Disclaimer: I do not own the copyright for Waking the dead or its characters – all rights belong to the BBC
Content: Boyd and Grace
This is for Scription Addict to wish her a very happy birthday! Sorry it's slightly belated but comes with lots of OHT Hugs xx
He knew it was bound to happen. It was all just a matter of time. The fact that he'd had the opportunity to prepare himself for the inevitable should have played in his favour, and yet his breath still caught painfully when his eyes first fell on her again.
Of course he had known that she would be here, he had, after all, spent a considerable amount of the last few weeks in what seemed to be an endless daydream, as visions of their reunion washed over him with waves of heightened nervousness and excitement. Imagined conversations played out relentlessly in his mind. What she would say when she saw him again - what his response would be. He'd expected that they would slip into the easy banter that had been such a typical characterisation of their relationship. That the months of non-contact would dissolve in a haze of memories and deeply meant words wrapped up in statements such as 'It's good to see you, you're looking great' and 'I've missed you'.
He'd also expected that they would embrace one another briefly. Their initial awkwardness crumbling under the strength of familiarity. Sometimes that image had been so real to him that he could almost feel the weight of her body in his arms. He would, of course, politely brush his lips gently across her cheek and they would linger just a little too long in the each other's arms, both silently intoxicated by the other's comforting scent. He'd imagined that they would launch into a conversation about how life had been since they'd last spoken, both trying to make their time apart sound as exciting and exhilarating as possible before eventually descending into wry complaints about their enforced retirement.
Ultimately, however, they would laugh. They always laughed when they were together - and it would be then that the time would melt away. In his mind's eye he had clearly seen her throw back her head in abandonment as her deep throaty laugh reverberated joyously around the room drawing everyone's attention to them. Her deep midnight blue eyes would sparkle impishly as they danced playfully with her smile, and once again he would find himself completely helpless, captivated by the spell she cast.
He had expected that he would be happy to see her, more than happy in fact. After all he hadn't been completely oblivious to the unexplained butterflies that'd occupied his stomach lately, turning playful cartwheels every time he'd thought of seeing her again, which was often. He had wondered why he was nervous - it was only Grace for heaven's sake; he'd seen her almost every day for the past ten years. Yet, now, even just the thought of being with her again was enough to pull an affectionate smile across his lips.
He knew he should have been in touch with her before now. Had thought about it many times. On occasions, whiskey in one hand, phone in the other, he'd dialled her number only to hang up before the connection was made. He simply didn't know what to say to her anymore. Which in itself was quite ridiculous. When they'd worked together conversation had come all too easy. He always could think of some excuse or other to call her when he wanted to hear her voice, but now... Now there were words that he definitely wanted to say, but he'd somehow convinced himself that she didn't need him anymore and sometimes he doubted that she ever did. His need for her had been much more evident. No, Grace wouldn't want him to cold call her just to pass the time. Not when she would be busy filling her days with lectures, consultancies and book signings. There would be no room in her life now for Peter Boyd.
The longer he had left contacting her, the harder it had become to break the silence. When he'd first retired he had often found throughout the day something would happen and his initial thought had been to speak to Grace. He'd missed her perspective, opinion and conscience. Those thoughts occurred less and less now. With the passing months her memory slowly became a ghost from his past, but one which still haunted him incessantly.
The card had dropped onto his mat three weeks ago. When he'd read it genuine happiness had infused his entire being. Spence was getting married and had invited his former boss to the proceedings. Boyd called him later that day.
"Congratulations, Spence," he'd opened warmly. "Can't believe you finally convinced Rach that you were marriage material. She's too good for you, you know?"
Spence had laughed easily at Boyd's teasing. "Yea I know. It took a bit of doing, but you remember how persuasive I can be when I want to. You will come, won't you?"
"Yes, of course I will. Wouldn't miss it for the world."
"Good. It'll be great having the old team together again."
"The others will be there?"
"Yea; I spoke to Grace a little while ago and both she and Eve are able to make it ..."
