“Gill...sorry, I mean boss, can I have a word?” Rachel Bailey stood in the doorway to D.C.I Murray’s office desperately holding on to the door frame for dear life, but trying to look casual, laid back – and not at all hung-over.
“What’s up kid?” came the usual response from Gill, only she had a feeling she knew where this conversation was going. She didn’t look away from the screen – using Excel was a pain in the arse at the best of times and knowing Rachel, this was going to be another one of those conversations where Gill needed to be at her best. Don’t look at her Gill and keep it professional she told herself. One last look at the damn screen. Sod the file, I mean it was only a potential grilling from the Chief Con if it wasn’t on her desk by the end of the day. Gill took a deep exhale and slowly turned to look at her DC. She looked like hell. Pale, much paler than normal, dark rings under her eyes. Another month another drunken mess.
“Er, last night, when I called you about the diary...Did I? Well, I was a bit, pissed, you know. Drunk.” Clarifying, just in case Gill didn’t know the difference. She looked across to where Gill sat, having second thoughts about this conversation even if the theme and gist of it seemed to be reoccurring. “Well, it’s just I think I called you, well, no I know I called you, but I think I called you later. Was I a twat? Sorry, I can’t remember but it is on my phone... and I just can’t remember.” How fucking lame do I sound Rachel thought? Then added another quick sorry – as if that would make it ok.
“Come in. Close the door. You’d better take a seat. Do you make a habit of it?” Not the getting pissed. Gill knew that Rachel and red wine had an intense relationship. In fact, it wasn’t just red wine, any drink will do Rachel told her once during a work Christmas party. Having met Rachel's mother it was obvious to see addiction was a genetic flaw, and while Rachel might not be a walking, talking, disastrous liability like her mother, she certainly had her moments. Add into the equation a violent alcoholic father, it was a wonder Rachel Bailey wasn’t behind bars.
Thinking about Rachel’s mother drew mixed emotions from Gill. If she’d had a daughter that was as smart and intelligent and as beautiful as Rachel, she’d have been so proud. But that drunken whore couldn’t see how wonderful Rachel was, how strong she was... Did I just think beautiful? I didn’t mean beautiful I meant...Gill’s eyes glanced quickly at Rachel as she tried her best to sit down looking nonplussed, at ease and not at all hungover. She caught her breath. Yes, I meant beautiful. Totally fucking beautiful.
Gill considered herself and Janet as far more responsible motherly figures, and she tried to walk a fine line between professionalism and nurturing the girl. Woman – she immediately corrected herself. It was a hard line to walk and many times Gill reprimanded herself for being too hard or too soft on her. But she knew that despite the shitty childhood, the neglect, the lack of self-respect – she knew Rachel would make a bloody brilliant career for herself. If she didn’t fuck it up.
“A habit of what Boss?” Rachel asks, trying to make herself comfortable in the chair.
“Not remembering who you’ve called at eleven-thirty at night.”
“Oh,” her voice went flat. “Like I said I was drunk, I probably accidentally rang you on the way to bed.” A white lie. No...This lie was far darker than that. She tries to think of what exactly she had done the night before, starting with how she had begun her morning.
Rachel had woken up on the floor of her lounge, well it was more half on the floor and half sprawled on the sofa if you wanted an accurate description of her pose. Shirt undone, her bra down over one shoulder, one breast completely exposed, pants off lying in a heap next to her, underwear god knows where... Glasses of half-drunk wine and an empty bottle of scotch stand between cups of cold tea, the remnants from the weekend that she had meant to clean up last night - two bowls of half-eaten Weetabix on the coffee table. Cigarette butts floating in soured milk. An empty bottle of red wine – this one was from last night lay at her feet. She flexed her right arm, trying to get some kind of circulating flowing it felt stiff and sore probably from the stupid angle she had fallen asleep on. Passed out. Whatever.
Half written unsent texts were in her phone and she’d only discovered them when she found her phone fallen down between a sofa cushion and a magazine. That was when she really knew she had fucked up. Multiple calls to Janet, nothing new there, but it was the ones after ten-thirty that concerned her. Because that was when she opened the other bottle of red wine. And after that, just a very blurry, foggy head-banging blur. And it was during that drunken blur that she had made the calls to Gill. Fuck.
Gil peels call me??!@
Hal I faced k up. Feck me
These were two of the easier to read unsent text messages that she had found on her phone. She had obviously been so drunk she hadn’t even been able to send them – thank god. And the rest a code breaker would have a nightmare trying to decipher them.
Gill continued confirming Rachel’s worst fears. “I thought you’d accidentally called me. Again. I was yelling down the phone, trying to tell you to hang up. Then I could hear you, swearing, sounding like you’d broken or dropped something. Ringing any bells?”
Rachel desperately tried to think but soggy cigarette butts kept appearing in her head and it took a few discrete deep breaths to push down the sick feeling that was beginning to rise from her stomach. She’d already been sick this morning and she was pretty sure that there was nothing else left to bring up. Had she broken something? She hadn’t had a good look at the carnage of last night’s bender, it was straight in the shower, clean clothes, find out her bag and phone and car keys from the wreckage on the floor and straight into the car. She’d face the shit heap that was left on the floor and table when she got in tonight, after all, she’d probably do the same thing again. Her stomach flip-flopped at the thought of alcohol. No. Not tonight. She needed to slow down, she was going to end up like her mother. She took a deep sobering breath at that very grim thought. As she exhaled, a moment of clarity pierced the foggy cloud in her head.
