"Have you finished that report yet?"
       I rubbed my eyes and looked up at my boss, shaking my head. She scowled.
       "Well will you get a move on? I need it now."
       "I'm going as fast as I can..."
       "It's not fast enough. Thirty minutes."
       She disappeared back into her own office and I turned back to my typewriter...

       I hadn't had a decent night's sleep in two weeks, but I couldn't really blame Charlie for being so ratty. Having Sir Talbot-Jones commit suicide was bad enough, but to have Adamson skip the country... We'd all tiptoed around for several days, trying to be inconspicuous, but it hadn't helped. Several sets of ears were still ringing from the tongue-lashings she'd delivered.
       Don't get me wrong, Charlie is a great boss and a good friend. But both of us have had to work bloody hard to get where we are, against the sneers and ridicule of quite a number of our male colleagues - I mean forget Women's Lib: this is the Met we're talking about! To have such an important case collapse around our ears really hurt. Not that anyone blamed us, of course, but all the same...

       Charlie came back into my office about fifteen minutes later, frowning.
       "Half hour's not up yet!" I said, accusingly as she perched on the corner of my desk. She ignored the comment and, as usual, came straight to the point.
       "Have you seen Bodie recently?"
       "Haven't had the time. And when I have had the time, I've been too tired. Why?"
       "Ray rang. He's worried about Bodie. He's not himself: his work's suffering. He won't talk about it. And it seems he hasn't had a date since the Adamson case."
       I was taken aback. "Really?"
       "As far as Ray can tell. He's tried to set up a double date a couple of times, but Bodie's always 'doing something else'."
       I frowned. "That's not like Bodie."
       "Would you give him a ring, ask if he'd like to go for a drink?"
       "You want me to find out what's wrong?"
       Charlie gave me a dry half-smile. "I think we already know what's wrong."
       I nodded, fully aware of what she meant. "OK. I'll see what I can do. Might not work, though."
       She patted my shoulder. "Lindsey, if you can't get through to him, no-one can!"

       It was nice that she thought so highly of me, but for a while I thought I was doomed to failure. Bodie answered the phone OK, but was reluctant about agreeing to meet. I made a nuisance of myself, however, and eventually my persistence paid off.

       Bodie was almost his normal, charming, entertaining self. We relaxed, had several drinks and shared a bag of peanuts, and for a while I thought everything was going to be all right. Then I managed to put my foot right in it.
       He'd been telling a very funny story about a 'tarts and vicars' fancy dress party that had me in fits of giggles, spluttering over my lager in a most unladylike fashion. I chipped in with my own comment.
       "So how would you fancy me in a gymslip and knee socks?"
       Even as I said it I knew it was a mistake. Bodie froze. I could see the fine lines of stress around his eyes, the tension in his jaw, and could have bitten my tongue off. I laid a hand on his forearm.
       "Bodie - I'm sorry. That was a stupid thing to say..."
       He rose to his feet, reaching for my jacket and draping it around my shoulders, not meeting my eyes.
       "Come on, I'll see you home."

       It was raining outside, and Bodie hailed a taxi. We rode back to my flat in silence. At the door he paused for just a moment, glancing into my face. His was strained, paler than usual, and my heart went out to him. I wrapped him up as best I could in a hug, feeling him resisting, his body stiff in my arms. I couldn't let him leave like this...
       I did something I promised myself years ago I'd never do again. I opened my eyes very wide and looked up at him with what my dad had always called my 'frightened fawn' face. It had never failed before. It nearly failed now, but I snuggled closer against Bodie and murmured, "Please. I don't want to be alone right now."
       Manipulative, I know, but called for under the circumstances, I think. I've seen the gentle, caring self Bodie normally keeps well hidden - I like it very much. His arms went around me and he rested his cheek against the top of my head. I heard him sigh.
       "OK. I'll come up. But not for long."
       Keeping my arm wrapped around his waist, I fumbled for my keys and let us into the flat, switching on the side lights as we moved into the lounge. I slid his jacket from his shoulders and pushed him back down onto a sofa, pulling off my own jacket as he watched. I smiled, tentatively.
       "Would you like a drink?"
       He shook his head. I curled up on the sofa beside him, my hand on his arm. He sat stiffly upright, not relaxing, not looking at me. I touched his cheek, trying to turn his face towards me. He resisted for a moment, then his shoulders slumped and he glanced at me.
       "Sorry. I ought to go."
       I took his hand. "Please stay. For a little while, at least."
       I bit my lip. I don't think I've ever heard anyone sound so lost, so... forlorn. I moved closer and looked into his face. He was so very tired...
       "You've not been sleeping."
       He shook his head, the barest movement, and lowered his eyes. I rose and tried to pull him upright with me.
       "Come on."
       He resisted. "Where?"
       His head dropped. "I can't."
       I ran my hand over his hair. "You need to sleep. I need to sleep. There's a comfy bed just next door. I'd like to sleep beside you. Just sleep, Bodie. Just to have you near. Just to be close to you tonight."
       He hesitated.
       "Please?" Something in my tone must have reached him - a touch of desperation, perhaps? Anyway, he stood and let me lead him through, turned his head as I undressed and slid under the covers, which was silly given how often we'd seen each other naked. I watched silently as he pulled off his own clothes, the light gleaming along the thin, silvery scars on his body. He turned to me, unaroused, his eyes downcast, and joined me in the bed. I moved close and laid my head on his shoulder: automatically his arm went around me, his hand jerkily stroking my back. I glanced up.
       "Do you want to talk?"
       He shook his head slightly. I moved my hand to his broad smooth chest and snuggled closer. "Just sleep then..."

