Detective Superintendent Julie Dodson was beyond panicked. She'd been informed by the Manchester Division Command of a civilian 999 call that had reported a woman had been taken at knife-point from a supermarket car park. CCTV Cameras had identified the vehicle and the license plate had revealed that the car was as registered to Detective Chief Inspector Gill Murray. She probably should have recused herself as Senior Investigating Officer because of the closeness of her friendship...and growing romantic relationship with Gill, but she would be damned if she was letting anyone else take control of the situation. She couldn't remember exactly how long it had taken her to move from her office to the Red Centre but if anyone had clocked her car, she'd have flipped them off faster than they could've said, 'Ma'am.' She wanted answers and she wanted them yesterday. 'Who had taken Gill? Why? Where were they headed? What was the end game?' At the last round of internal questions she stopped. She couldn't think of that right now; she needed to focus.
After a quick introduction to the SOCO Technical Advisor she asked him what was being done. ANPR had located Gill's car on the M62 headed east towards Leeds. When the advisor informed her that the civilian caller had said that it looked like a belt or similar had been around Gill's neck, Julie swallowed quickly. There was no time to be scared, she needed to get Gill back safe and sound, and to do that she started firing off orders. She needed to see who it was that had Gill captive in a moving vehicle. And shit. The Assistant Chief Constable needed to be notified. Half the time she felt like she was on the back foot whenever Karen Zalinsky was around and she wasn't looking forward to that call. Time to call in Gill's Syndicate team, namely DC's Janet Scott and Rachel Bailey. Gill spoke highly of both of them. They might have some insight into who might be behind the abduction.
After viewing the CCTV and video surveillance, Janet confirmed to Julie her suspicions that it was in fact Helen Bartlett in the rear seat behind Gill. This did not do anything to relieve Julie's own growing anxiety. She knew the woman in question was certainly unhinged. A horrible past in an abusive home, cover up of murders, burial - unwitting or not - of at least one body, and Helen's current situation wasn't particularly looking rosy either. Julie would have time to have a personal freakout later if it came to that, and she hoped to God it wouldn't. She was at least grateful when Janet said Gill's ex-husband, DCS Dave Murray, was home with their son. Julie had known the tosser almost as long as she'd known Gill and was relieved it would keep both him and Sammy out of their way. She kept talking because she felt if she stopped long enough, her thoughts would veer off in a decidedly more negative direction. She only hoped that Gill would do the same and keep Helen talking until they could get a call in to Helen's mobile without spooking her. Find out what the hell was going on. And God, she needed coffee.
Once Helen's partner, Louise, arrived, they tried to get an idea of where she thought Helen might be going. When DC Bailey informed Julie of the location and a possible motive of suicide at that particular location, the DSI felt her heart leap up in her throat. If Helen was contemplating suicide, she was more than likely planning to take someone with her - and that meant Gill. The headache that had been building since the ordeal began was progressively getting worse. Damn you, Helen.
Nixing the SOCO Advisor's idea of a roadblock, Julie voiced a hope that they'd run out of petrol before things escalated. It would be nice; however, she suspected that nice was nowhere near an endgame decision for Helen Bartlett.
Time felt like it was both passing too quickly and not quickly enough as DC Janet Scott attempted several calls to Helen's mobile, seeming to agitate the strung out woman even further - disengaging as DC Bailey put it. Julie looked up as the aerial surveillance camera links showed Gill's car headed ever closer on the A614 towards the Flamborough coast line. She took a deep breath. Damn it! She was going to have to hand over tactical control to the firearms squad. A brief look at the camera link showed her the vehicle had stopped in a gravel car park and she made the decision to have Janet reattempt to contact Helen and inform her the car was being surrounded. Please be okay was the primary thought going through Julie's mind as she waited for more information.
That information was fairly quickly relayed by DC Bailey and Julie ordered the team to go in and get the officer from the car. Heart up in her throat, Julie was at once relieved that Gill was not further harmed but determined to get them both out of that vehicle. She crossed her arms as she witnessed the actions playing out on the screens. She felt the tears welling up along her lids at seeing Gill out of the car and standing on the ground, and grateful when Bailey left to inform her partner of the outcome. She ran a hand across her face, quickly swiping at a few errant tears that left their well. Now was not the time to fall apart. There was enough time on the nearly three hour drive back. Although, they could do it quicker if they put full sirens on. Given the seriousness of Helen's condition, they'd probably take her to Bridlington to an A&E department as it was one of the closest major hospitals, and get Gill checked out at the same time. As Gill's car would be taken in for evidence, she'd be returning in one of the police tactical firearms squad cars.
