Holly couldn't help but eye the passenger in the front seat of her car. Almost afraid that if she looked away for too long Gail would disappear.
Her plan to tease Gail with her friends all around in the pub had obviously backfired. Badly.
"So, that was a bad idea." Holly started when the silence grew too much for her. Gail kept her gaze drifting to the streets they were passing by. "Was it the group, the softball, or the choice of food?"
Gail felt her lips twitch. She wanted to say all three but didn't want to come across as that pathetic. "I am allergic to tomatoes."
Holly grinned. "So the pizza really was a bad idea."
Gail shrugged. "I had tried to order chicken."
Holly kept driving in the direction of her home. "We could order take out? Or see what I've got in the cupboards, I'm sure there's something I could make for dinner."
It wasn't really dinner time but Gail hadn't had lunch and she could feel her stomach rumble at the thought of take out from her favourite Chinese or maybe Indian. "Not tomatoes?" She asked looking over at Holly with a grin.
"No unexpected guest turning up?" Gail asked.
"Oh, fuck off." Holly retorted. "You want me to just drop you off here?"
Gail chuckled and shook her head. "No."
Holly grinned to herself and eyed Gail for a moment, their eyes meeting as she stopped at a red light. "Good." She replied softly.
Apparently today wasn't a complete loss.
"You are never going to believe who I bumped into today." Traci said as she sat down in the Black Penny with a few of her fellow cadets.
"Who?" Dov asked as he arrived back with the round of drinks. "And you are late." The rest of them had been in the bar all afternoon.
"Ignore him." Andy said as she moved her chair to let Traci in at the table. Unlike most of their friends at the Academy Andy was aware of exactly why Traci was late. She had other responsibilities.
Traci grinned and threw back a shot as a beer was placed in front of her. "Always do." She replied. "And I saw the Ice Queen."
"Peck?" Chris asked in surprise. He couldn't imagine where Traci would be that Gail Peck was there, the blonde always acted better than the rest of them. "You sure it was her?"
Traci rolled her eyes. "Yup. Gail Peck in the flesh."
"Where was she?" Dov asked.
Chris asked, "Who was she with?"
Traci made them both wait as she played catch up with her drink. By the empty shot glasses on the table she was a long way behind but they had to head back to the Academy tomorrow night so this was her one chance to let loose for a few hours before going home. Her mother was looking after Leo and was taking him to service in the morning which would give her the chance to sleep a few extra hours to recover.
Dov eyed Chris. "Why would she be with anyone?" He couldn't help from asking. He understood Chris' crush but Peck was already a white shirt in waiting and the rest of them were going to have to work twice as hard and get twice as lucky as Peck to end up anywhere else other than working the beat for their careers.
If they couldn't make that big arrest, catch the serial killer, or save a visiting diplomat then they'd have to put the work in to develop a career that went anywhere.
Not that Dov was against spending a few years working the streets but there was no way he was spending more than five years doing it before making detective. That was part of his career plan, five years tops, but he was sure if he could get in with the right detective or his sergeant he'd make detective early.
He just had to make an impression on his supervisors.
Only that was hard to do when you were in the same cadet group as Gail Peck.
Andy gave Dov a look. "Didn't you invite her here tonight?" She was pretty sure Dov had. More than once.
Dov scoffed then drank down most of his beer.
"Anyway," Traci said, bringing the focus of their table back to her sighting of the blonde. "I did see Peck, she was a central park."
"Exercising I bet." Chris commented with a grin.
Andy shivered and swatted Chris on the arm. "Get your head out of the gutter." Though it wasn't so much what Chris had said but the way he grinned afterwards.
Dov looked between them then back at Traci. "Well why were either of you there if not doing 10K around the park?" He asked. Central park was huge and most people that lived around there used the place to jog or cycle. It wasn't that much of a stretch to think Gail and Traci had both been there to keep their cardio up for their last few weeks now that their PT classes had cut down.
Andy watched her friend wondering how she'd answer that.
"I was headed towards my mother's, not that it's any of your business." Traci replied.
"And the Ice Queen?"
