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Dear Beckett,

I’ve been sitting here at my computer for over an hour, and I still don’t know how to start. Does that sound stupid? I'm not sure why I'm bothering to ask – after all, it’s not as if you’re reading this letter. Or you’re ever going to.

This is my homework – therapy – call it what you will. It's what Simon tactfully refers to as an exercise, designed to make me take a good long look at my feelings. Simon, I should add, is Jan’s counsellor. And since the size of their employees' smiles is suddenly of prime importance to the government – he's mine, too.

Now that does sound stupid. If you were reading this you'd be sitting there grinning, the corners of your eyes crinkling up in the way I used to love to watch – still do when you’re not looking, since I’m supposed to be being honest. I can see you from where I’m sitting, hunched over your desk. You raised your head a second ago, frowning over whatever you’re working on. I assume it's that Millennium Bug project the Hive is still trying to outsource; nothing makes steam shoot from your ears quite like Dent does.

You look like you’re taking it very seriously. Would you take it just as seriously if you knew about this – or think it was a joke? It is, I suppose. The infallible Ros Henderson, used to being shot at, hunted down, kidnapped by any lunatic who’d have her, seeking professional help because the one thing she can’t deal with is the one thing that’s just about brought her to her knees.

It’s you. It’s been you all along.

At first I tried to hide my feelings, bury myself in my work, but it just made it harder, and eventually people started to notice. You noticed, I’m sure you did – all those searching questions about you and me, you and Christa. Ed and Alex saw it too, although they were too polite, or maybe too embarrassed, to say anything.

Do you remember when you went to that Naval Ball? You came in looking – well, let's just say you scrub up spectacularly when you want to – and you knew it. I was checking the security monitors when you left, and I saw you – you and Christa, dressed up to the nines. So much for going to the ball on your own. You'd looked me right in the eye, and lied. I had no idea how to react. I suppose I was stunned – hurt, even. And then Jan came over, looked at the screen and sized it up straightaway: what was going on, and what I was feeling about it, without me having to say a word.

Jan, of all people. And do you know what she said to me? She told me that things aren’t always as they seem.

I clung on to that for a while, but it was obvious things weren’t going to change. I think I first realised it when Christa turned up at the Bureau looking for you, when those twins were holding you hostage. Until then I’d thought it was something casual, a stupid little fling, but I was only thinking about your side of things – I’d never accounted for how Christa might feel. I knew she was in love with you, and I think she guessed I felt the same.

I talked to Mum about it, afterwards. She was surprised I didn’t argue with Christa, half-expected me to pull her hair out and start a catfight, I think – a hangover from what everyone likes to call my ‘wild past’. So why didn’t I? I suppose because it wouldn’t have got me anywhere. It wasn’t a calculated decision, made because I’d lose favour with you if I did or said anything to Christa you wouldn’t approve of. We didn’t know whether you were dead or alive, and that was the first thing on both of our minds.

I don't start fights any more. What would be the point? And I decided I had to accept the situation as it stood, since there wasn’t a single thing I could do to change it.

If you really were reading this, I wouldn’t have to ask if you remember what happened next. Alex’s wedding – a day that none of us are ever likely to forget. Adam was murdered, and we were kidnapped at the reception. Together. Stroke of luck, hey? Only it wasn’t. I broke all the promises I’d made to myself the second it seemed we wouldn’t make it out alive.

I told you how I felt.

I don’t know what I expected to happen. Maybe in some crazy corner of my mind I was hoping you'd say Christa was a mistake and it was me you really loved, but you didn’t. You just looked at me and told me calmly that you wanted to make a go of things, because you liked her, and she liked you, and life was too short not to at least try.

And then you changed the subject. Soon after, Ed and Jan managed to rescue us. We haven’t spoken about that, or anything else for that matter, ever since.

Adam’s been dead for six months now and Alex is doing well, getting on with her life. She's moving on, as best she can. And then there's me: stuck. Selfishly mourning the loss of someone very much alive.

You'd never have Jan down as the touchy-feely type, would you? Much less an advocate for therapy. But before I knew it, she'd arranged an appointment with a counsellor, and set about talking me into keeping it. He was very good, she said; had helped her when she’d considered throwing in the towel at the Bureau. She persuaded me that it might help, that it would just be a one-off – muttered something deceptively silky about clauses in my contract – and so I finally caved in, and went.

