Guardian Angel - revisited
The mausoleum was cold, dank and dangerous. Lurking inside was their quarry, Crazy Joe Carter, hiding in the darkness, pistol ready, his trigger finger itching for action.
Detective Sergeant Harriet Makepeace and Lieutenant James Dempsey had split up and each were scanning the blackness for a sign of movement, nerves stretched to breaking point, adrenalin on overload.
To Makepeace it all seemed to happen at once, for suddenly she spotted Carter whose gun was raised and pointing directly at Dempsey. In the same split second, Crazy Joe fired as she fired and she swore she saw Dempsey go down, blood gushing from a fatal stomach wound. She watched as her partner of three years slowly died before her eyes. The image was vivid and she was close to losing all composure.
And then he was beside her and Carter lay dead from her bullet. Dempsey's death was merely in her imagination - but it had shaken her to the core.
Whilst being debriefed by her boss CSI Spikings, she had stopped in mid sentence as a stretcher was carried to an ambulance and visions of Dempsey lying under the blanket flooded her mind. Once Spikings had finished with her she had walked away and stood motionless, alone, her face drawn and pale.
"What's the matter with Makepeace?" asked Spikings. "No idea, Guv." replied Sergeant 'Chas' Jarvis, standing next to him.
After Spikings had carried out a further debrief with Dempsey, he asked, "Anything else I should know?" "Like what?" asked Dempsey. "Makepeace seems upset." "Well it was pretty tense in there, boss. She'll be ok," replied Dempsey, "I'll talk to her."
He walked up to join Harry who was still staring straight ahead, deep in thought. "What's eatin' you?" he asked in his usual brash manner. "I saw Crazy Joe shoot you." "You what?" asked Dempsey, a slightly puzzled look on his face. "I saw him shoot you," she replied, "dead! He aimed at your head and pulled the trigger. The cartridge must have been damp or something because it didn't fire. That's the only reason you're still here." "Hey, alive and kickin' honey," smiled Dempsey."Look, we're in the front line, you know? We play the percentages. This time we were lucky, mebbee next time..." She cut him short and looked directly into his eyes. "I don't want to be around next time. I don't particularly want to see you die" "I don't want to see you die either, princess!" exclaimed Dempsey. "You don't?" she asked, heart thumping. "Hell no! Who wants to see anyone die!" replied Dempsey.
Her heart sank, iciness flooding in. She turned on her heel and marched off to her car, Dempsey, looking after her, wondering what on earth he'd said.
Harry drove home, poured herself a glass of chilled white wine and sat at her window, deep in thought, gazing out, feeling utterly miserable, confused, close to tears and seeing nothing but Dempsey lying dead.
When, some three years earlier, they had been paired up, she had loathed Dempsey. His brash manner and utter contempt for authority, coupled with a maverick attitude grated against her upper class upbringing and respect for the job. He was a rough cut diamond, she a highly polished one. But as the months passed, each case they solved, they solved together, via a connection that was telepathic - a wave length tuned into them and them alone.
And then, after around eighteen months, they had got involved with a London gangster called Lowe, who had seriously injured one of Makepeace's informers, a little Scot named Jock.
Harry visited him in hospital, arranging for his private room and medication to be billed to her directly, only to have Jock throw a glass of water at her for not telling him that it was Lowe who they had asked him for information about. Lowe had found out and Jock had been badly beaten up by his henchmen. Dempsey had driven her home suggesting she get some rest. She'd agreed and watched him drive away.
Then she'd jumped in her car, intending to seek Lowe out and confront him. As per usual, Dempsey had read her mind and blocked the driveway with his car. "Where you goin'?" he demanded. "I need some milk" she lied. "Ok, let's go get some milk. he replied. "Look I just want some time alone." "I ain't leavin' you alone, angel. Why don't we take my car, its more comfortable." "I like driving," replied Harry. Dempsey dangled his car keys in front of her face. "So, you drive".
As he had suspected all along, she wanted to seek out Lowe. She followed him to a local Italian restaurant, threw spaghetti bolognaise in his face before being hustled out of there by an irate Dempsey. They had argued and eventually she'd calmed down. He'd dropped her off at Stringfellows nightclub stating she wanted time out and to relax with some friends.
