Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Disclaimers ~ This is an original work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, places or events is purely coincidental. These characters belong to me, if they have a passing resemblance to you or share your name, it's purely coincidental. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the author.

Bad language ~ A fair bit.

Love/sex ~ Romance between men and women and between women. Sex between consenting couples.

Sickness & death ~ There are some deaths in this story. If that's not for you, I hope you enjoy reading something else.

Author's note ~ Sorry for a lack of updating, been caught up watching the World Cup. This series takes place in the fictional town of Honeyport in the South of England. Questions, comments & thoughts all welcome. Loves_to_write_fic@yahoo.co.uk

© June, 2006 Cam Taylor

 

Chapter Eight

Thursday, 19th November

L aurie sat opposite Kate in the doctor's office. It was lunch time and they had chosen Kate's office over the small staff room, because they didn't want anyone else listening in on their conversation. While eating their lunches, they had gotten onto the subject of Janet and Chris. "I don't know how Janet's been," Laurie said, "but Chris is totally pathetic!"

Kate laughed.

"It's only been two weeks!" Laurie exclaimed. "The way she's moping around, you'd think it was a lifetime!"

"Ahhh, the wonders of love," the doctor smiled.

"You... think it's love?" the investigator inquired in surprise.

Kate considered her words. "Maybe love is too strong at this stage. But they definitely like each other."

"Definitely." The two women fell silent as they continued with their lunches, each silently thinking about the past couple of weeks. "Do you know how long Janet's going to be on the night shift?" Laurie asked, finishing a mouthful.

Kate shook her head. "I haven't spoken with her. I got a phone call from Mia, one of Jan's house-mates, letting me know she had been switched to nights."

"She didn't tell you?"

"I think she has other things, or rather, other people, on her mind." She shared a smile with Laurie.

"I've been thinking..." Kate started, stopping to take a sip of her cold drink. "As you know, I'm American, and Thanksgiving is coming up. A lot of my family are flying over to me this year," she rolled her eyes. "We take it in turns and this year it's my turn."

Laurie winced. "Ohhh, bad timing."

Kate shrugged. "My thought exactly. I was going to cancel, but then that would raise questions and in the end I thought, why not? So anyway, I was thinking of inviting all you investigators over."

Dark eyebrows shot up, then a knowing smile bloomed onto Laurie's face. "Sneaky, Dr. Levens. What's your plan? Lock them in a room until they confess their feelings for each other?"

Kate laughed. "Are my motives that obvious?"

"To us, yes. To them... probably not. Just one problem though. We're English and it's not an English holiday, so I'm fairly sure we'll have to work. Saying that though, you could probably have a word with the boss and get him to give you Chris for the day."

"Excellent. I'll give James a call."

Laurie laughed and shook her head. "Should we really interfere?"

"We're not interfering, Laurie. We're just... giving them a little nudge in the right direction."

The investigator stood up and walked over to the dustbin to throw away her rubbish, then turned to look at the doctor. "I better get going. I need to meet Chris, then go and see the Colonel. I won't be long. I think the boss just wants to update us."

"That's fine, Laurie. Take your time. I'm sure I'll be all right, Fran is here after all. Oh... and tell Chris she's invited to my house for her first Thanksgiving."

Smiling, Laurie nodded. "Will do. Bye."

* * * * *

Chris sat opposite Laurie, staring blankly into a cold cup of tea as she stirred it. They were seated at a table in the diner, officially called The Drifters Diner, but only by those who didn't live in town. The diner had a 50's theme. The investigators all believed it just hadn't changed since the 50's.

"Honey, I think you can stop now," Laurie said gently. She smiled as Chris blinked at her in confusion. "Stirring your tea," she explained.

"Laurie..." Chris started.

The brown-haired investigator waited, watching as a range of emotions played across Chris' face.

"I'm in trouble, Laurie," Chris admitted sadly.

"In trouble?"

"I've only known her... I don't know how long... and already she knows more about me than you guys did in my first year!"

Laurie frowned, lost with what Chris was talking about. "Janet?"

"Yes, Janet. Aren't you listening?"

"Okay, start again."

"The first day."

Laurie frowned again. "You're not making this easy, are you! What about the first day?"

"I walked into Kate's living room and... bam! There she was. She was sitting next to Kate, dressed in her police uniform and... God, she was gorgeous!" Chris sat back, pushing her cold tea away from her. "I was so attracted to her and I couldn't understand why."

"Is this carrying on from what we talked about a few weeks back?"

"Yes! God, Laurie, keep up." Chris rolled her eyes. "When I'm around her... it's like... I feel the need to tell her everything. I told her about the case with Helen, how I started working for the Colonel..."