We talked for a while. About me. About you. He told me I wasn’t being weak at all – I may have used the phrase 'emotionally incontinent' – that there was no shame in struggling to terms with things. Look at all that’s happened to you in the past few years, he said. Your ex-fiancé was killed, you went through the breakdown of two relationships – not to mention a friendship – your friend’s husband was gunned down at his own wedding. You lost every penny you had, every intellectual right now and forever. Oh, and on top of that you had brain surgery. What an eventful, highly stressful existence you lead, Miss Henderson: something had to give, sooner or later.

He knew I wasn’t comfortable talking to him, or Ed – and especially not to you – so instead he suggested I write a letter. It looks like this is it.

It just seems strange that this is your letter but you won’t ever see what’s in it.

Sincerely,

Ros

 

--

 

FROM: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: The Millennium Bug: Fact or Fiction?

 

?????????????????

 

Ed

 

--

 

Dear Ros,

Let’s get one thing straight – I hate writing letters. We work with computers, so I send emails. Short, concise, to the point. I don’t think I own a single piece of paper, apart from my birth certificate. You told me once we'd be downloading everything in a few years' time. Music, newspapers, books, the whole kit and kaboodle – well, it can't come soon enough for me.

Except for the music part, that is. Give up my vinyl for a few poxy computer files you can't touch, or hear the crackle when the needle hits? Can't see it catching on, myself.

I suppose the way I listen to music is kind of the way I think about letters. I know they don't actually have to be written on a piece of paper, but somewhere along the line I’ve got hold of the idea they should be. More traditional that way, isn’t it? More personal. I don’t think I’ve ever written a letter anyway. I never even had a pen pal as a kid. Defusing bombs, going undercover, risking my life morning, noon and night – that I can do. Paperwork? That’s Alex’s job.

Come to think of it, it’s not any more, is it? God knows who it is these days typing all those memos I keep adding my thumbprint to.

But back to the point. I know it looks like I’m rambling, but there's something stuck under the delete button – Ed must have been in here chewing gum again – so short of starting over, I'm stuck with what I've got, and really, I’m trying to avoid doing this, because it’s embarrassing. I’m sitting here, ham-fistedly typing a letter, when I could get up and walk over to your office, open my mouth, and say what I want to say. I can see you from here, and it looks like you’re working on your computer too, so I could just as easily send you an email or IM and you’d get it in seconds. Of course, then you’d ask why I was sending you an email when I could just as easily get up, walk over to your office and open my mouth, so, really, I’m in a no-win situation here.

The depths we’ve sunk to, eh Ros? It might be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

You remember Alex’s wedding. About six months ago now, when we were kidnapped. Really looked like our number was up, didn’t it? We just talked and talked about anything that came to mind, so we didn’t have to think about whether we’d so much as see in the next morning. Thanks for the crash course in cricket, by the way. I'm still not sure what a silly point is, but I'm sure it'll come in handy one day.

And then you brought up the subject I was dreading: our relationship. Big old elephant in the room. It was the one thing we hadn’t talked about. We’ve never talked about it, in fact. When we split up it was so sudden and so messy we seemed to cut off all contact that didn’t have to do with the Bureau. But there we were, staring death in the face, yet again, and all of a sudden you told me you wanted us to get back together. After the way things ended, it was the last thing I was expecting. Bit of a bolt from the blue, to say the least.

But I don’t need to rehash the whole conversation (and my hand is really starting to hurt from all this typing). We both remember how it went, and I suppose what I wanted to tell you is that I could have handled things a bit better. We’ve known each other for a long time, and the last thing I’d want to do is hurt you. It was a shock, that’s all.

I’ve been thinking of how I could tell you without us having to talk about it again. I mean, it’s not something either of us enjoys raking over, is it?

So I thought I’d write you a letter, if that makes any sense. I don't suppose it does...but it's done now.

Regards,

Beckett

 

--

 

FROM: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Re: The Millennium Bug: Fact or Fiction?

 

Ros says the bug part is fact, and the end of the world stuff is fiction.

