“Let’s leave it.”
What harm would it do? The car park has been cleared, the police are keeping everybody back - except Cowley who seems to think the warnings don’t apply to him. So that’s his problem, isn’t it? The Bomb Squad are on their way, all we have to do is walk away, Bodie. Why not? Just this once, eh? Not even an hour ago I thought I was going to die, and now this. Why is it always you and me who put our lives on the line, every bloody time?
“Let’s pull it.”
We can’t leave this bomb to go off, anything might happen. There might be somebody in a car nearby who doesn’t realise what’s going on. Or the explosion might be bigger than we’re expecting. And Cowley is getting nearer, so he’s gonna get it too. Come on Doyle, you can do this, I know you can. I trust you with my life. And if it all goes wrong then we go together. That’s right, isn’t it?
At the moment when their lives may end, Bodie turns towards the car door. He won’t look death in the face. He doesn’t want this, but he knows it’s gonna happen. The muscles in his neck tense. He is connected to Doyle only by the bomb they both hold. Doyle turns his face out to the world, his eyes scrunched shut, his fingers on the wire, their lives in his hands.
They share a commitment to their future, whatever it may be.
Gasping, panting breaths. The relief, the laughter, the connection. Their eyes meet. They know that they would have died together as they lived together. Full of passion, energy, vitality. Always together.
There is only one place to go from here.
Doyle drove home in silence, the radio turned off. His initial smiling relief at defusing the bomb had deteriorated into a rapid depression. As Cowley had sent them on their way, he remembered looking at Bodie’s face as it turned white as a sheet, as he realised the full enormity of what had happened. What they had risked.
They had said their goodbyes and left in their two separate cars, to go home to two empty flats. Doyle pulled up outside his, his heart heavy. Shit, what a day. He put his arms on the steering wheel and rested his head on them, taking a moment of peace and quiet for himself, just a few minutes away from the madness. He kept coming back to one thing. What if.
With a shudder he pulled himself together and got out of the car, yanking his jacket off the passenger seat, and slamming the door and locking it. As he walked towards his flat, head down, he heard the sound of feet on the pavement behind him and he spun around to see Bodie walking towards him very fast, his own car parked just a little further down the street.
“What’s up?” asked Doyle, confused. “Did I forget something?”
Bodie grabbed his shoulders firmly, looking him straight in the eye. “What?” asked Doyle again.
Bodie paused and seemed to falter slightly, his complexion still as pale as it was when Doyle had last seen him. “I, er, fancied a drink,” he said, in a not very convincing voice.
Doyle smiled a half smile. “Didn’t fancy going back to an empty flat, eh?” God, he knew how that felt. “Come on then.” He broke free of Bodie’s grasp and fingered his keys as he approached the front door.
He let them both in and set the locks behind them, throwing his jacket on the chair as he walked over to the whiskey bottle. He poured out two generous measures and handed a glass to Bodie. Bodie chinked his glass against Doyle’s, then swallowed the contents in one before holding it out for a re-fill, looking up at Doyle with eyes that were dark and watery. Doyle obliged, re-filling both their glasses, then he slumped down on the sofa, resting his head back.
Bodie walked over to the window and looked out, the setting summer sun leaving the street in a curious glow. “We could’ve died today, Doyle,” he said quietly, his voice strained and clipped.
“We could die any day, sunshine,” said Doyle.
“We should have left that bomb to go off.”
“No, you were right. We couldn’t risk it. Pulling that wire was the only thing we could’ve done.”
“But that could’ve been our moment. The end.” Bodie walked across to the sofa and sat down next to Doyle, leaning forward with his elbows on his knees as he caressed the glass.
Doyle ran his fingers through his curls, absent mindedly. “Twice in one hour, eh?”
“What do you mean?”
“Bloody Duffy tried to kill me, didn’t he? The meet was a trap.”
Bodie looked up at him. “You told Cowley the girl shot him, but you didn’t say he’d tried to shoot you first.”
“Yes I did!”
“I was bloody there, Doyle, you didn’t say a thing!”
“Bodie, the look on your face I’m surprised you noticed what day of the week it was, never mind the details of my report to Cowley.”
Bodie paused, the muscles in his neck twitching. “So Duffy tried to kill you?”
