Once again, sorry for the delay..had a bit of a busy weekend last week. anyways here we go.

Chapter 21

Robert glugged down another scotch and banged the glass down on the bar "Another one here barman." He slurred loudly across the ornate Victorian bar.

The pub in Richmond, not far from his home, was quickly filling up with business people in search of an after work drink. With Matthew still in the care of Dora, Robert had made camp at one end of the long bar and had been sitting there since the pub re-opened for the evening. He was brooding. How dare that Yank march into his office bold as brass and dictate to him, how dare that Manch have the audacity to punch him...him a prominent lawyer...him a man who had far more power and influence in his little finger than the two flatfoot police officers put together. They couldn't beat him...how could they? They were mere specks of lowly dirt which could be swept away.

"Barman!" he barked impatiently.

The barman reluctantly wandered over "Sir, I think you should slow down."

Robert glared back at him and growled "Don't you tell me what I should do. If I want another drink I will have one...and less ice this time...I don't want to rust." He sarcastically waved the empty glass under the barman's nose. "Just remember who pays your wages...yes me the customer."

The barman begrudgingly took the glass off him and re-filled it.

"So you have my statement, what happens next?" asked Pipa taking a sip of wine. They were all sat in Luigi's trying to work out the best course of action.

Dempsey was unusually quiet. He sat silently drinking his beer listening to the others voicing various plans. Harry had told him to leave Robert alone and as per usual he had done the complete opposite...now he was starting to understand why. He was out of his depth with this one as he knew Robert Makepeace could squash him like a bug crawling along the window sill. Bringing Joey, his dead partner, into the mix was low, real low, and he was left wondering whether the Lawyer knew more.

Harry wasn't angry with him, if anything she seemed relieved Dempsey had finally met him so that he had an idea of what they were up against. But, he couldn't shrug off the feeling he had let her down and he had made the situation ten times worse...if that was possible. With the inquest hearing looming he felt sure that Robert would go in for the kill. Would Robert use Joey's death as another nail in Dempsey's coffin? The thought terrified him. How would Harry react when she heard that he had killed his partner and the sole reason he was in London was because of the Mafia contract on him.

He also caught himself thinking of his father. He'd been dead two years, but the impact he had had on the family's lives, especially his mother's, was still being felt. For years his mother had to put up with his father's drunken behaviour followed by six months of nursing him until the day he died. The emotions were still raw...even on his death bed and in the presence of the neighbourhood priest the bastard was unrepentant.

And then there were the tapes and Harry. He had wracked his brains trying to think what was on them...he couldn't for the life of him recall. As Harry, Alex, Gene, Leroy and Maddy debated the way forward; Pipa became very aware of Dempsey's lack of input. She had known him barely five minutes, but even she could recognise a man wrestling with dark inner thoughts. "A penny for them?" she ventured.

"Huh?" he looked up.

"You're thinking..." she smiled.

"Oh, it's nuthin'. Just got a lot on my mind." He managed a small smile back.

"It will be okay, you know." She tried to reassure him. "Robert can't get away with it forever and you and Harry are strong."

"You think so? This inquest could screw it all up...you don't know the half of it."

Pipa could see the hopelessness in his eyes. She could tell there was a lot more going on under the surface...there was a great deal at stake. She thought for a while, there had to be something more she could do to help. She cocked her head "Where are those tapes?"

"Tapes? Oh a guess that sleaze Lyons has them."

"They weren't in his office I would have found them." She reasoned.

"Dunno." He shrugged "Perhaps he's got them at home and get's off on them...just like that broad Monica. Not that there's anything kinky on them...I think...if there was I'm damn sure I would have remembered." Dempsey gave her his cheeky smirk.

Pipa was intrigued with Dempsey. At first glance, apart from the obvious good looks, it was hard to understand Harry's attraction. They were poles apart, two very different people on the opposite ends of the spectrum. However, Pipa quickly understood that if you looked past the superficial, it was Dempsey's little quirks and nuances which somehow drew you in. You found yourself peering deeper into him and glimpsing the passionate soul which lay beneath the surface. Pipa got it, they sparked off each other, fire had met fire and they had become a raging inferno.

"Even so, those tapes cannot be allowed to fall into Robert's hands. It might just send him over the edge..."

Dempsey frowned "Over the edge? You think he's losing it?"

She nodded slowly "I think so...I need to get my son back. This whole situation is barmy...even for Robert. She drained her wine glass and picked up her handbag and announced to the group "I'm going to say goodnight...I have something to do."

The conversations stopped and they all looked up at her as she stood up. "I have a little trick up my sleeve." She grinned.

"Whaaa?" they all chorused.

"Pipa is that sensible given the circumstances?" asked Harry worriedly.

Pipa put a hand on Harry's shoulder "Don't worry I know what I'm doing."

"You gonna turn a trick?" laughed Dempsey jokingly.

"Haha," she laughed back "Yes, I guess I am."

The group looked baffled as Pipa strode out of Luigi's chuckling to herself.

"Should we stop her?" asked Alex slightly alarmed.

