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A Novel Murder

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Miranda Blake woke up to find Max Winter was in her kitchen. She knew it was him from his singing. Chirpy, happy, and partly full of swears as he burnt his hand. She shot up in bed, realising she was in her thin pyjamas with her door open. Max could’ve seen her, and judging by the kicked covers at the foot of her bed, she hadn’t exactly been keeping the covers over her body. Slowly, to not alert Max she was awake, she pulled them up, covering her body with her sheets as she continued to listen to him singing along to the radio. A radio she definitely didn’t plug in or knew how to use.

She glanced at Max’s back, he was busying himself, fiddling around in her fridge.

“Max? Max what the hell are you doing here?” she called.

“Making you breakfast” he replied and turned around smiling, he moved to lean against the door, “coffee?”

“Yeah sure. No wait. Why are you in my apartment? And how did you get in?!”

“Oh so you can break into my place but I can’t break into yours?” Max rolled his eyes, “one rule for me and none for you tut tut Detective Blake”.

“Max!”

“Okay okay, we have a case. Inés wants us to travel to the opposite side of the island. There has been a murder well double murder, and we need to get going quickly. You might want to pack a bag it’s far away and I’ve booked us a B&B”.

“Oh uh okay”.

“I thought you’d appreciate the warning this time” Max admitted and smiled at her.

“I do, thanks…I’m sure Inés tries her best to get us staying closer and closer together”.

Max nodded, “and I used the key you gave me”.

“What?”

Max smiled, “you asked how I got in. I used my key”.

Miranda fell back to her pillow, “alright…thanks, now get out”.

“What? But I am making you breakfast”.

“I need to change” Miranda pointed out.

“Oh shit, sorry” Max laughed and moved back to her kitchen. Miranda got out of bed, not trusting Max to suddenly turn and see her, she shut her door and got changed.

 


Miranda sipped her coffee and looked at Max as he approached her with breakfast. For someone who a year ago hated her personal space being invaded, this man was sure pushing all of her buttons. And alarmingly, not setting any of them off.

“I made those healthy pancakes you go on about, sorry if they’re a little burnt, I was busy making sure you didn’t kick me out…nice short shorts by the way” he grinned.

Miranda smiled and abruptly forgot about his admission of seeing her in her pyjamas as she saw that he had sprinkled a handful of blueberries placed delicately at the top of the pancakes.

“They look great Max” Miranda smiled and began to eat, “thanks”.

Max smiled and leaned against her kitchen counter, “from what Inés told me it’s a double murder, originally led to be a murder suicide”.

Miranda nodded, “any names?”

“Emilio Valur and Astrid Valur, they were husband and wife”.

“Why do they think it’s now a murder and not murder suicide?”

“Because of a shard of glass” Max remarked, “it was found in the wife’s hand, she had been clutching it, so it had imbed itself into her hand. How they got it from that though” Max shrugged.

Miranda nodded, “so that’s what made them realise it was murder? Just the bit of glass?”

“Ja, apparently. It’s our job to solve it and find out why the glass was so important”.

“Any prints?”

“We have to do all that apparently. It was an early morning house tour that found the bodies. Very early, apparently they are such a popular attraction that they have to start at 6 just to get everyone in. One woman who was looking around found them” he said and swiped a sip of her coffee, “it’s a three hour drive though so we might want to get started. I don’t want to drive under the midday sun”.

Miranda nodded, “finish the coffee I’ll grab my bag”.

“Have you got a spare charger? I uhm have forgotten mine” Max asked sheepishly.

“Yeah, the drawer by the bookcase” Miranda said and stood.

“Thanks” Max said and moved to it, he grabbed a charger before he caught sight of a photo frame that had been shoved into it.

He looked at it and saw a photo of Miranda, or what he assumed was Miranda, as a child. She was sat on a beach with a man and a woman sat beside her smiling. Miranda looked happy as she focused on building a sandcastle.

He smiled at it.

“Funny looking charger” Miranda said from behind him, taking the photo frame from him.

“Ja i uh, sorry”.

“It’s fine. I would’ve got the charger myself if I was going to be mad at you snooping”.

“How old were you?”

“3…it was just after my birthday I think”.

“You look very focused on that sandcastle”.

“Had to be, winds were always tough on the beach”.

“Why is the photo in here and not up?”

Miranda shrugged, “bad memories”.

“I thought this was a good memory? You look happy”.

Miranda put the photo frame back in the drawer, “just because I look happy doesn’t mean it wasn’t a bad memory…we need to get going. Did you get a charger?”

“Ja” Max said and touched her elbow, “I hope whatever made that a bad memory, doesn’t still exist in your life”.

Miranda looked up at him, “i-no they don’t. Thank you”.

Max nodded and took her bag, “did you want to share the driving?”

“You’d trust me to drive Bertha?

“Of course I trust you” he smiled, “you’ve driven her before and you didn’t crash”.

“Thanks” Miranda smiled and took his keys from him, “and thanks for the pancakes. They were really good. Not burnt at all”.

“One day I might just make you dinner… I mean I’ve made you breakfast, it can’t be that hard”.

“Dinner and breakfast. Just what did I do to deserve that?” Miranda wondered.

“Well you definitely weren’t well behaved that’s for sure” Max grinned, “and your short shorts gave little to the imagination”.


Miranda snuck a glance at Max, for once going over his notes, as she drove on towards their lodgings for the case. “So, apparently this woman was an author and her husband was her publicist. They met back in 2010 and were together for 4 years before they got married. No kids, lots of money, they let people tour their house- it’s about 400 years old…been in the Valur family all that time but only recently been open to the public”.

Miranda nodded and checked her mirrors before she turned towards the B&B that they would be staying in.

“There was talks for her first book to be made into a film”.

“Which book?”

“Uhhh” Max flicked through his notes, “ah Amor Ciego”.

“Blind love?”

“Ja, typical chick flick book…girl meets guy. Guy is dating girl, they work together fall in love after a tragedy”.

“Sounds boring, as if that ever happens in real life” Miranda pulled up and grabbed her bag, “did you use names or are we sticking to Detective?”

“Detective” Max said, “thought it best given there is a murder”.

Miranda nodded and got out of the car, she tossed Max the keys and stretched. She wasn’t used to driving for so long. It was nice though, the trust Max had in her to drive his precious car. She’d seen him snap at Christian for standing too close with a hotdog draped in mustard.

“Blake are you coming?”

