DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
CHALLENGE: Written for the Second Annual Ash/Scribbs ficathon.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Great British Menu
By Badger


Kate Ashurst was not typically one to oversleep. She was prompt, punctual, and prone to alertness, ready to spring into action at any moment. Sundays, however, were an exception to the rule which she deemed permissible, especially after a night of white wine and mad, passionate shagging that stole the evening and crept into the next day, though the time was unbeknownst to her. On one such occasion, specifically the morning of the twenty-fourth, she did not get the opportunity to indulge in such simple luxuries.

WZZZT! "Ah! Fuck!" Beep! Beep! Beep! "Yes, I know you're open, you stupid machine!" Beep! Beep! Be-SLAM! "There! You happy now?" Hisssssssssssss. "Oh bollocks…"

Ash slowly opened her eyes, flinching when she heard something clatter somewhere out of sight, loudly; the distinctive sound of metal becoming acquainted with the floor. Well, that was certainly one way to interrupt a wonderful dream. How anyone could be expected to sleep through that was beyond her. "Worst criminal ever." She murmured as she lethargically rolled out of her bed, which was missing half the source of its dishevelled state. It didn't take a detective to figure out that Scribbs was up to something – again – and, for the sake of her apartment, she intended to find out what all the noise was about.

Dragging her feet along the floor, too tired to bother getting dressed and, technically, in too much of a hurry to prevent further damage to her property, she threw on a bathrobe and emerged, bleary-eyed and bloody exhausted, scanning her flat for clues. Not a moment later, Scribbs popped up from behind the kitchen counter, grinning sheepishly when she caught sight of her roused lover. "Morning, gorgeous." She purred, tempted to be naughty and tease her with the pet names she so fervently despised, but she earned only a yawn in reply. The vaguely suggestive expression she had adopted faded from her features, fast, as Ash trudged over towards her. "Did I wake you?" she asked, apologetically, and slightly afraid of the answer.

Ash sent her a dark glare, to which her partner was oblivious, possibly because, according to Scribbs, at least, sour and grouchy was her natural state. "No. I was already up." She half-groaned, the pungent traces of sarcasm in her tone going undetected as a result. She did not bother to correct the blonde's visible relief. "What on earth are you doing up before me?" she asked, suspiciously. "And why are you so happy about it?"

Scribbs giggled and shrugged, flushing a little under her probing stare. "Well, you're right; I wouldn't be ordinarily, but I've had about three cups of coffee, and they've all kicked in at once. That's enough to make anyone into a morning person, I guess." Ash blinked her heavy lids, getting dizzy from watching Scribbs bounce on the balls of her feet and gesture emphatically as she spoke. "Now, don't start on how it's bad for me; it wasn't on purpose, you know. When I got up, since you won't buy what I need for the sugarpuff drink, I made two cups of coffee – one was for you, of course – but I was half-asleep, so I got them confused and drank that by mistake and had to make you a fresh one, which I also drank, 'cause it was getting cold. Or I thought it was. Turned out it was quite nice, actually. Anyway! Too late to whinge about it now; what's done is done. By way of apology, here's yours." She said, skirting out from behind the counter to offer up her penance. "Careful; it's hot."

"Cheers." She grunted, abandoning any hope of getting back to sleep while Scribbs was so full of energy. Ash had barely understood a word of her hyperactive babbling, and was even less privy to the way that her lover had moved to block the kitchen from her view, but she was cognizant enough to recognise the necessity of waking up, and, consequently, took a sip from the mug, resigned to her fate, the heat seeping through and warming her hands as she cradled it, darkly, and vaguely hungover.

"You're welcome. Now, run along." Scribbs ushered her away with a few flicks of her fingers. Ash opened her mouth to interject, but failed to get a word in. "No; I won't have it." The blonde gently took her by the shoulders, turned her around and urged her in the opposite direction with a pat on the rear. "Go. Sit down. Relax."

"But I want some toast." Ash whined, sniffling softly, fearing that the reportedly severe consequences of a skipped breakfast would catch up with her later on. "Can't I just—"

"Let me take care of you, babe." Scribbs pressed a kiss to her lover's cheek, wrapping her arms around her middle and giving a gentle squeeze, earning a sigh from Ash that was, thankfully, just as contented with her touch as it was annoyed with being interrupted mid-sentence. "Have a seat, and take it easy; I've got it all under control here." Apparently, the good people at Bosch disagreed with that assessment, since, at that precise moment, the oven emitted a loud 'ding', and summoned the blonde's attention. "What? There's no way it could have pre-heated that quickly!" she said to herself, scratching her head as she stared helplessly at the machine that seemed to abhor her, squinting at the settings like they were written in hieroglyphics. "Oh, what have I done?" she groaned.