Laurie leaned her elbows on the table and rested her chin in her hands. She's not making sense. Maybe I should just let her ramble and see if I can figure out what's up later. "Chris... did something happen between you two, that night we all went around Joey's for the barbecue?"

"I... took her back to my house. She wanted to see where I lived. I... told her about my family..."

"You told her about your family!" Laurie interrupted.

Chris nodded.

"But you ne-..."

"Exactly," Chris interrupted. "Anyway, now she's been put on the night shift and I thought this would be good. I figured if I didn't see so much of her, maybe these thoughts and feelings would go away."

"But they haven't?" Laurie asked softly.

Chris shook her head sadly. "So you see, I think I'm in trouble."

Laurie smiled sympathetically, not knowing what advice to offer her friend. "I guess... you'll just have to sit back and see how things play out."

"What if I don't want things to play out?" Chris asked. "What if I just... want to be left alone?"

"Then that's your choice, hon. I don't want to tell you what to do, Chris. Personally, I'm glad Janet's got you all flustered like this. I've been worried about you since... you know." She stood up. "As much as I would love to stay and chat more about this, we have to get to the office."

Chris stood up. "Thanks, Laurie, for let me vent. I know I can always come to you."

"Course you can, hon," Laurie smiled, dropping some cash on the table to cover their drinks. "Just as I know you're there for me."

* * * * *

James Anders walked out of his office, frowning down at his organiser. "Listen up," he called out to get his investigators' attention. "I've just been on the phone to Kate," he said. "With Thanksgiving coming up, she has relatives coming into town..."

"So we're going to be a problem for her," Joey interjected.

"That was one of her concerns, yes." James perched on the edge of Laurie's desk. "I've been thinking..."

"Never a good thing!" Harrison joked.

"Thank you, Harrison. Anyway, unfortunately, this case looks like it's going to drag on for longer than I originally expected." Everyone nodded their heads in agreement. "It's been three weeks since Charley got attacked and nothing has happened. Perhaps he has... moved on to someone else, or left town. My point is, we do have to get back to other cases, like the Mayor's missing daughter."

"A fiver says she's just run away," Charley spoke up.

"Yes, well, we've been hired to find the little darling, so..." James took a deep breath. "Starting tomorrow I will be switching a couple of you over to that case."

Chris looked at her boss in interest. If he switches me, I won't have so much time to miss Janet. Not that I am missing her, it's just... oh, hell, I don't know what it is! Someone threw a paper ball at her, bringing her out of her thoughts. Chris looked in the direction it had come from and found Laurie scowling at her. Her friend mouthed, "No," and shook her head. Chris gave her a cocky smile and cleared her throat to get attention. "I don't mind switching, boss," she said.

James broke off from what he had been saying and frowned at her. "I hadn't even considered you, Chris. To be honest, I was thinking more along the lines of Jackson and Harrison."

"Oh. But I uhm... I don't mind," Chris argued her case.

"Well, I don't really want Harrison to stay on this case, Chris. He hasn't done this sort of work before and I think he would be much better suited doing something he's comfortable with."

"I would," Harrison put in, tired of being stuck out in his car all night long.

"If those two are working the missing person's case, who would be working which shifts with Kate?" Joey asked in interest.

James turned to look at the ex-cop. "I was going to leave Charley and Chris on the night shift and you with Laurie on the day shift."

"Kate has invited all of us to Thanksgiving dinner at her house," Laurie informed her boss.

"What? Since when?" Chris blurted out.

"Earlier, when I was at the clinic. I forgot to mention it," Laurie smirked at her best friend. "We got talking about Thanksgiving and she mentioned her family were coming over and that she would like to invite us. I told her that as it's not an English holiday, I was sure some of us would have to work. She asked Chris to be there and me though," Laurie grinned. "Perhaps because she sees so much of us. Me at the clinic during the day and Chris at the house."

"Laurie, you...!"

James raised his voice to speak over their argument. "Well, Laurie, you and Chris can go under the pretext of being guests, but secretly keeping an eye on Kate and the house."

"Sounds like a plan, boss," Laurie said, grinning in triumph.

Charley frowned. "You're not going to have just Laurie and Chris looking after Kate for the whole holiday, are you? What if our guy tries something?"

"There's been no indication..." the Colonel started to say, only for Charley to interrupt him.

"That's the perfect time!"

"Charley, the girls are invited. It makes sense to have them still on the case."

"But Kate invited us all," Charley argued.

"Uhh... boss," Harrison spoke up.

"And how would she explain your presence?" James directed at Charley.

