A/N: My second one-shot of the three. A little longer, same pairing though. Hope you like, wrote this one for you, Claire.
Furious didn't begin to cover what I was feeling right then.
Part of me thought I should've expected it, after all, I'd hardly been the model officer had I, having spent a good portion of the last year trying to deal with my errant daughter. But I'd done the job before! That had to put me ahead of Ramani de Costa, surely?
Well, obviously not, I reminded myself as I slammed my car door shut, otherwise I'd have got the job. Feeling my phone in my pocket I searched my brain and address book for someone suitable, finally settled on a woman I called regularly but hadn't seen for over a year. 'Hi, it's me.'
'It's been a while.'
I set down the glasses, grateful she'd chosen a quiet corner of the pub. 'Yeah, it has.'
'Any particular reason you called me now or..?'
'You always were too quick for your own good.'
'Come on, Sam,' Eva answered with a shrug. 'You'd have to be blind not to notice that mad glint in your eye.'
I laughed. 'Mad angry or mad crazy?'
'Haven't decided yet. So, what is it? Work? Abigail?'
'Oh, Abi's fine. I'm sure I wasn't that happy when I was pregnant.'
'That leaves work then,' said Eva diligently. 'Since those are the only two things in your life.'
It was impossible, I felt thirty times better already. 'Yeah, alright. That's very harsh.'
'Ah, but very true.
'Okay, okay. I was passed over for Acting DI while the Super's away.'
'You what?' Well, at least Eva shared her disbelief. 'You played that role for, what, eighteen months? What the hell are they playing at? Is this down to Manson?'
When she paused for breath, I smiled at her. There was always something about Eva that relaxed me, even when she was talking ten to the dozen. 'The final decision was Jack's.'
'Well, that's very nice I must say. Who'd he give it to?'
'Ramani.' I avoided spitting the name since it was hardly Acting DI de Costa's fault. 'I mean, I know she's more than capable but...'
'You did the job for over a year,' Eva finished. 'It's reasonable to feel cheated.'
Pausing for a moment, I took a long sip of my wine. 'I'm making mountains, aren't I?'
'Why you asking me?'
'Come on, Eva. A straight answer.'
'Look, my view? It's better if you ain't DI, at least not while Manson's around. All you'd have was him undermining you, like Jack was trying to do with him. You'll get your chance, Sam, just not yet.'
I shook my head at her more than straight answer. 'Does everyone just confess to murder when you're on their case?'
She just innocently shrugged. 'It has been known.'
'Alright,' I said after a moment. 'Now we've established why I'm an idiot, how about we talk about you?'
'See, now we get down to the nitty gritty. No, there's nothing to tell.'
'What, nothing? What about you and Paul, any closer to...'
'Nah,' she interrupted. 'He's met someone else.'
'Oh, Eva. I'm sorry.'
'Don't be. I broke up the marriage and I ain't sorry either. Yeah, it's been tough on me, especially on the kids, but I got a great job, good satisfaction. Hark at me, I'm turning into you.'
'And that's a bad thing, why?'
Eva reached for her drink. 'It ain't, I suppose.'
That struck me as one of the nicest things anybody had said to me in a long while apart from 'good work'. 'How are the kids coping?'
'They're resilient, you know? They can pull through anything.'
'Yeah, I know what you mean. They're stronger than us sometimes.'
'Tell me about it,' Eva smiled.
Silence fell for a few minutes while I searched my brain for something to say. It was all well and good deciding Eva Sharpe was my saviour in my hour of need but there wasn't a reasonable explanation why. Yes, she'd been one person I could relate to at Sun Hill, perhaps one person there I actually trusted and respected. Of course, I had respected but that was before he'd started playing God with my career. And I had to face it, Sun Hill was home to a pack of hyenas, I knew it, I was one. 'I'm sorry, Eva, I shouldn't have bothered you.'
'What? No, it's good to see a friendly face. Instead of dead ones.'
I laughed and that was it, the ice was well and truly shattered. 'Come on, I want to know all about your big-shot life in MIT.'
Well, the other week we got called out to this old guy's flat...'
When we finally finished talking I was astonished to find it was almost eleven. Time had flown. 'It's getting late. I should go.'
'Come back to mine,' Eva suggested. 'Got a perfectly good sofa.'
'Well, thanks for the offer but...'
'Oh, come on,' she persisted. 'Sammy and Joanna are with Paul, only thing I've got waiting for me is a good bottle of wine. Better to share it.'
It was tempting but... 'I've got Abi to consider.'
'Who'll no doubt be pleased to be shot of you for a while. No offence.'
