"Jonathan Creek" characters beloved creations of and
copyright David Renwick.
Title: The Poetry of Magic PtII
Fandom: Jonathan Creek
Rating: NC17, m/m.
Status: Pt2 of ?
Web Page: http://www.burble.com/elfin/
With thanks as always to Pfyre for her constant encouragement and to
Sue for her interesting suggestions and help.
The Poetry of Magic, Part II
"I’ve got this theory that Jonathan Creek is himself an
illusion. Just when you think you’ve found him, he drifts through your
fingers like smoke."
- Maddy, "The Reconstituted Corpse"
"At least this time, I was expecting it."
Jonathan looked up when Adam made himself as comfortable as possible
in the seat next to him. Playing his pen through his fingers, he smiled
nervously. "About last night...."
Adam kept his eyes pinned on the activity around the stage. "You’re
"No. I was going to say last night was incredible. And thank
At the same time they turned to look at one another. "Thank you.
"Adam?" They must have resembled two school children caught
talking in class as they stared up guiltily at Chris, their tour
manager. "Christ, look at you two! Have you got a dirty mag under
there or something?"
Four Weeks Later
Jonathan couldn’t believe how relieved he felt, yet at the same
time, how suddenly alone. Twelve thirty-five. Finally, Adam was out of
the country for the start of his whistle-stop European tour. Five cities
in twelve days. Utter madness, and very Adam.
The last four weeks had been a minefield of emotions Jonathan wasn’t
used to and could barely cope with. They’d worked together as
synchronously as ever, putting together a new show for the short tour
that would end back at the Prince of Wales in a fortnight. Adam hadn’t
ever pretended that one night hadn’t happened, but neither had he made
another move, and Jonathan found himself swinging continuously between
relief and depression.
As he imagined a great many of Adam’s former lovers had
experienced, he felt used. Sometimes. Without any reason to. Late some
nights when he’d lain alone in bed staring out of the window at the
clear, cold sky, rerunning that night in his mind, torturing himself.
But he didn’t know why. He didn’t want anything from Adam that he
hadn’t already got. Their friendship remained in tact, was perhaps
closer than it had previously been. But the expert touch on his starving
body was difficult to dismiss, impossible to forget. Adam had driven him
to an explosive orgasm that his own hand just couldn’t match.
Sitting on the floor of his lounge, leaning back against the sofa,
legs out in front of him with ankles crossed, he watched the second hand
of one of his clocks as it shaved time off his holiday second by second.
Two weeks. All Adam had asked was that he keep his mobile switched on
and leave a contact number if he decided to go away abroad. He’d
considered it. He’d even considered flying to the states to see his
parents, but that idea hadn’t been entertained for long.
Last night they’d had a final run through a couple of points that
had been bugging him about the new tricks. Adam had dropped him at
Victoria station at eleven and thanked him. And that had been it.
Sitting on the train, more depressed than he could ever remember being,
he’d asked himself what else he’d wanted or expected. It was a
question he couldn’t answer.
Downstairs on the kitchen table was the envelope Adam had given him,
containing the exact details of the tour; the theatres and their
respective phone numbers. It remained unopened. He’d had no reason to
open it and doubted if he would.
Somehow, by some miracle, he’d managed to keep Maddy unaware of
what had occurred that night. She’d been around as usual. The man shot
to death in the park had come to nothing, and as far as Jonathan knew
she’d had no stories of interest since then.
Speak of the devil….
The phone’s ring stirred him, and he reached for the handset lying
on the floor a couple of feet away.
"Jonathan! Hi! Busy?"
"Mind if I can over? Only, something’s come up."
"Right, good. I’ll see you in a bit."
"Great." He pressed the ‘end call’ button, put the
handset back on the floor and counted to ten.
The front door opened, and she called up, "I knew you wouldn’t
Clambering to his feet, Jonathan mooched down two floors to the
"’Ello." Amused by her own ‘phoning him from outside
his own windmill’ joke, she smiled smugly, but he didn’t see it. He
was busying himself by filling the kettle and plugging it in, searching
out two clean mugs while she made herself comfortable at the table.
"What is it this time then? Locked room? Sealed container?
Bullets? Knives?" He fetched two mugs down from the cupboard.
"Nothing like that." Folding her arms on the table, she
spotted the sealed envelope that Jonathan had thrown there the previous
night. She reached for it, rotating it between her index fingers.
"So, who’s giving you their house key?" she teased, with
only a hint of the jealousy she suddenly felt. He had been more distant
recently. Hadn’t he? Or had he? Was it just her?
"What?" he turned, frowning.
Maddy held up the envelope. "There’s a Yale key in here."
Jonathan felt a rush of heat and silently reprimanded himself.
"Probably wants me to feed the plants," he muttered, taking
the envelope from her and opening it. There was a Yale key inside, and
two pages of plain A4 paper. Printed on one were the details of the
tour, just as Adam had said. To relieve her obvious curiosity, he handed
that to Maddy. On the second page, Adam had scrawled both his alarm
code, and a note:
‘Jonathan, the house is yours whenever. Make yourself at home. I’ll
call if the exploding banana fails! See you in 2 weeks. Love ya, A.
PS. feed the plants to the tiger?’
He composed himself quickly enough to lie and tell her that he’d
been right, Adam wanted him to feed the plants. And then he smiled, and
he kept smiling so that by the time he handed her a mug of coffee, she
was getting worried.
"Have you been smoking something?"
