The rest room was almost too loud for him to hear himself think, Anson, Murphy and Jax gathered around the radio, cheering their horse on.
It’d all be going so well. He’d been so far out in front of the field, not another rider that could touch him, not at least where this particular dark horse was concerned.
When he’d first met him, he’d had doubts that he’d ever be able to get a saddle on him. There’d just been far too many riders and none of them the right one, but something had just clicked between them, the symbiosis always dreamed of and rarely achieved. In a stable full of thoroughbreds they’d risen quickly to the top of the board.
It had been a good ride too. They’d learned to effortlessly read each other and in the process he’d have been a fool if he hadn’t realized that Bodie’s hoped for finish line was a permanent partnership between them, both on and off the track. There were days when he’d thought that was what he wanted too though not enough to actually damn the consequences and hit the hay with Bodie. He’d wanted to keep his options open, convinced, even after Ann, that there might still be a perfect filly out there waiting for him. Still, he’d been careful to feed Bodie scraps and scratch his muzzle affectionately now and again, to keep him interested, just in case, a waiting stud in the pen. Both of them still played the field but he saw that Bodie would turn his back on any of them if he called.
He realized he was dragging his forefinger backwards and forwards across his bottom lip again and dropped his hand to the arm of the chair. Doctor Ross had warned him it was a tell, but it was bloody difficult to stop doing it.
What he hadn’t considered, was in the process of letting him have his head, Bodie might find a different running mate. He hadn’t banked on Anthea Douglas, on loan from MI5, a Marrika look-alike with a wicked sense of humour and a perfect score on the shooting range. He still hadn’t been worried, despite how much time Bodie had been spending with her off duty, until twenty minutes beforehand when he’d overheard Anthea telling Susan “He’s talking about a ring.”
He’d been wearing blinkers, a bloody fool not honest enough with himself to realize that he wanted the same thing that Bodie did and now it looked like it might be too late.
He shot to his feet. Fuck that, he’d never just given up in a race in his life and he wasn’t going to start now. It might well be a photo finish but he vowed he was going to win this one. Time to find Bodie.