This chapter hasn't been updating for some reason, I hope it has worked!
Read the previous chapter, it has been so long you no doubt have forgotten the story line! A/N at the bottom! Totally don't own rush. xx
Kerry firmly shut the door and walked behind her desk, looking intently between them the two officers in front of her. Stella looked to the side, avoiding her gaze but Shannon stared directly back into the eyes of her boss.
"Right you two, what the hell happened last night"
Neither Shannon nor Stella said anything, an awkward tension filling the room.
"Well come on. Which one of you is going to explain why four of my staff members have turned up to work this afternoon looking like they've either consumed half a brewery of alcohol or they want to?" Kerry said.
"Won't happen again Kerry," Shannon said simply and stood up.
"As I explained to Lawson, I am happy to take a breath test as I'm sure Stella is, to prove we are fit for work. As long as we pass, I see no reason to investigate this in any more detail as anything that may have happened last night is a personal matter than I don't particularly wish to go into," she said in one breath.
"Well I'm glad you seem to have found your voice Sergeant," Kerry replied emphasizing the rank sarcastically.
"Now we've established 'it was a personal matter' I can reinforce that you are both above this shit. You need to go back to your counsellor," she indicated to Stella.
"And you need to find one," she said as she turned to Shannon, "and you both need to stop trying to fix your problems with booze because I can guarantee it doesn't fix a damn thing," she said, now having changed to anger over her passive aggressive tone.
"Is that clear?" she yelled.
"Crystal," Shannon whipped back. She was cranky, hungover and upset and the last thing she felt like today was arguing with her boss.
"You going to give us the breath test or not?" she asked abruptly. Kerry snatched the test up, pulling the plastic wrap off the mouthpiece.
"Just one stea..." she began.
"I'm a cop, I know how a bloody breath test works," Shannon said dryly. She blew into the machine, finding herself struggling as her recent pneumonia bout became a very painful reality again.
"Stop," Kerry said in a slightly softer tone, seeing Shannon's face flash in pain.
As the machine beeped, the green numerals 0.00 flashed across the screen and Shannon tried desperately to ignore her overwhelming desire to cough. But the sensation was burning her lungs and she was forced to splutter out a desperate cough as she gave a gasp for oxygen.
"Are you ok?" Kerry asked with sudden concern. Maybe she had been too hard, but she wanted Shannon to see her recklessness and the impact it was having.
"I'M FINE," she spat out.
"Was it clear?" continued, indicating the test.
"Yes," Kerry responded.
"Good, I'll meet you in the intel room then Senior," she said to Stella, before turning on her heel and walking straight out the door.
Kerry replaced the mouthpiece and Stella breathed into it, continuing to hold her breath as she waited for the result. 0.00 again flashed across the screen and she exhaled the air from her lungs in relief.
"When is your next counselling appointment?" Kerry then asked expectantly.
"Tomorrow," Stella replied.
"Good, make sure you go,"
"Yep. Anything else?" she asked, meeting Kerry's worried expression.
"Are you sure you're ok to work today?"
"Yes, I'm good,"
"She'll be fine," she answered diplomatically.
"Alright, you can go," Kerry replied as Stella slowly walked out of her office and towards the intel room.
"Fuck," she swore loudly as she tried to work out what to do. She slowly walked to the hidden safe in her office, pulling out Shannon's iPhone from its depths. The battery had gone flat so she plugged it into her computer, waiting for it to start. Kerry had been in too much shock to look at the photos in detail last time but she knew she had to get the evidence off the phone at some point; Shannon had been asking her for it back.
As the phone lit up with the apple start screen Kerry stared at it, waiting for it to load. The buzz of messages filled the office as the texts and missed calls began to register. Kerry saw only the brief flash of the first one from someone saved in Shannon's phone as 'Fuckwit' which she could see said 'you can't hide from me, you wound up bitch.' Kerry gasped in shock. Almost as soon as she had finished reading it, the message preview had disappeared replaced with the messages (3) icon which gradually rose to 47. She unlocked the phone and her hand hovered over the message button. She decided against reading the texts, they were none of her business. Surely Shannon would have said something if she had known who raped her. Wouldn't she?