Maddy shook her head "If anyone knows Robert...it's her. She will be fine."

"I wish I shared your confidence." said Harry.

"We can't stop 'er." said Gene "She's up shit street without a paddle...what would you do if you couldn't see your kiddy? You'd find any way of getting back to them."

Gene's comment sent a jolt of recognition through Alex. Inexplicably a vision of a girl sat with a birthday cake appeared in her mind. 'I'm coming home so we can blow the candles out together...I will find a way.' Alex could hear her voice saying it, but it no-longer meant a great deal to her. The memory prickled her senses and unconsciously her hand moved to her belly. Instinctively her hand sought the contours of her rapidly growing bump. 'Don't forget me mummy.'

"You okay luv?" Gene asked concerned.

"Yes, yes...I think we're having a girl." She smiled.

Pipa rang the doorbell and waited patiently clutching a bottle of wine. The door opened and revealed Thomas Lyons "Pipa! What a lovely surprise." he exclaimed "Do come in."

After Pipa had explained to Thomas her reason for her visit, they sat uncomfortably close on his sofa. Pipa could feel the nerves building, but she did her best to quell them.

"I'm so sorry Pipa, I wish I had read the signs. I knew he was a git...but to hit you, he's crossed the line." said Thomas re-filling her wine glass. "Of course I will do my best to help get Matthew back, but it does make things a little tricky...you understand?"

"Yes, I understand." Pipa was fully aware that it was unlikely that Thomas would help her, but she was quite content to let Thomas pretend he would.

Thomas inched closer to her and Pipa played along with the game. She was under no illusion what Thomas wanted.

"Of course, the more you do for me, the more I am inclined to do for you." He said salaciously as he placed a hand on her knee.

Pipa winced inwardly; the only man that had touched her like that for many years was Robert. She fought her instinct to repel him and push him away. He leaned ever closer and with his other hand he reached up to her swollen lip. "Poor bruised Pipa." He leered as his fingertips touched her lips "She needs kissing better."

She felt pinned to the sofa as his hand crept up from her knee to her inner thigh. She started to tremble both with nerves and trepidation. She gave no resistance as he pressed his lips against hers although his kisses were painful. His hand drifted further up and under her jumper. She flinched as she felt cold fingers caress her bare skin. Oddly enough she was finding his advances a turn on. She didn't find him particularly attractive, but he was good looking and the excitement of a one night stand was taking over her senses. 'To hell with it...enjoy it!' she responded enthusiastically and grabbed at his shirt.

In some small way she felt liberated, she was having it off with Robert's prodigy ...his little pet project was defying his master and defiling his woman...One thing Pipa had learnt from Robert 'all evidence will be taken down and used against you.' Thomas's over inflated ego and overactive libido was sealing his fate and Pipa was securing a bargaining chip. Thomas thought he was doing the same to Pipa, he would be able to bed her anytime he liked because he could threaten to tell Robert and she would lose Matthew...one thing he hadn't banked on was Pipa joining forces with Dempsey and Makepeace...it would appear two could play at the same game.

"Harry, why are we doing this?" huffed Dempsey, now sitting alone with Harry. Alex was feeling tired so she had gone home for an early night leaving Gene to play cards with the other CID lads. Leroy and Maddy had gone upstairs to his flat to do...well you know. That left Dempsey and Harry to focus on the upcoming hearing.

"Dempsey, we need to get our stories straight." She replied making notes on a pad.

"You make it sound like we're guilty already."

"No-one is going to find us guilty of anything, we are not on trial."

"Yeah right!" he huffed again "I get in there and they would have made their decision the minute I opened my mouth. 'It's the Yank's fault, guilty cos he's American' and will be on the first plane outta here."

"They wouldn't do that...that would be discrimination." She dismissed his comment.

"Like that matters. Since I landed in this dumb country you've all been tryin' to get rid of me."

Harry plonked the pad down on the table and fixed him her eyes "Is that what you really think? That this is some sort of vendetta to get rid of you...funny I thought it was all about getting rid of me." She ground out."This is Robert getting his revenge for something I had no control over and because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time you have been dragged into this."

"Oh I geddit, I'm in the wrong place am I? Damn right I should be in New York working in my own country protecting my own people."

Harry glared at him "If you feel like that you know where the airport is."

"See you are trying to get rid of me!" he sulked

"What! Don't be ridiculous." She said incredulously "What's brought this on?"

"I duunnooo." He whined "It all feels too difficult."

"Difficult!?" she squeaked "We've been together a week and you're already finding it difficult? What did you expect exactly? Us skipping hand in hand through the daffodils into the sunset to live happily ever after?" Her eyes were shining.

"Yes...I mean no...I dunno Haaaarry. I don't mean us. It's just that everything seems to be conspiring against me, us. I just wanna go to work come home and be with you without all the crap...is that too much to ask?"

Harry understood where he was coming from. She knew within her heart he wasn't suggesting they shouldn't be together; just that life was grinding him down. She couldn't blame him for losing the will to carryon; she was teetering on the edge of throwing in the towel as well. "We have to see this through..." she reached over the table and placed her hands on his "We have to go through this infernal inquest, plead our case and hold our heads up high. Whatever happens, we now have each other. If we have to start again albeit here, New York or the bloody moon ..."

