Sam was woken by a violent rapping at the door. He rolled onto his side with a groan fumbling for a clock to check the time. Had he overslept again?
"Open up you lazy bastard!" the voice of his DCI reverberated through the door.
Sam scrambled out of bed, opening the door just in time to save it being turned into matchwood for the hundredth time. Gene's foot poised to deliver the final blow. Sam mused that he must be keeping the local carpenter and locksmith in business the amount of times he had to get that door fixed.
"I was looking forward to getting rid of some pent up anger on that door," said Gene, his voice ever so slightly slurred and his breath reeking of alcohol.
"Well, my wallet disagrees, guv. To what do I owe this dubious courtesy call?" replied Sam, glancing at the clock which told him it was way too early for any sane person to be awake.
"Me and the Mrs…we...um…had a difference of opinion. Its 'er hormones and whatnot. She's being totally unreasonable."
"And I need to be told this at 3am? Why?"
"It was unanimously decided by her highness that I should find somewhere else to dump my sorry arse as she so poetically put it. So you've won the prize."
"The words you are searching for are, 'Thank you guv, for giving me the honour of your presence.'"
"Can't you stay with Chris or Ray?"
"Chris's Mam has something against me." He shuddered. "That woman can really hold a grudge."
"He's got a bird in there."
"How did you know I didn't have company?" asked Sam.
"You never 'ave," replied Gene stepping in. "Oh, bring my bag in will ya."
Gene waltzed in, sat on the bed and began to take his shoes off.
"I'm not your slave! You bring in your bag."
"Hell, you're as bad as the Mrs."
Slumped in the chair a blanket draped over him Sam had found it impossible to sleep, dropping in and out of consciousness all night. Finally as the light crept though the curtains Gene Hunt woke up with a fanfare. No wonder his wife had chucked the great big lump out.
"No baked beans for you," said Sam.
"Better out than in," replied Gene with a grin. "What's for breakfast?"
"Nothing. You wolfed down the only food in the place before you conked out."
"I thought you'd have some of your poncey Hyde grub hidden away somewhere?"
Sam held on for dear life as Gene chucked the car around the corner, revving the engine like a demon.
"This isn't the way to the station," yelled Sam.
"I know. Got to negotiate with Mrs Hunt first."
The car skidded to a halt and Gene jumped out of it. He jogged up to the house. Then leaning over the wall he grabbed a handful of flowers from the neighbour's garden and rang the bell. Sam leant forward to try and see the door properly. He'd never actually met the Governors Mrs and he was curious to see what kind of woman would want to marry his DCI. The door opened just as a van pulled up in front of the house blocking his view. Suddenly he heard angry shouts and as the van pulled away spotted Gene running from the house, crushing the flowers he had picked underfoot, as from above breakable objects came hurtling down. Gene dived into the car hastily starting the engine.
"Didn't go well I guess?" suggested Sam.
Gene headed straight for his office, a scowl on his face leaving Sam at the door which he slammed in the DI's face.
"Trouble with the Mrs again?" asked Chris, sitting behind his desk.
"How can you tell?" asked Sam, walking over.
"We're detectives aren't we? Supposed to notice stuff like that," interjected Ray, with a snigger.
"It happens every year," explained Annie, dumping some files on a nearby desk. "They have an argument and some poor sod has to put up with him for a fortnight."
"Last time he was round he broke the TV and puked up over me Mam's best linen," said Chris.
"Didn't make a good impression then?"
"Nah, she sent him the bill, poured all the alcohol down the sink and barred him from ever staying round again."
The office door swung open clattering against the wall and Gene stepped out looking like a bear with a sore head.
"What's this, a police station or a mothers meeting? If you've finished gossiping we have plenty of work to do, none of which has anything to do with my private life!"
"Sorry, guv," they all chimed, dispersing to their various positions.
It had been three days…three days since Gene Hunt had decided to stay and it was driving Sam mad. His DCI had plenty of bad habits and the propensity to avoid doing anything he deemed woman's work.
"I'm not your wife," exclaimed Sam, chucking the dirty clothes back at Gene. "You do your own laundry."