A dark room, music playing quietly and the television on – her lounge room, sitting back sinking one glass after another. Talking to her sister. Talking to Gill. Her favourite song coming on the radio, turning the music up, dancing and tripping and falling into the sofa. Another glass of wine and a phone call to Gill and then just one more glass of wine. And then she was talking or trying to talk, but the words were slurry, and despite talking she knew she was alone, and yet there was a voice, telling her what to do, to lie back, coaxing, whispering words in her ear, encouraging her, teasing and taunting her, cruel and crude; dirty and wrong and yet so erotic and hot. Gill’s voice.
Making a drunken twat of yourself with your boss was right up there on the completely humiliating list, puking up on the office floor of the said boss was probably a close second. A flush appeared on her face. She couldn’t blame the alcohol. This was all out, full-blown shame. Or maybe it was alcohol poisoning. Maybe she was still drunk and the fact she had just imagined her self getting herself off in her lounge while on the phone to Gill... She would remember that. Surely to God?
“Shit boss, I am so so sorry. I’m absolutely mortified, I...I can’t I don’t know what to say. If you want me to go, the team I mean I can leave. I won’t...” she stopped. Totally lost and confused. Ashamed. Defeated.
As she flexed her fingers again she remembered them working faster and harder and deeper into herself, doing as Gill commanded her to. The nausea was spreading and Rachel felt her face burning with guilt and humiliation. Like a film on replay the obscene images flash through her head, so fast and so quickly, she feels utterly sick. She kind of remembers holding the phone with one hand, searching around for something, her fingers finally coming to rest on the empty bottle of Merlot. She tells Gill that it is all she can find, and tries explaining to Gill that she couldn’t do this, that she had never really done anything like this before, a dildo fine, but not this, but Gill is begging, telling her how wet she is at the thought of it, and how she has started to finger herself at the thought of Rachel doing something just for her, then she realises she already is and so she tells her so. Gill laughs down the phone, a deep throaty seductive laugh, encouraging her to describe what she is doing, how it feels.
Good girl, tell me how it feels. Tell me everything, tell me how deep I am inside you. Deeper, go, baby, you can do this – show me Rach how much you want this, imagine I am there with you, can you feel me? That’s right, I’m fucking you over my desk, that’s what you want, isn’t it? You dirty slut, you like this don’t you? And the voice instructs her to go deeper and faster and harder, so much harder, and when she complies there is an agonising earth-shattering climax and a spinning and a falling into ecstasy, then total darkness.
Gill watches her, professional as always, her facial expression unreadable. She studied Rachel for what seemed like an eternity. It was obvious the poor girl was suffering and considering how drunk she had been on the phone just hours before, she wasn’t surprised. Desk duty for the day – that was all Rachel was fit for. She really should send her home, but then there were explanations to the team and amending leave sheets – additional bullshit paperwork that Gill did not have time for. Then a short sharp bollocking later on in front of the team. Having Rachel at less than her best was a disservice to the whole unit and they’d be ready too with plenty of sarcasm and dirty looks - not that they were bitchy, but people noticed when you were not at your best, and lately, Rachel was struggling, even the most blindingly stupid person could see that. Even Kevin. A self-inflicted reason like being pissed was not to be tolerated at all and she was sure Andy and Mitch would be up for the job of rubbing salt into the wounds. That should be punishment enough.
“Anyway, as much as I would love to stand here and bollock you for being a twat Rachel, I have to tell you, I left my phone here overnight. DS Dodson and I were here until about eleven last night. I hung up on you, after the fourth call. I had no idea what you were waffling on about, I figured after the third one you were pissed and thought I’d spare your blushes...” and she added as a touch of kindness to take the unintended dig at her away, “I didn’t want you to ring your phone bill up excessively, so, you can stop looking so worried as you didn’t offend me in the slightest.” Although Rachel did have her slightly intrigued. What on earth did she think she had said or done to offend her? Besides being incredibly unprofessional there was no real harm done. Christ, Gill had done it a few times herself, though not to members of her team, but her friends. And she got the feeling besides Janet, Rachel didn’t have many of them. And to be honest, getting a call from a slightly drunk Rachel was something she looked forward to in a perverse way. She hated seeing and hearing Rachel in such a mess but she was glad that she was the one Rachel turned to, that even in her drunken state of mind Gill Murray was most definitely on Rachel Bailey’s mind.
Rachel looks unconvinced. Sceptical. Confused. Why is Gill being so blasé, so normal, as if she couldn’t give a shit about the night before? She knew Gill insisted on professionalism at work, but it was just the two of them, surely she could acknowledge what they had done the night before. This was so cool and cold of Gill. Heartless even. Even if it had been a terrible mistake on both their parts, she could at least admit that.
There was a sharp rap on the door a pause and then the door opened. Julie Dodson stuck her head around, “Excuse me for interrupting.” she paused, waiting to see what was occurring in front of her. Usually when Gill had the door shut she was either in the middle of tearing shreds off of someone or up to her eyes in paperwork.