       Only I couldn't, tired as I was... Bodie is always wonderful to be with, so exciting - sexy, gentle, charming, wild or unpredictable by turns. When he's tired or depressed, I want to look after him. When I'm tired or depressed he cheers me up. And there's such power in that strong body, you can't help but feel safe in his arms. And he has such an enticing scent, warm, faintly musky, very male. As his breathing evened out into sleep, I pulled away from him and rested on my elbow, watching him. At rest his face was softer, younger and more innocent, those long black lashes hiding the shadows under his eyes, mouth relaxed, gentle lamplight gleaming along a cheekbone. I watched as his breathing deepened and he relaxed still further, comfortable and untroubled in sleep. No nightmares. At least, not yet...

       I went through to the lounge for a drink. I hadn't stocked up my cabinet for a while, and the strongest thing I had was vermouth, but it helped. I sat for a while in the darkness, wondering what to do.
       Something about the Adamson case had affected Bodie very deeply, and I had a pretty good idea as to what. How I could help him get over it, though - that was altogether a different matter. Before I could formulate any sensible plan of action, however, a noise from the bedroom had me on my feet and heading for the door.
       Bodie was moaning, his head rolling from side to side, sweat sheening his forehead. I scrambled into the bed and caught his hand. He froze for a second, then shot upright, eyes wide, gripping my wrist so hard it bruised.
       I wrapped my arms around him, feeling him trembling.
       "Shh..... it's OK. You were dreaming. You're safe. I've got you..."
       He glanced at me, eyebrow raised, and I tried a smile.
       "I wish you would talk about it, you know. It helps."
       "But why not?"
       "Bodie, I know it has to do with Adamson, and what happened at that meeting you went to. Remember, we were handling that case for months. Nothing you could say would shock or upset me. I can help, I'm sure I can."
       He gazed at me, eyes haunted, and I thought for one moment he was going to speak. But he shook his head and tried to smile.
       "It doesn't matter."
       I gritted my teeth in exasperation, but knew I wouldn't get anything more from him right now. And we were now both thoroughly awake. Well, I could always try Bodie's favourite way of wearing us out...
       I nestled against his side, my hand resting on his thigh, fingers just barely stroking the dark curls at his groin, but he didn't respond. Not a twitch. Not even when I moved my hand to stroke him, kissing his shoulder and nuzzling his neck. I wriggled one leg between his, rubbing my thigh against him as I nipped lightly along his jaw, then nibbled at his earlobe, something that always started one of those delicious wrestling matches that ended up with me underneath him delightfully impaled and squirming with pleasure. But not this time. He just lay there!
       This was definitely not my Bodie. I pulled myself upright, straddling his hips.
       "Bodie, please talk to me!"
       He lay looking up at me, pain deep down in his eyes, then made to shift me from him.
       "I'd better go."
       I grabbed the hair either side of his head and held him still, ignoring his wince.
       "Oh no you don't! We don't have to do anything you don't want to, but I'm not letting you leave this bed tonight."
       He managed a half smile. "Not even to pee?"
       I pretended to consider it, then nodded, smiling slightly. "Well, I suppose I could let you up for that..."

       I made us each a mug of hot chocolate while Bodie was in the bathroom, and we sat in bed, drinking in silence. As I put my empty mug on the bedside cabinet, Bodie sighed.
       "I'm sorry."
       "What for?"
       "For... you know. Disappointing you."
       I stroked his face. "Fancy trying again?"
       He lowered his head: I could only just make out what he said.
       I slithered down the bed and peered up into his shadowed face.
       "Bodie? What do you mean?"
       He shrugged. "I can't. I've tried. And I can't."
       The fact that he'd admitted it to me was both a shock and something of a delight: I'd had no idea he trusted me that far. But then, after everything we'd been through... I caught his hand.
       "It's OK."
       He stared down at me, frowning. "It's not OK. Not at all."
       I sat up, facing him, and cupped his face in my hands.
       "I know. It was a stupid thing to say. I seem to be making a habit of it tonight. I'm sorry." I sighed. "I'm sure it's just a temporary thing. Perhaps we could get you some help. You know - professional help."
       He shuddered, his eyes closing, and murmured something - it sounded like 'notross'... His shoulders slumped, exhaustion clear on his face.
       "I'll worry about it tomorrow."
       I nodded. Best to let him sleep now. At least I was here if he had another nightmare, or needed anything during the night.
       I watched, disturbed, as he slipped into sleep. Bodie, impotent? No, it wasn't possible - not the Bodie I knew!
       I thought about it. Assuming there wasn't any physical reason, it must be psychological. Although he wouldn't talk about it, I'd kind of gathered, from Ray and the odd thing Charlie let drop, that Bodie had been horrified by his own reaction to the child pornography. Maybe that was what was stopping him getting it up - some mix of horror, guilt and anxiety? Easy-going, happy-go-lucky Bodie. No wonder he was depressed. And that was just making the whole thing worse.
       OK. Perhaps the problem only applied while he was awake. I smiled to myself. Now he was asleep. Perhaps if I could get him aroused, prove to him he didn't have a problem in that area, he might be able to get back to normal. Find it easier to, at least. It was worth a try, anyway...
       I slid the covers down the bed, exposing his powerful pale body to my eyes, then glanced up at his relaxed face and hesitated. Was I just being selfish? I'm no psychiatrist: this was just guesswork. If I was wrong, if it didn't work, he could be worse off by the time I'd finished...
       I swallowed and grabbed my courage with both hands. In a manner of speaking. What I actually did was settle my head on one muscular thigh with my hand resting on the other, my mouth on a level with his groin...

