I have had a busy couple of days writing which has been fantastic. I have also been trawling through some old files while I had the time and I found this little fic that I think I put together about a year ago. It's all finished so I'll be putting it up over the next few days.
A New Start
"I just got word from Inspector Vincent. New guy starts today. Should take some of the pressure off our end."
"They any good?" Brendan Joshua asked, concerned at the time it would take to train a new member of tactical response when they were already short staffed.
"Apparently they're experienced. Senior Constable with a TR background I think she said."
"Better be good Browny" Josh shot back getting into TR1 "We don't have the time to train an idiot."
"Oh I'm good. Question is can you keep up?" Grace Reid walked over in jeans, a singlet and a cardigan.
"What are you doing here?" Josh asked, staring at her.
"I'm the new bloke" she explained. "I moved back to Melbourne a few months ago…Kerri offered me my old job back."
"Great. Welcome back. Go and get changed."
Senior Sergeant Christopher Brown, the sergeant in charge of Tactical Response turned to Josh concerned as Grace walked upstairs "I take it she's just a pretty face then?"
"No. She's a bloody good cop" Josh turned to him, instantly sticking up for her. "She knows her stuff and she's an asset. Just don't expect me to ride with her. Not today anyway." Josh slammed the car door shut, going to check the equipment in the back of the car.
Grace waited until Josh was in the change rooms that afternoon after their shift, going in and closing the door behind her. "Josh?"
"Can we talk?" she asked, removing her vest so that she was just in her trousers and blouse, throwing it on the bench.
"Nothing to say."
"I'm sorry about this morning. I should have called you, given you a heads up."
"That's a great idea Grace…a phone call would have been nice. I dunno, anytime in the last three years would have been good."
"Days? How does Grace get a month of days while I get a whole heap of shit?" Senior Constable Michael Sandrelli queried reading his new roster, a copy of which had been placed in his locker the following morning.
"Out of my hands" Chris put his hands up defensively. "Inspector Vincent's orders on that one."
"It's bullshit" slamming his locker closed. "No weekends either."
"We needed new crew and she's only available days. It's out of both of our control and it's still better than we were two weeks ago so I'd shut up."
Grace walked in a little while later, getting her stuff together for a shower before her shift started.
"Hey Gracie, how did you score so well on the roster?"
"Ah Mum's not well" she called out getting into the shower. "I've got to be around of a night and I can't get the nurse on weekends." She explained turning the water on.
"Josh won't be happy" Michael observed smiling.
"Josh can get fucked. It's none of his business."
"Harsh words Gracie" Michael laughed.
"You'll live," she snapped back.
"Hello baby" Grace smiled, bending down to pick up the three year old who had run to the door to greet her, kissing his soft hair as she hugged him to her. "What did you do today?" she asked, moving him to her right hip as she locked the door behind her.
"Went on the swings" he told her cuddling into her side as she walked through the house and into the kitchen.
"I'm sorry I'm late Nessa. I was in the middle of a negotiation, I couldn't get away."
Graces nanny Vanessa Alexander smiled. "It's fine Gracie. I don't mind. Not like I have anywhere else to be" she laughed.
"Oh no. What happened to the Italian Stallion?" Grace laughed, having been filled in on the gossip by her nanny just a few days earlier.
Vanessa pulled a face "Turned out to be a big of a nag."
"Damn. The hot ones always are I guess" Grace laughed, sitting Justin on the kitchen bench. "How was he today?"
"Really good. We went down to the park for a couple of hours, fed the ducks and went on the swings and then we swung by the library and picked some books for you two tonight."
"Thank you" she smiled appreciatively. "And thanks for starting dinner. You're worth more money."
"Gracie you already pay me too much" she shook her head going to grab her bag from the lounge room.
"And you're worth every cent. You're a lifesaver. I'll see you tomorrow?"
"Of course. Seven?"
"Yeah" putting Justin down who ran into lounge room to wave goodbye. "Have a good night."
"You too. See you both."
"Byeeeee Nessa" Justin squealed before running back over to Grace hugging her legs. "Ben 10?" he asked looking up at her hopefully.
"After dinner, maybe" she smiled picking him back up. "Do I get a proper cuddle now?"
He grinned at her cheekily before throwing his arms around her neck tightly.
At around seven thirty that night there was a knock on Graces front door, Grace putting the book she'd been reading to her now asleep son on the bedside table and tucking him in, switching off the lamp and going out to answer the door.
"Josh?" she asked, surprised to see him at her front door, stepping outside to talk to him closing the door behind her leaving it open just a crack. "What are you doing here?"
"We've been called in. Grab your stuff."
"Bullshit. You're not even at your mothers' house."
"I don't work nights Josh. I'm finished my shift."
"For fucks sake Grace get your bag. Is this some kind of conditions of you coming back to TR? You've promised Conor you'll be a good girl and only work banker's hours?"
"No" she gave him a look. "It's part of being a single mum who cannot leave her three year old son alone to look after himself at the drop of a hat" she glared at him, instantly pissed off at herself that she'd told him.
