Actions

Work Header

Medical Research

Work Text:

 WRAP HIM UP BY CHRISTMAS...
TIME TO SNAG THAT SNOG AND SEAL THE DEAL
So you’ve spotted the lad of your dreams, sussed he’s sexily single and made sure you’ve definitely caught his eye. Now if you really want that lad in your stocking for Christmas, the next step is to guarantee he falls for you harder than a gladiator losing at Hang Tough. How, we hear you ask? It’s easy – just follow our get-him-hooked checklist below.

 

 


“So do you want me to put your hair in pig tails or shall we just swap makeup tips?” Guy asked as he threw himself down on the sofa next to Boyce.

Boyce didn’t answer. Partly because it was only worth getting in an argument with Guy if you were in the mood for a bit of sado-masochism (normally not far from Boyce’s taste). Partly because right now he was deep in concentration. And mostly because the magazine was very pink, had a picture of a smiling skin-perfect girl emblazoned on the cover, a tube of glitter lip gloss still stuck to the front and was called “Mizz”.

This was not a battle that could be won. Anyway ignoring Guy normally worked just fine to annoy him. The silence lasted for all of twenty three seconds (Boyce had been counting) before Guy could take it no more and plucked the magazine from his hands.

“Yeugghhh...” he groaned at the page as Martin wandered over, stirring his yoghurt noisily.

“What’re you looking at?” Martin asked.

“Boyce is looking at pictures of naked teenage boys,” Guy said loudly, eyes already searching the mess room for anyone who might overhear.

“Why?”

“He’s dressed in wrapping paper,” Boyce pointed out.

“Skimpily,” Guy replied. “And still a teenage boy.”

 “Why?” Martin asked again.

“Research,” Boyce told them. “Medical Research. The impact of pre-pubescent psychology on the adult male.”

Statham walked through the door, timing impeccable, hands surreptitiously trying to make his white coat billow out behind him. The three of them watched him.

“Ah,” Guy replied, his grin already colouring his tone.

 “I didn’t know you were working with the psychology department,” Martin said as he abandoned the spoon and turned to the difficult task of licking out the pot.

 

 

 

 

 

1. KEEP IN TOUCH

Calling or texting him loads at this stage could be a bit full-on. Instead add him on Myspace, Facebook or MSN, so you can drop him the occasional cool-yet-funny message.

 

 

 

 

 

The problem with the advice, as Boyce found out, was that Statham didn’t actually have Myspace or Facebook – he didn’t even tweet. Well. Technically he ‘didn’t have’ any of them, now he was enjoying a sudden, highly popular internet presence. His Myspace already had over a hundred friends and Facebook’s ‘Dr. Alan Statham Dis-Appreciation Page’ was practically on fire.

It was enough to make you proud.

Thankfully what Statham did have was a hospital pager. And even better, their pagers had a text function.

*****

HEY, WHAT U UP 2? BEEN TRAPPED WTH MONSTERS IN MORGUE ALL DAY. THNKFLLY REMMBRED MY STAKE - BOYCIE x

Statham stared at his pager in some alarm. It had been three years since it has last bleeped at him and that message had just been a test to see if it was working. People generally just left him to his work, they knew he would turn up where he was needed – it was a radiologist’s sense.

This message, in contrast, seemed to have been sent by a monkey. A monkey with syphilis. Who couldn’t spell.

“If you’re needed somewhere, Dr. Statham, we’ll be just fine without you,” Joanna said, glancing up from her notes. “Better in fact.”

“No, no, no, no,” he told her. “I’m not needed. No, I mean I am needed. Here. You need me here. You need me.”

They were going through a tricky stage in their relationship. Temporarily.

“We really don’t.”

*****

THINK I SWAPPED THE BARIUM PREP FOR A STRAWBRRY MILKSHAKE. MY BAD. BOYCIE x

*****

IS THAT MOTION BLURRING OR R U JUST HAPPY TO C ME? BOYCIE x

*****

HEY, DED COLD 2DAY – HOW R THE OLD NIPPLES? BOYCIE x

*****

Statham finally tracked Boyce down in the canteen, sat with a gaggle of his friends – the normal lackeys – giggling.

