Los Angeles, 1998
“Henry Spivey, this is Tom Grady. He’ll be in the office down the hall from you.”
Henry raised his coffee cup in salute at the man in the doorway. “Pleased to meet you, Tom. Always good to have another member on the team.”
Edward stitched Raymond up in the hotel room. “First time getting shot?”
“Hurts like a sonofabitch, don’t it?” Raymond tightened the bandage around the wound. “Just a temp patch for now. It’ll hold til we get back to Janus. And, Raymond?”
Raymond looked up at him expectantly.
“From now on when I tell you to duck, you duck.”
Los Angeles, 2001
“You look like you’re about to face a firing squad.”
“I feel like it.”
“It’s not so bad.”
“You’re saying you weren’t nervous when you were in this position.”
“Absolutely not,” Henry paused and smiled. “I was petrified.”
“But it was the one good decision that I made in this lifetime. You’ll see, Tom.”
“Let’s get you married.”
El Salvador, 2003
Another assignment, another near-death encounter. They’d gotten the package and would be on a plane back to headquarters in the morning.
One drink in the hotel bar led to another. Talks of long-ago conquests made way to shared tales of misery about how long it had been.
They went back to the hotel room, punched up some pay-per-view porn on the television, and sat on their beds, watching.
Edward’s hand moved to his crotch, freeing his cock from his jeans, and slowly stroking his length, as the movie played in the background.
From the other bed, Raymond shifted his gaze from the television to Edward.
“Mind if I…?”
Edward’s hand moved from his cock. He shifted over on the bed and patted the space on the mattress next to him.
Los Angeles, 2004
“Where’d they send you again?” Henry asked.
“Roanoke. I don’t mind the travel, but I swear I’d settle for a few days at home every so often.”
“Angie’s getting pissed, huh?” Tom gave him a bit of a half-smile.
“She says I’m having an affair with my job.”
“Well, better that than anybody else, right?”
“I don’t have the energy for anybody else.”
Raymond slammed Edward’s body up against the wall of their hotel room. They’d given up the pretense that this was anything else a long time ago. This wasn’t any sort of gentle loving. It was a battle, hard-fought, pain and pleasure reminding each other that they were alive.
Some days Raymond didn’t think he could get it anywhere else.
Los Angeles, 2007
Henry and Tom sat in the living room watching the Cowboys play the Jets.
“Man, that turkey’s starting to get to me,” Tom said, with a yawn.
“It’s the tryptophan.”
“Right. Not the fact that this game was pretty much over by halftime.”
“Well, that could be a contributing factor.”
“It’s kinda rude to fall asleep.”
“Nonsense. It’s Thanksgiving. It’s tradition. Someone always has to fall asleep.”
“This seems familiar.”
“Dallas plays every year on Thanksgiving.”
“No. This. Falling asleep in front of the television with you.”
“There was that conference in Sioux City when we were roommates.”
“That’s probably it,” Tom stretched and yawned.
Henry propped his feet up on the coffee table and closed his eyes.
Russia/Los Angeles/Munich, 2008
Raymond was pissed. Everything had fallen to shit once Henry had woken up inside Edward’s body. Henry had called him by a name that wasn’t his, and all memory of him - Raymond - was gone.
He didn’t mind seeing Henry going under the knife. Edward was important to the mission, Henry was not. The sooner this little mishap was fixed was the sooner that Edward was returned to him.
Munich could have been another disaster. Fortunately, Edward had enough presence of mind to warn him that Henry was about to awaken. He hated the disappointment in Henry’s voice when he said “Raymond”. He knew for Henry this was a nightmare, but he was momentarily jealous of Tom having this part of Edward.
Henry was scared out of his mind. He’d lost contact with Raymond moments ago. How was he going to get through this? He couldn’t let anything happen to Raymond. Despite how he felt about this part of his life, he was a bit attached to his fellow agent.
As Raymond grabbed him from behind, a familiar feeling that he couldn’t waste time categorizing hit. Vision blurred. Sounds of a struggle reached his ears. As his vision cleared, he saw Raymond in trouble. He knew what he had to do.
It was second nature. Looping the phone cord around the attacker’s neck, he pulled tight, prying him off Raymond and squeezing the breath from his throat.
“Edward, right?” asked Raymond.
Edward smirked. As if Henry could do anything like that.