Bodie had long made a habit of hiding his desires. Well, certain of his desires, at any rate. His longing for Raymond Doyle, friend, partner and all-round pain in the arse, definitely fell into that category.
He'd lusted after other men before, had seduced and been seduced. He knew the pleasure of being pinned by a lover whose strength matched his own. He'd felt the exquisite pleasure of being fucked. But he'd never been open about those longings, and it had been years since he'd allowed himself to think about these darker desires, years since he'd felt safe in wanting another man.
Then Ray Doyle had walked into his life and he couldn't think of anything else.
Not that it had been love at first sight. Not by a long chalk. No, when they'd first been partnered, he'd hated the annoying sod. A scruffy ex-copper with too much hair and too little taste in clothes. A self-proclaimed moralist who gave Bodie grief for his past sins, real and imagined, yet whose temper far surpassed Bodie's own. On first acquaintance, he'd wanted nothing so much as to throttle Ray Doyle.
That had quickly changed.
It hadn't taken long for him to realize that the scruffy git was one of the top men on the squad. He was the best shot with a handgun that Bodie had ever seen, and his wiry strength and tenacity in a fight made him near unbeatable, in spite of his slender frame. Soon enough, Bodie couldn't imagine working with anyone else.
Not that the partnership was perfect. Ray got up his nose often as not. He told the most atrocious jokes. And he dressed in rejects from an Oxfam shop. But he was a good mate. The best. There was no one with whom he'd rather lift a pint, or spend a day in the country riding his bike.
Then one day Bodie had looked at Ray, at the green, slanted eyes and the unkempt hair, at the crooked grin and the lithe body, and lust had shot through him like a lightning bolt.
But he hadn't let either the lust or the accompanying surprise show. He'd hidden the feelings away, as he'd always done. The stakes were too high to risk otherwise. An annoying sod Ray Doyle could be, but he didn't want anyone else at his side. Better half a loaf than none at all, as his Da was fond of saying. If that half a loaf was the friendship of Ray Doyle, it was more than enough.
Still, the bastard didn't make it easy on him. His jeans and trousers were always tighter than was decent. His shirts were habitually unbuttoned, leaving Bodie more often than not with a longing to feel the exposed chest. Keeping his hands off Doyle was more than a saint could have done, and Bodie had no aspirations to sainthood. He was always slinging an arm over Doyle's shoulder, ruffling his curls, patting his arse. And if Doyle gave him a look, he'd come over all innocent. Or camp it up, depending on his mood.
He'd never been honest, never revealed what he truly felt. Not even on those occasions when the two of them had been so rat-arsed on lager and whisky that it could have been passed off as a drunken mistake. Even then, he kept his gob shut.
But it was getting more and more difficult. Every day, there was a moment when he nearly did it, when he nearly revealed all, and damn the consequences.
They'd spent the evening in Bodie's local, having a pint or two and sharing a few laughs while watching a football match on the telly. Just an ordinary night out, and yet Bodie couldn't remember when he'd felt so content, so satisfied with his place in the world.
They'd ended up back at his flat. They were both in the kitchen, Bodie putting the kettle on while Doyle sprawled bonelessly on a chair. Two mates, sharing a cuppa and a few outrageous stories. But now that they were alone, Bodie couldn't help noticing things. Like the lushness of Doyle's mouth. Or the flash of the bracelet on his wrist. Or the bulge of his cock in his faded blue jeans.
Bodie swallowed and forced all carnal thoughts of his partner into the netherworld from which they came. Pasting an insipid smile on his face, he slung the teapot and two mugs on the table and sat down across from Doyle.
"Shall I be mother?" Doyle asked, straightening up.
"Be my guest."
Doyle applied himself to the task, pouring two mugs of tea, and adding just the right amount of milk and sugar to both mugs.
"Get that down your neck, Sunshine," Doyle said, sliding the mug across to him.
Tea was slurped in companionable silence and Bodie was beginning to think that he was going to carry it off for another day, keep his secret, keep his cool.
And then Doyle did it. Took a long swallow of tea and looked at him with eyes that sparked with amusement and asked a question. Asked the question.
"So, when are you going to tell me?"
"Tell you what?"
"That you're queer."
A spike of panic drove through Bodie's gut, but he kept his expression neutral.
"You don't half talk crap, Doyle."
"Must be from hanging about with you all these years."
"I do not talk crap," Bodie said, resorting to his best posh accent in defence.
