Changes to the Programme
“Having trouble with that, love?” asked Bodie, as Penny struggled to fit her key into the lock.
“No, I’ve got it,” she said, optimistically. A moment later she dropped the key on the pavement outside her door. “Oh, damn it!”
“Bodie, I think she needs help.”
Bodie turned around at the voice, his alcoholic haze throwing him slightly off balance. Ray was leaning against the railing with an armful of Penny’s flatmate, Andy. They were both laughing.
A string of flags waved behind them, and on the street below the party was still in full swing, lanterns competing with streetlights, children in paper hats chasing each other around the tables. Ray’s hair was lit from behind, giving him an uneven red halo, and Andy was wearing a commemorative plastic bowler, painted to look like a Union Jack. Bodie treated them both to a good humoured grin.
As he bent to help Penny find her key, Bodie silently congratulated himself. If he hadn’t taken charge of the evening, Ray would likely still be shut up in his flat, blaming himself for the state of the universe in general, and the events of last week in particular. Too much of a brooder, he was. All that thinking never did anyone any good. Lucky for Ray he had a partner with the good sense to round up a pair of likely birds and...
Bodie’s forehead knocked against Penny’s as they reached for the key together. She sat down hard on her rear, wide-eyed.
“Hey, are you okay?”
Instead of answering, Penny laughed and rubbed her head. Bodie helped her back up onto her feet, and brushed her off, ignoring the evil chortling behind him. She looked fine, and he assumed she must be well anaesthetized by the half a dozen large gin and tonics she’d managed to get through. He propped her against the wall and retrieved the key.
No, this evening had gone almost perfectly. Just the thing to chase the blues away and ensure Ray didn’t dwell on dead anti-royalist radicals, the inequities of the class system, and whatever the hell else he’d been on about.
Wine, women, and song. Had a pretty good voice, Ray did...
Bodie was pushing open the door when he felt something land lightly on his head. He reached up, startled.
“There,” exclaimed Andy, giggling. “Now you look properly festive.”
Bodie discovered that he was wearing her ridiculous little bowler. Deciding to be a good sport about it, he crossed his eyes and gave her his daftest grin as he ushered them all inside. Andy giggled some more.
Penny was yawning, and looking a bit unsteady, but she still kissed his cheek as she passed. Bodie hoped that counted as a good omen for the rest of the night. Penny, of the generous tits and hips, had been his personal project for the past two weeks. Events seemed to have been conspiring against him lately, with the girls’ odd hours as nurses, and the R/T going off at awkward moments and double shifts, thanks to the Jubilee. Even though security for that shouldn’t have been CI5’s concern, there was still fallout to deal with...
And then it was Ray within arm’s reach, still sniggering like a maniac. Bodie quickly whipped the hat off his own head and tried to clap it onto that mess of curls.
Ray ducked, and knocked his hand away. “Sod off!”
“But darling, it’s so you,” camped Bodie. He dodged an elbow, ducked in front, and this time he managed to get the hat onto Ray’s head. Then he was back-pedalling as fast as he could into the flat, trying to fix in his brain forever the sight of Ray with his hair mashed under a plastic bowler and a terrifying scowl on his face. If only he had a camera...
The hat fell off as Ray charged after him. “You!”
He hooked an arm around Bodie’s waist, just as their momentum sent them both crashing into the sofa. Bodie’s feet went out from under him and into the air, and he heard the girls shriek as the sofa tipped back. One moment’s disorientation, and then he was sprawled on the other side with Doyle, under the window. He struggled to untangle their limbs, planting the palm of his hand in the middle of Ray’s face as he tried to stand up.
“'Ey!” protested Ray. “Gerroff!”
“I’m trying!” Finally wiggling free, Bodie looked over the edge of the upended sofa to find the girls staring at them both, goggle-eyed. Ray was still on the carpet, clutching his stomach now, giggling weakly. There were two hectic spots of colour high on his cheeks, and his eyes were glazed.
Penny wasn't the only one who’d had too much to drink that evening, thought Bodie. He grabbed Ray’s arm and hauled him up, giving him a clout on the back of his head to sober him up. “C’mon! Help me.”
Together they straightened the furniture. Ray and Andy immediately commandeered the sofa and Bodie, who had been hoping to settle down there with Penny, eyed them with exasperation. Trust the golly to make himself comfortable, he thought, as he thumped down into an overstuffed armchair.
Ray was sprawled lengthwise across the cushions with Andy between his knees, leaning up against his chest. He smirked at Bodie, clearly pleased to have won possession of the best spot.
Bodie felt paper crunch beneath him. With a grimace, he straightened and eased a booklet out of his inside jacket pocket. He held the mangled thing up for Andy to see. “Sorry love, I’ve bent your programme.”