“Yeah. He had the drop on me. If it wasn’t for the girl I’d be dead.”
“Jesus Christ, Doyle.” Bodie stood up abruptly and smashed his glass down on the table top, as he stormed across the room and kicked the metal fire place surround. He put his arm on the mantelpiece, leaning against it with his head down.
Doyle sighed. He hadn’t realised Bodie wasn’t taking in what he was saying to Cowley. But he should have guessed. He stood up and carefully approached, resting his hand on Bodie’s shoulder.
“Hey,” he said softly, “I’m all right. We’re both all right.”
“Yeah,” said Bodie, his voice muffled as he spoke into his arm, “But how long for, eh?”
“Ah Bodie, don’t you know we’ll be fine as long as we stick together?”
Bodie turned around at that, his face torn between despair and rage. “But that’s just it, isn’t Doyle? Where was I when Duffy was taking pot shots at you, eh? Why didn’t you ask for backup?”
Doyle looked taken aback for a moment. “It was just Sylvie, asking for a meet to give me information.”
“So you go to a deserted block of flats, to meet a girl you don’t trust, without even telling control where you were? And that bastard was just sitting there, waiting for you to turn up. You were a sitting duck, for crying out loud!”
Doyle put his hand on Bodie’s arm but Bodie shook it off immediately. “One fucking call on the radio and I would have been there. I’m meant to be your fucking partner!” Bodie voice broke on the last few words and Doyle tried to take hold of him, to calm him, but Bodie was beyond calming.
“Bodie, will you calm down for Christ’s sake?” Doyle tried to put his hand on Bodie’s arm once again, but this time Bodie got rid of him by smacking Doyle in the face with the full force of his fist. Doyle staggered backwards, his hands going straight to his nose, his eyes watering with the sudden intense pain. He fell back on the sofa, clutching his nose as blood started to drip down his chin.
“What did you do that for?” he cried, his voice muffled as he tried to hold the top of his nose to stop the bleeding.
Without a word Bodie strode into the kitchen and grabbed a tea towel, running it under the cold water and ringing it out. He took a box of tissues from the worktop, then came back and sat next to Doyle, pulling Doyle’s hand away and mopping the blood with some of the tissues. He checked to see if anything was broken, and on deciding that perhaps it wasn’t, he placed Doyle’s fingers back on the bridge of his nose. “You stupid....” he said, under his breath.
“Me, stupid?” Doyle’s voice was indistinct. “What sort of partner punches you in the nose?”
“An angry one,” said Bodie, lifting Doyle’s head for a moment to check on the damage. He mopped the mess with a few more tissues. “It’s still bleeding.”
“Yeah, thanks for the update,” muttered Doyle, his eyes still streaming.
“Put your head forward,” advised Bodie, putting the wet towel on the back of Doyle’s neck and keeping his hand there in support.
Doyle did as he was told, but not without a slurred, “Well thank you, Doctor fucking Kildare.”
A few minutes went by in silence, save for Doyle’s careful sniffing, and the sound of Bodie’s hand on the fabric of Doyle’s t-shirt as he rubbed his back in gentle circles.
“Think it’s stopped,” said Doyle eventually, lifting his head slowly. His watery eyes caught Bodie in their glare. “What was that all about then?” he asked, quietly.
Bodie sighed. “Because I was angry you didn’t call for back up. Because we both nearly died today. And because I can’t even think about living without you, you stupid, pea brained, hard arsed, golly.”
“Oh,” said Doyle. A half smile playing across his lips. “Well that’s all right then.”
There was a moment that seemed to last forever, where they imperceptibly moved towards each other until their lips were millimetres apart. Time stopped.
And Bodie started to move back.
Doyle grabbed his arm, hard. “Oh no you don’t.”
“No Bodie, you’re not backing out on me now.”
“Ray, stop it.”
“Or what? You’ll punch me again? Or get your bottle back and kiss me? What’s it gonna be, Bodie?”
“Just now you said you couldn’t live without me.”
“I meant it.”
And there was that pause again.
“What? What, Bodie? Why don’t you just say what you’re feeling, for once in your life?”
Oh no. Anything but that. Bodie put his hand around Doyle’s neck and pulled him towards him, not stopping until they were deep in a soft, sensual kiss.
It worked. They didn’t have to talk now.