DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
"I'm bored," moaned Scribbs.
Ash rolled her eyes and folded the newspaper she'd been scanning. "Here," she tossed it across to Scribbs in the passenger seat of the car, "Read this."
"I've already read it," she pouted. They'd been sitting in the underground car park of a local shopping centre for what seemed like days waiting for their suspect to do something even remotely out of the ordinary and boredom had definitely set in. "Tell me something interesting."
Ash sighed and pursed her lips in thought "Did you know every year more people are killed by donkeys than in aircraft crashes?"
"Is that why you never go to the seaside Ash?" Ash didn't reply. "Anyway, that wasn't quite what I had in mind. Tell me something interesting about you."
"I don't think so. There are certain things about me I don't want the entire station to know, thank you very much."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Scribbs sounded offended
"Nothing," replied Ash sweetly then added under her breath, "But you don't get called rent-a-gob for nothing." Scribbs was about to argue when she saw her partner tense beside her "Oh hell!" Scribbs followed Ash's gaze to an attractive blonde woman laden down with shopping bags across the car park. Ash sunk lower in her seat trying to hide behind the steering wheel.
"That's my brother's new girlfriend," she explained, "If she sees me and comes over it'll blow our whole surveillance op." A flash of recognition moved across the blonde's face and she started across the car park towards where the two detectives were parked. "Damn it! We've got to find some way of stopping her coming over here fast," she paused scanning the car for options and coming up blank, "And it's got to be convincing." Short of making wild hand gestures, which would not help their need to remain incognito, Ash did the only other thing she could think of. She leaned across the handbrake, pulled Scribbs towards her and kissed her. Scribbs' muffled exclamation of surprise soon turned into a moan as she returned the kiss in earnest. Out of the corner of her eye Ash saw her brother's girlfriend falter, blush and hurriedly turn back to her own car. Once she was sure the danger had passed Ash broke lip contact and tried to pull away but found she could only manage a few inches. Scribbs had hold of her jacket by the lapel. Ash turned her head to whisper into her partner's ear.
"What are you doing?" she hissed
"Making it look convincing," Scribbs whispered back pulling a confused Ash into another kiss before finally releasing her grip on Ash's jacket, "Besides, I've wanted to do that for ages."
Ash pulled away, her face a mixture of shock and confusion. "Wha what's that supposed to mean exactly?" she stuttered struggling to regain her composure.
Scribbs sighed, exasperated. "What do you think it means? It means I fancy you Ash." She paused, "I sort of got the impression that you fancied me too."
Ash managed to recover her air of authority. "On what evidence are you basing that precisely?" she said briskly.
"Let's start with the kiss and work backwards shall we?" Scribbs was getting cross.
"That was to save our surveillance op! I had to kiss you. It was the only way to get rid of her. Or would you rather I let her announce to the world and our suspect that we're watching him?"
"You didn't just kiss me, Ash, you practically snogged my face off!"
Ash felt her cheeks redden slightly both with embarrassment and indignation. "I had to make it look convincing."
"You certainly had me fooled. It's not just that though. It's the gentle flirting, the 'accidental' touches " she emphasised her point with hand gestures, "and you've never liked any of my boyfriends."
"You think that's because I'm jealous?" Ash was incredulous, "That's not jealousy, Scribbs. That's because all your boyfriends tend to be borderline sociopathic with severe emotional issues."
"Not all of them," replied Scribbs defensively
Ash raised a cynical eyebrow. "Would you like me to list them?"
"No, not really," Scribbs reluctantly conceded the point. An uncomfortable silence descended over the car. Scribbs drummed her fingers on the dashboard trying to think of something to say. "Ash " she began but Ash had her hand on the door handle.
"I can't handle this. I need to get some air." Scribbs grabbed hold of her partner's arm before she could open the door of the car.
"Ash, we're on an op, remember?" The brunette released her hold of the handle. "Look it's alright. I clearly misread the signals. Let's just forget about it, ok? We'll finish our surveillance and I'll ask Sullivan for a transfer first thing tomorrow."
"A transfer? Why?" Ash looked confused and a little crestfallen.
"I just don't think we should work together for a while, that's all. Not after what I just said."
"No. Right. Of course," replied Ash stiffly, "Don't worry, I'll give you a good recommendation. I won't mention "
"That I have a tendency to fall in love with my superior officers?" Scribbs interrupted, "Thanks." She gave her partner a weak smile, which Ash returned. "Let's just get through the rest of this op then?"
The silence in the car was palpable as Ash navigated the darkened streets to Scribbs' home. The rest of the surveillance operation had gone without a hitch and they now had enough material to proceed with an arrest. The two officers who had relieved them only had to tie up the loose ends and their suspect would be in custody by morning. As she pulled up outside Scribbs' house she glanced at her partner for what felt like the first time in hours.
"Scribbs," she began, cutting the engine, "We need to talk about this." Scribbs continued staring out of the passenger window, refusing to make eye contact with Ash.
"No. We don't. I think we've said enough. Or at least I've said enough." She started to get out of the car. Ash grabbed for her arm but found the contact shrugged off.
