Playlist: Long Distance Call by Phoenix : Oh my God by Lilly Allen : Wait by Get Set Go
Disclaimer: Really? No..
Jeffries drove while Lil read him the address.
"He said he had the week off work, that he'd be at home if we needed to talk to him."
When ringing the bell, knocking and calling his number didn't get them a response, Lilly walked out onto the footpath, looked either way.
"He could've gone to the shops. They're only a block away." Jeffries nodded, followed her.
"So, you're getting married?" Lil allowed herself a smile as she looked up to Jeffries. She'd known him for almost as long as she'd worked in the department, and he was the one person on their team, other than the Boss, that she trusted not to pass on anything she imparted.
"Yeah. Eventually. For a while, I think we'll just be engaged. It was kind of a sudden suggestion."
"But you're happy?" Jeffries' question prompted her to purse her lips, concede.
"Yeah. I'm happy." And the truth was, she was getting happier the more she adjusted to the idea. The more the shock value wore off, which it was still doing, the happier she was letting herself feel. If anyone was solid, it was Ray. The first time it hadn't worked out mainly because they'd each wanted to be such different places; they were just starting out in their lives, testing the waters of lives lived outside the boundaries their old neighbourhoods had set for them. Now, they were agreeing on things, and their childhoods were distant memories.
"There's our boy." Lil motioned to Mark's figure, carrying shopping bags in his arms. He greeted them politely, agreed to go to the police station without much fuss. Lil bet that this was amusing to him; he probably considered himself too smart for them; hadn't bet on his friends pinning the idea or the robbery on him.
Back at the office, Lilly and Jeffries left Mark in the interview room and came back to hear what Stillman had to say.
"Vera, you and Will lean on him. If he was working with the grocer, he might be influenced by older men." They nodded, moved into the interview room. Lilly and Scotty, in awkward silence, filed into the black room behind the interview room.
"So you guys got engaged?"
"Yeah." Lil leant against the wall, crossed her ankles. "Want to tell me what you were so upset about?" She didn't get his reaction. She didn't have to keep him informed of everything she was doing in her life. And even if she wanted to, she couldn't have told him that Ray was going to propose. That had surprised her as much as it had everyone else.
"Thought he wasn't staying?" His voice was still sullen and Lilly recrossed her ankles, watched Jeffries move around the table, lean into Mark's face.
"Well, I guess he is now."
"And you're okay with that?"
"Look, what is your problem with this, Scotty? The fact that I'm actually happy, or that I didn't ask your permission first?"
"So you're happy?" It was the second time she'd been asked this in just under two hours. Why did everyone think she'd be so unhappy? Because they couldn't imagine her as anything other than single, couldn't imagine her being with someone that made her happy?
"Yeah. I am." Lil stood up straighter, her eyes on Vera in the interview room, leaning back in his chair. Mark was looking nervous, cagey. They might get him to crack soon.
"I just… I don't want to see you get hurt again, Lil." Scotty looked over to her and she moved her eyes, met his in the reflection of the glass. Lilly shrugged to him, not wanting the moment to linger too long, go too deep. He'd made his choice when he didn't tell her about Christina; information was a two way street. She looked away.
"He's a good guy. Always honest." Lil flicked a glance back to Scotty, saw that her comment had hit the mark. She didn't even have to lie about Ray's honesty; he was the kind of guy that couldn't lie. In all the time she'd known him, she couldn't remember him ever lying to her. Which was why she'd taken his proclamations of love at face value.
"He loves me, Scotty. And for once, I'm going to let myself be happy." Will and Jeffries left the interview room, and Lil pulled opened the door, letting herself back in to meet them in the office.
"What do you think?" She asked them, leaving Scotty behind.
"He's obviously scared; probably didn't think we'd figure out the link. Not talking yet, though. Might be time for a woman's touch." Lil nodded, shot a glance to the still closed door to the observation room.
"I'll talk to him."
"Scotty?" Vera asked. Lil shook her head.
"He might open up more in a one-on-one." She grabbed the case file off Jeffries and let herself into the interview room. Vera looked between the closed doors to the interview and observation rooms. Will shrugged.
"Hi, Mark." Lil slid into the seat opposite Mark and opened the case file in front of her.