 

Alex

 

--

 

Dear Nick,

I’ve been thinking about it for a few days and I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a lot I missed out of my last letter. I came into the Bureau this morning to finish off some work, but I’ve ended up doing this instead. It was work of a kind trying to access the file – six twenty-character passwords, my personal encryption algorithm: you name it, it had it. Every single security feature I could think of, to make sure no one would even know it existed. That's an awful lot of security features, by the way.

Isn’t it ironic that you’re the person I’m writing to, yet I’m doing my best to make sure you never read it? And I know you’re not reading this: but I want to make some things clearer anyway. In the last letter it might have sounded like I feel sorry for myself – but that isn’t true.

I used to think a lot about the way our relationship ended. Sometimes I still can’t figure out why it did. If anyone asked, you’d probably tell them I finished it and threw you out because I blamed you for Terry’s death. Both of which would be true – but that's not the point I'm trying to make.

When we were together, I believed I loved Terry with the kind of passion that would last for the rest of my life. It didn’t, of course, but I still felt close to him. Don't most people feel that way about their first love? You never understood why I dropped everything the second he walked back into my life, would go so far as to pretend I was dead to help out a boyfriend I hadn’t seen in years, but that’s why. He’d meant a lot to me once, changed me in some ways for the better, and I wanted to do something for him in return.

When he died, I felt as if a part of me had died with him. I never wanted to do anything to hurt you, Nick. I honestly believed you'd understand my reasons for faking my death. I can see now why you were jealous of Terry, but my loyalty to him had nothing to do with how I felt about you.

Grief’s such an irrational feeling. When the shock and anger had subsided, all I wanted was you there to hold me and tell me things were going to be all right. But I couldn’t turn back the clock, and I was too proud to admit I'd made a mistake. So I kept quiet. I even watched you pack your bags and leave, although it was tearing me up inside. I convinced myself I’d got it right, and it was all your fault, and I was much better off without you.

It was only later that I realised just how wrong I was.

So this isn’t me feeling sorry for myself, Nick. This is me accepting I hurt you, and letting you know that I’ve regretted it every day since. The way our relationship ended had nothing to do with you – it was down to me, all of it. And I can’t help but wonder what might have happened, if things had been different; where we’d be right now if Terry hadn’t walked back into my life that night, and turned it on its head.

You’re not even going to read this, but I feel a little better for telling you that whatever went wrong in our relationship, went wrong because of me. After what I did to you, you deserve every chance of happiness you can get.

With best wishes,

Ros

 

--

 

FROM: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Re: Re: The Millennium Bug: Fact or Fiction?

 

But what if she's wrong?

 

Aeroplanes could fall out of the sky. My oven timer might stop working. This is serious business.

 

I'm stocking up on candles and canned goods, just in case.

 

Ed

 

--

 

Dear Ros,

I was sorting through some files this morning when I found a letter I'd written, and forgotten to give to you. I was going to send it over, but you looked busy, and then Alex and Ed came in and distracted me, and then I had a two-hour meeting with Jan and some idiot cabinet minister. Explaining matters of national security to someone who can barely tie his own shoelaces must have killed off more brain cells than I realised.

There doesn’t seem much point in giving it to you now. And I’m sure it was in a different folder to the one I saved it in. I hope Ed hasn’t been reading it.

I’m glad, now, that I didn’t give it to you, because I was just reading over it and it doesn’t express what I wanted to say. Doesn’t even mention it, in fact. So here it is: sorry. I know it’s just another word, but it really is the hardest one to say. It’s even harder to say it to someone’s face, which is probably why I’m hiding behind a monitor instead.

Maybe it would help if I listed what I wanted to say without getting distracted, or trying to skirt around it: that I don’t think I handled it the right way when you told me, you know, what you told me, and I think I might have hurt your feelings, which I really didn't mean to, and I really am truly sorry about it.

I’m rambling again. Bloody hell. Why is it so difficult to type a few lines on a blank bloody screen? And is anyone ever going to fix this stupid keyboard?

,,,...////////////////// Oh, I give up. Time to requisition a new one.

Things would be so much easier if only we could talk about things, but we can’t seem to, any more. And I really do miss being able to talk to you properly, Ros. We used to be able to talk about anything.

I know we’ll probably never get back to the way we were, back in the good old Gizmos days (or so Ed calls them when he’s had a few). But I’d like it if we could at least try.

So when you get this letter: can we?

