So... as promised, part two! I hope you like it, please R&R :)
Martha wasn't sure where the feeling of confidence came from. All she knew was that as her eyes opened that morning, she didn't feel her usual desire to want to crawl back under the covers and sob, but rather a refreshed, renewed vigour and passion for work. She bounced out of bed, her face split with a wide smile, and as she stared at herself in the mirror, she realised how is suited her, softening her face and making her look far more approachable as a person.
As she showered, she hummed quietly to herself, stepping out of the steamy room and turning on the radio beside her bed, tuning it from Radio 4 to something more light-hearted, letting the rhythm of an unfamiliar song fill the room. Today, she wasn't going to be hiding behind her usual baggy jumpers, tops and skirts. She wanted to wear something different, something uniquely her, and so she rummaged through her wardrobe until she found something from her younger days, back before... well. She cast the dark event from her mind as she pulled out a tight-fitting, low cut blue blouse and a pair of dark black tailored jeans.
"Perfect..." She murmured, pulling on the unfamiliar garments with a little thrill, smiling at her reflection as she admired her new figure from every angle. Something still didn't look right, so she went to the drawer she hardly used, the one to which the handles were furred with dust. There lurked a bag of makeup, two or three years old, scarcely used since the attack. She sorted through the bottles and pots until she found what she wanted, and she applied the almost-alien creams and powders, feeling no apprehension about what she was doing.
Martha Lawson had been beautiful, once. When she was still a young PC, new to the force, she had had shoulder length burnt auburn hair and warm eyes, she laughed and smiled with the others, and she drunk in bars. She'd had a boyfriend, a best friend, friends, acquaintances, but then as she worked her way up the career ladder, so these things had fallen by the wayside, discarded like a child discards old playthings. She had stayed freshly radiant, her cheeks glowing with good health and her eyes bright with hope, opportunity and ambition.
It was a late July evening, unseasonably warm. She was a Detective Inspector, still young, but now burdened slightly with the job at hand. It was 2008, and she was combing the area down by the docks for a missing colleague. Detective Inspector Alexandra Drake had disappeared twenty hours previously, and the Met were panicking.
Her team were searching around here in the hope that there would be some trace of the missing woman, separated from each other in order to cover more area. Her mind was far from focused on the task at hand, instead thinking about the poor, missing Inspector's daughter, still a child at twelve. Her jeans clung to her legs in the heat, and she didn't notice her pursuer until he had grabbed her, his hand clamped over her mouth, stopping her screaming.
The next few minutes had been hell, as she closed her eyes and screamed, a raw, animalistic noise that her attacker tried to stifle but failed. When he left her, lying sobbing on the ground, violated, bleeding, she was incapable of speaking, of doing anything more than cry and scream.
From that day, Martha Lawson lived to work. She wore baggy clothes, the makeup she once adored now consigned to a dark drawer, the memories pushed aside.
After that day, Martha Lawson no longer considered herself beautiful. Not anymore. Not ever again.
She strode into work with determination, feeling the stares as she entered the office and basking in the attention. She knew John was looking at her, and she smiled a secret smile as she imagined his eyes on her back, taking in the new Martha. As she sat at her desk, she looked out at the team, watching their baffled faces as they turned to each other and began to whisper furtively, trying to work out the sudden change in their normally plaid and sensible DSI.
"Martha...?" John's voice at the door brought her attention back to the immediate area and she saw him stood in the doorway nervously.
"John," She welcomed him with a beaming smile, and the Irishman looked even more nervous.
"Can I come in?" He asked cautiously.
"Of course, sit down!" She invited, and he sank into the chair opposite her with some relief.
"How can I help?" She asked, and he raised his eyebrows at her.
"Someone's happy," he observed drily, but before Martha could confirm or deny this, he had ploughed on. "They changed the medication?"
"Excuse me?" Martha asked him, a hint of the old her creeping into her tone as she squared up to him.
"Alright, not the medication... what's his name?" He probed, and Martha frowned, before deciding she could use this conversation to her advantage.
"His name's John." She answered flirtatiously, watching as his brows knitted in confusion.
"Not John Michaels from Personnel. Please tell me you didn't shag him." John's tone was past professional, now entirely disrespectful, but Martha didn't care.
"Nope... he's much better than that. He's new. Bit of a maverick. Irish. Grey eyes." Her description confounded him for a moment but then realisation dawned. There was a pause as he decided what to do, whether hat his senior officer was suggesting was appropriate, then his mind was made up.
"Tonight. Fabia and Leighmann's. Meet me there at eight." He told her bluntly, and then he was gone, leaving behind only a memory and those wonderful words.
"I've had a great evening, Martha." John's words were soft and he squeezed her hand reassuringly in the darkness of her hallway.
"Me too." Her response was short as she thought about the meal, the walk back here, and now, her and John in this tiny space, so close... and the warmth of his hand in hers.
"Martha... I don't know why you've –" The last word of the sentence never manifested themselves as Martha's lips met his, warm and soft and tasting faintly of wine and strawberries.
The kiss was slow, passionate and everything they had imagined. Her hands were around his neck, and his were at her waist, holding each other together, holding them both in the moment. She pulled back slowly, telling herself the brief moment in which she wasn't in contact with his lips she would be uttering the words that could bring her so much more.
"Upstairs." She whispered, and he was nodding, taking her hand and leading her up the stairs.
When she woke up in the morning, she focused only on him. The smell of his aftershave, still faintly present, now mixed with the smell of sweat and her own perfume. The sound of his breathing. The rise and fall of his chest under her cheek, the warmth that radiated throughout her whole body from his skin.
"I love you," she whispered, and she felt him smile rather than saw it.
"I love you too, Martha."