Dennis entered the pub hesitantly. It was Bellamy's birthday, and he'd promised to stay for at least one drink, but had only been easily swayed because he thought the pharmacist would be there. He'd managed to ascertain from his constables, discreetly he hoped, that she was single, but was disappointed to find her already sat, heads bent and close, with a man he didn't recognise. Dennis considered leaving, but as he turned Ventress spotted him.

"Sarge! Can I buy you a drink?"

"Ah...yes, thank you Alf." Dennis gave the pharmacist another glance before he approached the bar, where Gina gave him a smile.

"There's already money behind the bar for Phil's do, so don't think Alf has suddenly become generous."

Dennis smiled and took the offered pint glass. "Thanks for the warning."

When he glanced towards the pharmacist again, Gina followed his eyes and suppressed a smile. "Listen, I know you're not on duty, but I don't suppose you'd do me a favour?"

Dennis frowned and turned back to Gina. "Well, that depends what it is."

"You see that man with Jenny? The pharmacist. He's been bothering her all evening wanting to talk about cars of all things. I would go and save her, only Oscar told me not to leave the bar until he gets back."

Dennis gave a slight smirk. "I thought Phil was the one who does you all these little favours? He's here often enough."

Gina returned the smile and knew she'd been caught out trying to play matchmaker. "It's his birthday, and he's had so many beers, I'm not sure he'd be able to walk over there."

The sergeant looked towards his constable who was having a sing-along with his rugby friends in the snug before he glanced back at Jenny. Gina gave him a gentle elbow to the forearm before she moved to serve someone else.

"Is this seat taken?"

Jenny looked up from the photos Michael had been showing her of his new car and gave a relieved smile before taking her jacket from the chair he stood behind. "Sergeant Merton! Didn't expect to see you here."

Dennis sat down and felt the glare of Jenny's companion boring into him. "I told Phil I would come for a drink. Not that he would have noticed if I hadn't."

"Gina tells me they've been here since lunch-time. I hope Phil isn't working tomorrow."


Michael made up his mind to interrupt, sure cheerful Jenny would not want to be stuck talking to the grumpy sergeant all evening. "Well, if you'll excuse us, sergeant, we were in the middle of something."

As Jenny lowered her head with a slight smile, Dennis reached for his drink and stood. "Right. Sorry."

"I might see you later? I'd like to ask your opinion on something." Jenny asked hopefully and got butterflies in her stomach when the sergeant gave a nod. She wasn't sure why, but something about the scot interested her, and she'd been trying to get his attention for weeks but he only seemed recently to have noticed. At least, she hoped he had noticed.

"Sergeant Merton!" An hour later, Jenny made her excuses to Michael and rushed out when she saw the sergeant leaving.

Dennis turned with a smile. "It's Dennis."

Jenny bit her lip and gave a smile, and Dennis suddenly felt a desire to kiss those lips. Reminding himself of what had happened last time he was attracted to someone, he took a step back and spoke gruffly. "Is it something important? I have a lot of paperwork to catch up on."

Shocked by his change of tone, Jenny stuttered out her reply. "I-It's just someone ran me off the road this morning, and-"

"You should come to the station tomorrow. Ventress deals with traffic offences."

Jenny lowered her head for a moment, and then gave a nod. "Ok. Thank you, Sergeant."