Dempsey had let her go.
And this was when all things to do with their personal relationship took a dramatic turn. For both of them.
Dempsey had driven off to a bar, bought a beer with a whisky chaser and sat deep in thought. He'd then decided to go back to the nightclub. He had no idea what reception Harry would give him for showing up and invading her personal space again. He'd deliberated and deliberated. But in the end he knew he had to see her. It wasn't because she was in any danger. He just had to see her and for his part it frightened him. He'd berated Harry over her attitude toward Lowe and her affection for Jock, warning her that in this job, work and emotions just don't go together.
Yet here he was, desperate to see her. And he couldn't stop himself.
Stringfellows was buzzing, music pumping out an infectious beat, the beautiful people in all their finery spilling about, laughing, dancing and drinking. He scanned around looking for Harry, eventually spotting her at the bar, her left arm draped over a tall good looking guy in a smart dinner suit and surrounded by a half dozen people, all giggling and talking. His heart skipped a beat - hell was that a pang of jealousy that had hit him?
He'd sidled up to the bar and stood motionless, watching Harry, his heart bouncing - wondering what the next few seconds would bring. It was either going to go terribly wrong or - well - or what? he wondered.
At that moment Harry had broken away to refill her champagne flute and, whilst placing the bottle back on the bar, glanced up and looked straight at Dempsey. "Hi Harry." he'd said. This was it, he thought - no going back now! "James!" she'd exclaimed, her eyes struggling a little to focus on him, "James hi - how are you?" "Oh boy." he muttered, realising she'd had several too many glasses of champagne!
She grabbed his tie. "Come and meet everybody!" she said. And whilst he'd tried hard to resist she'd dragged him over to her friends and introduced him to them. Then she'd pulled Angela, another friend, away from a conversation and said, "This is James. Lootenant Dempsey. He's my guardian angel." "Hi." she said, eyeing him up and down and clearly liking what she saw. That wasn't lost on Harry. "Oh no! no!" she exclaimed, throwing a protective arm around Dempsey's neck, "he's mine - my private dick." "Well get him a drink." said Angela, her eyes cool and flirting. But she studied the look on his face as he watched Harry and turned back to the bar. It was blatantly obvious who he had eyes for that night. But Dempsey couldn't help noticing she was wearing a startling red dress, exposing all of her back and most of her arms.
"I like that dress!" he said. "Oh you do, do you!" said Harry, who'd overheard him and promptly guided Angela away and disappeared. Dempsey was taken aback. Where the hell are they goin? he thought, but shrugged it off and glanced around the nightclub drinking in the atmosphere, memories of wild nights back in New York flooding his mind.
Ten minutes later the two girls reappeared, but this time Angela was in Harry's work clothes and Harry was wearing the dress, as well as new make up, red lipstick and freshly brushed hair. Dempsey's heart skipped two beats this time. He'd often dated stunning looking women but never had he seen anyone quite so beautiful. It was then he knew he'd fallen in love with her.
But he never said so.
"You still like the dress?" asked Harry, looking straight into his eyes and knowing the answer.
Now, as Harry sat her window she recalled that night and especially the next day, when she'd turned up at the office and been confronted by an ebullient Dempsey, convinced he was talking about her to their colleagues and especially fearful that Dempsey had taken advantage of her. After all, she had thrown herself at him the night before, inviting him in and leaving him in little doubt that she'd be quite happy for him to take her to bed.
But now she smiled as the memory filtered in - her bouncing him into the ladies locker room and demanding to know if they had in fact slept together the previous night.
Dempsey had been the perfect gentleman and when that had finally dawned on her after the fog of her hangover had receded, she knew she was falling headlong in love with him.
But she'd never told him.
She'd kept it tightly buttoned up, fearful as to what would happen to their working relationship if she'd allowed her love out into the open. When, only a few months ago, he'd had to go into deep cover and disappeared for weeks on end she had been frantic, unable to sleep, worried sick that he'd been killed. After all, he was playing a dangerous game, hiding from the Mafia, yet working for them. And when it had all come to a successful end, she'd been secretly worried that he would return to New York. Her heart was bursting with elation when he said he was going nowhere. London was now his home.