Ash shared the sentiment, her eyes growing wide with horror as the puzzling noises that stirred her earlier clicked into place. Her stomach sank under the heavy burden of dread. "Scribbs, what on earth are you doing to my kitchen?" she asked, too paralysed with fear to actually step forward and witness the devastation that she was bound to have created in her moment of inspired insanity. If the clamour she'd heard was any indication, this was not so much an adventure in cookery as it was a do-it-yourself destruction derby.

Scribbs snorted and dismissed her concerns with a wave, though the motion did nothing to stem their increase. "Don't get your sexy knickers in a twist. I meant to surprise you with a lovely meal, to celebrate four months of naughty lesbian sleepovers and wearing turtlenecks to work." She said with a wink, although her predatory smirk quickly faded as her gaze dropped rather awkwardly to the floor, her fingers tapping sequentially against the countertop, expelling much of the damage done to her pride. "Evidently, the element of surprise doesn't seem to be in my favour anymore, but that's not going to get me down. I've come too far to turn back now." The steely determination etched across her face made clear her desire to triumph in this bloody war against home cookware, regardless of whether or not it would be wiser to admit defeat and save face. "I still want to cook for you."

"Why?" Ash whimpered to the gods above, swallowing the lump of nerves in her throat. "What brought about this inexplicable urge to dabble in the dark arts of domesticity?"

Scribbs scratched beneath her ear, vaguely embarrassed. "You remember how I sprained my ankle when we went to investigate the murder in the bed and breakfast a couple of weeks ago and you wouldn't let me out of bed?" Ash nodded, slowly edging backwards, wary of sudden explosions and flying shrapnel, as she'd read in books, fingers shaking almost enough to spill her coffee, forcing her to rest it on the table. "Right, well, I spent the whole time watching the food channel, and I've been addicted to cooking shows ever since."

So that was the reason; revenge for excluding her from that case. Or else she was being punished karmatically. Either way, Ash always suspected that she would be the root of her own demise, as that certainly seemed to be the pattern. Surely there still had to be some hope of talking Scribbs out of this. She needed to act fast.

Fortunately, she didn't need to stall for time; Scribbs hadn't yet finished speaking in that over-caffeinated babble that had enveloped her brain that morning. "I mean, I've watched cooking programs on the telly before, of course. Back before I met you, I used to watch Nigella, with the sound off, but that doesn't count." She said, cheekily, although the implication did not send a spark of jealousy across her lover's gaze, since Ash was too distracted with other, more pressing priorities, like living. "Now, I've seriously started getting into them."

"Scribbs, you're confusing television with reality again." Said Ash, rummaging like a groom for a lost wedding ring in the back of her mind for anything she could possibly say to reach the woman she loved and snap her out of this madness. "Seeing things on the telly does not automatically instil you with the skills of the hosts. You do remember the Supernanny debacle, don't you?"

The blonde visibly shuddered; how could she forget? Her cousin's little monsters had put her off having children for life. "Yeah, but this is different; they want you to try this at home." Whilst that was all well and good, and she would not dispute the logic therein, Ash had to wonder what in the hell had possessed her to conduct this experiment in her bloody home! "I figured I might as well make the chefs happy." Scribbs explained with a shrug, oblivious to her lover's silent fuming, before grabbing a ladle and wielding it like a mighty sword, posing theatrically on the floor. "I'm doing my bit in the battle to get Britain cooking again!" she tried to spin the ladle in her fingers but ended up dropping it on the floor, where it spun away from her, spiralling into the side of the bin, and nearly tipping it over. A moment of awkwardness passed. "Uh, did I mention that I'm an apprentice chef?"

"No mention needed, believe me." She muttered dryly, running her hands through her messy, post-coital bedroom brown hair in frustration. "Look, I appreciate the sentimental and nutritional value of a home-cooked meal as much as the next ex-boarder, but, personally, I feel that Britain is a dish best served cold," Ash declared, firmly, but Scribbs' odd stare soon forced her to reconsider her statement, "Or, I don't know, perhaps taken straight out of the freezer and popped into a microwave for two minutes, but my point remains the same!"