"Scribbs! Wait!" But Scribbs was already out of the car letting the door slam behind her a little more forcefully than she had intended. Ash watched her retreating back before leaning back in her seat, closing her eyes in defeat. No, damn it! she thought, This is not how it ends.
In a flash she was out of the car and racing up the drive. Scribbs turned her head at the sound of footsteps behind her, her hand already on the key in the lock. Without speaking Ash spun Scribbs around and kissed her, backing her up against the wall as she did so. This time there was no mistaking Ash's intention. Her hands tangled in Scribbs' messy blonde hair, their tongues intertwining. She felt her partner's muscles relax ceding control of the kiss and the situation to the older woman. For the second time that night a kiss from Ash elicited a soft, muffled moan from Scribbs. Ash eventually broke the kiss and, breathing heavily, fixed Scribbs with a look partway between relief and blind panic. "We really need to talk," she panted, then brushed past her colleague and into the house leaving Scribbs open mouthed on the doorstep.
It took Scribbs a moment to regain her composure enough to follow her friend into the house. By this time Ash had stopped nervously pacing the living room and was perched uncomfortably on the edge of the sofa. Scribbs was about to launch into a heated outburst along the lines of 'what the bloody hell was that?!' when she saw the look on Ash's face. She looked like she was going to cry or have a nervous breakdown, or possibly both. She looked scared and vulnerable, something Scribbs was not used to seeing in her usually calm, composed and in control partner. It was very disconcerting. She sat down on the sofa next to her. "Ash?" she asked softly, "What's going on?"
Ash got up and started pacing again. "I'm not really sure how to put this," she paused trying to find the right words. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, "You weren't entirely mistaken when you suspected that I might be attracted to you." The words came out quickly, so quickly that Scribbs thought she might have misheard.
"Can you say that again 'cause I'm starting to lose track here? First you kiss me, then you say you don't have feelings for me " Ash continued pacing. "And now you say you do? Is that what you're saying? Bloody hell Ash, give me a straight answer and for god's sake stop pacing. The carpet's bad enough without you wearing a hole in it. Plus you're making me feel sea-sick." Ash stopped in front of Scribbs looking somewhat like a rabbit in headlights. "So ?"
Ash bit her lip nervously. "Yes, Scribbs, I am attracted to you, ok? I'd convinced myself that it was inconceivable that you would reciprocate so I wasn't going to say anything. Ever. I mean there was just no way. It's you and you have this reputation and you like men "
"I like you," Scribbs interrupted then paused, "What do you mean 'reputation'?"
Ash shrugged noncommittally. "Just station gossip. Then there's the journalist, that DS from traffic " she caught the look on Scribbs' face and didn't continue with the mental list she had of her partner's conquests. "Anyway, it was just easier to pretend it wasn't happening and stay friends. We do have to work together after all." Scribbs was silent for a moment before a thought occurred to her.
"Hang on though, if you are attracted to me then why did you completely go off on one in the car?"
"I didn't 'go off on one'." Scribbs gave her a look, "Ok, maybe I did a little. I think I just got a bit scared. I've never, you know, with a woman before."
Scribbs smirked mischievously. "Well, you know what they say about joining the force and broadening your horizons."
Ash scrunched her nose up in thought. "I think that might be the Marines."
Scribbs shrugged. "Whatever."
Ash returned to the sofa sitting down next to her partner. "Look, I'm sorry ok? Forgive me?"
"Oh well, I don't know about that. You see, you've had me feeling like a total prat for most of the night and I'm just not sure I can let you off the hook that easily " Ash was starting to look panicky again and as much fun as it would be to continue to wind her up Scribbs wasn't entirely sure Ash could take it without having some kind of cerebral meltdown. "Yes, of course I forgive you. Come here." She hugged her tightly. As they pulled back their eyes met. "So, would it be ok if we tried that kissing thing again?"
Ash nodded. "I think we could give it shot." She smiled and they kissed again. It started gently with none of the awkward desperation of their earlier attempts. Scribbs hands moved to the hairclips holding Ash's brunette hair up and unfastened them, releasing the dark locks from their perfectly manicured style. Her fingers traced the contours of Ash's face as she continued to kiss her deeply. Ash's own fingers played with the buttons of Scribbs shirt, her fingertips slipping through occasionally to dance across her skin. Scribbs pushed Ash further back against the arm of the sofa and traced a path with her tongue from her lips, down her neck to the dip of her throat and further down to where the buttons on Ash's own shirt began. Slowly Scribbs began to undo them checking Ash's eyes for approval. She was going to go further and begin to unfasten Ash's trousers when she realised just how uncomfortable her tiny sofa could be. If this was going to go further they needed to move to more amenable surroundings. She returned her lips to her partner's kissing her softly, her hands tangling in her hair once again. Leaning back she looked deeply into Ash's eyes.
"I have a question," she said breathlessly, her fingers still playing with Ash's dark hair, "If we move this into the bedroom, are you going to run out on me again?"
Ash bit her lip shyly and blushed as she reached into her back pocket to remove her set of handcuffs. "We could always find a way to make sure I can't," she said holding up the cuffs.
Scribbs grinned and grabbed Ash's hand, pulling her in the direction of the bedroom.
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