What made things worse was she had no idea if Dempsey harboured any similar feelings about her. Maybe he did. After all it wasn't all that long ago that she'd been in the hands of Richard Staples, the Thriller Killer, and had come very close to being murdered. Dempsey had been adamant that she was not going to go and meet this psychopath, as had been demanded. She wondered if he'd really seen the look of total love she gave him when he'd been so blatantly protective of her.
But she had gone - duty had called - and she'd been captured. Dempsey had finally tracked her down and had heard a gunshot as he neared her whereabouts. She was sure she'd heard him scream NO!
But was that love for her, pure and simple, or just a work colleague desperate that his partner hadn't met with death? She just didn't know.
Harry got up and freshened her glass of wine.
There was only one thing for it. She couldn't go on - she would have to resign.
Dempsey was a little drunk. He'd been swigging whisky with his informant, Dan, earlier but had now wandered into SI-10 to do, he knew not what. It was late into the night, but it so happened Spikings was still there.
"Hey boss," slurred Dempsey, "I've solved the case." "You have, have you." said Spikings, sniffing the air and smelling alcohol on Dempsey's breath. "Yeah, you see, Makepeace and I only have to set up a full surveillance and we've nabbed the guys supplying the cars for the heist."
Spikings looked at him.
"That'll prove difficult." he said, reaching for a slip of paper and handing it to Dempsey. "Why is that?" he asked, grabbing the paper and starting to read. "Because Harry's just resigned from the Force."
Dempsey legs went weak.
"And don't go charging round there tonight Dempsey," demanded Spikings, "leave it 'til the morning. You need to sober up."
Dempsey took his advice - for once. But he didn't sleep.
Harry was at her desk in her living room when the doorbell rang. Dempsey invited himself in, despite Harry's protestations that she was too busy to see him, and wanted to know what the hell was going on. "I've got a new job helping my old professor set up an exhibition at the Natural History Museum." she announced, haughtily. "Boy, you don't waste any time do you Harry. I hope ya know what you're doing 'cos you're playing a dangerous game an' I don't think ya know the rules." "What rules might they be, James?" He looked deep into her eyes. "Ya ain't irreplaceable, honey." She kept herself in check, replying, "neither are you." Dempsey hid the hurt and walked out of the door. Harry sobbed her heart out after the front door had been slammed shut.
Joyce Hargreaves, seconded from C6, was parachuted in as Harry's replacement and Dempsey made her life hell. His interest in the job in hand waned until he discovered that a villain called Deish was involved in the case - a villain Harry had been after for eighteen months. He saw this as an opportunity to get Harry back into the game and his life. He immediately headed for the Natural History Museum. Seeing him walking towards her, Harry's hopes lifted. 'Have things dawned on him, at last', she wondered. When he started to tell her about Deish her spirits sank and she turned ice cold towards him. She ended up telling him she was bored with him and the bloody job! It wasn't true but she was so upset inside, it just spilled out. Watching his back as he walked away, her tears welled up yet again. Dempsey was close to tears himself, but, never one to give in to his emotions. He was one of the old school - men don't cry!
His mood was black, especially towards Joyce and witnessed by Spikings. For all his bluster and cynicism, Spikings hadn't risen high in the police ranks without a shrewd eye for people, their emotions and what made them tick. He wasn't without compassion either and, having known Harry for longer than Dempsey, understood her better. Equally, it hadn't been lost on him that Harry's feelings towards Dempsey had altered over the time they had been partnered. He'd witnessed Harry's subtle change from hostility to Dempsey to affection for him and it hadn't taken him long to suspect the real reason for her resignation.
Now seeing Dempsey's reaction to this and his treatment of Joyce, he felt he had to, at least, throw a few thoughts Dempseys way. Winding up a debrief between the three of them, Spikings waved Joyce away then suggested he and Dempsey had "a little chat" so took him off to a nearby pub.
