Spikings' one and only question when he slipped into the sideroom was probably unnecessary given that Harry was fixated on one of the black and white print outs which she passed up to him with a smile. Spikings studied it with equal amazement as he had with the four Dempsey had thrust into his hands half an hour earlier; how anybody could say any of those blobs were body parts was beyond the leap of faith he was able to make. Looking up he directed his question "Is this what you want?"
Harry looked straight into Gordon Spikings eyes; she recalled all her previous contemplations, fast forwarding through the many hours of soul searching and nodded "Yes Sir it is"
"Only there are other options you know"
She nodded again in acknowledgement, there were many arguments she could bring forth but instead she accepted the scan back from her boss "I wonder if it will be a boy or girl?" she mused
"Seems that whether it is boy or girl it's going to play for America" Spikings smiled "and as for which of those it will be no doubt there will be more bets back at the factory."
Harry rolled her eyes
Spikings idea of stretchering her onto a helicopter met with much indignant protest and she brokered a compromise of another day in hospital and a car journey. "Gordon" she began but Spikings registered the threat mixed in with the familiarity "when I'm back at work I won't need protecting"
Spikings was forced to consider that life only ever seemed to become more complex and his job more impossible by the day but he doubted that he would ever truly rue his decision to put the two together.
Dempsey swung into the interview room at the scheduled time of Sergeant Makepeace's appearance before the promotion board. The high ranking officers were making use of their freetime to indulge in a measure of the amber liquid and some exchanges about 'women unable to cut the mustard' and 'how they were designed for the family way'.
Seriously riled by the derision he'd over heard Dempsey had drawn his magnum and now stood with feet apart, both hands gripping the gun ready to fire as he informed the epauletted men "You have no idea"
The American accent labelled him immediately and the portly officer on the right spoke "Lieutenant (spoken the english way) Dempsey I suggest..."
Hugely embarrased by his innate display of protection for Harry Dempsey holstered his gun "I came here to support my partners application" he began, bluffing his bravado "but it seems that a load of bigots would never of given her the promotion she deserves anyway" he turned and started to leave.
Dempsey walked on
"If you leave this room you will be charged with insubordination" the threat followed him and Dempsey swung round
"Oh yeh and what you were saying wasn't?"
"It would seem we have justification"
"you will never have any justification to hold back a damn fine officer" Dempsey paced forward "she has brains more than you three put together, she can think a case through and find every little piece that don't add up" his eyes pushed out of their sockets as he drove home his point "and she aint scared, not like most guys - she fires her piece"
"second only to you" was a very dry retort
"she's put her life on the line more times than..."
"...we've had a lot of hot dinners?"
"I can see" Dempsey bit back knowing he shouldn't taken the bait "and she keeps your damn rules"
"But as a mother will she continue to put her life on the line?" the short pompous balding chief questioned
"As a father do you?" Dempsey countered "or ain't you ever done that?"
The overseeing central and thus far silent figure finally spoke "I think it best you leave"
"If you don't give her this promotion you're making a big mistake" Dempsey threatened
The message was levelled and direct, without the antagonism expressed by either of the men to the sides "Thank you for expressing your support"
Dempsey took his cue; he hadn't left the building before the phone in Spikings office was ringing.
"Did he fire it?"
"Unorthodox is the word I'd choose"
"He has a point"
"Well no not in that way"
"She is a damn fine officer"
"Sex has nothing to do with it"
"Well not in my experience. Sergeant Makepeace deserved her rapid promotion then and is ready for this now."
"I don't know" exasparated Spikings put down the phone and poured himself a generous serving of the famous grouse. "Bloody Cowboy" he swore and then as the warmth hit the back of his throat he burst out laughing at the image of Dempsey gun drawn aiming at the pompous twats that made up the promotion board. His laughter settled into a broad smirk as he anticipated the story leaking back to Harry - boy would he like to be a fly on the wall to that showdown.
Post Post Script: Two weeks later (now this bit I had written years ago and when I started with chapter 1 I thought this would be about chapter 8 or 9 – thanks to all your feedback the story grew, hope you enjoyed it. I tried to keep both sides of the abortion issues fair, I trust I didn't upset anyone; I have never had to make any tough choices although I have had my share of threatened miscarriages and waited for the scan….)
Spikings had promised to stand a round in celebration of the guilty verdict just passed on William Stevens. The SI10 team had put in around 800 man hours to secure the conviction and this would be a major player off the streets for a good few years.
Most of the team had only arrived at court to hear the verdict quite late in the afternoon. The judge had been close to sending the jury to a hotel overnight but then the message had come through that a majority verdict had been reached. Spikings had had Dempsey and Makepeace there through out the trial; not that either had appreciated it. Dempsey wanted to be out 'doin' the leg work' instead of stuck in court for 4 days and Makepeace complained that this was exactly the overprotective stance she objected too. As subtly as he thought possible Spikings had tried to keep them a low profile in the office whilst everyone got used to the idea - that had been his reasoning behind the court appearances although the secondary effect of keeping Makepeace off the street was rather advantageous. In truth he still had no idea how to work the dynamic duo.
As they walked down the steps outside the Old Bailey Spikings informed everyone that work was over for the day and suggested the Bricklayers arms around the corner. Lacey running down the steps at an opportune time overheard, he slowed to walk with Spikings. "You have a result then in SI10 that made it to the courtroom" he sneered sarcastically
"SI10 have a high success rate Superintendent Lacey" Spikings seethed back
"Murder squad don't have to go round killing people to get results"
Spikings declined to rise to the antagonistic remark "Excuse me I have a round of drinks to buy"
"Drunken gunho Yanks and toffs" Lacey was derisive
"May be I'll buy two rounds" Spikings responded trying to contain his rage
So a group of 8 guys piled into the smoking room of the Bricklayers Arms, pulled a couple of tables together in front of the bench seat under the window and arranged a few more chairs around the tables to give enough seating.
