DISCLAIMER: Murder in Suburbia and its characters are the property of ITV. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I haven't written anything in years so thought I'd try and kickstart my brain with a trip back to Middleford. I might turn this into a series of little fluffy looks into their lives post-series or I might not write anything again for another two years. Who knows?
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To ralst31[at]yahoo.co.uk
Waiting with Dave
"How long have we been locked in here now?"
"Three minutes longer than the last time you asked me," sighed Ash. She really was trying to keep her temper in check but the constant inanities that dripped from her partner's mouth were enough to set her teeth on edge. "As I explained last time," and the three times before that, "it takes an average of fourteen minutes to pinpoint a mobile phone signal that is bouncing between masts in a heavily populated area." She didn't actually know if that was true but it sounded plausible to the average Luddite and Ash had long since placed her new partner in that category. "It takes a further twenty-seven minutes to deploy an armed response team - unless they're already on standby - and at least thirty-eight minutes to drive from the station to this location in rush hour traffic."
The fake Fitbit on Dave Collins's wrist lit up and cast a shadow across his stubbled chin that shifted ever so slightly as he counted down the minutes under his breath. "But that means they should have been here three minutes ago."
"No." Ash tried valiantly to stop her eyes from rolling but she knew it was a lost cause. "It means that they would have been here three minutes ago if you hadn't hung up on DI Scribbins when Morris's thugs locked us in the cellar." If she'd been the one Scribbs had called they'd have been walking back into the station by now, but no, Scribbs had decided that they needed some professional distance and she'd been left to pick up the pieces. "The further seventeen minutes it took you to find your phone," after he'd thrown it across the pitch dark room in fright, "and work out how to search your contacts and call Scribbs back means that they won't be here for another fourteen minutes."
"Oh." Dave Collins was not the sharpest knife in the drawer but Ash thought he'd finally caught on to what a complete and utter twat he'd been. "Is that like a pet name or something?"
"Scribbs? Is that your pet name for the DI?"
"It's a nickname not a pet name." Scribbs had a boyfriend once who used to call her 'sweets' to such a degree that Ash was convinced he didn't know her real name. It hadn't seemed to bother Scribbs but Ash had been forced to have words and he'd disappeared out of their lives soon after. "Everybody calls her that."
"I don't." There was a pause and then the Fitbit lit up Dave's face for a second before it was extinguished and he slumped back further against the wall. "So it's not just 'cause you and her are, y'know?"
"Y'know?" Ash hated the thought of her colleagues speculating about her private life but what she hated more was her marriage of five years being reduced to 'y'know' by some scruffy chinned moron. "Do you mean Detective Inspectors? Or women? Or on the same championship winning pub quiz team?"
"Nah, you know, bonking." A second of stunned silence was followed by mad scrambling as Dave regained his senses and tried desperately to stand to attention. "I don't mean bonking, I mean, y'know, love making or erm well, y'know, that."
Ash was going to kill him. "Detective Constable Collins, are you -"
"Please, Gov, don't tell the DI. I didn't mean anything by it." He sounded scared, but to Ash's increasing irritation, it wasn't her he was afraid. Of all the officers in the station it was just her dumb luck that she'd been forced to work with the only one who feared her wife instead of her. It was damn annoying.
"Don't tell the DI what?" Scribbs asked, as she poked her head through the trap door and simultaneously gave Dave the fright of his life.
"I don't -" In the light streaming through the trap door Ash could see that Dave 'built like a bus' Collins looked absolutely petrified; it was almost enough to make her feel sorry for the little twerp. "Erm."
"You're late," Ash interrupted, brushing passed Dave and allowing Scribbs to give her a helping hand up the ladder and into the light. "I hope you realise that wouldn't have happened if you'd phoned me instead of Collins," she whispered.
"Yeah, sorry." Scribbs tightened her hold on Ash's hand and before anything else could be said she pulled them together in a crushing embrace. "Don't go scaring me like that."
Ash stiffened. Not because she didn't enjoy Scribbs' embrace or even because it proved that they really did need to set up some professional boundaries, but because Dave bloody Collins had just popped his head over the celler hatch and was grinning at her like a loon.
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