I looked down at my skirt, blood streaked down the front, and sighed, feeling like I was on the verge of tears. You would have thought I would have learnt by now to wear sensible trousers to work, but it seems this was a lesson I couldn't process.
'I'm sure it'll wash off,' Randall said, not quite sure if he was right but thinking he should make the effort anyway. Randall's attempts to be considerate were sweet, but after the morning I'd had, this comment made me snap.
'Wash off?! It's blood Randall. Blood doesn't wash off, you work with dead bodies, you should know this!' I could hear the strain in my voice as I stressed every word, making Randall step back in surprise at my uncharacteristic outburst.
'I was trying to be nice,' he said defensively. 'Was that not nice?' My heart would have melted at the look on his face, but Randall wasn't really the type of guy your heart melted for, possibly due to the difficulty many people had in finding his heart. None-the-less, my anger ebbed and I relaxed a little.
'I'm sorry Randall, I didn't mean to get at you. It's been a tough morning.'
'How's that?' He glanced at his watch. 'It's only ten o'clock.'
'A lot can happen before ten,' I said, shuddering at the thought of the morning I'd had. Alfie and I had had another bust up. They were getting increasingly frequent as my workload with the CBI unit increased and I was spending more hours either in the office or in the field. Of course Alfie wasn't happy about this and was no longer scared about voicing his opinions, but today had been the worst.
I'd got the call from Mendrick about the new case and I had immediately begun to get ready, not wanting to be late yet again. I had been ready to leave early for once when Alfie had asked what time I would be getting home.
'I couldn't say,' I said, picking up my keys from the coffee table by the sofa. 'It's a new case to Mendrick will probably want me to stay late to do background work.' Alfie snorted. 'What?'
'Nothing. So when's the wedding?'
'Pardon?' I paused looking at him like he was an idiot.
'Your wedding to your job. Or to Mendrick, it doesn't really matter, because it seems that they both see more of you than I do.'
'Alfie I thought we had agreed on-'
'No, you decided that we weren't going to talk about it any more, that is not making a decision, that is avoiding the point.'
'Look I don't have time for this Alfie, I need to get to work.' I walked to towards the door to leave but Alfie grabbed my arm. 'Let go.'
'No, I'm not going to let you escape this conversation any more. You need to make a decision, and you need to make it soon or-'
'Or what? You'll leave me?'
'Maybe I will.' Alfie's voice was perfectly calm and flat at this point, his face looking earnestly at me.
'You don't mean that.'
'If we don't want the same things then maybe it's time I started looking for someone who does want the same things as me. Then I can leave you to your happy marriage to your job and we won't have to have this conversation ever again.' I took a deep breath, trying to stop myself from shouting.
'I'm going to call you later when you are feeling more reasonable. Then we can talk.' I pulled my arm out of his grip, opening the flat door and walking out.
'You can't keep running Alannah,' Alfie called after me. 'It's going to catch up with you at some point.'
Those words still rung in my ears as I looked down at the body of Jennifer Waters. I cringed, forcing myself to look away. Human's morbid fascination with death disturbed me slightly. Knowing that what I was seeing before me was horrific, but still unable to look away.
'Do you want to talk about it?' Randall asked. 'That's the sort of thing people do in these situations.'
'It's fine,' I said, trying to brush Alfie out of my mind for the time being. 'It's probably me blowing things out of all proportion. I'm sure it's nothing.'
'Alright then,' Randall said shrugging. I was glad he was convinced by my excuse because I certainly wasn't.
'Stop hanging around you two,' David shouted at us as he and Charlie walked away. 'We've got work to do!'