Miranda looked around for Max and found him at the door to the B&B, he smiled at her and waited till she was beside him before entering their home for the next few nights.


“Max Winter. I made a reservation on the phone?”

“Ah yes the Detective” the receptionist said with a wry look at them both. She seemed to glare at Miranda for having the nerve to stand beside Max.

Max grinned and wrapped an arm around Miranda, “ja it should be for two?”

She looked at the computer, from what Miranda could see it appeared to be an outdated model, no doubt something that belonged in a museum.

“Max Winter…I see you. Room 3, a double. It’s upstairs and on the right”.

“And the other room?” Max asked, “for my partner?”

The woman looked at Max with a raised eyebrow, “that is the room I gave you. Max Winter. Room for two. We only have Room 3 available”.

“Oh” Max said, “are you sure? I-I mean could you check?”

“No. It is Room 3 or nothing”.

“Max it’s fine” Miranda huffed, “do you want us to pay now or on departure?”

The receptionist, for the most part had been trying to ignore Miranda’s existence, but now thanks to Max’s attitude seemed grateful for the interruption.

“You can pay on departure. Breakfast is an additional 10€ and starts at 8”. Miranda nodded, “thanks” and accepted the keys as Max signed for them.

“Will you be needing two sets of keys?”

“No this will do fine. Thanks” Miranda said and grabbed her bag, “Winter” she snapped at Max as he became engaged with a few leaflets that had been sprawled across the desk.

“Coming” he grinned and took the leaflets as he hurried after Miranda, as they headed towards their room.


Room 3 wasn’t a big room, but luckily, it had a private bathroom. Which Miranda supposed, was something upon noticing how small the double bed looked, how close she would be to Max.

They paused in the doorway, Max had been searching for a sofa as Miranda weighed up her options. Sleep with Max or not sleep at all. It had been a long time since she had been in the same bed as a man.

“We could try somewhere else?” Max said as he saw nowhere else would be suitable for him to sleep on. And he really didn’t want to sleep on the floor.

“It’ll be fine. I’m sure…I mean we are grown-ups, aren’t we? A few nights in the same bed won’t kill us” Miranda said and approached the bed, “it looks quite big actually up close that is…do you have a side of the bed?”

Max put his bag down and shrugged, “left or right I don’t mind. You pick”.

Miranda dumped her bag down on the left side, wanting to face the window. She didn’t know if Max got up in the night but she didn’t. So, if he did at least she wouldn’t be disturbed by being so close to the bathroom.

Max placed a hand on her back, startling her out of her thoughts.

“Look at these”.

She looked to see the leaflets Max had picked up. Two were to do with a boat tour and one was a tour of a large house up in the hills.

A large house owned by the Valur Family.

“This the house?”

“Yep. It looks really big, I can see why it looked like it could be a murder suicide. Big house, tourists in one part you in another. Easy to do it with no witness it. But…you just wouldn’t in the same house as other people. Anyone could walk in, I mean they had security guards who lived on site”.

Miranda nodded and skimmed the leaflet, “expensive tour”.

“Really? How much?”

“30€ per person”.

“What? No way” Max said and looked, “schiesse. I wonder if they had money troubles. It didn’t say it in the file, it looked like they were swimming in it. And with that movie deal…”

Miranda sat on the bed, “have you got a copy of that book she wrote? You know the one that was going to be a film?”

“Not on me, but I am sure we could find one at the house or pick one up from somewhere, you have your kindle right?”


They arrived at the Valur Family’s house, to where the murders had been committed, just gone mid-afternoon. Max had driven them as Miranda stole his sunglasses. Looking over the few notes she had made before Max had pulled up outside the house.

He looked at her and laughed, his glasses sitting uncomfortably on her face, and smiled, “suits you” he grinned.

She handed them over and got her own out of her bag.

She grabbed her bag and checked for her ID. Pulling it out as a tall, broad shouldered, security guard approached them, “Detectives Max Winter and Miranda Blake”.

“Oh…I am sorry the Detectives…yes… I thought you were more tourists…I am Amitav Roffey, head of security at the house, the bodies have been covered up. We did not want to disturb anything before you arrived”.

“And the tour?”

“Gone home I am afraid. The murders occurred at 8 and everyone was accounted for from the tour. It was not possible to be one of them”.

Max nodded, “all the same, do you have any contact details for them? How about the one who discovered the bodies?”

“She has been put into my office with a strong drink”.

Miranda nodded, “can you show us?”

Max surveyed the house, it was an old mansion. He had read about it in the leaflets. An old family house, 400 years old. Survived the Civil War with minimal damage. He was pretty sure he had read somewhere that it had even been used as an infirmary at one point.

“Max!”

Max jolted and saw Miranda was now in the doorway to the house.

“Sorry” he laughed and ran towards her, “got distracted. It is a beautiful house”.

“It sure is” Amitav replied and smiled at it.


He led them through the drawing room and towards a side room that had once clearly been servants’ quarters but was now his office. A woman sat trembling, sipping a mug as they entered.

“Hi I’m Detective Miranda Blake, this is my partner Max Winter. We understand you found the bodies?”

“i-I did” she stuttered, “s-so much blood”.

Max pulled up a chair and sat beside her, “what’s your name?”

“Amanda” she sniffed, “i-I I was only…I mean we just…supposed to be fun”.

“What was?” Miranda asked.

“This tour” she muttered, “b-being here”.

Max nodded, “did you know the family? Have you been to the tour before?”

“No no my boyfriend…he uhm, we just came here for the morning…late flight had to do something to pass the time”.

“And where is he?” Miranda asked.

“Gone to get our stuff” she said, “I think. He looked spooked”.

“Oh?”

“What’s your boyfriend called? Can we have his number?” Miranda asked, getting her notepad out.

“Carlos,” Amanda said, “uhm, he doesn’t have a mobile? He lost it at the airport before we got here. He’s still waiting on a replacement”.

“So how have you been contacting him?” Miranda asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Oh uhm, well we uhm, we just…didn’t really leave each other you know?” Amanda said, “said he didn’t want to lose me”.

Max nodded, “what time will he be back here for you do you think?”

Amanda looked at her watch and shrugged, “anytime now I guess. The hotel was about an hour away”.

Max nodded, “okay, would you mind staying here until we question him and then you will be free to leave the house however we need you to hand over your passport”.