"What?" He pulled out the seat next to her, having folded
Adam’s note away into his pocket along with the key. He couldn’t
believe how much better he felt, how much happier. He hated himself for
it, and determined to give Maddy his complete and undivided attention
for the next two weeks. "Come on then, you can’t keep me in
suspense all afternoon."
By seven that evening the floor of the second storey of Jonathan’s
windmill home was carpeted in photocopies and print outs all to do with
a spooky old house known as ‘Bode Manor’, located somewhere on the
Hog’s Back near Guildford. Recently the place had been bought and
converted into a five-star hotel. But a rapidly growing number of guests
claiming they’d heard and seen a ghostly apparition on the staircase
was threatening business. And a couple of days ago one of the patrons
had died of a heart attack following such an event. Desperate, the
owners of the hotel had called Maddy’s publisher, Barry, and begged
him to persuade Maddy and her associate Jonathan Creek to at least
glance at the incidents.
"I went through a phase of enjoying ghost stories when I was
about ten," Jonathan told her wistfully, smiling his thanks as she
handed him a plate with a knife and fork. She’d offered to cook, being
as it was her case he was currently looking into. It had taken time, but
she’d managed to memorise a couple of vegetarian recipes for him. And
without doubt he had the most stocked kitchen she’d ever worked in.
"There was a place called Borley Rectory. It was plagued by various
ghosts and ghostly noises, screams, sobs, laughter, the old footsteps in
the corridor. Scientists went and stayed there, trying to find some
explanation of what so many people were claiming was happening. One
night, one of them saw a woman floating through the garden one evening.
When they looked in to it, it turned out to be a pillar of mosquitoes
following the underground stream."
Maddy stared at him from the sofa. "Another of your ‘not
everything you see is actually what it appears to be’ examples?"
He smiled at her. "I don’t believe in ghosts. So... these
guests must have seen and heard something real. Something that occurs
either naturally – a shadow, a noise in the pipes, the heating system,
something like that – or something man-made, for a reason."
She grinned. "Like ‘Scooby Doo’?"
Jonathan mirrored her gleeful expression. "Just like ‘Scooby
Doo’ in fact. Maybe we should be searching for treasure buried in the
garden somewhere." He considered that. "In fact, maybe we
should be delving deeper into the business dealings of the hotel
He reached for one of the folders she’d brought over, one that was
hiding under a photo of the dead woman. As he picked it up, the phone
"Hey, Adam. How’s Venice?"
"Romantic. Wet. You’d love it."
"You can take me someday," Jonathan quipped, dropping the
folder back on the floor. "What’s up?"
"Just wanted to fill you in on how things are shaping up. The
last of the tickets have sold in Lyon and Amsterdam."
"So the whole tour’s a sell out? That’s fantastic. Maybe you
could tour for longer next time!"
"Aw, I’m hurt. I thought you’d be missing me."
"Desperately, Adam. But I think I’ll survive."
There was an almighty crash in the background, and Jonathan heard
Adam swear softly. "I have to go. I’ll call from Reykjavik?"
"No problem. Good luck tonight." There was a pause, just
slightly too long. "Goodnight, Adam." He made himself end the
call and drop the handset to the floor. Silently, he started into his
"Everything all right?"
Jonathan looked up at Maddy as if she’d just reminded him that she
was there. "Yes. Sorry. Just Adam informing me that the last of the
tickets have been sold."
"That’s great news."
He nodded his agreement and took another mouthful, putting down his
fork to pick up the report again and open it out on the floor beside
him. But despite trying, he couldn’t concentrate any longer on
whatever was on the pages he was staring at. Finally, he placed his
plate on the floor and got to his feet.
Maddy watched him disappear down the stairs, and a couple of seconds
later, she heard the fridge door closing and the clinking of glasses.
When he returned, he was carrying two bottles of white wine, two glasses
and a bottle opener.
"Jonathan, are you sure everything’s all right?"
"Yep. Just thought...." He looked at her directly. "Do
you... fancy staying over tonight?"
Maddy woke first. For a little while she lay still, just watching
Jonathan sleep. But finally she had to get up. Nature was calling, and
was being quite demanding about it. Taking Jonathan’s warm grey
dressing gown and wrapping it around herself, she padded upstairs. Their
clothes littered the second floor of the windmill.
She’d sat and watched him drink his way through one and a half
bottles of wine. He didn’t usually drink such excessive amounts unless
he was with Adam, so she’d assumed something was up. But he wouldn’t
talk to her, kept denying that anything was wrong and finally she’d
decided just to take his mind off whatever it was obviously on. In his
inebriated state he was a pushover. She made all the moves and they’d
wound up making love on the leather sofa. Warmer there than the kitchen
table, she supposed.
Bit by bit she located and picked up various items of clothing. As
she rescued Jonathan’s shirt from the table lamp, she was interrupted
by the phone’s familiar ring. Dumping the small pile of clothes onto
the sofa she searched the floor for the telephone handset, finding it
under her camisole.
"Jonathan Creek’s place."
"Maddy?" There was a slight hesitation. "Adam."
"Hi! How did the show go last night?"
"Excellent, thanks for asking. Is Jonathan about?"
"He’s still in bed, I’ll shout him for you."
Another hesitation. "No. It’s okay. I’ll ring back later.
Nothing important. Thanks, Maddy." And he hung up.
A few minutes later, Jonathan padded downstairs, obviously in search
of his shirt. "Who was that?"
"Adam." She handed him his shirt. "Acting a bit
strangely if you ask me. Said he’d ring back later."
