Thunder rumbled ominously in the distance as William Bodie stepped from his cab. Standing on the steps of London's most exclusive gay club, he hesitated before going in.
The building looked like any other greystone town-house in the quiet neighborhood. And in a way, that was really what it was, but not the way most people would have believed. There was nothing in the stately facade to give away what really took place here.
Did he really want to do this, now? It was the wrong night. He should have been here last night, but he'd been on an op and unable to break away, even for a couple of hours. Smiling slightly, he considered what Cowley's reaction would have been if he'd asked for the time.
If he'd survived the encounter he'd have been surprised. What would he have said anyway. **Oh, sir. I need to have a few hours away from work, so I can get laid. You see, this is how I remember my long dead partner. You remember Ray Doyle, don't you, sir?** Oh, yes, Cowley's reaction didn't not bear close thought.
Shaking his head, Bodie forced the image away, shivering slightly. The night was dark and damp, clouds hung low in the sky, rain threatened, fitting his mood so well. There was no joy in what he was doing. He did it grimly, in remembrance of a man he loved more than life itself.
*Do it or not,* Bodie ordered himself. He turned and started to climb the steps to the club slowly, almost reluctantly. His heart just wasn't in it anymore. But he missed Ray so much, still, even after five years. Why couldn't things have worked out the way they were supposed to? Why did Ray have to be killed?
Of course, there were no answers, only memories of their time together, which had been far too short. At least they had made the most of their short years together, laughing and loving with an eye to the fact that few lived long in their chosen profession.
He knocked on the door. A huge, blond-haired man in a well-cut suit answered. He must be new, Bodie decided, not recognizing him.
"W. Andrew Bodie." He told to the younger man.
Consulting a list on the clip board, the man nodded. "Very good, sir. Will you require anything special for the evening?"
*Anything special* could be anything at all, this club catered to all of its clientele's varied tastes. A variety of rooms and men were available for a price. While he had nothing against paying for his pleasure when the need arose, tonight was different. He shook his head. "No, thank you."
"Have a good evening then, sir."
Nodding to the bouncer, Bodie entered the plush lobby. It looked like any expensive hotel, tastefully decorated in browns and wood tones. Sofa and chairs were arranged around the large room in smaller conversation groups.
He liked this place, always had. It was quiet and sedate with a relaxing ambiance.
Three types of lounges were available. A quiet piano pub to the right, a smoky jazz club to the left and in the basement a glittery disco with a separate entrance and bouncer at the inside door to the rest of the club.
Going to the front desk, he arranged for a room for the night. One way or another, he would not be alone. Next on his agenda was dinner, he hadn't eaten all day. Nerves. This particular event always played havoc on his heart and soul.
After spending and hour or so picking at his food, Bodie realized he couldn't put it off much longer. He headed for the piano bar, figuring he'd start his search there.
With his heart pounding fast and light in his chest, he stood in the arched doorway, looking around and letting the soft sounds of the piano player's tune wash over him. He wished the music would relax him, like it usually did, but tonight he was on edge and it didn't help.
Despite this being a private club, there were many young men in skimpy outfits in the lounges. It was much worse in the disco downstairs. But Bodie supposed they were there for a purpose. He smiled indulgently. Young men in shorts needed love, too.
Bodie sighed. It had been a long time since he'd been with a man. Usually, he could and did control his urges in that direction. He liked birds just fine and in his position as a CI5 operative, it was a hell of a lot safer to stick with women. Not that it really mattered, since he dutifully reported any encounter with a man to his boss as soon as they happened. The rationale was simple: there could be no blackmail if there were no secrets. Bodie accepted the necessity without question.
But at least once a year, he had to have a man -- a green-eyed man. And when he got lucky, an auburn-haired, green-eyed man. But the hair wasn't required.
Every year, he remembered Ray Doyle, by getting throughly fucked by said green-eyed man and then going home to drink himself blind. Then, he was fine for another year. It wasn't much of a tribute, but it was the best Bodie could do.