"Did Spikings say work was over for the day?" Dempsey asked Chas
"That's what I heard"
Dempsey grinned "So this isn't work then?"
Chas couldn't quite see the point Dempsey was making "This is a drink in between work and home I guess"
The conversation with Lacey had held Spikings back, now he entered the pub. Looking into the lounge then to his right into the smoking bar he saw his lot chatting and laughing together. Spikings felt benevolent; they were good guys, happy, hard working and always ready to go the extra mile (unlike other teams he thought). He frowned, 8 guys - where was Harry?
Spikings took the orders from the circles of men, pints or doubles, he looked back at Dempsey "Better add a Britvic orange I guess" Spikings smiled, and he gave Dempsey a nod that no one else noticed, this godfather was going to look after his godchild right from the womb.
The barman had brought the drinks over before Harry made her way back from the Ladies. She caught Dempsey's eye and he inched himself sideways a little along the bench seat indicating a space next to him. She eased her self past a couple of guys "Hey Harry you won't be able to do that much longer" She automatically touched her belly that quite suddenly had just begun to show it's baby bump. "Well I've seen bigger beer bellies in CID" she countered and squeezed herself next to Dempsey.
She could feel all eyes on her, but none were looking directly, each guy trying to observe this new phenomenon of Dempsey and Makepeace. She picked up her glass and raising it to the air toasted 'work's over'.
That was exactly it, this was no longer work time but social and Dempsey found himself keen to show his colleagues the love of his life. On the all too brief occasion of Monday morning and scant flying visits to pick up paper work that Harry had been in the SI10 offices they had continued to be professional, not that he expected it to be any different, but there just hadn't been the chance to demonstrate his status with Harry to the guys. May be it was pride, may be staking a claim, but he had been waiting for such an opportunity. Dempsey's left arm reached around Harry's shoulder and he pulled her into himself. She didn't look at him but a different smile played over her face and she happily obliged by resting her weight into Dempsey. There wasn't a single member of the team that didn't warm to the sight.
Back at the SI10 office, whilst Harry was resting, Dempsey had taken a lot of stick but it seemed to have settled and been absorbed into what was normal. Dempsey and Makepeace always had been an item; this was just an extension of that and right now it seemed so very natural to Dempsey to have his arm around Harry, holding her. She spoke to Spikings opposite then Watson across and to her left before raising her glass to sip her orange juice. As she put it back down she glanced up at Dempsey and raised her left arm up to hold hands with the arm holding her so close.
The crowd were comfortable together, laughing and teasing when the door opened again and Lacey walked in with 3 of his men. He ordered drinks and casually looked to Spikings.
Spikings knew it was a deliberate co-incidence "we meet again superintendent" he observed determined not to let Lacey dominate or control the encounter
"It would seem so" Lacey mocked as he scanned the noisy crowd. DI Greenwood noted Harry and James intimacy and whispered into Lacey's ear. Lacey had missed it but he looked back and stared in disbelief.
The atmosphere had become infected as soon as the murder squad had entered the room and now Chas noticed Lacey's stare. Dempsey was in an intense debate with Dave over cars and Harry was looking to her left and listening to Fry but physically they were very much a couple, Harry's arm raised so her fingers could interlock with Dempsey; their separate conversations not stopping their fingers playing gently with each other. Chas tried to break into Dave and Dempsey's intense debate but failed so he turned to Harry. She glanced up and caught Lacey's eye and automatically ducked out of Dempsey's embrace, letting go of his hand. Lacey noticed the guilty movement and turned back to the bar and spoke with DI Greenwood.
Harry's movement broke into Dempsey's conversation and he turned to her
"Lacey" she explained to his questioning eyes
Dempsey smiled "My friend Lacey, did you invite him Chief?"
Spikings looked back over at the bar "Seems murder squad are imitating our team building exercise" he said deliberately loudly
Silent so far the other two of Lacey's party spoke up
"Let's get a WPC so we can have a group cuddle" the first mocked
"Not sure if it's the whole group who get the cuddle" both were very deliberate in their provocation.
Dempsey stood; Harry tried desperately to pull him down
"Dempsey!" Spikings warned in a low growl but Dempsey ignored both. Spikings rubbed his hand over his head "Oh Hell" escaped his lips
Dempsey stepped sideways through the tables and chairs and made his way to the bar. He opened his wallet and ordered two whiskys. The barman looked nervous, this pub wasn't used to trouble from gangs and he wondered if he should be calling the police, it looked as if it might kick off here.
Dempsey took the whisky and walked up to Lacey, knocking DI Greenwood out of the way
"Bloody hell, O bloody hell" Spikings murmured
"Superintendent Lacey" Dempsey put the glass down in front of him and everyone waited with baited breath for the sardonic remark to come next "I'm gonna be a dad have this on me to celebrate"
Lacey was winded, he had no where to go, no retort. In his mind he'd started to plan a report to the commissioner about inappropriate staff relationships but he'd obviously missed the boat. His side kicks watched as Lacey looked at Dempsey then over to Harry and back to Dempsey. He stared into Dempsey's still, stable gaze and the two pairs of eyes took part in the most immobile dual in history. It was Lacey who gave up, he lifted his glass, knocked the whisky back in one then nodding to his 3 companions the 4 of them walked out of the bar together.
"Don't go drinking and driving Sir" Dempsey called out after them
Spikings rubbed his head "Christ" hoping against the odds that Lacey had been out of earshot by the time Dempsey had said that.