DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
The next worst thing to being naked in public was wearing one's pajamas there. Ash remained by the punch bowl and kept subconsciously tugging at the waistband of her silk pajama bottoms. She was surrounded by people in footsie pajamas, people wearing nightcaps and women with rollers in their hair and mesh sleep masks.
They were at a Pajama Party, thrown by one Ryan Thompson. He was the editor of a local newspaper, as rich and famous as one could get without being an actual celebrity. Two days ago, he'd received a death threat. Yesterday, someone had taken a shot at his car.
Ash and Scribbs had been assigned protection detail, undercover and unbeknownst to most of the people in Thompson's inner circle. They'd spent the day following him to public appearances and now this, his annual sleepwear ball. Ash rolled her eyes as someone walked by wearing a one-piece pajama suit, complete with footsies and a loosely-buttoned patch on the back.
"Aw, c'mon, Ash," Scribbs said as she approached with two punch glasses. "Crack a smile, would you?"
Ash took the drink and said, "I feel ridiculous."
"It's a Pajama Party!" Scribbs said. "I think ridiculous is part of the fun." She was wearing a light blue baby doll, with a short ruffled skirt and a low-cut top. It obvious had been designed with neither babies nor sleeping in mind. "You're just upset because no one's quite as formal as you."
Ash looked down at her silk pajama suit. "What is wrong with this? It's comfortable, it's smart..."
"Not exactly sexy, is it?"
"Depends on who you ask," Ash huffed. She turned and scanned the crowd again. "See anyone suspicious...?"
"Fella in the flannels," Scribbs said, nodding towards the corner. "He looks about as happy to be here as you do."
Ash considered him and nodded. "Did you see the woman in the dressing gown?"
"Yeah," Scribbs nodded.
"How're we to decide who means him harm and who just hates the wanker?"
Scribbs snickered. "That's why they call us detectives."
"Right," Ash murmured. She took another drink and scanned the room.
Scribbs glanced over and scanned Ash's body. Despite the fact she stuck out like a sore thumb, she looked dashing. Her pajama bottoms were starting to slide down a bit to reveal the purple lace waistband of her panties. Before Scribbs could get her fill, Ash reached down and tugged her trousers back up.
Scribbs hid her smile behind her punch glass. Ash glanced at her and frowned. "What?"
"You look good in purple."
Ash's face turned red and she gave her pants an extra tug just to be sure. "I hate pajama parties..." She spotted Thompson's personal assistant Travis slip up next to the celebrity and whisper in his ear. Thompson nodded and stepped away from the group he'd been speaking to. Ash groaned as the two men headed for the outside door. "Why can't they ever stay put...?"
"Want me to come with?"
"No," Ash said as she started across the room. "Be ready, though..."
She pushed through the door Thompson and Travis had used and found herself in a narrow access hall. Boxes were stacked against the opposite wall, reducing the traffic area to a one-at-a-time curved path. Ash looked over her shoulder and headed to the right. She heard hushed voices coming from farther down, one of them quick and frantic.
When she came around the corner, she found Travis and Thompson facing one another. Travis had his back to her and Thompson was too intent on what the shorter man was saying to notice her arrival. "You think I can't?" Travis hissed. "You watch. I'll show you just what I'm capable of..."
"Why don't we all just calm down?" Ash said.
Travis and Thompson both spun to look at her. Thompson, seeing the opportunity to escape, did so. He turned and darted down the hall and left Travis and Ash facing each other in the shadows. Travis was holding a short, fat knife in his left hand. "Detective Kate Ashurst, Middleford CID," she said. "Put down the knife."
Travis instead growled and lunged forward. Ash managed to move to the side, but the boxes caught her up. The knife sliced through her pajama shirt and she cursed. Travis knocked her to the side and ran the way they'd come, trampling Ash in the process. She struggled to get to her feet before he managed to slip away.
Fortunately, she didn't have to worry. He looked back to make sure she wasn't following just as Scribbs came looking for Ash. The door swung open and Travis ran into it face first. He rebounded off the hard wood and went sprawling, tossing his knife into the stack of boxes. Scribbs looked down at him, utterly confused until Ash came running down the hall towards her. "Grab him!"
Scribbs didn't ask questions. She dropped to her knees and flipped the man over. She pulled his hands behind his back and took the cuffs Ash offered. "What do you know?" Scribbs smiled. "Sometimes you just get lucky."
"Quite," Thompson said, having regained his manhood and returned. His face was flushed and he was breathing hard. He helped Scribbs to her feet and said, "Thank you, Detective... Scribbins, was it?"
