It had been a couple of weeks since he had been back at work in 2003. He still felt liked this was a dream, slightly unreal. Sam looked up as he heard a knock at the door.
"Come in," said Sam. He nervously twirled the pen in his hand as he spoke.
The door swung open and in strode a tall blond with ocean blue eyes and a defiant countenance. Sam leaned back in his chair, steepling his fingers. He pursed his lips as he observed the young woman. There was something familiar about her he couldn't quite put his finger on.
"And you are?" he asked with a weary sigh.
"Eugenenia Hunt. I'm your new DI, just transferred from Hyde."
"Are you ok, guv? You look a like you've seen a ghost."
"Eugenenia?" stammered Sam.
"It's a bit of a mouthful, I know. My friends call me Gene."
"Gene Hunt," he muttered, taking a sip of water from a glass that sat on his desk.
"Something wrong with that?" she replied sarcastically. "Does my name offend you?"
"No. No, nothing like that. I just…" he got to his feet. "Excuse me. I'm not feeling a hundred percent."
"I heard about the accident."
"Everyone has it seems," he snapped.
"Sore point is it? Look I've taken the time and the effort to come see you the least you could do is show me some respect."
"Since the moment I walked through the door you've been dismissive."
"I didn't mean to," said Sam distracted. "You've just caught me at a bad time."
"Bad time my arse. What are you a woman? Believe me you don't have bad days!"
Taken aback by her vitriol he took a deep breath and decided to ask the question.
"Are you related to a DCI Gene Hunt?"
"Thought you'd never ask," she replied with a grin.
"He told me you were a right Jessie and would pussy-foot around before you finally said something."
"You were waiting for me to ask?"
"Yeah. I don't know how this works or why…it's freaking me out a bit. But I've seen the photos, the newspaper articles."
"What are you saying?"
Eugenenia leant forward glaring at him.
"I'm saying I know who you are."
"Who am I then?"
"You are Sam Tyler."
"I don't know how this works but something tells me that I shouldn't mess with nature. You have to work it out for yourself," she smiled coyly. "Now, down to business."
"Are you trying to wind me up?"
"Why would I do that?"
"For fun? For a dare?"
"I don't do dares, people get hurt."
"Then why would you offer me an explanation yet hold the facts back? Messing with my mind," he exclaimed dropping into his seat head in hands.
"Come on," sighed Eugenenia. "With respect sir, get over yourself. Live for today and tomorrow, not the past you pansy. There are murderers and worse out there that need putting behind bars and nothing is going to happen if you mope around feeling sorry for yourself, guv."
"You're not afraid of speaking your mind."
"That's how I've been brought up. So like it or lump it, or send me back like everyone else."
There was an awkward silence before same broached the subject again. Sam hoped that Gene and the rest of the team had survived the train fiasco.
"How is your dad these days then?"
"Six feet under pushing up the daisies."
"I'm sorry," blurted Sam, his heart sinking.
"It wasn't your fault."
"Can I ask how?"
"Between the bad diet, drink and cigarettes one of 'em was going to kill him eventually. It just happened his heart gave out before cancer or diabetes got him."
"I'm sure he was proud of you following in his footsteps," offered Sam, hopefully.
"He hated the idea of it," replied Eugenenia bluntly, her countenance suddenly all seriousness. "Thought I could do better with my education. Mum wasn't too pleased either. She blamed his job for the marriage break up."
"Ah. I'm sorry." Sam wasn't sure how to reply to that statement. His words had meant to be comforting but it had just dragged up painful memories it seemed. He picked up a file from his desk, swiftly flicking through its contents he then handed it to Eugenenia. "We might as well go straight in the deep end on your first day."
"Thank you." She took the folder and raised her eyebrows on viewing the subject. "A missing person case?"
"As you said criminals don't take a break just because we don't feel well."
"Ooh, get you."
"We'll interview the mother first as she seems to be the last person to see Page Lane alive."
"I'll drive you. I can't let someone with a head injury be left in charge of a moving vehicle…guv."
Eugenenia and Sam pulled up outside the grubby council estate in a rusty ford fiesta. She pulled up on some yellow lines and switched off the engine.
"You can't park here," said Sam.
"We'll only be a minute," she replied, with a smile getting out of the car. She went round the back took a wheel clamp from the boot and attached it to the vehicle then produced a parking ticket from her pocket putting it under the window wiper. "That should keep any traffic wardens off guard and stop any light fingered residents from nicking my car. I'm quite attached to my wheels."
Sam shook his head resignedly, as they headed across the rubbish strewn pavement towards the graffiti covered stairwell. Eugenenia wrinkled her nose up at the smell of urine and decay. Their footsteps echoed round the stairwell as they jogged up the concrete steps - the lift being out of order- to level 10.
"No wonder she ran away," commented Eugenenia. "This place is a dump."
"There's no place like home," replied Sam, shrugging his shoulders as he rung the doorbell of the flat.
With a clatter of chains and locks the door creaked, open one eye peering round the side.
"Who wants to know?" replied the woman.
"I'm DCI Tyler," explained Sam flashing his badge. "And this is DI Hunt. We're here about your daughter."
"I guess you'll want to come in then," snapped Mrs Lane, opening the door just enough for the two detectives to enter. "Wipe your feet."
After settling down on a sofa that was probably around in the seventies and being handed tea in a chipped, stained mugs Sam was the first to speak.
"When did you last see Page?"
"What time?" asked Eugenenia.
"I don't know…afternoon sometime."
"You're a great help-,"
"Gene," warned Sam, the words felt somehow wrong in his mouth.
"Did she have a boyfriend?"
"I hope not," sneered Mrs Lane. "But I wouldn't put it past the little tart."
