Disclaimer: Hustle belongs to the joint forces of the BBC and AMC. I'm only borrowing the characters, and will return them unharmed.
A/N: Just a little scene between Stacie and Albie that I would have loved to have seen at the end of "Old Acquaintance."
She spent an hour lying in bed, starring at the ceiling, before giving up on the idea of sleep. Slipping out of bed she wrapped herself in the red silk robe that hung on the back of the door. Deciding that a drink might help with the insomnia she left her bedroom and made her way to the liqueur cabinet in the corner of the living room.
"You couldn't sleep either?"
She hadn't turned on a light, and it took her a moment to locate the source of the voice.
"You startled me, Albie. What are you doing sitting in the dark?"
"I like the dark. Nothing like it to hide one's faults." There was a sift click and the lamp turned on, illuminating the man sitting on the couch. He was still dressed, though the tie was gone and his top shirt button undone.
"You don't have any faults," she said affectionately. Moving towards him and resting her hand on his shoulder, Stacie gestured to the empty glass in his hand. "Refill?"
"Thanks, on both accounts." He handed her the glass and she carried it to the bar, setting a clean one next to it. After filling both with ice and alcohol she returned to the seating area and joined Albie on the couch. They clinked their glasses together in a silent toast before each taking a sip.
"I hope it's not regret that it keeping you awake." He didn't look at her as he spoke, but swirled the glass in his hand so that the ice clinked together.
"No. At least not any regret about being here instead of with him."
"Good. You know you had us worried today. There were about ten minutes there when we thought you were seriously leaving. It wasn't until Eddie commented on the funny money you stuck in your purse that Mickey figured out what was going on."
"I'm sorry, there wasn't any way to let you know. We were loosing him and I..."
"Don't apologize, my dear. We know that you did what needed to be done. As Ash said earlier you always do think quick on your feet."
"A handy talent in this profession of ours."
"That it is." Albie took one last sip of his drink before setting the drained glass down on the side table next to him. "We would have let you go, if it had been what you wanted. It would have been hard, and we would have missed you, but if we thought it would have meant your happiness we would have watched you walk away."
"It would have been the biggest mistake I had ever made." She had been tempted, for just a moment. Sitting in the cab with her hand on the clasp of her purse she had wondered what it would have been like to disappear with Jake. Despite everything she still loved the bastard. It wasn't enough, she knew, and so she opened the purse and withdrew the fake money.
"He never deserved you. Not the first time and certainly not now."
"How do you always know just the right thing to say, Albie?"
"I only speak the truth tonight. You are an extraordinary woman, and you deserve only the best."
"I have the best." She thought of the three men asleep in their rooms and the man next to her on the couch. For the first time since spying Jake in the casino she felt at peace. Yawning, she rested her head on Albie's welcoming shoulder. This was where she belonged.