"Boss..." Harrison tried again.

"Yes, Harrison?"

"I uhh...don't mind doing car duty one last time. You can have Joey and Charley helping Jackson with the Mayor's case."

"Good thinking! That's sorted then," James quickly agreed, making a note in his organiser. "Laurie and Chris can keep an eye on things inside, and Harrison can watch from outside like usual. I'm sure the neighbours are used to seeing your car parked there by now," he joked.

"I don't mind being out in the car, if you want a change, Harrison," Chris spoke up.

Harrison grinned. "That would..."

"But you were invited," Laurie interrupted.

Chris sighed and shrugged, realising she wasn't going to win.

"Boss..." Laurie started.

"Yes, Laurie?"

"Am I still working the day shift?"

"Yes."

"And Chris?"

"No."

Laurie frowned. "So... you haven't switched things yet? Who's working which shift?"

James sighed and rubbed his forehead. "You are working the day shift, as usual. Chris, Charley and Harrison, are working the night shift. Leaving Joey and Jackson to try and close the missing girl case." He looked around at each of his investigators. "Everyone understand their role?" he asked, getting nods from all in response. "When Kate closes her clinic for the holiday, Laurie, you can just do your job from her house," he said, getting another nod from her. James looked over at Joey. "Joe, you give Laurie the patient list, she can go over the rest of the names, while you concentrate on the Mayor's case. Once that case is dealt with, I have other clients eager for help."

Joey nodded. "Sure thing, boss."

"All right, now that's all sorted out, Laurie, get back to the clinic, and Chris, Charley and Harrison, get some rest before your shift tonight."

The four investigators nodded and stood up, gathering their things before heading for the elevator that would take them downstairs. "So, what is Thanksgiving?" Chris asked, once they were in the elevator.

"You'll love it," Laurie said smiling.

"It involves food, alcohol, and American football," Charley added, earning a slap from Laurie.

"It's not just about that!" she scolded. She looked at Chris. "It's about family and all getting together, and, okay, yes, food and drink."

"Turkey, right?" Chris put in, smiling at her small bit of knowledge.

"Most people enjoy turkey, yes," Laurie smiled. "They get together and prepare food, they talk and watch American football, then maybe play board games or cards afterwards."

"Didn't I say that, but in less words?" Charley put in, earning himself another slap. "How do ye know so much about this holiday anyway?" he asked curiously.

"Helen had American relatives," Laurie said softly. "We went over to the States a couple of times and experienced it."

"So uhm... us going to Kate's for a family Thanksgiving is a big deal?" Chris asked, frowning.

Laurie nodded, unable to speak as she choked back the lump in her throat.

"Her family's going to be there? Strangers, who I'll have to interact with and... and... Janet."

"Chris, babe, don't worry," Charley broke in, ignoring the look she got on her face at the mention of Janet's name. "You'll have a couple of drinks and relax in no time," he told her, as he wrapped a big arm around her shoulders, oblivious to her inner dilemma. Stepping out of the elevator, Charley held Chris back by the arm as Harrison and Laurie walked on.

"What is it, Charley?" Chris asked, frowning suspiciously at him.

"I was uhh... thinking," he said.

"Yeah? Hurt much?" the blonde joked, feeling uneasy.

"Yeah, I mean no. Hey!" Charley scowled. "Seriously, I uhm... this family holiday stuff got me thinking about Christmas."

"What about it?"

"Why don't ye come up to Scotland with me and Bryan?"

Jesus! He just doesn't give up, Chris thought. "Look, Charley, I appreciate the offer, but Kate already invited me and I'm thinking about accepting. You and I are done. I can't go home with you and spend the whole holiday with you and your large family. I don't want you or them getting the wrong idea." She jerked her arm free from Charley's hold and briskly walked out of the building.

* * * * *

Laurie drove into the clinic car park and parked her car next to Kate's black BMW, which was in the reserved doctor's space near the front of the building. Sliding out of her car, Laurie made sure the doors were locked and turned to walk toward the clinic.

Janet pushed open the glass front door of the clinic and smiled brightly at Laurie as she briskly walked up to her. "Hey, Laurie," she greeted.

"Hi, Janet. Everything all right?" Laurie asked worriedly, eyes darting about.

"Yeah, fine. I just stopped by to see my mom. Haven't seen her since they switched me to the night shift."

The investigator nodded. "I heard."

"Mom told me she's invited you and Chris to our house for Thanksgiving."

At this, Laurie couldn't stop the smile that bloomed on her lips. "Yeah, that was nice of her."

The policewoman nodded. Yeah, if only Chris wasn't constantly on my mind already!

