Sequel to Two Plain Brown Envelopes
(Sequel to Two Plain Brown Envelopes)
At the end of the path, sitting in her car by the front door was Mrs. Fields.
"Good evening boys, have you had a nice day -- pity about the rain," she said brightly.
Bodie limped up the path in silence, he really didn't trust himself to speak. Still smiling, Mrs. Fields began to drop her bombshell. Such nice lads -- they were bound to understand that in the country these things happened.
"I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you."
The two men stopped in their tracks. More bad news, surely everything that could go wrong already had.
The total non-expression which suddenly appeared on the duo's faces unsettled her a little, but only for a moment.
"Everyone on this side of the village gets their electricity from the same generator and -- it's broken down. It won't be repaired until tomorrow -- or the day after if we're really unlucky."
No electricity, that meant no light, warmth, hot food; no hot bath, not even a cup of tea.
"Shit!" With Mrs. Fields still twittering around the door Bodie tried to control his language, but even that mild expletition caused her to jump back a few steps.
"The cottage is all electric isn't it?" asked Doyle, trying to assess how bad the situation was.
"I'm afraid so. There's no gas in the village at all. I have a friend, in the next village, who takes in guests during the summer and I took the liberty of asking her if she could put you and your friend up for the night, so if you want a hot meal and a bath after your day out you could go over there."
"Bodie?" Doyle turned to his partner.
"A hot meal and a bath... yeah why not, it's a bit late to go to Manchester now," he said in a biting voice.
"Thank you Mrs. Fields, where's the house then?"
"If you want to pack some fresh clothes to take I'll drive you over there. Where is your car anyway?" she said, noticing for the first time that they had walked up to the house.
Bodie opened his mouth to tell her but was beaten to it by his partner.
"It was stolen while we were walking, that's why we're back so late."
"Stolen, oh, my. Nothing is safe these days. I don't know what the world is coming to. Well you boys go and pack some things for tonight, you can come back to pack properly tomorrow when it's light. Here, you better take this so you can see what you're doing." Mrs. Fields passed over a large torch.
"I'll chuck some stuff in a bag Bodie, you may as well wait here." Giving Bodie a meaningful glance, which was interpreted as `watch your mouth and manners' Doyle disappeared into the dark house.
Mrs. Fields opened the door, tipped the front seat forward and indicated for Bodie to climb in.
"You might as well wait in comfort."
Bodie took a deep breath -- and held it. Comfort! He was freezing cold, the rain had finally seeped down the back of his neck; he was hungry -- he'd had nothing except a couple of cheese sandwiches and a cup of coffee a million years ago on the top of a mountain; his feet were aching and sore. All he wanted was to get his boots off, have a decent meal, collapse into bed and forget the whole day.
Keeping the lid firmly clamped down on his temper took considerable effort, but he managed to mumble some polite words of thanks to the old bat, as he squeezed his bulky frame onto the back seat of the dilapidated mini. He couldn't sit straight as the front seats were too far back so he sprawled sideways across the car.
It wasn't long before Doyle re-appeared in the car headlights, carrying a small holdall. He climbed in and Mrs. Fields keyed the ignition. Nothing happened. She tried again and the engine whirred, whined and died.
Sitting in the front Doyle could feel the rising temper behind him, but wisely chose to ignore it. He really didn't like to consider what would happen if they had to get out and push.
At the fourth attempt the little engine finally spluttered into life. Doyle successfully suppressed a sudden urge to cheer wildly.
After a few minutes of driving through pitch black lanes they came across some lamp posts which were working, and through the hedges lights could be seen. They turned up a driveway; after all the gloom the house looked like something from Blackpool illuminations.
"I was lucky to get you in here, not many people take in guests out of season and a party of students have taken up most of the available beds in the village, but you'll be comfortable here. I'll see you tomorrow at the cottage, when you pick the rest of your belongings up. I do apologise for the inconvenience."
Doyle struggled out of the car and bade Mrs. Fields a good night. Leaving Bodie to prise himself from the back seat he walked up to the front door. His knock was answered immediately by a neat looking middle-aged lady.
"Evening, my name is Doyle -- Mrs. Fields said you were expecting us."
As he spoke, Mrs. Fields coaxed her mini to life and rattled off down the driveway, and Bodie slowly limped up to the door.