The photos finished uploading and Kerry felt a surge of anger as she saw the images in detail for the first time. The smeared blood on Shannon's back, the cuts and abrasions that wrapped around her body, the scratches that covered her hand and wrist. She abruptly stood up, sending her chair flying into the wall behind her in fury.
"Can I take the rest of my staff now or do you still need them for whatever secret club you seem to have formed?" Charlie asked as he burst through the door of Kerry's office later in the afternoon, not bothering to knock.
"What I need MY staff for is actually none of your business Senior Sergeant. Now, I want everyone assembled in the locker room at 6, I want to discuss the training we have lined up for the next month and who goes to which of these Professional Development seminars next week," she replied as she picked up the freshly printed documents in her hand. The last thing she needed was Charlie bloody Lewis strutting around like he owned the joint; annoying her and pissing off an already highly strung Lawson.
"I'll do seminar allocation, that's my job," he said abruptly, snatching the papers from her hand and quickly exiting her office.
Kerry rolled her eyes as his retreating back as she muttered to herself.
"Thank god, I hate it,"
When 6pm rolled around everyone slowly filed into the locker room. Shannon had avoided going in early, wanting to avoid Lawson's angry eyes though it seemed he had much the same idea as her and they walked in at the same time. He remained standing next to Charlie, sending unhappy looks at the team.
"Right everyone," Kerry began as she walked in.
"I realise Michael's death is still fresh in everyone's minds and it is affecting you all differently. I urge all of you to go and speak to someone about it. You all know we have free and anonymous services to help you so please make the most of them. There is nothing weak about asking for help and if there is anything I can do for any of you please come and see me. My door is always open. Metaphorically. If it is shut, please knock before bursting in," she said glaring at Charlie and causing Christian to stifle his laughter with a cough earning him a death stare from the senior Sergeant.
"Now onto other matters. We need to lift our game, I know you are all still dealing with everything and if you need some time off it's not a problem, just put it in writing or come and talk to me. But if you are going to show up to work, you need to be here on time, and ready to work as a team. So, having said that, in the next couple of weeks we will be doing a team building exercise and I expect you all to give it everything,"
"Hang on, we haven't discussed this," Charlie suddenly spoke up.
"I know, that is because you are part of the team and I get to choose what the team building exercise is. Leon and Amber will join you six for an afternoon of circus skills," she continued as a loud chatter immediately erupted from the group.
"Please tell me this is your idea of a joke," Charlie said to her.
"That's enough everyone," she said as everyone fell silent.
"No joke. No one can bail because I won't tell you when we are doing until the morning of the day. Everyone clear?" she asked sharply.
A general mumble of agreement shot through the group as Kerry quickly pressed on.
"Excellent. We also have your firearms renewal training out in Whittlesea, hand to hand combat and covert operations in the next month and next week you all have various seminars to attend. On that note, Charlie will give you the details. You need to fill out your paperwork and evaluations on the day and hand them back to him. He has kindly volunteered to do all the organising for this so take it away senior sergeant," she said with a note of finality.
It was Lawson this time who stifled a laugh. He hated doing paperwork and he knew the seminars were a killer for registration, allocations and follow up evaluations. Charlie, never having been around for a TR seminar week obviously didn't know this when he volunteered. It would take him weeks to catch up on the paper work, a thought which made Lawson smile smugly to himself. His good mood didn't last long though as Charlie read out the list.
"Right, as you know these seminars are vital for..."
"Charlie, we know. We have all been in TR a lot longer than you have. Just tell us what our PDs are about," Stella interrupted much to his annoyance.
"Don't interrupt," he began but could see he was losing their attention rapidly.
"Fine. You cannot swap your seminar. There would be no point allocating them otherwise. Stella and Christian you are going to a negotiation techniques workshop, Shannon and Josh your seminar will be on violent crimes and Lawson and I are going to leadership in the force," Lawson's stomach dropped. Violent crime. Of all the seminars for her to be going to that was the worst possible one, and he wasn't even going to be there with her. This day was going from bad to worse.
