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Sunday Morning

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Sunday morning, rain is falling
Steal some covers, share some skin / Maroon 5 - Sunday Morning

I wake and it’s still early. This is the lot of the aging man, the man who probably has more days behind him than ahead. I let myself blink and come alive, checking the state of me head and whether I switched myself off the booze and onto the fancy fizzy non-alcoholic stuff in time last night. I think I came through relatively intact. My head is pleasantly free of pounding pain and all I have to show for last night’s indulgences appears to be a very full bladder and an extreme lack of desire to get out of bed long enough to get to the bathroom.

Laura, bless her, had another of her special ‘think of a number, then forget about it immediately’ birthdays last night; and this time there was not going to be any chance for a sneaky exit with Hathaway; being as it is that Dr Hobson’s neighbourhood is currently free of any murderous malcontents with a passionate hatred of Romantic poets. The neighbourhood is on the up and up, and evidently Laura can still command a full quota of ex-medical students who are apparently always up for a piss-up. Anyways, the erstwhile Dynamic Duo was going nowhere last night and was destined to spend the entire evening listening to recycled tales of surgeries gone wrong and sagas of gall bladders and kidneys and suchlike.

My one act of heroism of the evening once I had decided a switch to Marks & Sparks’s Unsweetened Sparkling Something-or-other, was to seek out James’s blonde head in the crowd so that I could encourage him to do the same. By encourage I mean remove the bottle of whiskey he was clutching like a lifeline and exchange it for something fruity and benign while one of Laura’s doctor friends had him cornered. That’s where the heroism bit came in. His companion of the moment was holding forth on the subject of something that sounded like Yersinia Pestis which was evidently as bad as it sounds judging from the glassy expression and five mile stare on Hathaway’s face. I got a tiny twitch of a smile for me troubles. It took me years to work out that James’s little smiles have nearly always been just for me.

Beyond that it was just a matter of enduring lots of hugs and kisses from Laura, especially bestowed on the ‘dishy’ Hathaway who is forever her champion for saving her life once upon a time. James bore it all with the sweetest smile. His fondness for and loyalty to Laura Hobson knows no bounds. Then there was cake, but a bit of cake never hurt anyone no matter how many candles it has on top. Icing on the other hand is another story, especially when someone with the tastes of a deranged magpie has gone a bit wild with a bottle of them little silver balls that you can chip a tooth on if the diabetes hasn’t gotten you first.

Anyway that was last night. This morning I am more concerned with whether the pressure on me bladder outweighs the need to stay in the warmth and comfort of the blankets. I turn my head and look at the prone head on the pillow next to me. James rarely beats me up in the mornings unless he’s on call, but he’s usually not long after me. This morning though he’s still out for the count. I sigh, count to ten and heave me body vertical and trudge off in the direction of the bathroom. Minutes later with me bladder much relieved and me face splashed enough to wake me up a bit more, I am faced with the choice of making coffee in James’ fancy monster espresso machine or going back to bed. The bed wins and I tell myself it’s just to warm up again. Summer’s on the wane and the nights are getting chilly once more.

I’ve just closed my eyes again when James announces “No more fucking parties with doctors ever again for all of eternity.”

I grin.

“So you’re just going to reject Laura Hobson to her face next time, is it?”

This requires several seconds of consideration.

“Not as such, no.”

“Yeah, me neither” I say. I roll towards him and kiss him on the forehead. He groans and buries his head in my side, burrowing under the duvet as much as is possible for a fully grown man to do in half of a double bed.

“Head okay? In any case,” I continue, “you love Laura.”

He nods, which is more difficult than you’d think with his face mashed into me spleen.

“I do. We are just going to have to find a way to divert her from the belief that she needs to conduct her birthday celebrations with all of Oxford’s medical professionals in attendance in future.”

We lie like that for a few more minutes, his warm breath gusting over my stomach and vanquishing the early morning chills.

“I’m lying here forever and never getting up again” the lump in the bedclothes declares. “Work will just have to do without me today”.

“It’s Sunday, ye daft besom, and you took the entire weekend off” I point out.

“It’s the positive reinforcement and support I get at home that keeps me coming back here in the evenings” he continues without missing beat. The snotty enunciation of his words and the aggrieved tone tells me that he is enjoying every second of this and I chuckle and stroke his hair.

“Okay pet, if you want to shower I’ll go and get the coffee on, make that special blend you like.”

He reappears from under the bedclothes at that and I get another Hathaway split-second smile. Then he leans over and kisses me softly on the mouth.