He scanned the lounge quickly. Most of the men sat in pairs or small groups at the tables scattered around the piano and along the glass wall where you could see the lights flashing from the disco below. There were few lone men in here, mostly the singles hung out in the jazz club across the way or in the meat-market downstairs. Bodie wanted to avoid going down there at all costs.
About to leave the room, Bodie saw him. Adrenalin rushed though him as he stared hard at the man sitting at the end of the bar. He was beautiful, simply beautiful. Not one of those hard bodies, all youth and muscle. Indeed, he looked to be past forty. Wearing blue jeans and a soft blue denim shirt, he was slightly out of place in his casual clothes. The patrons of this particular lounge dressed pretty well. Bodie himself had dressed in snug black trousers, a silk shirt and sports coat for tonight's outing.
The older man's face was round without being soft, his hair grey, and cut short. Oh, and his mouth, Bodie's tongue longed to lick around that exquisite upper lip, which was bigger than the lower one, creating a perfect bow. He'd bet anything that mouth would be as soft as rose petals under his. Sucking on his own bottom lip for a moment, he closed his eyes trying to imagine it. The image came all too easily.
From where he stood, Bodie could still see well enough to ascertain the man was smaller than he was and, more importantly, he had the required green eyes.
But as he started to move towards his selected partner, a young man, no more than twenty, wearing only a silk tank-top and tight black trousers approached the other man and leaned over to whisper something in the older man's ear.
Disappointment flooded him, he'd actually wanted to meet that one. But obviously there had to be a change in plans. To Bodie's extreme amazement, the older man laughed and shook his head. The younger man moved off frowning, probably not used to being turned down.
Casually as he could with his heart racing again, Bodie moved across the room. "Is this seat taken?" he purred smoothly. It was not the most original line in the world, but it would do for a start. Not bothering to wait for the answer, he slid onto the tall barstool, focussing his gaze on the green-eyed man. Damn. He was even more beautiful up close.
"It is now." The man answered, smiling with interest at Bodie. "Can I buy you a drink?"
"Please," Bodie said, keeping his voice low. His eyes raked over the jeans-clad man, taking note of the snug fit of the hard thighs in soft denim. Bodie wondered briefly what the man's arse looked like. He would just have to wait to see; a note of anticipation skated along his nerves.
"What would you like?" The green-eyes sparkled with invitation, asking more than they seemed to.
"Now, or later?" He asked in his most seductive tone. Could it really happen this quickly? God, he hoped so. Suddenly what had been required a task, was turning out to be something entirely different.
"Drink now. We'll talk about later, soon." The words were spoken almost harshly, but the smile tempered them. And Bodie couldn't help but respond to the smile on those sensual lips.
"Scotch now, and later...." He licked his lips and left the words hanging in the air.
The other man nodded, closing his eyes for a second and then taking a deep breath. "My name is Alan, by the way." He signalled the barman, giving him the drink orders.
Looking right at Bodie, Alan waited for Bodie to speak.
"I'm Andrew." Well, it was his name, even if he didn't use it much.
The bartender returned with their drinks, Alan handed a glass to Bodie.
Taking a deep breath, he silently toasted his dead partner. Lifting his glass to his lips, he drank down the entire contents. The burn felt good. For a second, a life-time of loneliness and pain gathered in his heart, but he let it go. Can't dwell on it now, not when there were other things to do.
"Do you want to dance?" Alan's voice dragged him back to reality.
"There's no dancing here." It was a moot point, anyway, Bodie hated to dance.
"We could go downstairs." Alan nodded his head toward the glass wall, indicating the disco.
That was not what Bodie had in mind at all. "Or we could go upstairs."
"We could," Alan agreed, standing up. He picked up his drink and finished it in one swallow. "Do you have a room?"
"Always prepared?" Alan smiled at him. Jesus, what a smile that man had. Bodie could swear he felt it down to his toes.
"Rather like a boy scout." Bodie returned the smile, pleased to see it had the required effect on Alan.
Following Alan up the carved wood staircase to the second floor, Bodie admired the fit of the older man's jeans over his round arse. Their room was at the end of a long carpeted hall, easily found and completely standard. A bed and bath, nothing fancy since the people using them weren't really interested in hotel amenities. The bed was king-sized, which did matter a great deal to Bodie. Aside from everything else, he liked a lot of room when he slept, not that he thought he'd be sleeping much tonight.
