Title: I'll Be Seeing You
Author: Emily Lawrence
Summary: Barnaby's niece, Forensic Psychologist Eliza Lockier is asked to work a particularly puzzling case alongside her uncle. Returning to Midsomer for the first time in years, she is confronted with memories of her past and the meeting of one Sergeant Dan Scott.
Disclaimer: If you recognize it, I don't own it.
Rating: Not sure yet.
I'm so sorry for not updating for so long! Rest assured, my degree is over now and I'm not going back into education for another year, so hopefully wil be able to update a bit more often! Special thanks to Rosamund Charlotte and Merenwen Telemnar for sticking with me!
X x X x X
Mouth as dry as cotton wool. Head pounding. Stomach churning. The faint stench of kebab on clothes that she had been too drunk to take off.
Eliza turned over and promptly fell off the bed with a clunk "Owwwww..."
Hauling herself into an upright position, Eliza squinted through eyes that last night's mascara had glued shut, faintly able to deduce that not only had she been too intoxicated to disrobe, but she had also been in too sorry a state to take her shoes off. She had taken them off at some point, Eliza recalled fuzzily, but some sorry excuse for a man had thrown them in Causton fountain when she refused to bestow upon him her phone number. Having waded in to retrieve them without a second thought, she had decided to risk jamming them back on her feet rather than losing them due to the tantrum of another adult toddler. Reaching down, Eliza fumbled clumsily with the straps, gasping with pain as she slid the shoes off.
Reaching for her mobile phone, she tried desperately to work out what the blurry numbers swimming in front of her vision were. Hearing voices downstairs, she worked out it must be at least mid-morning. A pitiful sight, Eliza heaved herself onto all fours and crawled out onto the landing, opting to callously abandon her vow of ladylike behaviour at all times and come down the stairs on her backside.
Hobbling into the kitchen, she was greeted with the sight of Cully sat at the table with Joyce, looking hauntingly similar to how Eliza imagined she herself looked. Cully managed to lift her head long enough to smile sleepily at her cousin "Top night."
Eliza returned the smile and staggered over to the table, careful to walk on the parts of her feet not damaged by her shoes "It was brilliant."
"Well I'm glad you enjoyed yourselves girls, but it looks as though you're paying for it now," Joyce got up and gestured towards the kitchen "Would you like some breakfast?"
She was met with grateful groans in the affirmative, and so set about frying all manner of greasy food "Oh by the way Lizzie, your uncle went to the station to get an update on that chap that took your notes. They haven't found him but he got caught up in paperwork and rang to say that Daniel will be stopping by this morning to drop off the rest of the reports you asked for. "
"Hear that Lizzie?" Cully croaked "Your boyfriend is coming over."
"What's this?" Joyce looked up from her frying pan, interested.
"Nothing," Eliza said quickly, feeling her cheeks redden slightly "Cully's just making things up."
"Mum, don't you think that Dan's got a bit of a crush on Lizzie? Remember what Dad said about the mortuary?"
Joyce laughed "Oh I wouldn't if I were you Lizzie. I hear he's a bit of a ladykiller."
Eliza smiled, remembering her conversation with Scott in the lane by Annie Walker's cottage "I'm sure his reputation has been somewhat exaggerated. But it doesn't matter because I have yet to swoon over him."
"He is handsome though..." Joyce mused as she turned back to the stove.
"Mum!" Cully scoffed, picking up the local paper and perusing the front. Eliza sat back in her chair and relished the feeling of being in the only place that felt like home anymore. She remembered many mornings like this when she and Cully were younger, crawling out of bed supremely hung-over to be greeted with a home-cooked meal and friendly banter with her aunt and uncle. Then she would get into her tiny little car that only ran every other day and go back to Badger's Drift and spend the rest of the weekend with her mother. Until her mother met George.
George had been odd from the start. A suspicious character with a short fuse, not at all like the other men her mother had dated. But he seemed to have her in some sort of trance. She never argued with him, even when he began asking her to hide things in the house. Jewellery. Money. Silly things like keys and letter openers. Then one day...