Beckett

 

--

 

FROM: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: The Millennium: 1999 or 2000?

 

?????????????????

 

Alex

 

--

 

Nick,

My last letter’s been on my mind all day. I was supposed to be sending another set of designs to Tachibana, but I couldn't concentrate on them. I couldn't focus on anything. I left the Bureau early, in the end – I passed you and Ed on my way out. You were lecturing him about a keyboard, of all things, at the time. You didn’t say anything when I told you I was going home, just tried to give me something: more work, I suppose.

How about showing some sensitivity for my feelings for a change? Okay, so I ended our relationship. That was my fault. I hurt your feelings, that was my fault too. But it wasn’t my fault that you got over it so quickly you grabbed onto the first woman who so much as fluttered her eyelashes at you.

Why did you start anything with Christa, anyway? Was it to hurt me as much as I’d hurt you? I thought it was at first – I thought you were on the rebound and Christa would disappear as soon as the pain did. She didn’t though, did she? I blame you for that. In fact, I blame you for everything.

You should have known I still had feelings for you. Didn’t I make it obvious enough, time after time? Are you so clueless that you couldn’t recognise the signs? Are you so cold-hearted that you didn’t care?

I’ve had a lot of time to think about what I did when Terry died, and I regret it. Maybe there was a way we could have worked things out. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so quick to blame you. And yes, all right, maybe it was a bit drastic to fake my death. But it wasn’t as if that part was my idea – and it was for a good cause. You remember what they are, don’t you Nick? You should do – they’re the reason we do this job. We work towards doing the right thing every single day. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices – go that extra mile to get a result. After what your dad did, you should know that better than anyone.

But none of that matters to you, because you can’t see past how it hurt you, how it made you feel. And you’ve never forgiven me for it, have you Nick? You keep on punishing me for it, flaunting your relationship with Christa every chance you get. Sometimes I’m not sure which you love most: her, or sticking the knife in to me.

I really thought you felt the same about me as I felt about you. I can’t understand how you could have got over it so soon. I know I don’t have any right to feel like this, and I probably don’t have the right to say it: but you betrayed me, Nick. You betrayed everything I’d ever felt for you, and everything there had ever been between us.

Simon told me I wasn't being weak. Well, it’s not a weakness for me to love you, either. It took me long enough to realise it in the first place, and it makes me mad that you could devalue that in the way you’ve been doing. I think I’ve got every right to be as angry with you as you were with me. It makes us equal if I at least admit that sometimes I hate you for what you’re doing to me, when I’m sure you know exactly how it makes me feel.

I’m fed up with hanging around the Bureau, moping like a lovesick teenager, pining after someone who has absolutely no respect for me. I'm better than that. I will be better. I'll be who I used to be before I picked up that phone at Gizmos, told you I was the guy now, and made the biggest mistake of my life: letting you into it.

Go to hell, Nick – and do me a favour and take Christa with you.

Ros

P.S. She has terrible taste in hats.

 

--

 

FROM: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Re: The Millennium: 1999 or 2000?

 

Ros says 2000.

 

Ed

 

--

 

Dear Ros,

You’ll never believe it, but I actually borrowed a notebook from Alex for this. She said I could keep it, the cheeky thing, since she doesn't do shorthand any more. She doesn't do filing, either, but I'm still going to find her a nice big pile of it, next time we're at a loose end.

It's more personal this way, and I think maybe that’s what we’ve been lacking lately. I know sometimes it doesn’t seem like it: but I do still care.

I was worried about you yesterday – you left the Bureau early, face like thunder. It seemed like you were angry about something. I tried to give you a letter, and you swept right past me like I wasn't there. I hope everything’s okay – you would tell me if it wasn’t?

I know full well that if there ever was anything wrong I’d be the last person you’d tell. I’m the last person you’d turn to if you needed any help – but I’m still here for you, if you want me.

I didn’t get it quite right yesterday. In the letter, I mean, the one I wanted you to have. I said I missed being able to talk to you, but that’s not really true. It’s you I miss, and I’d do anything if we could just be friends again. We don’t even try to be polite to each other these days, Ros: you know that as well as I do.