"What point would that be?" Scribbs asked, barely restraining a bemused chuckle. "I can't make out what on earth you're talking about."

In hindsight, neither could Ash. "I just mean," she paused for a few seconds, searching desperately for some vaguely meaningful way to continue that answer, "You know, um, why slave away for an hour over a hot stove or…blender that I think you've ruined…"

"It's not ruined!" Scribbs insisted, defending her good name against such slanderous insinuations. "I just didn't realise you had to twist the top to lock it in place."

"Fine, fine. But, why go to all this trouble when," Ash fiddled with the knot on her gown, noticing that it had come unstuck, when, suddenly, inspiration struck, and she formed a cunning plan, "When you can take a few shortcuts and use the time saved for something far more satisfying?" she said, breathily, through a sultry smirk, tossing her hair back and stretching out on the table, seductively displaying her figure, or, at least, she hoped it was seductive, otherwise she'd look like a right fool.

Scribbs uttered a giggle. "Are you havin' a crack?" she asked, and the question ought to have been rhetorical, but she could scarcely believe her eyes and ears. It was just so…un-Ash-like. They'd been together, in the romantic sense, at least, for four months, so she certainly knew how passionate her usually very proper – a term she had come to employ with gusto, since the last time she had dared to call her 'uptight', she had been thrown out onto the freezing cold streets at one in the morning wearing little more than her underwear – partner was when she wanted to be, but she'd also noticed the fact that Ash was far more keen to drop hints when she craved affection, and, as long as only appropriate amounts of alcohol were involved, she always invited Scribbs to be the active aggressor, which worked well, since she was never afraid to take what she desired. "No, really; are you?"

Ash rolled her eyes, in spite of her intentions. "Sometimes, I think you're really two short planks in the guise of a very beautiful woman." Scribbs scratched the back of her head uncertainly, the meaning behind the remark failing to register. "Oh, for Christ's sake, yes!" she half-fumed.

"You serious?" Ash wondered why she bothered explaining anything to her sometimes. "But, I thought…after last night…didn't that wear you out?" she asked, and she sounded almost hurt, inadequacy bubbling beneath the surface at the implication that, maybe, she hadn't quite sufficed at pleasing the crowd during her overnight performance. "I mean, are you sure you don't want something to eat first?" asked Scribbs, waving her ladle in the general vicinity of the stove. "It won't take much longer. Really. Just let me—"

"NO!" Ash barked, far too quickly, her volume causing Scribbs to flinch and the windows to rattle and a car alarm to go off down the road. An awkward silence ensued, broken only by a howling dog. Hopefully her cover wasn't blown. "Uh, no, thank you, er, sweetie." She thought that was a smooth recovery.

"Sweetie?" Scribbs' nose crinkled. A drop of sweat slid down Ash's cheek; she had thought that sounded contrived for some reason. "Have you been watching Ab Fab?"

"No…it's just…" Ash was hopeless, admittedly pathetic at being put on the spot in an awkward moment, in spite of her vast experience of them, and it showed, "You're sweet and…you're an 'ee'…so, it's a…a natural development, really." She offered, her anxiety as painful to observe as it was to feel.

Scribbs' vaguely amused expression fell fast, into one of contemplation, realisation and, subsequently, shattered illusions, which consequently crumbled to the carpet. "Are you stalling?" she asked, as if in shock, and, for a second, Ash wished to God that they didn't know each other so well from working together; it made lying damn near impossible, since they recognised each other's signals, and Scribbs had definitely picked them that time. "You are, aren't you?"

Ash feigned innocence by way of ignorance. "What are you talking about?" she asked, flicking her hair over her shoulders, as if the insinuation caused her some affront. "I'm not the one who'd rather eat breakfast than eat…" she choked on the word she'd subconsciously intended to say, clearing her throat and glancing down in discomfort, unable to meet Scribbs' eyes.

It was too late for excuses, though. Scribbs had caught onto her, and nothing could throw her off the scent of suspicion. "You're scared that it will be shit." She whimpered, like a child after being told that her parents weren't going to come to see her perform in the school play.