Gill glanced away towards and the door, a quick smile hello to acknowledge her friend and colleague, carried on... “I’ll want a word later though yeah?” She left it there and nodded towards the door for Rachel to leave. She really wanted to add, “You can’t keep drinking like this, not on the job, and I can’t, no, I won’t cover for you again,” which was a total lie. You know you will, you’d do anything for her, her inner voice said taunting her. But she didn’t want to say anything remotely incriminating in front of Julie.
Julie was far harsher than herself and at the end of the day, Julie was both hers and Rachel’s senior officer. She’d have Rachel on report and desk-bound for the rest of the month and that was getting off lightly. Ever since the Nick Savage incident, Julie had not so much a dislike for Rachel but Gill could see the way Julie was cagier around her. She tried to bring the subject up once but Julie shot her down. I was doing my job. Don’t read anything more into it was her response. And Gill herself would no doubt get a rap over the knuckles for covering it up. Close long-time friends out of work most definitely, but Julie took no prisoners when it came to her profession, by the book, rigid and immovable.
“I just wanted to give you this” - she gestured to the phone in her hand and waved it towards Gill. “You left it on your desk, last night love, thought I’d take it home since you can’t trust the robbing bastards in this place,” laughing at her own joke as she thrust the phone towards Rachel who was nearest to her. “Got to dash, meeting with the Chief in, shit...two minutes ago. Shit! Drinks later yes?”
Then as an afterthought, “Hello Rachel didn’t expect to see you here so early.” followed by a professional courteous nod as she puts the phone into the younger woman’s hand.
Rachel had no idea what the fuck was going on, maybe she was coming down with the flu. Maisie, Janet’s daughter was laid up in bed with it, and that had to be where she got it from – the other night when they were watching Lady Gaga videos on Rachel’s phone in the kitchen. As soon as the DS walked in Rachel’s temperature soared and the sour taste of old wine began to rise in her mouth. I’ve got a fever, I’m not going crazy, I’m not delusional, I’m…
She lost track of what Julie had just said, something about a meeting. The rest of the conversation went over her head. She just had to get out as the room was getting warmer and warmer and she wasn’t sure what was going on. She needed to get to the toilet as soon as possible and hideaway for the rest of the day. She knew the Gill and Julie were best friends and standing here without an invite she felt like the child in the playground nobody wanted on their team. Just like her own childhood. Nobody wanted to be friends with the girl whose mother had abandoned her and that lived with their layabout alcoholic father. She held out her hand to take the phone from Julie, hands shaking from the excessive alcohol she had consumed. Confusion in her head, confusion on her face.
“Heavy night was it Rachel?” Julie inquired.
Their eyes meet and seem to lock intently for what seems an eternity. Rachel looks uncomfortable and mumbles something like a yeah under her breath. Rachel swears that Julie is staring directly into her soul, a penetrating look that she can’t break free from and she gives an involuntary shiver. Her warm clammy pale hand briefly connects with one that is cool and strong and steady. Fingers briefly brush over her wrist but for a moment she could swear that Julie’s grip tightened around her wrist going from an accidental brushing of her skin to something far more purposeful, something sinister. She searched in Julie’s eyes for some kind of an apology or an explanation but there was nothing.
“You need lay off that red wine, especially on a work night,” a bemused sly grin on her face. “I’ll see you later,” she says to Gill, but not breaking eye contact from Rachel.
Julie turns and is back out of the door before Gill can say another word. Gill watches as Rachel hands her the mobile, and takes it, studying Rachel hard for any clue as to what is going on in her troubled head.
“Right, get yourself a coffee, get back to your desk, keep your head down for the day and for god’s sake don’t fuck up like this again,” Gill instructed, holding out her hand to retrieve her phone from Rachel.
Rachel stares at Gill and then realises she has her phone in her hand. If she hands it back to her she cannot remember. All she can hear is Julie’s words thundering around her head. Her mind racing with images of the empty bottle, in her hand, in her cunt. Was that what she meant? What the hell did she mean by laying off the red wine? Gill hadn’t told her, had she? Not what they had done the night before? There was no way Gill would do that to her. And then the ugly realisation hit her and she felt sick and repulsed and degraded. She opened her mouth to say something to Gill but all words were lost, there was nothing she could say to explain this away. It was no wonder Gill looked totally baffled – she had absolutely no idea – none whatsoever of what dirty transgression had taken place the night before. DS Julie Dodson had been the voice on the phone.
No amount of apologies would ever make this ok. And for Christ sake how was she meant to even try to explain this away. Sorry Boss, I thought I was getting myself on the phone with you – yeah, I fucked myself with an empty bottle of wine – but hey I thought you wanted me to! But no wait, it gets better boss, because actually, I was wrong, it wasn’t you, it was your best friend and our superior officer. No harm done - my arse! Rachel was not a stranger to fucking up, especially when it came to one night stands, but this – this was beyond a fuck up; this was wrong on so many levels, this was career-damaging to both of them.
Imagine I am there with you Rachel, open yourself up for me, that’s the way, let me inside, good girl. My fingers are fucking you, can you feel me, can you feel your clit throbbing at my touch? Oh yes, that’s right, I always knew you were a slut. Oh, you want more? Oh, I can give you more you little slut.
