Death and the wobbly Frame – part the third and last

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you.” Inspector Hargreaves had left his rank at the door; at home he was Alex and proud to be so. He began to take off his clothes and place them neatly on the bedroom chair.

“I was awake already. Been listening to the thunder. Have you eaten?” Vince laid down his crossword – he always tackled The Sunday Telegraph’s Enigmatic Variations and this week’s was a stinker – on the bedside table.

“I grabbed a sandwich and coffee at the services. And they were edible. Just.” Alex started the climb into his pyjamas. “Anyway I’d have thought you’d have known that – surely you have me bugged all over?”

Vince produced an appropriately sheepish grin. “Ah. It was just as well, considering, wasn’t it? I mean, that equipment trial couldn’t have come at a better time. If they’d delayed it two weeks…” He shrugged, trying hard not to show his distress at the probable end of that line of logic.

“I know.” Alex came over and ruffled his partner’s hair. “I didn’t think you were having me followed; you’ve never been jealous and I’ve never given you cause.”

“Well that’s stating the bleeding obvious.” Vince pulled Alex to him and gave him a particularly juicy kiss. “Home again. Always the best bit of the case is when the villain’s banged up and you’re back in our bed once more, with your best pyjamas on.”

“Actually it gets even better than that.” Hargreaves landed a few spectacular kisses on his lover’s lips. “They’ve given me three days off; no phone, no chance of a call in unless there’s a terrorist alert or something equally earth shattering. Bliss…” He indulged in another kiss, out of sheer elation at the thought of all that relaxation to come.

“That’s the jam on the scone. What say I try to get a flyer from work tomorrow and we mosey on down to the coast, find a little hotel…” Vince was stopped short by the frown on Alex’s face.

“Would you mind awfully if we didn’t do anywhere more exotic than Stopathome? I’ve been up and down that bloody M3 all this last month and I really think I’d like nothing more than a few days in SW10 and going no further than the pub and the Indian takeaway.”

“That’d suit me, too. There’s rugby on the telly at the weekend – Heineken Cup – and you can’t always guarantee these hotels have got Sky. Or comfy beds,” he added with a sly little grin. “I suppose you’re too tired tonight for…?”

“For what?” Alex tried to assume an innocent air but it fooled no-one.

“If you have to ask the question you won’t understand the answer.” Vince picked up his book again, only to have it flipped out of his hand.

“Pillock. I’ve got you to thank for being here at all, you and your clever little bug and I think I need to show that appreciation well and truly.”

“Because I’m a clever little bugger?” Vince grinned and started to take off his nightshirt.

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