The Professionals belongs to Brian Clemens and Mark 1 Productions. This is done for love, not money.
"You've got an admirer," Doyle commented. He nodded towards a woman waiting beside the bar.
"Only natural," Bodie replied smugly, following Doyle's gesture. "The surprise is that she's the on-" There was an almost imperceptible pause before he finished the sentence. "Only one."
Doyle frowned thoughtfully across the table at his partner before turning back to the woman. "I know her from somewhere."
Bodie took a mouthful of his drink. "Couple of months ago. You went out with her friend a few times."
"And you went out with her." Relieved that this wasn't going to turn out to be a work-related vendetta, Doyle grinned. "What's the matter, didn't she like being dumped?"
Bodie shrugged. "It's a coincidence, Doyle. This is a popular pub, she lives in the area." He glanced over at her again and quickly stood up. "It's a nice day. Let's go and sit outside."
Doyle stared after his partner before picking up his gin and tonic and following. By the time he got outside, Bodie was settled in a shady corner of the beer garden. "Thought the point of coming outside was to enjoy the sun," Doyle said as he sat down.
With a hint of his previous relaxation, Bodie gave a faint smile, his voice filled with patronising patience. "I've got very fair skin, Ray. I burn easily."
"Never bothered you in Africa." Doyle grinned in response. "Can't quite see a big, tough merc stopping to plaster on the factor twenty."
Bodie's smile vanished. "There were lot of things that didn't bother me in Africa," he muttered.
Doyle sighed. "Are you going to be in a funny mood all day? Because if so, I'm going to head off now." He realised that Bodie was looking over his shoulder and swivelled to follow his gaze to where Bodie's ex was leaning against the doorframe. "The fan club's after you again, I see."
"I'm irresistable." The standard quip was delivered in a flat voice. Bodie waited a few moments before viciously pushing his chair back. "Sod it, I'm going."
"We could just go to a different pub," Doyle called after him but there was no response. He watched as Bodie approached the woman in the doorway and paused. She leaned forward to speak to him and Bodie tensed then shoved her out of the way.
Doyle sighed. He pulled a regretful face at his drink, knocked it back and went to talk to the girl.
"Hiya. Karen, isn't it?"
She turned distracted eyes on him. "Carol. Do I know- oh. You're Bodie's friend."
"Ray." Doyle paused and sniffed. "Look, is there anything I can help you with?"
Her face suddenly twisted into bitterness. "He's sent you to do his dirty work, has he? How much money's he given you for me to get it taken care of?"
"Get what taken care of?"
Carol wasn't listening. "Well, you can tell him to take his money and shove it where the sun doesn't shine." With that, she was gone, leaving Doyle staring after her.
"Bodie," he muttered under his breath. By the time he reached the front door of the pub, there was no sign of his partner.
Doyle glanced at his watch impatiently, then glared at the silver Capri sitting innocently by the kerb. It had been more than three hours since he'd left the pub and he'd spent the past one and a half of them sitting here outside Bodie's flat.
From what he could see, Bodie had been here to swap his car for his motorbike and had then disappeared.
Doyle reached down and flicked off the radio, irritated by the banal dross that it was churning out. Even more irritated by the silence, he grabbed a tape at random and shoved it in. Fleetwood Mac, Rumours. He could cope with that, even if this wasn't the way he would have chosen to spend a sunny day off.
He was just about to pack it in when a knock on the half-open window startled him. Bodie was leaning against the car, grinning. "What on earth are you doing out here, Raymond?" he asked genially.
"How did you do that?" Doyle demanded, looking back down the street.
"If you're going to stake out my flat, at least do it in a car I don't know quite as well as this one." Bodie tapped the roof of the gold Capri, then pulled off his gloves. "Coming in for a drink?"
Doyle debated denying that he'd been staking out the flat but decided against it. "Where've you been?" he asked, sliding out of the car.
"Out on my bike."
"I'd never have guessed." Doyle eyed Bodie's black motorcycle leathers significantly. "Aren't they a bit hot in this weather?"
Bodie shrugged. "Not particularly."
Doyle swung the car door shut and tactfully didn't comment on the trickles of sweat sliding down Bodie's face or the fact that his hair, still flattened from the helmet, was distinctly damp. "So why'd you take off?"
All expression slid from Bodie's face. "To get away from questions."