Jonathan frowned. The temptation to call the hotel where he knew Adam
was staying was tempered with the considerably high probability that a
stranger of the opposite sex would answer the phone. He decided to leave
it. Shrugging into his shirt, he asked her, "So what are the plans
‘Bode Manor’ was a Tudor house steeped in history. A full black
and white beamed exterior and sprawling acres of land, half of which
they drove through to reach the place.
Left to his own devices to check the place out, Jonathan found
himself standing at the foot of the grand staircase which seemed to be
at the heart of the mystery. It went up in front of him for ten wide
steps, and then along a balcony landing across the length of the hallway
before steps went up again and out of sight.
He climbed the first set of stairs and looked along the landing. A
red, intermittently flashing light in the top-left corner of the ceiling
caught his attention. Its counterpart flashed in sync at the other end
of the landing, where the stairs carried on up. Part of the alarm
system, he supposed. But if that was the case, what were the small black
boxes partially hidden in each bottom corner? Kneeling down by the
nearest one, he saw it all.
All he needed now was a name.
This evening, a whole new set of papers covered the floor of the
windmill’s lounge. Files on the hotel’s owners, details of their
other businesses, hotels and restaurants, and all their staff lists for
the last two years. There were stacks of papers, but at least Jonathan
had a vague clue about what he was looking for.
At eight, Maddy went out to locate the nearest Indian take-away.
Jonathan had some idea that there was one in the nearby town of
Billingshurst, but when she found the town on the map she declared that
there must be a closer one. She’d been gone forty minutes when the
There was a smile in Adam’s voice that made Jonathan grin.
"Aren’t you supposed to be on stage?"
"Half an hour. I’ve been thinking."
"Why don’t you fly out to Reykjavik tomorrow? Meet us there.
It’s a fantastic city, you’d love it."
"Adam, that’s mad. Besides, we’re in the middle of
"Two days, Jonathan, fly out tomorrow and back on Thursday. This
tour’s success is all down to you, you deserve to see..."
"All right!" Jonathan couldn’t believe he was going to
agree to this. "All right, if you insist." He felt like
"IcelandAir flight REK006 leaving Heathrow Terminal Two at
eleven am tomorrow. First class, window seat."
Jonathan did laugh. "See you at the hotel?"
"I’ll meet you at the airport."
As he placed the handset on the carpet, he heard the door open and
Maddy call up. "Found one!"
A few minutes later she came up with three bags from the Indian
take-away and one from the off-licence. Jonathan cleared a space on the
floor and opened two of the bottles of Cobra Lager.
"I... Adam just phoned."
"Oh right, how is he?"
"He asked me to fly out to Reykjavik tomorrow morning, for the
show tomorrow night."
She stopped in mid-bite into her Onion Bargee. "I beg your
"It’s just for one night. I’ll fly back on Thursday."
"You said yes?"
"He’d already booked the flight...."
"We’re in the middle of this! You said this afternoon that you
knew how, you just didn’t know who or why! And now you’re just going
to fly off and leave me?!"
"I’ll take some stuff with me and read it on the plane."
He smiled at her. "When you pick me up at the airport on Thursday I’ll
tell you who and why. On Friday we can go and talk to the hotel owners
and you can pick up the reward."
She sighed. Truth be told, it wasn’t the fact they were in the
midst of this case that had rattled her. It was Adam calling and once
again, Jonathan jumping at his command. "Do you always do as you’re
told?" It was out before she could bite down on it.
"No, Mum. But the last time I left this country was three years
ago to see my parents. It might be fun to go out somewhere so totally
different for the night." Maddy munched a Popadum, sulking, and he
tried to pacify her. "Come on. It’ll be good to see the show on
tour, see how all my hard work’s panned out. Adam’s springing for
the flight and the accommodation. I couldn’t really say no, could
"I suppose...." Aimlessly, she rifled through a few of the
papers next to her feet. Something caught her eye. "Did you say you
were looking for someone who’d been sacked?"
"It’s one possibility. Why? What’ve you found?"
She pulled a couple of the papers out from under her Nan Bread and
handed them over.
Adam didn’t meet Jonathan at the airport, but he did at least sent
a driver – Owen - and a hired limo.
"Adam’s at the theatre," Owen explained to Jonathan on
the way through central Reykjavik. "He asked me to take you to the
hotel and then to bring you to the theatre. Some problem with...
Jonathan nodded. "Banana." Staring out of the window he
wondered why he’d thought Adam would fly him all the way out here for
any other reason. He considered the events of Monday night, of he and
Maddy. Maybe he should commit to some sort of relationship with her.
What was stopping him? But he knew the answer to that without even
thinking about it. He just wouldn’t admit it to himself.
The hotel was beautiful, and Adam had reserved him a suite for the
night, no expense spared. He supposed he should be grateful. Dropping
his bag to the floor he left the room again and let Owen drive him to
Adam wiped the mashed fruit from his face, looking up with relief as
his beloved consultant sidled in through the side door of the
"Jonathan! Am I glad to see you!"
Hands in his pockets, Jonathan wondered slowly up to the stage,
taking in the mess. "Did it wreck the show?"
Adam stared at him. "What?"
"Last night, when it didn’t work."
"It worked last night. The one in Venice was fine. This one was
installed this morning."
"Oh. Right." Jonathan suddenly realized that he’d been
wrong. There were two technical crews on the tour. The crew who had been
in Venice would now be on their way to Amsterdam. He smiled, happily
throwing his grey winter coat on the stage and stepping up on to the
boards with renewed energy. Crouching down next to Adam, smiling
conspiratorially, he reached around the back of the table on which the
banana bowl had set and moved a couple of switches into their correct
positions. "Now try."
The trick worked perfectly.
