DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
SPOILERS: BBC's production of 'A Murder is Announced' by Agatha Christie, kind of.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks to Ann for beta'ing this for me.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
An Agatha Christie Kind of Evening
Scribbs pressed the pause button on the DVD remote for the fourth time in as many minutes, her eyes immediately zeroing in on Ash. "What now?" asked Ash, her patience long since stretched beyond its limit.
"I don't get it," said Scribbs, the phrase causing a nerve to jump in the corner of Ash's left eye, just as it had done the previous three times she'd heard it. "Did she know him in Switzerland, or not?"
Ash refused to sigh. "Yes," she said, the word squeezed roughly between gritted teeth.
Scribbs opened her mouth, as if to ask another question, but quickly changed her mind once the sound of grinding molars reached her ears. Shrugging her shoulders, she pressed the play button and sat back to watch the rest of the program.
Seven and a half minutes later, Scribbs hit the pause button once more. "I don't get it," she began, "why kill the old dear?" She looked positively affronted. "She was a sweetie."
Ash decided this wasn't a proper question and, therefore, did not dignify it with a response. She had thought watching an old episode of Miss Marple - circa 1980s of course - would be a relaxing way to end the day and brush up on their detecting abilities. Instead, she'd been bombarded with question after question, each one more ludicrous than the last. It was almost enough to make her wish she'd accepted the duty sergeant's offer of a curry and a night of unbridled debauchery.
The play button was once again pushed, and the murder mystery continued to unfold; the death count was rising exponentially, making Ash grateful she lived in suburbia, rather than a quaint English village, because she wasn't sure she could have escaped with her life.
"Are they...?" No pause button, Ash noticed, but Scribbs was definitely asking a question. "The one from the Carry On films and the other one...?" Yes, Ash was sure there was a question in there somewhere. "At it?" The pause button was finally depressed, and Scribbs turned to look expectantly at Ash.
"What?" Ash knew exactly what she'd meant; the two old maids, devoted and dependant, certainly seemed like more than just friends. "Does it matter?"
Scribbs shrugged but refrained from hitting play. "They're a bit like us," she said, her comment earning her a scowl from the brunette. "No, no, just think about. They live together, work together, have friends together..." She lost steam in the face of Ash's disapproval. "What?"
"We don't live together," Ash insisted, despite the fact that Scribbs had been her 'guest' for the last three months, ostensibly while she was looking for another flat, and showed no signs of leaving any time soon. "And even if we did, it doesn't mean anything."
"I never said it did." Scribbs dropped the remote onto the coffee table. "But, from an outsider's point of view, we do kind of look like those two old dears... Younger, of course, and a lot more easy on the eye." She smiled, her eyebrows wiggling comically. "But like a couple, nevertheless."
"So?" Ash would have argued the point, but she'd quickly decided that it was a non-conversation and she wouldn't be dragged into it just to satisfy Scribbs' quirky flights of fancy. So what if she'd heard two PCs gossiping about the very same thing just last week, it didn't mean anything.
Scribbs scooted closer on the couch. "So," she drawled, "have you ever thought about it?"
"Thought about what?" Ash really wished she'd chosen 'Death on the Nile'; mad questions about Egyptian holidays she could handle, but the current conversation was a bit too close to home.
"Us." Scribbs moved an inch closer, her thigh resting comfortably, or uncomfortably, depending on whom you asked, against Ash's. "Growing old and batty together in a pig farm in Dorset."
"Dorset?" Ash wondered how far she could muddy the waters by questioning Scribbs' appalling knowledge of geography, but decided it was just putting off the inevitable. "Why on Earth would we want to do that?"
Scribbs shrugged. "Why not?"
"Why not?" Ash could feel the steam building in her veins, ready to burst forth and take her blood pressure with it. "Because... Because... I... I ..." The words refused to come, so consumed was she in agitation. "Arggh!"
"It would make sense," said Scribbs, ignoring Ash's building tirade. "After all, we like each other better than anyone else, and you can't deny the lingering sexual tension."
Ash's face went slack, and she turned to stare wide-eyed at Scribbs. "Sexual tension?"
"Oh, come on, you can't tell me you haven't noticed?" There was a pause of such length that Scribbs began to worry that Ash had thrown a blood clot or something. "Ash?"
"Are you trying to seduce me?" Ash asked, her skin a darkening shade of red.
Scribbs chuckled. "If I was trying to seduce you I'd have bought wine and a romantic movie," she said, remembering just such an attempt the week before, an attempt that had ended with Ash falling asleep on the couch and her finishing off the bottle of wine alone. "Not let you talk me into watching old Agatha Christie adaptations."
That made sense, although Ash was inexplicably disappointed with the denial. "So you're not trying to get me into bed?"
The denial was on the tip of Scribbs' lips, but she chose, in the interests of full disclosure, to quash the response. "That's not why I asked," she said, "but I wouldn't exactly be torn up about it if that's where we ended up."
"Oh." Ash had absolutely no idea what to say to that; she liked Scribbs, loved her even, and there was no denying the attraction that had built up over the years, but the thought of acting on her feelings filled her with dread. There was just too much to lose. "One of them gets killed," she said, not looking at Scribbs.
Quickly leaning over Scribbs' body, Ash snatched the remote from the coffee table and hit play. "One of the old maids," she explained.
Scribbs' eyes flickered towards the television screen before settling back on Ash. "I bet the other one was devastated." She closed her hand over Ash's on the remote and used their joined hands to turn off the program. "I know I would be if I lost you."
Scribbs nodded. "Let's face it, Ash, you and I are an old married couple." She put her arm around her partner. "Just without the sex and arguments about the in-laws."
"My mother loves you," Ash mumbled, her brain a whirlwind of conflicting thoughts as she eased into the warmth of Scribbs' body. "My brother, too." There had been an hour or two of intense jealousy when she'd believed David, her younger brother, had set his sights on Scribbs, before a misunderstanding had allowed him to draw the wrong conclusion about their relationship. "He thinks we make a cute couple."
"We do." Scribbs dropped a kiss on her partner's cheek. "Everybody says so."
Ash's eyes fell closed as she melted into Scribbs' kisses, the feather-light touch igniting a fire she had long since kept banked. "I think," she said, "I finally get it." And turning her head, she captured Scribbs in a kiss that would have made Agatha Christie's head swim.
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