Disclaimer: Not mine and I make no money from playing with them - more's the pity.
a song that would never ever end
or five times Sandra Pullman dances with someone she loves.
because of you.
Sandra likes Fridays.
She likes Tuesdays too, because that's when her class is allowed to play on the field and she always gets the best ball first. Always.
But she likes Fridays most because Friday, as far back as Sandra can remember, has always been the day when Daddy picks her up from school.
It's not that she doesn't like when Mum comes to get her, but Mum gets her all the time and Daddy's a policeman and he isn't even there to arrest her.
On Fridays Sandra picks the corner nearest the door at reading time and even though she really is listening to Mrs Henderson, she peeks out through the bottom window when the parents start arriving.
He hides from her; she knows he does because when the bell goes and Mrs Henderson opens the door even if her reading folder gets caught on the door she still can't ever see him in the playground.
It was scary the first time, because she didn't know about the game, but when she found him after almost everyone else's parents had already left, he hugged her close and told her that he was just hiding. He said it was their little game and that if she can't ever find him then she has to stay in the playground and look hard into all the corners until she sees him. He told her not to tell Mum. Sandra knows that's because Mum's really terrible at hide and seek.
When she finds him, Daddy gives her a big hug and kisses the top of her head and then holds her hand while they walk. Daddy's always really interested in how Sandra's day has been; it makes sense, really important things happen to Sandra every day so she tells him about them really fast before she forgets.
When she goes home and it's not a Friday, she has to take the bus with Mum. But Daddy has a real police car, with lights and everything and he lets Sandra ride in the back where all the bad people usually go. Not because she's bad, but because it's so much cooler than sitting in the front.
Sometimes they pretend they're chasing someone and Daddy puts the siren on.
Mum already has dinner ready when they get in and they can smell it from the doorstep. Daddy picks her up just before he opens the door and carries her in over his shoulder.
"Here she is." He says when Mum comes out of the kitchen. "They'll give me a medal for catching this one."
Daddy turns so Sandra can see Mum if she twists her head up. Mum smiles a lot on Fridays so they must be her favourite days too.
"Well." Mum says. "We can't have her going to prison without something to eat." She kisses Daddy on the cheek. "Even nasty criminals should eat their vegetables."
After dinner, Sandra goes upstairs to play in her room. She doesn't know what Mum and Daddy do but she wriggles her nose and goes back to her colouring whenever she thinks about it because it's probably boring adult stuff.
Mum used to come up and help her get changed, but she's a big girl now so when Mum calls up she puts her pencils away in their box and pulls out her pyjamas from under her pillow.
The music starts just as she's taking off her socks. Mum laughs; she only does that on Fridays too, mostly.
Sandra sneaks across the landing and down the first few stairs. She can see them in the front room from there. Daddy has his jacket off and his shirt untucked. Mum usually forgets to take her apron off.
She watches them dance for a whole song before Daddy looks up at her and smiles. She grins back and Mum sort of sighs and holds out her hand.
Sandra slips down the stairs on her bum because if she goes slow enough Daddy will come over and sweep her up and then she doesn't have to walk at all.
He holds her waist and she wraps her arms around his neck.
"Come on then." He says and puts the song on again. Mum sits in her chair because this dance is just for Sandra and Daddy.
She doesn't usually know the songs that Daddy dances to, but he must do because he sings them into her ear and then they're her favourite songs until next Friday.
When the song finishes, Mum puts on a new one and Daddy moves Sandra so she's resting on his hip and then pulls Mum in too so they're all dancing together.
"My girls." Daddy says just before Sandra falls asleep, her head on his shoulder, her nose pressed into his neck.
When she's older and Dad actually shows her how to dance on her own two feet, she wonders if Mum always stopped smiling when he called them that and why she doesn't seem to like it. She can't think of anything better than being one of Daddy's girls.
queen of hollywood.
When she returns from the bathroom there's three more empty glasses on their table and one half-full in Brian's hand.
"I wasn't gone that long." She says, taking a seat and slipping her bag out of sight under the table.
Brian looks up at her with a grimace. There's a sheen of sweat on his forehead and when she reaches out a hand, his arm trembles beneath her fingers. She tightens her grip for a moment, leaning over to speak into his ear. His hair tickles her cheek.
She can hear the shudder as he breathes in.
"You should have brought Gerry." He says, looking down at the row of glasses.
Sandra curses beneath her breath. She knew, knew that Gerry had said something to him before they left.
"Come on." Trailing her fingers down his arm, she clasps his hand in hers and pulls them both to their feet. Brian's glass clinks against the others on the table and he scrabbles to grab something. With a sigh she reaches out with her spare hand and yanks his scarf out of his clenched fist. "Just dance with me, yeah?" She says, tugging them both towards the other dancers.
She's going to murder Gerry for this, the heels she's wearing aren't exactly conducive to pulling a reluctant pensioner around the dance floor.