"Right, I'm staying here to do this paper work. Shannon and Josh you're in TR1, Lawson, Stella and Christian TR2,"
"No, you can't swap," Charlie muttered as he walked out, seeing the team about to protest.
"Well come on everyone, we've wasted enough time let's go," Lawson said in a biting tone and walking out.
"What is up his arse?" Christian voiced out loud.
"Nothing," Shannon snapped and followed him out.
"Is she withholding sex he seems..." Christian began to say with a laugh.
"Just shut up, he's shitty with me not her. I'm driving loser," she said sprinting out of the room, successfully pulling his attention away.
"Oi," he yelled and followed her out.
"Children," Josh said and rolled his eyes strolling out casually behind them. He could see Lawson trying to speak to a disinterested Shannon,
"I don't want you going to that one," Josh could hear him say.
"Well it isn't your call and it would look weird if I don't. Besides I want to be a cop and that is part of what we deal with. I am fine with it. Just get over it and don't tell me what to do," she whispered back. Shit, he thought, Lawson really was in the doghouse.
Stella locked herself in the car and had her face pressed up against the glass, pulling faces at Christian.
"Grow up you two, let's go," Lawson said as he moodily yanked his door open and slammed it shut. Christian climbed in the back mouthing 'sexually frustrated' at Stella in the mirror. 'Shut up,' she mouthed back as she pulled out of the base.
"Ah, I think I could do with a drive," Josh said, gently pulling the keys from Shannon's hands which he could see were slightly shaking. She was doing a fairly good job at trying to cover it, but he could see she was upset.
He never bothered her or questioned her about anything, understanding she just needed some space. It wasn't until they stopped for dinner he left her in the car, grabbing her a focaccia and mineral water he decided to mention anything.
"Don't tell Lawson, I bought you dinner," he said with a wink.
"Oh, you mean you value your life?" she asked him.
"Yep," he replied. "He has been very defensive about you lately,"
"Yeah well, you know Lawson," she said trying to brush it off.
"Yeah, I do," was all he said before the radio crackled with another job.
"Guys, a domestic in Port Melbourne, reports of 2 kids stuck in the middle of waring parents. 8 year old son called the cops," Leon said loudly.
"Great," Shannon said with a cringe.
"Let's go. I'm driving," Josh replied as he grabbed the keys again.
By the time they had arrived the other TR team and the GD officers had already de escalated the situation. And so they headed off to another job at a local pub, full of rowdy football fans.
They pulled into base as their shift was about to finish silently heading to the change rooms. Shannon changed quickly and gathered her bag, wondering whether she should wait for the other TR car to come back or if they had already been and gone. She wanted to see Lawson, but definitely didn't want to start a fight with him here.
"See ya josh," she said as she headed out.
"Later. Go and sleep, you look like shit," he replied.
"Thankfully, I still look better than you!" she laughed back at him.
"That cut me deep Henry,"
"Yeah yeah," she continued as she walked out into the cold night air.
Shannon pulled up outside Lawson's dark house. It was 3:30am and she could feel her eyes burning with tiredness. She desperately wanted to sleep, but she knew Lawson would want to talk. She had to fix things with him and she didn't care how tired she was at that point, she needed her relationship to be ok; because everything else was turning to shit.
"Lawson," she called out as she walked inside. But as silence met her words it confirmed her suspicions that they had beaten the other TR back to base.
"Shit," she said out loud, rubbing her head. Maybe she should just go back to her house. But that meant not speaking to Lawson and they'd had both had an awful shift. He had been in an foul mood all night and she knew it was her fault. And honestly, she was too exhausted to leave. Shannon turned off all but one light as she walked to the bedroom grabbing her phone as she lay in the darkness.
'Hey. Are you going to be home soon? It's been a bad night and I really want to talk. Only if you want to. I'm really sorry about what I said yesterday and the whole tequila thing. I love you. Shan xx' .