“You! Up! Now! Office!” Statham ordered, pointed finger trembling with rage.

“We’re eating,” Boyce replied with a grin, gesturing at their plates. Each contained a pile of carefully sculpted mashed potato. Boyce’s had been neatly piled into the shape of a snowman, toothpicks for arms and a small piece of carrot for a nose. Next to it was a pair of large, perky breasts – the Swiss gimp had just started working on the nipples.

Nipples! Statham felt his face flush angrily red.

“Office! Office! Now!” He demanded, arm still outstretched. “Now! Office!”

“You’re frisky today,” Boyce commented, “People will get the wrong idea, you know.”

“Fine, fine. You leave me no choice,” with a little difficulty and a flourish, he fished the offending pager from his pocket. “Do you know what this is, Mr. Boyce?”

“It’s a pager.”

“Yes, it’s a pager and why do you think I’m showing you this pager?” He asked him.

 “Was it found inside a patient?” Dr. Macartney suggested.

“Oooh,” the short worrying one said, enthusiastically, “Maybe it’s a magic pager. You know, like maybe when someone-”

“Shut up! I was talking to him. Well?”

Boyce shrugged. “No idea. Is it a magical pager?”

“No, it damn well isn’t magical. If it was magical a plebeian like you wouldn’t be able fill it with such filth. Filth!”

“Oh, so you got my messages. I was starting to worry. You didn’t respond to any of them. It was very rude.”

“Respond? Respond to... to... NIPPLES!”

The word seemed to reverberate through the busy room as they all looked up at him, even the Swiss gimp finally looked away from his breasts, even people from other tables peered over, curious or shocked. Boyce stared on, smile fixed permanently to his stupid face, completely unperturbed. Statham could feel the rage building.

He hesitated for a moment, placed the pager onto the table, and then began systematically to destroy the mashed potato snowman, fingers sinking deep into the soft food and seizing thick handfuls of the stuff he pressed it against Boyce’s cheeks, smothering them before running it through his hair.

Finished at last he rescued the pager, pressed it between the mashed potato breasts, flicked both nipples away and spinning on his heel, stormed from the table.

“And that’s not how you spell dead!” He screeched over his shoulder.

 

 

 

 

 

2. HANG OUT NEARBY
Now he knows who you are, up the stakes. Find out what classes he has so you can ‘accidentally’ bump into him when he leaves. Suss which bus he gets and ride a few stops in the same direction to a mate’s house. He’ll spookily feel like he has loads in common with you.

 

 

 

 

They sat in silence for a moment, all eyes fixed upon Statham’s fleeing back. Boyce couldn’t help the feeling of deep satisfaction spreading through his body, like a warm glow (although that might also be the sensation of the mashed potato). It felt like a job well done, though he suspected this wasn’t the result the magazine had been aiming for.

“Well,” Guy said, turning his attention back to his ruined creation, “The experiment seems to be going well.”

“I have to say it’s really quite impressive how you manage to make his moustache quiver,” Mac said.

“Whose moustache is quivering?” Caroline asked, putting her tray on the table. “Nice breasts. Not many of them come with a text option.”

“Thank you,” Guy replied, still engrossed in his repair work.

“It was Statham’s quivering moustache.”

Caroline looked at them in concern for a second. “I really hope that isn’t a euphemism.”

“It isn’t,” Martin replied quickly, “Boyce is following this advice in a girl’s magazine to see how Dr. Statham will react. It’s a psychology experiment. He was sending him all these text messages and-”

“Is it?” Caroline interrupted, clearly sceptical.

“Thank you, Martin,” Boyce said. At this rate he would tell the whole hospital. It was lucky that Statham was inexplicably nervous of Martin (something about his height) and spent most of the time avoiding him or setting elaborate traps - otherwise he’d probably know what was going on in about three days.

“OK,” Mac said, “So step one was text messages, a course sadly no longer available. What was step two?”

Boyce fished the magazine from his jackets pocket and set it on the table, as it fell open to the well-thumbed page he began to read.

“-He’ll spookily feel like he has loads in common with you,” he finished after a moment.

“That’s terrible,” Caroline said with feeling.

