The White Horse is crowded that Friday. Hobson helps Lewis get in the four pints, and they make their way back to the table where the others wait. Lewis sets down one pint in front of Hathaway on his left and one in front of Hooper on his right, and Hobson hands one of hers across the table to Lewis. Everyone being served, Hathaway raises his glass and the others follow his gesture.
"Here's to putting the bad guys in the nick!" They all lift their pints and take a drink. Lewis doesn't set his down, but nods at Hooper. "And to keeping the good guys out." Hooper beams at the attention.
Laura turns to him. "Yes, Hooper, thank you for what you did to help Robbie."
He smiles even wider. "You can call me Charlie."
As the evening progresses, the group gets more animated. Lewis and Hathaway relate anecdotes from their part in the case, and Hooper chimes in with events from the DC's point of view. Spirits are high and there is a great deal of laughing.
At one point, it occurs to Lewis that Hooper has his arm around Laura's shoulders and is speaking rather quietly into her ear. He also notices Hathaway peeking at him over the top of his pint. A slight frown creases his brow.
"C'mon, Hooper, no secrets over there!"
Hooper looks up, a bit guilty.
"Just tellin' the doc 'ow much 'er work means to me."
Laura watches Lewis, a rather smug look on her face. "I do my best for all the coppers."
"An' 'ere I thought you did more for some than for others."
"Nope. I treat them all the same."
"Ooh, goody." He squeezes her closer to him, and Lewis reflexively scowls at how close Hooper's hand is to Laura's breast.
She grins and spontaneously kisses Hooper on the cheek.
"Oh, that's nice! Thank you, Doc."
Hathaway smirks at Lewis's silent fuming at the display, and wonders how much more he'll tolerate. But at that moment, another body wiggles its way between the Inspector and his Sergeant. Jenny Wilder.
"Hey, Inspector, Sergeant, I thought I might find you boys here." She leans over and kisses Lewis's cheek. From his vantage point, Lewis can easily see she is not wearing a bra.
"Jenny! Pull up a chair!" He looks around but it is clear there are none available anywhere near their table.
"I don't think I can find one." She giggles a little.
Lewis scoots his own chair out a ways and pats his lap. "This okay?"
Jenny sets her glass of wine down on the table and happily takes a seat, throwing an arm around his neck as she does. Laura scowls as Lewis's eyes take in the front-row view of Jenny's cleavage. Hooper gapes, his stare fixed on Jenny's most noticeable feature.
Hathaway takes a long pull of beer to hide his wicked smile. Lewis wins that round.
Lewis gestures across the table. "Jenny, this is Doctor Laura Hobson, our finest pathologist, and Detective Constable Charlie Hooper. This is Jenny Wilder, wife of former PC Tony Wilder."
Laura's eyes narrow. "So the murderer these boys just locked up is your husband." The emphasized word drips with implication.
"Not for much longer, I'm happy to say. I filed for divorce today. Soon I'll be a free woman!" She beams.
Hooper sidles closer to Lewis's chair. "So you were 'aving it away with PC Flannery as well as yer 'usband? Cor, you're a 'ungry little thing, aren't you?"
She grins as Hooper puts a hand on her knee. "Yeh might say that."
Hathaway studies his glass. "Proof that one woman can satisfy two coppers at the same time."
Lewis nearly chokes on the beer he's swallowing. "Y'know, it's getting late, I think I'll say goodnight. Laura, I believe I've promised you a ride home. You ready?"
He hasn't promised any such thing but she takes her cue, and stands up. "Very."
Lewis prods Jenny from his lap and she takes over his chair when he stands. Hathaway takes one look at the unconcealed lust in Hooper's eyes and rises, too.
"I think I'll be off, too, if you two don't mind."
"G'night, Sarge. I think we'll manage without you."
Hathaway lights a cigarette as the three walk together to where their cars are parked. Laura has her arm threaded through Lewis's. Hathaway draws deeply and exhales.
"That was very entertaining."
"Yeah? Well, you're on your own for the rest of the evening."
"What are you two up to? Oh, don't tell me—a nice, romantic game of chess."
Lewis shrugs. "I'm not so sure. Suddenly I'm feeling about as romantic as a shoehorn." He smiles suggestively at Laura and steers her toward his car and away from Hathaway's puzzled expression.