Traci shrugged and went back to her beer before answering, "Not sure, I think we were both surprised to see each other-"
"I'll bet." Andy muttered as she knew Traci had spent the day with her son Leo.
"-we barely said more than an awkward hello." Traci finished as she nudged Andy with elbow having heard her.
"Okay, enough of this bullshit, my round." Jen Luck said as she stood to head for the bar. She had enough of Peck at the Academy she didn't need to listen to everyone talk about the stuck up police brat during their only free weekend.
"Someone hit a nerve." Traci chuckled.
"Leave her alone," Andy said. "She's still mad about last week."
"Peck saved her ass." Traci answered back.
Dov scowled and pointed a finger at Traci. "You sound like you like her."
Traci shrugged. "Maybe I think she's okay."
Dov drank his beer and shook his head. "I don't trust her. And I'm not sure I'd want her protecting my back out there."
Traci rolled her eyes and sipped at her own beer. "She's scoring higher than you." She reminded her friend. "And besides, she's a Peck, better a friend than an enemy." She might not know a lot about the police force but by now stories of Pecks were rife at the Academy and rumour had it that there was going to be a guest Peck at this year's graduation ceremony.
And the only reason for that would be Gail.
Getting on her families bad side wasn't something Traci was looking for. All she was trying to do was provide for her family. Get her mother out of the projects, and create a stable family home for her son Leo.
Dex, her ex and the father of her son was not going to be the shining example her son had growing up.
Just then Chris' phone started ringing. He looked down and saw who the caller was and hung up the call. Then it rang again. With a sigh Chris answered the call and stood, "Sorry guys, I'm going to have to take this."
Dov watched Chris head outside then finished his beer off and stood to get the next round in. "I still don't trust her." He warned his friends before heading for the bar.
Andy looked into the space Chris had just left then eyed Traci. "Is no one going to ask who'd be calling Chris when all of his friends are sat at this table?" She asked knowing Chris was from a small town out North and only came to Toronto to attend the police academy.
Dov came back to the table helping Jen with a round of drinks for everyone. "What?" He asked as he sat back down.
"Do you know who'd be calling Chris?" Andy asked.
With a snort Dov swallowed a shot of something, then drank some of his fresh beer to chase the god awful taste away. "Probably his girlfriend." He finally admitted having witnessed several of the calls over the past few weeks.
"Chris has a girlfriend?" Jen asked in disbelief.
Picking up a few chips sat on the plate in the middle of their table, Dov just shrugged his shoulders. He didn't understand it either. One minute Chris would practically gush about Denise but by the sounds of it things were not well in the relationship.
Quietly Chris had admitted to him that Denise hadn't wanted him to leave home. She'd wanted him to get a job and for them to settle down and maybe start a family.
But that wasn't the life Chris wanted.
Chris stepped into the shadows of the car lot behind the bar. "Look Aaron man, I told you I wasn't coming to the party." He hissed into his phone, glancing around to see if anyone was close enough to listen in.
"No, and I don't want any." Chris combed his free hand through his hair. "Look Aaron, we are a couple of weeks away from graduating and I'm not about to fuck that up because you want to party."
He listen to his friends argument then laughed as he recalled the party they'd gone to the weekend after they'd made it past the first cut of cadets. Celebrated at some Frat party where the alcohol had been flowing as freely as the drugs and women. "It was kinda sweet." He eventually admitted.
"So come out, this place is jumping!" Aaron pleaded.
Chris hesitated as he glanced back at the door to the Penny. "Okay, fine, let me call a cab."
"Awesome, I swear you won't regret this." Aaron assured him.
"Just text me the address."
Chris hung up and tucked his phone away as he wandered down the street on the lookout for a cab. Aaron was always full on when it came to partying but right now that was better than sitting through Dov mouthing off about Gail Peck.
His phone buzzed and he saw that Aaron had sent him that address. Again it was in the college area of town. He'd already cheated on his girlfriend once and regretted it.
He stuck his hand out when he saw a passing cab, and he was in luck when it pulled over a couple of meters away. He jogged up to it and got in.
His gut was telling him he'd live to regret tonight just as much. But what was the point of being in the big city if he stayed glue to the table he might spend most of his career at after they all graduated.