“I know,” Guy, unexpectedly, agreed with her. Boyce saw Mac raise an eyebrow. “I mean, have you seen what the magazine looks like, it’s embarrassing to even be seen in public with it.”

“Not that, I meant what they were saying.”

“Well, the advice isn’t that bad. I mean if a girl was going to all the effort to follow me, I’d probably at least give her a sympathy shag. Unless she’s TUFF – Too Ugly For Fucking.”

There was a brief silence, Caroline staring at him in horror for a second. “They’re telling young girls to stalk boys they like. To get on strange buses, they could end up anywhere, at night, in the dark, alone, surrounded by prostitutes.”

“This happened to you, didn’t it?” Mac asked, his lips inching into a grin.

“No...” Caroline said a little too quickly. “No, I just think its bad advice.”

“Well,” Martin said. “At least this one should be easy, you’re already doing it.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, Martin,” Caroline snapped, clearly still flustered.

“No, he does – he’s got Statham’s whole schedule memorised so he can turn up wherever he is and annoy him.”

“That’s true,” Boyce agreed without embarrassment, “Though I think for this I’m going to have to think a little grander. Outside the box.”

“What?”

“I mean, I think it’s time for a field trip... maybe somewhere by bus.”

“But he doesn’t take the bus.”

Beside them, Guy, with a look of deep satisfaction, plunged his face between the two mountainous breasts and shook his head – spraying them all with mashed potato.

*****

Statham was beginning to feel slightly frazzled. Seeing Boyce in his library had been something of a nasty surprise. He’d even been sat by the book he’d wanted. Statham, eyeing him nervously, had had to edge around him, seize the volume and flee.

Then he’d been in the park, at the table tennis court and at his favourite cafe. By the time he’d spotted him several times around his super market, clear on the other side of town from where the boy lived, Statham had been starting to wonder if he was hallucinating him.

Joanna had been refusing him sex for nearly a month now and perhaps the strain was starting to take its toll. Though why he’d be envisioning Boyce instead of beautiful women, he had no idea. It was bad enough he had to see him all day at work.

Still, it was the weekend and he could finally relax. He leant back against the leather of the car’s seat and switched the radio to a classical station, intent on enjoying the drive.

He had just started to sing along, voice trilling though an arpeggio, when suddenly in his rear view mirror he saw Boyce, again. Sat in the back and staring out of the window, deep in thought. His fingers tightened on the steering wheel and he looked back at the road, keeping his eyes fixed straight ahead, willing this strange new vision to vanish. When he at last could stand it no more, he looked back to find Boyce grinning at him.

“Dr. Statham, this is a surprise,” he said brightly and without warning threw himself forward and began to climb over the back of the seat and into the front. In panic, car swerving beneath them, Statham tried to beat him back. It was useless, within seconds Boyce had slithered into the seat next to him. Nearby a car beeped it’s horn and Statham pulled his own back under control.

“What are you doing?” He demanded, though it came out more as a terrified screech.

“Just visiting a friend, a few streets away. How about you, going anywhere special?”

“I... but... I... Why are you in my car?”

Boyce had just started fiddling with the knob on the radio, tuning it to some sort of ridiculous thumping noise channel. He slapped his hand away angrily.

“Coincidence. Us travelling in the same direction. Spooky.”

Statham pulled the car over sharply to the side of the road amidst more shrieking horns. He stared at him in silence for a few seconds, greeted only by Boyce’s mischievous, troublesome, grin.  

“Out!”

Boyce winked at him. “My stop, maybe I’ll see you around some time.”

Then without another word he slipped out of the car and into the rain, leaving Statham shaken behind.

 

 

 

 

 

3. PAY HIM A COMPLIMENT
“Tell him that he’s good at sport or that you like his top,” advises teen coach Bonnie Farming. Mention it casually, then change the subject. He’ll start to associate being around you with feeling good.

 

 

 

Statham was still fuming the next day, Boyce could read it in the set of his shoulders, the way he stamped into the room and, particularly, the way his face twisted into a grimace as he saw Boyce. At least the hour and a half walk home in the rain yesterday had been worth it.

Launching straight into a discussion of Myocardial Perfusion, without welcome or preamble, Statham kept his eyes fixed upon anything except Boyce, though every now and then he managed to whack him with his pointer.

