Part 44

"Are we going to talk about this?" Holly asked as she cornered Gail once they were back in the blonde's apartment.

Gail eyed the hallway as Emily had only just went to use the bathroom. She did not want to involve the kid more than she already was. "About what exactly? You ordered the curried duck?" She asked as she began to pull out all the food, they had brought back with them.

Holly sighed. "No. I ordered the orange chicken."

"Must be Emily's then." Gail replied. She was avoiding the conversation Holly wanted to have and it was obvious to both of them. But before Holly could try and bring it up again Emily was walking back towards them.

"Oh great, I'm starving."

Gail snorted. "Curried duck, seriously?"

"What, it's really good." Emily defended her meal choice.

Gail just shook her head and pulled her own food closer.

Emily noticed the silence around her as she ate, finally looking over to see Holly frowning as she played with her food more than anything. Gail was eating of course but that was Gail, the woman could always eat. "So, what happens with Holly's car?" She asked.

"She'll get it back." Gail had thought that was obvious, but Kurt might bring them something else. Either way they would have a car back soon.

Which reminded her that she did need Kurt to pick out a car for her. Nothing stolen, just something reliable and fast.

Gail missed her old car, the Mustang had been her dream car but not one she could have owned in her old life, not as a Peck. It was not a serious enough car for a Peck. Maybe she would get another Mustang, but she doubted Holly would be comfortable with that, so a BMW then or an Audi.

Rolling her eyes, Emily sighed. "I guessed that."

Holly cleared her throat. She wanted to know when she was getting her car back too. The bus may be an option, but she needed her car for work. "When?"

Wide eyed, Gail looked up at Holly, all thoughts about her own replacement car gone. "Soon." She promised. "Tomorrow." She added when Holly gave her a look. "Promise." Though she'd have to text Kurt soon to make sure that was possible.

Holly sighed. There were bigger problems than her car but still, it was her car and she wanted it back. "Fine." It wasn't like she was going to be called out on scenes anyhow, right now her job consisted of paperwork. Lots and lots of paperwork. "If I need to, I can borrow one of the department vehicles."

"That's the spirit." Gail said with a grin.

Emily looked between the two women. "Why don't you just steal Holly a car?"

Gail snorted. "I'm not a car thief." Although if she really had to, she could, but she was not going to say that out loud to Holly.

Emily's face lit up. "What is your professional title? I've always wanted to ask."

Gail narrowed her eyes at Emily. "Less talking, more eating." She instructed the girl. "And then it's back to your schoolwork."

Emily scowled, not getting the response she'd wanted. "Whatever." She replied, but did get back to her food. While not surprised she didn't get a proper answer, but she wasn't going to push Gail as she'd rather not be sleeping on the floor tonight.

Gail smirked and looked at Holly, but Holly just shook her head at her. Happy to have put off the serious talk for a while longer, Gail concentrated on her food.

But her mind was all over the place, Steve adding to their problems was not good. And while she didn't think he was stupid enough to plant something in Holly's car, it was worth whatever inconvenience it was for Holly to take the bus for a day or two.

Steve had never been the brightest, and he was easily talked into his role by their parents. So her trust with him was at a low point after how their mother tried to threaten Holly's career.

Gail would have to start dealing with her problems soon.

It was getting to be a long list of things she had to tie up. But the one thing not on her list was any concern over what had happened to Dieter Alstrom.

Not with the way Anan was gunning to have Jamie Brennan join Wolf's little crew.

Dieter was someone Gail could handle. Jamie on the other hand was a very dangerous individual, he might have done his time in jail but that didn't mean Gail wanted anything to do with the man, or want him anywhere near Holly or Emily right now.


"You look like you could do with this."

Steve glanced up to see Oliver Shaw slide a whisky over to him and sit down in the booth. He put his hand to the glass, he was on his fifth or sixth beer and had no plans to leave the Black Penny anytime soon.

After a moment Steve picked up the glass and swallowed it back in a single mouthful.

"Damn, that kinda day?" Ollie asked, his own beer still cold in his hand.