“What? Why?! I didn’t do anything! I-I just I just discovered the bodies!” Amanda exclaimed. She looked at Miranda, “you can’t take away my passport I need to get back home tonight! I have a job interview tomorrow”.

“It is just a precaution. As you found the bodies. It is just until we eliminate you from our enquiries” Miranda said, “we will need to take your fingerprints as well so that we can eliminate your DNA from the crime scene”.

“But I didn’t do anything!”

“It’s just standard procedure” Max reassured her, “we will work as quickly as we can so that we don’t disturb your life too much. But until then we need the passport”.

Amanda huffed and reached into her bag and handed it to Miranda.

Miranda accepted it as Max got started at taking her fingerprints. They didn’t have their usual kit so he had to settle on a sheet of paper from Amitav’s printer.

As Max took her prints, Amitav pulled Miranda to one side, “this is going to look very bad for the house, is it possible to keep this as quiet as we can?”

“This is a double murder enquiry Mr Roffey. Don’t you want justice for your employers?”

 


 

Miranda examined the bodies, looking at the way that Astrid Valur had curled towards her husband, Emilio. Her love for him perhaps so great that she wanted her dying moments to be spent, with him.

Miranda lifted Astrid’s hand and saw a faint trace of where the glass had been held so tightly in her palm. She had tried to defend herself. To protect herself, all of her efforts however, had proved in vain. They had both been stabbed. With Emilio’s injuries baring the brunt of the killing, he had a glass bottle smashed over his head from the spread of glass on the floor. Astrid, however, had one fatal stab wound in her stomach. Her dying moments would have been terrifying.

Why didn’t she scream for help?

“Huh” Miranda muttered and brushed her thumb against the woman’s wrist, she repeated the action and saw a scarred area on her wrist. A tell-tale sign that a tattoo once resided there. But for whatever reason, it had been removed. And badly.

“Find anything?” Max asked.

“There” she said and held up the woman’s’ wrist, “she had a tattoo removed pretty recently by the looks of it”.

Max grinned, “excellent Detective work”.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “if you want to be helpful, see if there is a copy of her book that I could read. There might be a reason hidden in the book”.

Max nodded and turned back the way he had came, before he paused, “does the husband have a tattoo?”

Miranda quickly looked at the mans’ wrists, “nope. Maybe it was an old tattoo she had gotten in the past…didn’t want it anymore but the way it’s been removed…it’s violent, it would’ve hurt. Something happened recently for her to remove it this way”.

“Mmm” Max said, “can you tell what it used to be?”

“Not really, it’s all scarred, maybe a bird? Or some letters?”

Max nodded, “I feel like I’ve seen something bird like on a family photo on the fireplace. I’ll go check it out”.


Max appeared behind Miranda as she put all of the information she had gathered from the bodies into her car. The bodies had been taken away an hour ago, leaving them with little else to do but search the surrounding areas of where the bodies had been found.

Max had interviewed Amitav as Miranda surveyed the area.

“So, I couldn’t find the photo, even asked the guard about them and he didn’t know anything about her having a tattoo”.

Miranda nodded, “the boyfriend picked up Amanda. She still didn’t look happy with us but what can you do. Did you find the book?”

“Yeah. Amitav said you could keep it” he said and handed Miranda a book, “it’s even signed so it’ll be worth a lot”.

Miranda nodded, “right. Thanks. It’s 5 now. Inés has said we need to hurry this case up quickly because of the film. There’s going to be a lot of press up here if we are not careful”.

Max nodded, “so the quicker we find the killer the better”.

“Yep. Got any ideas?”

Max looked back at the house and leaned into Miranda’s side as he did, “none. You?”

“I have a theory…I called around asking about tattoo removals and it turns out hasn’t been to any company, so she must’ve done it herself…whatever made her do it might be why she’s now dead”.

“Herself?”

“Yep, no company would do it for her, luckily this one guy said he liked the design and took a photo of it. He sent it across” Miranda said and showed him the photo, “looks like it wasn’t just a bird she had, but it was an initials too. They were just shaped into a bird. Very intimate”.

“So, it must’ve meant something…why remove it?”

Miranda nodded and rubbed her eyes, “I don’t know…maybe it was an old lover”.

“Ja…hey get this, Amitav has only been in this job for a few months”.

“What? I thought he had been here for years”.

Max shook his head, “No he said he got the job after losing his last job. It was never the sort of thing he wanted but he needed the money. Oh and he isn’t really called Amitav but Andreas, he changed it”.

“What? Why?”

“He said he had some issues with a past lover, he needed to escape so he changed it slightly”.

Max moved to add something but the man in question stepped outside of the house, he nodded over to Max and Miranda.

Max waved but Amitav moved back into the house.

“Let’s go back to our room. Sort out our notes and then go for dinner?” Max asked.

Miranda nodded, “sounds good”.


 

Back in their room Miranda placed all of the notes she had made on the bed. Organising them in an orderly fashion as Max dumped his on the bed.

“Max” Miranda huffed, “don’t you have an order?”

“Nope” Max laughed, “can you pass me my bag?”

Miranda rolled her eyes but handed his bag across.

She looked over Max’s notes, detailed in surprisingly neat writing about Amitav Roffey, originally known as Andreas Ronney. Hardly much point changing his name but it had been done.

“A.R” Miranda muttered and looked at the photos she had taken of the bodies, she fumbled for the photo of Astrid’s tattoo, if she squinted, she could see what looked like the initials A and R amongst the bird.

“Max” Miranda said suddenly, “Max”.

Max looked up, “yeah?”

“Got a pen?”

“Ja uh hold on” he said and he fumbled in his bag for a pen.

“Astrid was originally called Astrid Renner….what’s to say she had AR as her bird tattoo?”

Max nodded, “it’s a good theory”.

“How would that work though?” she muttered and took then pen from him, extending her arm out she doodled the two letters. They twisted and curved but didn’t look at all like a bird. She huffed and tried again, turning her wrist at an angle.

Max chuckled, bemused at her antics, “alright stop it let me” he said and laughed as she moved away from him.

“Miranda” Max grinned.

“Max I can draw a stupid little tattoo” Miranda snapped.

“No you really can’t” Max smiled and moved to grab the pen. He missed and fell into her, bringing her down to the bed and trapping her beneath him.

“Are you going to behave now?” he asked.

She gulped as she looked up at him. He looked down at her and then looked at her wrist, towards his pen. She nodded, “fine d-do it”.

