DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
Something at First Sight
OK, I really should go in now. I've been sitting in my car for ten minutes. I've checked my hair and my lipstick. There are no runs in my tights and my skirt definitely isn't tucked into my knickers. That twat Marcus hasn't even phoned to say 'Good luck'. Bastard.
Right, come on Kate, get it together, woman. I am a proper police-officer. I am a Detective Inspector. I am not some silly little girl playing in the dressing up box at nursery school. I have qualifications and experience and I can do this job. And I am not intimidated by the fact that I am the only female DI within a hundred mile radius.
Right, out the car, that's a good start. Heading towards the building, even better. The receptionist looks nice. I'm sure she's not going to judge me. I try smiling, I'm not sure that it's working because she now looks a little bit scared.
"Detective Inspector Ashurst to see DCI Sullivan."
Nope, even out loud it doesn't sound real. She doesn't immediately burst out laughing or gasp with disbelief, so perhaps I look more like a DI than I feel. She buzzes through to someone.
"He's on his way to get you."
I nod and cough loudly to cover the fact that my stomach just made the most disturbing gurgly noise. I turn around and almost reel back at the sight of the man walking towards me. Please don't let him be my boss, please don't let him be my boss.
"Hi, DI Ashurst? DCI Sullivan. Nice to meet you."
He thrusts his large, manly hand at me and it takes me a minute to remember that I'm supposed to take it. I reach out and he shakes my hand firmly. It takes all of my self-control not to swoon. He is wearing extremely expensive aftershave and it's all making me feel a bit woozy. I realise that he's talking and that I probably should listen.
" so sorry that I can't spend more time with you this morning but this meeting really can't be avoided. You know how it is. And it'll let you get to know your sergeant, being thrown in at the deep-end together, so to speak."
My sergeant. I have a sergeant. Who is mine.
"Of course, nothing I like better than getting stuck in. Is my er the sergeant person here?"
OK, that could've been weird if he'd actually been paying attention but he's already off along the corridor motioning for me to follow him.
"You had been paired up with Simpson, but he's applied for a transfer, so you've got DS Scribbins instead."
He stops walking and turns to look at me, a completely unreadable expression on his face.
"We think the two of you will make a good team."
"Excellent, well, I'm looking forward to meeting him."
Damn it. How am I supposed to overcome sexism when I am inherently sexist myself. Why did I assume it'd be a bloke?
"Emma Scribbins. She's moved up quickly through the ranks. Bit like yourself. We thought the two of you would work well together. Bounce off each other, as it were."
Shit. Not only am I the token female DI, I am now in the token female detective duo of middle England. I'm fucking Cagney and Lacey. Well Cagney. Definitely not Lacey. I wonder if this Scribbins woman is old, fat and married?
A gale of uproarious laughter meets us as we reach the door of the squad room. Sullivan turns and raises his eyebrows. Which is the most expressive he's been since I met him.
I don't even have time for a self-pep-talk before I enter the lion's den. The source of the laughter soon becomes clear. There are a dozen guys crowded around a desk. And seated at the desk is, I assume, my new partner.
She's young. She's blonde. She's gorgeous. She's obviously popular with men. She's definitely cooler than me. Oh no, I am Lacey.
I hate her.
"Detective Sergeant Emma Scribbins, meet Detective Inspector Kate Ashurst."
Why does that title suddenly make me feel like an old spinster? She stands up, a wide smile on her face. God, she's friendly as well. Why couldn't she just be a bitch?
"You can call me Scribbs, everybody does."
And of course she has a nickname. She probably drinks pints too.
She holds her hand out and I reach out to shake it. When her skin makes contact with mine, it feels strange. Almost in the same way it did when I shook the DCI's hand earlier. But this time there's no big, gorgeous man or heady aftershave to blame for the unsettled feeling. Just a woman who all of a sudden seems to have the most enchanting smile and mischievous eyes I've ever seen.
My mouth is working before my brain knows what it's saying.
Ash? No-one calls me Ash. Well, someone called me it once during a hockey match. But I'm sure she would've actually used my whole surname had the ball not hit her in the face. Oh well, I've said it now, can't take it back
She nods. Ash and Scribbs. I quite like that. I realise I'm still holding onto her hand and I hurriedly let go. I don't suppose it's the done thing for Detective Inspectors to go around holding their Detective Sergeants' hands.
The crowd of men seems to have dispersed. Sullivan is gone too. It's just the two of us. She grabs a long, tan coat from the back of her chair.
"C'mon then, we best be off."
She takes off down the corridor I just came up and I find myself scampering a little to keep up.
"Where are we going?"
"Sullivan asked me to wait 'til you got here then go and question this witness. He's a bit of alright, isn't he?"
Why does it bother me that she thinks that?
"Oh I hadn't noticed."
She bumps her shoulder against mine as we walk.
"Yeah right. I saw you giving him the puppy-eyes."
Jesus, this can't be good. My sergeant is being far too familiar and is accusing me of having 'puppy-eyes'. And I only met her five minutes ago. I should nip this in the bud immediately.
"I was not giving him puppy eyes."
"Uh huh, whatever. I'll drive."
She breezes past me. I should find her insubordinate attitude infuriating. But I don't. She makes me smile. And that's more infuriating than anything.
We get into the car and she peels out of the car-park. She's a very confident driver. Her phone beeps, signalling that a text message has arrived.
"Oh could you check that? I'm waiting for my plumber mate to call. Bloody pipes have had it and I've had to freeze my arse off in the shower every morning for the past week."
Momentarily paralyzed by the unexpected mental image of Scribbs in the shower, I hesitate.
"Go on, I really need a hot shower soon."
And I might need a cold one before the end of this conversation. I pick up her phone from the hands-free thingie and open the text message. Something tells me it's not from her plumber.
"'I'm going to drill a hole in your head and suck the contents out through a straw'. Friend of yours?"
"That'll be my boyfriend."
Funny how that sentence sort of hit me right in the gut. Strange.
"Sounds like a real charmer."
My voice sounds all funny. Sort of high and tight. She appears not to notice.
"He's not that bad, we had an argument last night. He must still be pissed off."
"Hmmm. I can see why you became a detective."
She flashes me an embarrassed smile which I catch myself returning.
"What can I say, he's a man. They're all bastards if you ask me."
I find myself laughing.
"Yeah, they're all bastards."
We smile at each other. Something tells me this is the beginning of a beautiful well, something.
Return to Murder in Suburbia Fiction
Return to Main Page