"No! It's your flat you do the housework Sammy Boy."
"Why don't you just go back home? I'm sure if you apologise-,"
"I'm not going to give her the satisfaction of thinking she's won."
"What exactly is this all about? Why did she chuck you out? I'm assuming you've always been the same Neanderthal so it can't be that. What did you do?"
"I didn't do nothing!"
"That's the problem," sniped Sam.
"It was her!"
"She kiss the milkman behind your back?" said Sam, sarcastically.
Gene suddenly grabbed hold of Sam's collar and slammed him up against the wall with a growl.
"My Mrs ain't a two-bit tart! You don't ever suggest that she is unfaithful or I will personally see to it that you eat your own words!"
"It was a joke, guv."
"Not a very funny one," he said releasing his grip and letting Sam fall.
"So you mind telling me the truth then? Unless you're not man enough to admit your faults?"
"I chose to forget an anniversary she wants to remember," grumbled Gene.
"Oh, forgetting a wedding anniversary-,"
"Not a wedding you pillock. Why would I want to forget that?!"
"Don't even think it Tyler."
"I'm not psychic guv, you're gonna have to tell me."
Gene let out a sigh. Then lighting up a cigarette he took a deep breath before he spoke.
"I'm surprised no one has told you before…I was a father once, had a daughter." He took another drag of the cigarette. "Every year the Mrs wants to go visit the grave and I don't, end of story."
"What happened to her…your daughter?"
"I'd rather not say."
"Well, if you're not ready to unburden yourself to me-,"
"I'll unburden my ruddy fist into your face if you try all that psychobabble on me."
"Sorry guv," replied Sam, holding up his hands in a gesture of surrender. "I won't try helping you sort out your mess of a life again."
"My life is not a mess you cheeky bastard!"
"Have you thought about maybe giving in and going with your wife…just once?"
"If I go 'just once' she'll insist on it every bloody year."
"I'm sure she's a reasonable woman and will understand if you tell her how you feel."
"You obviously haven't met her before. If I tell her me feelings she'd faint with shock and wonder why her old man has been replaced by a fairy."
"That's me out of ideas then," exclaimed Sam with a shrug of his shoulders. "You're on your own."
"Great," replied Gene, reaching in his inside pocket and drawing out a hipflask. He tried to take a swig but there was only a drop left. "I'm off to the pub."
"So are you going to show me how to make a Hyde breakfast than Sammy Boy?"
"A Hyde breakfast?" replied Sam, switching on the radio. "Pass me the orange."
"In the fruit bowl." 'You've heard of fruit,' he added under his breath. Sam took the fruit from Gene, and began squeezing some fresh juice.
"Why can't you get it out of a carton like normal people?"
"Its more…fulfilling to make your own. Nothing beats freshly squeezed orange juice." He chucked over the bread. "You can make the toast."
"Orange juice and toast? No wonder you look like a ruddy toothpick! I need more than that. Don't want to waste away." Gene bent over and peered into the fridge. "Ah-ha! Sausage and eggs…a good old fry up."
"I thought you wanted a Hyde breakfast?"
"Not on its own, or they'll be nothing left of me for the Mrs. I'll turn sideways and disappear."
"Don't worry, you could live off that beer belly of yours for months."
"Oy! You cheeky bastard! I am the modern Adonis I'll have you know."
"Whatever, guv. Your toast is burning."
"Shit!" Gene tried to leaver the burnt bread out of the toaster.
"No!" exclaimed Sam, snatching the knife away and pressing the butting which pushed up the toast. "What do you think you're doing?! You'll electrocute yourself!"
"I knew that," he snapped, taking the knife back. "I'm not the uneducated dingbat you think me."
Gene began to scrape the burnt bits off the toast.
"I'll make my own toast, thanks."
"Suit yourself. Where do you keep your frying pan?"
"In the cupboard," replied Sam.
"Where's the lard?"
"Do you know how much cholesterol-,"
"I don't want a lecture. I just want something to cook my eggs in."
"Here!" Sam put a bottle of olive oil on the table.