She hit the send button and pulled the covers around her, trying desperately to warm up. She was clinging to her phone, waiting for a reply with her eyes closed. Hugging Lawson's pillow, sleeping mostly on his half of the bed, a wave of tiredness washed over her. She fell asleep without even realising, her phone dropping from her hands onto the other side of the bed.
Lawson read the messages twice before hitting reply. He could almost feel Shannon's anxiousness in her text.
'I am just leaving work now, we got stuck in Fitzroy. I will come to yours and we can chat. Maybe sleep first. I'm sorry too, I love you honey xx'
But Shannon had long since fallen into a deep, troubled slumber and slept through the soft vibrating of the message. Lawson obsessively checked his phone every 2 minutes as he got changed and made his way to Shannon's. Her flat was pitch black when he pulled up, the facade only illuminated by the soft glow of the street lights. Fumbling with his keys in the darkness he managed to open her door and stepped inside.
"Shannon," he said loudly, not wanting to startle her with his appearance. He walked around her lounge and kitchen seeing no signs of his girlfriend. He searched through her flat for her and ended up in her bedroom. He used the glow of his phone, not wanting to wake her up by turning on the bright bedroom light, but quickly saw the perfectly made bed and flicked it on.
He felt his heart beat accelerate, where was she? Pulling his phone out he rang Shannon, as he sat down on the bed.
"Hi, you've reached Shannon Henry," the voicemail began. Lawson hung up in frustration. He debated just staying and waiting for her but maybe she had bailed on the idea of talking and was avoiding him.
He sat on the edge of the bed and put his head in his hands. He felt inadequate. That was the only word he could think of to describe it. No matter how hard he tried, he felt like nothing he could do could help Shannon. And it hurt like hell. Lying back on the bed he shut his eyes and considered falling asleep. But he had promised Shannon no pressure and if she didn't want to talk to him, camping out at her place probably wasn't the best way to fix things.
He walked back out of her room making his way to the front door and pulling it shut, ensuring it was locked securely.
"Senior Sergeant," a voice said behind him, causing him to swivel around quickly in alarm. But as he saw Shannon's elderly neighbour standing there he quickly relaxed.
"Mrs Henderson," Lawson responded surprised. "It's very early for you to be out isn't it?"
"Not at all dear, I don't know how many days I have left. I may as well use all of the ones I do. Anyway, I'm off to my daughters house in Sydney for the week, spend a bit of time with the grandkids. Heading to the airport for one of those early morning budget flights," she smiled warmly at him.
Lawson knew his girlfriend had a soft spot for her neighbour. The old woman had somehow wormed her way in to Shannon's life, something which surprised Lawson given the way Shannon carefully guarded her heart.
"Did you need a lift?" Lawson asked politely.
"Oh no thank you dear, you are much too busy off saving people. I'm just heading out to wait for my taxi. Oh and I almost forgot," she trailed, heading back towards her flat.
"This is Shannon's mail. It has been gathering in her letter box. Now I know you have very difficult jobs but she has been working much too hard lately, I have hardly seen her and when I do, the poor girl looks exhausted," Lawson attempted to say something however was interrupted but the old lady's continuing speech.
"I tried to drop the mail over the last couple of days but she never seems to be home,"
"It's just been a difficult few months at work," he replied meeting her eyes. She was gazing back expectantly at him waiting for him to continue.
"We lost a team member," he sighed.
"Oh, dear," she said sadly and patted his shoulder gently.
"Sometimes it's the saddest events that help us understand how important the people we love are to us," she continued.
"You know, she won't wait forever. She loves you very much, I do hope you will propose soon," she smiled up at him as she grabbed her bag and began to walk up the driveway.
"Let me," Lawson said as he wheeled her bag for her trying to fill the awkward silence.
"Do you think you could ask Shannon to collect my mail for me during the week?"
"Yeah, no worries," he assured her.
"What exactly are you doing sneaking out of her apartment at 5:30 in the morning?" she asked as though it had just occurred to her how odd their meeting was.
