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I had to find you. Tell you I need you. Tell you I set you apart.

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It's coming to the end of the party for Gill's retirement. Rachel can hardly believe she's actually leaving and she never thought this day would come. Her heart sinks slightly when she thinks of not seeing Gill every day. Her and Gill are the last one's standing. Janet had left with Chris fairly early on and Rachel smiles, happy for her best mate. Gill was just saying her goodbyes to Dodson and Rachel sat pondering some of the things that had been said that night.

“I am so proud of you”

Rachel smiles without even knowing it at the thought of the comment when Gill sits down next to her and refills the wine glass in her hand. “Me and you eh kid, I should have known you’d be the only one able to keep up with me” Gill smiles turning to fill her own glass up.

“Did you mean it?” Rachel says suddenly and realises she’s thinking out loud “You’re proud of me? Or were you just emotional because you can’t bear the thought of leaving it all behind?” Rachel asks nodding her thanks at the top up.

Gill turns away to put the wine down on the table, “I can’t bear the thought of leaving you behind” Gill says under her breath– too much to drink Gill, shut up.

“of course, I meant it, why can you never accept a compliment Rachel Bailey?”

Rachel smiles at that, it had been an odd night. She had always admired Gill. More than that, she fancied her. Always had since the day she laid eyes on her. As much as the two of them argued she was very fond of her and tonight things seemed different. Something in the air was different and she can’t figure out exactly what it is but as she’s looking at Gill now, just the two of them she’s got a strange feeling in her stomach – the only way she can describe it is butterflies. She brushes it off.

“To be fair boss it’s not often I’d get a compliment from you, maybe it took me back” she replies smiling at her.

Gill rolls her eyes at that “honestly, Rachel, you think everyone’s against you but really you’re just against yourself. You’re too hard on yourself, it’s not me. I think you’re brilliant.”

Rachel is taken aback “do ya?” she asks scrunching her brow slightly and nervously biting on her lip.

“Yeah” Gill says “I do”.

Gill takes a long sip of her wine trying to stop herself from saying something she’ll regret. Something along the lines of “I don’t just think you’re brilliant. I think you’re lovely. I think you’re beautiful” Gill shakes her head and does what she always does when she start’s thinking like this about Rachel. She tries to shut her out. However usually she has some sort of reason to be annoyed at her and start an argument but not tonight. Tonight, there is no distraction at all to stop her from thinking of Rachel in that way. The only option she has it to change the subject before she says something she’ll only berate herself for when she is sober.

“Did you speak to Will in the end then?” She asks trying to distract herself.

“Mmm” Rachel says in the middle of a sip of wine. “I did yeah, nothing to say really. It was never meant to be, me and him”

“Why not?” Gill exclaims raising her eyebrows. “I thought he had come here to sort things out.”

“yeah he had” Rachel starts bringing her finger to her lips and biting the skin around her nail before continuing. “It’s just that I realised tonight that I don’t want to sort things out. He’s a nice enough guy don’t get me wrong. I just… wasn’t feeling it anymore. Maybe I’m better off alone. I’m too much. I’m a handful.”

Gill stares at Rachel as she bites the skin around her nails like she always does when she’s nervous or scared. Gill just can’t figure out why she would be feeling either of those things at this moment. “You are a handful” Gill says as she reaches up to stop Rachel biting at her fingers, pulling Rachels hand in to her own. “You are. No one could deny that, but you’re not too much. All these people before were just never meant to hold you… you’ll never be too much for the right person, Kid.”

Gill realises that she’s still holding Rachel’s hand and has started drawing circles on her wrist as she was talking to her. Rachel is looking at her like she’s gone mad. Like she can’t quite believe what Gill has just said and Gill thinks she’s messed this up, said too much. Gill wishes she could tell her that she’d never be too much, not for her. She wants to say that even if she is a handful, she has two hands.

Looking at Rachel now Gill thinks back on the night and remembers the look on Rachels face when Julie had retorted “doesn’t have to be male” – the same sort of look she has now. Rachel had looked at her like she’d just received the answer she was looking for on a quiz she had spent her whole life trying to solve. Much like Gill has always been trying to solve the puzzle that Rachel is. She had always liked Rachel, even when they fell out. Even when she wound her up so much that she wanted to throttle her she always enjoyed her company.  She thought – thinks that she’s magnificent. She’s always hidden these feelings deep down in the darkness that no one can see because she had to. It wasn’t a choice and she was good at pretending she didn’t feel that way. Until tonight.

Rachel clears her throat and Gill drops her hand at the sudden break in silence. Rachel is a bit in shock and she’s horrified when she realises that she’s starting to well up. Dabbing at her eyes and scoffing at herself for being so emotional she grabs Gill’s hand back squeezing it tightly.

“That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me” Rachel says feeling silly for getting emotional. Too much wine Rach she thinks to herself. Something in the way Gill is looking at her makes Rachel quiver. She’s looking at her like she loves her. At least that’s what Rachel thinks it is. No one has ever looked at her like that before.

“I didn’t know you’d dated women before” Rachel blurts out completely ruining whatever moment she thought they were just having. Gill laughs out loud at that, like properly laughs, head thrown back and throat exposed. Rachel has such an urge to lean forward and kiss her neck that she has to take a sip of wine to stop her doing just that. “Mm, sorry I didn’t mean for it to come out like that! I just meant… I mean why would it be something I know, I was just surprised is all. You don’t strike me as the type.”