'None taken. Yeah, alright. Let's go.'
'... And then some idiot PC says he'd got it wrong and there wasn't actually a body.'
'Better than claiming it got up and walked away,' I laughed reaching across Eva to refill my glass. 'How do idiots like that get in the force?'
'Well, you need 'em for a laugh, don't ya? Anyway, what would you moan about if not Tony Stamp and Gabriel Kent?'
'True,' I conceded, forgetting to notion of trying to pour from that angle, instead draping myself over her knee to get a better grip on the bottle. 'But I could do without it sometimes.'
'Yeah... Samantha, what are you doing?'
'Getting a drink.'
'Okay, firstly, why not ask me? Secondly, that bottle's been empty for half an hour, whatever you do you ain't gonna get anything out of it.'
'Yes, well, I was just, you know, checking.'
'Course, yeah.' Eva's hand plopped down on my head, her fingers twisting my hair. 'You wanna stay down there or..?'
'I might have to,' I admitted sheepishly. 'I think I locked my neck.'
As she burst out laughing she saw fit to scoot down onto the floor meaning the next thing I knew we were both entangled on the carpet, my leg wrapped around her waist and her face in my hair. And she still had a hold of her wine glass. For a second I considered just getting up, because, of course, that was the sensible thing to do, but instead I pulled back my head so were face to face. She was staring at me and I was looking at her eyebrows of all things!
Then I became aware of her hand. During the fall (I assumed it had happened then) her left hand had found its way under my shirt and half-way up my back. Now her fingers were gently massaging my spine, perhaps unconsciously, as her eyes still focussed widely on mine.
The deliberation took all of three seconds. As quickly as I could I pulled us both to our feet, expectant of the hand moving away but still feeling a pang of regret as it did. No matter. Seducing Eva Sharpe- my ex-colleague, my friend- hadn't been high on my list of priorities when I'd called her and it wasn't about to get added either. For starters, she was drunk. Hell, I was drunk.
Or was I? Perhaps it had been the fall which sobered me but I suddenly felt much more alert than I thought I would and as I glanced back up from the floor into Eva's face I realised she was the same. Though my throat was dry I had a crack at speech, 'I think I've had a bit too much to drink.'
'Maybe we both did,' she replied slowly. 'Yeah, it's late.'
'Very,' I agreed. 'And we've both got work tomorrow.'
'Yep.' My body didn't seem inclined to move, whatever messages my brain was transmitting. Then again, if I had to admit it, the messages were going to be mixed. Part of me (my detective sergeant half) was telling me to back well off and that way I might salvage the friendship but the other half of me , a frivolous adventurous side I barely recognised as my own, was urging me to just risk the damn friendship. Risk it for something better.
Which part of my personality would've won out I'll never know. Before I could decide on any course of action Eva took my hesitation as the go-ahead, tilting my chin with one soft hand as she closed the space between us.
God, then I wondered why I'd spent my time deliberating. The kiss was more than I'd ever experienced. Passionate but calm, warm enough to send me light-headed and... perfect. That was the word.
It wasn't going to end, I had to make sure of that. First things first, I removed the wine glass from her right hand, all the time making sure we didn't break the contact. The spell would be broken, I knew that. Once the glass had been deposited on the table I turned my attentions to her jacket, a hefty pointless thing. It hardly took a moment to push it off to the ground joining mine which Eva had just dealt with. As her hands slipped once again up the back of my shirt I stumbled forward, landing us both on the sofa.
I'd opened half an eye before shutting it again. I had to be sure this was real. So when I finally opened both eyes I was surprised to find I hadn't woken from a particularly nice dream. Well, I hadn't.
Eva Sharpe was next to me on the floor, her hand holding mine tightly. The events of the previous evening came back in flashes. There had been alcohol, that I could work out easily enough, then had come the fall and the kissing and... oh, yes, that. My mouth went dry as I remembered every little detail and realised Eva had been as fuelled by the wine last night as I was. I didn't regret it but there was every chance she did.
With that thought fresh in my mind I tried to stay as still as was humanly possible. At least that way I could preserve the moment.
It wasn't long though before Eva started stirring under the jackets we'd used as blankets. Reminding myself that, as DS Samantha Nixon, I had to accept whatever she said gratefully, I waited as the realisation dawned for her and she released my hand as she turned her head to look at me. 'Morning,' I said, my voice slightly shaking.
Hers was too. 'Morning.'
It wasn't a situation I was used to being it, the protocol had completely bypassed me. 'Are you okay?'
Her finger reattached themselves to mine as she kissed me gently. 'Good. Now stick the kettle on.'