Author Note: I don't own any characters from The Bill. Christina is a figment of my imagination!

Prologue

16th December 1990

"Are you sure you're alright?"

"Yes."

Christina stared out of the windscreen, hoping that he wouldn't ask anything further. It was the morning after the night before and the atmosphere in the CID office when she'd walked in had been testament to the fact they had clearly all been talking about her and Stewart and what had happened. Before she could say anything, confront anyone, Frank had told her he wanted her to come with him to see a snout so they had ended up sitting in his car, waiting on the Maycroft estate and she could tell he was angry.

"What happened when you got home?"

"Does it matter?"

"Of course it bloody well matters!" he exclaimed. "He assaulted you in that pub and if you hadn't stopped me, I'd have landed one on him for it!"

"Why do you think I stopped you?" she asked, glancing at him. "How would it have helped anything?"

"Did he hit you?"

"No."

"You sure?"

"Yes, I'm sure!"

"You don't deserve to be treated like that. No woman does. You deserve to be with someone who loves you..."

"He does love me," she protested weakly.

"Well he's got a funny way of showing it!" He snapped. "Can't you see what he's doing to you? What he's been doing to you all this time? What happened to him was not your fault and you shouldn't have to pay for it for the rest of your life by putting up with him hurting you like that."

"Frank, please..."

"You deserve better."

"Stop..."

"Well what do you want me to say? You must know how I feel about you."

Silence descended over the car, the only noise coming from the rain outside as it battered against the window. Christina found that she didn't dare look at him, didn't want to see the expression on his face or let him see the expression on hers. He had finally been the one to say it, the first one to give voice to feelings that she had known were there but had been too afraid to confront. The long lingering looks, the crackle in the air, the way she had felt her heart beat faster and her temperature rise whenever she was near him...it was all so inappropriate, like a schoolgirl crush on a teacher, but she had always wondered if he had felt anything akin to the same.

"I'm sorry," he said finally. "I shouldn't have said that..."

"No," she interrupted, turning to look at him for the first time. "No, it's ok. I felt...I feel...I just didn't know..." she cursed herself for not being able to speak coherently, but what were you supposed to say? When your friend, your boss, the man you had to ashamedly admit you'd fantasised about when suffering the indignity of sex with your husband was telling you he had feelings for you, what were you supposed to say? Before she could say anything more, Frank reached out and touched her chin gently and she felt her breathing grow shallow and her body start to tremble. Part of her wanted to pull away and another part of her wanted to pull him close, to feel him against her, to experience what it was liked to be touched by someone you actually wanted and who wanted you. But she couldn't ignore the fact that she was married and it almost felt as though her wedding ring was burning into the flesh on her finger. "I...I can't..." she heard herself whisper.

Frank drew his hand back and turned to look back out of the window, jaw clenched. "I want you," he said after a long moment. "I'm not going to lie about it, and neither should you."

"You mean you want to take me to bed."

"What's wrong with that?" he asked, turning to looking at her again.

"Nothing."

"I bet I could satisfy you a damn sight more there than he can." She felt herself shiver at the illicitness of his words. "Anyway...it's not just that."

"No?"

"No. I know what you might think about me..."

"I don't think anything..."

"But I am capable of having feelings, you know. I am capable of caring for another person other than myself. I care about you."

She swallowed hard against the lump that had formed in her throat. "I care about you too." She met his gaze again and there was another long silence, heavy with words unsaid and actions uncompleted. "I...I think about you."

"When?" he asked, his voice soft, barely audible above the pounding rain.

"All the time," she admitted in barely a whisper.

This time when he reached out, she met him halfway. It felt normal, natural, in a way that had been missing in her marriage for so long. When he kissed her, she responded. When his fingers found their way into her hair, she gently cupped his face with her hand. Every nerve in her body jangled, her nipples hardened, her sweet spot contracted...the sexual desire was real. God, it had been so long...She felt herself growing more insistent, taking the lead, sliding her hand down over his belt to the juncture of his thighs and feeling satisfied with what she found.

"We can't do this here..." Frank breathed, pulling back from her.

Reality smacked her in the face and she put her hand to her mouth, lips still burning from where they had been connected. "We can't do this anywhere," she said. "We can't...I can't...God what a mess!" Putting her head in her hands she willed away the tears that were threatening to come. It was all so unjust, unfair...what had she done to deserve the life she had been living? How could it possibly continue, especially now...?

She felt his hand on her leg, "Chris..."

"No..." pushing him away, she opened the car door and stepped out into the rain. It was cold on her skin, but it also felt good, as though she could breathe.

"Get back in the car!" Frank came up behind her. "Come on, we'll freeze to death out here!"

"I can't..." she shook her head.

"I won't touch you," he promised. "I'm sorry. I won't touch you."

"Don't you understand?" she swung around to face him. "I want you to touch me! I've thought about nothing else for weeks, months...I don't know how long! But you're my boss and I'm married and..." she broke off and took a deep breath, knowing she had to regain control before everything was lost. "What about your snout?"

Frank looked puzzled, "What?"

"What about your snout? The one we were supposed to meet here. Is he coming or not?"

"There never was any meeting with any snout," he said. "It was a reason to get you on your own."

Christina stared at him, "Why?"

"Why do you think? To make sure you were all right after last night! To find out if he had done anything to you! To get you away from the whispers going round the nick!"

Anger flared inside her, "I don't need you to protect me!"

"I know..."

"What do you think you can do? Make it better for me? You can't make it better, Frank! This is my life and my marriage! He's my husband for better or worse!" Pushing past him, she wrenched open the car door and slid back into the passenger seat, slamming it behind her. Seconds later, he followed suit. Silence descended once again, the only sound being their collective breathing and finally the hum of the engine. The wipers swished the rain from side to side and the windows misted up around them, appropriate given what had been about to happen mere moments earlier. "We should get back," she said finally, her voice level again. "I don't know about you but I've got a shit load of work to get through and sitting here waiting for a non-existent snout isn't going to get it done any faster." For a moment, nothing happened. No-one spoke, the car didn't move, the rain kept falling. Finally, she looked over at him again. "Please."

He held her gaze for a long moment before finally putting the car in gear and heading back in the direction of the station.