"Where would I be without you?" Adam led Jonathan through
the labyrinth of corridors at the back of the theatre to the dressing
rooms. "I’m sorry I wasn’t at the airport. We couldn’t stop
the damn banana from going off."
"Don’t worry about it. The hotel’s fantastic, by the
"Is the room all right?"
"All right? It’s bigger than Maddy’s flat!"
Adam pushed open the door to his dressing room. A huge pile of photos
on the dressing table awaited his signature, while a second pile of
cards and gifts waited untouched. Opening the mini fridge he took a
bottle of champagne and handed it to Jonathan.
"I just need to wash this banana off."
Pouring himself a glass of bubbly (Adam never drank before a show),
Jonathan sat himself down and lifted Adam’s pen from the pocket of his
jacket, flung over the back of one of the chairs, calling out, "Do
you want these photographs signing?"
From the en suite bathroom, Adam answered, "You don’t have to,
I didn’t fly you out here to work, despite what you might have
Jonathan felt suddenly guilty. Sometimes it paid to remember that
Adam wasn’t as callous and blind as he made himself out to be.
"Sorry." He picked up the first twenty photos and started
signing the signature he’d learned to fake years ago.
Adam stepped out of the en suite and saw Jonathan place a complete
pile of photos on the dressing table, picking up another twenty.
"You’re a star. Thank you."
"Hardly a difficult chore." Sitting sipping champagne and
signing Adam’s photographs while his boss read through the reviews
gathered by another member of the staff, Jonathan thought that on the
whole he led an easy life. "Maddy wasn’t impressed, you flying me
out here just for a night on the town."
Adam chuckled. "What is it that you’re in the middle of?"
"Oh, some disgruntled ex-employee of a posh hotel has been
pulling off a few tricks with a surround sound system on a spooky
staircase. Not a bad job, either. It’s given me a few ideas for the
new season in London."
"Fantastic. I’d often wondered how you think up all this
He shrugged. "You know, it just... pops in there."
The show went without a hitch. The banana exploded on cue. Adam took
three curtain calls and came away with enough underwear to open a
"What is it with women throwing their knickers?" he asked
Jonathan as they went back to Adam’s dressing room. "Not that I’m
"They’re never your size?"
Adam smirked back as he took two bottles of chilled champagne from
the fridge and handed one to Jonathan. Eyes sparkling, they popped the
corks together, showering one another with fizz. The temperature in the
room seemed to rise a notch as they chinked the bottles in mid-air.
"Welcome to Reykjavik."
Jonathan took a long swig of the champagne. He couldn’t believe how
happy he was to be there. "I ought to tour with you more
"Yes! I always ask...."
"I know, I know." He turned as the door opened and Gayle
and Mike danced in. Gayle immediately threw herself over Adam and his
arm went around her as easily as usual.
"You two joining us for a night in the cold, dark city?"
Gayle giggled. "I’ve always wanted to come here. Got some
great clubs my friends told me. I wouldn’t miss this for the
world." She took the bottle from Adam’s hand and drank down a
long swallow, passing it back to him. "We off then?"
Their first stop was a vodka bar that Mike had been to last time he’d
visited the city. The place itself resembled the dining room of a public
school. Jonathan, Gayle and Adam sat at the end of one long table while
Mike went to the bar. He returned empty handed, but followed by a barman
who placed a five-foot long plank of wood onto the wooden table in front
of them. The plank contained a row of small shot glasses, each
containing a double vodka shot of unidentified flavour.
They each chose a glass and counted to three. The vodka was downed
and the glasses banged on the table. Adam almost spat his out.
"What the hell was that supposed to be?"
Next to him, Jonathan picked up the now empty glass and sniffed it.
Mike frowned. "Didn’t see that flavour on the board." He
Six vodkas each later, Jonathan was ready for something that he could
identify without having to drink it first. They moved on to the next
Jonathan grinned across, trying not to laugh. "Ready."
As one, he and Adam picked up the first glass in their own row of
seven halves of mulled wine and started to drink. Racing down the rows,
Jonathan beat Adam by one quarter of a glass. The crowd that had formed
around them cheered and applauded. Sitting up on the bar behind Adam,
Gayle linked her arms around his neck and gave him a commiseration kiss.
Then she jumped down and stood in front of Jonathan to plant a smooch on
his mouth that was long and deep. Responding automatically to a
beautiful woman kissing him, Jonathan wrapped his arms around her and
prolonged the contact, to the further amusement and joy of the crowd.
Only when he glanced up, when he loosened his hold on her, did his eyes
meet Adam’s and he saw the smouldering expression there. His body
reacted fiercely to that and for a moment he was rooted where he stood.
Unknowingly breaking the tension, Mike strode in between them and put
enough money down on the bar for a round of tall, cold lagers.
How Adam did it, Jonathan would never know. But by the time they’d
reached the fifth bar – a noisier, brighter place called ‘Gallery’
– Gayle was all over Mike and her attentions were definitely being
They left ‘Gallery’ at around two thirty am with Adam declaring
he was exhausted. He had flown in from Venice that morning after all,
and done two rehearsals and a live show. Together they wove their way
back to the hotel, Gayle and Mike with their arms around one another,
Adam and Jonathan close enough for each to be more than aware each
Once back at the hotel they waited for the other two to chose a room
for the night, his or hers, before pausing between the door’s of their
own rooms. Biting his bottom lip, Jonathan looked up into Adam’s face
and knew that there wasn’t going to be a discussion.
"Yours," he stated before the other could ask. "That way,
I can leave when you’re asleep." Raising his eyebrows, he waited
for a witty, alcohol-tempered response. But Adam simply smiled, nodded,
and unlocked the door to his own room.