What I said when you told me you wanted to try again: I feel bad about it. It wasn’t exactly sensitive to brush you off and abruptly change the subject, was it? I was being honest when I told you I wanted to make a go of things with Christa – but I shouldn’t have tried to pretend that was the end of it, act as if the whole conversation had never happened. We should at least have tried to talk it over.

The trouble is, I’ve never been comfortable talking about my feelings. You should know that better than anyone. The last thing I should have done when we broke up was not talk to you, and you’d probably say the same. I honestly had no idea that you could still feel that way. It never once occurred to me. I mean, you were the one who broke it off in the first place. And if it had been up to me...

Let’s just say things would have gone very differently.

But they didn’t. And it could have been okay – we could have got through it – if we could only have resolved things instead of resenting each other for weeks. Maybe if we had, we’d still be friends right now. We wouldn’t be tiptoeing around the office, around each other, walking on eggshells the entire time. Well, I’ve had enough of it. Everyone around us has had enough. And, deep down, I think you have too.

We need to talk, Ros. For the sake of the Bureau, if nothing else. We don’t even have to do it face to face. Call me. Okay?

You didn’t answer your phone so I’m going to drop this off at your mum’s place. This time, I want to make sure you get it.

Beckett

 

--

 

FROM: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Re: Re: The Millennium: 1999 or 2000?

 

Prince says 1999.

 

Alex

 

--

 

Dear Nick,

I said a lot of things in that last letter I regret. I was so angry. I just had to get it all out – I stayed in all night, ignored the phone and even unplugged the thing eventually so that nothing and no one could stop me. In that kind of mood, I didn’t trust myself to speak to anyone, even Mum. I don’t know what I would have said or done if it had been you on the other end, handing out another late-night assignment.

But as much as I regret it, a lot of the things I said were true. It’s not easy for me to see you with Christa and still love you, yet somehow I do. Human beings aren't as simple as computers. I can’t analyse things rationally, identify the code that's causing problems and then fix it. I can't just deconstruct my feelings, and, as if by magic, not feel the same way any more. It's not rational: and maybe that's the thing I needed to understand.

I realise you don’t really mean to flaunt your relationship with Christa, or to hurt me; that’s just the way it’s worked out. She’s a nice person, and she’s what you need. I know you loved me once, and I know how hard it was for you when I ended our relationship. So it’s true as well that I don’t blame you for trying to find happiness somewhere else – and I really do want you to be happy, Nick.

I don’t want my feelings to intrude upon our friendship or get in the way of our work. The Bureau comes first, and it’s been phenomenally selfish of me not to realise that.

Your friend,

Ros

 

--

 

FROM: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Re: Re: Re: The Millennium: 1999 or 2000?

 

>Prince says 1999.

 

He says party like it's 1999.

 

Jan says 1999. Beckett says he doesn't care.

 

Hey, Jan just forwarded me a nine-page document on 'appropriate addressing of departmental communications'. You reckon she's trying to tell me something??

 

Ed

 

--

 

Ros,

It looks like you didn’t get my letter after all. I waited in all evening to see if you’d call (Christa was furious, we were supposed to be going out), but you didn’t. When I got to the Bureau this morning, you were already in your office, working away at the computer. You didn’t acknowledge me. You didn't give me any sign at all that you’d read it.

Who are you trying to kid, Ros? Of course you got it. Of course you read it. You go to your mum's for tea every Thursday. Why do you think I posted it there in the first place? You're just choosing to ignore it: it, and me.

Maybe I am taking the coward’s way out by writing instead of having it out face to face, but that’s no reason to treat me like something you trod in. Why can’t we just get over it and get on with our lives? Does one failed excuse for a relationship have to figure in everything we say or do to each other?

Forget about me being a coward. I’ve held back from saying some things that you needed to hear, time and time again. If I can’t say them to your face, then I’ll put them down on paper and say them here. No wonder you got on so well with that Carly kid: maybe the truth will convince you to talk to me instead of behaving like a child.

Let me spell it out for you: it hurt like hell when you ended our relationship, totally out of the blue. You, Ros. Not me. So understand me if I can’t have much sympathy when you say you want us to get back together, like none of it ever happened.

