“Am I very different?” she’d
asked suddenly, after he’d kissed her.
“You saw us.” She’d
nodded her confirmation. “Why
haven’t you said anything before now?”
Jonathan sat in the back of the taxi, his thoughts turning over and over on themselves. By the time he reached Maskelyne Manor, he’d managed to tie himself up in knots, blaming himself for hurting Maddy, for not telling her everything, but especially for ever starting this thing with Adam. He’d headed over to Maskelyne to end the sporadic, intimate relationship he had with his employer. Yet as they’d neared the house his treacherous body had betrayed his sensible side, silently reminding him of what he would be missing, hinting that maybe this night should end with the passion it began with.
What made him think Adam would let him end it anyway? The American could be so persuasive when he wanted to be. Usually he wouldn’t be bothered, but now and again that quiet cunning won him whatever he wanted. And he definitely wanted Jonathan.
After paying the taxi driver, he rang the doorbell, and when it wasn’t answered he let himself in with the key Adam had given him when he’d left on his European Tour. “Adam?” Closing the door quietly behind him, Jonathan hovered in the entrance hall for a second, listening. The alarm wasn’t making any sound, which implied Adam was home. “Adam?” He stepped through into the front living room, looking across the indoor pool to the patio outside. All was quiet. Frowning, he crossed back through the hall and peered into the main lounge that ran the width of the house, front to back.
They were on the sofa, Adam and a woman he didn’t recognise. He was on top of her, naked, mouth sealed to hers, hands expertly engaged in removing her underwear.
Heart pounding, Jonathan ran, slamming the door in his rush to get as far away from the house as possible.
By the time Adam opened the door again, standing stark naked in the floodlights illuminating the driveway, the intruder was nowhere to be seen. Of course he wasn’t. Adam knew without a doubt who it had been. An expert when it cam to simply vanishing. The magician’s heart sank.
An hour later, Jonathan was staring out of a dirty window at the blurred countryside lit only by the night’s full moon. He’d missed the last train into Billingshurst, this one would only take him as far as Horsham. But from there he’d simply catch a taxi. It wasn’t as if he couldn’t afford it. All the money Adam had paid him over the years and he only ever spent it on maintaining the windmill and keeping his cupboards stocked. Adam paid for his rail tickets, a large part of his phone bill and a considerable sum for expenses. Was he being bought?
All sorts of things had cycled through his mind as he’d stopped running halfway down Adam’s road and phoned for a taxi. As he’d sat on the cold, lonely platform waiting for his train he couldn’t help but wonder if Maddy had been right. Adam used him for everything else, was he using him for sex too?
Sitting in the otherwise empty carriage, he let the tears leak from his eyes. He hadn’t ever expected Adam to make any kind of commitment to him, he didn’t want a commitment. He hadn’t expected the man to change his habits in any way, and he was still angrier at Maddy than he was at the American. But just to walk in on them…. It had hurt somehow, hurt when he hadn’t ever thought that it would.
Miserably he stepped down
off the train at Horsham and wandered out
of the station. Checking his watch he saw it was
five minutes off
closing time. Maybe a drink before getting the
The Phoenix and Firkin was just over the road, and he
headed for it.
“Double brandy please.”
Walking out to the car park,
they gladly left the buzz of the pub
They left the city
behind. Jonathan started to give directions
until Gideon found himself driving out into the middle
“Wow.” Gideon pulled
the car to a slow stop in front of the
windmill and looked up out of his window. “You
really live here?”
The telephone was ringing
when he pushed open the door, but Jonathan
ignored it. He’d been ignoring his mobile
too. He knew it
would be one of Maddy or Adam trying to reach him.
He didn’t want
to talk to either of them. Gideon noted Jonathan’s
said nothing. He’d already put this down to Maddy
Jonathan’s obviously volatile relationship with the
He sat down at the wooden kitchen table.