"You're not only queer, you're a bloody liar." Doyle leaned across the table at him. "I've seen the way you look at me. Like a starving man staring at Christmas dinner."
"I don't have to listen to this," Bodie said, slamming his mug down so hard on the table that the tea sloshed onto his hand. He stood to leave the table, but Doyle was right behind him. He found himself backed against the wall, his partner's face so close to his that he could feel Doyle's breath on his skin.
"You should do more than listen, Sunshine," Doyle said, his face as deadly serious as if they were on an op. "You should be paying attention." Doyle jammed a finger into his chest, hard enough that he was sure it was going to leave a mark. "If you had, you might have noticed that I've been looking at you exactly the same way."
"What?" Bodie could feel his heart pounding in his chest, hear his breath sounding harshly in his throat. Surely it couldn't be this easy. Could it?
"Have I got your attention now?" Doyle narrowed his eyes and stared at him intently.
Bodie took a deep breath before speaking. "You're going to have to spell it out for me, mate."
"I. Am. A. Homosexual." Doyle drew out each syllable as if he was talking to a half-wit.
"You?" Bodie said, disbelief warring with hope.
"Me," Doyle said, then grinned. "Well, more like bi, really."
"You're..." Bodie trailed off and stared at his partner as if he'd suddenly turned into an exotic, two-headed animal.
"Yeah. I am." And there was that grin again. "I've been waiting for the penny to drop for...I'm not even sure how long. Christ, you can be thick sometimes. Finally couldn't wait any longer. Thought I'd take matters into my own hands, as it were." And then Doyle trailed his hand down Bodie's chest. Bodie exhaled and curved his neck back as he basked in the sensation of Doyle rubbing his belly.
"Like that, do you?"
"You might say that," Bodie said. "I'd like it even more if you tried going down a little lower."
"Oh, I intend to. I intend to do a lot of things. Like this." And then Doyle breached the last distance between them and touched his lips to Bodie's. The kiss was like a setting match to gunpowder; Bodie felt his senses erupt with astonishing heat. Such a long time wanting this, and now he had it, had everything.
He drew his arms around Doyle and held him so tightly that he could feel both their hearts beating against his chest. He could feel the swell of Doyle's cock against his own.
Suddenly, even this wasn't enough. He wanted, needed more.
He rucked up Doyle's shirt, letting his hands play over the bare skin of his back, of his chest. He gasped as Doyle followed his lead and drew his shirt up, then went further and unbuttoned and unzipped his trousers. Before he knew it, Doyle was on his knees, his tongue licking the head of Bodie's cock before swallowing its length.
"Oh, God," Bodie said, his spine arching back as sensation overwhelmed him. He tried to show restraint, but Doyle's tongue inflamed him. In an instant, he was thrusting into Doyle's mouth, his hands entwined in Doyle's curls.
The feel of Doyle's tongue, of his lips was nearly too much. Was too much. He let out a low moan, and then he was coming. And Doyle was taking it all, swallowing it all.
Spent, his knees gave out and he slid down the wall, landing with a definite thud on the floor. And there was Doyle, kissing him and tasting of semen and lager and Doyle himself.
"Your mouth ought to be declared a lethal weapon, Ray," Bodie said when Doyle finally pulled away. "I think you've killed me."
"I'll take that as a compliment."
"Was meant to be one."
"I hoped so."
Bodie tried to slow his breathing, and looked closely at his partner, at the green eyes sparkling brightly, at the flush on his cheeks.
"What else were you hoping for?"
"Well," Doyle said, his eyes turning suddenly evasive. "Was hoping for a bit of reciprocity."
"Oh, you'll get that. Soon as you've let me catch my breath. What else?"
"Was hoping this isn't just going to be a one off." Astoundingly, Doyle looked almost shy as he spoke.
"This was definitely not a one off," Bodie said, raising his hand to stroke Doyle's cheek. He was rewarded with one of Doyle's rare grins, one that split his face and warmed a spot hidden deep in Bodie's chest.
"That's all right, then," said Doyle. He stood, and pulled Bodie to his feet. "Now let's take this to your bedroom, shall we. I fancy some of that reciprocity, and I'm too old for two knee tremblers in an evening."
"I'll remind you of that the next time you're complaining about the lack of mod cons at an obbo."
Bodie followed Doyle down the hall, bantering all the while until they fell into bed. Wrapped in Doyle's arms, he couldn't help but be content in the knowledge that his days of hiding at least this desire were behind him.
Got any comments? Send 'em to email@example.com