"This was nothing personal", Chandler tried to placate her as she grabbed her coat.
"This wasn't just about Ella", Mina replied furiously. "Are you really that oblivious? Of course that would explain why you don't seem to notice your DC following you around like a lovesick puppy." And with that she turned around and walked briskly out of the office.
Chandler stared after her for a moment before turning from Riley, who snorted to Mansell who made a gesture that said "hell, no, mate" and finally to Kent who was blushing furiously while pretending to be immensely interested in how his shoes looked against the floor.
Everyone else in the office was looking at him looking at Kent who was still ignoring him. At least until Miles barked, "You lot got a girl to find! Right now."
Chandler used the sudden commotion to slip into his office. He sat down behind his desk, watching his team immerse themselves into work without actually seeing them.
Miles knocked at the door then let himself in without waiting.
"You look a bit confused", he said, closing the door behind him.
"Aren't you? Those things she said…about Kent…that doesn't make any sense. I mean I would have noticed that", he tried to explain.
"Obviously not", was Miles answer. Chandler stared at him with an open mouth. "Lad didn't exactly make a secret of it, did he?"
He laughed when Chandler buried his face in his hands. "You really didn't know, did you?"
"What am I supposed to do?" Chandler asked forlornly.
"That depends on you", Miles looked like he was enjoying this far too much.
"What do you mean?" Miles rolled his eyes, holding up four fingers.
"Well, you can transfer or you could transfer him-", he ticked off two fingers.
"I'm not transferring anyone", Chandler said immediately.
"-or you tell him you're not interested or you ask him out. Like I said it depends on you." He ticked off the other two. Chandler opened his mouth but before he could say anything Miles continued, "and before you give me any of that "I don't want to inflict myself on anyone" crap, let me tell you something: I've known Kent longer than you have. Remember your first day when Kent was the kid in sneakers and a bomber jacket with the messy desk that gave you the chalk? Look at him now: sharp suits, polished shoes, desk as shiny as yours. We've all changed, I'm not denying that, but Kent slipped into your habits as easily as if they had been his all along. So it's really down to the question whether you fancy him or not and I can't help you with that." With that he stood up and left Chandler's office.
Unfortunately Miles' advice was not as hopeful as it had first sounded. He would have preferred if Miles had told him to ask Kent out or not. He had shown no problems playing matchmaker when it had come to Lizzie and Mina. But then, Chandler supposed he had shown some interest in both of them while Kent was…Kent: loyal, dependable, a good police officer who would have probably made it somewhere if fate hadn't placed him in this particular team.
He thought about what Miles had said, about Kent picking up his habits easily, the desk, the suits. Miles was right, he usually was with these things. But that was just one issue that stood between them. That Kent would be able to handle Chandler's peculiarities didn't mean they would sail smoothly into the harbour of marital bliss and beyond. He felt himself blush when he caught that strain of thoughts. He hadn't even asked Kent out and yet he was already thinking…there probably wouldn't be more than one date. Kent would find him awkward or boring and that would be the end of it. They would go back to being colleagues.
"Kent, can I talk with you for a moment?" Chandler asked quietly, having passed off the moment so that he wouldn't do this inside the office with an audience.
"Of course, sir", Kent replied but with a look of such dread that it almost hurt Chandler physically. The last time Kent had looked like this had been when Chandler had accused him of being the mole. And this was probably the worst time to think about that particular incident.
"I can handle it, sir. I won't let my feelings influence my work", Kent said the moment they stepped into a side corridor. "But if you think it would be better for the team I can put in for a transfer."
"No! No," Chandler protested immediately to Kent's visible relief, "I…I actually wanted to ask you would like to eat dinner. After work. With me."
He felt incredibly flustered but Kent's smile was probably bright enough to lighten the whole of Whitechapel.
"Of course! I'd-" Kent broke off, clearly embarrassed by his excitement and cleared his throat. Chandler found himself smiling. "I mean I'd like to, sir."
"After work, then?"
"After work", Kent smiled brightly again. They just looked at each other for a long moment, both of them smiling until the vibrating of Kent's phone pulled them both back to reality.
"Oh, I have to bring these to Riley", Kent gestured with the folder in his hand.
"Of course, I didn't mean to keep you."
"Never mind, sir", Kent smiled again and he really needed to stop doing that. It made Chandler feel things. "I'll see you later."
With that he dashed off and part of Chandler hoped that Kent wouldn't find him boring.
He didn't, of course.