"You didn't get on?"
"Not since her father left. She's been nothing but trouble since he did a midnight flit."
"Do you think she might have gone to find him…her father that is?" asked Sam.
"I don't know why," Mrs Lane sneered, lighting up a cigarette.
"Is there anywhere else she might have gone?" asked Eugenenia, taking notes, a tone of annoyance in her voice. She appeared to object to the smoke. "What about friends?"
"You could try Tanya."
"Colebert. She lives on the other side of the estate. That's where I thought she'd been staying over the weekend."
"Thank you for all your help," said Eugenenia sharply standing up. "We'll be in touch."
They headed across the courtyard area strewn with litter. Eugenenia led the way striding towards where the car was parked. Sam could see she was annoyed about something.
"What was that all about?" demanded Sam. "Were you trying to show me up?"
"No wonder that girl ran away from home with a mother like that."
"Answer me question! Are you trying to undermine my authority?"
"No, course not. Your not a hundred percent are you…I had to do the job for both of us."
"I'm not an invalid," he replied. "I'm your superior. Show me some respect."
"I will if you give me a reason to." She unlocked the car. "Do you want a lift or not?"
He got into the car without a word.
The friend Tanya hadn't been much help but at least it had produced a lead. Page had spoken to her friend about wanting to make contact with her father. Eugenenia and Sam sat in the car opposite the bar they had discovered was Mr Lane's usual haunt. If Page wanted to meet her father this would be the place.
"Do you think he'll show? These con-artists are pretty canny…" asked Eugenenia.
"He has no reason to be suspicious," replied Sam, "not yet anyway."
"He's got form we could bring him in for questioning."
"On what charge?"
"It's his own daughter and she left of her own accord."
"I can't stand just sitting here doing nothing. I'm going in-," said Eugenenia, opening the car door.
"We wait here. That's an order."
Eugenenia looked at her watch then at him.
"According to this watch it's my lunch break and it just so happens this Bar is where I want to have lunch. So you can stay here if you want but the radio is on the blink and I don't do takeaways," she slammed the door shut and waved goodbye as she walked across to the bar.
Shaking his head Sam scrabbled out of the car and over the road after her.
The bar interior was red brick with a low ceiling. It was also virtually empty. Apart from Eugenenia and Sam the only people there were the barman and an old guy sitting in the corner of one of the booths.
"How can I help you?" asked the barman.
"Do you do food?" replied Eugenenia.
"Well, I can make up some sandwiches."
"That'll do. Chicken mayo for me and a mineral water."
"And your friend?"
"I'll just have a coffee thanks," said Sam.
The barman dashed off to go make the sandwich leaving them alone. Eugenenia glanced around the place wasn't exactly packed and there was no sign of Page or her father.
"You sure you're alright, Guv? You're looking a bit peaky. I can take you home if you want?"
"I'll be ok," he replied, looking paler then usual, digging his nails into his hand so hard it nearly broke the skin.
Eugenenia wasn't sure what to say or do next. She could see he was wrestling with something inside and it was making him ill, but she had to let him work out the solution for himself. Eugenenia was just a guide and she could only give him hints not the answers. She opened her mouth to speak when the barman returned with the order. She paid promptly and waited for Sam to say something, but he just gripped the cup of coffee and stared into the inky blackness with distant eyes.
"Can you see the future in that coffee?" asked Eugenenia, hoping to lighten the mood.
"No," replied Sam his voice strangely quiet, "But I can see the past."
"You gonna tell me what part of the past you see?"
"It was so much more real back then-,"
"You can't live in the past, guv. It will just bring you down…you can't change what has been but you can change the future."
"That's very philosophical," he replied a hint of surprise in his voice.
"What? You don't think I'm capable of being thoughtful?"
"I never said that."
"It was implied," said Eugenenia, taking the photo of 'Page' from her pocket and turning to the barman flashed her ID and showed the photo. "Have you seen this girl in here?"
"Nah, mate," replied the barman.
"Are you sure?" asked Sam.
"She's a bit young to be hanging around bars and I don't want no trouble."
"Its ok, I won't nick you…at least not while I'm on my lunch break," quipped Eugenenia.
"She might have been in here, briefly, asking questions…but I didn't serve her any alcohol."
"I believe you. When was this? Recently?"
"About two days ago."
"Thanks for your time," said Sam.
Eugenenia drove back to the station. Sam sitting beside her appeared distracted. He glanced out of the window his head resting against the glass.
"You sure you're alright, guv?" asked Eugenenia, as they pulled up in the car park.
"I'm fine, Gene, better than fine even."
"You don't look it."
"I've made a decision you see. A very important one and it's a relief to get the weight off my mind."
"Care to share?"
"I don't belong here…not any more," replied Sam.
"You want a transfer? Is it me? You're not moving because of me are you, guv?"
"No. It's not your fault. I've been feeling this way for a long time now."
"You are worrying me now," said Eugenenia. "You aren't going to do anything stupid are you?"
"Just park the car," he snapped stepping out of the vehicle.
Eugenenia dashed up the stairs heading for the roof. She cursed out loud as she stumbled and fell grazing her hands. She had entered Sam's office a file in her hands expecting to see him sitting there but instead she found an empty chair and a sealed envelope resting on the desk. On reading its contents she had realised what he was intending to do and was now hoping to reach him before he did anything rash. Eugenenia threw herself through the door leading to the roof.
"Guv! Guv I…" her voice trailed off as she saw Sam leap from the ledge. "No!" she screamed rushing to the side fruitlessly reaching out. She closed her eyes as he hit the ground. "You stupid bloody fool Sam. Do you know how much paperwork is needed for a suicide?"