"You've got a kid?" Josh's jaw nearly hit the ground in surprise instantly mellowing. "A three year old?"
Grace nodded. "Not that it's anyone's business."
"And you're doing it on ya own?" he queried. "You ok?"
"Fine. Don't you have a job to go to?"
"Yeah… um…yeah.." Josh shook his head as he refocussed. "We'll call someone else in. Um.. goodnight."
Grace stepped back inside without another word, locking the door behind her. She'd attempted to talk to Josh on multiple occasions since she'd returned to tactical response and each time she had been given the brush off.
"So this kid.." Josh started, walking over to her in the change rooms the following morning.
"I don't want to talk about him Josh" she shook her head pulling her vest on over the top of her uniform.
"Three years Gracie… is he mine?"
"Oh for Gods sake Josh" Grace shook her head in disgust walking away from him. "Just leave me alone."
He followed her out "You can't just tell me you have a kid and then announce end of discussion. It doesn't work that way!" he grabbed her arm to stop her.
Grace jumped at the firm contact, her wrist going limp in his. "Let go of me" she told him firmly, looking him in the eye.
"Nup" he shook his head. "Answer my question."
"Let go of me Josh" she repeated, her voice dropping to a whisper.
"Do I have a son?" he clutched her wrist tighter.
"You're hurting me" she whimpered.
"Do I?" he loosened his grip slightly.
"He's not yours" she whispered, tears running down her cheeks as she pulled her hand from his grasp going outside quickly.
"Ahhh Grace is crying out the back" Michael told Josh quietly twenty minutes later when he arrived for work.
"Not my problem anymore mate" Josh shrugged it off as Michael shook his head going up to the offices. Josh lasting another few seconds before going out to check on her.
Grace was just finishing composing herself, standing near the back door wiping her eyes with a tissue before pulling her simple ponytail tighter against her head.
"He's not yours Josh" she reaffirmed as he came out. "He's Conors son. When we got to Sydney, he made me have a paternity test…but I always knew he wasn't yours." She sat back down on the steps that led into the back staff room.
"You were pregnant when you left?" he confirmed in disbelief.
She nodded. "I didn't know, not until they ran tests at the hospital. I had no idea. I'd just confessed…just told Conor that I was in love with you and the doctor came in. I knew straight away he wasn't yours Josh. My body would have told me if I was pregnant with your child."
"So you just packed up and left?"
"I was having his baby Josh. I couldn't take that away from him. I agreed to give it another chance."
"That's where Conors family are. He wanted a fresh start…He didn't want me anywhere near you. I guess he was worried I wouldn't be able to stop myself…and he's right…I wouldn't have."
"And you just went along with this? You let him take you away from your friends, your life, your job…me?" he sat down on the step two below the one she was sitting on, looking up at her.
"I was pregnant Josh. I would have had to leave TR anyway. And you… we weren't ready to raise a kid and I'd never expect you to raise one that wasn't yours!"
"And now? What? You're a single mum back here. What do you want Grace?"
"It didn't work out. I moved back to Melbourne a few months ago. My families here and my friends and I always hated Sydney. I had no intentions of coming back to TR until I ran into Kerri at the shops. She told me you were desperate for skilled officers. She promised me day shifts, said it would at least lighten the load off you all. I wasn't planning on showing back up here Josh but I needed a job and I'm good at this" Grace nursed her wrist tenderly in her other hand, guarding it with her body. "If it's going to make things hard for you I will resign. I never came here to get you back or for any other reason than I needed a job."
"Did I really hurt you? Before?" he checked, his eyes still on her wrist.
She nodded, tucking her arm so it rested just under her ribs. "I broke it five months ago. It's healed well but it's still a bit sore. You weren't to know."
"What did ya do?"
"I fell down some wet steps out the front of our house. Bloody hurt."
"I'm sorry..I didn't know. "
She nodded. "I know you didn't. I'm fine. I think it was more the fright than anything. Look… do you want me to leave?"
Josh shook his head instantly "No. You need the money Grace. You've got a kid. You've got to afford rent and food and stuff. Stay."
She nodded, looking slightly relieved. "Thank you. I've really missed this work. I've been in dispatch for three years and I'm now one hundred percent certain that I never want to work in a desk job again."
"Right" he nodded.
"Josh… this may be a firm no…but can we at least try and be mates or civil, just on the job? I know it's not going to be easy and I don't expect anything…but we can't work together like we have been. We're so busy fighting that someone's gonna get hurt soon….I can't afford it to be me and I really don't want it to be you."
"I'll be nicer" he reassured with a nod.
"I wanted to call you.." she started to explain but Josh cut her off.
"No. Don't. I don't want to hear it Grace. You left. You made a choice. I don't want to hear any of that. You're back now and that's OK. I can deal with that. But don't patronise me by pretending that you wanted to make contact."
She nodded, surprised that Josh, who had so often been short with others would be so short with her as well. "OK…I get it." She moved to stand up. "I won't mention it again. I'll see you inside."