"What's this poncey rubbish?" exclaimed Gene, waving the bottle around.
"It's better for you. It's called olive oil. You put it in the pan."
"I'll put it in your gob in a minute."
"Just because you can't cook doesn't mean you can take your frustration out on others."
"What others you div!? As far as I can see you're the only one here."
"I was-," Sam didn't finish his sentence. Instead it ended with a sigh. "Just concentrate on your heart attack inducing breakfast."
"There's nowt wrong with a hearty breakfast," replied Gene, almost breaking into a smile at his pun.
It had been a week since Gene came to stay and Sam had been reduced to doing what his DCI should have done a week ago. He phoned Mrs Hunt. A woman's voice answered.
"Hello, who is it?"
"Mrs Hunt?" asked Sam.
"No. This is her mother. Who are you?"
"DI Sam Tyler, I work with your daughter's husband."
"That waste of space. He's not here you know."
"I know that," replied Sam, thinking that Mrs Hunt's mother though Gene wasn't good enough for her daughter, like most mothers.
"Then why are you calling? Is he causing trouble again?" she asked. Her voice had an annoyed tone.
"He's been staying with me and…I think its time he went home."
"Ha. After what he puts her through-,"
"Please, I have an idea. If we can act as mediator's maybe we can get them both to talk."
"The only way he's ever coming back through that door is with a change in attitude he couldn't possibly manage," she scoffed.
"What if I could get him to change some of his ways? Would that be enough?"
"Gene, make an effort? You make me laugh."
"Is it a deal though?"
"Yes it's a deal, Mr Tyler. Goodbye."
"Goodb-," Sam was unable to say anymore because Mrs Hunt's mother had put the phone down at the other end.
Sam stood outside the house with Gene. He handed him a bunch of flowers, and a box of chocolates.
"I feel like a right Dorothy in this penguin suit," Gene grumbled, tugging at the collar of his shirt.
"I've made reservations at the restaurant," replied Sam. "And remember don't take off your jacket."
"I'm going to ruddy suffocate!"
"Well, if you hadn't burnt a great big hole in your shirt-,"
"It's your bloody fault making me iron a shirt! That's women's work!"
"Shush. Keep you voice down and no swearing," said Sam. "Remember you're a gentleman now."
"You're turning me into a fairy."
"Do you want your wife back or not?"
Gene growled angrily clenching his fists in reply to Sam's comment.
"You must control your temper, guv. Remember be genteel and the reservations at 'Chez Phillipé' is for eight o'clock."
"Are you trying to bankrupt me?"
"And try not to get too pissed to drive," added Sam.
"You're not my bloody mother. Go find someone else to pester you pain in the ar-,"
"I'll be off now, guv."
"No spying on me you nonce."
Sam slipped away down the road pausing for a moment to check that Gene had knocked on the door. He could see his DCI standing there waiting for the door to open. Sam shook his head. It was like beauty and the beast. Gene Hunt had a lot of rough edges that would take a long time to smooth down, time he didn't have. So they made do and disguised his less attractive attributes. Hopefully he wouldn't mess it up before his wife forgave him. Sam didn't think he could tolerate having Gene as a permanent flatmate and stay relatively sane.
"I'm guessing last night went well, guv," said Sam the next day at the station. "You didn't come crawling back to the flat."
"Let's just say…what happened is no ones business but mine," replied Gene, taking a swig of his hipflask.
"Then it was a success?"
"You could say that and then again you couldn't."
"You're not making sense here. Do I or do I not have my flat back?"
Gene lit up a cigarette took a puff then gave Sam an odd look.
"The flat is yours Sammy Boy which is more than I can say for my home."
"What do you mean?" asked Sam, confused.
"It turns out the Mrs has ruddy well gone and got herself in a spot of bother. In nine months time they'll be a little brat cluttering up my house."
"Of course mine you ruddy pillock! It's not the flippin milkman's is it?!"
"And you're not happy about this?"
"Oh, I'm happy alright, ecstatic even," replied Gene his tone of voice not matching his words. "Just another thing for 'er indoors to hold against me."