From hot and feeling panicked and sick, Rachel was now feeling cold and numb. The sickness was still there – even more so now, as she felt completely degraded and used and violated by Julie.
I honestly thought it was Gill she told herself. I rang her...it was her voice! It was. I’m sure of it. Are you? That little voice in her head said. Did you really think Gill would talk you into some lewd sex act on the phone when she had made it abundantly clear time after time that despite being flattered by your drunken half-arsed attempts at seduction that Gill just didn’t sway that way? And if she did, she had told her on more than one occasion she had a high moral and ethical integrity and she would never cross that line. How could you have been so stupid?
Gill had her attention back on her screen and after typing a few words, glanced to see Rachel still standing there, rooted to the spot. She shook her head. “Rachel? Move! As much as I would love to have you stand there all day, I have work to do. Out!” She took a heavy sigh as Rachel in a trance-like state left the room. You have no idea how true what I just said was, do you, Sherlock? No idea at all.
It pained her to see the suffering that Rachel was inflicting upon herself. If Gill had any sense she’d be requesting that Rachel be transferred to another unit. She knew how Rachel felt or had claimed to feel but Gill knew that Rachel was a shag bandit, and there was no way Gill was going to let her guard down for a quick fuck – no matter how good it might be. And Gill wasn’t going to risk having her heartbroken by this woman/girl who in all honesty didn’t have a clue what she wanted.
She’d bring it up later, maybe suggest a secondment for a few months, it might be just the thing for both their sakes. It wasn’t fair to either of them, as hard as she tried she knew she gave Rachel preferential treatment, and that wasn’t right. A few months may be over in Sector A, Julie’s patch. Maybe having to toe the line was just the thing Rachel needed to get her head out of her arse and her focus back on the job.
Nine hours later and Gill still had an uneasy feeling in her stomach, it had been there all day – at first, she had thought it was hunger, so after getting Kevin to bring her a bacon sandwich and a coffee she had hoped a mid-morning snack might do the trick. Now half-past three in the afternoon it was still there, gnawing at her. She tapped her fingers impatiently on her desk and rubbed the bridge of her nose. She had a headache coming on – sitting at the desk for the best part of five hours had that effect on her. She had floated through a team briefing on the dead body that had been found floating on the canal. She let Janet take the lead, nodding and saying all the right things, but she wasn’t herself. One look at Rachel, sunken down in her seat, avoiding all eye contact reminded her that she had to keep Rachel out of the line of fire, so assigned her to telephone duties. Janet, she could tell was pissed off at that interruption, but she gave a nod, professional as ever and continued.
Thank god at least one of my team knows how to be professional she pondered to herself. She had half been expecting Janet to pop in for a word, to see what was going on, but Janet was sitting opposite Rachel – she could probably smell the walking talking brewery and therefore decided to keep quiet.
She put her glasses back on and tried to focus on the spreadsheet on her computer screen. Every time her eyes absorbed the figures the nagging, gnawing feeling came back to her, again and again. Well, this is bloody ridiculous she says in her head. How the hell can I have this handed in tonight when I can’t bloody concentrate. She shifts in her chair, adjusts her shoulders and posture and tries to focus on the job in hand. A few more cells of data are entered and she gives the report a quick once over. She’ll forward it vie e-mail to Andy to have a look through and get him to send it on to the Chief Con. She stands up, rubs her eyes and thinks about making a brew. A strong, sweet cup of tea. Slice of lemon in it. Something sharp to take the queasiness away. She can’t get Rachel out of her head. Nothing new there, but this is different. This isn’t Gill trying to peek out of her window to catch Rachel unawares. Not after a quick fix to calm her nerves, - ha not after a quick perv more like it the voice in her head joked.
Something had been off this morning, it didn’t require her rank and badge number to tell her that. She knew Rachel was hung-over and had the associated guilt that came with it. Gill had seen her many a time stagger into her office and ask for a word – to explain the night before, the phone calls, the texts and Gill swept them under the rug, anything to appease Rachel. Drunken texts? No harm was done, drunken voice messages, all good. Be a good girl, have a seat keep your head down and don’t do it again. Standard response. Clearly whatever Rachel thought she had done, nothing Gill said seemed to appease her worry. She had meant to catch up with her throughout the day but reports needed doing, and Gill had spent hours in her office. For the life of her, Gill couldn’t understand what had happened or why Rachel was making this drunken night into something more.
It was simple. She’d left her phone at work and Julie had done her a favour and taken it home. That was when the blindingly obvious hit Gill like a bolt of lightning. Her phone. Her phone that she had left at work. That Julie had taken... She stood sharply as if she had been stung by the truth and looked quickly out towards her team. Janet was on the phone, Mitch handing out cups of tea and the rest of the team appeared focused on their work. Her eyes wandered to Rachel’s desk. Empty.
Just brilliant, just bloody brilliant she cursed internally. She picked up her telephone and pressed the buttons to get DS Dodson on the phone. A few rings into the call and Gill shook her head impatiently and slammed the phone down. The rage was building and she did not like the feeling, but goddammit it all made sense. She had been stewing on it all day and was so busy compiling the end of year report that she couldn’t see the wood for the trees. How could she have been so stupid and naive not to have picked up on it before?