Boyce had been considering whipping out step three right away, but between Statham’s barely concealed rage and the nervous anticipation of the rest of the class, it was far too much fun to ruin it all now.

Plus step three had taken a great deal of consideration, finding the perfect compliment was quite a challenge. (He’d spent at least five minutes musing over it.)

By the end of the hour, the rest of the class filed out, mingled disappointment, confusion and relief at having finally finished a lesson clear on their faces. With one final smack across Boyce’s face with the pointer, Statham spun dramatically, coat flailing around him to leave the room and instead found that Boyce was now lounging across the doorway – entirely blocking the way.

“Move!” Statham demanded, stuttering over the word.

“I was just thinking,” Boyce told him seriously, “That you have a very distinguished walk.”

Statham hesitated for a moment. “I... I... Get out of the way!”

Statham pushed past him and started down the corridor, Boyce close on his heels. “You sort of wiggle...”

 

 

 

 

 

4. SHARE SOME INTERESTS
Having stuff in common will bring you together, so if he’s into something you’re into, be enthusiastic and let him know so he gets that warm, fuzzy glow that says ‘soulmates’.

 

 

 

 


“Soulmates?” Guy repeated with a mixture of disgust and scepticism.

“This magazine just gets worse and worse,” Caroline said, pulling it out of Boyce’s hands. “First they get girls to stalk boys they like and now they’re telling them to pretend they share their interests. It’s like Stepford Wives.”

“Actually,” Mac corrected her. “They don’t say anything about pretending, just to find something you’re both interested in. So what will it be? You are both very enthusiastic about sex.”

“I dated a nymphomaniac once,” Guy leaned in closer to Caroline. “She said I was the only person with enough stamina and skill to satisfy her needs.”

They ignored him. Around them the canteen was being decorated for Christmas, tacky tinsel and well-worn plastic baubles were being pinned back into place. Resettling into pin holes remaining from years long gone. A practiced routine. The bustle had a certain soothing familiarity to it.

“Actually,” Boyce said, “I’ve already got an idea. I just need to find someone to teach me the recorder.”

“The recorder?” Mac asked as Boyce turned to look at Caroline with his best pleading expression.

“No, no, no. I’m not getting involved in this, anyway I never learned the recorder.”

“Martin,” Boyce said, turning with an unperturbed smile.

“What? I didn’t learn the recorder either,” Martin said quickly. “I’m not a girl.”

Boyce turned to Mac, looked at his amused face for a second and shook his head. “Maybe not.”

“No Martin, you are a girl,” Guy interrupted. There was something smug and crowing in his voice. “Luckily for Boyce, one of us is masculine enough to have mastered the true art of the recorder.”

“You play the recorder?” Caroline asked.

“I don’t play it, I am one with it. The ancient instrument of amour –“

“And shepherds,” Mac interrupted.

“- I am the son of Fipple.”

He said it dramatically, rising to his feet and striking a heroic pose, only slightly spoilt as a large Christmas tree pushed past him, toppling him back into his chair. There was no helping it, almost as one they burst into laughter.

“Fipple?” Mac asked, managing to reclaim his straight face first.

“Ha ha ha!” Guy said indignantly as their giggling finally subsided, “Laugh all you want but I was the lead Soloist in the Zurich Boys Recorder Orchestra – I was celebrated, they wrote odes to my playing in the papers...”

Another burst of loud laughter.

“... And! And for a small fee, I might be convinced to share a small measure of my genius.”

The idea of Guy teaching him anything was excruciating. With a shrug Boyce pushed himself to his feet. “Actually I have another idea.”

*****

Like the canteen, the office was also in a state of hurried mess and half decoration – though mostly what seemed to have been decorated was the girls themselves. Harriet was wearing a halo of fake holly, Kim had decorations dangling from her ears, Rachel was currently fashioning a bra from tinsel and Karen seemed to have stuffed two large baubles down the front of her jumper so that she finally had breasts.

“Hello Ladies. Hard at work again.”

 “Boyce,” Rachel greeted him adjusting her breasts again and giving them a bit of a wiggle with a rustle of tinsel.

