"Wow!" Kathy's eyes widened as Katy walked into the R&R office on her first morning back at work. They moved over the younger woman slowly, taking in her appearance. "You're huge… and tanned."
"Over a month in Ibiza and being 37 weeks pregnant will do that for you." The younger blonde replied with a weak smile. "How have things been here?"
"Absolutely fine." Kathy assured her quickly. "I didn't actually expect to see you for another couple of weeks. Ronnie gave me the impression you were going to be away until–"
"They're all worried I'm gonna go into labour any minute and they'd prefer me to be here when that happens." Katy told her bluntly, arching an eyebrow. "They were worried that I'd pop early under the pressure of being here with all the shit that goes on in Walford and so they took me to Ibiza. Now they're worried I'll pop early anyway so decided we should come back again. Mum's given me so many talks about not getting into stupid situations and Roxy's asked me about four times whether I'm sure there's only the one baby in here. I'm pretty sure we came back in case I need to be rushed into theatre again."
"You gave everyone quite a scare last time by the sounds of it."
"Yeah, well, I feel fine." She shrugged, running a hand over her bump. "I've got a feeling that this one isn't keen on coming out before he has to so I'm expecting to be late rather than early."
"So what've I missed round here?"
"Not much, seeing as you were on the phone badgering me for information at least once every single week." Kathy pointed out, raising an eyebrow at her.
"I know, I know… It's not that I don't trust you, Kath, I just–"
"I know." The older woman agreed with a curt nod. "But I think you need to take–"
"Oh… DS McKay?" She furrowed her eyebrows. "Is this about Tina?"
"I'm not on duty, so it's Hannah and no. It's about Jason Williams."
"Oh…" Katy shot Kathy a quick look and she stood, smiling understandingly and leaving the office, pulling the door firmly closed behind her. She turned a confused frown on the detective, wondering why she wanted to speak to her when she wasn't on duty – especially about Jason. "Right…"
"You've been in Ibiza?"
"You never said I couldn't leave the country." Katy replied calmly, shrugging her shoulders and smoothing a hand over her stomach. "I didn't do anything wrong."
The detective smirked. "No, you didn't. I just wanted to inform you that we found Mr Williams' body two weeks ago. He's dead."
"OK… Are you telling me this because you think I killed him, or…?"
"You're off the hook." The redhead shook her head quickly, sending the blonde a quick smirk. "Mr Williams was shot with a gun that we've linked to a gang operating on the other side of the river. It seems that he got tangled up with them a while ago. Clearly things took a turn."
Katy couldn't help the relief flooding through her at the detective's words, the emotion opening a damn in her chest and causing her to drop heavily onto the sofa, burying her face in her hand. Hannah moved to sit beside her, rubbing a soothing circle in the centre of her back, waiting until the tide of tears had subsided.
"That was quite a display of emotion for someone you claimed you barely knew and didn't much care about."
"I wasn't crying about him." Katy spat out. Then she took in a stuttered breath. "Sorry… sorry."
"Is she dead?"
"I can't answer that, honey," The redhead pointed out gently, running a hand through the younger woman's hair, "and I'm still not on the case so I can't really tell you anything reassuring. But Jo – my wife – is pretty sure that wherever Tina is, she's fine and she's planning how to come back."
"People think I should move on." Katy muttered, surreptitiously removing herself from the detective's proximity and leaning against the back of the sofa. "And honestly, maybe they're right. I mean… we were actually honest about the fact that we had feelings for each other for about ten minutes before she ran away. I've never… before Tina I've never even thought about… I have a long, long list of failed relationships and all of them have been with men. Maybe everyone's right and it's just because she's gone that–"
"Before I met my wife I also had a string of ill-advised and terrible relationships with men. I'd never considered being with a woman before Jo. I was scared… I nearly decided that I couldn't take the risk." Hannah smiled. "But I did take the risk and it was the best thing I've ever done in my life."
"I'm not you."
"No," she acknowledged with a small shrug, "you're definitely not anything like me." There was an expression in her eyes that Katy couldn't quite read; a knowing look what made her wonder whether the detective might have a few more suspicions about her than she was letting on. "So if you think that you should move on and forget about whatever you had with Tina, then do it. But if you're just thinking that because people are putting pressure on you… telling you what to do… then it's wrong. If you love Tina, then you need to be brave because you might end up regretting taking the easy option."
"I don't even know where she is." Katy reminded her bluntly. "I don't even know if she's alive."