It takes a little while for them to settle in to the rhythm and even then Brian's fingers dig bruises into her hips and he holds her as far away from himself as he can and still be touching. If she couldn't still feel the anxiety thrumming through him, she'd be insulted.
With a sigh, she steps closer, her arms wrapping around his neck. He stills but she carries on moving, forcing him back into motion.
"So." She says as the music changes into a slower number, she presses even closer to him. "Jack said this place used to be some kind of military hospital." She bends her head, resting her cheek against his shoulder.
"Yeah." He says and his fingers loosen their grip, hands sliding around to rest against her back.
She waits a beat, rolling her eyes at herself.
"Alright. Tell me then."
He tugs her closer, talking animatedly in her ear and she hides her smile in his shoulder.
to sir with love.
"Here, let me take that." Jack says, reaching out with one hand and holding the door open for her with the other.
"Cheers, Jack." She shrugs out of her jacket, leaning forward and brushing her lips against his cheek. "Happy Anniversary."
He smiles and closes the door behind her. "Thank you."
"There you are! I said to Paul, it doesn't take this long to get ice-Oh, Sandra! You made it." Mary slips into the space beside her husband and reaches out a hand to rest against Sandra's arm. "How was the traffic?"
"Awful." Sandra smiles, her tongue showing between her teeth, as the two arrange their limbs around each other. "Hello Mary." She says, bending forward and getting caught up in a one armed hug. "Happy Anniversary." She holds out the sparkling silver gift bag.
"Sandra." Jack chides. "We said no gifts."
"I know." She pulls her bottom lip between her teeth, still smiling. "I couldn't resist."
She gets another hug from Mary and a long look from Jack.
"Come on. Let's get you a drink." Mary shrugs out of her husband's hold and links arms with Sandra, gently tugging her further into the house. She can hear them then, the music and voices from the garden. "There's someone I want you to meet." She says.
Sandra groans. "Mary-"
"You're far too pretty to be single." Mary says, patting her hand. "Besides, I think you'll like Josh. He's one of those rough and ready types. Built to last." She continues.
Sandra stares at her. "Mary!"
"What? Oh don't look so shocked dear." Behind them, Jack chuckles. Sandra shakes her head and lets Mary pull her through to the kitchen where, thankfully, there are several bottles of wine.
An hour and a half later finds Sandra sitting alone at one of the small plastic tables Jack has been complaining about all week.
Apparently the white legs are absolutely ruining the smooth surface of his favourite golf range. Sandra had just laughed at him and told him to go to a golf course like everyone else.
Across the garden, Mary stands with a group of women about her age, her head tilted to the side as she listens to the stories. Every now and again she laughs and it makes Sandra smile.
She likes the older woman, has since the first time Jack dragged her back to his home after a long case and an even longer day and Mary had sat her down on the couch and talked to her about knitting patterns and lemon drizzle cake until Sandra had fallen asleep with her tea still clasped in her hand. She woke up to the smell of sizzling bacon and found a steaming cup of tea on the coffee table next to her.
Her eyes flick to the group of men beside the pond. Mary had been right; Josh is rather rough around the edges, he's also very gay which she thinks isn't Mary's fault, she can't be sure that Josh even knows it yet. Still, he'd spoken to her for fifteen minutes and never once had he looked anywhere but at her eyes.
Call her cynical, but in Sandra's experience, if a guy doesn't look at her chest at least once in conversation, it's probably not because he's an eye-man. Besides which, he had no compunction against staring at Paul's arse when he bent over the Buffett table.
"No good?" Jack's voice makes her jump and she looks at him as he settles into the chair beside her. "The food." He says, tipping his head towards her plate and she realises she's left one of the mini quiches half-eaten while she watched the other guests.
"No. It's great." She stuffs the quiche in her mouth and Jack snorts. "Really. I was just distracted." She insists when she's finished chewing.
Jack traces back to where she had been looking and she braces herself when he spots Josh.
"So, Mary was right after all." Sandra rolls her eyes.
"He's gay Jack." Jack's eyebrow rises.
"Are you sure?"
"Very." She says, taking a bite out of a sausage roll.
"Ah. Mary will be disappointed. I think she was hoping for a wedding." Sandra almost chokes on the flaky pastry, swallowing hard and taking several sips of her wine before she can respond.
"Not likely, Jack." She says, voice slightly raspy. "Maybe she should be pushing him Paul's way." Jack nods distractedly, agreeing with her and she rolls her eyes again.
"Come on then." He says abruptly, patting his palms against his thighs as he stands.
"Jack?" He takes the plate out of her hand and places it down on the table next to her glass.
"Detective Sergeant Pullman." He says, holding out his hand and tipping his head. "May I have this dance?"
She can't help it, she snorts. Utterly unladylike enough to make her mother wince, before reaching out and clasping his hand with her own.
"I would be honoured." She says, letting him pull her to her feet.