Rachel. Drunk. Calling Gill. Gill leaving her phone at work. Julie taking Gill’s phone home. There is no way Slap would do that – but Gill knew Julie and her dark secrets far too well. Gill had warned her a few times in the past when Julie was recounting one particularly sordid encounter with a drunken student that she had picked up in a bar.
“There’s a fine line between them being drunk and committing rape – you do know that?” Julie had shot her a dark look with that seductive smile of hers.
“Of course I know. And it is the fine line that I like to walk – you know that Gill, besides,” she gave a conspirator wink. “You do remember France?”
Gill felt her cheeks flush slightly at the thought of that conversation, slightly pissed off that Julie would bring it up. They had both agreed not to mention it again. A trip around the vineyards, too much sun, and Gill making a drunken pass at an equally drunk Julie. It wasn’t the same thing at all – but she knew that wasn’t what Julie was referring to. It had been the conversation afterwards. It was later in the day after brunch whilst having a heart to heart to clear the air, that Julie had confided in her, admitting that she had been tempted by Gill, but she had, in fact, rejected the clumsy advances, not because she had never thought about fucking Gill – she had many times - but she loved Gill as her friend. And there was the confession, the ominous warning that Julie had given her. That if Julie had responded if they had crossed that line that it would have been Gill regretting it in the morning.
That was when Julie told her about her fantasies, how she liked her women totally under her control, utterly compliant, totally submissive, and if a little chemical ingredient was needed Julie had the means. And that there was nothing better than a well-timed slap on her backside just as she was about to climax. This was a part of her life that she shared with no-one, but she explained as best she could to Gill that with all the responsibility and pressure of her job – she had only ever really been able to get off when she had total control of her partner. She laughed at Gill, I can’t quite see you as the submissive type can you? Gill pondered for a moment in silence. She wasn’t shocked – she’d seen and heard so much worse, but yeah she had to admit it gave her a new perspective on Julie.
As they talked and bared their souls to each other, and Gill admitted she’d always fantasised about being with a woman, but had never found the right woman to try it out with. Julie took the piss initially, teasing Gill but she could see genuine fear in Gill’s eyes. Parts of the police service were still homophobic, despite declarations to the contrary. It was certainly a lot better, but the higher up the ladder you went you’d still find the odd bigot and she had an innate fear of word getting out and it screwing up her career. Having just heard Julie’s sordid confessions Gill wondered why the hell she had been holding this part of herself back for so long. So she threw caution to the wind and dropped another bombshell on her friend. That she’d always had this fascination with bondage, of tying up her partner and giving them a good dose of discipline. And this was when they came up with their affection name for each other. Slap.
Even so, there was no way in hell Julie would…. Not with Rachel… Gill couldn’t even think of the words in her head, but the images were swirling around. Julie and Rachel fucking? That had to be it. That would explain the strange interaction between them this morning, why Rachel was so flustered and why Julie had made that comment about the red wine. The empty mug on Gill’s desk flew across the office crashing against the closed door with an accompanying fucking hell yelled out. At the commotion, all eyes turned to her window from her team and she flashed them a well-practised ‘all good’ smile and raised her hand to the team by way of an apology. It probably took every ounce of effort for them to return to their respective jobs, and she couldn’t blame them. Nothing like seeing your boss lose their shit for a bit of Wednesday afternoon light-hearted entertainment.
She sat down and threw her glasses onto her desk. She was finished. She laughed. The report she had meant, but this betrayal – she really was finished. All this time holding back, hoping that one day Rachel would grow up and realise how Gill felt. And as for Julie, she didn’t know where to start and she wasn’t sure who she was angrier with. Julie for taking the one thing she had always wanted, or Rachel for throwing away any hope Gill had that she was changing her promiscuous ways, or herself for denying herself for so long and now realising that not only had the ship sailed, that the boat she had thought was her potential future Love Boat was actually the fucking Titanic.
The rest of the afternoon blurred into the evening, and for once the criminal element in her patch must have been having a quiet afternoon too. It was a miserable, stormy day, and the air felt oppressive as if a storm was brewing. She decided that for once she was clocking off early. The report was finished, Andy could sort the rest of it out and deal with anything that came in now, and the squad room was pretty empty, it was a perfect time to slip out unnoticed. Rachel was back at her desk, head down, and Gill paused at her office window, looking out with a mixture of revulsion, pity and anger. For a brief moment she nearly gave in, nearly made yet more excuses for Rachel – she was young, one night stands were par for the course, but then images of her and Julie in bed flooded her mind again and the cool, calm, cold-hearted bitch version of Gill Murray appeared.
Without so much as thinking she stormed out of the door, the few staff that were around kept their eyes down, only Mitch bless him had the balls to ask if she was alright. She nodded, not quite trusting her voice to speak, especially with the shag bandit so close to her. She replied with a curt goodnight and walked off down the corridor.