"Oh dear," cried the lady. "Rebecca said she was sending over a couple who were renting her cottage." She looked worriedly at the two weary bedraggled men leaning against her door.
"That's right, that's us." Doyle had a sinking feeling that god hadn't quite finished punishing him yet.
"A couple," she said. "I've only got the one room vacant, I thought you were a couple," she vacillated. "I'm terribly sorry."
"I don't see the problem -- You do have a room available?" questioned Bodie.
"Yes, but it's a double room, there's only one bed."
Bodie sank down onto the seat on the porch. "All I want is a hot meal, a bath and to go to sleep, I don't think I'd notice if I was sharing the bed with an entire battalion of the Coldstream Guards."
"If you gentlemen are sure you don't mind?"
"We don't mind," Bodie said; his eyes, however, said something entirely different. Doyle decided that if looks could kill he would be well and truly dead.
The woman, who introduced herself as Mrs. Denton, showed them to a neat, nicely furnished room.
"Would you like something to eat now or in a little while?"
"I'd like something now, I'm starving," Bodie said with feeling. He was also cold and tired but first things first.
"If you come down to the dining room in ten minutes -- that's the first door on the left at the bottom of the stairs, I'll have a hot meal ready for you."
Mrs. Denton left and closed the door behind her. Bodie collapsed into the only armchair in the room. Doyle removed his jacket and placed it neatly across the bed, then disappeared into the bathroom. When he emerged a few minutes later Bodie went in.
Doyle was lounging across the bed reading a magazine he had found when Bodie emerged; neither man spoke and Bodie returned to the armchair and began to study the entwined pastel flowers on the wallpaper.
The silence continued until Doyle, after glancing at his watch, heaved himself up off the bed.
"Ten minutes are up; I'm going down for something to eat."
Without waiting for his partner he opened the door and went down to the dining room.
The meal, which was excellent, was eaten in silence. The dining room was empty except for them, Mrs. Denton explained that the other guests had eaten over an hour ago.
After the meal was finished Doyle left Bodie to sulk on his own over a final cup of coffee and going back to their room he locked himself in the bathroom. He was up to his neck in hot water when he heard Bodie come back into their room.
"Don't sit in there all night, I want a bath as well."
Listening to the complaining voice through the door, Doyle decided that a good meal hadn't eased his friend's temper. Friend, that was a laugh. Nothing had gone right this holiday -- absolutely nothing, Bodie had moaned about everything. The drive up here, the cottage, the weather; the one night out at a local pub had been doomed from the outset. Was it his fault it rained or that the car was stolen? Thoroughly dejected he threw the flannel at the taps then pulled the plug out. As he reached for the towel, the door rattled on its hinges as Bodie beat a tattoo on it.
"Come on Doyle, move yourself, I'd like a bath sometime tonight."
"I'm coming," Doyle snapped back.
As he towelled himself dry he went back to his thoughts. Why, he asked himself, had he asked Bodie to come along? Why the hell had Bodie accepted? It wasn't the type of break he usually went in for. Doyle knew why he liked this type of fresh air and green hills holiday. It was peaceful, restful, calming. He had wanted to share that peace with someone -- with Bodie.
The door shook beneath Bodie's hand again.
Enjoying each other's company -- some joke. Doyle knotted the towel around his waist and opened the door.
"It's all yours."
"About time too," Bodie practically growled at him as he pushed past into the bathroom and slammed the door shut.
Listening to the running taps, Doyle rummaged in the holdall for his pyjama trousers, shrugged the towel off and slipped into them. He was turning the covers back, ready to climb between the sheets and forget the whole rotten day when Bodie burst through the bathroom door looking ready to fight off an entire army single handed.
"Did you enjoy your bath Doyle?" he bellowed.
"Now what's the matter?"
"Water nice and hot, was it?"
Oh my god, thought Doyle, don't tell me I used all the hot water.
"What's wrong now, Bodie?"
"That's bloody typical of you. Never think of anyone but yourself. You knew I wanted a bath so what did you do, you crept out of the dining room before I'd finished and locked yourself in there and hogged all the hot water."
"You're making it sound like I did it on purpose," Doyle protested.
"You're going to stand there and tell me you didn't."