"They're having that Tea-dance in Midsomer Worthy again on Thursday." Cully observed, not looking up from the paper "In commemoration of D-day. At the Eight Bells."
"That'll be nice. We should go." Joyce set two plates heaped with greasy food in front of both girls, who tucked in without abandon, ignoring the queasy feelings in their stomachs.
By the time their plates were empty, both Cully and Eliza were back to a state of relative normality, their blood sugars almost fully restored.
"Thanks mum. I desperately need a shower." Said Cully, gingerly picking up a piece of her hair and dropping it almost at once in disgust.
Just then, a brisk knock at the door made them all jump "That'll be Daniel." Joyce rose from her seat and went to answer the door. Once she was out of earshot Cully sent Eliza a sly wink "Hear that Lizzie? I bet he's brought flowers. Better go and tidy yourself up."
"Shut up. I don't even fancy him." Eliza rolled her eyes.
"Still, it's probably best to get that bit of kebab out of your hair."
"Eh?" Eliza checked her reflection in the back of a spoon "Oh shag."
"With half chewed spicy beef in your hair, I doubt it."
"Help me get it out!"
"I thought you didn't fancy him." Cully grinned as she walked around to Eliza's side of the table and began to try and extract the offending foodstuff from her cousin's hair.
"I don't." Eliza hissed as they heard footsteps coming along the corridor "I just don't think looking like I had a bunk-up with Worzel Gummidge screams 'Respect me as a professional'."
"Since when do you care if anyone respects you as a professional?" Cully inadvertently yanked Eliza's head back as Scott appeared through the kitchen door, several large folders piled up in his arms. Eliza let out a high pitched yelp and Scott stopped dead in his tracks, a single eyebrow cocked.
"Have I stumbled on something I shouldn't?"
"No," Cully said sweetly "We always start the day by picking meat out of each other's hair. Sit yourself down Dan. Cup of tea?"
"If you're making one, thanks." Scott plonked the folders down on the table and sat down next to Eliza, whose eyes were firmly fixed on the tablecloth, her cheeks turning an alarming shade of red "Good morning Eliza. Do you think that you've had enough meat picked out of your hair for one day?"
From across the kitchen Cully snorted with laughter. Eliza looked up to see Dan grinning mischievously "What have you got for me?" she croaked, attributing the fluttering in her stomach to her hangover and not the fact that Scott had a sweet smile.
"Forensic Report from Amanda Johnson's house and a few witness reports from around Midsomer Worthy. Just so you know, Chief Smith was wondering if you could have the profile up and running in the next thirty-six hours?"
Eliza nodded "Sure thing. Are you going back to Midsomer Worthy today?"
"Yeah, I was going to poke around, see if I could uncover anything. Why?"
"Would you mind if I came with you? I'd quite like to follow up with those men from the pub."
Scott stared at Eliza for a moment, her lip still swollen, hair in disarray, eyes still hooded from sleep, last night's clothes hanging crumpled on her slender frame. He wrinkled his nose "What's that smell?"
"That would be Lizzie's jeans." Said Cully helpfully, handing a cup of tea to Scott who smiled gratefully but frowned confusedly at her comment "What's wrong with your jeans?"
The blush began to creep back into Eliza's cheeks once more "You know that fountain in Causton town centre?"
Scott narrowed his eyes "Yes?"
"I might have jumped in it."
"Really?" Scott fought to keep the amusement out of his voice.
"It was a mission of mercy."
X x X x X
Less than an hour later, Eliza was showered, dressed and once again, seated in the front of Scott's car adjusting her lipstick. As Scott pulled away from Inspector Barnaby's house he couldn't resist "So how did your shoes end up in a fountain?"
"Oh you know what it's like. A chap offers to carry your shoes and throws them into the nearest water feature when you don't give him your number."
"Actually, I don't know what that's like but I'm guessing it happens to you quite a lot."
"It's how I lose most of my shoes." Eliza laughed dryly, obviously meaning for it to be a joke, but Scott got the feeling there was a grain of truth in what she said.
"That must get irritating."