Ash's resolve melted under that heart-wrenching stare, her lover's eyes shimmering with unshed tears and disappointment. It was bittersweet; sad but adorable. How could anybody resist that expression? "Oh, come here, love." She said, façade shattering as she swept across the room, softly rubbing Scribbs' arms in consolation, which did not quite suffice to wipe away the blonde's sneaking sense of betrayal. "It's not that I think it will be shit so much as," she grimaced, wondering if there was a more sensitive way of explaining her fears, but unable to find one before the duration of the pause ran out, and she was forced to confess, "The last person you cooked a meal for wound up in hospital…"

Scribbs scoffed and tugged out of her lover's grip, folding her arms across her chest, offended. "It wasn't that serious." She grumbled, still feeling utterly humiliated by everything that had transpired with Stuart.

Ash blinked and quirked a brow. "He almost died." She reminded her lover, hoping that the sentiment would penetrate, since she was quite certain that Scribbs no more desired to attend Ash's funeral in the near future than she looked forward to being in the coffin.

"Well it's not my bloody fault!" Scribbs insisted, close enough to Ash's ear to make the brunette jump back in fright, more at the suddenness of the snap than the volume. "Any normal person would have had quite a pleasant meal, but how was I supposed to know he was so…fucking weak?" she asked, though the question was not directed at anybody in particular, and she settled onto her back foot, sighing to release her mounting frustration. "I'm not going to kill you, Ash. Pinkie promise."

"I should hope you wouldn't." Said Ash, tightening her dressing gown around her shoulders, and, though it was a facetious comment on her part, in hindsight, she felt rather guilty for being so rash and aggressive towards Scribbs' efforts to be a good (dare it be said?) girlfriend. Although, maybe that was just the emotional blackmail talking. She rolled her eyes at herself, feeling that giving in to that puppy-dog pout and letting go of her anxieties would be imminent, and she silently threatened to make God suffer when she met him if she wound up regretting this decision. "So," she began, putting on a brave, if somewhat awkward smile, shrugging in an effort to appear casual, "As one might be inclined to say, 'what's cooking, good looking'?" Ash inwardly cringed at her pathetic performance, but ran with it.

Scribbs blinked at her, attempting to gauge whether or not she was genuine. She couldn't tell, but, either way, she could appreciate that Ash was trying to be encouraging, which was an improvement, at least. "Oh, you know, nothing special." She shrugged, wandering back into the kitchen to keep an eye on what was happening. "But I figured it was more important that I actually revived the ancient tradition of cooking at home than, you know, prepared a banquet for you."

Ash smirked in spite of herself. "Who gave you that idea?" she asked, resting her elbows on the counter and leaning forward to watch her lover work, as well as to make sure her kitchen did not get destroyed.

"Gordon Ramsay." Scribbs replied with a chuckle. "I've become a bit of a fan of his. Even learned a thing or two from him. See?" she picked up a plastic plate and threw it dramatically to the floor, pointing at it and shouting, "This looks like a fucking dog turd with a fucking leaf on it, you fucker!" Ash couldn't help but giggle, and she even applauded lightly, prompting Scribbs to grin and bow. "Thank you, thank you; that's three years of experience playing Mary in the Nativity Play right there." She shook her head as she bent down to pick up the plate. "I don't know how that's supposed to improve my cooking, but."

Neither was she. "If you get angry enough, you can fry all the food on your face." Ash suggested, and she heard Scribbs giggle somewhere beneath the counter. The brunette sighed and shook her head, exit strategies still forming in the recesses of her mind. "Why you take the advice of a shouting Scottish bloke over mine is a mystery to me." She remarked, a little cynically, wandering back to the table to collect her cup of coffee.

"I'll have you know that shouting Scottish bloke is also the UK's top chef, just like Detective Inspector Ashurst also happens to be a saucy little minx." Said Scribbs, tilting a butterknife towards her lover as she teased her, barely restraining a cheeky expression, particularly when her comment earned a rather disapproving glare. She snickered with self-satisfaction. "Don't deny it, tiger." She purred. Ash was not amused. Scribbs simply made a clawing gesture.

"Do I have to put you outside?" Ash threatened, pointedly, which earned a quiet whine from her lover. "Don't cry to me, love. You know the rules for when you get frisky."

Of course she knew the rules. Some of them had been enforced many times, which, if nothing else, made her a quick learner. 'Firstly, never talk during sex, except in singular exclamations of orgasmic bliss. Secondly, when we're under my roof – (and they always were, because Ash refused to wallow through her mess) – everything happens at my pace. Thirdly, don't act like a cat; it's weird. Fourth, don't you dare play mind games with me. And finally, if you ever utter someone else's name during the throes of passion, I will stab you in the arse with the nearest available object. Are we clear?' Scribbs gave a mock-scoff of displeasure as they repeated through her head on a loop, sucking all the fun out of life. "Repression is bad for the soul, babe."

