Summer's Sun and Winter's Snow
Written for Discovered in the Mistletoe, on the discoveredinalj livejournal community.
Part One: Summer's Sun...
Seasons come and seasons go,
Summer's sun and winter's snow,
My love for you has always been,
As great and true as the evergreen,
In nights of sickness and days of health,
Family love is your true wealth,
Time is restless and will not wait,
So I must tell you ere it's too late,
These five words so bright and true,
Merry Christmas and I love you,
So, hold me close and hold me dear,
And I will whisper in your ear,
That though time may break us apart,
You are in my thoughts and in my heart,
So, with rich thoughts my Christmas Gift,
I give in hopes to spirits lift,
And bless you for the love you give,
For it will not die, so long as I live.
--by Chandra M Talmie
It had been a long, hot summer. The hottest I'd known for a couple of years, which would have been back in 1976. Almost hot enough for the councils to get their standpipes back out.
Of course, because it was me, I wasn't expecting it at all. I was, to quote various CI5 morons, an ex-SAS bastard, an ex-army tosser and an ex-merc. Even Cowley got in on the act. When I professed not to know that Cowley had to give his permission for any agent to wed, he bluntly told me, "Well, that's not ever likely to affect you, is it?"
He was right. I wasn't the marrying kind. Oh, I'd had my fair share of romances. Strictly female and strictly one week stands. Well, normally they'd be one week romances. Doyle used to joke that I changed my underpants less frequently than I changed bed partners. He had a point.
But my point was this: I didn't want to get tied down. I didn't want to shackle myself to one person and one person only for the rest of my life. I'd looked after number one--me--ever since leaving home and that was the way I liked it. The poet John Donne once said "No man is an island", but he was completely wrong. I was an island. An island called Bodie, and no one was allowed on it.
Not even a scruffy, ragbag, bad-tempered old sod called Doyle. Raymond Doyle, agent 4.5, to give him his full title. He's my partner, and has been for the past two years.
To be perfectly fair, he isn't that bad. He is bloody good with a rifle. Not as good as me, though he certainly makes up for it in the handgun ranks. Much as it narks me to say it, he is better than me with one of those. He's certainly saved my hide a few times, as I have his. We're the best the old man's got.
Chalk and cheese, he calls us. Complete opposites, we are. I like my tailored suits, my polo necks, my loose cords. He, on the other hand, could play the role of a cheap rent boy without having to change clothes. Tatty old tee-shirts and the tightest jeans he can find. I have no idea how he gets into them, let alone how to get him out of them.
And there, in between all that lot, is the crux of my problem.
I've fallen in love.
Island Bodie--the man with huge KEEP OUT signs plastered all over him--has fallen in love. Maybe that Donne bloke wasn't a fool after all.
If Doyle were here now, he'd be laughing like a drain. "Bodie?" he'd say. "In love?" he'd say. And then he'd be like a terrier with a bone. Wanting to know the ins and outs and wherefores, and there would be no way I could tell him.
How can I?
Because it's Doyle I'm in love with.
And of all the certainties in my life, that was the one thing I wasn't counting on.
Now it's nearing Christmas and Ray'll insist on one of two things. He'll either want to drag me home to his parents' house for Christmas--which isn't bad, actually. His mum and dad are lovely people, and treat me like a member of the family. The problem is his mum. She is unbelievably perceptive. Must be the Doyle eyes.
Don't get me started on Ray's slanted, exotic looking eyes.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. His mum'll know something's up straight away. She'll only have to take one look at me and know. She did that once when I was slightly injured. Had taken a tumble chasing after some villains and dislocated my shoulder. Ray had reduced it, but it was still very sore. I refused to wear a collar and take any painkillers, and I acted normally--well, I thought I'd acted normally--but she still knew. Wouldn't let me lift a finger to help and shuffled me upstairs for a lie down. Didn't have the heart to refuse and I was feeling the effects.
So if she can see when I'm in pain, she'll definitely see when I'm in love, because that's infinitely more painful, you know.