"So, we don't think you've been completely honest." Mark slid a look up at her from under his fringe. He wasn't bad looking, but she could still see traces of the teenager he would have been; tall, gangly and unsure of the way he should adjust to a body that may as well have sprung up on him overnight.
"What are you talking about?"
"Well, you either stole the knife that killed Lydia, in which case it might have been you who killed her, or you had an arrangement with Mr Harris, stole some things from his store so he could report the knife missing before he killed Lydia and threw it in the trash with the other stolen goods." Lil shrugged, leaned forward to Mark, forcing him to look at her.
"Both scenarios don't paint a very good picture of you, and neither does the fact that you never talked to the police the first time around." The time he'd spent with Vera and Jeffries had already worn him down, and he rubbed his eyes, rested his head on his hands. Lil had picked up on something when she'd mentioned Harris' name; had noticed the same reaction when Jeffries and Vera had said the name to him.
"How long had you known Harris, Mark? Was he your local grocer? Made sure he always ordered in enough fresh fruit to keep your mother happy, always had a lolly pop there for you when you went along to the store with her? Until you got older, and it was maybe a trashy magazine you got for free, some cigarettes?" Mark looked up suddenly, letting Lil know she was on the right track. She spun out of her seat, moved back to lean against the mirror.
"And then you came in with Lydia, and he wasn't happy, was he? Because you were his. And he didn't want to share you."
"It was okay when you came in with your mother, some other friends, but your girlfriend shows up and Harris gets mad, doesn't he?"
"Just shut the fuck up." Mark narrowed his eyes at her, and Lil was glad she'd moved to the wall. Usually they had two people in there for safety reasons, but she hadn't thought Mark would snap. Right now, she wasn't so sure.
"Did you tell him you and Lydia would be around that night? Watch while he stabbed her? Did you get blood on your shoes when he cut her throat, Mark?" Lilly pulled out the crime scene photos and spread them across the table. Mark put his head back down, not wanting to look at the glossy images.
"Look what you did. Look at them." Lilly leaned over so her shadow met his folded arms.
"He wasn't going to kill her."
"Really? Then how did she end up like this?" Lil pulled the chair out and sank back into it, letting the silence grow. She'd moved him to the edge, but he had to take the last step by himself.
"He raped me. That sick fuck…" Mark's hands balled into fists and he looked up at Lil.
"It wasn't your fault. He shouldn't have done that." It was as if Mark had reverted to his teens; his voice sounded more gravely, his tone more submissive.
"Since I was a kid… He told me if I told anyone, he'd tell my mother that I wanted it. That I asked for it. Just like I used to ask for the lolly pops every week." Lil shook her head; she hadn't wanted to be right, but more often than not the most twisted and sickening explanation was going to be right.
"Tell me what happened that night." Lil said quietly. Mark bit his lip then started to speak.
"So let me get this straight; Harris was abusing Mark until he told him that he'd told Lydia."
"Which he hadn't, it was just a scare tactic to try and get Harris to leave him alone."
"But Harris convinced him to rob the store and dump the goods, told him he'd leave him alone if he took a few things. Mark gets his friends in on it, thinks it'll improve his street cred."
"Mark didn't know anything about the knife; it was Harris that reported it missing, tossed it later."
"So Lydia was killed because Harris thought she knew something she didn't." Stillman looked around his detectives as they nodded.
"We've got Harris in a cell. If we don't get a confession out of him, he might have to go. Evidence is circumstantial. I mean, even with Mark's input, we still don't have an eyewit or his fingerprints on the knife."
"And what kind of lawyer is going to want to cross examine an old guy with Alzheimer's." Lil looked to Vera, shrugged.
"At least we can get him on statutory rape."
"Oughta be enough to put him away til he dies." Scotty shut the file he had in front of him and looked up to Stillman.
"Good work, guys. Jones tonight everyone?" There were nods all round as they started gathering jackets and tidying up files.
"So, is your mystery man coming down to the tavern?" Kat slid a glance Lilly's way as they were putting on their jackets. Lil nodded, pulled at the hemline of her skirt.
"I advised him against it but he said he'll be there."
As the door opened each time, Vera would look up expectantly until Lil made him switch seats with her so he'd stop doing his jack-in-the-box imitation.