"Not according to my Presbyterian upbringing." Ash interjected matter-of-factly, taking a sip from her still steaming mug, starting to feel more awake. "My school chaplain was very fond of repression."

Scribbs rolled her eyes, but, since she was toiling away on the stove, putting oil in the pan, it could not be seen. "I'll bet, but you can't pretend it's had that much of an influence on you." Ash uttered a wordless tone, inflecting her pitch, prompting her lover to elaborate. "Well, he would have had issues with all the fun we had last night, wouldn't he?" Ash guiltily averted her eyes to elsewhere in the room, spotting her shirt, which was still draped over the back of the couch, where it had been discarded when the previous evening took a distinctly impure turn. Scribbs had no such qualms about their amorous arrangement. "I don't mean to sound like a godless heathen but, you ask me to convert to a faith where I can't shag a girl senseless, well, sorry mate, but clearly there's something wrong with that philosophy."

Ash didn't know whether to shake her head or laugh, so she did both at once. "And that's why, according to most religions, you're going to burn in hell, my dear." Scribbs snorted sceptically, waving her fingers and making a ghostly 'oooh' noise. Ash paused, lowering her cup, wrinkling her nose, as if in thought, which made Scribbs briefly entertain the worry that she'd offended her with her flippancy, but it proved a false assumption. "What's burning?"

"Not my soul. Not yet at least." She muttered, dryly, suspecting that was the reference, before turning around to get back to work. When she saw the kitchen, she froze abruptly and her face fell. "Oh." Smoke billowed out from the pan on the stove; the oil had caught fire, and her attempt at frying bacon was going up in flames. Scribbs dashed over and removed the saucepan, ending the hazard before anyone was hurt, but her reputation as a chef was close to irreparable. She sighed, refusing to meet Ash's no doubt potent gaze. "Look," she started, diplomatically, "I know what you're thinking, but that wasn't my fault. You were distracting me."

"Scribbs," Ash said, slowly, with a hint of warning in her tone, insinuating that it would be wise for her to behave sensibly and not worsen the trouble that she was in already, "Get out of my kitchen. Immediately."

"No." Scribbs whimpered, tucking her chin into her chest, defensively, as she backed away from a steadily advancing and scarcely dressed brunette, soon finding that she was trapped in a corner that wasn't about to budge for her sake. "I don't want to."

"This is not up for debate." She said, coolly, her masked expression giving nothing away as she steadily stalked her prey into the cramped kitchen enclosure, making her lover sweat, even as a cold chill flew up her spine. "You are abandoning this silly endeavour and coming with me this instant, and I am going to do something I should have done a long time ago."

Scribbs nervously latched onto the bench behind her, hearing scary, cinematic violin music in her head, the score growing faster and louder by the second, as did her pulse. "Vote Green?" she suggested, hoping she could save her hide by being cute; it always used to get her out of trouble when she was a little kid. Ash smirked, but shook her head. The blonde shrugged, uncomfortably. "Finish a crossword? Get an iPod? Talk to your doctor about—"

"No." Said Ash while she placed her arms on the counter, one on either side of Scribbs, and effectively pinned her against it without needing to touch her at all, perhaps due to the predatory glint in her eyes that was more powerful than any push. "Put it this way; I'm going to make damn sure you never set foot in my kitchen again."

Scribbs uttered and audible gulp and shut her eyes, awaiting the end of days.

"Mmm." Ash moaned about two hours later, popping a succulent scone into her mouth. "This is delicious." She said, perhaps unnecessarily, since her endorsement was already obvious; she had wolfed most of them down by that stage, as if she was in an eating race. "I have to admit, I'm surprised."

Scribbs sighed happily and snuggled into her lover, resting her head on her shoulder, gaining a little more cover from the silky, white sheets wrapped around them both, fighting off the chilly breeze that crept in through the open window to kiss her exposed, sweat-dampened skin. "See? I told you breakfast in bed was a good idea."