Turning toward Alan, he took in the terribly sexy sight of the man standing casually just inside the door. He pulled the smaller man into his arms and kissed him softly.
"What would you like?" Alan asked, pulling back a little to look into his eyes.
"I want you to fuck me."
Alan's eyebrow rose, but he nodded. "I can do that." Leaning in for another kiss, Alan's arms slid around his waist, pulling him in tight. "You're so beautiful."
Bodie smiled. "Thanks. You too, mate."
Alan slipped his hands under Bodie's jacket, pushing it off slowly, and laying it over a chair near the bed. Unbuttoning his shirt, then pulling it from his trousers, Alan's warm hands caressed his pale skin, slowly, with reverence. Bodie sighed and leaned into the touch, savouring the gentleness. There had been so little of it in his life and what there had been, wasn't there any longer.
Standing passively as he almost never did, Bodie allowed Alan to pull the belt through the loops. Bending down, Alan removed his shoes and socks, then stripped off the trousers and pants. Bodie stood naked before the older man, waiting for the verdict. The lustful appreciation in the green eyes reminded him forcibly of other green eyes looking at him the same way. He had to turn away.
"Is something wrong?" Alan asked, concern evident in the low tone.
"No. Just a memory."
"Not a bad one, I hope?"
"No, not bad." Bodie hoped that Alan would not push for more of an answer and was ridiculously grateful when he didn't. The last thing he wanted to talk about tonight was his lost lover, even though this was his tribute.
Smiling, Alan took him into his strong arms, holding him tight, nuzzling his neck. "Mmm, you smell good."
"Thanks." As sexy as it was to be held naked while your partner was fully clothed, Bodie was starting to get impatient to move things along. He reached for the buttons on Alan's shirt, but the older man moved away, shaking his head.
Bodie watched as Alan stripped off his own clothes with a minimum of fuss or fanfare. Under the plain clothes, Alan was strongly built, with long legs, muscular arms, and a well-defined, hairy chest. Enchanted, Bodie didn't want to think about how much his companion looked like Ray. Taking a shuddering breath, Bodie wondered if this wasn't a mistake.
"Are you all right?" Again, there was concern in Alan's voice. "If you want to stop..."
"No! No. I don't want to stop." Bodie held out his arms, and Alan stepped into them, worry still clouding the eerily familiar green eyes. Breathing in deeply, Alan's scent, at least, was totally different from Ray's. He needed this, needed arms holding him tight. For a little while he could pretend it was five years in the past and Ray was still alive to love him.
Kissing him again, Alan's tongue slid into his mouth and Bodie welcomed the resumption of their mission. He leaned into to the kiss, following Alan's tongue back when it retreated.
The tenderness of Alan's touch, the care he put behind it moved Bodie more than all the talented technique he'd ever known. For some reason, Alan took what could have been a quick fuck and turned it into real love-making. Even as excitement rolled down all of his nerve endings, Bodie appreciated what was being done for him.
All too soon, decision time came. "Are you ready for more?" Alan asked when Bodie was almost to the point of not being able to think anymore.
"Oh yes." He could hear the hoarse arousal in his own voice, the deep wanting, the desperation.
"It's been a while. I think it will be better on my belly." Bodie rolled over, spreading his thighs wide, anticipation lapping at his senses, sadness creeping into his heart. He wanted Ray to be doing this, not the tender stranger.
"Lubricant?" Alan asked, petting his backside gently, his fingers just stroking along the skin.
"Should be some in the drawer." This place should be well stocked, especially for what a room cost for the night.
"So there is. They seem to have all the conveniences, don't they?" Alan sounded amused.
"It's all part of the service of this place."
"So it would seem."
Putting the lube aside, Alan straddled his hips, kissing his neck softly. Then with the same infinite care with which he'd done everything else tonight, Alan made his way down Bodie's back, licking each vertebrae, sucking on the knobs of his spine. By the time the older man got to the small of his back, the fire racing through Bodie was nearly ready to consume him whole.
