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Sam was tired of the Collator's Den. Well, to be truthful, he was just tired and frustrated. It wasn't really the paperwork's fault. He ran one hand lovingly across the folders spread out in front of him.

He hadn't slept properly in a couple of days now due to feeling like he'd betrayed Gene with Tina. It hadn't helped any that the Test Card Girl was constantly harping on about how he'd probably talk to her more if she played with Matchbox Cars rather than a clown. He'd tried not to be too crushed when she'd finally admitted that she didn't actually have any Matchbox cars.

And then he'd actually had to come in to work and face Gene. Well, he would have faced him, given half the chance. The first day in, Annie told him that Gene had already left with Ray and Chris and that she was supposed to give Sam a hand with getting the desk files straightened out. It had taken the entire day, during which Gene had not returned, but Sam had admitted to a certain satisfaction in seeing all of the folders cleared away.

The next day, Gene had again left instructions with Annie, this time about straightening up the Collator's Den. Sam had sighed heavily, careful as usual to disguise his rising excitement about being so close to all of that paperwork. He'd sent Annie home at five. By seven o'clock, he'd had enough. When not even the smell of paper and ink could make him happy, it was time to throw in the towel.

He walked out of the station intent on heading home, his mind again filling up with the business of what he could do to sort things out with Gene. He shouldn't have been surprised to find himself outside the Railway Arms, but he was. And there she was, her paint work gleaming softly under the street lights. Even as Sam thought about keeping his distance he found his feet moving, walking slowly toward her. He reached out a hand, but drew it back right before he would have touched her. Sam took a large step backwards and shoved both hands into his pockets and stood there gazing at her. She rolled slowly closer to him. He backed up again, uncertain whether he'd imagined it, but she rolled further forward, coming to a stop right next to him.

Unable to stop himself any longer he slowly took his right hand out of his pocket and stretched it out to rest it lightly on her roof. The steel beneath his hand warmed up in response.

"Tyler!"

Sam turned to face Gene, guiltily snatching his hand back from the Cortina's roof.

"Can't leave you alone for one bloody minute, can I?"

As Gene moved forward, Sam moved back, retreating to the other side of the Cortina, careful to keep his hands in his pockets and to stand at least a foot back from the Cortina. Oddly enough, Gene didn't follow him, just stopped to put one hand on the Cortina's roof.

"Came out to check up on her. She's been off the last couple of days."

"Off?"

"Sluggish. Think I may have to take her back to the garage again."

"Sorry to hear that Guv."

"What you doing here Tyler? Would have thought you'd have been in a post-shag haze by now, just from being with the files all day."

"Was walking home."

"In the wrong direction."

"Was thinking. Just sort of ended up here."

"Well if you want to go in and have a beer I'm leaving soon. Want to take Tina by the— home. Take Tina home."

"No Guv. Thanks. See you tomorrow."

 

00000

 

Sam's flat was bloody cold again. He ate some of the fish and chips he picked up on the way home but ended up throwing half of it away. He moved around his flat nervously, picking at the pile of files on the table, turning the television on and off, doing anything he could think of to stay away from the chair currently housing his Ford Cortina repair manual and his camel hair blanket. He moved over to the bed, sat down and removed his shoes, before taking his shirt off in order to get comfortable. Of course with his shirt and shoes off he was even colder. There was no choice but to get under the camel hair blanket.

It's a matter of survival.

Sam carefully set the manual down on the carpet and picked up the blanket. He sat down and tucked the blanket in around himself. The pile of the blanket was coarse against his arms and the part of his chest not covered by his vest. He rubbed it against his arms in an absent minded fashion while he thought about his work at the Collator's Den and what still had to be done. The friction was vaguely uncomfortable, but in a really good way. He tucked his nose down into the top of it and breathed deeply.

Doesn't smell right, no whisky, tobacco or cheap cologne. Just going to sit here until I get warm enough to go to bed. Not going to do anything else.

He shifted his feet, his blanket covered toes colliding with the manual.

Well… I should pick it up off the floor, I paid enough for it, never could stand to see a book treated badly.