She turned her head on Ray’s chest and looked at him. “Oh, Bodie!”
“Told you, you shouldn’t have given it to him,” said Ray, into her ear.
She giggled, and rubbed the side of her face, where his breath had tickled. “But it wouldn’t fit in my bag!”
“Never mind,” said Bodie, spotting a thick hardcover on the coffee table. It looked like some sort of modern art book. “We can flatten it out. You’ve got loads of nice heavy books here. Not like our Ray, he only reads paperbacks.”
“At least I own books. All you’ve got is Mayf--.”
“All I’ve got is what?” interrupted Bodie. He gave Ray a warning glare.
“Many fine picture books about tanks and guns. Very literary,” Ray finished, smoothly. He mouthed Andy’s neck, his tongue tracing a line from her jawline to her ear.
Bodie decided that Andy’s laugh had gone from infectious to irritating. Not to mention, Ray was getting all the action. With that thought, Bodie suddenly realised that Penny was nowhere to be seen, and hadn’t been for quite a while.
Absently shoving the pamphlet back into his pocket, he stood and looked around. There was a short hallway off the living room, doors on either side with a bathroom at the end. “Have you seen--?” he started to say as he turned back to the couch. He stopped. Andy had turned around in Ray’s arms, and they were enthusiastically practising their French.
Bodie sighed, and went to look for Penny. His good mood was on a rapid downward trajectory. Somehow he was not at all surprised when he glanced into a room and found his date for the evening passed out on her bed, fully clothed.
Right then. At least she was face down, so it was unlikely she’d come to any harm if she threw up on the bed. Bodie removed her shoes, and pulled the covers up. Then he closed the door, and stood in the hallway for a moment, frowning.
It just wasn’t fair.
Here he’d arranged the entire evening, found the girls, figured out the best place to see the parade and where to go for dinner after, and all he’d got for it was a peck on the cheek and an unconscious date. Meanwhile, Ray was alternately baiting him and enjoying all the action.
And more, Bodie realised as he wandered back into the living room. Matters had moved along while he’d been down the hall, and Ray now had both hands up the front of Andy’s blouse, and was all but getting his end away right there on the sofa.
Bodie threw himself down in the chair with a deliberately loud sigh. Two lust-hazed pairs of eyes focused his way. Ray looked annoyed at the interruption, but Andy said, “Oh, Bodie. Have you been abandoned?”
“Yeah--,” Bodie started.
“Never mind him,” said Ray, rolling a pliant Andy beneath him, and straddling her on the sofa. “He’s a big lad. He can look after himself.”
Realising that the two of them had no intention of stopping on his account, Bodie got up and went to the kitchen, scowling. “Bodie can look after himself,” he muttered under his breath. “Yeah, well, he bloody well can.” He found a bottle of beer in the fridge, and a bottle opener by the sink.
This was not part of his plan for the evening. Penny was not supposed to drink too much, and after all he’d done, Ray should care at least a little that he’d been left high and dry. He thought about taking the car and heading home, but that seemed somehow like admitting he’d lost. Not that he’d realised there was a game...
Bodie stopped, his bottle half-opened. He was good at games. Had hardly met one he didn’t enjoy, whether it was cricket or chess. He popped the cap off his beer, and took a long drink.
If this was a game, then that meant there were rules. And there would be a winner, too.
Bodie stalked back into the living room and threw himself back down into the chair. He waited until Ray looked up and then deliberately took a long swig of his beer, eyes fixed on Ray's face, one eyebrow raised. He wasn’t going anywhere. The next move was up to Ray.
Ray’s face went momentarily blank. Bodie could see him working it out. Then his eyes narrowed and he gave Bodie a quick feral grin. The challenge was clear. Ray wasn’t going to concede the game.
Bodie braced himself, but instead of getting up and throwing him out of the flat, Ray turned away. He whispered something in Andy’s ear, making her laugh. Bodie saw Andy glance his way, just as Ray opened the last of the buttons on her blouse and peeled it back, exposing her bra.
Bodie was suddenly very alert, shock burning away the last of the alcoholic fog. This was the last thing he’d expected Ray to do. There clearly was some sort of game going on, but now he had even less idea of the objective. This hadn’t been included in the programme of events listed in the commemorative booklet he’d accidentally crumpled.
Andy’s momentary interest in Bodie vanished. She tilted her face up to meet Ray’s mouth, even as he was undoing the hooks on her bra.
Nice breasts, noted Bodie absently. Not too large, but well shaped and proportional to her size. His eyes kept tracking back to Ray, whose head had just dropped down to take one pink nipple into his mouth.
