tomorrow. Better be getting to bed."

"OK, I'll let myself out."

And off he went. Bodie, going to bed before 10.30 like a good little boy -- what next, I asked myself, Cowley signing all the expense chits without argument?

But I couldn't bear to leave, nor to think of him waking up to the havoc in his usually spotless kitchen, so I went out there and washed up and put things away. Then, on my way out as I plunged the hall into darkness, I could see light still spilling under his bedroom door and I crept over to peek in, wondering if he'd gone to sleep with the light on. He was just lying there staring up at the ceiling. I had to do something, and all of a sudden I knew what it would be.

I'd got as far as taking off my underpants before he turned his head.

"What 're you doing?"

"Undressin' -- I'm staying the night."

"I don't need ..."

"But I do. Bodie, let me ... I'm stayin'!" I made the decision for him.

His flesh was cool to my heat and I drew him to me, as much for my comfort as for his: he made no objection to my holding him, but there was no response either. Got the feeling he simply didn't care enough about anything to react and that made me angry. He was going to get me killed if he didn't do it to himself first and I didn't want to die of someone like that cunt Willis.

"'Is chilly, innit, " I agreed. "Could be a frost tonight."

"What ? Cold? yes, 'tis a bit." He began to shiver, as if having his attention drawn to it made it reality, so I pulled him over to me and pressed closer, hushing him with whispered inanities and soothing hands which roused a reaction quicker than I'd expected.

That's my Bodie, always ready for fuckin', I thought fondly, persuading his thighs to part for my insinuating a bony kneecap between them, eliciting a wince and a muttered complaint about skinny bed -companions. Distracted his mind by taking his hand and laying it on my bum, rubbing his palm over me.

"Touch me," I whispered, somewhere around his clavicle. "Turns me on so much, that does ... Deeper! Ah, Bodie, put your fingers right there, will you. Please! Yeah, like that!"

He'd slid one finger along my crack tentatively, and must have felt the truth of what I'd said hard against his belly because he began wriggling down, searching out the dark, secret heart of me. It felt good, unimaginably good, and I begged him to push into me, promised he wasn't hurting, that it was only an aching, incredible sensation of pleasure, begged him to penetrate further, to move inside me ... begged him to stop at last because I wanted still more ... begged him to fuck me ...

It'll hurt," he said, but his voice was trembling with need like his body.

I slid my hand between and sought him out, cradling his hot bulk in my palm. "Nah," I said, scornfully confident. "CI5 diet plays 'avoc with your guts ... This is nothing. Promise!"

He sniggered into my neck, a vulgar, earthy sound full of life and lust and I knew he'd come back from that far-away place he'd been trapped in and I wanted to laugh and to cry and to feel the hot, hard press of him all about me.

I wriggled over, presenting my back, curling up so he could get to me. "Come on," I told him, and my voice was husky and unreal in my ears, "get on and do it. I want it ... you, inside me ..."

Could feel him squirming lower into position and the soft nudge of his cock head pushed against me, pressed vainly, a little painfully, withdrew and pressed again.

"'ang about. Too dry," he said, patting my bum in reassurance as he leant up and away from me. I heard the scrape of a drawer and looked up to find him waving a small blue pot he'd taken out. "Nivea," he said unnecessarily, and got the lid off the third try. It was cold, warming quickly as he applied it lavishly, scenting the air as he thrust a laden finger deeply into me. Then it was him filling me and the whole of existence was there in the joining of our bodies and the push and thrust of our consummation.

My first coherent thought was a rueful wish I'd turned the bedside light our [this should be out] beforehand, or thought about what I was doing and most importantly why I was doing it. Fine bloody time to discover an emotional involvement you hadn't realised existed ... Eventually I had to look up to see what he was thinking if I could ... His eyes were wide and suprised, passion fading in them. Oh Christ! I don't want you to know how I feel, don't want you to see... Just let him think it was sex, pure and simple. Only it sure as hell wasn't either of those ...

"Jesus!" I said, stretching.

His eyes hooded. "That good?"

"That good," I grinned; rolled away from him and threw back the covers.

"Where're you off to? Bathroom -- or bog!" he guessed, mouth on the twitch.

Might be a good idea at that, I conceded, aware for the first time of a slick seepage tickling my buttocks.

Coming back clean and wholesome I slid into my jeans. He opened his eyes.

"Leaving?" he asked, and I couldn't tell if he was glad, sorry or just indifferent.

"Don't think I'm spending the night in there, do you?" I said, purposefully flippant. "There's a big wet spot that side of the bed and I don't fancy sleeping in it."

D'you know, he was stupid to put his hand there to see.

I was still sniggering at the look on his face when I shut the front door behind me. Hysteria, I suspect.

-- THE END --

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