"What can I say? I'm picky about who gets my number."
Scott stole a glance across the car at her. Her lip still jutted out noticeably and the lump of her forehead was now a painful looking bruise. Despite this, he could see why any man with eyes would want her on his arm. She was not the most beautiful woman in the world, but her pixie-like features and happy disposition made her very attractive.
But there was something else. The sparkle that she managed to retain in spite of working under traumatising conditions was unfathomable. There was something charmingly unapologetic in the way she conducted herself. She had not been afraid to show her discomfort in the mortuary, and when he had entered the kitchen that morning and seen her at her most un-preened, she simply asked what he had brought for her instead of girlishly giggling and attempting to hide her make-up streaked face. Her self confidence glimmered from within.
Oh crap. He fancied her.
X x X x X
Eliza's feet, still aching from the night before, were hurting like hell in the black ballet flats she had forced them into. Having looked at her choice of heels and decided that she was neither that brave nor stupid, Eliza had sat on the bed staring at the flats for ten minutes, breathing slowly and willing the blistered skin on her feet to stop burning as she slowly slipped them into the little Chanel beauties. As she limped down to the car Scott had eyed her with vague suspicion but remained silent until she was safely ensconced in the passenger seat.
As the car entered Midsomer Worthy, the clouds began to part revealing a cheerfully shining sun. Eliza groaned and shrank back into her seat, reaching into her handbag and digging out her sunglasses "Was the sun always this bright?"
Scott laughed as he parked the car near the village green and the two of them set off in the direction of the pub, with Eliza's steps still somewhat delicate as they walked. Scott raised his face toward the sun, allowing the warmth the wash over him.
He was much more amicable now, Eliza thought, stealing a glance at him from behind her shades. In her experience, members of the constabulary fell into two camps – the hostile and the patronising. Bizarrely, it was easier to work amongst people who hated her rather than those who merely indulged her because senior management had told them to. Eliza knew that working with her uncle and his colleagues would be a different kettle of fish, but she had not expected to forge what could be termed as some semblance of a working relationship with the young sergeant – indeed, when she had met Scott four days before she had anticipated that he would be more than difficult to get along with. Instead, Eliza found herself warming to him slightly, the fire in his belly challenging and entertaining her all at once. He was a gentleman though, Eliza mused, thinking about how he had come to her rescue when she had been attacked a few days before, and stayed to anaesthetize her aching head with alcohol despite clearly having better things to do.
As they approached the Eight Bells pub, Scott could see the residents of Midsomer Worthy out sunning themselves over a pint. The good weather had created some rush for outdoor seating, and a few patrons had given up on finding chairs at all, instead perching on the pavement with their drinks placed precariously next to them.
Their casual milling about quickly turned to tense and defensive stares as they caught sight of Eliza and Scott approaching. A few of the younger men glanced lustfully at Eliza's petite hourglass figure before shooting dirty looks at Scott, who dutifully ignored them. Upon entering the pub, silence fell as customers turned to survey the unfamiliar newcomers. Scott leaned in close to Eliza's ear and whispered "Hair of the dog?" She smiled slightly "Gin and Tonic please."
Having ordered their drinks, they made their way back outside and fortuitously stumbled upon a bench that had been left empty near group of tables. Seated at the table nearest to them were two older women drinking tumblers of whiskey. Both were smoking cigarettes and watching a young women two tables over, clearly a high flying city worker and buried so deeply in the work that she had been forced to bring home with her that she had failed to notice the disdainful stares she had earned from the other two women. They were dressed immaculately, both sporting twinsets and pencil skirts. They both wore wedding rings and expensive looking jewellery. They were enough alike to be sisters, Eliza thought. Not twins, but close enough in birth to both be in their late seventies. They had a look of severity about them, like an unfriendly schoolmarm. It struck her that they probably found the young working woman as displeasing as it contradicted their ideals of how a woman should behave – a career? Certainly not. Unthinkable.
It took Eliza a moment to build up the right persona in her mind. Choosing a moment when one of the women happened to be glancing in her direction she leaned towards Scott and grasped his hand a little to get his attention "I need to talk to those women and I'm going to need to act as though I want to catch you for myself. Can you follow my lead?"