“What do you want?” Kim asked pelting him with a spare bauble, all brash intimidation with a mischievous glint in her eye. “You know doctors aren’t allowed in our inner sanctum, even trainee ones.”

“You didn’t have a problem with me entering your inner sanctum this morning,” Boyce winked at her. “Actually I was hoping one of you might have learnt the recorder at school.”

“Sorry,” Harriet said with an apologetic smile as Kim shook her head, curiosity and confusion in her eyes.

“I used a recorder when I was fucking a boy once,” Rachel said with a distant smile, “But it didn’t really involve playing it.”

There was a moment's silence as they each confronted their own sudden mental images, Rachel grinning with satisfaction, then almost as one they turned to look at Karen. Baubles still quivering beneath her jumper.

“I played cello... with the orchestra,” she told them defiantly.

“You would have,” Kim said in disgust.

Damn, it was going to have to be Guy. Anything involving Guy had the scent of disaster lingering about it.

“Oh well,” Rachel said, “At least you had something large and wooden between your legs once, eh Karen?”

*****

As it turned out Guy had not been lying about the recorder, he was actually pretty good, he even had a belt, strung around his waist with a dozen or so recorders hanging from it – all different sizes. If it hadn’t been quite so ridiculous it would have almost been impressive.

He was stood on his coffee table, trilling through something that sounded complicated and shrill, acting as if he were performing for a huge crowd. As he finished with a flourish, he held himself erect, waiting for a storm of applause. Boyce eyed him sceptically.

With a grunt of annoyance, Guy climbed down from the table. “Of course, you can only manage something like that after years of dedicated work. You can’t pick this up overnight.”

“I thought you might teach me something simple. A duet maybe.”

Boyce reached out to take the recorder from Guy’s hand, but was slapped away.

“You can’t start with a master instrument like the Garklein. What is it that Statham plays?”

“The... errr... sopranino?”

“Hmmm... yes, sounds about right. I might have just the song for you.”

With a great deal of deliberation he selected a recorder from his belt and held it outstretched but as Boyce reached for it he suddenly pulled it back again.

“Let’s just be clear what my payment for this master tuition is going to be.”

Boyce rolled his eyes; they had already been through this four times. “You’ve agreed to teach me the recorder in return for a front row seat and photographic evidence, that you may use howsoever you wish, of the humiliation of Dr. Alan Statham.”

“In Flagrante,” Guy rolled his tongue as he pronounced each word with pleasure. “And?”

“And, I’ll run all your errands for a month and call you Master Kenobi at work.”

Guy pressed the recorder into his hand with a terrifying smile.

“Very good, Young Skywalker. We may begin.”

*****

Alan lingered, he enjoyed the hospital this late in the evening: it was warm and quiet and with all the lights in his office switched off only the dim glow of streetlamps spilled through his window. The dark a comforting smothering presence.

His Sopranino was sat, gleaming upon the table and his fingers stroked it for a second. The peace was enjoyable but Joanna was still being intractable, he had spent most of the morning trying to serenade her with a love poem with disastrous results. Perhaps it would not hurt to play a little tune.

In the distance he heard the sound of a recorder – a tenor – for a moment he thought it was simply an echo of a memory in his head. The opening notes of Pavane by Pierre Phalése, though he had never heard the song played on a lone instrument, but then the phrase sounded again. Inviting him to join the sweet duet.

By the time it had sounded a third time, his Sopranino was at his lips, the response trilling from it, mingling. He moved to the doorway, pushing it quietly open with his foot, so the two recorders could meet better - filling the hospital’s corridors with sound. The music of the sixteenth century drifting through the darkness.

He followed the melody, keeping his eager feet steady so not to upset the rhythm of the tune and as he played the last note, he rounded a corner to find Boyce. Stood, recorder loose in his fingers and a smile, softer than normal, on his face.

 

 

 

 

 

5. GET UP CLOSE
You need to spend more time with him one-on-one. “So find an excuse to be with him,” Bonnie says. “Is there a project or some studying you can do together?”

 

 

 

 

Statham made his way to the notice board enjoying the regimental way his Christmas’ passed. Every day had its task and purpose measuring out the time until the new year arrived and life returned to normal.

