DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks for Angie and soporificeffect for the beta.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Scribbs stared at herself in the mirror, the darkening circles around her eyes a testament to the sleepless night and self flagellation - metaphorically speaking - she had suffered at her inability to do the simplest of things. It was ridiculous really, considering the years she'd flirted and charmed with the very object of her affections, that when push came to shove she had totally bottled it and just stood by and watched Ash be swept away by some painted trollop.
She'd had the perfect opportunity; an opening so perfect, in fact, that it was almost as if she'd written it herself and paid Ash to say it out loud. Only instead of taking advantage of her partner's sudden and inexplicable interest in the female body, she'd squeaked something unintelligible and allowed herself to be pushed aside while Allison 'I'm a total slapper' Johnson had moved in for the kill.
Her head banged repeatedly against the reflective surface as Scribbs tried to banish the sight of that woman's hand slithering all over Ash's innocent little body; groping and pawing at tightly controlled flesh that, by rights, should have been Scribbs' groping ground, not hers.
"I'll kill her," she muttered, the sentence turning into a mantra as she used it to accompany her forehead's repeated introduction to the mirror's surface. "I'll kill her."
Scribbs jerked forward, her head meeting the glass with a resounding thud.
"Ash?" Tears glistening in her eyes, Scribbs tried to ignore the agony that was radiating in waves from her brow. "What are you doing here?"
The 'here' in question was the ladies' loos at the station; a surprisingly sterile environment that Ash usually avoided if at all possible.
"I was just making sure you hadn't fallen in."
"No such luck," Scribbs muttered.
"What was that?"
Looking in the mirror Scribbs was dismayed to see the way her hair had suctioned itself to her forehead, neatly framing the bruise she knew was just an hour away. With a quick flick and ruffle she tamed her traitorous locks and turned to give Ash a reassuring smile.
"Is that a love bite?"
Ash's hand automatically rose to obscure the offending blemish, even as her mouth formed the beginnings of her denial. "No."
"She bit you?"
"Scribbs, you know how I feel about 'love bites' and the kind of people who take pleasure in branding their lovers like cattle."
"Lovers?" Scribbs reassessed the many and varied ways she'd imagined killing Slapper Johnson since yesterday and decided that the slow and painful methods were the way to go. "You've only known the bloody woman a day!"
Fussing with her collar, Ash tried to banish the embarrassment she felt at discussing her, possible, sex life within five feet of where they worked. She had rules on this sort of thing and they certainly forbade any mention of love bites and lovers within hearing distance of anyone she knew; there was also a five mile radius when it came to Sullivan, her parents and the kindly old woman at the library, but with Sullivan away on leave that wasn't really applicable.
"PC Johnson has been at the station for six months."
"And before yesterday you thought her name was Elaine."
It had been an embarrassing faux pas but nothing Ash hadn't managed to talk herself out of; with a smidgen of help from her colleague. The constable certainly hadn't seemed offended by the mistake, in fact she'd laughed quite delightfully and promised Ash that she could call her anything she wanted, anytime she wanted, for that matter.
"Are you planning on staying here forever? We do have a murder to investigate."
"So it is a love bite?"
In a battle of stubborn wills Ash knew she would be victorious; Scribbs just didn't have the patience to hold a grudge, let alone win a staring contest. So it was something of a surprise when Ash found herself caving in to the puppy-dog eyes and half pout that were being aimed in her direction.
"It's not a love bite," she revealed. "She tried to kiss me in the car park and I banged my neck and shoulder on the car's door when I . . . took a step back."
The first glimmer of a smile worked its way onto Scribbs' face. "She tried to snog you and you jumped out of your skin," she translated.
"I stepped back," Ash insisted. "You know how I feel about public displays of affection."
Scribbs' smile widened. "And?"
Scribbs' attempt at a James Bond style suggestive leer was somewhat hampered by the tightened skin and inflamed muscle that dominated the upper portion of her face. So instead she settled for a prolonged, "And?"
"Really, Scribbs, if this is the level of your conversational skills, no wonder you're always attracting Neanderthals with comprehension issues."
It was a low blow, especially in light of Scribbs' total inability to formulate a sentence the night before when Ash had made her shocking announcement. Maybe that was it, she thought, maybe the reason Ash had gone off with the 'Whore of Babylon' instead of waiting for Scribbs to locate her spine and say something, was because she really did think that Scribbs was an uncouth moron whose romantic counterpoint was a slobbering bricklayer whose jeans were constantly at half mast.
"I suppose she's never lost for words."
Ash's sigh took on an 'I'm so forbearing I should be canonised' tone. "PC Johnson is a perfectly nice woman."
"I'm sure she is . . . For a slapper."
"At least she didn't turn as white as a ghost and run in the other direction!"
"I did not run." Scribbs distinctively remembered her whole body turning to stone as Ash expectantly turned in her direction. "I was just surprised."
"I came to you for help but instead you looked at me like a gaping fish and let me leave with some PC fresh out of Hendon." Leaving the party with anyone other than Scribbs had not been Ash's plan but somewhere along the way her plans had been scuppered and she'd found herself alone with a woman who was more than willing to answer any question Ash might think up on the subject of female love. "It took me three hours to get rid of the woman!"
"Three hours? What were you doing for three hours?"
"Getting to know each other." In truth of fact Ash had spent the first twenty minutes fighting off the other woman's advances, then the next two hours crying on her shoulder about Scribbs, followed by a forty minute lecture on police procedurals and the promotion prospects for women within the service. "She thinks you're an idiot."
"For knocking me back."
"I didn't knock you back." She'd gone into shock. "You just didn't give me the chance to respond."
"I practically begged you to take me back to your place and show me what it was like being with a woman, and all you do is stand there looking gormless." It had been one of the most embarrassing and heartbreaking moments of Ash's life and she wasn't about to forgive or forget in a hurry. "And now you're telling me it wasn't a knock back."
Ash wanted to storm out but the utter confusion, misery and hope plastered across Scribbs' face kept her from leaving. "So if I'd given you all this time you needed, what would you have said?"
Scribbs could feel her throat tightening and her breathing becoming laboured. "I . . . I would . . . I -"
The words just wouldn't come. So, of course, Scribbs did the only thing she could; she kissed her.
Now it wasn't the most romantic of settings and the bruise on Scribbs' forehead would make any photo of the event look decidedly odd, but as the kiss lengthened and both women gave in to what had been obvious to everyone else for years, it was perfect, and not even the intrusion of two PCs and a member of SOCO desperate for the loo could change that.
Return to Murder in Suburbia Fiction
Return to Main Page