Dempsey's expression suddenly brightened "You'd do that? You'd come back to New York with me?"

"It's a possibility..."

"Yeah!?" he broke out into a wide beaming smile.

Harry quickly tried to put a lid on his enthusiasm "We'll see, let's just get this hearing over and done with. Let's just say it's an option...we have options."

"Y'know Babe.." he brushed his thumb over her knuckles, "Robert's loss is definitely my gain, what would I do without you?"

Harry gave him a knowing cheeky grin and said "You would have never discovered page 27."

Dempsey leant forward and growled seductively "Are you ready for page 28?"

"No." She shook her head dismissively "How about page 31?" she beamed.

Dempsey leapt up from his seat and crowed "Oh yeah babe, I'm there already!"

Pipa lay in Thomas's bed with her back to him willing him to fall asleep. The only light in the room was the short ray which emanated from the hallway. She was planning her escape. She mentally recalled where every bit of clothing was from the living room to the landing. She had lost all track of time while Thomas had taken his pleasure with her; to her surprise he had been like a rampant animal and hadn't burnt himself out quickly enough for her liking. By her admission she had completely forgotten what it was like to go with a new man for the first time. Having gotten so used to the familiar cohabiting couple 'quick fumble without waking the child before sleep' routine, it had been quite a shock to experience the other end of the scale again. Subsequently, a hyperactive Thomas had taken an age to fall asleep.

Finally she could hear snoring from the far side of the bed and was enormously relieved when he rolled over away from her. She quietly and deftly slipped out from under the bedcovers. Pipa soon found herself on the landing rapidly scooping up her clothes as she went along. By the time she was back down in the living room she was almost fully dressed again. She threw on her jumper which had been the first victim of Thomas's eagerness and set to scouring the house for something far more important.

She raided Thomas's house in the same manner she had his office, methodically pulling open draws and cupboards as she searched. Finding nothing she barged into his study and ground to a halt. There on his desk was a cardboard box with Spanish writing daubed all over it in thick marker pen. She checked the door to make sure Thomas hadn't followed her down and then ripped open the cardboard flaps. There nestled in the bottom of the oversized box were reels and reels of tapes. She curiously picked up one which was labelled 'Dinner', then she picked up another labelled 'Bathtime' then a third marked 'Bedtime DLT delights. Pipa scratched her head puzzled 'DLT delights? Monica you really were barking.' She muttered to herself, placed the tapes back in the box hurried back into the living room and though to the hallway. With one last check up the stairs she raced through the front door and out into the street. She ran as fast as she could, carrying the box awkwardly, putting as much distance between her and Thomas Lyons as her legs could manage.

At the end of the street she managed to hail a cab "Camberwell Grove please." She instructed the driver.

Meanwhile Dempsey and Harry had made it back to Harry's flat and were busy working out the logistics of page 31 in the bedroom.

"That tickles!" giggled Harry.

"Will ye quit wriggling." Said Dempsey bemused.

"I can't help it." She protested.

"Right, now put your leg in the air."

"I am not a bloody contortionist."

"You will be when I've finished with you."

"Hahahaha, you're tickling me again."

"Jeez Harry, I can't hold this position for much longer, I'll get cramp. Okay, I'll put my hand here..."

"Hahahahahahahaha." exploded Harry collapsing in laughter. "This is impossible."

"You chose it lady."

"I thought I was in the hands of a master."

"A master maybe, a magician no! Okay, try again. Leg in the air and move your ass over a bit."

"This is stupid."

"You said it babe.

"I feel like I'm playing a naked game of twister."

"A naked game of twister would be a hellava lot easier. Now there's an idea..."

"Just get on with it."

"Don't you worry I am, I'm losing feeling in my left calf... going in ready or not."

"Oh my god!" gasped Harry in delight.

It was at that point Pipa decided to ring the door bell.

Both groaned in frustration and collapsed on the bed. "I figure that's game over." moaned Dempsey.

"I'll go." huffed Harry pulling on her dressing gown. She left Dempsey massaging the life back into his calf muscle and padded down the stairs.

As she opened the front door Pipa rushed in babbling something like "I got them." And thrust the box of tapes into a surprised Harry's arms.

Pipa was out of breath and was struggling to talk coherently "Sorry...it's late...mind if I take a shower...need to wash Thomas off." Without waiting for Harry's reply she raced up the stairs and passed Harry's bedroom "Hi James." She yelled excitedly at Dempsey still led on the bed completely naked. Startled he whipped up the duvet and wrapped it around himself.

Harry appeared in the bedroom doorway clutching the box and holding one of the tapes. "What's that?" asked Dempsey.

"DLT delights...apparently."

Now I know Viagra didn't exist in 1984, but someone has difinatley been putting something in the water in these parts of London...everyone appears to be at it...apart from Ray. Not entirely sure how this storey has turned into a sex romp...i blame Inga