He had spent most of the last three days forcing himself not to think about Boyce and their late night duet. Boyce seemed to be following the same tactic, to his surprise. He had come in the next day, ready for attack, armoured against the inevitable humiliation and mockery. But Boyce hadn’t said anything, he’d even, more or less, been on his best behaviour. At least his disruptions had only delayed the class by five minutes and in Statham’s book that usually counted as a victory.

Now he was not so sure, he could not help but feel that if he was winning small battles, it probably meant that somehow or other he was losing the war. The edgy paranoia of the situation was starting to wear deeply into him.

Still, at least his life would be busy enough over the next week to distract him from the whole sorry situation. It was time to start organising the annual Christmas Entertainment, for those patients stuck in the hospital over the holidays. Theoretically it was a chance for all the staff to show off their skills, in reality every year he would play a few songs on his Sopranino and Beryl from the canteen would rouse everyone for some carols as they passed round the cheapest mince pies they could find to the handful of patients who bothered to turn up.

At any rate he always enjoyed learning some new songs for the occasion.

He reached up to retrieve the volunteer sign up sheet and froze in horror. There was Beryl as always, name neatly scrawled inside the little box and just below, defying all reality, sense and the natural laws of the universe, were three words: Boyce – Assistant Director.

*****

“What is this?” Statham demanded waving a crumpled piece of paper in his face angrily.

“It’s a piece of paper,” he told him, with the joy of utter certainty and maximum annoyance.

“No this. This!” Statham jabbed the paper at him two more times and probably would have managed a third if Boyce hadn’t snatched it from his hand. He looked at it, needlessly, for a moment.

“It’s the Volunteer Sign-Up for the Christmas Entertainment,” he said with a grin. “Though as you’re the director I’m a little surprised you didn’t recognise it.”

“Why is your name upon it?” Statham demanded.

“I’m volunteering.”

“You can’t!”

“No, it says quite clearly here at the top that any member of staff may volunteer to perform or help organise the event,” he pointed to the condemning words helpfully.

Statham stood still, clearly frozen between his desire to beat Boyce bodily away from his concert and his need to follow the rules, at last hands shaking slightly he dragged the paper back from Boyce’s hands.

“I will not let you ruin this.”

*****

Boyce felt exhausted as the patients clapped and cheered, he hadn’t slept in days – instead he’d been building sets, collecting costumes, handing out invitations and coaxing, tricking and (mostly) blackmailing half the staff into taking part.

He’d got the cleaners to perform an ice skating routine, ragged feet moving smoothly across their polished floor; Lyndon and Jake had surprised everyone with a rather glorious performance of Silent Night; whilst the girls from the office had wheeled out the perennial favourite, Santa Baby.

Best of all once he’d managed to talk Guy out of revealing his status as a recorder virtuoso (with Mac and Caroline’s help) he’d managed instead to force him into a dress alongside Martin as the Ugly Half-Sisters for a rowdy and surprisingly bawdy performance of Cinderella. It was probably the first time in history that Prince Charming had found himself in direct competition with the sisters for Cinderella’s romantic affections – but at least watching Mac, Guy and Martin fighting over Caroline had made everyone laugh.

Plus, Boyce’s own performance as the Fairy Godmother had been a definite show stealer and even he’d managed to steal a kiss with Caroline (about time – he’d been starting to feel like the only person in the hospital who hadn’t snogged her – he’d certainly been the last in the pantomime).

Overall it had been a resounding success, though it was probably better not to think too much about Sue White’s graphic and slightly traumatising mime of the birth of Jesus.

Now on the stage, Statham was stood with his recorder, the headliner, a choir of school children behind him – looking slightly stunned at the enthusiastic response.

Another success for Bonnie Farming and her eight step programme.

 

 

 

 

 

6. CHAT TO HIS MATES
If he sees you yakking to his mates, you’ll appear more approachable – and if he thinks you’ve got their approval, you’ll seem even more attractive. Double whammy!

