Chandler reluctantly turned the chirping alarm off and drew back the duvet, lay staring at the ceiling and then admitted defeat and clambered out of bed. A new day was upon them, another day for whitechapel villains to mock him.
The empty incident room was as organised and aligned as it had been when he'd left it only 7 hours previously. And despite being here til gone midnight he had very little other than the tidy desks to show for it. His head felt heavy, his brain filled with a thick mist that made thinking painful. He stood in the incident room staring through rather than at the whiteboards; most of them empty except the one nearest the door that said 'Louise Ivor' and underneath 'provocateur?'
Kent drugged through his morning routine; shirt, tie, waistcoat, really why bother with the waistcoat? Except catching a glimpse of his reflection in the window decided that he actually looked really rather good in the waistcoat. So what if he'd bought it to impress Chandler originally, he need only please himself today and he liked it.
Look smart, presentable and professional. Hide the pain, the disappointment and the pointlessness of unrequited love. Sit straight and fly right, no one need know.
He considered breakfast. But it held no appeal.
'How's your head this morning?' asked Riley as she swung into her seat and pushed up her jumper sleeves.
'Nothing a good fry up and some special lovin' from Erica didn't sort out this morning' replied Mansell with a stretch of his arms and a good yawn. 'my back on the other hand is killing me'
Miles wandered through, 'mornin' he mumbled coffee in hand. 'what's up boss?' he called over to Chandlers back.
Chandler turned around and counted his team, 'Where's Ed? I thought he'd be in by now can someone please go and get him up out of the archive. I want you all in on this.'
'I'll go' said Kent with reflexively with more enthusiasm that he intended, damn he scolded himself as he felt the flutter of excitement as Chandler made eye contact with him.
'Thanks,' a nod and then chandler turned back to contemplate the empty boards.
Kent had been gone a good minute before Chandler turned round again.
'I'm sorry about last night' he said apologetically, and he was truly sorry he had really been stoked when Kent had invited him, and was genuinely looking forward to celebrating with the team. And then, well then the explosion happened and he felt like he'd lost all control of everything.
'it's OK,' Miles said with a quick cuff to chandlers arm, 'we understand'
'You were missed though, Sir' said Riley kindly
A snort came out of Mansell 'yeah especially by Kent'
'Welcome to join us any time' Riley continued. 'with or without an invite'
Chandler head momentarily drawn to Mansell returned to look a Riley, 'thank you' he said acknowledging her kindness.
The door to the incident room burst open, and Buchan came through sideways still in full flow as Kent trailed in behind him catching the door with his hand before it swung back in face.
'but I just hadn't realised til last night and when I go back over the evidence I can't believe I hadn't spotted it before. You poor poor thing but I don't think it's a lost cause at all I've seen plenty of encouraging… '
He stopped mid sentence as if suddenly aware of where he was.
'ah morning all' he said brightly
'any relevant evidence Ed?' Chandler asked mildly concerned he might about to get more than a one word answer.
'Evidence for what?' Ed replied, apparently surprised he should be asked for such a thing. 'Kent didn't come with a request he merely told me my presence was required up here; so here I am.' he said fingers stretching and then in twinning those of the opposite hand.
Chandler rubbed his eyebrow and assumed he'd been lucky enough to miss one of Ed's rambling stories. He'd made a mental note to thank Kent later for bearing the brunt of that, and to apologise personally for not joining them, him, last night.
'I've got a meeting with the commander at ten about last night. But before that I wanted to take this opportunity to say that if we are between cases I want us to focus on finding out all we can about Louise Ivor and attempt to make sense of Wingfield's theory. I'd like to try and continue his enquiries where he left off.'
'Joe' said Anderson opening the heavy door to his office and gesturing him to come through.
Joe nodded and stepped inside the spacious glass office.
'take a seat'
'I'd rather stand' Joe said defensively
'No one blames you for last night's explosion, Joe' Anderson sighed in a bored tone.
Joe rubbed his temple, mind swirling. What if he'd been more in control during the arrest. What if he'd read the letter and they'd been in separate vans. What if they'd followed Wingfields warnings.
'Joe!' Anderson voice wasn't raised but it was commanding and it brought back to the present with a jolt.
'Sorry' he said running a hand through his hair it and turning his attention back to the man behind the desk.
'You solved the case, you made the arrest, you followed protocol, and sometimes shit happens. As your superior I'm not disappointed with your work. In my role as your friend and family I'm concerned about you Joe.'
'You needn't be' Joe lied. Straightening his posture to at least look more confident and together than he felt.
Anderson raised a disbelieving eyebrow. 'very well. I am of course awaiting the enquiry results into the accident and I'll send them on to you once they're in. In the meantime Joe, don't interfere, I don't want you near that enquiry are we clear?'
'Good' Anderson looked satisfied.
Joe rose out his chair, straightened his jacket and turned to go.
'this job will take everything you give it, you need to save something for yourself or it will destroy you' he called after him.
If Joe heard him he didn't show it and the door to the office closed.
'So' Ed began peering over his glasses at Riley as she sat the other side of his desk engrossed in Wingfields papers. 'I hear romance is in the air upstairs'
'Ed what are you on about?'
'The tell tale signs of an office romance' he exclaimed and then drifted off into his thoughts 'the smiles, the looks, the touch of a hand. To some it might go unnoticed, but to a keen eye like myself such secret is impossible to hide.'
'Ed, stop. There's no sordy office affair going on. I don't know what's got into you this morning.' she paused 'Mansell hasn't sent you another email has he?' she said giving him a serious look.
'No.' Ed said offended and rearranging his clothes and huffing slightly as he avoided eye contact. He did not need reminding about that particular incident.
A moment's silence passed, just long enough for Riley to regain her train of thought before Ed interrupted again.
'It's just I couldn't help but notice how disappointed young Kent was when Joe didn't join us at the pub you know. It takes guts to make the first move and then what with the unfortunate turn of events to have his hopes dashed like that.'
Riley put the papers down, rested her arm on the desk and looked at Ed. 'that's very sweet of you Ed but I don't think gossiping down here is going to help the matter is it.
'No! You're right we should be up there nudging them together, manipulating the environment, ensuring they work togeth…'
'Ed,' Riley said exasperated 'sit down, and leave them alone. No one wants to be the subject of office gossip or to have their colleagues playing cupid. You're not the only one to have noticed. But either the boss hasn't noticed or he's not interested and either way we're not getting involved. You hear me, not getting involved'
Ed muttered something and regathered his papers. Riley shook her head and returned to the task in hand.