Scott hadn't heard much of what Eliza had said as her lips had brushed his ear slightly when she had leant toward him, and the warmth of her hand on his again was distracting to say the least. He merely nodded and was rewarded with a small squeeze on his hand and a flirtatious smile.
"Do you have your cigarettes, darling?" Eliza's question was just loud enough for the two women to hear, and the one sat closest to their bench discreetly turned her head to watch. Scott patted his pockets "Not on me, sorry."
"Shame. Bear with me sweetheart, I may have to go begging." Eliza clambered to her feet and pretended to cast her eye around. Smiling sweetly when her gaze landed upon the two women, she made her way over "Excuse me ladies, I'm so sorry to interrupt you, but I was wondering if I could possibly trouble you for a cigarette? My friend doesn't appear to have brought his with us."
"Of course." The slightly less severe looking of the two opened a pretty little cigarette case and proffered it to Eliza "Take one for your friend as well if you like."
"Thank you so much, it's very kind of you." Eliza selected two of the cigarette "My name is Lizzie, by the way, and that handsome devil over there is Daniel. Poor chap, the cigarettes were probably the last thing on his mind this morning when we left."
"I'm Vivian Dubois, and this is my younger sister Iris Islington." Eliza shook their hands and noted how slim and healthy they both looked for their age, how firm their handshakes were. Only the lines and crepe-like skin around their eyes betrayed the illusion of youth their spry looking bodies and rigid postures created.
"Are you out for a drive in the country today?" Iris, the more formidable sister spoke at last, gesturing for Eliza to sit down and turning to beckon Scott over. Eliza smiled affectionately at him as he shook their hands and took a seat next to her. "Well... sort of. Daniel is a Detective Sergeant with the Causton constabulary and I assist on some cases, giving a little help here and there... " Daniel smiled at the expert way Eliza played up his career whilst only glossing over her own in order to make the sisters believe that she was happy to let him 'be the man', so to speak. Eliza, pausing only to light up her cigarette, went on "Well, Daniel and all the other boys at the station are hard at work on these awful murders," Eliza whispered the word, wrinkling her nose as though it had brought a bad taste to her mouth "and I'm helping where I can, you see. Daniel wanted to come out to Midsomer Worthy today and I suggested that I come with him to take a few notes here and there if he needs me to. But secretly," She leaned in conspiratorially toward the sisters, a shy smile on her lips "We've discovered that we rather like spending time together and so we've decided to make a day of it." She patted Scott's knee and instinctively he reached for her hand. He didn't know whether to laugh or present her with an Oscar.
"I say, a bit of an office romance then, how marvellous." Vivian smiled warmly and Eliza dipped her head bashfully. Iris, however, surveyed her with more disdain "And you say you work with the police?"
Eliza's eyes widened "Well, only in a very small way. It's almost... secretarial really. I have a knack for people, and every so often when the poor old chaps start to feel the strain of it all, I pop in and make the tea, dole out the biscuits and take the notes and so on. Just to be a help." Scott noted with increasing incredulity that what Eliza really had a knack for was telling the truth in a way that appealed most to people. What she had said hadn't been misleading, simply utilising a different set of semantics. She hadn't mentioned that everyone made tea at some point in their time at the station, that everyone took notes and passed around biscuits and technically, she hadn't needed to. She had presented a set of facts, and the sisters had chosen to interpret them in a way that suited them. Damn, this woman was good.
"Oh how sweet of you." Vivian said "I always think it's most unattractive for a woman to try to take a man's place, don't you? All these women police officers and lawyers and doctors can't be doing themselves or men any good by running themselves ragged simply to prove a point. Of course during the war it was different, but nowadays there is just no need for it."
"I quite agree with you. In fact," Eliza lowered her voice again and gestured with her eyes to the young woman Iris and Vivian had been glaring at "I was just looking at that poor creature over there and thinking how ghastly it must be for her husband, to have a wife so intent on ruining herself."