“I love you.”

“And here was me thinking it was me charming personality that you fancied.”

“Actually it was the prospect of an unlimited supply of rumpy pumpy that captured my heart.”

He’s grinning like a Cheshire cat now, and I am shaking my head. I will never live those words down. One brief moment of over-hasty casting about for an appropriate expression and your husband goes and uses it against you for the rest of your life. I manage to get in a satisfying thwack to his backside as he clambers over me on his way to the bathroom.

I’ve barely got the coffee machine rumbling when the white head of Sid the cat appears at our kitchen door. He’s not our cat, but James has christened him Six Dinner Sid after a book and we suspect that he has a neighbourhood-wide scam going just like his his literary namesake. His glossy coat and ever-widening girth suggests that our kitchen is not the only stop on his daily rounds. Nevertheless I open up for him and offer him a can of Fancy Salmon Feast, which I am ashamed to admit is the least posh thing he has eaten at our house all week. Hathaway spoils him rotten with actual bits of real salmon and chicken and bonito flakes. We might be the only people in Oxford who buy cat food as a matter of course with their weekly groceries who don’t in fact own an actual cat.

With the felid belly satisfied and two cups of coffee produced with the perfect head of crema on top, or so Hathaway informs me, I head back to the bedroom in pursuit of my own shower. James is out and has a towel wrapped around his waist and still has little drops of water glistening on his torso. I’ll admit admiring the view is one of the perks of marriage to Hathaway. He catches me staring and comes over to wrap his arms around me and walk me backwards to the bed.

“I was going to shower” I protest feebly.

“No” he says.

“Why no?”

“Cos then your skin tastes of water and soap instead of you.”

“Your coffee’s going to go cold”.

Then we are tumbling in the sheets again and James is licking and kissing and biting his way down my body. My boxers are pulled off and then I am engulfed in hot, wet perfection. He senses when I am getting close and reappears at my head again. Lining our cocks up he kisses me again while he strokes us together, all the while whispering to me “I love you, I love you, I love you.”

We come together, sticky and messy and sated and panting.

Once I am in a fit state to move again I look around for something to wipe us down, but James rubs it into his chest and stomach instead.

“You just showered” I protest.

“I like to smell of you. Smell like I am yours.”

I can feel myself harden and twitch slightly in response to that. He grins when he realises what he has done to me.

After my shower I follow the smell of bacon back to the kitchen where James is making breakfast dressed in his rattiest jeans and t-shirt and a shapeless cardigan which signals his intent to stay at home today. Sid is nonchalantly perched on the kitchen table accepting tribute in the form of bonito flakes as James skilfully moves between a tray of fresh muffins, bacon and eggs and toast. It’s Sunday. I’m allowed a bit of a fry up on Sunday. What with an exercise regime on top of a diet carefully researched and compiled by James I’m actually fitter than I was ten years ago, thank you very much.

“I’ll do the groceries tomorrow” I say. God knows I’ve not got much else to do tomorrow. C.S. “Call me Joe” Moody hasn’t asked for me to come in this week and I suspect that the days of him wanting me at all are drawing to a close. That doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. Once I thought it meant the prospect of seeing less and less of me best mate until we barely saw each other any more, of me becoming less and less useful until I was dried up and good for nothing. Now it only means seeing slightly less of me husband during daylight hours. I can live with that. The main reason Moody still gives the nod to my retired copper presence on occasional cases is that he likes being able to show how diverse and inclusive his force is, and being able to trot out D.I. Hathaway with his husband D.I. Lewis at every function he can get us to attend is evidently still an attractive proposition. I go to his damned parties, and he lets me in on cases from time to time. Sometimes I can hear Morse laughing at me, especially when I am wrestling with me bow-tie yet again. It’s the sort of situation that would have tickled him no end. Sid opens an accusatory eye when I reach for the TV remote but decides to allow it.

So tomorrow will be grocery shopping. Today is for stretching out on the couch watching the football while James reads next to me, his long legs curled next to him and his head against my shoulder. Perhaps he will read to me later. He often does: bits he thinks are interesting or texts he says are best experienced read out loud; sometimes just because he knows I love it sitting here in our home listening to my James’s voice rise and fall and chuckle when he finds a bit that amuses him. Sometimes I wonder how my life came to this. I didn’t see this coming. I got lucky.

He catches me smiling at him again and he answers me with a smile of his own before bending his head over his book once more.