She wasn’t sure if it was her imagination or not or if Rachel really did call after her, and she wasn’t sure if the footsteps following her down the corridor were hers either. She spun around, this wasn’t the time or the place for a confrontation, but she was quite prepared to tear strips from Rachel about the slightest little thing given half a chance, professional or not. When she saw the corridor behind her was empty, she gave a sigh of relief. She would never admit to anyone that there was also a huge stabbing pain in her heart. For a moment in her wildest dreams she had hoped Rachel would be following her, begging for forgiveness, but she was wrong like she had been wrong about so many other things when it came to that damned woman.
Three hours later and several gin and tonics down Gill paced around her kitchen. She was restless, angry and the thundering outside was doing nothing to calm her mood. If this were a movie the rain would be symbolic somehow, cleansing and refreshing, but the only thing that needed refreshing at this moment was the tonic. Definitely, more gin was needed. As Gill poured another generous amount into her glass she cursed as another ominous rumble of thunder shook the house, followed by a flash of lightning. She shakes her head, clearly, someone upstairs was having an equally shitty day.
She saunters back into the lounge when a shadow outside the front door makes her gasp. She hadn’t heard the door knock and certainly wasn’t in the mood for any company. Walking up to the door she asks who is it before opening. She was hoping it might have been a door-to-door salesman seeking solace from the rain, or maybe Sammy popping in to say hello. But no. There stood out in the pouring rain looking like a drowned rat was none other than Rachel bloody Bailey.
“You’re wet,” was the first thing from Gill’s mouth and she immediately regretted it. That was probably what Julie had bloody said to her last night and this thought immediately brought back the anger that had been starting to dissipate.
“I’m sorry boss, I just wanted to, I needed to explain to you, shit I’m sorry, I should have called or something. I just...I...”
Gill cut her off quickly. “Yes, you should given how much you seem to like calling me at completely inappropriate times.” Yes, it was sharp, yes it was probably harsh, but Gill felt no remorse. She’d always thought no matter what Rachel did, there would be nothing that she could do that could hurt her, of course, seeing her marry Sean and hearing about all of the other one night stands hurt, but it was Rachel’s life and if he was going to make her happy, then so be it, but Julie and Rachel?
The young woman opened her mouth to speak, shook her head in despair and burst into tears and let out a terrible guttural cry, a cry that only hinted at the emotional turmoil and pain that she was in.
Gill looked shell-shocked for a moment. She’d been abrupt certainly, but she’d laid into Rachel far worse than this before and never had a reaction like this. Seeing her so fragile, hair dripping, clothes soaking, she looked so broken. Gill’s maternal instinct and that was all it was, kicked in and before she knew what she was doing she’d pulled Rachel inside, wet clothes sticking to her purple satin pyjamas and for a split second she cursed in her head. Why the fuck am I doing this? Because despite your hard arsed reputation and your hurt pride, you are a decent human being who hates to see anyone suffer, the logical voice in her brain said. Even if she fucked your best-friend said the bitter and twisted and hurt side?
Once inside the hallway, she could tell Rachel was shivering uncontrollably. Great, she thinks sarcastically. Bloody hypothermia on top of everything else… “I’ll get you a towel for your hair. Give me your coat, I’ll stick it in the tumble dryer. There’s gin in the kitchen, help yourself. Or there’s wine open next to the cooker. I’ll be back in a minute,” her tone is neutral, professional and despite trying to be cold Gill can’t quite achieve it.
Rachel fumbles and struggles out of her coat and hands it to Gill, who takes it without a word. She probably didn’t have that much of a struggle last night getting her kit off, the taunting voice in her head says again. Gill disappears to the laundry room and puts the wet coat into the dryer. She gets a towel from the cupboard and takes it out to the kitchen where Rachel is standing.
‘Here.’ she crosses the room and hands her the towel watching whilst she towel dries her hair. She spies the bottle of gin and notices that Rachel has abstained. “Not drinking?”
“I think after last night it probably isn’t a good idea.” And so there it was, more or less out in the open Something did happen last night. There it was. “I got shit faced, blind drunk and I don’t think I can stomach it today. Or ever again.”
“So I gathered.” Gill didn’t want this conversation right now. But there was no way out of it. Throwing a vulnerable member of staff out on her ear wasn’t Gill’s style. Of course, if this was Mitch or Pete, would she really be standing here in her kitchen, gin and tonic in hand, in her pyjamas comforting them? That is totally irrelevant, I’d do the same for all my team. Gill pours another gin and tonic, although she can’t actually remember drinking the previous one. As she cuts a slice of lemon, she turns to Rachel. “I suppose we need to talk. To sort this mess out. I’d rather not be doing it here in my home, but hey. It is what it is.”
“Gill, I am so sorry. I know I’ve said it a hundred times today to you but really I had no idea that...”
“Hold up a minute hey, can we at least sit down for this?” Gill doesn’t think she can manage to stand for this conversation. “Lounge. Okay?”
She gives Rachel a moment to leave the room and quickly pours a shot more gin into the glass. There was no way she could hear this sober. Not that she was really sober, she’d polished off a good portion of the bottle, which was probably a blessing, hopefully hearing the truth wouldn’t hurt quite so much now.
Rachel had sat herself down in the chair and looked absolutely distraught. Gill sits in the chair opposite. Out of harm's way. A safe distance. Professional. For a moment neither speak, Rachel is gripping the arms of the chair tightly, as if she is about to be interrogated and Gill, Gill sits impassively, watching Rachel. Waiting.
