by Jane Carnall
This story, as told by Jane of Australia, begins with Cowley's 60th birthday party, which makes it 1983, sometime in November. ("Two-Up" is dated September 1986.) It started in the CI5 office, went on to a crowded pub, where Murphy reminded Doyle of how at the last CI5 Christmas bash he got truly drunk and insisted on kissing Bodie under the mistletoe, and then tactfully retreats, out of the pub and out of the story. Actually it's Bodie who really tells Doyle what he did, and Doyle claims not to have been drunk at all, but sober as half a pint of bitter. Condensing stories is less complicated than condensing milk, but harder to get just right. Nestle closer, my carnation, and listen on.
Doyle appears to be flirting, but at this point, an old mate of Bodie's bursts into pub and story, a beer-bellied Aussie; he tells Bode he and five other mates are playing a real man's game in the back room, and does Bodie want to join in? No, no, not the mythical Game (though Doyle observes delicately that it sounds vaguely obscene); two-up. You throw up two coins into the air, and if they come up two heads or two tails, you win; if odds, your opponent. You wager in fivers. Bodie has the knack; Doyle watches, delighted (as much in Bodie's joy in winning as in the £250 his partner's won) until after an hour, the game breaks up with good natured bickering, and Doyle asks how Bodie won.
Apparently it's possible to cheat in tossing coins; as I know three separate ways of cheating at Scrabble (and have never had to utilise any of them) I'm happy to believe it. Anyway, according to Bodie it's not cheating, but sheer skill; I think I'd probably claim the same for Scrabble. When Bodie's won most of Doyle's loose change, they head back to Doyle's for supper, Bodie commenting lightly as he pockets his winnings (£250 + odd change) "that wasn't bad for an hour's work. Might give this job away and turn hustler. Cowley'd love it."
Back at Doyle's flat, they consume last night's leftovers, toast, and cocoa, in god-knows-what proportions, and start playing two-up again; for who writes next week's reports (Bodie loses); for who writes the week after's reports (Doyle loses); for who fetches lunch next week (Bodie loses); and for who fetches lunch the week after (Bodie loses again).
Doyle (sipping cocoa mellowly) says that at least they're not playing for money; Bodie agrees, and suddenly chuckles, and, invited to share the joke, suggests that if they're not playing for money, they play Strip Two-Up.
They both collapse into gales of mirth, and, still standing in the kitchen, laughing delightedly, confessing that they are having absurd fun, toss the coins.
Bodie wins Doyle's shirt. Doyle wins Bodie's shirt.
Bodie wins Doyle's left shoe. Then his right.
Bodie's giggling too much; Doyle wins Bodie's shoes in two tosses.
Bodie wins Doyle's left sock. The kitchen lino's cold; they remove to the lounge. Doyle wins Bodie's left sock, and Bodie wins Doyle's right.
Bodie wins Doyle's jeans. Doyle is now down to purple underwear. Bodie is suddenly realising how good Doyle looks by lamplight; golden and furry. (Sounds like a hamster to me, but each to our own.) Doyle is joking that if Bodie wins the next toss, he gets to see the whole show. Bodie's temperature is going up a notch.
Doyle has missed this completely, and is joking that he's going to find out what Bodie wears under his slacks -- boxer shorts or long johns? Bodie loses; removes his slacks, revealing Y-fronts; practical, says Bodie; old-fashioned, teases Doyle.
Bodie flops down on the end of the couch and glares at the coins; and Doyle asks, wickedly, "So what have you stopped for?"
"What have I stopped for?" Bodie asks. "You want to go, um, all the way?"
So they play again, and Doyle loses, and stands there naked, and Bodie looks, and knows that he likes what he sees; conceding generously that Doyle is absolutely bloody beautiful. And Doyle offers to toss again; Bodie points out that he's nothing left to lose. Doyle bets the two bottles of beer in the kitchen; and loses. "What else d'you feel like losing?" Bodie asks, with a smirk, trying to keep his mind on the game and not Doyle.
"My patience," says Doyle; and then "Go on then, what d'you want?" He's standing there naked; "Want?" Bodie echoes, and then giggles; "If I win the toss, kiss me."
