Darby Brennan


Set immediately after No Stone.

Doyle is at home thinking about the things June Cook said to him. His thoughts turn to Bodie, and his final words to Doyle. But acting on them will mean that Doyle has made a decision.

An established relationship story.

Written: June 2007. Word count: 600.



"It's all right for you; you haven't got anyone."


Once again, despite his best efforts, June's words reverberated through Ray's head.


In an attempt to drown them out, he emptied his third glass of whisky, poured a fourth and switched his stereo on full blast.


Neither action had the desired effect.

He could still remember.


Could still hear her words.


See her face.


Feel her pain. Her anguish. Her bitterness. Her hatred.


"You can go on playing cowboys for the rest of your bloody, miserable, selfish life!"


And he could.


But did he want to?


Could he do so?


He didn't know.


But now wasn't the time to make that decision.


With a snarl, he stood up and turned the music off. Normally Mozart soothed him. Tonight it sounded like fingernails on a blackboard.


"Ring me, Ray. If you need me, ring me." They'd been Bodie's final words when they'd parted for the evening.


Strange word to use: need. It wasn't the usual thing they said to one another.


'Need' implied something more than what they had. More than what Ray thought they had.


'Need' implied emotion. And Ray wasn't sure they had that.


Oh, they were friends, good friends. Best mates even. Partners. The Bisto Kids. Cowley's finest. And they went to bed together.


They had sex. Physical release. Physical gratification. And it was good; bloody good. The best Ray'd ever known.


But it was just sex, right? No emotions, other than friendship and camaraderie; fun, mutual satisfaction. Shagging. Good old plain and simple sex.


They came together when they wanted something that a woman couldn't give them.


Except the odd night now and then had turned into something more frequent.


The hard and fast hand job or shag had become more drawn out, intense, longer lasting.


The birds that used to occupy their beds on a regular basis were now hardly around.


They'd become more insular. More co-dependent. More one person than two.


And sometimes, just sometimes, when he caught Bodie looking at him, Ray got the feeling they could have something more.


But did he want more?


And what was more?


Did Bodie?


Was that what was behind 'need'?


Bodie knew how Ray tended to agonise over things. How he blamed himself for all the ills of the world. And many times in the past Bodie had shaken him out of his despondency; got drunk with him; shagged him senseless; joked around. As any good partner and friend did.


But only at a physical level. Never an emotional one.


"Ring me, Ray. If you need me, ring me." Again Ray heard Bodie's words.


Had Bodie meant something by them?


Did he know?


Had he seen something in Ray that Ray wasn't aware he was projecting?


Or was Bodie trying to tell him something?


And if he was, did Ray want to hear it?


If he picked the phone up now and rang Bodie, it would be more than just a phone call. He knew that.


With the kind of startling clarity you shouldn't have after four very large whiskies, Ray suddenly knew.


He knew what Bodie was saying.


What he was trying to tell him.


"Daft sod," he muttered. "Couldn't just come out and tell me, could you?"


Putting down his empty glass, he reached for the phone and dialled Bodie's number. "Bodie? It's me. Need you, mate."


"It's all right for you; you haven't got anyone."


"You're wrong, June. I have," he said quietly, as he hung up and settled back to wait for Bodie.








He liked the sound of that - a lot.



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