He walks her to the patio where the stereo system lazily beats out a few classics that she hasn't heard since she was a child.
Jack spins her into his hold and she smiles at him, slightly shy to be dancing in front of these people she doesn't know, with her superior officer.
"Sandra." Jack growls her name like a warning and she bites her lip, pulling her eyes away from the other people dancing and looks across at Mary.
Mary watches them, smiling gently and Sandra thinks about how the woman has made her feel comfortable here, with people she has never met, that Jack and Mary have known for years. And how Jack practically ordered her to attend this party because he knew that her first instinct was to refuse.
"Thank you." She says when the song finishes and Jack smiles, probably already knowing what she means. He presses a kiss to her cheek and squeezes her waist.
Thank you, she mouths clearly and across the garden Mary nods.
tough little boys.
The little fingers tangle in between her own, holding her hand more as he would if they were walking to the park and less like you should for dancing. Then again, she thinks, kicking off her shoes to bring her closer to his height, his grandfather probably taught him how to dance.
Her cheeks are lightly flushed from the champagne earlier and the lingering embarrassment of being the only person dancing. Well, the only person dancing aside from her partner.
He's all bright blue eyes, blonde hair and missing tooth smiles and how is she ever supposed to refuse him anything? Especially when Paula just happens to mention that little Gerry has been practicing every night for several weeks.
He's too young to be embarrassed, but she saw the fear of disappointment in his eyes as he held out his hand, the sleeves of his child size tuxedo slipping halfway down his thumb when he asked her to dance.
So, of course, she had taken his hand in hers and let him think he was dragging her to the middle of the hall.
His little bow tie perfectly matches the pale blue running through her dress. She blames the older Gerry; there had been a choice between three outfits for Paula's wedding and Gerry had chosen this one, which hadn't even been one of the ones she held out to him.
Dropping one of little Gerry's hands, she spins him out with a flick of her wrist; careful to hold on tight incase he overbalances. Fortunately, the boy has even more grace than his namesake.
The boy giggles, sending an echo of laughter around the room. Sandra doesn't look up. She can already feel the eyes watching her and she worries that seeing them might make her stop. And surprisingly, she's enjoying this almost as much as Gerry is.
He's concentrating so hard, his tongue poking out between his front teeth that she can't help but chuckle. She does it quietly so as not to distract him.
He does a little step that she knows from experience he has learnt directly from his grandfather and then he looks up and beams at her, eyes sparkling.
"Well done, Gerry." She says and spins him out again.
"This is a bad idea, Gerry."
Gerry frowns at her. She can't see his face, but she knows he's frowning regardless.
He ignores her. In his defense, the first time she said that to him, he caught her hand in his, squeezing her fingers; "Come on Guv, when was the last time you just...let lose?" She hadn't been able to answer him, so she supposes that's why she's here now, in the middle of a dance studio in stiletto heels and a dress that swishes when she moves.
"Really bad idea." She says again, mumbling it beneath her breath.
Gerry's hands are warm where they hold her at her waist and back. The music plays quietly around them and above it she can hear the instructor issuing commands for someone to straighten up a little, and for someone else to listen to the beat.
Sandra groans, the voice moving closer to where she and Gerry have largely been ignored so far.
She isn't an awful dancer, but she's never had lessons and Gerry's a bloody natural so she knows that next to him she's going to look all awkward limbs and graceless steps. Especially in these ridiculous shoes.
Gerry's hand moves from her back to her shoulder, his fingers gently digging into the tense muscle there.
"Sandra, relax." Because it's that simple for him. She looks at him, opening her eyes for the first time since the music started. He looks about as comfortable as she has ever seen him. Tosser.
"Ah." He says, smiling at her. "There you go. This'll go much better with your eyes open Guv'nor."
She wacks him lightly on the arm and refuses to smile at his flinch.
She takes a deep breath and concentrates on the feel of his hands through the thin cotton dress, the sound of his voice as he hums quietly and pretends that it's just the two of them.
And then, it's easy. The music slips through her mind, seeping into her body until her muscles seem to wake up and remember how to move.
She feels Gerry's laugh puff against her cheek and realises that she's closed whatever distance was left between them. She falters but he brushes his hand up and down, his little finger just grazing across the outward curve of her spine. She relaxes again.
Her legs brush against his when they step with each other, pushing and pulling as the dance requires. Her hips twist and her skirt swishes and Gerry smiles softly.
"Not bad, eh Guv?" He asks, and she's distracted by that little finger again and the feel of his trousers along her thigh. But it's not bad, not bad at all.
In fact, she thinks, Gerry following her as she steps backwards, I could get used to this.
"Perfect. Everyone, see how Gerry and Sandra are moving together to the music?" The instructor's voice shatters Sandra's illusion and she stumbles, heel slipping on the wooden floor and she falls against Gerry.
"Bollocks." She says against his jaw.
Gerry's laughter shakes his entire body and his arms keep her pressed against him, keeping her standing.