I dropped in on Jack at lunchtime.
He may be the best pathologist in the business, but to see him eating his sandwiches off a steel gurney right in front of a recently deceased and already decomposing human body, turned my stomach. He offered me a slightly squashed tomato. I shuddered.
He said, “Surprise tonight, Detective Chief Inspector?” with that quirky lift of the eyebrows which always turns me on.
I couldn't help grinning. I knew the code. It meant bed, but I'm not averse to the odd moment of rumpy-pumpy with my husband. “I'll make sure I'm home!”
I skipped off work half an hour early and raced home. I enjoyed a leisurely soak in scented bath water before dressing in that frothy, black lace negligee affair he bought me for Christmas but which I've never worn. Might as well make it an evening to remember.
Then I draped myself casually on the sofa. I'd give him surprise!
I didn't have long to wait. Within fifteen minutes I heard his key in the door, and plastered on my most alluring smile.
For once I really had surprised him. He stood in the doorway gazing at me with a goofy grin on his face. Then he said, “Surprise!” and flung the door wide.
Suddenly the room was awash with a sea of faces. They all crowded in from the department; my constables, sergeants, and even my two detective inspectors. I gasped in horror and snatched up the throw from the sofa, hurriedly wrapping myself in it, but not before a dozen camera phones had flashed at me.
Averting my crimson face, I put on my iciest detective chief inspector voice. It wasn't difficult. “If I see a single picture on Facebook, You Tube, or any other internet site, on any computer, in print, or anywhere else, I will personally break both your legs and stamp on your battered and bruised torso. Do I make myself clear?”
There were nods and mutters of, “Yes, Ma'am,” but I spotted the grins and the glances they exchanged as I did my best to sweep out in a dignified manner—which wasn't easy in a black lace negligee with half a mile of sofa throw attached. As I went, I subjected that renegade Jack to my most ferocious glare.
I threw on a pair of jeans and a T-shirt and braved the lounge again. Someone thrust a glass into my hand and they all launched into a tuneless rendition of Happy Birthday.
They'd all brought presents and cards, so I could do no other than accept graciously. They said how marvellous it was of Jack to arrange a surprise party for my birthday. I smiled and nodded and fumed.
Just wait until I get him alone.
My birthday is not until next month.