“I got pissed right… I mean you know that. And I called you.”
Gill nodded. She knew all this too, but she figured it was best to let her take her time. Fucking hell, here it comes. She gripped the crystal glass tightly in her hand. Take a deep breath lady because this is when she breaks your heart.
“I called you. I called Alison, my sister, and then I called you back again, and again, and, then” her voices trembles. “I honestly thought it was you. I thought that we were...you know...I’d never have done that with anyone. I honestly thought you were, well that you were wanting me to and so I did it, and now I don’t know what to do because it wasn’t and I feel so ashamed and dirty and used. And now you hate me and I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do.”
Gill went from looking confused to downright mystified. What the hell is going on? “Have I missed something? ‘Er, what exactly do you think we did, what did I want? You’re going to have to back up a bit or explain...you’ve totally lost me.”
Rachel went scarlet and Gill fought back an incredulous laugh. In her head, she was trying to quickly process this and had come up with only one scenario, one that had her torn between shock and horror to mortified disbelief. Rachel had called her drunk and thinks that we had…? What? Phone sex? Is that what she means? I didn’t even speak to her after I left work…
And then she realised that this was exactly what Rachel was implying. That whatever conversation Rachel had, it wasn’t with her, all they had talked about that night was the case, and then Gill suggesting to Rachel that she get some sleep. When the drunken calls kept coming she didn’t answer. And then it made sense. The one night stand with Julie hadn’t physically happened it had been over the phone. Jesus Christ…!
“Julie, you were talking with her?” she whispers softly. As if she needed to ask as if she didn’t already know. She takes a measured sip of her drink and tries to process this. So it was just phone sex, a verbal indiscretion, that was better wasn’t it? There wasn’t the actual physical act of betrayal itself, not that either one of them owed her anything. Oh, but it was bad alright, it was a certain disciplinary for Julie if this got out. One that would almost certainly cost her job and her career. Fucking hell.
Rachel nods and sniffs, her eyes still teary, and she looks at Gill with such pain in her eyes, it is both terrible and yet so beautiful to see such a ferocious passionate pain in her eyes.
“But you thought it was me? On the phone? With you?” she had to ask, had to be certain.
“Yeah, I thought...I mean I assumed that who else would it be. I mean you’ve known how I feel...” Rachel answers weakly.
Gill wasn’t sure if she should be angry or flattered. She was certainly a combination of them both. “Why on earth would you think I’d do that Rachel? Haven’t I made it clear what my feelings are time and time again? For fuck's sake Rachel...” she is angry now. Is this what she’d led her to believe? That if Rachel kept on enough that Gill would just relent and what fuck her over the phone? And as for Julie, she was livid with her. It was obvious to anyone how drunk Rachel had been, slurring her words, how could Julie have done that? Especially on Gill’s phone to a member of her staff, pretending to be her. She could quite happily kill Julie Dodson right now and it was quite possible that when their paths cross next there was going to be one hell of a confrontation, but right now she needed to establish the facts. She needed to know more, needed to know what the hell was said, what was she meant to have encouraged her sergeant to do on the phone. She leans forward towards Rachel, places her hand on her arm. Her tone now is gentle. This needs tact and diplomacy which she usually has in abundance when not on gin and tonic. “When did you know Rachel?”
“Sorry, boss. Know what?”
“That it wasn’t me that you’d been,” she paused for a moment and changed the words that were ready to come out of her mouth from ‘been phone fucking’ to ‘talking to.’
“In your office, you know, this morning, when she walked in, the way she looked at me, and then when she spoke...it set something off in my mind. I knew it was her. She said something and for a moment I thought you’d told her, about what we’d...about what I thought we’d done. And then it all came flooding back in my head. Every bloody thing.”
Gill bit her tongue. She had wanted to respond with Julie had obviously set something off in more than just your mind, but she left it alone, along with the scathing comment that the words ‘flooding’ and ‘head’ had brought to her mind. The situation was a mess and sarcasm was not going to help resolve this. She squeezed her hand reassuringly, “Rachel, just to clarify, you do know don’t you that it wasn’t me on the telephone. Whatever you think you and I did, it wasn’t me. It was from Julie. I had absolutely no idea. And I would never do that to you or any member of my team. Besides it being utterly unprofessional, besides it being a completely reprehensible thing to do, to take advantage of you like that, in the state that you were in, you do know that I would never do that.”
Rachel nodded miserably. Of course, she fucking knew. Kick me when I’m down Gill. Thanks.
“I’ll admit, this morning after the way you both were acting I thought, sorry I assumed wrongly might I add, that you two had...Well you know.”
Rachel looks at Gill. “What? You thought that I’d slept with her?” anger is beginning to flash in Rachel’s eyes.
“Well given your history...”
Rachel interjected, “Given my track record for being a slut, you just thought I’d shagged the DS? Is that it?” She pushed Gill’s hand away from her. As bad and ashamed as she was feeling this was another kick in the guts. “How could you think that?” But even Rachel knew it was a stupid question. She regretted saying it instantly. She stood up. “I should go. This was a big mistake. You don’t need to worry, I’m not going to be advertising this, I won’t tell anybody. Jesus… I can’t believe…” she shot Gill a wounded hurt look and took off down the hallway to the front door.