They're drunk, remember; the state of mind when it's OK to propose some not quite straight forfeit because tomorrow morning, Christ was I drunk last night, I don't remember a thing!
"And if I win," Doyle says with a malicious grin, "I get the underwear."
Deal, Bodie agrees, thinking that never in a year would he have imagined Doyle would agree to it. Doyle shrugs eloquently. "You're not repulsive, neither am I, s'just a kiss."
Bodie wins. Doyle pecks him chastely on the chin; Bodie claims a proper kiss, and opens his mouth, waiting; looking smug and wicked and holding his breath that Doyle won't back out. And they kiss; Bodie moaning, holding Doyle to him, beyond his wildest imaginings; Doyle naked, Bodie as near as dammit, plastered against one another, clinging for dear life, suffocating each other with one of the most -- well, the most kiss Bodie had ever known.
And then Doyle breaks the kiss, and for a moment Bodie tries to hold on to him; "Let go, Bodie," Doyle murmurs, pulling at Bodie's gripping hands half-heartedly. "S'bloody silly, this is. Enough's enough." But they're both turned on, and wind up falling on the couch, wrapped round each other, kissing again, Doyle's hands everywhere, while Bodie's just lying still and getting his breath back. Bodie's still wearing his Y-fronts, remember?
And Bodie, happy, offers to toss Doyle for them. Doyle groans. "What for this time? You want the whisky or the chocolates or the shirt off my back?"
"You're not wearing a shirt. You're not wearing anything, which makes you pretty bloody accessible."
The green eyes meet his warily. "And you want what?"
Well, Bodie wants the obvious; to kiss Doyle where he's tenderest. They play again, and Bodie wins, and Doyle is getting very very turned on. So's Bodie.
(The rest is all Jane from Australia; I'll yell when it gets to be me from Edinburgh.)
Eyes misty, Doyle groans. "Oh, Bodie, stop playing and make love to me."
The compulsion is to go to his doom, lured by those husky words, and Bodie holds back with a hideous effort. "Toss you. If you win, you choose -- the underwear, or I'll suck you."
"And if you win?" Doyle says, soft as a sigh.
"I... I want to touch you everywhere," Bodie murmurs. "Everywhere. You know what I mean." He meets the green eyes levelly. "Just touch you, stroke you."
"Then stop talking about tossing, and do it," Doyle smiles, "damn, I stopped playing ages ago. And take the ruddy underwear off!"
"Toss you," Bodie smiles back. "Let's finish the game once and for all... First and last time we ever play." He brings the coins and they toss...
"Had to come a time," Doyle says gravely as he looks at the coins and holds out his hand. "Now, for Pete's sake will you give me the bloody underwear?"
Bodie removes the garment with a giggle and a flourish, and Doyle bundles it up and throws it behind the sofa.
"Thank you very much," he says succinctly. "Now, I don't know about you, but I've had a hard day and want to go to bed."
Bodie blinks at him, outraged. "You mean -- you mean you only wanted to get the shorts off me, and -- you're a bloody prick-tease, Doyle!"
In answer, Ray grabs him, uses a Judo throw to dump him onto the couch and sits on him. "Don't you ever ever say that about me, do you hear?" Real anger is glittering in his eyes. "I've flattened men for less! I'm not gay, never was, don't intend to become gay, and the fact that I fancy you could have something to do with the fact that you're my best mate and you're just about the most beautiful physical specimen I've ever seen. Call me a fool, call me a clown, call me old and ugly, if you like, but if you have the idea I'm gay you're vastly mistaken and can go out through that front door and stay out. And if you ever call me a prick tease again I'll -- I'll hit you, Bodie, I promise you!"
I'm yelling now. Jane from Australia thinks that Bodie apologised, after this outburst from Doyle, and that then they went to bed, had a brief discussion on tactics, agreed that neither of them would be dominant, had wonderful quickie sex, talked (and Bodie apologised) some more, made love again, went to sleep, and, knowing Jane, lived happily and handsome as Greek gods ever after. Well, she's wrong.
It was this way
Sheer amazement made Bodie hold still while Doyle delivered this furious speech; sheer amazement, and, in the silence that followed, a bitter, deadening anger. "Right," he said flatly, after a moment's pause, and gave Doyle a neat shove, sitting up and sliding off the sofa.