Gideon regarded Jonathan
with interest. Since they’d worked
together on the Black Canary case he’d been fascinated
man. He’d been to see the Klaus stage show a
couple of times, not
to watch the magician, but to see Jonathan Creek’s work
action. They shared a way of thinking, an unusual
ability to see
things literally and laterally at the same time, to take
a problem and
view it from all possible angles. Gideon had never
anyone as like himself as Jonathan was.
Jonathan stared at his guest, not quite believing what he’d heard. He didn’t know what to say. Throughout his life, through his childhood and teenage years girls and women would either be laughing at him or with him, and men would either avoid him or beat him up. As an adult, his career with Adam had afforded him at least professional recognition, and a safe haven of friends who knew him and respected him. He’d never seen himself as particularly attractive to either sex. He never tried at making himself attractive. But Adam had told him once that women did throw themselves at him, and as for the men.... Was Gideon honestly making a pass at him?
As the thoughts passed
through his brain, Gideon watched him, and
finally took pity on him. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to
make you feel
uncomfortable.” Jonathan shook his head, but
Gideon could read
people without trying. “Tell me about you and
unlikely partners I thought.”
Some time later, Gideon
thanked his host for the coffee and started
to leave. As he reached the door, he turned to
Every fifteen minutes for the next two hours, the phone rang out. Jonathan had left it downstairs when he’d gone to bed, but at a quarter passed two he switched the ring off. His upstairs phone was an old one, and wouldn’t be switched off. At two thirty he pulled it out of the socket. He hoped whoever it was would get the message. But at a quarter to three his mobile rang. He switched it off, and sure that there was no other method of contacting him, he buried himself under the duvet and tried to get some sleep.
Just after three thirty his own innate curiosity got the better of him and he rang through to his mobile voice mail service. There was one message.
“Jonathan, listen, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I did, it was out of line. Please call me.”
He ended the call and switched the phone back off. Dropping it onto the floor next to the bed, he stared up out of the small window at the clear sky. His fingers played idly with the chain and pendent around his neck. He’d had worse nights, hadn’t he, in retrospect? If he hadn’t have gone off at the deep end with Maddy he would probably be lying in her bed right know, sated and happy. It was almost farcical, the path his life seemed to take sometimes.
Finally giving up trying to
sleep, he pulled on his old grey
bathrobe and headed up to the lounge. Curling into
one corner of
the sofa he switched on the television and found an old
black and white
film on Channel 4 – a stage hypnotist who kept his
permanently in a trance and at times turned her into a
her primal self. It all seemed rather apt.
In a dark blue BMW, pulled up on the side of the country road just north of Briar Hollow, Adam sat with the engine off and the sunroof open. Leaning back in the driver’s seat he stared up at the same stars Jonathan had studied minutes ago. One thing at least was for sure, he wouldn’t be seeing Katie again. Whatever had possessed him to drive out here, he didn’t know. Jonathan wasn’t answering his calls and by now he had to be home because he wasn’t at Maddy’s. She hadn’t sounded in a particularly great mood either. A strange woman in his humble opinion.
He’d come this far, he was only minutes from the windmill. But he’d stopped. Because he didn’t know why he was here, why he’d told a beautiful, willing woman that ironically ‘something had come up and he had to go’. It was the first time, ever, in his whole life that he’d done it. He didn’t know what it meant, and it scared him. Certainly he’d had one woman walk in on him and another woman before, many times in fact. And usually they’d both left hurriedly, tossing back some banal insults that bounced off him without scratching the surface. On the odd occasion, his charms had been persuasive enough…. He stopped that thought in its tracks.
So he’d left the arms of a naked woman to drive out here into the middle of nowhere. It had been a final option, after he hadn’t been able to reach Jonathan by any other means. He’d told himself at first that Jonathan had left the house simply because he had been otherwise engaged. But why slam the door? And when he’d found the mobile switched off – something Jonathan never did – and the number at the windmill simply ringing out, he’d known it was more.