Alternatively, if Ray doesn't invite me to his parents', he'll offer to have me over all Christmas and cook me some proper home cooked food. I can never resist his food. Cooks like a dream. Mind you, I do offer to help. Hindering, he calls it, though. How can tasting be hindering, I ask you?
Shit. That's the doorbell. I'll have to answer it.
"'Lo Bodie, let me in."
As I press the release button I have to wonder what he's doing here at this time of night, when he said he was going to be tucked up in bed by 10pm. It's already 11.15.
He's slammed the door. Again! Told him about doing that. I get it in the neck from the neighbours all the time. Be glad when I get shifted, quite frankly. I open the door, just in time to see him leap up the last few steps.
"Hi Doyle. What's up?" I ask him, turning around and walking back into the lounge, knowing he's going to follow me. Which he does, at least part way.
He doesn't answer, just leans against the lounge door like he usually does. One foot over the other; arms folded; hips canted. Looks a sight for sore eyes, he does. How am I supposed to resist temptation like that? Tell me. Please!
Very much aware of my body's immediate reaction, I turn away. Luckily the window is nearby and I lean my forehead against it as I watch the world and its family disappear off to their neat semi's without a care.
The next thing I feel is a hot body leaning against my back, ostensibly peering over my shoulder. I try to make myself relax, but my heart is pounding so loudly it's a wonder Doyle can't hear it, not to mention those people in the street.
My heart is going to stop.
Really, it is. Cardiac arrest, here I come.
He puts his arm around my waist. Don't move, Bodie. Don't say anything. But of course my brain and mouth are way ahead of me.
"Doyle? Wha...what're you doing?"
He pulls me closer and nuzzles my neck before replying. "What does it look like, you dumb crud?"
More nuzzles and I'm melting.
Argh, what am I saying? I'm tough. I'm a CI5 agent. Stronger men than me have crumbled before me, and here I am turning into a puddle of mush just from one...several...nuzzles.
"Bodie. Turn around. I need to see you. Talk to you."
The words hit my ears but they don't actually register.
I don't get much choice anyway. He spins me around and presses himself against me, shoving me up against the window.
"Bodie," he whispers huskily. "Bodie, I've got to tell you something, mate."
He hasn't a clue what that voice does to me. He will in a minute though. If he doesn't move off...oh fuck...think he felt it.
Oh. Oh! I think...I think Ray's in love.
His face just lit up like some z-list star turning on the Christmas lights at Harrods. Those glorious eyes are glowing. Pah, shut up Bodie. Now I'm sounding like a bad Mills 'n' Boon book. You know the ones--boy meets girl, boy falls out with girl, girl pines, boy makes up with girl when he realises that she is the love of his life. Except this time its boy meets boy, boy doesn't realise he has fallen in love with boy, boy mphmmmmmmmm....
I open my eyes and glance across at the alarm clock. Bloody hell, it's already 06.55am. Not that I'm really complaining, you understand.
If ever there was a heaven, and if by some exceedingly slim chance I went there, then this is it.
I have that fiery ball of passion in my arms. He's been there since last night.
No. I'm not going to tell you what happened, although you can probably guess at the what, but not at what was said.
I've never felt this much possession over anything or anyone before. So much power to hurt; to soothe; to keep safe. I've never been scared before either but I am now.
Still, we both know what's at stake and we're willing to work at it.
Look after number one? Phooey. Look after number one and two, that's my new motto.
Us against the world. Eh, Ray?
Us against the world. That's how it's always been though, and now it looks like it always will be.
What a bloody wonderful Christmas present.
Santa must have thought I've been a good boy this year. He only went and brought me my heart's desire.
Next year he can have a bloody huge bottle of Glenmorangie.
Part Two: ...Winter's Snow
I must be bloody mad. Never done anything like this before. The neighbours will think I'm loopy. Mind you, they already think I am anyway. According to Bodie, they always complain about my slamming his door.
Yep, I know. How petty can you get? They'd be complaining if I shot a few rounds off in his flat, wouldn't they? Cantankerous old farts.
That's not what I'm here for though. Not tonight. Sitting here in the Capri at almost midnight outside Bodie's flat. Working up the courage to get out of the car, walk across to the building and press the intercom button.