"Oh, we had a night shift and I wanted to see Shan, but she hasn't got home yet. Guess I just beat her,"
"Silly girl is a workaholic," she replied sternly and gave Lawson a scrutinizing glare before her face softened into a smile.
"Well, it has been a pleasure as usual, if I can help Shannon do let me know, I care about her an awful lot,"
"Actually, there may be one thing. Have you noticed any strange people hanging around here lately?"
"No, why? Is she in trouble," she said apprehensively.
"No," Lawson reassured her quickly. The last thing he needed was to give Shannon's 75 year old neighbour a heart attack.
"It's just we work different shifts sometimes and I can't always be here. And well, I worry about her because our job can sometimes be dangerous but she would freak out if she thought I was checking up on her every time I called. So if you see anything strange do you think you could let me know?"
"Say no more officer," she said kindly.
Lawson dug around his pockets for a business card and handed it to her.
"And when you come back please call me. Shannon or I would be happy to pick you up from the airport. And if you do catch a cab somewhere please wait inside until it arrives. It's not a good idea to stand all alone when it's so dark,"
"Thank you for your concerns. I can see why you are an excellent police officer. And a lovely suitor for Shannon," she said as the cab pulled up.
"Have a good trip," Lawson said as he helped her into the cab.
Lawson pulled into his drive way at 5:50am, long after he had intended to be home. He was on auto pilot as he parked in his garage, wandered through his house and dumped his bag and shoes in the entrance way. Wearily flicking on the light of his bedroom his eyes widened in shock as he saw Shannon lying sprawled on the bed, a soft whimper escaping her lips. She was obviously having another nightmare. As Lawson stood at the door, unsure of what to do, his girlfriends nightmare grew in intensity. It was then he realised that flicking on the light had triggered something; had made it worse. He turned the light off quickly but put the smaller bedside lamp on to help orientate Shannon when she did wake up.
"Please get off me, I promise I won't tell anyone. Please," she whimpered again. It was a panicked, vulnerable voice. She was reliving everything again and Lawson suddenly felt like he was right there with her. He was disgusted. She had been in such fear of her life she had actually begged him with a promise of silence. Tash had told him waking her up in a nightmare might not be the best thing, it could make things worse. But sitting on the bed next to her he couldn't bear it anymore.
"Shannon, wake up," he said loudly. "Please wake up," he continued desperately as she struggled even more. She seemed to have more resolution and fight.
"Fuck off you unrighteous pig," she screamed and hit the air wildly.
"Shannon, it's Lawson. Wake up. It's over, you're safe and it's just a dream. Come on Shannon," he said in despair and stroked her face gently. The contact seemed to wake her up and she took a swing at him. Luckily he was prepared and quickly moved away from the bed, ducking in time for her to miss.
"It's ok, it's just me," he said to her as she gasped, trying to catch her breath.
"Breathe," he said again as Shannon seemed to fully realise where she was. And then that he was here.
"Fuck," Shannon said in embarrassment and quickly turned away, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. Lawson quickly realised she was trying to flee and began to make his way over to her as she began to stand.
The exhaustion from the nightmare had obviously taken more of a toll on her than she realised as her shaky legs buckled beneath her.
"Woah," he said as she fell into his arms.
"No running," Lawson whispered as he wrapped his arms around her. It took her several seconds to relax in his arms, taking deep breaths to help steady herself.
"Wait," she said trying to pull away from him, her muscles tightening with tension again. Lawson however had other ideas and kept his hold on her tight.
"Can you let go so I can sit down?" she said softly.
"Only if you don't flee the building," he half-joked as he sat down beside her and grabbed her hand.
"Lawson, just stop for a minute," Shannon said pulling her hand away and moving over slightly.
"We were fighting yesterday and now we suddenly aren't?" she continued.
Lawson looked awkwardly at the floor before opening his mouth and then closing it again.
"So what, now we aren't going to talk about it? Because you were pretty keen to yesterday," Shannon challenged.
"Fine, let's talk," he flared quickly, not even realising that Shannon had baited him into starting the conversation.
