We meet again
Max Carter sighed heavily as he turned off the small lamp that lit up his desk. It had been a long day; CID had been dealing with a local gang thought to have been involved in a large gun running operation, exporting out of the UK. They still hadn't managed to catch the culprits. Then there was the continuous mountain of paperwork that seemed to end up on his desk at the end of the day- and he thought being a sergeant had its advantages….like not doing paperwork…..yeah right!
He stood up and grabbed his heavy coat off the hook and put it on, wrapping the scarf around his neck tightly. London seemed to be going through a cold snap at the moment…it only ever got to about 10 during the day! But the weather bureau was predicting a particularly abnormal cold winter this year.
Max turned off the lights of the CID offices and closed the door firmly behind him. He sighed wearily again as he made his way down the stairs.
"Might stop at the pub and get a drink" he thought to himself. It had been a long, exhausting day and he felt that he deserved it. All that paperwork seemed to have drained his brain.
"Night sarge" DC Mickey Webb said, giving his senior an acknowledging nod as they passed in the corridor.
"Night Mickey" Max responded with a tight smile, passing his colleague and walking out the automatic sliding doors of the stations entrance. The sheer cold of the night air hit him immediately in the face.
He shivered slightly inside his coat and continued towards the car park. Quickly unlocking the door, he jumped inside and immediately started the ignition and turned on the heater.
Sighing contently as the warm air blasted towards him, he drove out of the driveway and towards the nearest pub…..looking forward to a nice frothy beer.
As he entered the Leigh pub, Max glanced around. The usual patrons had already filled his favourite haunt. The alcoholic sitting at the bar sulking over his beer, the young couples sitting happily together in the booths and the few lingering teenagers from the nearby estate trying to look and act old enough to get a drink.
Max walked up to the bar and sat down at a stool. The barman came over and looked down at Max expectantly.
"Just a pint thanks" Max ordered, taking off his scarf and coat, the hotel had obviously recently invested in replacing that crappy heating system.
As the barman placed the beer in front of Max, he pulled out a fiver and handed it to the publican.
He took the beer and gulped it eagerly, letting the liquid gold slide down his throat.
He plunked the beer down again and glanced around the room, out of the corner of his eye, he saw a touch of ginger-red hair. He looked properly and couldn't believe his eyes- it was PC Millie Brown.
She was sitting alone in a nearby booth, leaning over her drink, stirring it with the straw absentmindedly. She obviously hadn't seen him. He started debating in his mind whether to go over and talk to her. She had been transferred to Barton Street a few months back and he had kind of forgotten about her, but she has this way of stirring something in him. They hasn't exactly parted on the best of terms, whenever they had worked together on cases, they seemed to have butted heads. Max knew that he has a "cold, no emotions" approach to cases and well basically people, but Millie had seemed damn well determined to undermine and challenge him with everything. Even though it had annoyed the hell out of him, he couldn't help but also start to feel admiration for her, that she was brave enough to actually do it.
One day, she had just not turned up for work at Sun Hill. He didn't seem to notice or care that much for the first few days, but after a while he seemed to miss her nagging and ginger hair floating around the station. He had found out from Stone that she had put in a request for transfer and had been stationed at Barton Street. No one knew why, not even her fellow PC's at Sun Hill- she had just disappeared.
But here she was now. Sitting alone in the booth at a pretty crappy pub, this late at night- what was she doing here?
Max hesitantly got up from his stool, beer in hand, coat and scarf in other and slowly made his way over to her table.
"Millie?" he asked gently, looked down at her.
She looked up slowly at Max and couldn't help but jerk her head back in shock.
"DS Carter" she spluttered in shock "what are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing" he replied simply with a small smirk.
"Just dropped in for a drink" she explained softly, lifting up her glass.
"Alone?" he asked, glancing around at the empty booth next to her.
"Oh no, my husband will be meeting me here soon" she replied sarcastically, rolling her eyes.
"Always a joker" Max thought to himself.
"Right" he smiled "can I sit?" he asked her, indicating to the empty spot in the booth next to her.
"Ummm…." she sounded hesitant, glancing up at him uncertainly, this was the man who had always seemed to frustrate and annoy her, but here he was, smiling and being relatively nice. "Alright then, sure" she smiled, moving further along to make room.
"Thanks" he replied sitting and placing his drink on the table and draping his coat on a nearby chair.
"What are you doing here sarge?" she asked.
"Just dropped in for a pint after a long day" he replied "and you? What you doing here alone on a Friday night?" he asked.
"My flatmates got a date" she told him awkwardly "didn't feel like moping around the flat so decided to get a drink myself" she said, indicating to her glass.
"Well how's Barton Street nick treating you?" he asked curiously, sipping his beer.
"Oh I'm not stationed there anymore" she told him "oh well I was" she corrected herself "but I got transferred to the Organised Crime Agency- a few months back actually".
"Really?" he asked, curiously "and how's that going?"
"Really good actually" she replied with a smile "it's really interesting and I'm learning heaps! How's everyone back at Sun Hill?" she asked curiously, stirring her drink with the straw.
"Good" Max nodded.
"Anything interesting happen since I've been gone?" she asked with a grin.
Max launched in the story about Stone and his suspension, the new PC, Kirsty Knight and Jo being promoted to a uniformed Sergeant. A good hour and many drinks passed as they continued to catch up, sharing stories of their lives since they had last seen each other.
Even though Max would ever even have imagined doing something like this- talking so intimately with a PC and laughing with her- he had to admit he was having fun. Just letting loose and having a good time. He always thought Millie had a way of affecting him. Sure at first, she had seemed like a young, naïve constable, straight from school who played everything by the book, everything she thought and spoke sounded like it came straight from those police manual that they gave out at the academy. But now she seemed different, time had matured her.
"In more ways than one" he thought, glancing over her- she defiantly seemed much more gorgeous then she had months ago. He remembered her as a sweet and shy, not so confident and…..sparky.
He was brought out of his thoughts as he heard Millie yawn.
"Better call it a night" she told him with a gentle smile.
"Yeah, probably" he chuckled in replied, glancing at his watch. They had been talking for a good hour and half. He had only planned on having one beer and then leaving, never anticipated on meeting a long lost colleague.
"It's getting late and my flatmate will be hone soon" she explained, standing up and gathering her coat and bag.
"Do you need a lift?" he asked, standing up and gathering his own belongings.
"No it's alright" she replied with a grateful smile "I've got my car".
"Well it's been….." Max paused, looking for the right word "…nice seeing you again- it's been a while".
"Yeah it has been" she said, nodding with a wide smile.
"Maybe we could catch up again?" he asked hesitantly, he knew that Millie might find it awkward considering their experiences working together in the past.
"Sure" she nodded "that would be great".
"Great!" Max replied, a little surprised that she said yes so quickly.
"I'll see you soon sarge" she told him, giving a small wave and turning to walk away.
Max quickly grabbed her hand. Millie stopped and turned, looking at Max expectantly.
"It's just Max" he told her.
Millie's smile turned into a shy grin and she nodded before turning and walking out.