"Of course I didn't, for Godsake, Bodie, use some common sense for once. Calm down, and stop shouting or everyone in the house will hear you."
For a split second Doyle thought his partner was going to cross the room and hit him and he prepared to defend himself but Bodie turned on his heels and locked himself in the bathroom again. Letting out the breath he'd been holding Doyle sat down heavily on the bed. The last four days had to be the worst days of his life. Why, he asked himself again, had he asked Bodie to join him? Because, he answered himself, he'd had this stupid notion that it would have been nice to spend some time relaxing with him away from the pressures of CI5. Next time he got an idea like that he'd remember not to act on it. Getting between the sheets he reached for the discarded magazine.
It was about ten minutes before Bodie emerged from the bathroom for the second time, wearing his towel around his hips. The aura of menace was tangible and Doyle decided that it would be safer to ignore his partner's presence for as long as possible.
"That's right Doyle," he said with false generosity. "You make yourself comfortable next to the radiator, I don't mind sleeping in the draught from the window." Bodie turned his back to the bed, pulled his pyjama trousers from the bag and put them on. When he turned around Doyle was still sitting up reading -- but on the other side of the bed. After a few more minutes fussing around Bodie slipped into bed and settled himself down to sleep.
"I hope you're not going to read all night," Bodie muttered testily.
"It's only ten thirty."
"I don't care what the fuckin' time is, I'm tired, I've had one hell of a day and I want to go to sleep."
Bodie rolled on his side, hugging the blankets to him.
Doyle decided to give in quietly, maybe -- just maybe, Bodie would be more cheerful in the morning. He dropped the magazine onto the floor beside the bed and switched off the light.
They lay, back to back, sleep a million miles away, in stony silence, each for different reasons wishing they were a million miles away too.
Over-conscious of the rigid body on the other side of the bed, Doyle tried not to fidget, but the harder he tried the more he wanted to move. The pillow was lumpy and uncomfortable and Bodie had been right about the draught from the window -- it felt like a gale whistling around his ears. He wriggled down the bed a little and tugged the blanket up to cover his ears.
"Don't hog all the soddin' blankets, I want to keep warm as well."
That was it. The final straw. Doyle snapped the light on and threw the covers back, leaving Bodie stunned and blinking in the sudden bright light.
"I have just about had enough of your and your moans. You keep the blankets -- I hope they suffocate you."
Reaching into the holdall he pulled out his fresh clothes. "Why you bothered to come at all beats me, you've not stopped complaining since we left London four days ago." Doyle threw his discarded pyjamas into the bag and pulled on his pants and jeans. "How was I supposed to know that half the M1 was being rebuilt, and it wasn't my fault that bloody lorry shed its load across the road." He buttoned his shirt. "There was nothing wrong with the cottage. If I'd wanted a luxury apartment with mod cons I wouldn't have come here, would I? Thought you might enjoy the change of pace, the scenery. For christsake, it's November, Bodie, this is England -- did you really expect a heatwave?" He sat down on the bed and pulled on his socks. "And I suppose I planned all along to have your precious car nicked just so I could enjoy a long walk in the pissing rain with the pleasure of your company to keep me going." He slipped on his trainers and bent down to do up the laces. "Tell me something, Bodie. Just why did you come?"
"You asked me." Bodie answered numbly, listening to Doyle's tirade brought home, for the second time that day, how much he'd been complaining.
"It wasn't an order, Bodie. You could have said no."
"I could have, but I didn't want to. Where are you going?"
"Do you really care?" Doyle reached for his jacket and moved towards the door. Without realising he was moving, Bodie was out of the bed and across the room in a flash, grabbing hold of Doyle's wrist as he reached for the door.
"Where are you going? It's gone eleven o'clock, you heard Mrs. Fields, there's not an empty bed in the village."
"I'll find a hotel somewhere, let go of me." Doyle pulled ineffectively away from Bodie.
"How? You haven't got a car, there's probably no taxi service and the next bus isn't due till next week."
"I'll walk," Doyle insisted stubbornly.
"Why did you ask me along anyway?"
"Because I was daft enough to think you might enjoy my company."
"You've got a funny way of showing it, and will you let go of my arm." Doyle snatched his arm back and Bodie let him go. They stood nose to nose, staring each other out, gauging the other's mood and temper.