The moment the door closed, Jonathan pinned Adam against it, mouth
finding his, tongue begging entrance. Adam dropped his room keys to the
floor and wrapped his arms around the man who was trying to climb him.
He deepened the kiss, outlining the contours of Jonathan’s mouth with
his tongue. Fingers clawed into his back, not nearly hard enough for
him, but with adequate pressure so as to convince Adam that Jonathan was
as desperate for him now as he had been for Jonathan the last time.
Adam ended the kiss, tangling his fingers in the soft, curly hair at
the back of his lover’s head, tonguing his way down over Jonathan’s
jaw and neck, kissing his throat, basking in the moans of need that
vibrated against his lips. Dumping their coats, removing outer layers of
warm clothing as they went, they somehow made it to the bed. Adam
unbuttoned Jonathan’s shirt, kissing the lean body as it was revealed
to him. In turn, Jonathan was wrestling his way through Adam’s
clothing to bare skin.
Clothes were thrown item by item onto the floor beside the bed. They
kissed one another frantically at first, lips meeting chilled flesh as
they wrapped around one another, hands exploring areas of interest. And
then, as the warmth of the room and the fairly substantial volume of
alcohol in their bloodstreams began to take effect, the excitement
drained from them. Adam slowed first, alcohol and exhaustion combining
to over-rule his lust until he simply fell asleep, lying on his side,
face to face with Jonathan who smiled to himself before settling down on
his back and letting his own body fall into blissful unconsciousness.
Only a couple of hours later, Adam woke. The body that had been
spooned up behind him moved away and out from under the duvet they’d
somehow managed to snuggle under. Sighing silently to himself, he lay
still, his eyes remaining shut, while a door opened and closed. His
first, defeated thought was the Jonathan had once again abandoned him in
But a few minutes later he heard something else; a toilet flush, and
that door opening and closing again. And then a warm body snuck back
under the duvet and curled up behind him, pressing against him.
Slowly, he turned over, backing Jonathan up slightly, coming face to
face with his colleague. "We fell asleep," he stated
Jonathan smiled, a little self-consciously. "You fell asleep
"I’m awake now." Leaning in hesitantly, Adam stole a
kiss, watching Jonathan’s expression carefully when he pulled back.
"Me too." Closing the gap between them, he wrapped one leg
over Adam’s, showing his lover just how awake he was. Adam moaned low
in his throat and covered Jonathan’s mouth with his own.
In contrast to the frenzy of what they’d shared in the early hours
of the morning, this kiss was slow and luxurious. Adam took his time,
tracing the outline of Jonathan’s lips before dipping between them,
stroking his tongue over the other’s in passing, kissing him deeply.
After a time, Adam gently bit Jonathan’s bottom lip and began to kiss
a path down his neck, taking the gold chain of Jonathan’s pendant
between his teeth for a moment before letting go and continuing to his
Bringing his hands up finally, Adam rolled his lover on to his back.
Straddling Jonathan, Adam continued his exploration until he reached the
left nipple when he locked his lips around the hardened flesh.
Jonathan arched up into the contact, hands reaching for the back of
Adam’s head, urging him on. Experimentally, Adam bit down slightly,
groaning in delight at Jonathan’s small cries of pleasure. Raising his
head, he grinned, turning his face to kiss his lover’s palm as
Jonathan’s hands framed his face for a second.
Jonathan gazed up, catching Adam’s hair between his fingers and
holding him for a moment. "That night, at your place, I thought
that was a one-night stand," he stated a little breathlessly.
Adam regarded him lopsidedly. "Only if you’d wanted it to
"What was it? For you."
"It was desire. It still is. I want you." He tried to read
the impenetrable gaze. "Is that enough?"
A moment’s hesitation, and then a grin. "That’s
Relieved, Adam lowered his face to Jonathan’s chest again, this
time assaulting the right nipple in a similar manner, enjoying every
sound he easily coaxed from his lover. He bit again, harder this time,
first one nipple then the other, listening carefully until he heard the
first tinges of pain in Jonathan’s cries, finding the line at which
pleasure turned into something darker.
Not wanting to cross that line quite yet, he relented, sitting up,
moving until he could once again devour his lover’s willing mouth.
Such an incredible kisser, Adam wondered what other skills those lips
could be taught. Ending the kiss, licking Jonathan’s lips, he tried to
gauge the expression on darkly framed face. Quietly, he whispered,
"Am I your first?"
Jonathan immediately understood what he meant by it, and suddenly
nervous he nodded quickly, trusting eyes meeting Adam’s heated regard.
Adam leaned down once more, dipping his tongue into Jonathan’s mouth,
sweeping its tip over teeth and gums before depriving his lover again.
In one motion, graceful despite the alcoholic fog still clouding his
judgement, Adam moved up the bed until his knees rested either side of
Jonathan’s head and his hard, substantial cock pressed to those full
lips. He watched for some sign that Jonathan wasn’t willing to do
this, but Jonathan closed his eyes and opened his mouth, not quite
inviting, but at least submitting. Adam pushed himself inside, at first
nudging his lover’s tongue, then when he felt the first suction,
burying himself into Jonathan’s throat. Jonathan’s hands came up
against his back, and a moment later fingernails scraped hard into his
skin, raking down over his shoulder blades and spine. At the same time,
Jonathan sucked hard on the cock almost choking him, surprising Adam
into a shocking, fierce orgasm.