Things were good. I really thought we had a future. Then you went missing, and my world fell apart. I didn’t know what I was going to do without you. I refused to believe you were dead, whatever the evidence said, because I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it. Do you have any idea what I went through back then? Even when I tracked you down and you explained your reasons, you didn’t seem to understand how I felt. You put Terry first, and you put me through hell, and the worst thing was – you knew it. All those plans we'd been making: they meant nothing to you. You forgot about them, and you forgot about me, the instant he came calling.

So maybe I was jealous of him. Well of course I was! What did you expect me to feel when you dropped everything for your ex-fiancé? You had good reasons for what you did, fine – but the wrong thing done for the right reason is still the wrong thing, Ros!

What’s hardest to accept is that when Terry died, you blamed me. It wasn’t as if I’d pulled the trigger personally, yet you just seemed to switch off any feelings you’d ever had for me. All your grief was for him. You didn’t spare a thought for how I felt at seeing an innocent man lying dead, no matter who he was, when I might – might – have been able to save him. I’d always had so much respect for you, Ros, I suppose looking back I put you on a pedestal in some ways, but everything changed that night. You changed.

We’d known each other for such a long time...but the whole thing with Terry made me think that maybe I didn’t know you at all.

And while we’re on the subject, did you ever really love me, or was it him all along? It took me so long to tell you how I felt, always playing second fiddle to Channing. Then to Terry. Then to a dead man – Terry again. We’re always coming back to Terry, aren’t we? Saint Bloody Terry. Maybe you should have married him when you had the chance.

I’ve got a chance for a future with Christa. It’s what I need – it’s easy, uncomplicated, unlike me and you. I’m not saying sorry any more because I have to put myself first for a change. I still want us to be friends, but you’ve hurt me too much in the past for there to be anything else between us, ever again. I can’t forget everything that’s happened, even if you can.

And another thing

 

--

 

FROM: DOIC <DOIC@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Nicholas Beckett <nick.beckett@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Reminder

 

Beckett,

 

If you consult your diary you'll discover we had a briefing scheduled for two o’clock. It’s now nine minutes past.

 

I do hope you haven’t forgotten.

 

DOIC

 

--

 

Dear Ros,

This is hopeless, isn’t it? First we can’t talk to each other, now I can’t even write you a letter without forgetting to send it or something interrupting me in the middle. It’s just as well, really. I'm no better with words than I am with feelings. I’ve been re-reading what I was writing yesterday, and it still doesn’t say what I want it to. And I was angry, too. Really angry. If you’d read it, things between us might have been worse than they are now, and that’s the last thing I want.

You didn’t need to read the letter to see what kind of mood I was in when I wrote it. You probably hate me already for how I treated you at the briefing. Once I started thinking about us, how it ended, how much I blamed you – I couldn't stop.

I can’t seem to stop hurting you, can I, Ros? You looked confused when I snapped at you – kind of sad, too. Like you couldn't believe that this is what it had come to. I thought you’d give as good as you got, but you just bit your lip and rose above it. I admire you for that, when it would have been easier to give me both barrels back. After everything that’s happened between us recently, you must really hate me.

I lied in the last letter. I said I didn’t know you could feel that way about me, but it’s not true. I suspected for a long time that you wanted us to try again: I just didn’t do anything about it. Even when Christa pointed it out to me, told me flat out how you felt, I denied it. I don't know who I was trying to protect – her, or me. I would have scaled Canary Wharf once upon a time for the slightest hint that you felt something more than friendship, and when it was there, being put in front of me, I ran a mile.

I suppose I was still angry. I knew you and Terry used to be close, but I never imagined you'd blame me for his death, or cut me out of your life as a result. Sometimes I used to think it would have been easier if I'd never found out what happened to you that night. If you'd never come back, if I'd had to make up an answer, at least I'd have stood a chance of making peace with it. I tried to hate you for what you’d done, and for a while I did. I was so bitter about it. I still loved you – you can’t just switch that off, no matter what happens – but it was easier to pretend I didn’t. The whole thing had tarnished what you and me had. All I could do was try to forget, and get on with my life.

And then I met Christa. And I liked her. I liked her being there, the interest she showed in me, even if I had to lie to her. I've lied a lot, lately. I'm good at it. And Christa is tougher than she seems. She made it clear what she wanted, and it was easy just to go along with it.

That’s come out wrong, hasn’t it? I’m not excusing myself by heaping the blame on Christa. She was there, you weren’t. I needed someone, and it just happened.