"I'm sorry." They both spoke at once. Bodie smiled first, breaking the tension. "Look, I really am sorry. I know I've been a pig to live with the past few days, but I have enjoyed myself. Really."
"Even today?" asked Doyle, disbelieving.
"The walk was good, and it wasn't your fault the car was nicked; sorry I took it out on you." Bodie dropped his gaze from the intense expression in Doyle's eyes. "You've done your buttons up wrong," and he lifted his hands to undo the buttons; Doyle grasped a wrist in each hand, causing him to look back at the face inches from his own.
"Why did you come?"
They stood, frozen together so close they could feel the other's body heat.
Bodie relaxed his arms but Doyle held his wrists in a tight grip against his chest, unclenching his fingers Bodie splayed them out, feeling the material of the shirt and the body inside it.
"I said why did you come?" Doyle repeated.
"Because... because I wanted to, I thought it would be good, just you and me."
As Bodie stood there, held in position by the almost painful grip on his wrists, he felt a peculiar sinking sensation -- He was acutely aware of the strength hidden by the deceptively slender fingers and body and could smell the soap and aftershave Doyle had used. For a moment he wondered if he was going to pass out.
The grip on his wrists slackened and Bodie saw his own confusion mirrored in the face before him.
"Bodie?" Doyle whispered.
"Ray, I..." Bodie tried to pull away from the hands encircling his wrists, but the grip was immediately tightened.
"Ray, I... I'm sorry, don't go, please. I'll shut up moaning, I promise. Stay here -- please." Even as he spoke, they both knew that he was asking for more than the argument to be forgotten.
Doyle finally let go of Bodie's wrists, and stepped away. Bodie remained where he was, his back to the door, waiting for Doyle to make his decision.
Looking down at the clothes he had hurriedly thrown on, Doyle saw the mis-matched buttons and his fingers moved to correct them. In silence he undid all the buttons, trying at the same time to cope with the flood of emotions rushing through him. He could feel the imprint of Bodie's hands on his chest, the tingling electric sensation was only just fading away. Stay. How could he stay now? His eyes slid past Bodie's pyjama-clad body to the bed, then back to Bodie.
Watching his partner's eyes swing from himself to the bed and back, Bodie guessed at his thoughts. They could spend all night dithering, trying to guess what the other wanted and he decided to make his own newly discovered feelings known. As he advanced he decided that if he'd guessed wrong Doyle would be justified in beating the hell out of him, or at least trying to.
As soon as Bodie moved Doyle knew what his intention was, but as the warm lips covered his, he put his arms out to hold himself steady. It didn't occur to him that he ought to push Bodie away.
The kiss was, at first, tentative, almost impersonal, but as Doyle's arms slid around his waist, Bodie put his heart and soul into convincing Doyle of the rightness of it all.
When they broke apart they were both giddy and breathless.
Doyle ran his hands up Bodie's bare arms and shoulders, cupping the serious face in his hands. "Bodie... this is mad, we're both mad," he whispered.
"So. We'll see a doctor and get certified in the morning." Bodie leant forward to claim Doyle's mouth again -- but was pushed away.
"No, Bodie no."
Bodie felt Doyle try to pull away but he caught hold of his shoulders and pulled him against his chest, trying to persuade him to relax and let himself go.
Bodie recognised the note of near panic in Doyle's voice and reluctantly let him go. Once free, Doyle retreated to the other side of the room.
Watching Doyle, standing in the glow of the bedside light, his hair dishevelled, face flushed, the open shirt revealing the silver chain that was catching the light and sparkling as brightly as the eyes that regarded him so warily, Bodie began to appreciate what it must be like for a blind person to suddenly regain their sight. It had been years since the last time he'd allowed himself to admit the attraction of another man, and even longer since he'd revelled in the scent and feel of man flesh. How could he have worked alongside him and been so blind to the innate sensuality of the man? He knew Doyle was feeling the same attraction for him; unless he wanted to frighten Ray off forever he knew he would have to slow down.
"Ray, it's all right. I promise I won't force anything on you." He moved slowly across the room. "We'll take it as slow as you want. Anytime you want to stop -- just say so, it's going to be okay."