"Yes, you were quite right, but aren't you glad they came out of a packet? Can you see why England loves a nice, easy, pre-prepared snack designed and delivered by a team of smartly dressed professionals for our common convenience?" she asked, with purpose, offering another scone to her lover, who reluctantly accepted. She was still holding onto that insufferable sense of pride that insisted that she could have done a much better job, given the opportunity to shine and show her skills. Ash was not keen to encourage her delusions of grandeur. "Admit it, Scribbs; you were struggling, and I saved your arse."

"My arse was in very safe hands, thank you very much." She shook her head and uttered a snicker, only vaguely offended. "You might not believe I can cook, but I can, and I swear that, one day I will show you." Ash seemed to stiffen, and she hastily stuffed another scone between her lips as if it might be the last thing she ever ate. "I just need to get some practice first."

"What's all this nonsense about practicing?" the brunette interjected, sounding rather like a strict headmistress, gazing down at her lover reprovingly, contradicting her typically expressed fondness for planning and preparedness. Scribbs had to admit confusion; she'd thought the promise of such a thing would please her. "Practicing still counts as cooking, you know. I thought we'd settled this once and for all. Remember our agreement, love." Said Ash, smoothing her hands over warm, naked flesh she had explored so many times, yet nowhere near enough. "If you ever feel a sudden urge to cook, don't hesitate to come and shag me senseless until you're all better in the head." She said, as if prescribing a treatment, and, in a sense, she was.

"How could I forget?" Scribbs muttered, her body still humming from how thoroughly she'd been 'distracted' up until as recently as a few minutes prior. She couldn't help a self-satisfied grin. "Don't worry; you've convinced me that there are better uses of my time than slaving over a hot stove for hours, and then spending even longer cleaning up my mess."

"Well thank God for that." Ash all but sighed in relief, feeling as though she'd dodged a bullet, and maybe even saved a few lives further down the road. "My work here is done." She murmured, softly.

Scribbs suddenly picked up, the leftover lethargy from lovemaking vanishing in an instant. "Hang on a minute; I've made a start, but I don't think I'm fixed just yet." She trailed a finger over Ash's exposed stomach, letting it wander between her bare breasts, passing over a fresh mark, still changing colour from red to purple. "I think I might need a little more therapy to really get it out of my system."

Ash blinked at her lover, unmoved. "Were you home sick the day they taught subtlety in school?" she remarked, slowly shaking her head, though Scribbs just grinned without so much as the barest flicker of shame, prompting the brunette to snort in an unconvincing manner; she couldn't pretend she didn't like it. "How you managed to sweep me off my feet, I'll never know." If her soft, almost wistful tone of voice did not give away the fact that her grumpiness was feigned then the way she lovingly ran her fingers through her angelic blonde hair – which, by some miracle, was still as straight as if it had just been brushed – certainly did.

The blonde smiled, contentedly. "What's this? Detective Inspector Ashurst, Middleford CID can't even see what's right in front of her?"

Oh dear, they were having one of their moments when playfulness and banter, a hangover from their longstanding friendship, became suddenly as serious as desperate confessions of love. It had been clear from the start that their attempt to share something casual would produce a relationship that was anything but, and, indeed, that was how it had turned out, though neither of them had been prepared to openly acknowledge that so far. The gap between lovers and lifepartners was large to the point of intimidating, but, with the way they behaved around one another, it got smaller and smaller every day. But it wasn't the right moment to acknowledge that – it never was – so Ash swiftly searched for something to distract her, and it was all too easy to find. "Do you smell that?" she asked, wrinkling her nose.

Scribbs took a sniff of the air, made an expression of distaste, and then her eyes went wide with recognition. "Oh shit!" she said, leaping out of bed, and almost pulling her lover out with her, thanks to the tangled sheets that caused her to fall face first onto the floor with a thud when her ankle got caught.

"What are you doing?!" Ash squealed, watching a very naked blonde jump up to her feet and rush towards the door in a panic. She was unsure whether her lover had lost her mind or whether she was frantically fleeing the imposing air of commitment that was closing in around them. Frankly, she didn't know which option out of the two was the lesser evil to hope for.

It turned out the answer was much simpler than that. "I left the gas on!" said Scribbs as she disappeared around the corner.

Ash just rolled her eyes, slumping back into the bed, simultaneously frustrated and relieved. There was nothing she could do to save Scribbs from herself, was there? Sure, they may have been detectives by day, but she was sleeping with a kitchen criminal, whose return to the scene of the crime was a prospect that filled her with dread. The fugitive was on the loose, and she feared that her spree had only just begun. Little did she realise the accuracy of her prediction.

The End

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