Doyle sat there, staring at him, beginning to frown more in astonishment than in anger. Bodie said nothing; he leaned over the couch to fish his Y-fronts out, pulled them back on (ignoring the remnants of his arousal), and then his slacks. "Bodie -- ?" Doyle started, standing up.
Bodie looked back at him, expressionless. "Yeah?"
"Where're you going?"
The other man sat down again to pull his socks on. His shirt and shoes were still in the kitchen. "I'm going out through that front door," he mimicked bitterly, "and I'm going to stay out." He looked up at Doyle, and bared his teeth in an unfriendly grin. "See, I did have this idea you were gay. Funny, that, isn't it?"
Doyle stood up, glaring, clenching his fists. "You still think I'm queer?"
"Hell no," Bodie said, still with mock agreeability. "No doubt about that, Doyle, you're straight. I'll give anyone a testimonial who asks."
He stood up again and went back through to the kitchen, leaving Doyle standing, holding on to his anger and feeling it dribble away like sand between his fingers, feeling like a bloody fool standing there stark naked. He pulled his own pants and jeans on, and found Bodie already in the hall, pulling his jacket on. "Good night. I've left you your beer. We'll cancel the other bets, OK? Bloody stupid game anyway."
"You can't go home like that," Doyle protested. "Look, for one thing, you've got about two hundred fifty quid in your pocket -- what if you get mugged?"
Bodie snorted. "Pity the poor mugger."
"Bodie!" Doyle snapped. "Why are you walking out like this?" Ten minutes ago they'd been on the verge of making love. How could it change so fast?
"You told me to, Doyle, remember? If I had the idea you were gay, you said, I could get out and stay out. Well, I did."
"You think I make a habit of this?"
"You nuts or something?" Bodie demanded. "I know you don't make a habit of this or someone less bloody patient than me would have rearranged your face before now."
"Then why did you think I was gay?"
"Oh, shit," Bodie said painfully, "do I have to spell it out? You were flaunting yourself all evening. Especially ever since you took your jeans off. You got me going, all right -- and you got me naked with my own game, even if you had to get mauled to do it -- and you were playing a huge joke all the time. Great. I had the funny idea you meant it, you really were gay. So I made a mistake. Forget it."
"That wasn't what I meant," Doyle said slowly. "What I said earlier -- I just meant I'm tired after a long day at work, and the sofa's too short, and if I'm going to get laid I want to do it comfortably. I was inviting you to bed with me. If you wanted to come."
Bodie said nothing. After a moment, Doyle reached out his hands to touch his partner's arms. "And you did want to come."
Taking a quick step backwards, out of Doyle's reach, Bodie snorted, almost laughing. "So why didn't you tell me that when I called you a prick-tease?"
"Made me angry," Doyle admitted. "Well, the idea you maybe thought I went with other men."
Bodie shrugged. "So? Why'd you yell you weren't gay so fast?"
"I'm not. Wouldn't want anyone but you. I blew up too fast," he added ruefully. "Live and let live, and all that... I shouldn't have had a tirade at the expense of gays, should I? I mean, a lot of people have accused me of being queer, because of the way I look."
Bodie sighed. He was beginning to feel sick of the whole business. "OK. You're not gay. I am, though, and getting involved with straight men is bad news. I'm sorry I made a mistake; I'm sorry I called you a prick-tease; I'm sorry I ever started the bloody game."
"Apology accepted, so forget it. And," Doyle said sharply, "hang about, mate. You're not gay, just because you fancy me. I fancy you, that doesn't make me gay. It's just us, Bodie."
"You fancying me," Bodie said, very slowly, "may not make you gay. That's up to you. I've known I'm gay for a hell of a lot longer than you've known me, and Christ, Doyle, I'm drunk and I'm tired" -- and I've got a cock that's aching for attention, but not yours -- "and I'm going home. Now." He opened the door, sending a icy draft around Doyle's bare chest and ankles, and stepped outside; turning to glance back. "Better forget it, Doyle," he added.
The Closet-Case's Credo: Christ was I drunk last night, I don't remember a thing.
Vive la differénce: You were drunk last night. The difference is, you remember everything. - Boys in the Band
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