With that idea firmly in his mind, he leaned forward and picked it up, setting the book across his knees. His fingers ran absently over the picture on the cover. When he realized what he was doing his grip hardened on the manual as he tried to stop his fingers from moving.

Well looking at a diagram or two wouldn't hurt anything.

He flicked open the book to the table of contents.

Looking at pictures of the engine certainly couldn't be interpreted as deviant. He refused to listen to the voice in his head that was saying you got a car pregnant, you're so far past deviancy you can't even see the line any more.

He looked for the page number for the engine layouts and turned straight to it.

See. Nothing! No reaction at all. I can look at these pictures in a purely academic fashion.

He watched as his fingers turned the pages to pictures of the Cortina's interior.

Look at that dashboard.

The glossy pictures were smooth under his fingertips.

And her… it… its wheel is in such perfect proportion.

His fingers stroked across the paper.

Gene's hands in his driving gloves always look so powerful caressing that wheel.

Sam tried to ignore the erection now pressing against the zipper of his jeans.

I'll read something, that'll help to distract me.

He flicked through more pages unable to keep himself from stopping at an illustration demonstrating the Cortina's boot capacity.

She… it has a lovely boot. The fantasy of being trapped in there with Gene was so much better than the reality. He even prefers shagging a car to the thought of shagging me, but then he does identify the Cortina as being female.

Sam slid one hand under the blanket and slowly undid his zipper. His cock was so hard he had to ease it out carefully to avoid an injury. His hand left his cock briefly to reach down in the side of the chair. He retrieved his black driving gloves that were an exact copy of Gene's. He'd had to go to the other side of the city to find them. His breath caught as he slid them on, snugging them tightly to his fingers. As he shifted, the camel hair blanket rubbed against his erection and he gasped.

Not yet!

He leafed to the middle of the manual and unfolded the colour centrefold of the Cortina in all her schematic glory. Stroking the image lightly with his left hand, he slid his right hand back under the blanket to wrap it firmly around his erection. He stroked upward slowly, trying to prolong the feeling as long as possible, loving the friction of the glove against his cock. He let his mind drift to fantasies of Gene's gloved hands caressing the Cortina's gear stick, Gene's gloved hands wrapped around him, Gene…

Gene crashed through the door to Sam's flat.

"Gene!"

In his shock, Sam let go of the manual, which crashed to the floor. Gene glared down at the manual and then at Sam.

"I meant Guv! What are you doing here?"

Sam tried to act casual, hoping the large blanket was concealing a multitude of sins.

Well one sin, really. It would have helped if my voice hadn't gone up an octave from the shock.

"Christ Tyler, stop fiddling with your todger and meet me downstairs. I've heard Lawson might be back in town and I think I know where he'll go."

Gene turned on his heel and left, slamming the door behind him.

At least I don't still have an erection to worry about. Bugger! Don't start thinking about that either!

Sam picked up the manual, set it down in the chair and went to put his shoes and shirt back on.

 

00000

 

They'd been sitting in the Cortina outside Lawson's brother's house for twenty minutes. Gene hadn't said anything since Sam had got into the car and even now was just staring straight ahead. Sam had been careful not to touch the Cortina anymore than was strictly necessary.

"Look Guv I—"

"For christssake Tyler shut it."

"Just wanted to apologize for—"

"I broke yer bloody door down. All men do it. Course most normal blokes like Mayfair but—"

"Not what I was going to apologize for I—"

Sam's apology ground to a halt as the Cortina started rocking violently. Gene grabbed hold of the steering wheel and turned his head to glare at Sam.

"How'd you manage to—"

"Weren't me, Guv."

"We'll see, soon enough."

The car had barely finished rocking when Gene jumped out of the car, Sam close behind him. Sam could already hear a very familiar beeping as they reached the boot. Gene unlocked the boot and lifted the lid. Sat inside was a brown model Cortina. Gene picked it up and started to swing around toward Sam.

"Just try and tell me this ain't yours Tyler!"

"I swear Guv, I didn't— look at its headlights!"

Gene turned the model carefully in his arms to see its bright blue headlights.

"About this trusted friend Guv, the one you had take Tina to the garage cause you couldn't trust me—"

"RAY! I'll bloody kill him!"