“Oh is that right?” Gill smiles shaking her head. “I’m your – well was your boss, it’s not something I shout from the rooftops, kid. It’s just a part of my life and it’s hard enough as it is being a woman in our job so I just wouldn’t want people openly knowing about my sexual preferences.”

“Yeah,” Rachel starts “I understand that.”

Gill smiles mischievously “Rachel, come on. The whole squad knows about your sexual preferences. You pretty much tell them every time you dream about kissing someone!”

Rachel gasps in feign shock “that is not true!” she exclaims shaking her head. She can’t help but think about how the whole squad would react if she’d told them the dream’s she’d had about Gill.

“Oh Rachel, come on. Name one person you’ve had a fling with, even someone you’ve fancied where you haven’t shared it with someone at work.”

Rachel puts a finger to her lips – suddenly she feels much “merrier” and she starts thinking that maybe she should just come out with the fact that she’s fancied Gill more than she fancied anyone else, ever.

“See! I knew it, you can’t name one person!” Gill exclaims whilst Rachel is deep in thought.

“I could name one” Rachel says downing the last of her wine and feeling her head spin slightly. “I just can’t tell you”.

Gill sniggers slightly and the atmosphere starts to alter somewhat between them. “Not me is it?” Gill jokes winking at Rachel and sipping the last of her wine. I wish.

Rachel’s face drops and she takes a large gulp staring at Gill intently. Before Gill can say anything, else Rachel gets up and rushes off towards the toilets. Gill sit’s in shock. Surely, she can’t feel that way about Gill. It’s not a possibility, good things don’t happen to Gill and that’s how she’s felt for a long time. It almost felt like things were falling in to place. Gill could never do anything about her feelings towards Rachel before, she was her boss and it would have been unethical, but she’s retired now and… Gill shakes her head making herself stop thinking about it. Rachel probably had a different reason for running off. Maybe she was embarrassed for Gill for even saying it. Mentally preparing herself she stands up and heads to the toilets.

“Rach?” Gill calls out as she walks in to the toilets. They’re empty bar one stall being occupied that must be Rachels. Gill realises they’re almost the last people in the pub. “Rachel I’m sorry I was only joking.”

Rachel comes out of the stall and she looks like she’s been crying. “Don’t apologise” Rachel says shaking her head. “I’m the one that’s sorry it just took me aback and I’ve never admitted it out loud to anyone before that I, you know… fancy you. Let alone admitting it to you”.

It’s Gill’s turn to stand in shock now. She never expected tonight to go this way but she had the warmest feeling in her heart when Rachel stands there admitting that she has some kind of feeling for Gill.

 Rachel’s still stood there rambling endearingly “And I know that it’s not professional, I know that I shouldn’t feel this way and I don’t think I ever even admitted it to myself. I think the day I really knew was that awful day. One of the worst days of my life when Helen… when she. Well, you know. But anyway whatever, what does it matter. I know you’ve never felt that way about me, how could you, all I do every day is wind you up and…”

Before she can finish her ramblings, Gill is coming towards her, cupping her face and wiping a tear away. Rachel is stuck, she can’t move. She can’t reach out to Gill. Before she can manage anything, Gill pulls her in and kisses her. It’s not like a kiss that Rachel has ever experienced before. It’s everything she ever dreamed it could be and more. It starts off slowly and Rachel can finally move again. She reaches up and puts her hand on Gill’s neck pulling her in closer to her.

Gill whimpers clinging on to Rachel as the kiss becomes more heated. They’re grabbing hold of each other now grasping at anything they can. Gill just wants to feel her skin, she lifts Rachels top up feeling the soft skin of her stomach as she starts making her way up to her breasts. Rachel pulls away from the kiss to gasp. They look at each other and neither of them have ever wanted someone like they want each other in that moment.

Just as they lean in for another kiss, the bathroom door swings open and they jump apart as if they had just been burned by each other. The landlady comes in to let them know that they’re about to close up and she looks at them like they’re naughty teenagers with a slight smirk. “I’ll give you a couple of minutes, but we’re locking up in five” she says before walking back out of the door.

Rachel and Gill look at each other and there’s a lot of unsaid words hanging in the air but in the moment they both start laughing.

“What do you bring out in me Rachel Bailey. This is not like me at all” she laughs straightening her clothes and checking the mirror for smudged lipstick.

“Me?” Rachel exclaims pointing an accusatory finger “this was you!”

They both smile and Gill walks back over to her placing a peck to her lips. “We should talk” gill says moving Rachels hair out of her eyes and brushing it behind her ear.

Rachel has suddenly gotten a new-found confidence and bends down whispering in Gill’s ear – “talking is overrated” she breathes and it send a shiver through Gill’s whole body. “Take me home with you?” Rachel asks and looks down at Gill’s lips then back up to her eyes. “Please.”

“Fuck” Gill says under her breath leaning in to Rachel as she whispers in her ear. She can’t deny her anything in this moment so grabs her hand pulling her out of the door and in to a taxi. Gill thinks about how this has gone so quickly and they have both had so much to drink but Rachel is looking at her like that and making her feel things… Maybe talking is overrated. Maybe they can talk once she’s taken her to bed and they’ve had their way with each other. Anyway, Gill was tired of being sensible. Life is too short.