I’m watching the girl, Bodie told himself, as he traced the curve of Ray’s back down to his hips. Andy had her hands in the waistband of Ray’s jeans and was trying to work them down even as she squeaked and squirmed in reaction to his touch. He returned the favour, skinning off her tights.
Bodie sank lower in his chair and held onto his bottle of beer, unable to drag his gaze away. Ray looked up again. His expression was still challenging, but there was now a hint of amusement in his face as well. Bodie could only imagine what he looked like himself. He could feel the heat burning in his cheeks.
But there was no way in hell he was going to move. If Ray thought he could embarrass him enough to drive him away, he had another think coming.
Except... Bodie squinted, rubbing his eyes in renewed confusion. Ray wasn’t trying to drive him away, was he? He wanted an audience. No shrinking violet, Ray. As Bodie watched, Ray pushed himself up and quickly shed his jeans, kicking them off onto the floor. He wasn’t even wearing underpants.
Bodie wondered if Ray had been planning this all evening, or if it was a spur of the moment thing. He wondered what part Ray expected him to play in this bizarre game. And he wondered if extreme sexual frustration had ever been identified as a cause of spontaneous human combustion.
Andy lifted her hips as Ray pushed her skirt up. He had finished with her breasts, leaving the nipples damp and gleaming in the light from the lamp, and he now moved down to kneel on the floor before the couch, between her pale, smooth thighs. Her hands twisted themselves into his hair.
Bodie stared at the dark hair near the base of Ray’s spine, observing the sinuous movement of his hips, the muscles working in his lower back. No one ever got off watching the guy in a porno, he thought. It’s the girl you fantasise about. So why, he wondered, was he staring at Ray?
Andy was absolutely lovely, with her skirt tangled around her waist and knickers down around her ankles, making small noises of protest as Ray...
...as Ray licked the inside of her thigh.
Bodie shifted uncomfortably, feeling a pulse and swell in his own groin. Resentment made the next swallow of beer go down hard.
He leaned forward, and started to rise, half-prepared to join in. He could always do something with the top half of Andy, if Ray was concentrating on the bottom. But the moment he shifted in his chair, Ray’s head came up, clear warning in his eyes. Evidently he was supposed to stay put. But that wasn’t fair. He didn’t want to just sit here. He wanted...
He thought about pushing Ray aside and going down on Andy himself. Or, not so much going down, since Ray seemed to have that well in hand himself, his head now firmly buried in her thighs. Andy’s hips were moving up and down, rhythmically, and Bodie could almost feel the teasing strokes of Ray’s tongue himself.
With an effort he dragged his mind away from Ray, and imagined burying himself in the warmth between Andy’s legs. But that was a pale fantasy compared to the scene playing out live in front of him. Bodie caught his breath as his trousers became painfully confining. He looked down at his hand, and realised that he’d been holding himself for some time.
This entire scenario had gone from arousing to torturous. Ray still had his eyes on him, but Andy wasn’t seeing anything. Her heels were up on his shoulders as he fucked her with his fingers.
My move, decided Bodie. He eased his zip down carefully, having decided that if Ray cared, he could stop shagging Andy, get up and throw him out of the room.
Ray did nothing of the sort. His eyes widened a little, as if surprised. Then he grinned, and turned his attention back to Andy. He leaned forward, pushing her back so that her hips came up off the sofa a few inches. Then he moved his hand down lower, between the cheeks of her arse.
Andy made a breathy sound, almost a gasp, and tried to lift her hips higher.
Bodie almost echoed her, a groan catching in his throat as he took himself in his fist. He was past the point of remembering which of the players he was supposed to be watching in this drama. He didn’t care any more. He looked at the long lines of Ray’s body, hard muscle and brown skin contrasting with Andy’s pale curves.
Maybe it was just that Ray was his partner, thought Bodie. He actually liked the baffling little sod, while he hardly knew Andy. So, it made sense that he’d be more interested in the lean angles of his back, and the curve of his ribs, and the way his cock bobbed with every movement…
No, that didn’t make any sense at all.
Bodie’s hand began to move, sliding up and down. He imagined reaching over and taking Ray in hand, working him as he worked on Andy. Then he imagined that it was Ray’s hand on him, instead of his own. A hand, or lips, or… Fantasy images twisted into a spiralling confusion in Bodie’s mind, as he rejected each only to replace it with something even less acceptable. The only clear part of it all was that it was inescapably about Ray.
Andy gasped, and then moaned unsteadily, trying to pull away. “Please,” she said. “Please...”
Bodie closed his eyes, his mind echoing her words. Please. He pulled harder. He could hear his pulse in his ears and he knew he’d lost control. Which meant he’d lost the game. His hand seemed to be moving by itself, shame and desire blending into desperation.