The rest of the conversation had descended into a blur for Boyd. He'd trained himself not to think of her, had convinced himself that he would never see her again and had attempted to consign her to a mere memory, but as Spencer had spoken her name he'd painfully became aware just how deeply Grace Foley was still under his skin.
Coming out of his reverie, he realised that even at a distance his eyes were immediately drawn to her. She interacted easily with those standing around her, the conversation flowing back and forth as she held them all captivated. He watched as she smiled warmly at the other guests, introducing herself politely, in between taking generous sips of wine. She looked amazing - happy and relaxed. It was obvious to him that retirement suited Grace much more than it did him. He swallowed heavily as he readied himself to make an approach and it was then he heard it. Cutting above the din of the mindless chatter and the banal background music he heard her gregarious laugh.
Its sound stopped him in his tracks causing him to look at her. Something, or rather someone, had deeply amused her. He caught sight of her in time to see a tall, dark-haired man pull away from her ear, his whispered words the obvious cause of Grace's amusement. Boyd immediately disliked this dark intruder. He felt twisting resentment rise up from his depths, and even though he knew it to be completely illogical he was helpless in preventing the blackness that invaded his entire body. He pondered what it was that irritated him more - the knowing laugh that Grace had given her companion, or how she gazed so lovingly at him; or maybe it was the comfortable way this stranger now had his arm snaked around her slender hips. Whatever the cause, Boyd's jealousy was immediate and absolute.
Abandoning any plans he had of approaching her, Boyd instead made directly for the bar where he ordered himself a neat whiskey. Leaning heavily on the counter he threw back his head as he downed the drink, immediately motioning to the bartender for another. This was going to be a long night, he mused silently as he felt the pleasant burn of whiskey settle in his throat. Any trace of happiness he may have felt had completely disappeared the moment he had seen whoever it was with Grace. Their interaction had been much too intimate just to be casual friends. Mentally he berated himself. He had been so stupid. Not once in all his musings or daydreams had he even considered that Grace would be with someone else. How could he have been so self absorbed to think that she would still be alone? Still waiting for him. Isolated in his reverie, he didn't hear her approach. It was only when she spoke that his thoughts came crashing down around him.
"Hello, Boyd." Her sultry tone was like velvet, warm and familiar; he closed his eyes momentarily as he let it seep through his mind before turning towards her.
"Grace, hi," he said, almost too liberally as he heard himself over compensating for the intense feeling deep in his gut. She was beautiful. Boyd had long ago accepted his attraction to her, but maybe it was the time they'd spent apart, or, maybe it was the fact that she was now unobtainable… either way he couldn't remember a time when she'd looked more stunning.
The blue dress she wore accentuated the colour of her eyes, drawing out their depth and causing them to sparkle like sapphires. As she smiled lightly at him her face lit up with a radiance he'd never noticed before.
"How have you been?" she asked after a few moments silence.
Boyd imperceptibly shook his head in a bid to quiet the noise within him. "Yea, good. You?"
"Great thanks, busy, but that's nothing I'm not used to. My last boss was a tyrant." She continued to smile as once again they lapsed into an uneasy silence. "So are you going to get me one of those or what?" Grace asked pointing towards his glass.
"Whiskey?" the surprise was evident in his tone. "I didn't think you touched the stuff."
"There are a lot of things you don't know about me," she replied simply as she perched lightly on the stool beside him.
"Evidently so," he replied sardonically as he ordered two more whiskeys. A few further moments passed before he asked hesitantly, "So, where's your date?"
If she was surprised at his directness she didn't show it, her features unchanging as she replied, "He had to make a phone call; one of his patients is having some difficulty at the minute and he promised he'd check in."
"He's a doctor?"
"What about you? Where's your date?" Grace asked looking around the room expectantly.
"Didn't bring one." Boyd shrugged.
"Really? That's... erm …. surprising!"
"It's not surprising at all. I'm not seeing anyone at the minute so..." he replied.
"Don't try to tell me you've been living a virtuous celibate lifestyle?"
"Would it shock you if I said I had?" Boyd asked inclining his head towards her.