"Yeah." Steve choked back a reply. "You sure you want to sit here?" Steve wasn't exactly popular with most of the cops in the division. He generally just spent time with Traci when at the Penny, and her friends had never been his. Steve didn't have friends at work, Pecks had to focus on doing their jobs and getting promotions. Not going out to bars every night like some of the younger officers.

But tonight Steve felt like his best plan was to keep on drinking and if Oliver wanted to join him then the more the merrier.

Oliver shrugged as he adjusted his seating position to ease the pain in his hip. "It's as good a seat as any of them."

Steve nodded and went back to his beer.

"Boy this has been a day right?" Oliver started. "Saw Gail earlier and now I'm here with you!" He said with a grin.

Steve winced and tried not to choke as he swallowed. "Why'd you go see her?"

Oliver tilted his head in confusion because Steve should have known this already. "To give her back her garage key? The one Sam took?"

"Oh." Steve sighed. A lot had happened and just bring Sam's name into the conversation gave him a headache. "Right." The less they talked about Sam the better. "That probably didn't go down well." And could explain Gail's annoyance at him being there with Holly.

Bad day all around then.

Worse possibly for Dieter Alstrom but Steve had to let that one go until there was something more to go on, and until then it was Blackstone's job to look into finding the undercover cop.

Oliver chuckled slightly. "It did not." Gail's disappointment in him was still palpable to Oliver. While he had agreed with Gail it wasn't his responsibility to deal with Sam's actions, that had gone to those in whiter shirts and higher pay grades above him in the main building.

"Have I told you that it's good to have you back?" Steve asked with a smile. "Because it is, you belong at 15."

Oliver tried not to grin, but it did feel like he was back home. He'd been faced with spending the rest of his career behind a desk and he'd hated it, they'd tried him in a few departments but nothing had seemed to fit, even picking up some classes teaching the academy students hadn't, but this did.

"What can I say? They needed me." Oliver replied.

Steve laughed and took a swallow of his beer. The division needed something. For the longest time Steve had thought that something meant Gail's arrest, now he hadn't a clue.

But having Oliver on the main floor trying to wrangle the group of beat cops back into what they had been was a starting point.

Maybe moving Sam Swarek to another division was what they'd needed before now.

But it was too late to turn back the clock and do things differently. Best had tried keeping Sam under control but he'd been left to his own devices for too long, and now he was looking at starting over at a new division or early retirement.

That's what Superintendent Peck had told him.

Best got lucky, he would still have career progression. Sam Swarek had burned too many bridges around town already, long before he went after Gail with his gun in his hand, and in clear view of cameras.

Steve groaned and put his head in his hand. "When did this become such a fucking mess?" He asked himself. He should be at home with Traci and Leo but he wasn't in the right headspace for that conversation with his girlfriend.

Oliver shook his head. "I was still in the hospital for most of it, I think."

Steve closed his eyes. "She pointed a gun at me today."

Oliver straightened, only just stopping himself reaching for his phone to see if Gail had sent him anything. "What?"

Steve grunted and finished his beer off. "I used to have this image of my relationship with her, that we'd had as kids, promising to always look after each other and having the other's back." Especially when it came to their parents. "And I've been sat in here all evening trying to remember when we stopped talking like we did."

"Kids grow up Steve, that's life." And Oliver knew that just from seeing the changing relationships his kids had with each other and him and his ex-wife.

Yeah, they did. Steve knew the Gail Peck he had witnessed a few hours ago didn't need anything from him, not his help, not even his understanding.

His thoughts went back to that missing undercover cop. He couldn't help but imagine that Gail could end the same way. When she first dropped off the radar he'd felt relieved and maybe even a little happy for her, thinking that she'd simply walked away from all of this. Away from the badge and the pressure of being a Peck in Toronto, away from Elaine's influence and all of the accusations she'd gotten after Jerry's death.

She'd done it before. Taken a few months off to drift about in Europe only to spend close to a year away and being virtually untraceable, even to Elaine Peck.