Before he knew it, Adam was coming down Jonathan’s throat, hard and
desperate as if he hadn’t had sex in months. Jonathan’s fingers had
attached themselves to his nipples, learning by mimicking, and the
sensation turned Adam’s world black for a split second. When he opened
his eyes, his lover was still sucking gently on his softening cock, and
he sat up carefully, collapsing to one side.
"Jesus, Jonathan. I thought you’d never done this
Jonathan reached for his own almost painful erection, but hesitated.
"I’m fairly good at working these things out." His
expression was close to begging, and Adam could hardly deny him after
Turning, Adam coaxed Jonathan down the bed slightly and onto his
side. Lightly pushing on the top leg leg, he persuaded Jonathan to bend
his knee, placing his foot behind Adam’s head as his lover’s mouth
closed on the base of his cock. Jonathan felt himself pressing at the
back of Adam’s throat and he groaned something incoherent. Adam had
done this before, and his experience had taught him an exquisite use of
his throat muscles that brought Jonathan to a swift, prolonged climax.
Adam swallowed as enthusiastically as his lover had done, milking the
rapidly softening cock for everything it had to give before releasing
it, mindful of the now painfully sensitive head.
Jonathan dropped on to his back, breathing heavily. When Adam’s arm
draped over his chest, he found his lover’s hand and linked their
fingers, each closing his hand over the other’s. Adam rested his head
atop of Jonathan’s, hooked his leg over Jonathan’s thigh, and closed
his eyes, breathing in the scent of their activities.
Just before he drifted into sleep, Jonathan felt a kiss placed into
his damp hair, a gesture of affection that had nothing at all to do with
sex. He thought perhaps he heard some words too, but so quietly spoken
that he couldn’t make them out.
Jonathan’s flight back was at three thirty the following afternoon.
They spent the morning at the theatre, arriving late but to no one’s
surprise; they’d had a very late night getting drunk in the lively
city. The rehearsal went perfectly, or at least, what Jonathan saw of
it. Saying goodbye was going to be awkward, he knew. Saying good morning
certainly had been. And so as Adam sealed Gayle into the ‘Queen of
Hearts’ cabinet, Jonathan left a note in his employer’s dressing
room and left the theatre, walking back to the hotel to grab his bag and
call a taxi.
By the time Adam found the scrawled note, Jonathan was in the air,
28,000 feet up, his mind set defiantly on the puzzle that awaited him
back in London.
‘Remember, the switches go to the left, not to the right. That way,
it won’t go off in your hand. See you in a week. Love ya, J’
Standing at the top of Bode Manor’s magnificent staircase, Jonathan
pointed out the small but powerful speakers set almost invisibly into
the corners at the base of the walls. Two of the hotel’s owners, and
five of its staff watched in relief as he went on to explain how
surround sound can be used to give the impression that someone was
moving across the landing.
One person watched in anger as his life’s work was reduced to
simple electronic trickery by some young smart-arse who had nothing to
do with anything.
"...it was fairly easy to believe that in a place like this,
guests are more susceptible to ghost stories. Most people want to
believe that there’s more to this existence than just the one life we
know. Shadows can be cast be simply swinging a light shade. Late at
night, in a house that’s already surrounded by stories of hauntings,
put some vague shadows together with a very convincing sound effect, and
a lot of people will see what their imaginations tell them they’re
seeing. We want to believe in magic and we want to believe in ghosts.
Even if there’s no such thing as either." He stood, dusting his
hands off on his trousers. "And if it’s just sound effects, then
someone is doing it on purpose. Someone with a reason to want to cause
the hotel to lose customers. Someone with a grudge against the hotel
Hugo Bennett took a small side step, reaching into his jacket pocket
and wrapping his fingers around the cold hard object he kept there.
"The usual reason for professional grudges is dismissal, when
the employee believes he or she was innocent. And a rummage through the
company’s records came up with only one possible candidate – someone
who’d already been sacked from one hotel, who cooked up a new identity
and a new CV and managed to get re-employed at this hotel, for the sole
reason of getting his own back."
Maddy handed Jonathan two folded pieces of A4, which he opened.
"Two years ago, a cook who’d worked at the Sherston Hotel in
Sandy for six years was sacked for allegedly spitting in the soup of a
guest he detested. Two months ago, a new valet was taken on here."
Jonathan held up two photocopied pictures, taken at different times, and
obviously a couple of years apart, but very clearly of the same person.
Within the space of a second, Jonathan was grabbed from behind; a
strong arm wrapping around his neck, tightening until he could barely
draw a breath. And Hugo Bennett held a knife to his throat.
One Week Later
"Hi, guys." Adam greeted the stage crew that was already
putting the equipment they’d taken on tour back into place. Amsterdam,
Madrid and Lyon had all been wonderful, the shows running with technical
perfection, but no city had been as incredible as Reykjavik. None held
quite the same quality of memory.
"Adam! Hi!" Tim, their technical director, jumped down off
the stage. "How’d it all go? Rave reviews, we’ve been
hearing." He grinned madly at his boss; somehow Adam always made
successes belong to them all. Mind you, he did the same with failures
"Absolutely. Heavenly. Especially Reykjavik. Fantastic
audiences, fantastic cities." He looked around. "Is Jonathan
Tim’s face fell. "You haven’t heard?"
Adam felt something catch inside him. All those unanswered phone
calls suddenly queued up in his memory. "Heard what?"
"Oh, man. He and... that friend of his - Maddy? They’d been
looking into this ghost story at a hotel down south. They cornered this
guy who’d been up to something and he freaked out. He grabbed Jonathan
and held a knife to his throat. Apparently he dragged him out to the car
park and when they got close to the car he slashed Jonathan’s
Adam went white. "Oh my God...."