He took it from her, “keep still” he said softly and sat back. She sat up, eyes on him as she extended her arm to him. She shivered as his hands touched her arm.

“I mean it” he muttered, “I don’t want to stab you” he said, his breath tickled her ear.

Miranda watched as he licked his thumb and cleaned away her failed attempts at a tattoo. He stroked her wrist and then started to move, drawing with a purpose. Miranda watched him intently. Max glided the pen across. Using her initials, “you see” he murmured, “this isn’t going to be a mess. You just have to be creative. Glide the letter across and don’t be afraid to go over a letter…there”.

Miranda looked at the butterfly Max had drawn on her wrist. He smiled at her.

“You see”.

Miranda touched it and then looked at Max.

“i-I” she began.

Max smiled at her, “no need to get in a huff about it at all you see”.

Miranda nodded, “I can see that now”.

“Would you like a uhm, what I’m trying to say is let’s just find a place to eat?”

Miranda nodded, “take a photo” she suddenly said.

“What?”

“Take a photo of the tattoo” she ordered, “I’ll lie down like Astrid”.

Max nodded and smiled as she lay across the bed. She curled towards him.

Max smiled at her and took a photo, he looked at the tattoo and then at Miranda who was now sitting up, adjusting her shirt.

“What if it wasn’t her initials, but an old flame? Someone she loved before Emilio?”

“What?”

“Her removed tattoo…I mean yours was easier so…I mean what I mean is…” Max stuttered.

“My initials…they were easier…maybe that’s why she removed it. Her tattoo was a botched job or someone recognised it?”

Max nodded, he stroked the tattoo and smiled at her. Miranda blushed and removed her arm from him.

“Let’s go get dinner” Miranda said, “I’m starving and I really want to read some of the book this side of the investigation”.

 

 

Max sighed as he emerged from yet another restaurant that was fully booked, “nope... nothing free till 9”.

Miranda frowned, “that’s a bit too late”.

“Mmm…maybe we could just get a sandwich or walk around a bit more” Max offered.

“Or” Miranda smiled and walked with purpose to the maître-d Max had just been speaking to. Max watched her confounded as she nodded and moved to his side, “come on” she smiled and grabbed his hand, tugging him down the hill that led towards the harbour.

“Miranda” he laughed, “Miranda I’m hungry I don’t want to really go for a walk”.

“Shush” she replied and pushed him to sit on a nearby bench, “I’ll be back in a minute”.

“Where are you going?” he asked, gripping her hand and keeping her close.

“To get us food” she replied and looked around, “let me go Max” she frowned.

Max grinned, “ohh I know that look. Go get us food Blakey you look very hungry-angry”.

“Hangry”.

“What?”

“The words hangry. Hungry- angry” she said and wriggled free from Max’s grasp, “I’ll be back in a few minutes. Promise”.


Miranda kept true to her promise and was back brandishing a rolled bundle and her pockets bulged with two cans.

She smiled at him and lay the bundle down on the bench. She held out two cans, “Lime and Lemon or Forest Berries?”

“Uh forest berries” Max said and smiled as she handed it over.

“What is all this?”

“Dinner” she smiled at him, “it’s not much but it’s chips…back home as a treat I used to get myself chips and a cold can of fizzy drink. I asked the restaurant if they could just do some chips for us and whilst I waited got us a couple of cans. It’s not perfect but-“

“No” he smiled, “it is perfect. How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing, it’s my treat”.

“Miranda I can’t-“

“It’s a treat, don’t even think about paying”.

“Miranda-“

“I will shake your drink” she threatened and sat down, opening her own. She sipped and smiled.

“Tastes like home”.

Max grinned and opened the bundle of chips, “smells good”.

Miranda took a chip and ate it. Max watched her fascinated. Her hair blew in the gentle breeze. He looked out at the harbour, the lights shining, before he took a chip.

He moaned at the taste, it was so warm and he could see why Miranda dubbed this her treat.

“So good”.

Miranda grinned, “like it?”

“Ja I do” he grinned and opened his drink, taking a sip he looked out around at their surroundings once more.

“It’s a beautiful night” Miranda said.

“Yeah it is…and I am grateful I have you with me”.

Miranda blushed and sipped her drink, “it’s nice to be out here with you” she replied, moving her hand to a chip. Max moved at the same time, their hands touched, and he saw she hadn’t removed the tattoo.

“You kept it?”

“For now” she replied, “it looks nice”.

Max nodded and smiled at her, “have the chip”.

“Split it?”

Max nodded. She ripped the chip and he smiled as she handed him it over. They had nearly finished when Max felt the need to speak once more.

“I liked this meal” he said.

“It’s my favourite” she replied.

“I thought you lived off of salad and rabbit food” Max grinned.

“I eat a balanced diet Max. This is a one off treat”.

Max nodded and once the chips had vanished, he scrunched up the paper, “have you finished your drink?”

Miranda nodded and held the can to him as he grabbed his own.  He moved to a nearby bin and after disposing of the rubbish, he looked up to see Miranda smiling at her wrist.

He smiled.

“Beautiful” he muttered and approached her, he held out his arm to her.

She took it and he smiled.

“I must thank you for dinner” he said.

“Really Max it was nothing…I mean we took your car up here… a-and well you booked the room…even doing the tattoo. So really it was just me saying thank you for-“

Max cut her rambling with a soft press of his lips to her cheek, as he moved Miranda moved. His lips graced hers. He pulled back and Miranda looked pleasantly surprised by his lips.

“Accept my thanks Detective Blake” he murmured softly, pleased he had such an effect on her.

Miranda blushed and looked around to make sure nobody had seen, although, as she realised, nobody up here knew her. Or them.

She smiled and held his arm with her free hand, “so…” she smiled, “we going to go back to the B&B or are you still hungry?”

“I’m fine” Max said, “I am actually quite tired”.

Miranda nodded, “come on then, let’s get back to our room”.


Max watched Miranda from the bed, as she put a lotion over her face.

“What are you putting on your face?”

“Moisturiser” Miranda replied, “didn’t Carmen ever put any on?”

“Maybe…I never really noticed”.

Miranda plugged her phone in and approached the bed, “didn’t you date for like nearly two years? How could you not notice?”

“Ja well, what me and Carmen did wasn’t exactly domestic in the literal sense of a relationship Miranda”.

Miranda nudged his leg away from her side of the bed and she got into the covers, “you know you can get into the bed? It’s colder up here at night”.