But that wasn't what had happened. This was no happy ending. All Steve could see for Gail's future was to end up missing because she was dead in a ditch, somewhere they'd never find her, or she'd spend the rest of her life in jail if Sam or the head office ever managed to connect her to any of the crimes committed by the Wolf gang.

Steve had been undercover with a drugs gang, much like Dieter Alstrom, not for nearly the same length of time though. But after reading Dieter's file Steve knew they had both gotten into the gangs the same way; by selling drugs for them. Steve though, he'd had it easy, another undercover cop who had been with the gang for months already had spoken for him, gave him the in and credibility to stand in the middle of that gang and covertly gather the evidence that put most of them behind bars and gave him his position in the guns and gangs unit at 15.

But Gail Peck had worked a way into the heart of Damien Wolf's gang. The gang part was a bit of a misnomer, they weren't street hustlers fighting kids from the projects for spots on corners.

Damien Wolf owned businesses, lots of them and he pulled in millions of dollars on the side.

Steve didn't think his sister got to that level by selling drugs for Damien. But a harder question to answer was why Damien Wolf allowed it in the first place. It didn't take a criminal mastermind to look up Gail's name and realise she was a cop until recently, and that her whole family were career cops in Toronto.

That alone should have been a death sentence.

Steve rubbed at his eyes knowing he'd never find an answer to that. "I need another drink." He stated and got to his feet. "This round is on me."

Oliver snorted as he watched Steve sway. Grabbing his cane Oliver got up too. "No, no my friend, I think it's time we got you a cab and got you home."

Blowing out a breath, Steve considered that as an option. "Traci is just going to yell at me." Though he probably deserved it.

Oliver put his arm around Steve and ushered him towards the front of the bar, signalling to the barman to call them a cab. "And you will apologise like a man."

They stood outside and waited.

"I want to marry her you know, but Traci's still Jerry's girl." Steve muttered. The first time he'd seen Traci Nash he'd wanted to ask her out. Even Gail had been aware of that, teased him about it. But before he could get the chance to speak to her he found out she was dating Jerry Barber.

And Jerry had always been a bit of a ladies man even when he'd been married to his first wife.

So Steve had stayed away from the pair, but his feelings had never really changed.

Oliver sighed, fortunately, he knew Steve was drunk enough that he might not remember much from tonight. He slapped his friend on the back as a cab pulled up. "She'd be lucky to have you Steven."

Steve let himself be bundled into the back of the cab as Oliver then went to give the driver his and Traci's address and handed over some cash. As the cab started to pull away Steve stuck his head out of the window.

"I'll be a better husband than brother."

Oliver watched Steve's head disappear as the cab took off down the street. "Poor cabbie." While Oliver knew exactly what Steve had meant with that parting comment it was unlikely that the cab driver would.

Oliver made a face. "Damn, I should have totally recorded that whole speech of his." Gail would have loved it. It could have been the peace offering he needed with the blonde.

He felt for Steve he really did, but Oliver didn't have much time for all the shoulda, woulda, coulda talk that he heard from a lot of those at 15 division.

Just like Sam Swarek had to man up and take responsibility for his own actions so did the rest of them, and that included Steve Peck.

And his sister.


Gail felt Holly shift beside her in their bed, tonight they were at Gail and that meant the adults got the bed and Emily got to camp out on the couch in the front room.

"You keep making the bed squeak like that and that kid is going to think we are in here doing the dirty." She warned quietly.

Holly huffed and adjusted her pillow, glaring at Gail in the dark as she shifted back around without caring if the bed made a noise or not.

Gail stared up at the ceiling. "What exactly are you mad at me about?" She asked conversationally, not taking Holly's attitude personally, the woman was dealing with a lot of stress in her life what with everything her old friends had pulled on her and then Steve adding to it this afternoon.

"Is it the car?" Because Gail had already texted Kurt and confirmed it would be sat in her parking garage by morning. "Is it Kurt?" Not that she could really defend his comments but Kurt was just teasing Holly. He did it mostly to get a rise out of Gail and it had worked every time so far.