 

 

 

 

Step six had been a bit of a worry, it was not exactly like Statham was rolling in friends at the hospital, even thinking of one was a bit of a challenge. Luckily in a fit of high spirits following the success of the night before and whilst Boyce was still (briefly) in his good graces he let slip his excitement about the UK branch of the Consultant Radiologist’s International upcoming Christmas Eve party. Which just left the problem of how to get an invite.

Thankfully there was one person in the hospital who could help him, even if it did mean selling his soul to the devil. He entered the office with some trepidation. Sue White was sat in her chair, stroking a large white cuddly toy squirrel.

“Ah, Mr Boyce. I have been expecting you.”

*****

Caroline found Boyce sat - hands behind his head, feet on the table, stunning pink bra on top of his shirt - in the Doctor’s Mess.

 “Look,” she said, steeling herself, “I think you should stop now, I mean I thought it was just a bit silly but now that you’ve got Guy involved and Sue White, well it’s... it’s cruel. But I mean... it’s not that I like him or anything, none of us like him, even Joanna doesn’t like him and she was sleeping with him but...”

Boyce just stared at her; there was something unnerving in the stare, all good natured and slightly wrong. Realisation dawned slowly.

“Oh my god, you actually do like him,” she sank onto the sofa next to him, “You ‘like him’ like him, like him ‘he makes you feel funny in the pants’ like him. That’s why you do all those things to him. You never even got out of pre-school, did you? You’re like one of those boys who pull girl’s pigtails to get their attention.” There was a name for those boys, it was Ben Johnson. Ben Johnson was the reason she kept her hair short, there'd been an incident with a stapler. Well - Ben Johnson and her hair's ability to eat hairbrushes.

“Actually,” Boyce said with a grin as she lapsed into silence, “I pull his pigtails because it’s funny. Makes the day go quicker.”

“But how can you like him?” She asked in desperation, mind circling the idea dazedly.

Boyce shrugged. “Why do you like Mac... or Guy. Actually which one do you like?”

“Urggghhh,” she said flapping her hands meaninglessly. It was about as coherent as she could be on the subject. Boyce laughed.

“Exactly. I don’t know – I mean he’s alright looking and I’ve always had a thing about moustaches and, you know, sometimes he just surprises me. I find him fun to be around-”

“Fun to torment,” she interrupted him.

“Yeah. I guess it’s just nice to know you have an effect on someone.” She could understand that sentiment, though it was a troubling thought. She stared at him in sudden sympathy. “Plus I sort of like the abuse,” he added

“Too much information,” she said with a wince. “Well it’s definitely going to have an effect on him when he finds out what you’ve been doing. And you’ve promised all those things to Sue White and Guy.”

*****

Statham felt the thrill of excitement and anticipation deep in his stomach. There was nothing quite so uncomplicatedly joyful in his life as Consultant Radiologist’s International and though their gatherings were few and far between he had never missed a single one.

His happiness lasted about as long as it took to reach his table, everyone was laughing and there in the middle of them, the centre of their attention, a paper cracker hat perched jauntily on his head, was Boyce.

It was a long painful moment before any of them even noticed him.

“Alan!” Dr. Edmondson said as he rose to his feet, clasping him on the arm. “Boyce here has just been telling us all about you. What a charming young man, he’ll be a fine addition to our ranks one day.”

Statham could barely hear him through the pounding rage rushing through his ears. Eyes focused upon Boyce, grinning mercilessly at him. Without a word he turned and stormed from the party.

 

 

 

 

 

7. GET TOUCHY-FEELY
Bridge the space between you by casually touching him briefly on the arm when you’re talking to him. “But watch your mannerisms,” says body language expert Roxie May. “Don’t cross your arms as you’ll look insecure and send out ‘go away’ signals.”

 

 

 

 

Damn, Boyce thought. Struggling to his own feet as Statham pushed his way through the crowds of curious onlookers. “Sorry, sorry,” he said, trampling on more than one distinguished foot as he tried to get past.

A rare failure for Bonnie Farming. A rare, untimely failure considering he was supposed to be breezing through step seven tonight and moving onto step eight in time for Christmas. Everything was scheduled already.

His mind drifted through the article, the magazine (now held together by duct tape which probably made it the most butch issue of ‘Mizz’ ever) was far away at home but he’d memorised the whole thing and perhaps it was time to bust out the advice of Roxie May. Well, if he ever managed to catch up with him.

