Gene looked across at her arse for the millionth time that morning and sighed. It was no good, he ruminated. As much as he was trying to focus on his game of Pong while waiting for the call, the sight of her strutting up and down before the team waggling that rear as she lectured them again was getting too much. It was so….bloody…distracting.
She was briefing them on the raid they had planned later that evening. The same raid he was now waiting for clearance for, his boots on the table, his fingers clamped around the usual glass of malt.
She was now placing her hands on her hips. "In a minute there'll be a finger bloody waggle," he murmured to himself, just seconds before she indeed lifted her arm and pointed a graceful finger in Chris' general direction. Chris as ever looked utterly baffled. "Bloody schoolmistress," he muttered, just as his own eyes caught those of Ray's, sitting beside Chris with the usual furious glare in his ice blue eyes.
He knew the look. 'Come and bloody save us, eh?'
The Manc Lion rose to his feet, reached out to grab the door handle, and paced out into his domain.
Sure enough, outside, she was in full flow. He didn't bother to listen; not because he wasn't interested. She turned and glanced at him now, those almond eyes lowering themselves on him in their usual near-regal way. No, he was interested all right…and he knew, in not just her ideas.
She'd come to him a few hours earlier with a potential lead for the case they were on. As ever, he had no idea how she'd come to her conclusions, based on psychobabble and hormones, it seemed to him – but as usual her 'logic' has stirred his instincts in such as way that once again he knew she was on to something. She had briefed him just as she was now the men.
Her eyes were still on him, making him realise that he has been standing there, quietly ruminating, while she was obviously expecting him to actually say something. He came to himself as she spoke: "Guv….as I was saying. Don't you agree - we must to go in with the right mindset. We must guard against escalation to a potential fatal outcome."
Her eyes, for a second, flickered with a strange vulnerability, before they clicked back into that steely, unimpressed glare he was so used to. He turned his eyes to the team and said, wryly: "You heard the lady. We've had enough bloody - near misses - this year."
You see, things had changed significantly over the last few months for him. He had known before the Caroline Price affair that Drake was decent 'police'. He had also known that given the slightest chance he would love to take those posh knickers off with his teeth.
He had also suspected he might actually be in love with the bloody woman.
Now, painfully, extremely inconveniently, he knew so. But he also knew that it was utterly pointless. There was no future with her; she'd made it abundantly clear. The knowledge laid heavily on his mind; and strangely on his chest.
There had been times when he'd wondered if she really meant 'no'. Most significantly he'd seen a change in her when Price had been killed. There had been something between that woman and Drake, he had just known. Some kinds of secrets shared.
After the bombing accident, when he'd found that poor daughter of Price's, Alex had seemed almost as shaken up about the whole affair as the poor mite had. It had obviously rung some bells for her. Afterwards, she'd done the strangest thing.
She burst through his office door looking like a wild thing, and thrown those elegant arms around his neck as if he'd been bloody Val Doonican. Better still, in between gushingly thanking him for saving the girl's life, she'd pressed her lips against his and kissed him as if he'd been the man she'd be waiting for her whole bloody life.
Just the memory of it made his pulse quicken, and he shifted on his feet, as he stood before her now. His eyes once again lowered to her arse, just as his hands had done so naturally as she'd hung round his neck that evening in his office.
Perhaps it'd been the malt, but his body had reacted as only it could. The look on her face had changed within seconds from joy, to shock, to confusion. She breathed sharply as he eyes, for a second, registered what he was certain was the same excitement as his own. He had felt her body involuntarily arch towards him.
But just as he moved to kiss her again, his own lips parting hers as he moved to give her the bloody snogging he'd wanted to since he first caught sight of her legs in stockings, she raised her hands and pushed him away from her, back onto his desk.
"Bloody hell!" she'd yelled, almost tearfully. "Just…why? Why did you do that?"
His desire far from diminished, he'd replied with a level of anger in his voice. "Sorry, love. You throw yourself at me and expect me not to bloody well act like a man should?"
"I was…thanking you. It was perfectly innocent!" she barked back. He'd noticed however that her chest was flushed in what he considered an utterly non-innocent way.
"Alex," he'd replied. "Innocent is that little mite who just had her life turned over today. Not you, a bloody grown woman, who last time I looked wasn't exactly a bollocking nun. Just so you know, if you kiss me again I'm not about to start picking daisies and bleating on about my bloody feelings. I'm just going to kiss you back, but a hell of a lot…harder."
For a second they looked at each other with confusion and rage. For Gene, however, what had happened next had been perhaps the most surprising. She'd suddenly looked at the ground and quickly murmured: "Well, let's forget it. Today you did a great thing."
He'd managed to just stop himself from replying - "I'd hoped to do the same tonight." Luckily.
But he'd been genuinely surprised by her climbdown, her rare decision to give him a break. It had confused him. It had been the first time he'd dared to think…
She had seemed very vulnerable for the days after that event. She spoke no more of the story that she had to return to her daughter. He dared to wonder whether he had been part of the reason for her to stay; but when he had seen her red-rimmed eyes, her face crushed with some awful disappointment, he knew not.
Something had gone wrong with her plans. What they were, he'd never ask. He wanted to - he was appalled at how useless he felt – but there was no way to reach out to her that didn't in his mind involve him losing what was central to his being. His dignity.
She, equally, would never tell. She wasn't the normal sort he was used to, that would tell a man a secret whether he wanted to know it or not. She was grown-up, frustrating, professional, beautiful. And, it was apparent even to him, very sad.
For now, all he had was the memory of her lips on his and his hands on that beautiful arse which, to his chagrin, was now walking away from him. He followed.
Afterall, there was a case to solve, bad guys to take down. Simplicity itself, compared to her.