"Yeah, that's right," Scribbs said.
Ash rolled her eyes. "Typical," she murmured.
After Travis had been taken away and statements had been taken, Scribbs and Ash returned to the corridor on the pretense of finding the discarded knife. They were, instead, examining the slice in Ash's pajama top. Ash was standing against the wall with Scribbs in front of her. Scribbs was making sure the skin underneath hadn't been nicked. "I can't believe you wore your own pajamas."
"What, I'm supposed to go buy another pair just to go undercover?" Ash looked at Scribbs' outfit. "You're saying that's not yours?"
"You think I wear something like this to bed?"
Ash shook her head. "No comment."
Scribbs smirked and pushed apart the fabric again. "It's not that bad. You could keep cutting, you know... do the whole midriff thing."
"Right," Ash said. She sighed and leaned against the wall. "I can't believe you got the credit for that, by the way."
"Thompson, fawning all over you. Just like all the others." Ash sighed.
Scribbs snickered and stepped closer. "Jealous, are we?"
Ash rolled her eyes.
Scribbs leaned in and kissed Ash's neck. "Come on, now, don't be that way..."
"I did finally get to see you in pajamas," Ash smirked.
"Nice change of pace, right?"
Ash's smirk turned into a full-blown smile and she tilted her head to kiss Scribbs' lips. Scribbs moaned and brought her hands up to the back of Ash's head. "Adrenaline junky..."
"Only with you," Ash admitted. She nipped at Scribbs' bottom lip and leaned against the wall. She unfastened her pajama pants and said, "Here. Hurry."
"You're the one always telling me to live a little. So? Come on... we haven't got much time."
Scribbs glanced around, chewing on her bottom lip as she made sure there were no witnesses. The glint in her eye gave away just how much she wanted this. She pressed her body against Ash, pinning her to the wall, and smoothed her hand over the bared expanse of Ash's stomach.
Ash closed her eyes as Scribbs tucked into her pajama pants. Two fingers slipped over her panties and she sighed, lifting her hips to meet Scribbs' hand. Scribbs moaned and kissed Ash's cheek, pushed aside her underwear and circled her clit with one finger. "Oh, yeah," Ash whispered. "Right there... Emma..."
Scribbs blinked and smiled. "'Emma'?"
"Shh," Ash said. She shook her head and wrapped her hand around Scribbs' wrist.
"You like that, Kate?" Scribbs said, reveling in the novelty of first-names. On duty, in the bedroom, it never got past their nicknames for one another. Scribbs leaned in and nibbled on Kate's earlobe. "Come on, Kate, tell Emma what you like..."
"Oh," Ash gasped. She moved Scribbs' hand faster, moving her hips in time, stroking her lover's fingers across her clit like pumping the gas pedal on a car. Revving her up, getting her wired, sending bolts of adrenaline through her entire body until she...
Her free hand gripped Scribbs' arm like a vice and her jaw dropped. Scribbs held onto her, keeping her fingers moving until Ash's body sagged against hers. "So," Scribbs said into a faceful of dark hair. "Gimme a ten?"
Ash shook her head. "Six."
Ash straightened and adjusted her clothes. "You're still fully dressed," Ash explained as she fastened her pajama pants. "And I didn't get to return the favor."
"So I get points deducted just because I didn't..."
"Fair's fair," Ash said. "Did you find the knife?"
"Spotted it right off," Scribbs pouted. She pointed the knife out and Ash pulled a rubber glove over her right hand. She picked up the knife and deposited it into an evidence bag. They made sure they were presentable and headed out into the main room. They deposited the knife with a constable and headed out to the car.
Ash couldn't stop thinking about that dark, narrow corridor. The flash of light on the knife, how she'd jumped back out of instinct more than realization of what was happening. If she'd been a second slower, if she'd been looking at Thompson instead of Travis... She was nowhere near as shaky as she had been at first. She had Scribbs to thank for that.
They got into the car and Ash said, "Scribbs...?"
Ash paused. She wanted to tell Scribbs everything; her fear, the way she had felt that knife brush her stomach. But no. She smiled and said, "Thank you."
"See if I do it again," Scribbs said with a small grin. "Bloody six."
Ash smiled. "Take me home."
"Gonna let me try for an eight?"
"Who knows. I may give you my first ten. If you earn it."
"Well," Scribbs said. "What're we sitting around here for? Let's get back to your place."
Ash made her turn off the siren before she pulled away from the curb.
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