“I’m fine” Max said but he looked jealous that she was in bed and he wasn’t.

“Oh for heavens sake Max just get in the bed!”

Max grinned and got into bed, his legs pressed against hers as he shuffled into bed, trying to get comfy.

“Max” Miranda huffed, “will you stop fidgeting!”

“Hold up, no I am not comfy”.

Miranda glared as she waited for Max to stop moving. He did, once, before he turned on his side.

“Max!”

“Whaaat?” Max whined, “I can’t help it! It’s cold night and this bed is still cold”.

“Give it a chance to warm up” Miranda said, “now if you’ve finished” she said and got out of bed, moving to her bag to retrieve the book she had been given on the tour.

Max stared at her butt as she bent over. He bit his lip and sat up, “you still running?”

“What?” Miranda asked as she shuffled through her bag, “where is it…” she muttered to herself.

“Running…you like running right. Do you still…run?”

“Oh yeah I do. I try and do one long run a week. Why? Not thinking of starting running are you?”

Max shook his head, “no running for me, it’s just that you have good legs”.

“What? Max!” Miranda yelped as she turned quickly and slipped on the floor.

“Hey you okay?!” Max said and shot out of bed.

“Yeah ow…I’m fine. Were you staring at my legs?” she glared.

Max flushed, “no…I mean yes…I mean you were bent over and I just happened to look and…well you look very good? I am not explaining myself very well”.

“I think you should probably be quiet” Miranda agreed and stood, holding up her book which she had slipped on, “but thanks”.

Max smiled and got back into bed, “least you found your book”.

Miranda nodded and got back in beside him, “are you going to fidget again or are you comfy?”

“No no I’m fine. I might just go to sleep actually”.

Miranda nodded, “okay…I won’t read for long”.

“No don’t worry about it, I can sleep with the light on”.

Miranda opened the book as Max shuffled down in the bed, resting his head on the pillow. He found his eyes drifted back to Miranda, as she relaxed into the bed. Lifting the book up she began to read.

Max smiled as she became engrossed in the book. His eyes grew heavy and he placed one hand by his head, close to Miranda’s body, as he succumbed to sleep.


Miranda woke up with a start. She hadn’t expected to fall asleep reading the book. It was an interesting book, but they’d had a long day.

She had fallen asleep without even getting halfway. But the two main characters had started to fall for one another. Spent all their free time together, making one another laugh. Smile. Find the joys in life.

Her hand moved across her stomach as she rubbed her face. Miranda looked down at the hand, and saw it wasn’t attached to her, but in fact Max. Throughout the night, they had gravitated to each other. Holding one another in their sleep.

Max had pulled her close. Her legs had moved between his. Keeping him close as he kept her close.

She looked at Max’s face, resting against her body. His cheek against her chest. She would’ve pushed him off if the parallels between the book and her current situation weren’t so obvious.

She was sure the last part of the book she could remember, the two heroes fell asleep together on the sofa. When they wake they laugh and smile about it. She smiled and reached out to touch his hair. Something she would forever deny, but his curly hair had always been a subject of fascination with her. She smiled at Max as he hugged himself tighter to her. She allowed herself this private moment of her and Max.

“Mm” he mumbled, “Miranda…no” he nuzzled her close to her. His hand moving to her hip.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “stop hugging me I know you are awake”.

Max opened an eye and grinned, “you were totally staring at me”.

“You had me pinned against you. I couldn’t do much else”.

Max let her go she slipped her legs away from his.

“Sleep well?”

“Very” she replied and sat up, “you?”

“Ja actually, very” he smiled and sat up, “it was good”.

Miranda grabbed her book and looked at where she had finished before she had fallen asleep.

“Good book?”

“Yeah it’s not too bad actually. Although I don’t know who’d want to watch two people have a will-they-won’t-they relationship only for it to be so obvious that they will get together”.

“Sometimes people like the build up. That slow burn feeling. The pay off is very good. And the sex is probably equally as good”.

Miranda folded the page corner and looked at him.

“What?” he laughed, “come on, you’ve never had your eyes on someone, wondered if the sex was good and then waited…waited for it and when it happens it’s electric?”

“Can’t say I have”.

“Ja me neither…but I bet it’s good”.

“Sex is sex Max, whether it’s anticipated or just something you do or whatever, I doubt it’s ever electric”.

“If it’s with someone you have a connection with it would be”.

Miranda put the book to one side and grabbed her bag, “and for those thoughts, I’m going to shower first”.

Max shrugged, “it is still early. I’ll check my notes from yesterday. Did you want breakfast here or out?”

“Probably get something cheaper out”.

“Ja that’s my thinking too. Let me pay though…you paid for dinner last night”.

“Max it was just chips”.

“You won’t pay Miranda” Max grinned, “I am paying so go shower you smell”.

“I do not smell, and even if I did it’s only because I’ve had you holding me all night”.

“You are very nice to hold, at nights you don’t kick me away”.

Miranda rolled her eyes and slipped into the bathroom.


They ate breakfast in the same place they had dinner the night before. On a bench watching the world go by. Leaning close to one another once more. Max noted that faint traces of her fake tattoo still remained, it was as though despite having a shower, Miranda was loathe to remove the trace of it.

“So, we need to find out why she got the tattoo removed, surely just keep it or cover it up. Removing is a pain” Max said through a mouthful of an almond croissant.

Miranda nodded, and handed him a napkin as it emerged that he had smeared icing across his cheeks.

Max smiled gratefully.

“Amanda had no connection or motive, it can’t be her so her passport should be returned to her. She mentioned she was staying around here. They had to book a second flight and a new place to stay. I can’t imagine she’ll be too happy to see me but at least they are free to go”.

Max nodded and sipped his coffee, “what if the tattoo wasn’t made up on Astrid’s initials but someone close to her? Maybe it’s not an old lover but a new one?”

“So she was cheating on her husband?”

“Ja…are there any clues in the book?”

“Kind of. The main love interest meets the man, he’s with someone else but they have to work together. Get to know one another. He falls for her and they nearly begin to have an affair but then his girlfriend dies. Delaying their relationship”.

“How does she die?”

“Haven’t got to that bit yet, fell asleep before I could”.

“If we are going down a forbidden love route…you know who else as A and R as their initials” Max muttered, “the security guard”.

Chapter Text

They arrived back at the house and found Amitav walking the perimeter of it.