"Ah, come on, Bodie. I'm just trying to work out whether you're going to get your head blown off any time soon."
"I won't." Bodie's voice was as dead as his face.
"So are you going to tell me what's going on with Carol? And why she thought you were going to give her money to get whatever it is taken care of?"
"She thought that?" The momentary hint of interest quickly vanished. "No, I'm not going to tell you. It's none of your business."
"I'm just trying to watch your back."
"Well don't," Bodie snapped. He was silent for a long moment and, when he next spoke, his voice held a calm that made Doyle uneasy. "It's personal, nothing to do with work. Just something I need to take care of. Leave it, okay?"
Reluctantly, Doyle shrugged. "I suppose so."
"Thanks." Suddenly Bodie's step lightened and he looked at his partner with a grin. "How about a drink?"
That evening, Bodie leaned against the iron railing of his balcony, the flat dark behind him, and watched the street. He liked summer evenings - the balmy warmth and the rapidly fading light of the sky as the sun finally surrendered and retreated below the horizon; the reluctant cries of children as they were persuaded, cajoled and eventually ordered into bed; the way that pub life spilled easily out on to the pavement. It almost made Britain feel like a different country, one less reserved and formal about itself while still keeping the essential politeness and courtesy that made it what it was.
He smiled faintly at his own whimsy. Not that he came across much politeness and courtesy in his line of work but still, it was nice to know that it was there on those occasions when he stepped out of the murky world of CI5.
And finally, just when he was starting to hope that she wasn't going to turn up, Carol stepped round the corner. With a sigh, Bodie pushed himself off the railing and walked through to the intercom. He answered it as soon as it buzzed.
"Bodie, it's Carol." Her voice was distorted by the microphone but the tension was still audible. "I need to talk to you."
He surprised himself with the casualness of his reply. "Sure, come on up."
He opened the door, fished a beer out of the fridge and was back on the balcony by the time she hesitantly pushed the door further open. He watched as she squinted into the gloom. "Bodie?"
Taking pity on her, he stepped into the room. "Evening." He raised the can in her direction. "Drink?"
"No." She was silent for a moment before adding a belated, "Thanks."
Bodie shrugged. "Sit down." He flicked the lights on, blinked in the uncomfortable glare. A glance at the tension on Carol's face as she perched on the sofa had him wishing he could turn them back off. "What do you want?" he asked, knowing he was being brusque and offensive but not knowing, not wanting to know, any other way of asking.
Carol took a deep breath, clutched her handbag closer on her knee. "I'm pregnant."
He'd already known. She had to know that - why else had he been so desperate to avoid her? But he had to carry on playing out the scene. "I thought you were on the Pill," he said pointlessly.
She shrugged, looked uncomfortable. "That's why I wanted you to use a condom."
"You should have said why. I thought you were just being fussy." Accusing, and he watched as she faltered, twined the handbag's shoulderstrap through her fingers. "If you want an abortion, I''ll give you the money."
"No. I don't want an abortion."
"I can help you organise an adoption, then."
"I want to keep it." Defiant, she glared at him.
"Jesus." Spoken softly on an exhaled breath. "Are you saying that you want me to be a father? Cause I can't."
He watched as the budding hope on her face withered and died. "Can't or won't?"
"Both." He shrugged. "I don't want to be a father, Carol. Never did. Can't see that I ever will. And even if I did..."
"You wouldn't have chosen me as the mother." Bitter now.
"Even if I did, the job wouldn't let me," he corrected. "We only went out for a couple of weeks but you saw what it was like, Carol. Would you make a kid suffer having a dad like that?"
She shrugged diffidently. "I suppose I was hoping you'd leave the job."
"Nice little nine-to-five job, coming home to the wife and child?" Bodie felt a momentary stab of guilt at the hurt on her face. "It wouldn't work, Carol. I'll pay maintenance for the kid but I can't give you anything more." He paused and, hating the need to say it, continued. "You're sure it's mine?"
Carol's head snapped round and she glared at him. "There's nobody else it could be. I'm not easy, Bodie." She let out a burst of harsh laughter. "Jesus. I'm having your baby and I don't even know your name. What should I put on the birth certificate?"
Bodie watched her bowed head as she fumbled in her handbag for a tissue.
"What do I tell my mother?"
"William Andrew Philip Bodie." He recited the names as if they bore no relation to him. They barely did - he'd been plain, simple 'Bodie' for so long. He didn't bother replying to the other question. "When's it due?"