“Rachel, will you wait, for fuck's sake, I didn’t mean that..” Gill followed her to the front door. “Come on please kid. I’m sorry.”
Rachel had her hand on the latch, ready to walk out into the night, into the rain. Truth be told she wasn’t angry at Gill. She was angry at herself, for getting herself into that situation, for letting her self be taken advantage of. Of not having the sense to know what was going on, and she had no right to get angry at Gill, it was a logical conclusion that she had jumped to.
She turned back to Gill, she was so close and all Rachel can think of is how much she wants her. How much she wants to push her up against the door and devour her. Seeing her like this, at home, the softer side of Gill the caring side, it made her heartache for her even more than before.
She took Gill’s hand in hers. Gill shook her head, but she didn’t pull away. Nor did she pull away when Rachel gently ran her fingers up along her arm.
Rachel smiles, “Is that don’t stop?”
Gill shook her head, “Rachel, I can’t do this.” she took a step backwards, into the wall, and Rachel moved in closer to her.
She looked down at Gill, “Please. I want you so much,” she says in a husky tone. “You are all I have ever wanted…please? Let me kiss you please Gill.” Rachel’s hand has returned to Gill’s arm, stroking her gently, daring to accidentally run a finger over her breast. Gill moans despite trying hard not to, she’s fighting an inner battle with her demons and she’s losing, there is a heat between them and despite her best intentions, she can feel herself giving up and giving in to Rachel’s pleas. Neither waited for a look or a sign – they could feel the heat emanating from each other. Mouths find each other and after a deep vicious and greedy battle both break for air. Hands that had become entwined in each other’s hair and clothing. Time seems to freeze, all that matters is this kiss.
“Oh fuck,” Gill says, expertly removing her arms from around Rachel’s waist and Rachel’s from around her neck.
“Bloody hell,’ Rachel says ‘Why did you do that?” she meant ending the kiss, but Gill stops her mid-sentence afraid of what is going to come next.
If it is going to be regret Gill doesn’t want to hear it. Although by all logical reasoning she should be the one putting the brakes on this before this gets any more out of control. But she can’t. “Wait, Rachel, stop.” Her breath is heavy and her face slightly flushed and her hair is dishevelled. “I can’t...Damn it! Why did you do that?” Her voice is angry.
“You kissed me back, I thought that you...wanted me..”
“I’ve never...” Gill cursed in her head. Out of all of the scenarios she’d envisaged in her head, this wasn’t the one. This wasn’t when she admitted this, especially not to her, not to her Sherlock.
Rachel's expression is confused, bewildered, and hurt. “I’ve never bloody kissed a woman before?” Ok, so this was a little white lie, but she had been drunk when she kissed Julie and it didn’t count, not really. It was an opportune moment, and she’d never ever have done it if she’d been sober and besides Julie was not her type at all, far too hard and old, not that Gill could talk. And she was hardly going to bring her name up at this moment in time. For all purposes this kiss, right here, right now with Rachel, this really had been the first with a woman that had meant something.
“So, how was it?”
"It could have been better," Gill retorts, and it was true. She hadn’t wanted it to be like that, not after the drunken kiss with Julie all those years ago, not after all Rachel had been through.“This,” and she pauses for a moment, “This is how I wanted it to be.” and softly she kisses Rachel. Soft, gentle, licking and sucking on her lips, eventually after what seemed like torturous exquisite minutes to Rachel, she felt Gill’s tongue gently pushing inside her, tasting her again, but this time this is soft, gentle, not a drunken mauling, a much more intimate kiss.
Rachel responds to her, this time equally as soft. Gill breaks the kiss, takes a small step back and looks at Rachel. “I always wanted to be the one that didn’t take advantage of you. I’m your boss and this is wrong on so many levels, that’s why I have never ever considered acting on my feelings...But I always hoped that one day I ever had the balls to do something about it, about you, that it would mean something. Not a pissed snog Rachel. Do you understand? Not after what happened to you yesterday. You need time to deal with this. I, I need time to deal with this. I won’t be the one to use you and cast you out the next day. I don’t do that. I don’t fuck around I’ve told you that before. But after everything that has gone on, I want to take our time. I’ve been drinking, and I don’t want to wake up tomorrow with a stinking headache and no recollections of what we’ve done." She strokes Rachel’s face softly. “I want to remember every glorious detail, every second of being with you, and I won’t deny myself that. I won’t deny you that. Not any more.”
Rachel looked dumbstruck, “So you're telling me all this time when I’ve told you how I’ve felt about you, that I loved you, that I had feelings for you.. that you lied to me?”
“Lied? Not told the truth? Been in total fucking denial?” Gill challenged her. “Yep kid, I did, I lied. I was scared to death. Scared of what people would say – not about you, this guilt is all about me, I was a married woman, and being attracted to a woman I didn’t know what to do, and I had to think of Sammy, how it might affect him...Living a lie, denying myself, what I felt, it was easier.”
Rachel shakes her head in disbelief, “I didn’t make it easy for you did I?” and she genuinely feels regret. She’d never really considered any of the issues that Gill had raised.
Gill snorts. “You never have. From the first day you appeared in the squad room, I knew you were going to trouble.”