“Ah Detectives…always a pleasure” he said through a forced smile, “do you have our killer?”

“Not yet” Miranda said and noticed he had a bandage around his wrist that wasn’t there the day before, “did you injure yourself?”

“What?” Amitav glanced down, “oh yes, I was trying to sort a few things in Astrid’s bedroom out. She always liked it tidy and I dropped a glass. Stupid really…is there anything you need help with?”

Miranda nodded, “yes actually…were you having an affair with Astrid?”

“What?” Amitav laughed, “no no I- are you really asking me that?”

“We have to cover all angles” Max said, "and the way you speak of her...and not of Emilio".

Amitav laughed again, “no no I wasn’t having- we weren’t having an affair. I only met the woman for the first time at my interview”.

“You can fall in love within that time” Max pointed out, “sometimes you can picture your life with one person, only for another to arrive and change your life completely. They take root and you are powerless to resist them” Max said and glanced at Miranda. He didn’t mean to do it. Luckily, Miranda didn’t catch his gaze but Amitav did.

“Fine” he sighed, “I loved her. But how could I not? She was beautiful, funny, made me laugh. Always had time for me. She had really lived you know? But she spent all of her days in this house and I know…I just know she wasn’t happy”.

“Oh? She seemed happy” Miranda said, “she had a film deal coming up. They had money. Why wouldn’t she be happy?”

“Just because you smile does not mean you are happy” Amitav stated, “I knew her. Astrid she…she changed. I do not believe it was murder Detective. I think Astrid killed her husband and then herself because of the shame of it all now if you please, I need to get back to my job… just because my employers are dead does not mean I will let this house fall to ruin. Now go, leave me”.

 


 

They relocated to a café a mile away from the Valur House and over the next few hours Max and Miranda went over and over their notes and evidence, looking for messages that Astrid had sent to Amitav, or anything that would give them reason to suspect it had just been a murder suicide. Or that Amitav’s love might’ve been requited.

But despite Amitav’s claims, they couldn’t find evidence of Astrid being sad or disappointed in her life. Or even that she had spoken much to Amitav. At lunchtime Max suggested they take a break, rest their eyes to see if they could come up with any new leads after food.

Miranda had agreed but got out her book as they waited for their lunch to arrive.

She scribbled a passage down on her notes and folded down the top corner of the page as she felt Max’s eyes rest on her.

“You know that’s the third time you’ve done that” Miranda commented and sipped her tea.

“Done what?” Max laughed.

“Stared at me”

“I cannot help it” Max grinned, “you look studious when you are reading. And I never saw you as the sort to defile books like that".

“What?”

Max moved to add to his declaration when their lunch arrived. Preventing Miranda from arguing back at him for staring, but also saving him from annoying her further.

“She was stabbed by the way” Miranda said, unfolding her napkin.

“Who?”

“The ex. She was stabbed all over her chest, horrific tragedy and he has just found the body. The love interest is comforting him, she was abusive so it is not a real loss...just messy”.

Max nodded, “wow…sounds a little too close for comfort” he said and immediately felt guilt flood through him. Whilst he had always been faithful to Carmen, there was always that little linger of possibilities that ran through him every time he saw Miranda. Every time he played Detective with her he had an urge to pull her tight and hold her. To let her feel wanted and loved. And then there had been that night, it felt like a lifetime ago.

When he thought Miranda might be dead.

He had rushed into Rob King’s warehouse without a moment of thought for his own safety. Without a care for it, his only thoughts had been of Miranda. Not of his girlfriend who was back in his apartment, ready for a really really great night. He had abandoned a night of love and sex, and ran for Miranda.

Always Miranda. Running into danger, for Miranda. 

Standing in front of Jens, willing to take a bullet for her, to protect Miranda.

“Max?”

He blinked and she smiled at him, “you okay?”

“Ja uh just thinking”.

Miranda nodded, letting it slide. Max had stared off into his thoughts all the while gazing at her. She hadn’t minded, knowing his mind was elsewhere despite his focus and attention seemingly on her.

Max smiled at her and she turned her attention back to her lunch.


 

All intentions of having an early night had been side-tracked by Max insisting they have dinner out again. Only this time they managed to get table. However, within seconds of sitting down Max confessed he had booked it the night before.

Max smiled opposite her as she sipped her wine.

“What?”

“This is nice. Apart from being mistaken for husband and wife again, I like doing this with you”.

“It’s good I’ll give you that” Miranda nodded and smiled, “the seafood here is amazing. I can’t believe they cook it exactly how you want it and as you watch”.

Max shrugged, “Mallorca is full of many many surprises no?”

Miranda nodded and looked out at the views, taking it all in. She thought about just how much her life had changed by her saying no to Palmer and yes to, well Palma. And Max.

She chuckled and then looked back to Max, “it’s full of a lot of them” she stated.

“And many beautiful views too” he smiled at her, tilting his head slightly as though he could see through her walls.

“Very beautiful…easy on the eyes” she leaned back as the waiter put their meals in front of them. She caught herself, torn for once in her life to take a photo of this occasion, of her and Max. Being so at ease. It was nice to let her walls down once, she smiled without realising. 

“Hey look at me a second” Max said upon noticing her smile. Miranda looked up and he grinned and lowered his phone, “perfect”.

“Did you just- Max!” Miranda laughed, “did you just take a photo of me?”

“Ja” he grinned.

“Well let me at least take one of you” she replied, wanting to catch him in a moment of surprise, but he grinned dopily at her. Smiling at her with his big eyes that suggested more lay beneath them than his happy go lucky way of life.

She quietly took a photo and beamed at it. Proud she had let herself stay on Max’s phone and proud that she now had a similar photo in her own phone.

“Would you like to have one together?”

Miranda looked at Max and the waiter, “sure” she said and handed her phone over.

They leaned into one another, as close as they could and smiled. Max’s hand covered hers. She looked at him and he smiled at her, "smile Miranda", they looked back at the waiter who then took the photo before handing the phone back to Miranda.

She looked at the photo, knowing exactly where she wanted to put it when she got back home before she then showed it to Max.

Max smiled at it, “can you send this to me? I uhm it looks really nice”.

Miranda nodded and with a few taps the image appeared on Max’s screen, “thanks”.

Max stared at the photo a little longer as she began to eat her dinner before he set it as his background.


Miranda watched as Max got into a mess with his dessert, despite it just being chocolate cake he managed to get sauce on his cheek. “Max” she began before realising it would be futile to stop him. And even more futile to get him to attempt to remove it.