Tim reached out instinctively to steady his employer. "He’s
okay.... The papers said that Maddy sat with her hand tight to his
throat while they called for an ambulance. Said there was blood
everywhere." He pulled a face. "The guy drove off and smashed
into a tree or something, killed himself."
"When... when was all this?"
"Last Friday, I think. He’s out of hospital now. A few of us
visited. We sent a card, flowers, big fluffy rabbit..."
"I wish you’d sit down, you’re supposed to be taking it
easy." Maddy crossed her arms, giving Jonathan one of her ‘hard
He returned fire with the puppy dog look that always melted her.
"I’m only making a pot of tea."
"This morning you were only washing the dishes." But she
couldn’t stay angry with him for more than a couple of seconds. Just
seeing him up and about was a relief.
The first afternoon in the hospital had been a nightmare. Jonathan
had lost an awful lot of blood. He’d lain in a small cubicle in the
A&E department of the Guildford Royal Infirmary, deathly pale, an
on-going transfusion of fresh blood being drained into him. The doctor
tried to reassure Maddy that her friend was in no danger of losing his
life; he was strong and healthy. But she fretted anyway, drinking more
coffee in two hours than she usually would in a week.
She’d eventually called Barry – her publisher – and he’d
driven down from London to be with her. And they’d waited. Twelve
hours after being rushed into the hospital, Jonathan was eventually
found a bed and was moved into a ward. The painkillers they’d given
him made him woozy, and it was several hours after that when he woke,
stable enough that the doctors finally allowed the police to speak to
"Go back to your writing," Jonathan told her patiently.
"I’ll bring your tea up."
She sighed, giving him a stare of mock-anger, and then went back
upstairs to where she had her computer set up in his living room. No way
was she going to try to write this latest chapter of her new book on his
Jonathan was just pouring the tea when there was a fairly desperate
knock at the door. He heard Maddy call down from upstairs, but he
shouted back that he was okay.
Upon opening the door, Jonathan set his eyes on Adam, standing there,
shifting from foot to foot. When Adam saw Jonathan, he breathed a deep
sigh of relief before stepping forward to gather his consultant into his
Jonathan winced as the skin around his healing wound was stretched,
but he went smiling into the embrace, folding his right arm between them
but managing to wrap his left around Adam’s waist.
"I’m okay," he tried to reassure. But he could feel the
other tighten his hold, and he knew this would just take a little time.
Maddy stopped on the third step from the top, watching the touching
reunion for a few moments before silently turning and leaving them alone
for a few minutes.
"Tim told me...."
"I’m sorry. They only released me late yesterday evening. I
wasn’t sure what time you were getting back…." Very gently, he
pulled back, inviting Adam in.
Sitting at the kitchen table was a huge blue and white cuddly rabbit
with long floppy ears. Jonathan smiled when he saw Adam frowning.
"From the guys at the theatre. Mike brought it over to the
hospital." He shut up, watching Adam’s face as glistening green
eyes moved to stare at the dressing around the front of his throat.
"Was it... really as bad as Tim said?"
Jonathan shrugged, "It all happened so fast…. He only managed
to nip the artery with the tip of the blade. They said two millimetres
to the left and I’d have been dead. I was lucky." For a second
they looked at one another. Then Jonathan ducked out of the intense
regard and went back to the kettle. "Coffee?"
"Jonathan…." Adam followed him over to the work surface.
"I told you about the guy who’d been pulling a ‘Scooby Doo’
on the guests at this hotel to put it out of business?" Adam
nodded. "Well, he had some grudge against the owners ‘cause they’d
sacked him from another of their hotels. Unfortunately, he turned out to
be a bit of a madman. I did the old ‘wrap up’ routine and suddenly
he grabbed me and put a knife to my throat." Jonathan boiled the
kettle again, finding the coffee in the cupboard. "We got out into
the car park and he must have decided that I was too much trouble."
He picked up a teaspoon, but didn’t get much further. Adam’s hand
on his arm made him pause and look up. This time when Adam reached for
him, he put both his arms around his friend, wrapping them around Adam’s
waist as in turn he was held.
"You can’t scare me like that," Adam murmured firmly.
"I can’t lose you. What would I do without you?"
There was no real answer, and for a while they just stood together in
silence. Not one to usually show his emotions, Adam needed to be sure
that everything really was all right, that his life wasn’t going to be
turned upside down out of his control.
What Maddy saw then, when she padded quietly down into the kitchen,
could have been two close friends reassuring one another after a scare.
She was touched. For a long time she hadn’t been sure that Adam cared
about Jonathan at all, but recently she’d been witness to a few simple
displays of affection that had forced her to change her opinion of the
American. Mind you, they had been through their fair share of crisis
Stepping away, smiling self-consciously, Jonathan spooned some coffee
granules into a mug and boiled the kettle for the third time. It took a
few seconds to reheat, and he finally managed to finish making the tea.
As he handed the mug of coffee to Adam, he purposely brushed his fingers
over those of the other. "How was the rest of the tour?"
"Fantastic." Adam returned the slight gesture, neither of
them aware of being watched. "You should have had someone phone
Jonathan cocked his head to one side, his usual affectionate
expression playing across his features. "Why? What could you have
He shook his head and glanced up. When he saw Maddy standing on the
stairs, his only reaction was to apologize about her tea taking so long
and to take her mug over to her.
The three of them took the remaining seats at the kitchen table. Adam
looked sceptically again at the rabbit that occupied the fourth chair.
"The guys at the theatre really bought you this?"