Something I've done loads of times, without thought or question. Particularly on a bright, sunny, early morning, when I've leant on the button without compunction to get that idle bugger out of bed for a run. He's such a lazy sod. Likes his lie-ins, he does.
Mind you, though he always complains about having to drag his carcass out of bed, once we are out and about and running he dun'alf perk up. We both do, actually. Me because I'm spending quality time with my best mate, and him--well, usually because I resort to bribing him with a full English back at my flat. What he won't do for some grub isn't worth talking about. Bless him.
But nothing is as important as this is. Nothing. I just have to summon up the courage to....
Oh for pity's sake, Doyle, just get out of the car. That's it. Now lock it. Take a deep breath. No, don't look up at his window; just walk nonchalantly across the pavement. Good. 'nother deep breath and....
I press it.
This is it. "'Lo Bodie, let me in," I say, heart going ten to the dozen.
He does and I do my usual trick of slamming the door. Can't help it, it's like I have to do it or die, d'you know what I mean? Anyway, I pound up the stairs to find the door open and him waiting there.
"Hi Doyle. What's up?" he asks, before turning away from me and wandering back inside. Gives me the perfect view of his delectable arse. No, Doyle, don't think about his arse just yet.
Okay. Composure. Right, sorted...I think. I walk in and lean against his lounge door, tilting my hips at just the right angle. Yes, okay, so I know the effect I have on women when I do this. It's been perfected over a number of years, y'know. I'm just hoping it has the same effect on our Mr. Bodie over there.
And it would seem it has. He turns away, but not before I detect a flash of something in his gorgeous eyes.
Don't get me started on his beautiful, emotive, midnight blue eyes, lined with the longest, most delicious looking black lashes I ever saw on a man. If they were on a female, they'd be sexy. On him, they are just spectacular.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. He's supposedly watching the traffic outside, but I can see through the reflection in the window his sneaky glances towards me.
It's given me enough confidence anyway. Confidence to walk across to him, stand extremely close and put my arm around his waist. I can feel his pulse pounding away beneath my wrist.
"Doyle? Wha...what're you doing?" he asks, nervously.
I can't help it. He's temptation itself and his neck is just begging to be nuzzled. So I do it. "What does it look like, you dumb crud?" I say, somewhat amused.
But, much as nuzzling his neck is delightful, I need more.
"Bodie. Turn around. I need to see you. Talk to you."
I know he wouldn't turn around voluntarily so I do it for him. I turn him and press him up against his window. Shit, his body feels so damn good against mine. That's even with clothes on. God knows what it'll be like without.
I lower my voice, and hope it sounds sexy. "Bodie. Bodie, I've got to tell you something, mate."
Before I would have said he looked bewildered, but all of a sudden he just looks so...well, I would never have said an ex-merc could look terrified, but he does...
And now I know why. I can't stop the delighted grin from spreading over my face, along with an almighty sense of relief that I didn't get something as important as this wrong.
If Cowley himself walked in, right at this precise moment, it wouldn't stop me from leaning forward and capturing his wonderful pouting lips with mine in a blisteringly hot, yet deliciously sweet first kiss.
I feel as if I've been awake for hours, but in reality I know it's only been minutes. I've finally found that safe harbour I've been looking for all my life; my soul mate. Bodie completes me. He always did, actually, but I never realised it until now.
Had the night of my life last night. Nope, don't even bother to ask 'cause I aint telling. But I know I have a smile on me the size of England itself.
And I also know that it's love. As pure a love as you could find anywhere. An enduring, lifelong, grande passione. How did WH Auden put it? "He's my north, my south, my east, my west." Or something like that, anyway. It's true. He is.
It's Christmas too. I'd completely forgotten that. What a bloody wonderful Christmas pressie. Santa must have thought I'd been a good boy all year. He gave me Bodie.
And I will never let go. Me and you against the world, eh Bodie?
I let out one gigantic, contented sigh and snuggle further down into the sheets. No way am I dragging him out of bed today for a jog.
Got better things to do, haven't we?
-- THE END --