Friday (again)

'But darling, why didn't you tell me before?' Jane Melts smiled at her son.

'I thought you and dad would go "bananas" if I couldn't produce a daughter.' James looked with great suspicion at his mother's smiling face.

'Shoosh, shoosh,' Jane Melts hugged her son, 'I've always suspected. There were never any girls around you. Well, nowadays this isn't a problem!' She smiled happily.

'What do you mean, mum?' James was all confused.

'You are gay.' His mother looked at him. 'That doesn't mean you're not… functioning. Milla will be delighted to marry you and carry your baby.'

James looked terrified.

'We'll sort it out artificially of course. Don't look so worried.' Jane almost giggled when she continued: 'And I'm sure you won't mind if Milla amuses herself a little with one of the farmhands. You might even want one for yourself…'

Jane still laughed happily when she left the room: 'Milla..? La-da-di-da-da… Milla..?'

She left James sitting in his chair, swallowing hard.

PS Sandra Collins came to work as usual at 8 pm, just to find a huge bouquet of lovely flowers on her desk. For a split second she thought they might be from Dan, before she realised he would never send her flowers at the station.

She found the card: "Dear Sandra, eternally grateful. Tom and Joyce"

Oh, that old teddy bear, Sandra thought, he could appear to be so harsh, but he fooled no-one. They all knew he had a heart of gold.

Desk Sergeant Angel called through to CID: 'There's a young lady here to see you, sir.'

Barnaby and Scott were finishing up the work of yesterday's dramatic events.

'Who is it?' Tom asked back, 'I'm rather busy.'

'She says her name is Lita Iommi.'

'Send her in!' came the prompt reply.

A very pretty young lady walked in. She didn't look at all like a backpacker.

'G'day, I hear you've been out looking for me,' she said with an unmistakable New Zealand accent.

'We certainly have, Ms Iommi,' answered Barnaby, 'but as things have turned out, we no longer need to talk to you.

'Right, well then…' The girl turned to walk away again.

'Could we offer you a lift somewhere, Ms Iommi?'

'Naah, my auntie is waiting out in the car.'

'Your aunt? Wouldn't that be..?'

'Yeah, it's Rihanna alright.' Lita Iommi smiled. 'Spent the night there and now it seems I'll spend some more time there…'

'So..?' Barnaby raised a questioning eyebrow.

'Yeah, Rihanna thinks it'd be a good idea if I help Rick to get over his misery and I mean… one look at his body and I'm all for it…' She gave Barnaby a dazzling smile and a gaze which told him Rick had something to look forward to.

'Yes, it wouldn't surprise me if Mrs Ashmoore did think it was a good idea,' Tom mumbled to himself.

'Scuse me, couldn't quite catch ya?'

'It was nothing,' said Tom with a smile, 'off you go and have a good time at Ashmoore Hall… with Rick…'

'Yeah,' it seemed to be Lita's favourite word, 'Rihanna says it's kind of all sorted, with Rick I mean, so guess I'll just give him the best I can… And I'm good!'

'And so we've heard,' said Scott as she left the CID, when both he and Barnaby shook their heads simultaneously.

'How nice of you to take us out to dinner, Mrs Barnaby,' Shannon said as the waiter came and filled their wine glasses.

'It's the very least we can do after Dan's heroic efforts yesterday… and please, do call me Joyce.'

'Alright, thank you, Joyce,' Shannon said with a smile so beautiful that Joyce felt happy Cully wasn't with them. Cully had a soft spot for Dan, that had never turned into something romantic, but Joyce knew her daughter could be both jealous and protective of what she thought was "hers".

'Yes, this is really nice, sir,' added Dan.

'Tonight it's Tom… but don't you try to use it back at the station on Monday,' said Tom with a grin towards Dan.

'Promise not to, sir…I mean Tom.'

'I really want to thank you for what you did yesterday, Dan.' Tom became serious at the memory of it. 'God knows what would have happened if you hadn't reacted so fast?' He shuddered at the thought.

'I hate to say it, si… Tom, but I was only lucky, and I sure am happy I was…' Dan left his sentence hanging in the air and looked thoughtful as he considered the alternative.

'Enough about that! Tonight we celebrate everything we have to be happy about and thankful for and by the look of things you seem to have lot of it right now…' Tom nodded towards Shannon.

'Yes, I really have,' said Dan and looked at Shannon with his gaze full of love.

'I take it this may stop you from applying for a transfer, wouldn't it? I mean Shannon is a local girl, isn't she? Tom looked hopefully at Dan. 'I must say that even if we didn't get on very well to begin with, I think you're an excellent policeman and… I just don't have the energy to train a new one. Not yet anyway.'

'Actually Tom, I haven't made any applications for a transfer for the last few months. I've come to like it here in Midsomer. Shannon and I have talked about it too and we both agree that the only thing that could change our mind would be if the Met called and offered me a position as Inspector.'

'You wouldn't dare!' said Tom with a wry smile, half serious, half joking.

'Well,' said Dan, 'with the respect I have for you, sir…Tom, I guess that if it happens… I'll just have to call in sick…' He smiled back at Tom.

'Tom! Tom!' Joyce was all of a sudden excited. 'We have to order champagne!'

'What? Why?' Tom was caught by surprise at his wife's sudden excitement, but had the time to think about the hole it was going to dig in his wallet.

'Don't you see?'

'No, sorry Joyce, what do you mean?'

Joyce shook her head. 'Men!' she burst out with the experience of a long life together with one of the species. She took Shannon's hand in hers and held it towards Tom. 'Now do you see?'

'Not quite…' Tom was beginning to feel a bit embarrassed, not knowing what he was missing.

'It's an engagement ring, Tom. Dan and Shannon are engaged!'

'Well, in that case,' Tom looked at both Dan and Shannon, 'Congratulations to you both, you couldn't have done better. Waiter! Waiter! Could we have a bottle of champagne over here..?'

The End.