|Crime Traveller: Nicky Weighs the Evidence
Author: EllisHendricks PM
Crime Traveller, Slade/Holly romance: Sent on another mission to find Jeff Slade, Nicky finally solves a long-unsolved mystery...Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Words: 1,957 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 2 - Published: 03-30-12 - Status: Complete - id: 7971150
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Crime Traveller: Nicky Weighs the Evidence
The words were still echoing in Nicky Robson's ears as he made his way through the office, ducking around doorframes and peering into computer rooms for any sign of the missing detective. He knew from Grisham's tone that she wasn't messing around, and Nicky always took seriously every single task he was handed – even if that task was, quite regularly, locating Slade. The last time Slade had been seen, he was with Holly, but that wasn't exactly out of the ordinary; the two of them, Nicky knew, worked closely together.
As he completed his first circuit of the open-plan office, Nicky saw Morris frowning at him quizzically. He broke off from his conversation with another couple of detectives.
"Nicky, what are you doing?" Morris asked, leaning back in his chair.
"Looking for Slade. Have you seen him?"
"Not lately. Not missing him yet, either."
"Well, I think the Chief rather wants to speak to him," Nicky replied.
"What about her flat? You checked there?"
"I telephoned, but nobody answered."
Nicky saw Morris smirk, and exchange glances with the other detectives.
"Just because nobody's answering, doesn't mean they're not there."
The men laughed, and it took Nicky a couple of seconds to catch on to their meaning. When he did, he felt himself blush slightly.
"Wherever he is, I'm sure it's nothing like that," he replied, coolly.
Morris rolled his eyes.
"Want to put some money on it?"
Morris opened his desk drawer and pulled out a battered notebook.
"I'm running a book on it," he said, creasing open the book.
Morris jerked his head towards the door.
"On them. Slade and Turner."
Nicky's conscience immediately leapt to the defence of his friends.
"You mean whether they...?"
"Not whether they are – 'course they are! We're having a flutter on when they get sprung. Fancy a bet?"
Nicky swallowed. However hard he tried to give people the benefit of the doubt, there were some who made following his ideals very difficult.
"I told you before, I don't bet."
"Your loss. There's over two hundred quid in the kitty. Fletcher here's depressed because he's already lost – his date went past last week."
Nicky gave them a parting look that he hoped would convey the disappointment and mild disgust that he felt. He had imagined, when he followed his childhood dream of joining the police, that at least some of his colleagues would prove to be inspiring role models. When working with Morris, Nicky always did his best to be helpful, and strived to find something positive and edifying to take away from the experience, but even he had to admit defeat sometimes.
Looking at the situation objectively, and based on past, recent evidence, Nicky knew it was quite likely that Slade was with Holly. In the last few months, she had been involved in every one of his major cases, stepping outside the boundaries of what usually constituted the role of a Science Officer. They clearly valued each other's professional input and had become close, but Nicky hadn't seen concrete evidence that there was anything more between them. That said, he wasn't unaware of the rumours pin-balling around the department, fuelled by little more than a sighting of Holly and Slade in a cafe or leaving work together. In addition, they had been added to the long list of accepted codes of life in this particular police department: junior detectives got the worst requisition cars from the pool, Charlie Bell's Jaffa Cakes were out of bounds, and you didn't even think about making a move on Holly Turner because Slade had got there first. She was Slade's 'property', or that's how some of the less enlightened men in the department saw the situation, something that Nicky personally detested. Holly, he knew, would be both mortified and furious, and rightly so.
"Anyone seen Slade?" Nicky asked, as he passed by the water cooler.
"You tried Holly Turner's office?" one of the uniforms asked, without hesitation.
Nicky nodded politely and headed down to the custody suite. It was a long shot, but he was running out of options, and if he could find Slade he could at least give him a friendly warning about what was coming to him. He couldn't honestly say that he and Slade had a friendship, but there was trust and respect there, and coming from an experienced detective like Slade, that meant a lot. Nicky had to question some of Slade's methods and his inexplicable disregard for the Police Handbook, but he couldn't deny that being along for the ride with Slade was when his job was at its most thrilling.
As he rounded the corner to the custody suite, Nicky nearly collided with Frank, the desk sergeant, whose own eyes were on the clipboard in his hands.
"Oh Frank, have you seen -?"
"One guess – Slade?"
"Um, yes. You see, Grisham wants to speak to him about the case he's just closed."
"He came past about ten minutes ago. Seemed in a hurry."
"Was, uh, was Holly with him by any chance?"
"No," Frank replied.
Nicky felt his shoulders relax; he felt vindicated.
"But he was looking for her," Frank added.