As Bodie reached out a hand and laid it on his shoulder, Doyle flinched, but he didn't draw away. Sliding one hand around Doyle's waist, under his shirt and the other around his shoulders, Bodie drew him into a light embrace and softly kissed him again, tracing the outline of the full lips with a moist tongue tip, teasing until they opened, allowing admittance to the hot mouth. Without pushing or demanding, Bodie gently explored; their tongues touched and moved together. Soon, Bodie felt a surge of pleasure as Doyle began to respond to the kiss, exploring Bodie's mouth in turn.
Bodie drew away a little, causing Doyle to open his eyes in confusion.
"Why don't we lie down, it will be more comfortable?" Bodie asked softly.
Doyle swallowed hard, and looked from Bodie to the bed, and back at the flushed face of his partner; Bodie seemed to be very sure of himself. Seeing the indecision in the green eyes, Bodie gently pulled Doyle into an embrace, sweeping his hands across the bare skin under the unfastened shirt.
"Are you cold?" Clad as he was in only his pyjama trousers, Bodie knew that the room was pleasantly warm. Unable to speak, Doyle could only shake his head.
"I know." Doyle managed to force the words through his numb lips.
"Scared?" whispered Bodie. The word could have been spoken as a challenge -- but it wasn't, and Doyle knew that with Bodie there was no need for pretence.
"Do you want to stop?"
"No," Doyle mouthed the word, no sound came out but his decision had been made and Bodie gently claimed the parted lips again.
Doyle's arms encircled Bodie's waist lightly, the grip tightening only when warm hands went to the fastening on his jeans and slid inside to grip his pulsing sex.
As he grasped Doyle firmly, Bodie felt the tightening of the warm band around his waist; he knew Doyle wanted this, the pulsing shaft he held in his hand was proof of that. Still being careful not to frighten Doyle, he maneuvered them towards the bed and tipped Doyle backwards. Slipping out of his pyjamas Bodie lay down beside him. For a moment he remained propped up on one elbow just looking at his partner. Doyle was lying where he had been placed on the bed, shirt open, trousers and pants pushed partially down the lean body, waiting for him, trusting Bodie with everything he had -- his life, his body and his love.
Bodie felt his own hand tremble, so strong were the feelings inside him. With shaking fingers he stroked the sweat-damp hair from Doyle's forehead. At the light touch, Doyle opened his eyes; Bodie guessed that everything he was feeling must be there for Doyle and the world to see, not that he minded. How long had they been building up to this, he wondered, months, years? Yesterday would have been too soon, tomorrow would be too late, but tonight -- tonight everything was perfect.
His nervousness dissipating, melting away under the glow of love and warmth that Bodie was radiating, Doyle ran his fingers across the uneven eyebrows and over the beautiful dark eyes.
"This all feels very right," he whispered.
"That's because it is, for us." Bodie captured the fingers that were exploring his ear and kissed the palm.
"I don't know what to do, this is very new to me," said Doyle, confirming what Bodie had suspected, Ray had never made love with a man before.
"That's okay, just do what feels right for you," Bodie encouraged.
"Show me -- please."
Complying with the request, Bodie employed all the skills he had acquired throughout his many and varied encounters. For what seemed to Doyle to be an endless time Bodie kissed and caressed him, alternately fanning the flames of desire then calming the fire he'd ignited, taking Doyle to the edge again and again until he held in his arms a quaking, quivering body that was begging for release.
"What do you want Ray -- tell me -- what do you want?" Bodie could barely speak, seeing Doyle so helplessly aroused was not exactly doing much for his self control and his own needs were making themselves felt, but he fiercely clamped down on what he knew he wanted. That could come later -- tonight was for Ray.
Doyle's whole body was running with perspiration, and screaming for release, Bodie was arousing him to a level of awareness he'd never experienced before. Even with his eyes firmly closed he knew where Bodie's hands were going to touch him next -- his skin was so sensitive to touch he could feel the radiating heat as Bodie's hands skimmed over him from chest to nipple down his back to his buttocks then round over his hips and abdomen to his aching pulsating cock.
"Tell me what you want, Ray," Bodie entreated. "Tell me."
"Let me come, Bodie, please, make me come."