"Quite frankly, yes it would!"
"Prepare to be shocked then, Grace," he said taking another sip of his drink before continuing, "So, this guy..."
"Stephen," she informed him.
"Ah Stephen," Boyd repeated slowly. "What's the story?"
"He's an old friend. We've been... seeing each other a bit lately."
"Serious?" Boyd asked arching his eyebrows.
Grace shook her head. "No, not at all, at least not on my part. Let's just say he came along when my ego needed a bit of a boost."
Boyd tutted loudly in mock disapproval. "And you were always having a go at me for that precise thing. You've changed, Grace."
He felt a playful slap connect with his arm as Grace reacted to his teasing before she relented and said, "I know, I can hardly believe it myself, but it's been fun ..."
"Told ya!" Boyd grinned.
He watched as she momentarily returned his smile before her face reflected a more pensive countenance. Hesitantly she spoke. "Yea but it wasn't much fun listening to you go on about your various weekend conquests... " her voice trailed off as a cloud descended upon her face leaving Boyd to surmise that she believed she'd already said too much. He regarded her solemnly.
"Why do you think I told you about them?" he asked purposefully.
Grace shrugged. "'Cause you're a man with a huge ego who likes to boast?"
Boyd shook his head slowly. "No. I wanted to gauge your reaction, Grace."
"Every time I mentioned that I had been out with someone, I hoped that maybe I'd see something more than just a disapproving roll of your eyes."
"I dunknow. Just something that let me know you cared."
"I cared. I cared that you were making a fool outta yourself chasing girls half your age."
"And that was it?"
"What do you want me to say, Boyd? You were living your life the way you chose to; who was I to judge?"
"I wasn't asking you to judge," he answered irritation rising in his tone.
"Then what are you asking?
Boyd sighed heavily as he ran his fingers through his hair. "Look, just forget it," he said with a dismissive wave of his hand.
"I don't want to forget it. I haven't seen you for the best part of a year and you start with this. Just tell me what it is I'm supposed to have done wrong, cause I'm damned if I know."
Boyd turned his gaze slowly towards her, locking his gaze with hers. For a few moments he was silent as he tried to fathom what was going on behind her impenetrable mask.
"Oh come on, Grace," he said finally. "You can't really be so naive."
"About what?" she replied looking genuinely bemused.
"How the hell did you ever become a psychologist, when you..." Boyd stopped suddenly sighing irritably as his mind changed direction mid-flow. "Oh I get it," he continued. "You're playing with me, right? You're trying to get me to spell it out for you. Well I'm sorry, Grace, but I've had enough for one night." He threw back the remains of his drink, slamming the glass on the counter before turning swiftly towards the exit. The sound of his name caused him to still.
"Boyd, wait." He heard her approach behind him.
"Why?" he asked, turning rapidly on his heal to face her.
"Because we need to talk."
"I think we've said all we need to say. It's been great seeing you again, Grace," he said tersely making once again to leave.
Grace snagged his wrist as he began to move away from her. "I don't agree. Peter, please; we can't leave it like this."
Boyd swallowed hard, dropping his gaze to her fingers wrapped tightly around his arm. He could easily shake her off and walk away, but she was right, they couldn't leave it like this.
He softened his resolve. "Grace, I..." but as he began to speak his attention was drawn to the tall figure approaching them and he felt himself bristle immediately, his heart beginning to harden again. "Looks like you're wanted," he said motioning behind her with his head. "I'll leave you to it."
"Please, Boyd, wait for me outside. Give me five minutes to excuse myself and I'll come and find you," she implored.
"I don't know think Stephen would be too happy ..."
"Please, just five minutes," she begged.
He swallowed heavily releasing himself from her grip. Without saying another word he walked towards the exit, catching a snippet of the ensuing conversation.
"Who was that?" the man's voice enquired.
"Oh, no-one; just an old friend..."
The sound of the gravel crunching underfoot alerted him to her approach.
"I didn't think you'd wait," she said hesitantly.
Boyd shrugged. "I almost didn't."