She grabbed her napkin, “hold still” she muttered, and he obeyed. She got the chocolate off his cheek and he smiled at her.

“I could’ve done that” he said.

“You looked more engaged with your cake. I didn’t trust you wouldn’t get more of it on your cheek than off”.

Max laughed softly, “ja that’s true. Would you like some?”

“I’m fine…did you want a coffee or shall I get the bill?”

“Coffee sounds great but we have that at the B&B. Don’t go off and pay” Max said as she stood.

She moved quickly and Max caught her wrist, pulling her close against his body, “we discussed this” he said softly, “we split”.

Miranda was very much aware that Max’s body was pressed against hers. She could feel his breath on her cheek. His hips against her body.

“I uhm, yeah” she stuttered out, “if you’re sure”.

Max nodded and noted that their display had caused a scene that would be impossible to ignore. He kissed her cheek, resting his lips near to hers for a fraction of a second longer than he needed to and moved past her, beating her to the till.

Miranda touched her cheek and blushed as she realised they had been watched.

She turned back to her table and grabbed her purse, ready to get her money out. She saw Max’s phone flash, he’d received a text from Inés. But what Miranda had drawn her eyes to his phone, was that Max had changed his lock screen to their photo. She smiled and did the same.


They got into bed an hour or so later, opting to forgo the late night coffee and instead took a walk back to the B&B. It took longer than they had intended because Max had gotten them lost.

Despite insisting he hadn’t.

Miranda got out her book and looked at Max. He smiled at her, “what?”

“Not going to fidget, are you? Because if you are, I need a warning”.

“Nope. I am perfectly content and very comfortable” Max smiled and let his head hit the pillows, he looked at Miranda and smiled, “do you think you will have finished your book or are you going to fall asleep again?”

“I hope to” she said and yawned.

“Ja, I wouldn’t bet on it” Max said with a laugh and sat up, “come on, we’ve had a very long day and you need your beauty sleep”.

“Hey!”

“Okay I need my beauty sleep” Max countered and put her book to one side, “come on let’s just sleep tonight”.

“As opposed to what?” she enquired.

“Well” Max started, “what I mean is- I mean…uhm, we uhm”.

Miranda chuckled, “shut up I know what you meant” before she hesitated in turning the lights off.

Max watched her turn it off and she turned back to him.

“I don’t mind sleeping with it on if you are more comfy that way” Max whispered.

“I’m fine” Miranda replied, sounding anything but.

Max chuckled and turned the light on his side table. She looked accusingly at him, “I said I was fine”.

“Well maybe I need to sleep with a light on in a new place”.

Max lay down and shut his eyes, “see I am very relaxed now”.

There was a brief pause, before Miranda said, “thank you”.


Max woke to Miranda’s arm wrapped around his body. Curled tight against him. He had rolled towards her in the night and she had reached for him in her dreams, only to grab the real him.

Max smiled and rubbed her back, knowing this would be their last morning waking up together he wanted to enjoy being beside her.

A small part of him wanted this to be more, to open that box in his heart he firmly shut last year.

She moved her head towards his arm and stirred slowly, her eyes fluttering as she dreamed on. Max smiled and stroked her face. He acted on impulse, barely thinking as he did. He just felt this undeniable pull towards Miranda. He always did and right here, he couldn’t resist touching her. She was so warm against his body. She felt so good.

She opened her eyes against his touch.

She stared up at him.

“I” he started but stopped.

“Somehow we always gravitate to this” she said softly, "you holding me...me holding you".

“Ja” he smiled.

She stayed against him for a few minutes, taking in the feeling of Max’s heartbeat against her ear. Max seemed to accept her wanting to spend more time against him. He rubbed her back, thinking about what it would be like if this was his future.

Waking up to Miranda in his arms every day. Every morning.

She removed her hands and he removed his hands, freeing her as she rolled onto her back. She sat up and Max looked at her back. Fighting off the urge to pull her back down. Back to his arms.

“Did you want to shower first today?” she asked quietly.

 Max sat up, “no you can I don’t mind waiting”.

“I want to read for a bit, so you can” Miranda said and then looked at him with a grin that sent his pulse racing, “you might need it”.

Max laughed, “okay I get it. For the record, you are the one who held me close and decided to stay on me. I can't help what my body does".

Miranda shrugged and grabbed her book, “whatever Max”.

Max grinned, and got out of bed, looking as she became quickly absorbed into her book. She really was a wonder. A wonder who he had until recently, been holding so close. He smiled and moved into the bathroom.


“Amitav has done time” Max announced, breathing hard. He had been refuelling his car before they went back up to the Valur House, and was initially just making small talk to the man behind the counter as he paid.

He’d let slip he was one of the Detectives solving the case and the man had muttered not to trust the security guard on account of his time in prison.

Max panted and she rolled her eyes at his fitness level, “what?”

“Amitav, he has been in prison because he …because he…did…beat up someone” Max wheezed and clutched his chest, "I have to get fitter".

Miranda sat up, “okay so that takes him to be our most likely suspect then” she surmised and brought up the notes she had made on her phone. She googled Amitav before pausing, “wait, what was his name before?”

“Who? Amitav? Uh Andreas” Max said and looked at his own notes. He got into the car and flicked through them, “Andreas Ronney”.

Miranda nodded and googled the name, alongside Astrid’s.

“Max get us to the Valur House now”.

“What? Why?” he asked but started the car anyway.

“I think Amitav did it. I found an old article from before, when he was Andreas Ronney. Astrid was dating him, he beat her up and she had him sent down”.

“And you got that from one article?”

“No…I got it from this” she said and showed him the photo she had found on her phone. Astrid and Amitav, smiling at the camera, holding up their matching tattoos.

“Oh” Max muttered, “he had a bandage around his wrist yesterday remember?”

Miranda nodded, “why wait all this time to kill them though?” she asked as Max began to speed towards the house.

“Maybe he wanted to buy his time…kill Emilio then Astrid? O-Or maybe he never intended to kill her. Maybe he really did love her and he thought she loved him back still…he killed Emilio and she walks in, all she has is that shard of glass from the glass bottle…he goes to greet her and she attacks…he lashes out and she gets hurt. Only Amanda is about to walk down the steps and discover the bodies. He runs off, no time to check over the bodies. Astrid in her dying moments wants to check to see if Emilio is okay but she dies. Her death was an accident and Emilio was his intended victim all along”.