"Why do you always have to push me away? Act like everything is alright when it so obviously isn't? Do I really mean so little to you that you don't want to let me help you deal with this?"
"Oh please Lawson, do you know how hard it was for me to even tell you? And before you interrupt it's not because I don't love you or trust you. I knew what this would do to you. It's because you are the most moral, positive, emotionally guarded person I know. You take things personally. You invest so much in following the law and being a cop I mean, your name has the frieken word in it. Your world is divided into right and wrong and consequences. And you know what? I thought mine was too. But I can't report this and I know you don't get that because you are this calm, alpha male with a super intense protective complex who's found answers in the police force. But now I'm a cop on the other side and all it has given me more questions and I don't know where the fuck to get the answers,"
Lawson stood there looking down at her, stunned, when she finished her rant as she tried to catch her breath. When did she get to completely understand the way he worked.
"Did you think a bottle of tequila held the answers?" he suddenly challenged.
"Last night wasn't about finding answers Lawson, it was about trying to forget the questions," she said staring up at him, he could see regret lingering in her eyes.
He sighed as he sat down on the edge of the bed next to her.
"I'm sorry for how I reacted. I know I get over protective and it gives you the shits but I just..." he stopped, his words getting lost.
"You just?" she asked him.
"You are the single most important person in my life. And I know you are strong and independent but you're right. I'm a complete alpha male control freak. More to the point I'm completely in love with you and even the thought of someone hurting you makes me angrier than I have ever been in my life. And I feel completely incapable because I don't know how to help you,"
She sighed deeply and rubbed her head and Lawson edged closer to her.
"The drinking night was stupid. Before I told you, told anyone, Stella and I got drunk every night using the pretence of Michael dying. Which was part of it too. But mostly, when I get completely wasted, the nightmares aren't as bad,"
"Tonight was bad hun. Drinking yourself into oblivion won't fix this,"
"I know," she replied simply.
"Good. I still want to talk about the seminar though. Does this mean we're not fighting now?"
"Are you still angry?" she asked him.
"Not at you," he paused briefly when he saw her eyes shining with tears he knew she was holding back, "so if we aren't fighting, is it now ok with you for us to cuddle?" Lawson continued giving her a lopsided grin.
She gave him a small laugh and rolled her eyes at him.
"Yes loser, you can give me a hug," she said even though he had already wrapped his arms around her.
"Sleep?" she whispered in his ear.
"I'll just get changed, be back in a minute," he responded before kissing her on the cheek and standing up.
Ten minutes later, both of them had changed and Lawson climbed in beside Shannon.
"I just got your text," she said to him as he ran his hand up her arm.
"Did you really go to my place?"
"Well yeah," he said awkwardly.
"I ran into Mrs Henderson," he told her with a grin, "she is going to Sydney so you're her mail collector for the week,"
"Mmmk," she mumbled in response, and Lawson knew she was tired.
"Love you toots," he said as she turned over and felt the warmth of his arms envelope her.
"Love you too lover boy," she replied and gave a chuckle.
2 minutes later they had both drifted off into the realms of sleep, the intense conversation playing on both of their minds.
Well HELLO strangers!
I mean that literally. I'm officially back in Australia! hooorayy. I had an amzeballs time but now it is back to reality. sigh.
On the plus side, it means I can go back to laptop not iPad typing. So hopefully, fewer awkward typos. A few little things about this chapter. I started writing it in Ireland the day I finished the last one and it has literally taken me this long. It just kind of kept going and going...and was much too long so I cut it back a bit but it is still the longest chapter but everything I put in was fairly important. mostly anyway!
I hope you like the chapter. What do you all think of Mrs Henderson? Seems random but she will be important later. maybe. muhhaahaha. I shall give you no more hints. Unless you can guess, then go nuts.
All the info and stuff I have about Lawson (and Shannon) was in their original descriptions on the channel website so if any other writers want their background info just let me know and I'll be happy to send it to you.
Thank you for your feedback, both on this story and my other one shot! If you haven't left reviews please do, it makes things easier to know you are writing for someone other than yourself; no need to be scared of it!
thanks again friends!