The evening air was cool and Boyd shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his coat, then leant heavily on the side of the dark Audi as he quietly regarded her. "What's this all about eh, Grace?" he asked wearily.
"You tell me."
Swiftly he pushed himself off the car as he retorted, "Look if we're just gonna go round in pointless circles here then I'm going."
"Oh, that's right. Do what you always do, avoid the issue."
"I'm not avoiding any issue; I just want you to get to the point, Grace. Stop hiding behind your mind games and be honest with me for once in your life."
"Honest about what? Boyd, you are making even less sense than usual."
"Why did you hate it when I told you about the women I dated?" he asked bluntly.
It was Grace's turn to divert her gaze, the silence between them deafening.
"Come on, it's a simple enough question," he continued.
"No-one needs to know the state of their colleague's love life, Boyd."
"Over ten years. Ten years, Grace, and still you can't be honest with me!"
"Not even close. Or maybe it's the fact that you're not being honest with yourself. Is that what this is?"
He watched as Grace grew flustered under his growing impatience.
"I was always honest with you; maybe it was just that you didn't like what you heard."
"Omission is not honesty, Grace."
"And you'd know all about that, I suppose," she replied tartly.
"Just tell me, Grace. Tell me how you felt!" he thundered.
He caught the challenging look in her eyes as she faced him determinedly. "I was jealous, alright? Every time I heard about your latest conquest, how young and pretty she was, I knew you'd never be interested in an old woman like me… and I. Was. Jealous. Happy now?" she spat in rage.
"Yes," he answered simply with no bravado in his tone.
"Good, I'm glad to have stroked the ever growing ego of Peter Boyd. Now if you'll excuse me, Stephen is waiting." Grace said before purposefully striding towards the Hotel entrance.
"I felt the same tonight, Grace," he called after her. "When I saw you with him, I felt exactly the same."
Grace stopped, her back still turned to him. The moon was bright, casting a soft light across her silhouetted form. He could see her visibly shiver and knew instinctively this was the moment.
"I haven't been able to stop thinking about you, Grace. I told myself that you didn't need me now, that you never needed me. I was someone you'd forget..."
She turned slowly towards him, her eyes wide as they searched his. "I think you'll find that you're pretty unforgettable, Boyd," she admitted softly.
Boyd smiled gently as he continued to walk towards her. "For weeks I've been wondering what would happen when we were together again. I stupidly let myself believe that somehow we'd realise how much we missed each other, and hoped that maybe you felt the same way." He ran his fingers nervously through his hair.
"Dunknow. I guess retirement has given me time to think. What's that they say about absence making the heart - "
"Grow fonder," Grace finished his sentence for him. "All these years, Boyd, and you said nothing. If I had thought for one moment there was a chance that we could've been together..."
"There will always be a chance for us, if you want it." Boyd felt his heart pound against his chest as he took a step towards her. His eyes never left hers as he searched longingly for confirmation. Grace didn't flinch as he edged closer. Inches apart he whispered, "Be honest with me, Grace. Is there any chance for us?"
The nod of her head was imperceptible but it was all Boyd needed to encourage him to close the final gap. Softly he cupped her face and placed his lips against hers.
"Come home with me, Grace," he whispered gently.
"I need to speak to Stephen, Boyd."
He nodded slowly and brushed his lips lightly across hers again. "And when you've told him...?" he asked nuzzling her neck tenderly.
"I drive straight to yours."
Boyd smiled as she moved away from him. Suddenly, however, he felt his heart sink. What if Stephen could convince her to stay? What if he was willingly letting her go back to the man who could keep her from him?
She stilled and turned to face him. "Yea?"
"You will come won't you?" he asked hesitantly.
Slowly she returned to his side and gently caressed his cheek. "Wild horses couldn't keep me away, Boyd; not this time."
He smiled tenderly at her as he felt himself relax at her promise. There was something in her eyes that reassured him and he knew beyond doubt that she would come to him.
"Don't be long," he said as he kissed her again gently and then watched as she walked back towards the hotel.