A/N: OK, time for some more Heartbeat fanfiction :D Chapter 1. As some of you know, I've been a little lost for inspiration lately, and so I've been struggling to write. Fortunatly that seems to be passing over now, and so hopefully I'll soon be realing off more stories. After this I might try some different stuff, rather than just the plain old story - so watch this space!!

This story is set just after the break-up of Joe and Carol, the day after he slept with Rachel and the afternoon after Carol walked into his living room to find Rachel sat on the sofa in her dressing gown. The word in italics are Joe's thoughts. Enjoy.

The police house was not the place to be for Joe right now. In fact, he wasn't exactly sure where a good place would be, but he knew it wasn't here, within these four walls, staring at some sort of file on his piled desk. He glanced at the clock; 1:30, time for a quick lunch break, an excuse to get out of the house, at least keep out of the way of Carol.

Dear God, that morning had to be one of the most embarrassing in his life. What had he been thinking? The words came back to haunt him, "Anything I suggest you have to say yes." What
had he been thinking! Yes had been his answer of course, like anyone would say no when DS Daw...Rachel...came onto them. Oh God...and then the breakfast thing, and oh God, Carol of all people Carol had to see her.

"Kill me, kill me now." He muttered under his breath at the desk.

Oh God no, please no. Please say that didn't happen. Oh she has, she has, DS Dawson had seen him naked. Bloody Hell....he couldn't go back to work....ever.

Joe picked up his coat from the desk and, standing up, slung it over his shoulder. He walked out into the hall, back towards the kitchen, lost in thought, staring at the ground. Unbeknownst to him, Carol, just as lost in thought, was walking in the other direction towards him. He noticed her feet, just as she noticed his. They looked up and stared awkwardly at each other for a few moments.

Boy, she looked angry at seeing him there, she looked worse than that, disappointed. Why would she be disappointed? It's not like they were still together, that had ended weeks ago, still he felt he owed her something, an apology? An explanation? He opened his mouth to say something, what, he wasn't quite sure. Carol cut him short.

"I don't want to hear it." She held up her hand and tried to push past him, but he moved to stop her.

"At least let me explain..." Carol took a couple of steps back.

She sure as hell wasn't going to let him have the first word.

"It's none of my business. Just answer me this, Joe, why did you sleep with her, Rachel that is? We were together what, 5 weeks and we didn't get that far...2 minutes with her..."

"She told me to..."

Oh dear...that had sounded better in his head.

"If Rachel told you to jump off a cliff, would you?"

"No...it was a game...no not a.."

Hole. Very big Hole. Stop. Now.

"Flirtation games!?!? I thought you were better than that Joe, in-fact I was beginning to think you were different from other men. I thought you had a mind of your own; but you just fall at her feet, just like everyone else! What is it? Is it the dominatrix in her you find attractive? Because she's your superior officer, because she forces herself on you, because she made up the rules?"

Yes. No!

"I slept with her because she was different to you! I thought that if I made love to Rachel it would make me feel better, I thought if I made a relationship with her it would push out anything I felt for you."

"And did it?"

"No. It made me feel wonderful, excited, but guilty. As soon as I woke up I regretted it, hoped it had been a dream."

"I wish it had been."


"No Joe. There was a line and you crossed it. I came in this morning to apologize, I saw you talking to her last night and I...I guess I was jealous...and I thought...but, my God, now...?"

"It was you that ended this, not me!"

"Yes, because I was angry. I thought there was this connection between us, this understanding...obviously not. You just jump for the first attractive, single thing, on legs that happens to be in the same room. Do you want to warn Gina, or shall I? Look out Aidensfield, Joe's feeling a bit flirty today...!"

Ouch. That hurt.

"Come on, that's not fair..."

"Don't talk to me about fair! I'm the one that walked in on cops and robbers this morning...or have you forgotten about that already?! I have to go. I have a saturday clinic, and I guess you have people to be arresting, orders to obey...you know the deal. See you around Joe...and this time, I mean it." She walked past him and out of the door, left him standing in the hall, not sure at all where he was.

Why does that feel so terrible? Where do I go from here? Who have I got now in this world?