Then he heard Andy make a high pitched noise, and he opened his eyes just in time to see Ray back on top, braced on his hands and knees, sliding into her.
Bodie felt his balls tighten, arousal building to a peak, and for a brief time he lost track of his surroundings as warm liquid gushed over his fist. It was perfection. In that moment he forgot the game, forgot winning or losing, forgot everything. He was sated and content. Then panic hit as he realised that he had his hands full and he hadn’t thought far enough ahead to plan for the mess. He looked around for anything, realised he had nothing and gingerly fished the programme out of his pocket.
It was far from adequate, and he expected that Andy would never forgive him, but it was the best he could do under the circumstances. At least he’d tried to use the back of the programme, rather than smearing it all over HRH’s face. That wouldn’t do at all.
He tucked himself back into his trousers and took himself quietly off into the kitchen to dispose of the evidence and wash his hands. In the living room he could hear Ray and Andy still at it, the sound of their lovemaking settling to rhythmic grunts that held little interest for him anymore.
Bodie dried his hands on a commemorative tea towel, and settled back down in the chair. He finished his beer and closed his eyes, remembering what it felt like to be fourteen, listening to the first mate and the cook getting their end away in the galley, when they thought everyone else was safely up on deck. It had sounded much the same, though the gasps were perhaps harder, both moans more deeply pitched.
And then later, in Africa. Coming across a couple of mates, the two he thought couldn’t stand each other, one rogering the other under a bush and neither looking unhappy with the arrangement.
Furtive whispers in the dark. A shuffling in the bunks. A creaking of springs...
He’d stayed clear, mostly. That kind of sex made a person vulnerable, and he had a horror of being caught with his trousers down. Much better to save up his cash and pay for a room.
Ray was clearly made of different stuff. No shame. Apparently he liked being watched.
But why tonight, of all nights? Had it been a spur of the moment thing? Ray’s motives seemed impenetrable to Bodie, though he was reasonably certain he hadn’t intended to be cruel. That wasn’t his style. Maybe some people were watchers, and some were performers, and that’s just the way it was. Probably it could have been any mate sitting in that chair, Bodie thought. Nothing to do with himself at all.
Curiously dissatisfied with this conclusion, Bodie fell asleep.
A light touch on his hand woke him. He opened his eyes to see Ray grinning down at him. “Wakey, wakey.”
Bodie blinked at him in some confusion. He’d been dreaming of Ray’s arse, moving rhythmically between Andy’s thighs, and had thought they were still at it. He could almost still hear the sounds they’d been making.
But Ray was dressed again, and Andy was nowhere to be seen.
“Can’t hold his drink, poor sod,” said Ray, shaking his head with exaggerated pity.
Bodie gave him a passing imitation of a disgusted snort, and was going to say something suitably biting, when he suddenly realised that there was a much more pressing issue at hand. He pushed himself upright, and headed for the bathroom. He’d deal with Ray later.
Bodie was washing his hands, when Ray walked into the bathroom. He looked smugly satisfied, as he pushed past Bodie to the sink. “Lovely girl, that Andy,” he said. “She got you going as well, didn’t she?”
Bodie made a non-committal sound.
“She likes you. Play your cards right, and it could be you next time.”
“I can’t wait,” Bodie said, dryly.
Ray gave him a puzzled glance, so Bodie plastered a smile on his face and said the last thing in the world Ray would expect. “Was a thing of beauty, you and Andy. Never seen anything like it.” His own sincerity surprised him.
Ray looked at him suspiciously for a moment, but Bodie just kept smiling.
“Well, that’s all right then,” Ray said at last. “Expect you learned a thing or two.”
Bodie watched him saunter out of the room. Unbidden, Bodie’s eyes tracked down to the muscular arse tightly enclosed by faded jeans, the casual strut and sway. Look, but don’t touch.
“Wait,” said Bodie, suddenly.
Ray stopped in the door and glanced back, smirking.
“Why?” asked Bodie. The question came out harsher than he intended, and he saw confusion in Ray’s eyes.
“I don’t know,” said Ray, slowly. “Never thought of it before. But you were here, and Andy was keen.” He shrugged, his expression troubled. “I don’t know. Was fun, though, right? I knew you’d go for it.”
Never thought of it before, was what Ray had said, which meant this wasn’t just one of his kinks. It wasn’t just any mate he’d wanted watching him, it was Bodie. And once Ray got to brooding on it, the way he inevitably would, he’d realize that.
And that, Bodie concluded, meant the game hadn’t been lost after all. It had been tied.
Bodie’s smile this time was genuine. “You’ve had worse ideas.”