"I've been there, too." Hannah informed her with a small shrug and a wry smile. "Don't give up hope. You'll know when it's time to let go."
Katy inhaled sharply, before standing up and moving to ease herself into the wheelie chair behind her desk. "Easier said than done."
"My advice to you… keep your head down and your nose clean. Next time the police come sniffing around they might not go away so quickly."
The detective arched an eyebrow as she stood, pushing her hands into the back pockets of her jeans and watching Katy closely. "My partner on the case got his teeth into the idea of going after and bringing down a gang, rather than a heavily pregnant young woman. He tends to get a bit blinkered. Fortunately for you…"
"I have no idea what you're implying but–"
"I'm implying nothing. I'm just suggesting that you concentrate on staying on the right side of the law for a while."
When Katy didn't say anything in response, DS McKay gave her a sharp nod and let herself out of the office. Exhaling sharply, feeling as though she'd dodged a bullet, the blonde leant forward and buried her head in her hands again.
"Hey, honey." Katy smiled tiredly over at Ruby as she wandered into the living room, leaning almost nervously against the doorframe. "What's up?"
"I don't feel well."
At once the young woman pulled herself to her feet, crossing the room and laying her hand on her daughter's forehead. She frowned lightly when she realised that Ruby didn't have a temperature and, on closer inspection, neither did she look pale or clammy. For a moment, Katy watched her closely, seeing the way the nine-year-old was apparently reluctant to meet her eyes.
"I feel sick."
"Do you?" Katy arched an eyebrow. "Or is something bothering you?"
"Hmmm… maybe we should call the doctors?"
Katy sighed, leading the way over to the sofa and settling on the cushions, pulling Ruby down to sit beside her. "Come on, tell me what's bothering you."
"I don't want to go to school."
"Why not?" At once the blonde was concerned, pushing her daughter's hair away from her face and forcing her to meet her eyes. "You've only been back one day? What's happened?"
"I want to stay with you."
"Because I know Grandma and Granny are worried about you and the baby and I want to help look after you." She replied immediately, blue eyes wide and worried.
Letting out a long breath, Katy slid her hand into soft blonde hair and gently tugged her daughter's head to rest on her shoulder, turning to press a kiss to her forehead. She didn't say anything for a long moment, letting her eyes slide closed as she felt Ruby's arms wrapping around her. One small hand patted her baby bump affectionately for a moment.
Katy hated that her nine-year-old had obviously overheard – or been eavesdropping on – conversations between her mother and grandmother. She knew that Ronnie and Glenda were concerned about how she'd handle giving birth this time. It was something that had crossed her mind as well and she wasn't as confident as she'd made out she was while she'd been talking to Kathy. Her last pregnancy had ended in the death of her son and a very hairy post-labour surgery that she almost hadn't made it through.
"Ruby, baby, you don't need to worry about me." She assured her gently, still running her hand soothingly through her hair. "It's my job to worry about you, not the other way round. Everything is going to be fine. You just need to concentrate on school and having fun with your friends, OK? I'll take care of everything else."
"Is… is Isaac going to be there when you have the baby?"
"No? Why would he be?"
"Isn't he the baby's dad?"
"Oh…" Katy blinked a couple of times. "He…"
"When's Dad coming over next?"
The abrupt change of topic, as well as the mention of Tyler, completely threw Katy for a moment. She opened and closed her mouth a couple of times, not sure what to say. Then she swallowed thickly and forced herself to smile.
"I'm not sure… why don't you give him a ring and ask?"
"Why can't you do it?"
"Because…" Katy paused, wondering how to word the truth; that Tyler was a petulant child who was refusing to speak to her because he was sulking. She could barely remember what the problem was, but apparently he was still holding it against her. "Because I need to go and make sure the twins are ready for school, so you've got ten minutes."
"D'you wanna talk to him after?"
"No, sweetheart. You find out when he's free and I'll make sure you get to wherever you need to be. Alright?"
"Can he come for tea?"
"No!" Katy snapped before she could stop herself. Then she sighed. "No, baby. I've got too much on my plate. I think Aunty Roxy might have to do tea tonight… sorry."
"I didn't mean tonight." Ruby muttered exasperatedly, rolling her eyes at her mother. "Just a night."
"Just… no, sweetheart, I'm sorry. I can't deal with him at the moment." She ran a hand through her hair agitatedly. "I've got enough to think about right now. I'm sorry."