Over their drinks, Spikings steered the conversation to Harry, "Has it ever occurred to you Lieutenant that she might," he paused, "care for you?" Dempsey was slow on the uptake. "Well sure Chief, I care for her, she's my partner" "Yes," said Spikings, "but I mean, you know, really care for you." "I really care for her, sir,"
Spikings sighed then had another go. "No, you not getting my drift. I mean care CARE for her. Dempsey stared at him. The penny dropped. "Oh, you mean care CARE! "Now you're getting it." sighed Spikings.
Dempsey needed to be sure, so threw in a curved ball. "But if she feels like that, why'd she resign?" "Maybe she doesn't think you feel the same way about her?" replied Spikings, eyebrows raised as he stood up and left.
Dempsey sat there for a while longer. Suddenly clarity hit him. Jeez! he thought. What a mug not to have seen it before now. He remembered some of the looks she had been giving him when he'd been especially protective towards her. He slapped his forehead hard. Jerk! You stupid, stupid jerk!
Then he knew exactly what to do next. He glanced at his watch. It read 11.30. Ok so she'll probably be asleep. Who cares - this is long overdue Dempsey!
If the squealing of his tyres as he slid to a halt outside her house didn't wake her up, his hammering on her door whilst simultaneously ringing the bell, certainly did. "Dempsey, shut the hell up!" she yelled through the door, "and GO AWAY!" "Harry!" he yelled back, "please open the door. I gotta talk to you - NOW!" "What about!?" she shouted, "do you know what time it is!?" "Yeah I know what the hell time it is! Open the goddam door!" "No Dempsey! We've nothing to say to each other!" "Yes we DO!" "What?!" "For gods sake open the friggin' door! Don't make me say it out here!" "Say what?!"
He took a deep breath. and in much quieter tones said. "Jus' open the door, princess? Please?" Something in the way he said it made her heart pound and skip several beats. That unique connection they had, kicked in. With a shaking hand she unlocked the door and slowly opened it.
Dempsey stood there unable to speak. She took his breath away. She wore no make up, yet she glowed. His emotions were getting the better of him as tears welled up in his eyes.
She was totally taken aback. She'd never seen him look like this. His soft brown eyes glistened and suddenly she knew why he was there and her eyes too began to fill. They looked at each other, drinking in the moment, both trembling at what they knew was coming next.
"I love you Harry." said Dempsey, quietly, "I've loved you for a long time." She flung her arms round his neck, burying her face into him, "I love you too James - oh how I love you so."
She looked up at him, her stunning blue eyes searching his face. He gently lowered his head and kissed her soft, full lips for the first time. She responded by pulling him into the house, their lips passionately exploring each others, while her hands slipped off his jacket and slid inside his shirt, the electricity sparking between them. They made love to each other until dawn when finally they fell into an exhausted sleep, entwined in each others arms.
When he awoke, Dempsey was momentarily disorientated as to where he was. Then the memories came flooding back and he turned to look at Harry. Her place in the bed was empty but her perfume pervaded the space where she'd lain. He heard the clinking of cutlery and cups floating up from below, the soft volume of mellow music and the aroma of fresh coffee in the air. Locating a towel, he wrapped it around him and went downstairs, finding her in the kitchen busying herself with making breakfast.
She hadn't seen or heard him so he stopped and drank her in. She was wearing just his shirt, her tanned thighs reawakening his desire for her. He quietly slipped his arms around her waist from behind. She grabbed them and bent her head back and sideways, searching for his lips. "Morning tiger," he said, finally finding the strength to come up for air. "Hmmm, I can remember when those two words got me rather annoyed." she said, giggling. "Yeah, ya got things kinda mixed up, didn't ya angel," replied Dempsey, then continuing, mischievously, "an' I can recall telling ya at one point, ya might not be so lucky next time. So when you've had another skinful, watch out!" "Oh James! You wouldn't! Would you?" she asked, alarmingly. "Ha! No of course not! But next time I'll be able to put ya to bed and climb in beside ya!"
They carried on trading affectionate insults whilst they ate their simple breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon, toast and marmalade and swilled down with cups of delicious fresh coffee.