A gentle finger ran down the crease between his buttocks, fingering the small entrance to his body. Bodie shivered. Time for the main event, the one thing he wanted more than anything else in the world right now.
Surprisingly strong hands parted his cheeks, knowing lips caressed him slowly, moving down, and a moist tongue slipped into him just a tiny bit. Bodie bit down on a cry of delight. His heart pounded hard and he started to sweat, trying to hold back.
"Please," he whimpered into his folded arms. He couldn't take much more of this wonderful torture.
"Sssh, blue eyes. I'll take care of you."
The sweet words and the nickname tore another small hole in Bodie's already battered soul.
Pulling away for a moment, he could hear Alan fumbling with the lubricant. A slick finger returned to rim the tiny opening to his body, before pushing slowly inside.
Bodie moaned loudly, pushing back against the finger, trying to drive it deeper. Alan pushed a second finger into him. Christ, it felt wonderful. The last time he'd been treated this gently had been the last time Ray had taken him. The grief threatened to overwhelm him again, but he managed to push it back. Later, he promised himself.
Three fingers moved back and forth in him now, searching for his prostate and finding it. He jumped, making a high-pitched squeaking noise. Humiliating. But the pleasure had taken him unaware and he'd responded without thought.
Alan laughed. "Like that, do you?"
Removing his fingers, Alan kissed his tailbone once. Bodie turned around to watch Alan spreading the thick gel on his own cock. Turning back, he brought his knees up under him, spreading his thighs and allowing Alan better access.
Kneeling behind him, Alan pressed the head of the thick cock against his open and ready anus. Bodie forced himself to take a deep breath and relax as Alan pushed slowly into him. Sighing deeply, he felt the cock slide all the way into his body. A slight discomfort slid along his nerves for a moment or two, then he relaxed completely.
"All right?" Alan asked. Bodie could feel the strain of his partner's attempt to hold still, and he appreciated the effort.
But the pressure was becoming unbearable. "Oh, yes. Please. Move."
In long, slow strokes, Alan slid in and out of him. Pleasure doubled and tripled each time the thick cock raked over the gland deep inside him. Reaching around him, Alan's slick fingers closed over his cock, beginning to stroke firmly.
"Harder," Bodie begged, not thinking anymore. His mind had completely closed down as the pleasure became blinding. It was glorious. Some part of his mind could almost believe it was Ray making love to him.
"Please Ray, more," he pleaded as he came. "Love you, love you."
Sliding slowly off of Andrew, Alan lay down next to him, still trying to get his breath back. The sex had been fantastic, right up until the moment Andrew had called out someone else's name. "Who's Ray?"
"What? Who?" Andrew gasped, also trying to catch his breath.
"Who's Ray? You called out his name when you came." It had hurt more than he would have expected to have this beautiful stranger call out another name while *he* was inside him.
"Oh God. Andrew rolled onto his back, throwing an arm over his eyes. "I'm sorry." The deep voice broke alarmingly as he spoke.
"It's all right, really." Alan petted the pale shoulder, trying to offer what comfort he could. "Do you want to talk about it?"
"It might help to tell someone."
"Nothing is going to help, Ray has been dead for a long time." Andrew took another shuddering breath, barely hanging onto his control. "Five years, yesterday."
"That's a long time to grieve."
"Yeah, I know. But it's all I can do," Andrew whispered, turning over to meet Alan's eyes.
The deep blue depths held a world of hurt. Whomever Ray was, he'd been well loved, still was by the look of it.
"You loved him very much." Alan didn't bother to make it a question. He knew the answer.
"Don't you think he would have wanted you to go on?" He didn't want to pry, but he couldn't resist the urge to try and help anyone who was hurting as badly as this man. After the last half-hour he felt almost obligated to try. Something special had happened between them.
"I know he would have. He told me to live for both of us before he died. He died in my arms, you see, said to remember him once in a while." Andrew's control was eroding before his eyes, the raging emotions, likely held back for years, were starting to overwhelm the poor man. Moving closer, Alan put his arms around Andrew's trembling frame, holding him tightly, giving whatever comfort he could.