"Guess you haven't seen much of Chris since your switch, huh?" Laurie commented.

"So?" Janet replied defensively.

Laurie put up her hands in placation. "Just making small talk."

"Ugh! You're as bad as my mother!"

"Janet, I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything by it."

Janet sighed and shook her head. "Yeah, I know. It's me who should be sorry, Laurie. I don't know what's wrong with me lately."

Oh, I can take a wild guess, Laurie thought, holding back a knowing smile. "I forgive you, Janet. It must be going around."

Janet frowned. "What?"

Laurie laughed and shook her head, saying nothing more.

"I... better get going. I'm supposed to meet Mia and Trinity at the diner for dinner," Janet told the investigator after glancing at her watch.

"All right. Take care," Laurie said, opening the door of the clinic.

"You too, Laurie. See you," Janet waved and started to walk off.

* * * * *

"Janet, honey?" Mia tried to get her friend's attention.

"Hey, Jan, you gonna eat that?" Trinity interrupted, eyeing up the policewoman's uneaten food.

Janet blinked and frowned across the table at her friends. "I'm so confused," she said finally, more to Mia than Trinity.

"Well, let's talk about it. Maybe I can help," Mia said, being supportive.

Janet stared out of the window next to her, trying to arrange her muddled thoughts. "I... I think she likes me."

"That's good, hon." Mia scowled. "Will you please give Trin your chicken pita pocket!"

Janet smiled at the puppy-dog eyes she was getting from the dark-haired woman opposite and pushed her plate across to Trinity. "She likes me, but she's scared. I don't know whether to act or back off."

"You want to act on it, don't you?" Mia asked softly.

"The night she was driving me home, you know, after her friend's barbeque, I asked her if she would like to go walked in Cedar Forest..."

"Future plans!" Mia exclaimed happily.

"Sort of. She didn't say no, but then she didn't exactly say yes."

"Mot bib she shay?" Trinity asked, mumbling her words through a stuffed mouth and getting a disgusted look from her girlfriend.

"She's busy with... work stuff involving my mom."

"What is your mum insuring? She can't possibly be so busy at the surgery that she needs an insurance agent at all hours!" Mia cried out in disbelief

Janet blinked. I almost blurted out what Chris is actually doing! She thought quickly of what to say. "Chris... has to... check over the old coverage and re-evaluate."

"Oh."

They fell silent, Mia looking thoughtful, while Janet sighed in relief.

"So... let me get this straight," Mia started. "You think she's scared?" Janet nodded. "But... she invited you out to her friend's barbecue, she didn't say yes or no to a future date when asked, and you two spent a whole afternoon walking along the pier, which was sort of date-like."

"And she did kind of... flirt," Janet added.

"There you go. She's obviously interested."

"I knew that. It's just... is this worth it? What if I go ahead with... whatever this is... and I..."

Mia's mouth dropped open. "Oh, no! Janet, no! Don't tell me you already... care about her?"

The policewoman nodded sadly. "And now that I'm on the night shift, I haven't seen her for two weeks!"

Trinity snorted, getting a jab in the ribs from Mia.

"You miss her?" Mia asked softly.

"I do!" Janet exclaimed. "It's so stupid!"

"It's not."

"It is. I mean, here I am missing someone who might not even care about me. She's probably not even given me a second thought!"

"But, on the other hand, maybe she has," Trinity put in, smiling brightly.

Janet scowled. Maybe. But how will I ever know? She sighed. "It gets worse."

"How?" Mia asked.

"Before I even know how this is going to proceed, or if Chris even cares, my mother has invited her over for Thanksgiving!"

"Ohhh. It... might not... be so bad," Mia tried to soothe. "Is your insane cousin going to be there?"

"She's not insane. She's... eccentric. And yes, she's going to be there. Along with my nana, two aunts, a few uncles and a cousin or two."

"Ahhh, the joy of Thanksgiving," Trinity smiled, wiping her hands on a napkin. "Aren't you glad it's just us, Mia?"

Mia took Trinity's hand smiled lovingly at her. "We're not American, honey. We don't celebrate Thanksgiving."

"But... we have an American friend," the dark-haired woman pouted. "We have to show our support by buying a turkey and... stuff."

Smiling, Mia leaned in and kissed the pouting lips. "I'm sure we can find something else to do." She turned back to Janet. "If this doesn't scare Chris off, maybe she's worth the risk after all."

Janet stood up and sighed. "I guess we'll see. Anyway, I better get going. I'm due to clock on in a few. See you later, guys." She left the diner lost in thoughts of Chris and what she should do.

Continued...

 

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