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 fewthistle for the beta.
Meet the Mrs
Scribbs smiled at the eager young man before turning and heading back towards Ash, who was standing impatiently by the open grave. It was the third funeral they'd attended in the last four hours and the prospect of her own mortality left her feeling queasy.
"If you've finished chatting up the hired help, can we get back to work?" she asked.
"That was work," Scribbs defended.
Ash scowled as the young man started walking towards them, a besotted grin on his face.
"Yes, Scribbs, of course it was."
Scribbs' smile turned into a grimace as she watched the man draw near, a whispered 'play along' hissed out the side of her mouth.
"Emma?" His smile increased in wattage as he came in range of the blonde, his gaze bashful as he caught sight of Ash's impatient stare. "You never introduced..."
Scribbs looked at Ash, then back to the young man.
"James, this is Ash--Kate," she quickly amended. "Kate, dear, this is James Simmons."
Ash did a double take at the endearment but James' enthusiastic handshake soon banished it from her mind.
"I'm so glad to meet you," he gushed, in a way that a man really ought not. "Emma's told me all about you."
Ash's grin became rigid. "She has?"
"Don't worry, darling, I left out the worse bits."
Ash turned a questioning look on her friend but again James staved off any comment.
"You're not at all what I expected." He swayed on the balls of his feet, his body a cauldron of excitement. "The only other lesbians I know are the skinheads and leather boots type."
Ash opened her mouth to speak but Scribbs' elbow in her ribs kept her quiet.
"You should see her leather collection," Scribbs confided.
James beamed and Ash scowled but Scribbs ignored them both.
"But that's nothing compared to her closet full of handcuffs." She rubbed her wrists in a theatrical manner. "Talk about chaffing."
Scribbs had the good grace to look embarrassed.
A shout rang out from the church and James rushed to intercept the caller, a promise to return his parting shot.
"Isn't it a sin to run in a cemetery or something?"
Eyes hard and voice barely restrained, Ash turned on her friend. "What was that?"
"That was James."
"Not him." Ash squeezed her eyes shut and attempted to dissipate the urge to strangle the woman standing awkwardly before her. "The handcuffs, leather, lesbian, darling thing."
Ash waited but no explanation was forthcoming.
Scribbs shrugged. "I didn't want to hurt his feelings." Ash's blank look compelled her to continue. "He kept trailing after me like a lost puppy and I just couldn't bring myself to tell him I didn't want to go out with him, so I told him I was seeing someone."
James started bounding across the cemetery like the eager puppy Scribbs had just described.
"Just act like you're crazy about me," Scribbs hissed. "And call me Emma."
"I'd rather call you crazy," Ash hissed back.
James came bearing gifts; in this case a purloined copy of the funeral director's itinerary for the days in question. He passed it to Scribbs before turning back to Ash.
"Handcuffs?" he asked.
Their excited puppy had suddenly turned into a horny dog and Ash's groan of annoyance only seemed to encourage him further.
"I've never played with handcuffs." He smiled at Scribbs but directed his question to Ash. "Perhaps I could join you some time?"
The two women exchanged looks.
The sound of a body sliding into an open grave reverberated across the cemetery but its inhabitants were either too decayed or too busy returning to their cars to pay it any attention.
Scribbs opened the passenger side door and waited for Ash to take her seat.
"What do you think the chances are that they'll bury him alive?"
Ash looked to the grave and back again. "Fifty-fifty."
The car door slammed and Scribbs made her way to the other side. "They do, you know," she said, slipping the key in the ignition.
Scribbs held up her wrists. "Chafe."
A delighted smile brightened Ash's face. "I bought a new pair of sheep's skin cushioned cuffs at the weekend." She ran her finger over the reddened skin circling Scribbs' wrist. "We'll try them out tonight... if you're good."
Scribbs put the car in gear and prepared to be very good indeed, until Ash said it was time to be bad.
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