He didn’t manage to corner Statham until they were both out on the street, Statham desperately trying to hail a taxi.

“Look...” he started, unsure of what he should or could say. Statham ignored him and Boyce winced, he’d never actually angered him to silence before.

He reached out, grabbing his arm, fingers running along its length. A slow intimate movement.

Statham shook him away, breaking the touch and turned to him, eyes white and wild, spittle flying from his lips. A figure of madness and desperation.

“Leave me alone!”

Damn.

 

 

 

 

 

8. BE HONEST
You’ve spent ages being subtle, so this is the time to make your feelings clear. “When you’re alone with him and are ready, simply tell him how you feel and ask him if he feels the same,” advises Bonnie. If you’ve followed our plan you should find he’s relieved ‘cause he’s into you, too!

 

 

 

 

Boyce took a deep breath, as he followed Statham into the lift. This was the moment of truth. A month of dedicated work with Bonnie Farming and Roxie May, not to mention a feast of unspeakable deeds to make sure they were both rota’d on Christmas Day (it was difficult to argue the need for a radiologist as part of the skeleton A&E staff) had been building to this.

They stood in silence, side by side, as the doors closed with a dull clunk. In a rare moment of self doubt, Boyce suddenly started to feel like this had been a terrible idea. Enclosed space, no escape – it had seemed great when he thought of it, but there just wasn’t enough time. The hospital only had four floors and though they were on the fourth it would be too soon before they reached the ground.

He slammed his hand against the control and each floor button lit up brightly and then without waiting, without giving him time to stutter his anger or surprise, he shoved Statham against the wall, hands wrapped around his upper arms and kissed him. (Well, snogged, to be more accurate.)

Statham struggled against him for a moment, trying to force him away, moustache quivering ticklishly against his upper lip. Then as the lift stopped, doors sliding open on the third floor he sort of relaxed, his body going from tense to loose, welcoming.

Boyce felt Statham’s hand on his back as, doors closing, they began to move again. Statham’s lips pressed back against his own, opening, teeth almost clashing and his tongue slipping into Boyce’s mouth, meeting. For a second it was a struggle for dominance and then Boyce gave way – willingly, gratefully.

A few breathless seconds, another stop, the sound of the doors as they opened, the pause and the close. The second floor passed. Time stealing away.

He knew he should stop it now, needed too, but still he hesitated as Statham’s large hands found the back of his head, holding him in place. It wasn’t until the doors opened on the first floor that he pulled sharply backwards. Breaking the contact, his tongue running across his own lips.

Statham looked shattered, slightly nervous and extremely flustered. With a grin Boyce straightened his jacket and tie, putting him back together.

“Just thought that I should let you know,” he told him, patting him once on the chest, fingers lingering there. “In case you ever want to shag me through the night.” He leant in closer, lips to his ears. “Any night. Every night. Or day.”

As he pulled away, the lift stopped again – a final time. The ground floor.

*****

Guy waited impatient and uncomfortable by the lifts, video camera at the ready. Of course, with Sue White this close it was hard to be anything but uncomfortable. With her, milling about in some confusion, were a brass band. All maroon and gold uniforms and shining instruments. God knows how much it had cost her to hire them.

“So,” she said in a tone of light conversation, as if they were doing something mundane like waiting for a bus, “Not seeing your family this Christmas?”

“Oh yes, me, Martin and Joanna – it’s what Hallmark Christmasses are made of. Obviously your parents didn’t drop in from outer space for the occasion?”

She stepped forward, menacing, and he just managed to prevent the automatic flinch backwards as the lift pinged. Luckily.

The doors slid open, Sue White turning to strike up the band, Guy pressing play. They slid open and revealed... nothing. Sod all. Just Boyce and Statham.

Boyce strode towards them, gait carefree and a smug grin on his face as if nothing out of the ordinary was supposed to be happening. He left Statham still stood in the lift, alone, looking slightly stunned. His eyes remained fixed on Boyce as the boy walked away and as Guy zoomed in, in annoyance, he thought, just for a second that they held a gleam of naked curiosity.

And then the doors closed again.