They should never have started this – he should never have started it. It was one thing to sleep with a woman, then to end it and to suffer through verbal abuse or a one-off story in a newspaper telling the uncaring public what a pig he was. But this was Jonathan, the man upon whom his career depended. The man who stood by him no matter what he did or what he asked. This wasn’t one he could just walk away from, but he’d known that at the beginning. So why? Why had he started something that he couldn’t finish? Perhaps… because he never intended to.
The car engine purred gently
into life and he pulled away from the
curb, continuing his journey to Ripley Mill.
Jonathan was surprised to hear a car pulling up outside. Usually Maddy let them both stew overnight until the morning came and they’d both lost enough sleep to apologise to one another and carry on. And so he waited, listened to the car door open and close, and wondered what he’d say to her, whether he’d get an apology and whether he needed one. After all, she’d been right, hadn’t she.
Downstairs, the front door opened with a slight squeak. “Jonathan?”
Suddenly his heart was
beating harder, and the ambient temperature
felt to have risen by several degrees. He managed
himself enough to get up and walk calmly down the wooden
stairs to the
ground floor. Adam was standing hesitantly in the
watching him with uncertainty.
Jonathan poured them both
generous measures of whiskey and led Adam
out on to the balcony. “You didn’t have to come
all the way out
here,” he told the American, leaning back against the
“You don’t have to worry about it. I’m not going
to resign over
any of this.”
Jonathan started to
relax. There was something really good
about feeling Adam so close, just their shoulders
touching, the two of
them alone without the rest of the world watching.
seemed to surround them, hiding everything beyond this
them from it all just for a while. Jonathan turned
tracing Adam’s familiar profile with his eyes.
Jonathan closed the balcony
door behind them. Flicking the
lights off, he joined Adam across the room. He’d
into darkness, but somehow the American still found his
hand and took a
hold of it. “This isn’t why I came here.”
Kicking his shoes off, Adam stood on the wooden boards of the floor and reached for Jonathan, slipping his arms inside the gown that was wrapped around his lover’s body. Jonathan resisted being embraced long enough to open Adam’s shirt and pull on the end of the tied belt at his own waist. Skin pressed against skin when Adam kissed him.
Jonathan’s confidence grew with every encounter, and he undressed Adam slowly, managing to get him onto the bed to pull off his socks. As he moved back up, Adam grabbed him, pushing the robe from his shoulders before pressing him onto his back. The American straddled his lover where he lay horizontally across the sheets. He removed Jonathan’s boxers while simultaneously leaning down to lick first the left nipple and then the right.
Jonathan combed his fingers
into Adam’s fine hair, moaning
dully. Adam smiled to himself, knowing at least
this about his
new lover. He looked up, eyes dark. “When
you want me to
stop, just say “windmill”. Do you understand?”
There was a begging tone in Jonathan’s taut
voice that spoke volumes to the other man. Adam
pained nipple before he started to lower himself, to
lower his body
down onto Jonathan’s, pressing his erection into
hard cock. “God....” Desperate for
scraped his nails down Adam’s back, stopping suddenly
when he heard his
Jonathan rolled out from
under his lover, pushing him onto his back.
They drove one another mad,
Jonathan learning the skills of his
lover, mirroring Adams’s actions. Jonathan came
pulsing, nipples still aching wonderfully from the brief
Adam gripped the man atop of him, still sucking on his
as he too came hard.
Spooned up behind his lover,
Adam wrapped one possessive arm over
Jonathan while he tucked the other under his head.
damp curly hair, Adam kissed him.
After leaving the message on Jonathan’s mobile answering service, Maddy had known that all she could do was wait. She’d considered driving straight down to West Sussex, but things usually worked out best if she left it over night. She’d finally fallen asleep on the sofa around midnight.
But now the sun had risen, and he hadn’t rung back. She tried his home telephone and his mobile once more before showering and changing and setting off for Briar Hollow.
Adam stirred as the sunlight filtered in through the small bedroom window. It was a moment before he remembered where he was, but when he did he turned over, smiling to himself. Jonathan hadn’t moved in the night, was still lying on his side with his back to Adam, his breathing soft and even, snoring gently on and off. Propping himself up on one elbow, Adam stroked his hand very lightly over Jonathan’s hair, down over the duvet wrapped around him.