Once finished, Harry began clearing away their dishes, joined by Dempsey. He put his arm around her waist and pulled her towards him, kissing her the second she looked up at him. The electricity crackled between them, fervent passion coursing through their bodies until Harry, with determined willpower, broke away. "James, James darling," she panted, " you need to see Spikings. What are you going to say to him?" "Well that depends on whether you wanna come back to work." he replied, "do ya?" "All I know right now is I never want to let you go," she sighed, "and even more so now, I don't want to see you die. In some ways the reason for me leaving is stronger than ever!" "Yeah well I can understand that honey," he replied, "but ya know I ain't gonna give up my work. It's the only thing I can do an', well, I'm good at it. So are ya gonna be happy working in a museum or wherever an' wondering day in day out whether I'm gonna be alive an' home that night?" "Oh God James." she said, emotions building up in her voice. She took a deep swallow to let the contractions in her throat quieten down and said, " you know, Joyce paid me a visit a few days ago." "Oh yeah?" asked Dempsey, a quizzical look on his face."Why?" "She wanted to see how I was because you had told her I wasn't in work through illness." explained Harry, " but I did tell her I'd actually resigned. She said she wasn't surprised seeing as you were being such a pain in the neck to work with. And I then defended you! And I told her I didn't want to see you die in front of me." "Yeah? And?" asked Dempsey, knowing there was more to this. "Well, she said something then that really strikes home now." "What?" "She said with me beside you, you stood a better chance of staying alive!" "She's goddamn right princess!" exclaimed Dempsey. "You've saved my life many times." "And you mine," she said, wistfully. "Yeah, so don't ya see?" countered Dempsey, " ya gotta come back an' be by my side Harry. Ok I'll deal with Spikings. An' the rest of the guys don't need to know there's anythin' goin' on between us, we can keep things in check when we're in the office." "But what happens if someone, somehow finds out?" "Well if that happens..." he started to say, "er..." "Yes?" asked Harry, intrigued to hear what brilliance he may come up with now. "Hell" I don't know, Harry. Maybe we'll think 'bout startin' our own agency! You know, go private!" Her immediate reaction was to laugh out loud but she suddenly saw it could actually work. Dempsey hurried on. "Look angel, we enjoy our work even though its dangerous. But that's what gives us both a buzz and, let's face it, we do seem to have this sixth sense 'bout each other." "Well, that's true I suppose. It's uncanny." she said, nodding. "Harry, look," said Dempsey, "we can get that scumbag Deish an' wrap that up, then sit down an' have a proper discussion 'bout what the future should hold. But, come back to work now, stick by my side an' let's finish the job. Waddya say, partner." "Ok ok James, I'll come back. You get over to sort out Spikings, I'll get myself together and meet you later." "Right, you got it, honey!"
Dempsey cupped her beautiful face in his hands, his heart leaping as he gazed into those stunning blue eyes and kissed her lips. He slipped upstairs and into the shower, then dressed, deliberately avoiding seeing her removing his shirt.
That would have delayed them for the rest of the day!
Later, he walked into SI-10 and immediately heard a gutteral roar from Spiking's office. "DEMPSEY!" yelled the Chief. "Yo boss," he replied, stealing himself for the inevitable onslaught. "I've been trying to reach you all morning!. Where have you been?!" "With Harry, boss." "Oh you have, eh!. I though as much. Well?" "She's gonna come back."
Spiking's eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Is she indeed. And what about your... your.. association?" "See, this is the thing boss. Harry's feelings for me are like a sister to her brudder, ya know? That's what got her all mixed up over the stuff that went down with Crazy Joe." "Is that right?" Spikings answered, "so there's no...romantic nonsense going on between you then, eh?" "Nooo, not at all chief," he lied, "I'm gonna hook up with her later an' we're gonna bring the Deish case to a head."
Spikings really wasn't altogether convinced by Dempseys explanation. He'd seen the way Harry had looked at him and he didn't really think it was a brother/sister sort of thing. But he was relieved and happy to have them back as a team, his most successful team for that matter, so gave Dempsey the benefit of his doubt. For now.
James Dempsey and Lady Harriet Makepeace did indeed bring the Deish case to a close and continued on as working partners and lovers, never once giving Spikings or the rest of SI-10 any hint of their personal romance.
It did eventually come out since they eventually married and although the dynamics of their personal and working relationship changed, they adjusted and became the departments most successful operatives.
A true match in every sense.