"Shhh, it's all right." He stroked up and down the cold, ridged back. "Let it out, Andrew. You'll feel better for it. Five years is too long to carry it all around inside you."
"I know." Andrew choked out, his chest heaving as he started to cry. And he cried hard, with great keening sobs, as if his heart were breaking.
Alan held the grief-stricken man as tightly as he could, tears pricking his own eyes. A man would have to be made of stone not to respond to the great out-pouring of grief.
Andrew cried for a long time, and it seemed to Alan that he was crying for all the times in his life he should have, but hadn't.
Finally, Andrew had exhausted himself, and quieted.
"I'm sorry." He sniffed, looking around. Alan handed him tissues from the bedside table, and the other man blew his nose hard. Facing Alan with a deep red flush on his pale cheeks, Andrew smiled sheepishly. "I didn't mean to do that to you."
Alan smiled gently at him. "It's all right. I think you really needed that. I'm glad I could be some comfort. Sleep?"
"Stay with me?" The blue eyes were still haunted.
Alan could not refuse. "I will."
Succumbing to sleep quickly, Andrew looked peaceful. Alan soon followed him into slumber.
Alan awoke a couple of hours later to find Andrew watching him, a small smile tugging at the full mouth.
"I made quite the berk of myself, didn't I?"
"No. Not at all."
Andrew leaned over and kissed him softly, arousing him again. Strong hands moved over his body, caressing him gently. "Do you want to try this again? This time I promise to remember who I'm with."
"Yeah." Alan leaned into the kiss, stroking his hands though Andrew's dark hair.
Alan woke again with a start. Reaching over to the night stand, he picked up his watch. 5:56 am. Groaning to himself at the late hour, he decided he'd better get up and get moving if he wanted to make it back to Eastland for the 10:00 meeting with his senior staff. He hadn't meant to spend the entire night here, but the beautiful stranger had needed him, and it had been far too long since anyone had needed him at all. He'd found it too seductive to leave.
Sitting up slowly, trying not to disturb his sleeping partner, he eased out of bed. Exhaustion threatened to overtake him, there hadn't been much sleep last night. It had been worth it though -- the sex had been spectacular. More than that, he'd connected with another person. Even knowing it would not last to see the dawn, that connection reminded him that he was human. He'd needed last night as much as Andrew had.
Looking back at the ruin of the bed, he contemplated Andrew, sprawled across the dirty linen. More beautiful than anyone had a right to be, and more troubled it would seem, as well. Alan really wished he could do something else to help, but his time was limited.
What should have been a night of just casual sex, had turned into something more, something deeper and he wished with all of his heart that he could explore it. If wishes were... Yeah. Right.
He headed for the shower, the warm water reviving him enough to think properly. There was no use tying to make this into something it wasn't, couldn't be. Not with his job.
Still, Andrew, if that was his real name, had been different from what he'd expected. Usually, it was rough and tumble sex, a quick fuck. That was what most others wanted when they came here. But Andrew had wanted, no, needed more and Alan had responded to the need. It hadn't just been sex, the tenderness had touched him, more than he could ever admit.
He was sorry to see the night end, but it was time to go. Picking up his scattered clothes, he put them on quickly.
"Andrew." Alan shook the sleeping man's shoulder lightly. "I've got to go."
"I know." Andrew sat up, reaching for his watch, and winced. "So do I."
"I wish there was some way I could see you again." Alan frowned, taking a deep breath. "But I can't. My position doesn't allow it."
"Nor mine." The dark head dropped. "Would that it did."
"Yes." Alan leaned over and kissed Andrew one last time. He would not forget this night any time soon. He left the room and the sleep-rumpled man quickly; he was afraid if he looked back he might change his mind.
Bodie watched Alan close the door without looking back with both relief and sadness warring in his heart. He'd been changed by this encounter and was more than grateful. But the vulnerability he felt towards Alan was nearly overwhelming. Crying in Alan's arms last night had helped purge something from his soul, something that had been poisoning him without his even knowing it. Now, finally, he could think of his partner, his lover, with joy instead of sorrow. The healing had begun.