He nodded his thanks, and Frank carried on his way. Nicky felt his heart sink again a little, but at least he had a confirmed sighting. The fact was, while he was eager to make a good impression with Grisham, he felt his loyalties divided; after all, he knew Slade would never do anything to land him in it, if the shoe was on the other foot. Although Nicky didn't quite know what he might be doing for that situation to come about.
He felt a loyalty to Holly, too, with whom Nicky felt a real affinity. They were a similar age, with a similar educational background (although his own particular field had been criminal psychology), and he had always viewed her with admiration. He had been taken aback, too, by her amazing insight and lateral thinking during the Hawkins case – she had solved it in a matter of hours, two steps ahead of him the whole time. Although her behaviour during that case had led Nicky to believe that even if he was interested in Holly – which he wasn't, of course, because he had a girlfriend - he would be wasting his time. Not only was she clearly out of his league, but it seemed quite possible that her heart lay somewhere else.
As he glanced into the interview rooms one after another, Nicky considered the evidence on both sides. Nobody had witnessed or heard anything conclusive, or when they claimed they had, there was no corroborating evidence. It was all completely circumstantial, and clearly based on outdated notions that a man and a woman can't be just friends. But then he'd seen things with his own eyes, too: Slade with his arm around Holly when he dropped them off at that solicitors, Holly turning up at a crime scene on her day off in order to be with Slade, and then there was that time Nicky had walked into Holly's office during the recent Webb Biotech investigation. He was sufficiently tuned in to realise that this was no professional disagreement he had interrupted; it sounded, objectively, very much like a lovers' tiff.
The only place left that he could think to look was the evidence room, but it was a room that was kept locked – he would need to borrow a key from Frank. Frank was back at his desk cataloguing prisoners' personal effects and sorting through charge sheets, and he looked at Nicky suspiciously when he asked for a key.
"You're not still looking for Slade?" he asked.
"Yes. Sort of a last resort, really."
"Well, he hasn't been by to borrow an evidence room key. Only one signed out at the moment."
Frank checked his docket.
"Mind you, I've had to have words with him before about lending keys to all and sundry without telling me."
Nicky took the key anyway, and was about to use it when he heard muffled voices coming from the evidence room. Unmistakably one female voice and one male. In principle, Nicky was highly opposed to eavesdropping, but at the same time he felt he was within a whisker of concluding his business for Grisham. He heard the voices again.
"Come on Holly, just a couple more minutes."
"People will start to notice we're missing."
"They won't! I finished my report on the Nicholls case, so I've earned myself some time. Come on...I miss you."
"I'm right there in my office," Nicky heard Holly say. "Less than twelve feet away from your desk."
"I know," came the slightly sulky-sounding reply. "But we don't get the opportunity for...this."
"That's because we're here to work. Or at least I am."
Nicky heard Holly laugh softly.
"What can you do in one minute, Slade?"
"Quite happy to show you..."
Nicky had heard more than enough. His throat suddenly felt dry, his feet rooted to the spot. Suddenly, the door to the evidence room flew open, and Holly started to back out of there, Slade's arms around her waist and his lips still locked with hers.
As quickly and noiselessly as he could, Nicky hurried up the corridor back towards the custody suite, not daring to look back over his shoulder. He didn't stop until he reached the sanctuary of the back stairs, where he paused to gather himself before heading into the office. He saw Grisham heading towards him with purpose.
"So, did you find him?"
Nicky swallowed, and in that split second made a decision.
"Er...no, sorry Chief, I didn't."
"Well, keep looking. I'm off to a meeting with the divisional head, but when I get back I want to find Slade no less than twenty feet from my office door. Preferably making good use of his time."
Nicky couldn't help cracking a small smile, once it was safe to do so. A few seconds after he sat down at his desk, he saw Holly return to the office, noticing that her face was still a little flushed. She offered him a smile before disappearing into her room; Nicky exhaled with relief.
He then heard Morris let out a groan of frustration.
"What's wrong?" Nicky asked.
"It's nearly five o'clock. I'm about to kiss goodbye to my ten quid."
"The wager, you know, that we talked about earlier?"
Nicky puzzled it over for a second.
"Oh, you'd picked today?"
Morris nodded, putting his head down on his desk.
"Well, it serves you right," Nicky told him.
Just then, Slade sauntered back into the office, smiling broadly, and walking with more than a hint of a swagger.
"What's up, Morris? You lost a bet, or something?"
Nicky looked up at him immediately, and sensed Morris doing the same. With a sphinx-like expression, Slade continued to pour himself a cup of coffee.
"Shame you don't bet, Nicky," Slade added. "Think today might have been your lucky day."
And without another word, Slade sunk into his chair and switched on his computer. He took a swig of coffee, and gave Nicky a conspiratorial wink.