       He was limp, prick lying softly over his balls. I slowly, very gently ran my thumb across the silky skin, caressing the smoothness of the head, then laid my hand over the shaft, pressing lightly. Bodie moved very slightly, shifting on the bed, and I felt a stirring under my fingers, faint but distinct. I began to stroke, blowing softly against the swelling hardness, running my fingers over soft ridges, along veins, through the thick dark curls. Bodie's skin was hot where my cheek rested against him, and I could feel muscle twitching. I glanced up, but he still seemed to be asleep. So far so good...
       I risked running the tip of my tongue along his shaft, and was rewarded by a low moan as he shifted his hips upwards. He was thickening now, growing hard, skin darkening. And he tasted good, salty and tangy... I licked across the head and felt his hands catch my hair, gently pushing my head downwards as I took him into my mouth.

       Bodie is a big lad; I can't take all of him without gagging. I wrapped a hand around the base of his shaft to stop him going too far, but he didn't seem to mind... I swirled my tongue against him, pressing lightly with my teeth. He shivered and took a sharp intake of breath as I moved up and down slowly, pausing every now and then to take the head between my lips and trace patterns with my tongue. So hard, yet such soft, silky skin, like fine satin. And the hot, musky scent of him... I could feel myself getting damp, my skin growing sensitive, nipples hardening.
       He tugged gently at my hair, pulling my head away from his groin, and I moved up to gaze into his face, meeting deep blue eyes hazed with need. His lips were slightly parted, breath coming in shallow gasps. I leaned forwards and covered his mouth with mine.
       He groaned, twining his tongue against mine and pulling me tightly to him, one hand low against my back, the other cupping my breast, knowing fingers teasing as I panted, a quiver of simple lust running through me. I shifted until I was sitting on his groin, then wriggled until I slid him into me...

       Like I said, Bodie's a big lad. He fills me. And the feel of those big strong hands on my hips as we move together, gently guiding my pace, the sheen on his skin, those glorious eyes closed in ecstasy as he thrusts, his thumb searching between my legs, rubbing and stroking in rhythm...
       I froze, biting down a small shriek, as fireworks exploded behind my eyes, my thighs trembling, muscles quivering, caressing Bodie within. ....ahhhhh..... soooo good.....
       He'd paused for a moment, throbbing within me, watching my face until I could breathe properly again, then pulled me down to lie against his chest and rolled us onto one side. I wrapped my legs around his waist as he began to thrust in earnest, hands cupped around my rear as he powered in and back, in and back, mouth on mine as I tangled my hands in his hair and kissed him as though my life depended on it. And minutes later he shoved hard and froze, muscles taut as he came, pulsing deep within me...
       He relaxed with a deep, satisfied sigh, still in me but softening, and half-opened his eyes.
       "Did I just dream that?"
       I chuckled and kissed his chin.
       "Thank you."
       "It was my pleasure. My very great pleasure, I should add." Frowning slightly, I ran my thumb along his jaw. "How do you feel?"
       "No, I mean, how do you feel?"
       He kissed my forehead. "Happy. Let's leave it at that for the moment, OK?"
       I nodded. No doubt there'd be further problems to sort out, but for now, at least, he was reassured... I bit my lip. He was reassured that he could be aroused while asleep, at any rate. But while he was awake? Well, there was always the morning, not too many hours away. Right now...
       I reached for the tissues on the cabinet as Bodie slipped from me. I don't know about you, but personally I don't like sleeping on the wet patch - and I wouldn't ask it of a guest, either. Bodie smiled and licked my nipple as I twisted to toss the tissue away, then pulled me down against him, hand cupping my breast as together we slipped into a deep, refreshing sleep. Without nightmares.

2000 (October) Joules Taylor

With many thanks to Carol for letting me 'borrow' Lindsey! Umm, do you mind if I keep her for a bit longer...?

2000 WordWrights.

In Safe Hands - Carol's follow-up to Cries.