She sniffed, blew her nose. "March."
"When are you giving up work?" He tried to remember where she worked, what she did, and gave up.
"Don't know. I haven't thought that far."
She'd hoped Bodie would take care of her from now, he knew. "How much do you want? Money." The look on her face told him that he shouldn't have clarified what he was offering.
"I don't know. I'll need to work it out."
"Okay." He nodded and finally stepped close enough to rest his hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry, Carol." She craned her neck to look up at him. This time, he could tell, she wanted him to clarify. The truth was, he didn't know what he was sorry for. Sorry for her? Sorry for himself? Sorry for the kid? Sorry he'd been so bloody stubborn about refusing a condom? Reluctantly, he told her what she wanted to hear. "Sorry I can't offer you more."
Ironically, it was the one thing he wasn't sorry about. He'd have to be a different person for that to bother him; a person without the aura of danger that had attracted Carol to him in the first place.
"You're lying." She rested her cheek on his hand.
"Yeah," he admitted.
"Don't lie. Please."
He remained silent and she sighed.
"Alright, Bodie. William." She tasted the unfamiliar name. "Were you Billy at school? No, don't bother. None of my business." She pulled herself to her feet. "I'll go. My solicitor will be in touch."
Relieved, Bodie shut the door behind her and flicked the lights off. He needed the darkness at the moment.
He'd got girls pregnant before but it had been abroad where it never really mattered. African girls, giving in before being asked, fearful of the known brutalities of the mercenaries - for a nineteen-year-old the power had been an aphrodisiac, a power that meant it was never quite rape in his own mind. Hong Kong girls who knew what they were doing and what they were getting, who didn't need to be given the address of a convenient clinic; not professional hookers but they had a mental pricelist of dinners and jewellery. There'd been a German girl but his posting had come to a convenient end and if she'd tried to contact him, she hadn't been successful.
This was different. Strong as the temptation was to just pack a bag and vanish, he knew it would be an over-reaction. He took a long drink from his rapidly warming can. He had no choice but to face up to it.
Just as he'd come to that conclusion, the intercom buzzed. Weary and suspicious, he answered it with a curt, "Yes?"
He sighed, clicked the downstairs door open. "Come on up, Doyle." He opened the front door at Doyle's knock. "Beer in the fridge," Bodie greeted his partner.
Doyle helped himself. "So Carol tracked you down?" he commented, cracking open the can.
Not particularly surprised, Bodie glanced over. "Staking me out again?"
"I took your advice." He grinned. "Borrowed Murph's car."
Bodie looked down the street and just caught the nose of the green Cortina. "There are times when I wish I hadn't taught you as much as I have." He turned back to find himself the subject of Doyle's scrutiny. "What?"
"What's going on, Bodie?"
"Doyle." Bodie stretched the name to two syllables. "Can't you just drop it?"
"Nope." Doyle's cheerfulness failed to mask his determination.
Bodie surrendered "Congratulate me - I'm going to be a daddy." He raised his beer in a mock toast.
Doyle's eyebrows shot up. "Ouch."
"Yeah, something like that." Bodie finished his beer.
"So what are you doing about it?"
"She wants to keep it." Bodie shrugged. "So, as if Cowley didn't pay us little enough, I'm now going to be shelling out maintenance as well."
"Just maintenance?" Doyle asked innocently.
"Yes, just maintenance, Raymond. I'm not suddenly becoming domesticated just because my sperm are too vigorous for their own good."
"Not even going to see it occasionally?"
"Can you really see me as a father?" Bodie asked cynically.
"You never know until you give it a go."
"So the poor kid just gets used to me being around and I vanish? Or I turn up a couple of times a year, with big expensive gifts because bribery's the only way it's going to be pleased to see me?" Bodie shook his head. "Nope. Trust me, it'll be easier on the kid if it doesn't even know who I am." He frowned thoughtfully. "I hope Carol doesn't give it my surname."
"Doubt she will. It'd be hard to explain with you not being around at all." Doyle sipped his drink. "What's her surname?"
Bodie thought for a moment. "Haven't got a clue." He gave a snort of bitter laughter. "She was complaining that she didn't know my first name and I don't know what her surname is. McSomething, I think."
Doyle raised his drink. "Well, here's to Baby McSomething."
-- THE END --