Jonathan moved back,
pressing himself against Adam, almost
purring. Adam sighed contentedly, moving his arm
under the duvet,
wrapping his arm around Jonathan’s warm, naked
waist. “Don’t let
the day in yet,” he murmured softly. Jonathan
turned his head,
smiling with some surprise. Adam caught the
“See, I can be romantic.”
The first thing Maddy saw,
as she swung the Volvo through the gate,
was the dark BMW parked in front of the windmill.
softly, wondering when Mr Wonderful had arrived.
Until now, Adam
had simply been someone who’d kept Jonathan busy when
she didn’t need
him around. Now though he was competition, and it
had to be said
it looked as if he was winning.
Upstairs, oblivious for the
moment of the car drawing up outside,
Adam and Jonathan clung to one another, tongues buried
deep inside one
another’s mouth as if trying to eat each other
wrapped his leg over Adam’s, two muscular thighs crushed
morning erections rubbing one against the other in an
ancient dance of
Parking next to the BMW and
killing the engine, Maddy was suddenly
hesitant about going inside. What if Adam had been
last night? Finally making up her mind, she opened
the car door
and got out, slamming it shut.
Placing a mug of coffee in front of her, Jonathan sat down and sipped his own drink. He gave her a brief history of his and Adam’s relationship from the night Adam had made the first advance at the side of the indoor swimming pool at Maskelyne Manor, through the night they’d first slept together and Reykjavik. He left out all the details, and omitted mentioning anything concerning their ‘quickie’ in Adam’s dressing room, or the events of this morning. He guessed she could probably work that out on her own.
“I just never imagined it,”
Maddy told him eventually, after
listening with stunned yet irrepressible interest.
“I mean, I
never thought you’d... be with a man, never mind Adam.”
Fully clothed, Adam wondered upstairs from the bedroom, taking his first good look around Jonathan’s living room. At first it seemed that there was stuff everywhere, but when you really looked, everything had its place and was neatly ordered. Only the desk next to the pillar in the centre of the room was a real mess, of drawings and measurements; the details and workings of yet another great trick that would keep Adam Klaus in the ranks of the world’s greatest illusionists.
He knew he was lucky, no one had to tell him that. He picked up a photo that had been thrown on to the pile of papers with a letter. It was of a group of men, all sitting around a table, all of whom looked very much like Jonathan – same hair, same dress-sense. The read the top of the letter, declaring itself to be from the ‘Jonathan Creek Fan Club’. He dropped the photograph back, bemused. There was so much of Jonathan’s life that didn’t revolve around him and around the show. So much he wasn’t aware of and wasn’t a part of.
Yet looking around, it was obvious that the magic at least was the most important part of Jonathan’s life, the part that acquired his energy, his passion. Just to be a part of that struck him suddenly as being incredibly important. Because there was no way he would ever be able to have more.
By the time Adam got back to Maskelyne, the postman had been and his pet tiger was growling about not having been fed. A couple of letters stood out amongst the usual stack forwarded to him by his agent. One caught his eye - a dark red envelope, his name and address hand written in gold in a flowing script. The letter itself was in the same hand, on paper that matched the envelope.
‘Dear Mr Klaus, we take pleasure in inviting you on stage at the club. To accept, simply let us know when you wish to perform. Yours, Francene Kay, Director, Skin.’
Adam smiled to himself, and
folded the letter, sliding it back into
the envelope. Picking up the digital phone
handset, he dialled a
number from memory and waited as it rang through.
The following day, while Jonathan was out at lunch with Maddy and her publisher Barry, a package was delivered to his door and left on the step. It was a large, thin white box, a black and gold ribbon tied around it into an extravagant bow. Inside, a delicate silk shirt had been folded neatly around sheets of tissue paper, and on top of that lay a note.‘Wear it for me sometime? Love ya, A.’