Cody’s face grew pinched.
Luigi took a deep breath. “I was a coward, when the Killer came to the flat.” He stared out of the window, unable to meet Cody’s eyes. “I thought of running away, and leaving you.” He swallowed. “I’m sorry.”
“But you didn’t.”
“I wasn’t quick enough. It was you who fought, you who distracted the killer, you who saved us. Even at the mountain, you were quicker than me to attack the Killer. You are a hero. And I am a coward.”
“You could have run away at the petrol station.”
“No, I couldn’t. He said he’d kill the other people filling their cars. They were innocent. They’d done nothing.”
“We’d done nothing. We were innocent,” Cody said quietly.
“Yes, but it our job, our war. Not theirs. He’d captured us. He was going to kill us. It wouldn’t be right. We had to do our duty.”
“And you did. You stayed.”
“I phoned Jace from there. I put the bonnet up and pretended to put water in the radiator. I had to let him know where we were. Where we were going.”
“Doesn’t sound cowardly to me.”
“I can’t forget I was ready to run away and leave you. I should have looked after you.” He looked away, out of the window. Without either of them realising it, they were holding hands. “So, do you want me to call Philippa?”
Cody spoke very quietly. “No, love. I’m with you now. Now and always. I love you. More than I love anyone else. You are …. the love I always wanted. You’re like part of me. I can’t live without you. I remember, the first time I saw you in the pub. It was … I knew then. I knew. But I blew it. I was too cowardly to tell you the truth. And too cowardly to tell Philippa.” He twisted his face into a grimace. “I should never have married her. I told you about Camden, the guy, my friend before I got married, didn’t I?”
“That should have been a clue. I kept on telling myself I wasn’t gay. But I’m in love with you, Lou. I love you. How can I be straight and love a bloke?”
“I dunno. You should talk to Key and Jace. They are bisexual. I’m just a ditsy queen.”
Cody squeezed his hand. “You’re Luigi,” he said quietly, his eyes intent. “And I love you. You know, after the Killer took me the first time and I escaped, I suddenly understood that God loved me. He wanted me to escape. He made sure the drug the Killer gave me wasn’t too strong to overwhelm me. He let me escape through the forest. He sent me Michael when I was hiding in the phone box and couldn’t phone because of the ties round my wrists. He wants me to go on living. He’s OK with me being gay.”
“The Catholic church wouldn’t agree with that,” replied Luigi bitterly.
“I know. I don’t care. I know what’s in my heart. I love you, Lou. Always.”
Luigi couldn’t speak past the lump in his throat. He bent down and kissed Cody’s hand.
At last he whispered, “I love you too, Cody.”