Janine released a sigh she hardly knew she'd been holding through out the course of the day. Over the years she had learned to distance herself from the cases; she liked to keep her working life and her home life as to separate entities allowing her to remain as proffesional as possible.
However there was always a case now and again which wound its way into her heart. It was usually something she could identify with, something she could empathise with.
In this case it was the murder of a fifteen year old girl who had somehow wound up working as a prostitute at some seedy backalley brothel.
It was hard to comprehend that a girl around the same age as Ellie had ended up working in a brothel, let alone become a murder victim.
They had yet to get a proper identification of the girl just that she was 'Crystal' and when pushed her pimp had revealed the shocking truth of the girls age; yet he nor any of her colleagues were either unable or unwilling to give the teenagers real name.
Surely somewhere somebody must be missing the child, as a mother herself it seemed difficult to comprehend otherwise; though having worked her way up in the force she knew all to well with girls like Crystal that nature versus nurture usually came into play and there would be no mother sobbing over this girls body.
Richard joined Janine in the car bringing her out of the revierie, "Another hard day at the office," he stated knowing that Janine was upset,
"Yeah, days like this you just can't wait to get home."
"Tell me about it; beer, telle and a microwave dinner for one."
"Oh the glamerous life of a bachellor! Why don't you come round for a nice home cooked meal?" Janine asked with as much joy as she could muster.
Looking her straight in the eye Richard replied, "You'll cook me tea... in the hope I'll offer to take Tom to footy?"
"You know me too well."
"Your on, but next time all you have to do is ask," he finished with a wink.
"Thank-you Richard," Janine said reaching out to squeeze his hand, "I really mean it."
The rest of their journey was spent in playful banter, something which they offen did to lighten the mood after a hard day at the office, enabling Janine to leave DCI Lewis at the door when she was off duty.
All to soon they pulled up outside Janine's house, "I'll nip home and get changed and scoot back over," Richard confirmed.
"Yeah of course mate," Janine answered opening her door to get out.
"Well you best get on; you've been itching to see Ellie since half nine this morning."
"Yeah it's days like today you're truly thankful for what you have."
"Well away on and be mum, I'll see you in an hour."
"Richard!" Tom greeted opening the door.
"Wow, look at you ready to go training already are we?" Richard asked seeing Tom in his Man U strip and football boots.
"Yeah mum said that you're taking me tonight!"
"Yeah I am mate, I can't wait to see you play but if you want that to happen I think you best take your boots off before your mum catches you wearing them in the house again."
Tom begrudgingly sat on the stairs and removed his boots.
"In the kitchen Richard," Janine called.
Richard smiled as he entered the kitchen, the chaos of domestic life rife. Janine was busy at the stove, little Charlotte at two had reached a clingy age and was firmly on her mother's hip, whining for attention. Ellie sat at the kitchen table doing her homework, as Michael a typical teenager was engrossed in his laptop, ear phones firmly in place and blaring music.
"Smells good Janine."
"Nothing special just a seafood pasta, but I'm hoping it'll be beter than your microwave cheese burger."
"Course it will and anyway it's the company I'm here for darling!"
"Darling?" Ellie asked lifting her eyebrows in question.
"A figure of speach Eleanor." Richard replied.
"My name is Ellie!" The teen sulked.
"Well Ellie dinner's ready, so be a good sport and lay the table. Michael..." Janine paused just long enough to remove his earphones, "Go call your brother, tell him dinners ready."
"Tale a pew Richard and I'll dish up!"
"Here, give me Charlie and I'll put her in her high chair," Richard asked holding his arms out to the baby, she went to him willingly.
"Oh Richard, she never goed to anybody but me without crying at the moment, I could kiss you!" Janine exclaimed a blush rising.
"Of course she would go to her favourite uncle without crying we have fun!"
"Your good with little ones."
"Yeah part of the reason me and the Mrs broke up. I wanted one, she didn't."
"I never realised," Janine said lamely.
"Yeah, that doesn't leave the room; don't want Shap thinking I'm a softie."
"Well I know your a teddy bear... and my kids love teddy bears."
"Teddy?" Charlotte asked.
"After dinner my little angel," Janine replied to her daughter now sat in her high chair.
The six sat down to dinner, discussing their day at school and work and then fell into playful banter. Janine mused they were just like a real family, Richard just seemed to fit into her family as though he had always been there.
"So Michael, have you decided on what course your applying for? Your mum was saying you were struggling between history and geography," Richard enquired.
"Yeah I've got five applications so I've put three for geography, one straight history and one history and politics. Three in Manchester, one for Liverpool and one for Sheffield. Don't want to be far from home you know." Michael replied his eyes alight with excitement as he spoke about a new stage of his life.
"Ah you see, he'd miss his old mum too much!" Janine quipped.
"You wish Janine, it seems like you've thought it through. Though if I was you I'd go for the Sheffield or Liverpool course, that way you'd get the whole experience of halls and everything."
"And more student debt..." Janine said.
"Yeah but it would be worth it, remember those good old days at the academy? The drunken nights out, flat parties and then getting up the next morning for lectures."
Janine nodded fondly, "Ah they were the days!"
"Didn't realise you two went that far back," Ellie asked waiting for confirmation.
"Yeah, I've known your since I was eighteen. Got to say she was a couple of years ahead though!"
"Oi don't bring my age into this Mayne!" Janine laughed.
Later that night Janine was tucking Michael into bed, the young lad tired-out from training.
"You enjoyed football tonight then?" Janine asked her son, having worried about him having gone off it recently.
The boy's eyes sparkled in excitement as he nodded vigerously, "I really liked Richard taking me, no offence mum its just a kind of boy thing!"
"That's quite alright baby, I'm glad you had fun together," she smiled planting a kiss on her son's cheek.
"Can Richard be here more please Mum?" Tom asked innocently.
"That's up to him sweetie, you have to remember that he has his own life away from us."
"Yeah but he doesn't have a girlfriend, I asked him. Anyway he's going to the football match on Saturday!"
"That's good honey, maybe we can all go watch you!"
"That would be good, not Dad though. He just sneaks in near the end and pretends he's seen the whole thing."
"Well I promise that we'll have great fun! Now it's way past your bedtime, night-night love you," Janine whispered kissing Tom on the forehead.
"Love you Mum," Tom said sleepily.
Janine shut her son's bedroom door and made her way downstairs, where Richard was waiting for her. On the stairs she stopped at the sound of Richard's exasperated voice obviously on the phone.
"Mum, it's not like that it's just not that simple... You'll do no such thing, no really just don't... bye."
"What's up Richard?" Janine asked seeing him sat on the sofa with his head in his hands.
"My mum's coming to stay..." the look on his face said it all.
Sorry I took so long, I've been away and had some RL things going on! Let me know what you think! Thanks for reading x