DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
THANKS: To Ann for the beta.
Her One Night Stand
Ash pushed back the sleeves of her shirt and stared determinedly at her colleague. The atmosphere in the office had turned decidedly chilly after Scribbs' little announcement, and all signs pointed to it only growing worse with the passage of time. Not that Ash planned to comment on the blonde's latest bout of madness. She had more restraint, more willpower than to blurt out every thought and emotion.
"You did what!"
Scribbs shrugged, her voice lowering as she spotted the inquisitive looks aimed in their direction. "I had a one-night stand," she repeated. "With a woman."
"A woman." Ash echoed, her brain stuck on spin cycle, repeating the words over and over inside her mind. "A female woman?"
"What other kind is there?"
This, Ash knew, was the fourth sign of the Apocalypse. There was no other explanation. Any minute now, frogs would start raining from the sky, and the water coolers would turn an interesting shade of red. The man on the street corner had been right; the end of the world was neigh, and they were all screwed. Scribbs, apparently, twice over.
"How could you?"
"Quite easily." Scribbs' smile only exacerbated the situation, but she couldn't quite seem to dampen her enthusiasm, no matter how it made the vein in Ash's temple throb. "We went back to her place, she put on some God-awful music, and the next thing I know, she's got her hand down my knickers and I'm -"
"No!" Ash clamped her hands over her ears. "Not another word."
"I said not another word."
The other members of CID had long since learnt to ignore Ash and Scribbs' little foibles, but even they were a little perturbed to witness the normally cool headed inspector fleeing the room, her hands clasped to her ears while she hummed the theme song to Bonanza. Scribbs' subsequent chase was rather mild in comparison.
Ash didn't stop walking until she was clear of the station and halfway to the nearest pub. She had hoped that Scribbs would give up following her after the first couple of yards, but her persistent DS had been on her heels since the moment she stepped foot on the street.
"I promise," said Scribbs, "no more details."
Scribbs' body careened into her friend's as Ash came to a sudden halt. "What was her name?"
"Yes, her name." Ash's lips thinned. "You did ask her name, didn't you?"
"Of course I did." Scribbs tried to look insulted and buy herself some time to try and retrieve the name from her faltering memory. She hadn't had a lot to drink that night, at least by her standards, but she'd had enough to make certain unimportant details a little fuzzy. "Caroline," she guessed. "Yes, that was it, Caroline."
Ash knew three Carolines. "What did she look like?"
"Blonde, blue eyes, an arse the size of Yorkshire." Scribbs' answer was accompanied by a shrug. "She wasn't really my type."
"You have a type?"
The question provided just the sort of opening Scribbs had been looking for, but considering Ash's reactions thus far, she wasn't sure she should take it. "Don't you?"
"We're not talking about me."
Scribbs looked down to where her feet were shuffling nervously against the pavement. She had tried flirting with Ash in the past, but her friend had always chosen to misinterpret her intentions. Whether due to genuine ignorance or a desire to save Scribbs from the rejection, she didn't know, but she doubted things would go any smoother this time around.
"I like brunettes," she mumbled.
"Brunettes?" Ash frowned at the plural. "Any brunette or are you slightly more discerning?"
The implied insult cut through Scribbs' trepidation. "I like 'em bossy and uptight," she said, her eyes automatically dropping to the area in question as she added, "with an arse that could stop traffic."
Ash just managed to stop herself from inspecting the arse in question. "So, correct me if I'm wrong, but rather than going out and finding someone who's your type, you pick up some blonde slapper and let her do God knows what to you?"
"Yeah, well, I didn't think my type would be interested."
"How do you know," said Ash. "If you don't ask?"
It was a logical argument, but Scribbs knew it wouldn't be that simple. "Okay, do you fancy a," she shrugged, "sometime?"
"I am not a mind reader, Scribbs."
Her moment of utter humiliation at hand, Scribbs balled up her courage and, after discarding a few of her more colourful and honest requests, said, "Do you fancy going out sometime? On a date?"
"A date?" Ash looked as if the idea had never even occurred to her. "The two of us?"
"It wouldn't be much of a date if you went on your own."
Ash turned away and stared back towards the station. She had no desire to see Scribbs in the arms of some blonde tart, but she really couldn't countenance an interoffice relationship. It was bad for morale and could even compromise an investigation if the wrong people found out. She had to set a good example.
"Pick me up at eight."
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