"Another round?" Jeffries got up to fix the tab and get the drinks as everyone nodded. For some reason, it was less crowded than usual and Lil caught sight of Ray as soon as he walked around. He rubbed his hands through his hair, caught her eye as she smiled over at him. As if on cue, everyone else at the table turned as he crossed the room. Lil had warned him on the phone it would be twenty questions, but he'd still wanted to come, meet the people she worked with. Kat caught her eye, nodded her approval. Ray had changed into a pair of black jeans, a green shirt and his usual leather jacket. For once, he didn't have helmet hair and she figured he'd walked over. When she'd talked to him, she'd told him there was no way in hell she could hop on the bike in this skirt.
He arrived at the table, shook hands with everyone and waited until Lil made some room so he could sit down. When she'd switched it had put her on the booth side of the table and he managed to squeeze in next to her so their thighs were touching under the table.
"So, how long have you known Rush?" Lilly rolled her eyes as the deluge started, looked at Ray while he was looking thoughtful.
"What is it, Lil? Coming up… nineteen years?" Ray looked back around the table, nodding slowly as Vera tried to swallow his incredulousness. He'd probably been expecting an answer that was under a year or maybe something just over the stretch of time between the last time Ray had shown up at work, and now.
"Well, that kind of covers it for me." Vera coughed, accepted his drink off Jeffries. Lil handed hers to Ray, who took a long swallow, handed it back.
"So you gotta job here now?" Scotty asked. Lil shot a glance at him, wondering how far he was going to take it. She already knew his feelings on how much of a stable guy Ray seemed to be; she didn't want him to project them to Ray as well.
"Yeah, I've got a chain of Harley shops. Main base is here in Philly, but we're going to start expanding." Ray shrugged, leant back in the booth.
"Harley's?" Jeffries asked, his interest piqued. Ray nodded, and a conversation was started; something about the engine in a Harley that Lilly wasn't following. The rest of the evening was more or less uneventful. Ray shouted a few rounds, made himself popular in that regard. Lilly sat back and watched him listen to her colleagues. She wasn't into public displays of affection, but she found his hand under the table and slipped hers into it. He looked back at her and they shared a smile.
"We're gonna go. Long day." Lilly looked around as she spoke. Ray took her cue, got up. Kat had already departed; she usually only stayed for a few rounds before she left. But the rest of the boys were still there, and probably would be for another hour.
"Hey, good meeting you." Ray gave them a wave before his arm slipped around Lil as they walked out. She let it rest on her shoulders, tugged on her skirt again. Ray reached into his pocket, pulled out some slips of paper that he handed to her.
"What's this?" Lil took it, squinted in the light as he pulled open the door for her.
"As cute as you look in that skirt… Figured you might want your suits back." Lilly stopped outside the door, moving aside only as a few people pushed past them, separating them.
"You took my clothes to the drycleaners?" She spoke when they were back together, and Ray shrugged, his hands back in his pockets.
"Just don't tell the guys I work with. Doesn't help the image, y'know." Lilly felt a smile spreading across her face. Public displays of affection be damned, she was going to be able to ditch the skirt tomorrow.
"I love you, you know that?" Ray shrugged, accepted the kiss she gave him before they started walking down the street.
"Your boss threatened me, you know that?"
"What?" Lil let out a laugh, moved closer to Ray as he put an arm around her.
"Apparently, he carries a gun and he won't be shy to use it if you get hurt on account of me." Lil shook her head, looked up towards Ray. He smiled down.
"Guess that confirms it. We're together forever." Lilly looked forward again. It was a dark night, and the air was chilly, but she was walking in the figurative sunshine. Ray's arms felt warm across her shoulders, and she could imagine him walking her home for as long as she needed an escort. And her answers to Jeffries and Scotty were becoming truer; she was happy. It had been a long nineteen years, in which she'd question herself if love was ever enough; apparently it was.
So that's where I'll finish it, I think. Lil, finally being happy. Something no one ever thought they'd see, right? And with MC Man to boot. I do like this nice version of him though. I thought about the arsehole angle but reconsidered. I just liked him too much this way. What did everyone think? Loved it? Hated it? About to flame me in protest? While you're at it, though, pass along some thoughts about characterisation, writing style, etc. A writer always needs some constructive feedback- it'll make the next fic better! Let me know what you want to see next as well.
And if you loved this… There's always room for a part two; Lil and Ray in wedded bliss. Ah, I can hear the choir. Hee. Thanks for reading!