"That's the very point I made to Iris before you came over to us. She's an accountant, you know. Commutes from here to London and back again every day. Her husband, John Farrow, is our gardener, and he says she doesn't get in until gone midnight sometimes, and then she's out again before the sun is up. Looking at you though, my dear, it does my heart good to see that some girls have their priorities in order. How on earth can she," an aggressive but discreet jerk of the thumb toward the woman in question "expect to keep a man with that attitude? Just like those murdered women. All high flyers, all either divorced or spinsters, all childless. That's no life for a woman. The fact is, if they hadn't been killed, they wouldn't have worked themselves into early and lonely graves anyway. Almost a mercy, really." Vivian closed her mouth decisively as if to punctuate her little rant. Out of the corner of her eye, Eliza could see the young career woman – Mrs Farrow – begin to pack up her papers angrily. Obviously she had overheard Vivian's soliloquy. She stormed from the pub garden, with Iris and Vivian's gaze on her back.
Scott could feel Eliza's nails digging into his palm slightly and rubbed the pad of his thumb across her knuckles in what he hoped was a comforting manner. Eliza smiled sweetly, but her jaw was tense "Were they active in the community, those women?"
Vivian sniffed derisively "Not really dear. They didn't like to interact. I expect they thought they were a little too grand for us."
Eliza shook her head sadly "Fancy that."
Scott leaned forward, suddenly interested "Did they ever upset anybody in particular?"
"A couple of the local chaps tried to court the Wakeman girl, but she rejected them outright, and Millie Barnes used to invite her city men to stay at her cottage – a different one every week. Disgraceful."
"Anything else you might be able to think of at all?"
Both sisters shook their heads. Eliza gave Scott's hand a squeeze "Darling, let's not disturb these ladies any further. Thank you so much for the cigarettes, ladies. Will you be at the Tea dance on Thursday?"
Both of the sisters drew themselves up proudly at this "Of course," said Iris airily "We arrange it every year to commemorate the soldiers who died on D-Day."
"How wonderful. Well, we'll see you there!" Eliza and Scott stood to leave. "That," Scott said once they were fully out of earshot "Was amazing. Why didn't you become an actress?"
"Thought my talents could be put to use elsewhere," Eliza grinned cheekily "You weren't too bad yourself, you know. Honestly, some people are so narrow minded they'll grab onto anything that will reinforce their values, even something as obviously fake as a courtship between us." Eliza smiled at Scott and he felt his stomach drop a little.
As they walked back to the car, Scott caught sight of the young woman from the pub talking angrily to a handsome man "I don't want you working for those evil old witches, John!" she hissed. Scott discreetly nudged Eliza.
"We should probably keep an eye on her."
Eliza nodded in agreement "You're right, she could well be our next victim."
"And I don't know what you think you're looking at!" Mrs Farrow had turned her glare onto Eliza and Scott "Honestly! It's women like you who've held feminism back! I bet you don't even vote!" she advanced on Eliza, fire in her eyes. Eliza stared at her. John Farrow, a well built man, tanned from years of outside work, stepped forward, his hands held in an appeasement gesture "Holly, please..."
"Shut up John, this is nothing to do with you!" Holly Farrow's voice dripped with poison "This silly bint is the reason women like me don't get taken seriously!"
"Actually, Mrs Farrow," Eliza began delicately "I'm sorry you overheard our conversation with Iris and Vivian. While I can't vouch for their views, I can assure you that my own are quite different from those that were expressed. I'm a psychologist." She offered by way of an explanation "Sometimes it pays to be a little... creative when gathering intelligence."
"Psychology? You think that bollocks make you important? It's all voodoo, missy, and I bet all the police officers you work with think so too." And with that, Holly Farrow stormed off. Her husband looked at Scott apologetically "Sorry about that. She's been stressed lately."
Scott shrugged "It's not me she shouted at."
John Farrow made apologetic noises in Eliza's direction before hurrying off with his head down.
"Well," Eliza exhaled heavily "the words 'Super-bitch' springs to mind. Do you think they were all like that?"
X x X x X