“C’mon Stu…” she giggled as I struggled to get my front door key in the lock, left handed, my right arm was fully occupied, it was full of Jo Masters. We were not entirely sober. She had her arms around my waist, and she was nuzzling the side of my neck, and giggling a bit. I have to admit that she was propping me up just as much as I was holding her.
It was infectious that giggle. I honestly don’t know what we were finding so very funny, especially as it was taking me at least five minutes to unlock my own front door. Anyway, finally I managed it, and we virtually fell in through it.
We scrambled up the stairs to my living room, where Jo collapsed in a happy, slightly giggly heap on my sofa. We succeeded in making our case. We nailed the bastard, it had taken almost a fortnight of painstaking work. We’d dotted every i, crossed every t, submitted a mountain of paperwork to the CPS, exhausting hours of overtime, we’d pulled two all-nighters, and we had forty eight hours off to look forward to. So we were very drunk. I shifted towards the kitchen, and attempted to fiddle with my coffee maker. Coffee would be good. I heard the pad of feet behind me, an arm slipped around my waist, I was drunk, this is true, but I couldn’t control this funny little skip in my pulse when her arm went round me.
My first encounters with DC Joanne Masters were not at all promising. I really didn’t understand her. Then Cindy Statham was murdered, and I got a front row seat for just how great a cop Jo is. I was there for all of it. Jo’s persistance was incredible, her intuition wasn’t something that you learned, it was bred into her.
We clashed at first, then something changed. I don’t know what, I only know that the morning that Larry Franks was sent back to jail, and Jo didn’t turn up for work, I got a tiny little insight into what intuition really is. When eight o’clock came and Jo wasn’t sat across from me at her desk, coffee, a danish, her phone ringing constantly, I knew that something was wrong. When she hadn’t called or shown up by ten past, I was starting to feel a bit panicked. Which isn’t like me, I don’t panic.
By half past, I’d already found out that she wasn’t in court, and had left about eight messages on her landline and mobile. I remember that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. I think I went a little crazy.
When the text message arrived, and she called me hun. She had never called me that before. On one level I knew that message was simply telling me that she was in trouble. Much later, when it was all over, that one little word would come back to haunt me, but I didn’t know that at the time. My pulse did a funny little skip then. I should have known, but hindsight is always perfect. We got her back in one piece. I wasn’t there. I was back at the station, co-ordinating, which given what I was told about her rescue in the days following, I was honestly relieved. It was bad enough imagining it.
When it was all over, I was on my way home. Jo pulled up in the station car park as I was walking out to my car. She stopped me, to thank me. In that moment, I didn’t know what to do. She said thank you, my confused brain was trying to process this information and my natural instinct for covering up feelings kicked in big time. Then she put her arms around my neck…
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