Matching their bodies perfectly, Bodie twisted and pulled until Doyle was lying on top of him, face to face. Taking possession of the eager mouth he slid his hands down the satiny, sweat-slick back until he cupped the lean buttocks in his hands and pulled their lower bodies closer together urging Doyle to match his rhythm, thrusting together until he felt him go rigid in his arms. Realisation that Doyle had reached orgasm triggered his own explosive release and they shuddered to a glorious halt, their spilled semen flowing between them.
Doyle awoke first; from the snores he guessed that Bodie was still fast asleep, and he twisted around to see the time. Six-thirty, still early. They'd have to catch a train from Manchester about mid-day to enable them to get to HQ in time for their next duty that night.
After the events of last night, CI5 seemed to be in a different world -- last night had changed everything; or had it? Doyle was suddenly assailed by doubts. Had anything changed? Everything had happened so quickly -- one minute they were arguing and the next... He looked at the face next to his on the pillow; last night Bodie had been wonderful, so careful, tender and loving. He'd known exactly what to do, the strangeness hadn't bothered him at all.
When Bodie finally woke up he found a pair of deep sea green eyes staring at him intently, he blinked the sleep from his eyes and then smiled warmly.
The smile was returned and Bodie saw that the eyes were clear and wide awake, not like his own bleary, sleep-clogged ones.
"You bin awake long?"
"About an hour. I was beginning to think you'd died during the night. If you hadn't been snoring so loudly I'd have called for an undertaker."
"Ah well, you'll have to get used to me snoring, won't you?"
Bodie struggled to wake his brain up. The note of worry in Doyle's voice hastened the process considerably. "I don't always snore, not every night, leastways, I'll try not to."
"Oh, I see, not every night. That's okay then."
"You could always join in you know -- stereo snoring."
"I don't snore."
"I've never heard myself, not once, ever."
"I'll soon let you know if you start up."
"You're planning on doing some research into it then?"
"Oh yeah. As long as you don't mind me sleeping in your bed every night -- purely for scientific research of course."
The banter petered out and they looked deeply, searchingly into each other's eyes, then Bodie spoke first.
"I love you."
"Love you too."
They kissed gently then broke apart. Doyle flicked another look at the clock.
"It's quarter to eight, d'you fancy some breakfast?"
"Yes," Bodie answered, as he pulled Doyle into his arms. "Come here."
Doyle parked his car neatly in the CI5 car park, the next space was conspicuously empty. As he switched the ignition off he turned his head in time to see Bodie glancing longingly at the vacant space.
"Maybe if I close my eyes and wish very hard my fairy godmother will hear me and make it re-appear, good as new."
"Have you worked out what you're going to tell him yet?"
"I think it would be a good idea to just leave the country, now, while it's safe."
"Coward," Doyle joked, though he knew it was no laughing matter. Even though the car had been stolen there had been the slim chance it would be found intact. But the Hathersage PC had informed them this morning that it had been written off in an accident only hours after it had been stolen. Cowley was going to go berserk. Only a few days before they had gone on leave the entire department had received a very caustic lecture on conserving department funds and economising wherever possible. Writing off a year-old Capri was not going to please the accountants very much -- or George Cowley.
"Okay, I'm a coward," Bodie admitted cheerfully. "You go in and tell him you lost it."
"Your car, mate, you tell him."
"Was my car, you mean," Bodie reminded him gloomily. They climbed out of the car and moved towards the door to the building.
"When shall we tell him about us?" Doyle asked. "Before you tell him about the car or after?"
"God knows. Let's just play it by ear, see what kind of mood the old goat is in first. Never know your luck, he might not even be in the office."
But he was, and after booking in for their turn of night duty they were summoned to the inner sanctum.
Two whiskeys and half an hour later the two agents almost fell over each other as they left Cowley's office. Closing the door behind them they moved out into the corridor.
"I think he's gone mad," Doyle announced. "Reckon we ought to call Kate Ross in to psychoanalyse him?"
"What will you tell her? 'Scuse me Doctor but the old man's gone cuckoo, he's behaving like a human being with a real heart."
"Maybe he's just a sucker for love stories."
"No that's not it. We didn't tell him about us until after you'd told him about the car."
They walked on down the corridor, two very puzzled -- but happy -- young men. Bodie's voice drifted back up the deserted corridor.
"Did you get the feeling that he was happy to see us? We ought to go on leave more often."
-- THE END --