Jonathan nodded, smiling. "The nurses loved it."
Adam raised his eyebrows, but said nothing.
"Sorry I almost got your consultant killed," Maddy
volunteered into the growing silence.
Adam saw the smile on Jonathan’s face; obviously they’d already
had the conversation relinquishing her of any blame. "I doubt
either of you could have predicted what was going to happen."
"No. Out of all the criminals we’ve outed, he was the first
one to go crazy on us." Jonathan sipped his tea. "I never
expected someone who’d gone to such incredible lengths to set up what
was a fantastically elaborate trick to be the kind of person that would
go for my throat with a switchblade."
Adam shook his head. "It’s always the quiet ones."
Much later that night, with Maddy fast asleep in Jonathan’s bed,
Jonathan and Adam watched the stars from the balcony of the windmill.
"It’s really something out here," Adam murmured with
quiet appreciation as he stepped behind Jonathan, where he stood leaning
on the railing, and wrapped his arms around the slim waist. Resting the
side of his face against the dark curls, he told his friend, "I
wish you’d be more careful with this sideline of yours."
Jonathan leaned back into the unexpected contact, relishing – to
his surprise – the comfort and strength of Adam’s embrace. "You
can talk. What you do isn’t exactly risk-free is it? As you
For a time they just stood together, Jonathan’s hands drifting to
rest on Adam’s arms where they circled him. He finally broke the
peaceful silence, "Thank you for Reykjavik."
Adam hummed softly. "I found your note. I thought… I might
have gone too far, that night, what we did…."
"We were both still drunk," Jonathan murmured,
"So you do think we went too far?"
There was a hint of regret in Adam’s voice that touched Jonathan.
He turned his head to look up into the dark eyes gazing down at him.
"This is new, Adam. I never expected this, least of all with
you." He dropped his head back against Adam’s shoulder, looking
up at the clear night sky. "What do you want out of this?"
Adam closed his eyes, resisting the urge to declare his feelings,
still so unsure whether he could trust them. How many times had he told
Jonathan, ‘This one’s the real thing, I can feel it, her smile
lights up my life.’? How many times had he been wrong? Why hadn’t he
mentioned the young woman who had been his volunteer for ‘Psycho’ in
Lyon? Or the two girls who had recognized him on the street in Madrid
last Wednesday afternoon? Did he expect Jonathan to be jealous? How
would he feel if he were to leave now, knowing that Jonathan would go up
and climb into bed with Maddy? What did he want out of this?
The resulting long silence amused Jonathan. "You couldn’t
really call either of us experts at this relationship thing, could
you?" He turned from Adam’s arms, leaning back against the metal
railing, smiling. "We’ve always been good together whatever we’ve
tried. We’ve just added something to our repertoire, that’s
Adam’s smile lit his face. "I like that."
"Good. Now get out of here and let me get some sleep."
Jonathan watched as Adam pulled a face. "Unless you’re after a
Stepping back, the American raised a halting hand. "No. Thank
you." But he lingered, basking in the affection expressed on his
friend’s shadowed face. "I do love you, Jonathan," he said
quietly, "you must know that."
Blushing, although the other couldn’t see it in the darkness,
Jonathan nodded. "But thanks for reminding me."
Out in front of the windmill, they stood beside Adam’s little-used
BMW, Jonathan with his hands in his pockets, Adam playing with his car
"Theatre tomorrow? Ten?"
Adam sighed. "Jonathan, you’re supposed to be resting,
"I’m fine. And we need to start going through ideas for the
new season." Jonathan’s hopeful determination wasn’t going to
be defeated, and the truth was that Adam wanted his consultant to be
around. He nodded, unlocking the car and opening the door. In the next
moment, he turned and met Jonathan’s kiss half way.
As the American’s arms wrapped around him, Jonathan pressed himself
into the hard body, his own arms going around Adam’s neck as his mouth
welcomed the probing tongue. He moaned into the kiss, aware of his body
reacting to the intimate touch and of Adam’s reaction pressing against
Both were too wrapped up in each other to notice their audience on
the balcony above. She’d had her suspicions, of course, but having
them confirmed in so definite a way…. Her own, involuntary reaction
surprised her. It wasn’t a sight she was going to forget in a hurry.
With hellish difficulty Jonathan ended the kiss, breathing hard
against Adam’s neck. He stayed there, held tightly, wanting nothing
more at that moment than to spend the night in Adam’s arms. When he
did step back, he steadied himself against the top of the car door.
"Go." Adam nodded, but still he hesitated. Jonathan read the
look in his eyes and understood perfectly. "I want you to stay
Adam nodded, before he climbed into the car and pulled the door
closed. He watched his friend back up slightly, and started the engine.
Pulling forward, he tore his eyes from Jonathan and didn’t look back
as he tooled the BMW out of the gate and onto the road.
Arms wrapped around himself, Jonathan stood and watched until the
rear lights of the car vanished from sight. He sighed, eyes dropping to
stare at the ground for a while, buried in his thoughts, until something
made him look up and back. There was no one on the balcony, but he felt
sure that there had been.
Finally, he stepped back inside the windmill and closed the front
door. As he headed for the stairs he saw the white envelope sitting on
the kitchen table, and a long stemmed red rose lying horizontally over
it. Frowning, he switched on the kitchen light and lifted the flower,
holding it carefully, wondering where the hell it had come from.
Finally, he picked up the envelope and opened it.
‘Amazing, isn’t it? Maybe you’ll make a true conjurer of me
yet. By the way, you were wrong, it goes off in my hand every time I
think about you. Love ya, A.’
fin part II
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