Now that things were quieting down, with officers working on post-incident reports, Julie excused herself and headed in the direction of the loo, where she quickly emptied the meagre contents of her stomach into the bowl. She braced a hand against the wall as another retch threatened, but was grateful when nothing happened. She grabbed a sheet of paper and wiped her mouth then tossed it into the toilet and flushed. When she was sure she wasn't about to start throwing up again, she turned and sat down, taking a deep breath, then wincing at the acrid smell of vomit that lingered. Julie put her head in her hands, her arms braced on her knees as the immediate shock was began to wane. After a few moments she headed back up to the Command room and spoke with one of the sergeants, asking him to relay a message to DCI Gill Murray to call her the moment she returned to Manchester. Then, remembering that Gill no longer had her mobile, she gave the sergeant a new message: for Gill to call her when she got home. That would have to do. Looking down at her watch, she noted that she'd have enough time to swing by the off-license and pick up a few bottles of red, and some beer, remembering that Gill had bought a bevy load of alcohol before everything went tits up, that was still in the boot of her now-impounded car.
Gill's house was hopping with loud music as Julie approached the door, hands full. Putting down one of the loads, she rang the bell, delighted when Sammy opened the door. They shared a brief hug of congratulations before she picked up the other bag and headed in the direction of the kitchen.
"These are for you," she indicated towards the case of beer. "There's more in the car, I just didn't have enough arms." Looking around, she hadn't noticed Gill as she'd passed through the entrance way, glancing in the living room. "Where's your mum?"
"Upstairs, lying down." He was quiet all of a sudden. "What really happened, Aunt Julie?"
"What's your Mum said?" Julie hesitated.
"Nothing much. She won't really talk about it. It's bad, right? Janet said Mum had been abducted, but not much more than that."
"Okay. Well, it is something I think your Mum does need to tell you, but not tonight. This is your engagement party. Be happy." Turning towards the cupboard she grabbed two wine glasses, and from the counter she picked up a bottle of red and headed up the stairs to Gill's room. Lightly knocking on the door, she poked her head in when Gill said to 'come in'. "Thought you could use something to take the edge off." Julie grinned, though as she saw the open vodka bottle and a nearby partially empty glass, she added, "Though I think you've gotten a head start on that." Looking at Gill's tired and saddened face, she gathered the other woman up in her arms. "Shhhh, love. You're home. You're safe. Sammy's here. I'm here." She pulled back slightly to press a kiss to Gill's forehead, down to her nose, and a brief yet comforting kiss to her lips. Nothing to escalate it further but something they both needed to reassure each other that they were both in one piece. Remembering Gill's injuries, she ran her fingers lightly over the reddened abrasions around her partner's neck, before reaching up and brushing away the tears that had started to fall, along with the tear tracks that had dried on Gill's face.
Gill reached over and pulled Julie back into a kiss, this one more bruising than the last, before she stopped. "I'll tell you one thing, I'll never think of bondage in quite the same way again." A beat later and both women cracked up laughing.
Morbid humour was oft times the way they got through stressful situations, why would this be any different? Julie pulled Gill back into a tight hug where they stayed for a while before Julie pulled back. "Look, I'm going to go downstairs for a bit, make sure things don't get too rowdy. I'll see you in a bit?" At her partner's affirmative nod, she placed a quick kiss to Gill's lips and headed out of the bedroom door. Coming up the staircase were Gill's favoured duo: Janet and Rachel. She nodded towards the door. "Go on. I think she could use the company."
Julie headed down the stairs and towards the back of the house where there was a small terraced garden and sat on the stone steps. She didn't smoke but she could have used a cigarette or something to break her train of thought. The mere thought of losing Gill so soon after starting to explore a more loving relationship with her scared the daylights out of Julie. She was startled when someone brushed by her, handing her a tumbler of clear liquid. Looking up in to the young face of Sammy Murray, soon to be police cadet Murray, she nodded her thanks.
"Thought you could use it. You looked shaken when you arrived," Sammy said gently.
"Intuitive and perceptive. Good qualities in a police officer."
Sam looked down into his own tumbler then over at Julie. "Thanks. Look, I know. You and mum." At the older woman's questioning glance, he smiled. "It's fine. I've known you a long time. If you make each other happy, that's fine by me. She needs that."
Julie smiled. "So do I. Thank you."
Looking even more pensive, and perhaps more than a bit nervous. "Don't ask where it came from, I won't say. But after today, I can understand a one time use." He handed her a couple of rolled up joints of marijuana and a lighter. "And don't tell Mum."
Julie laughed as she saw Sammy...no, Sam...as he headed back into the house. She pocketed the joints for later. Much later when no one else was around except for her and Gill.