DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Response to Ann's challenge on Femslash_Fluff.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Scribbs smiled at the dark-haired man and again prompted him to continue. In the two hours since she'd met David, she'd learnt more about her friend and colleague than she'd manage to discover during the four years she'd worked with Ash.
"...so then the tent collapsed and all we could see were her legs sticking up in the air and a Girl Guide's uniform hanging from -"
"David!" Ash glared down at her brother. "I told you to wait for me in reception."
"I did." He crossed his arms and met Ash's glare with one of his own. "After the second drunk attempted to use my trouser leg as a target for his projectile vomiting, I decided it would be safer to wait outside."
"And that's where I found him." Scribbs smiled, rather charmed by the matching Ashurst glares doing battle before her eyes. "And I thought you'd never forgive me if I let your little brother freeze his cods off on the street, when there was a perfectly good boozer only five minutes away."
"Drink anyone?" David interrupted.
Scribbs held her glass aloft in a request for a refill while Ash growled something that her brother took to be a polite request for wine, extra chilled.
Ash took her brother's seat and once again aimed her glare at Scribbs. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Having a drink. What's it look like?"
Looking over her shoulder, Ash made sure David was still busy fighting the crowd at the bar before she continued. "Were you flirting with him?"
"David? Don't be daft."
"I could see the way you were laughing at his jokes," Ash accused. "And I know from long experience that they're not that funny."
"He wasn't telling jokes." Scribbs paused for exactly one heartbeat before adding, "Katiekins."
Ash's jaw strained against the desire to bite someone's head off. Of the two possibilities she'd dreaded when she'd seen Scribbs and David ensconced alone at the corner table, this was by far the worst. If he'd got around to sharing the story about her school trip to Amsterdam she wouldn't hear the end of it for weeks.
"If you repeat anything he tells you, I swear -"
"Easy, there, tiger, no need to go all Don Corleone on me."
Ash's face turned white. If he'd told Scribbs the 'Godfather' story she'd have to emigrate.
"What do you want?" Ash demanded.
"Want?" Scribbs' attempt to look innocent made her look guilty as sin.
Ash checked that they were alone. "To stay quiet."
The list of things Scribbs had been compiling for exactly this type of situation came readily to her mind. Some of them were far too minor for the secrets she now held, while others could be viewed as rather demanding. Finding just the right thing was going to be difficult.
"What are you willing to offer?" she countered.
"I got nuts," David announced as he settled a tray onto the table in front of them. The twin looks of bewilderment prompted him to raise the little blue bags of peanuts for inspection. "In case you were hungry."
"I'll do your paperwork for a week," Ash offered, ignoring her brother.
"Is that it?"
The sound of teeth grinding to dust became faintly audible. "A month."
Scribbs turned to David. "What did you say was the name of that Italian au pair you had as children?"
Ash's eyes widened in horror.
"Dinner at Mercurio's."
"And limo service to and from the restaurant."
"I know: Lucien, the luscious."
Ash slapped her brother rather hard about the shoulders.
Again ignoring her brother, Ash leant across the table until she was practically nose to nose with Scribbs, the scare tactic failing miserably if the silly grin on Scribbs' face was anything to go by.
"Name your price."
Scribbs' eyes flicked from Ash's lips to her eyes and back again. "What I really want -"
"Are you two flirting?"
Ash quickly leant back, a look of feigned confusion on her face. "Don't be stupid."
"Yeah." Scribbs couldn't even rustle up a smile. "Why would we be flirting?"
David merely shrugged.
"If you two are going to continue not flirting, I'm going to play darts. Give me a yell when you're ready to leave." He picked up his pint and turned to go, but before he left he couldn't stop himself from answering Scribbs' question. "I just thought that considering she fancies the pants off you, flirting was a good bet."
The colour quickly returned to Ash's face. "He was dropped on the head as a baby," she muttered.
Scribbs tried her best not to grin like a lunatic. "I think I know exactly what I want in return for not talking." Before Ash could ask the question, Scribbs leant forward to whisper in her ear. "...Any questions?"
Ash had a thousand but, at that moment, none of them seemed relevant. With a shake of the head the deal was sealed and David was left to his game as the two women raced each other for the exit.
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