"I'll talk to him." Gail offered.

"Don't bother." Holly muttered.

Gail could tell Holly was still far from happy. She shifted around but was careful to still give the other woman space. "Then what's wrong." She bounced a little making the bed squeak louder.

Holly felt a smile work onto her face. "Stop that."

Gail did after another few seconds of noise. "You started it." She muttered unrepentant.

"You'll give the kid nightmares." Holly warned.

That made Gail sigh. She doubted the idea of two consenting adults having sex would traumatise Emily in the slightest. "Then I'll leave it to you to give her the birds and the bees talk."

Now it was Holly's turn to make a noise.

"Oh, do that again, only louder."

Holly rolled her eyes but turned into Gail, laying her hand on the other woman's chest. "Behave Gail."

Gail grinned as she pulled Holly on top of her and bounced them in place, their combined weight causing the bed to strain.

"Stop that!"

"Hey, don't yell that, Emily'll think we're doing it wrong." Gail managed to say before she cracked up laughing.

Holly laughed too but stopped quickly enough and tried to cover Gail's mouth as they both went quiet and tried to listen to see if they'd cause a reaction from Emily, but the rest of the apartment was quiet too.

"She's sleeping, see, we could have been having sex after all." Gail said as she smiled up at Holly, still holding her in place.

Holly looked down at Gail shaking her head before turning serious. "I know I said she could stay with us if she needed to." She began. It was just that she had felt a gut-wrenching panic when she had watched Gail talk to Emily while she'd been sat in her car with Steve. The look on the girls face as she stared over at Holly's car before walking away in the opposite direction, clearly told to by Gail.

Gail bit her lip. "She's staying with us, with me, until I can find her somewhere safe to be." Gail explained. Gail was still waiting on her contact getting her the background information on who Emily had been living with and if they had a past history of knocking foster kids about.

Gail knew it was Emily's little boyfriend who had hit her.

"She'd needs to be somewhere safe, and to be in school." Holly agreed.

Gail snorted. She doubted Emily had a good attendance record for any of the schools she'd been enrolled in.

Holly frowned. "A proper education is important for kids Emily's age."

Gail nodded even as she knew Emily was more at home on the streets than in a classroom. But they could help her get there, even if she didn't stay with them long. "Of course, that's why her friend dropped her off some schoolwork for this week."

Holly chewed on her lip, then reached down and touched her fingers over Gail's face, first her scar and then her cheek and then over her lips. "I'm going to take tomorrow off and maybe take her to get some clothes and school stuff, maybe check over her work."

Gail tried not to look too surprised. "Sure, I've got nothing planned, I only need to pop into the bar and make sure everyone's picked up their wages." And that the staff had enough people to cover shifts, things were starting to pick up but it was going to be exam season soon and that would mean any students on her books would be looking to cut some of their hours.

Not a big deal but Gail would rather hire a few new faces than have to stick around and work the shifts because they didn't have enough cover.

Holly shook her head. "Nope, you are not invited."

"Why not?" Gail pouted.

Holly's eyebrows hiked up. "You really want to go clothes shopping?" She asked because no matter how much she considered it, she could not see Gail enjoying that activity.

Gail sighed. "I guess not."

Holly smiled down at Gail then leaned in for a kiss. "You can meet us for lunch." She offered.

Gail grinned, whether from the kiss or the mention of food, it didn't really matter. "Okay."

"Besides, I want a chance to talk to her without you around." Holly admitted. "That way she won't have to act like she as much of a badass as you are."

That was almost certainly true, but that didn't mean the girl was any more likely to talk to Holly than she would talk to Gail. "She wouldn't give me a name."

"And she might not give me one either, but I'll try to earn her trust anyway."

"She'd probably like you more if you didn't make her do any schoolwork." Gail said with a grin.

Holly shook her head. "No chance of that."

"Then good luck! You're going to need it." Gail said before pulling Holly down into another kiss.

Soon they got lost in the kiss and Gail only vaguely remembered to try and keep quiet so they didn't wake Emily.