As time went on I didn’t resent what had happened so much. Could even understand it. Terry was your first love, you were going to marry him at one point. Maybe it’s like Mandy and me: I can’t imagine wanting to marry her now (she took me to the cleaners once already, can you imagine the damage she'd do in a divorce settlement?), but back then we were crazy about each other.

I don't want that to happen to us, Ros. I don't want to get to the point where we end up with everything that was real, and good, buried beneath the bitterness. I don't want to forget – and I haven't.

I don't care whose fault it was any more. I don't care what we've done and said to each other. I don't want an easy life.

I just want a chance to make things right.

Maybe the best solution all round is to start being honest: with everyone. I’m going to talk to Christa tonight. I’ve spelled it out for you right here – and this time I’m not relying on anyone else to give it to you. After I’ve finished this, after I’ve told Christa, I’m going straight to you, and I'm going to make sure you read it. I'll stand on your doorstep all night, if I have to. I'll even shin up the drainpipe – and you know how scared I am of heights.

Don’t think the worst of me for being a coward and not telling you face to face. Just don’t ignore this letter. Please?

Love,

Nick

 

--

 

FROM: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Tonight: Your Place or Mine?

 

?????????????????

 

Ed

 

--

 

Beckett,

I’ll get straight to the point – I found your behaviour towards me in yesterday's briefing hostile, unprofessional and completely unacceptable. We may not be speaking any more but you could at least treat me with the courtesy I’d expect you to reserve for any member of the Bureau staff.

If we were talking, maybe you'd have explained, but as we’re not, I’ll have to make do with a brief note like this. It’s so typical of you: that just when I resolve to keep our relationship professional and not let our history interfere with our work, you should be indulging in this kind of childish behaviour.

You and I both know that the problem stems from the fact we can’t hold so much as a civil conversation any more. I can’t talk to you about this – I can’t talk to you about anything!

I want you to understand how it makes me feel that relations between us could ever have deteriorated so badly. Since you aren’t prepared to talk to me, you can at least do some reading.

I swore I’d never show you the letters I’ve written to you. They’re not really for you. They're a therapeutic device designed to help me come to terms with various...things. I don’t care if you laugh at the idea of me seeing a counsellor – maybe it makes you feel important to think I couldn’t cope – but at least read them. At least read my side of things and understand how I feel about the way things are between us, even if it’s just for one night. You can go back to scowling and snarling at me in the morning, if you want to.

I’m hoping we can find some kind of resolution...but I’m not holding my breath.

Ros

 

--

 

FROM: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Re: Tonight: Your Place or Mine?

 

INAPPROPRIATE.

 

Make sure you tidy up.

 

I'll bring the pizza.

 

Alex

 

--

 

FROM: DOIC <DOIC@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Ed <biker.boy@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Beckett and Ros

 

Ed,

 

Please find out exactly where Beckett and Miss Henderson are this morning and advise them both that Her Majesty’s Government does not pay them to work for Bureau Two only as and when they feel inclined to do so.

 

With reference to our conversation yesterday about the ongoing saga of your email address: ‘biker boy’ is not an acceptable title for a member of the secret service, and ‘pom lover’ is NOT a suitable alternative. Please refer to my previous communique on the matter and change it as soon as possible.

 

Now, in fact.

 

DOIC

 

--

 

FROM: Ed <spider.man@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: READ ME!

 

Have you heard the news?! Ros and Beckett are back together!!! I couldn't get hold of her so I went round to her place to check everything was okay. And guess what I found...

 

;-P

 

Kind of sudden, though. I mean, I thought they hadn’t spoken for months? Weird.

 

Ed

 

--

 

FROM: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Ed <spider.man@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Re: READ ME!

 

It’s about time! As for them not speaking, there are other ways of communicating, you know.

 

(That wasn't an invitation for a double entendre, by the way.)

 

And if you leave your email address looking like that, I’ll be sticking YOU back together when Jan gets hold of you.

 

Alex

 

--

 

FROM: Ed <edmund.harley.davidson@bureau2.gov.uk>
TO: Alex Mosby <alex.mosby@bureau2.gov.uk>
SUBJECT: Re: Re: READ ME!

 

Alex,

 

You can stick me back together any time you like.

 

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

 

Ed