He was all for growing up and being responsible.
But not tonight.
"So, sports are out," Holly said as she and passed a beer straight from her fridge to Gail as she returned from the kitchen back to the coach and the movie on TV. "How about karaoke?"
"God no!" Gail replied, scowling at the thought of all of Holly's friends watching her, judging her.
Holly chuckled. "I could always take you to my parent's house for dinner one weekend."
Gail couldn't help it as she spat out the beer in her mouth.
"Woah." Holly reached over a patted Gail on the back as she coughed.
"Don't say that, never say that." Gail managed to get out between coughs. "Not even as a joke."
Holly gave the blonde a long look. "Okay?"
Trying to regain some of her composure Gail sat straighter and waved her hand about. "Don't you think it's a little too early in our relationship to be meeting parents?" Hell would have to freeze over before Gail introduced Holly to her own.
But maybe Holly had 'normal' parents. Ones that didn't dump you in the middle of a forest in the coldest part of winter just to test your survival skills. At sixteen years of age.
Gail noticed the smile spreading over Holly's face and shook her head as she finished off was left of her beer. "Don't give me that look." Because Gail knew seeing that smile on Holly's face, and the light in her eyes, was something she could very quickly become addicted to.
"I never said anything." Holly protested, but the smile was still making her cheeks hurt.
Gail huffed and leaned her head back against the couch and whined. "God, I've already made a fool of myself in front of your friends, I am not meeting your parents. Ever."
"Okay." Holly replied calmly.
Gail squinted her eyes at her.
Holly ignored Gail and started watching the film on in front of them.
After a few minutes, Holly felt Gail rest against her. A few minutes later and Gail's head was in her lap. And by the end of the film, Holly was sure that taming Gail was going to be one of the best challenges she'd ever come across. Way more difficult that advanced biochemistry.
"I make a terrible first impression." Gail mumbled, her eyes closed as Holly stroked her hand through her hair, scratching gently at her scalp every so often.
Holly grinned down at Gail, "That's okay." And it was, her friends would get over it.
"I'm not great at second impressions either." Gail warned softly.
Holly melted a little. She knew Gail had tried at the bar this afternoon. But she'd seen that Gail looked on edge when attention turned to her.
"See, I'm like a cat, Holly."
Holly couldn't help but smirk. "You have claws?" She ventured a guess as to where Gail was going with this analogy.
"That too." Gail said as she shifted onto her back and stared up at Holly from her lap. "But what I meant was that I'm very good at climbing trees, but once I'm up there I don't know what to do, I want to get down but I don't know how, so I like, create these emergency situations to get out of it."
Confused Holly tried her best to follow along where ever Gail was going with this conversation. "Of the tree?"
"Of relationships." Gail clarified.
"Oh!" Now Holly got it. "I was like that too when I was younger." She offered. "Turns out I just didn't like men." Though she had tried dating them even into college before she'd had to have a serious think about what was missing from all her previous relationships.
Holly tried not to consider that her failures in relationships with women weren't much better than her relationships with men.
"Well, yeah, I don't like men either." Gail answered with a scowl. Her mother had the worst taste in dates for her.
"I mean I'm a lesbian."
Oh. Gail wasn't sure yet that she could say that out loud about herself. "I never would have guessed Holly."
Holly laughed when Gail eyed their position to each other and gave her a roll of the eyes.
"I mean that I hate people." Gail said, her voice dropping to a whisper as Holly stared down at her. "But I really like you."
Holly shifted a strand of blonde hair out of Gail's face then leaned down to press her lips to Gail's. "Well that's okay then." She replied before Gail was reaching up and pulling her back down into a more heated kiss. One that had Holly shifting her body so they lay together.
When they broke apart Holly had a split second where she remembered that her parents were due around first thing in the morning and if Gail really wasn't ready to meet them then she should probably let her go home.
But the only word she could form was, "Bedroom." Before Gail was lifting her head up to chase after her at the same time as her arms were pulling Holly back down onto her body.
Whatever impression this would make on Holly's parents come morning, Holly knew without a doubt it would be a lasting one.
As always thanks for reading!