Max sped up to the house with Miranda looking all around the area for signs of Amitav. He knew that they would work it out surely, so it would just be a matter of timing. If they were lucky and had time on their side, they’d catch him.

“There!” Miranda yelled as they pulled up. She flung herself from his car and darted off down steps. Max spotted a man in the distance running through the gardens.

“Hey!” Miranda cried out, “stop!”

Max turned his car back on as she cut across to the gardens, leaping over a gate. She sprinted through the trees.

Their suspect, Amitav, had a head start on them, but Max sped on. Cutting off the only possible exit with his car. He saw Amitav running and suddenly notice him. He slowed and turned, seeing Miranda chasing him.

A gunshot sounded and Max’s heart skipped a beat as Miranda crashed to the floor.

“MIRANDA!” he yelled and jumped out of his car, running towards them, Miranda got up with ease, she hadn’t been shot, the bullet had been wide, she had merely dove out of instinct, but it had terrified him.

As Amitav went left they caught up with one another and chased him left, back up the steps Miranda had ran down.

She leapt up them and used the wall for purchase. She climbed onto it, running along despite the drop below, before she leapt over and onto Amitav’s back. He cried out as they fell to the floor. Max seemed to have had the same idea, as Miranda ran along the wall, he dived for Amitav. The pair crashed the man down. Max landed painfully on his knee as Miranda grabbed her handcuffs.

“Amitav Roffey, you are under a-“ Miranda groaned as he kicked her stomach, pushing her into Max, sending them both back down, nearly sending them flying back down the steps. He sprinted to the wall and then looked at Max and Miranda. He raised his gun at them.

“No!” Miranda and Max chorused. Max moved quick to shove Miranda down, to protect her with his body. She lay frozen underneath him. One hand had reached out to grab his arm. 

Amitav saw this and half smiled, “I loved her, I did...sh-she she was beautiful...but she hurt me...the things women do for love for the love of their man".

"Amitav, you don't have to do this" Max breathed. Scared now he would turn the gun on himself, "please" Max added.

"Hold on to your woman” he said, composing himself before he looked at Miranda, "true love does not come by often",  before he turned the gun to his head and fired.

Miranda turned her head as did Max. The pair burying their heads in one anothers' shoulder, to prevent them from witnessing the tragedy.


Miranda leaned against his car and sipped the sugary tea Max had gotten for her. He stood beside her, not knowing what to say or do. Or if there was anything he could say, to make this any better.

They had solved the case today, but they had also lost the case.

Amitav had killed himself rather than give up. Three people had died in the space of a week.

“How’s your knee?” she asked, breaking the silence.

“It’s painful, but I think it’ll just be a bruise”.

“Keep it raised. If you’ve got any bandages it might be worth bandaging it up for a couple days”.

Max nodded, “it’ll be fine Miranda”.

“Please” she said, touching his hand.

True love does not come by often.

Max nodded and looked at her, “yeah uhm, okay”.

He sipped his own drink, “I’m sorry it ended the way it did”.

“It’s not your fault…it’s nobody’s fault” Miranda said, finishing her drink, “the things love does to us...the book wasn’t really about Emilio and Astrid’s love for one another. It was about Amitav’s...what she wanted and longed for, true love comes by once in a lifetime”. Her fingers grazed his. Carefully touching him.

"I quite agree" Max whispered, not wanting to lose her connection.

“I hate reading romance books but…it was good. It felt real. I can see why it was being made into a film” Miranda stated and moved her hand away, taking his lack of movement as a sign of rejection.

“That’s still going ahead” Max said, “apparently their murders have given it a buzz and the producers decided to go for it”.

“Someone always finds a way to make a profit” Miranda muttered.

“Ja” Max sighed, “come on, let’s go home” he stroked her hand as he took her now empty cup. Miranda looked at his fingers, dancing against hers and nodded.


 

Max reached out to touch his car radio, and then looked across at Miranda. He switched his radio off when he noticed she’d fallen asleep on the journey home from their case. It had been a sad end to the day, neither had expected Amitav to do what he had. He drove around past her apartment and opted to loop it, just in case she woke up.

He found only a few minutes after he drove past her place, that Miranda was indeed, waking up. He smiled across at her as her eyes blinked open. She rubbed the sleep from her eyes and looked at him.

“Nearly there?”

“Ja” he breathed softly, “you okay?”

“Mm…must’ve fallen asleep. Sorry” she yawned and stretched.

“Don’t be. I am glad you had a chance to sleep”.

Miranda nodded and relaxed back in her seat as Max drove down the strip near her apartment. She was sad to be going back to an empty apartment after having spent so long in Max’s company. In his arms on those cool nights.

She rested her arm against the door and looked at him as he drove.

He grinned at her, “you excited to get back to your own space?”

“I was just thinking about that” Miranda admitted, “early start tomorrow”.

“Ja and I presume Inés will want our reports all done and handed into her. I haven’t even started to write mine”.

Miranda nodded, “well then… I guess we’ll both have to be full of caffeine tomorrow”.

“Ja, you with your fancy oat flavoured –

“Alternative milk Max. And I don't always go with oat milk, I don’t mind what milk just not black” she chuckled.

“Alternative weird non-milk milk… and I will have my black-only-way-to-drink-it coffee”.

Miranda rolled her eyes as he pulled up.

“So…” she began, “I’ll see you tomorrow”.

“Ja…would you like a lift?”

“Oh...you sure?”

“Of course” Max smiled, “I’ll be here, half past 8 on the dot”.

Miranda nodded, “and you’ll be out here and not in my apartment?”

Max nodded, “I will be as good as uh how do you say, silver?”

“Gold. As good as gold”.

“I will be as good as gold. Cross my heart” Max smiled at her.

Miranda half laughed, torn between inviting him upstairs just to have more time with him. Or staying in his car and going back to his, unlocking that box in her heart that had suddenly decided was a good time to open.

“So I’ll just see you tomorrow” Miranda said again and grabbed her bag, “goodnight Max”.

“Goodnight” he smiled at her, watching her get across to her apartment safely. He looked at the seat she had vacated and found she had left her book behind.

“Hey Miranda you forgot your-“ Max cut off as she entered her apartment complex, “book” he finished and smiled softly. He’d see her tomorrow, he could always give it to her then.

Max flicked through the book, she had finished it and hadn’t said she hated it. It was progress. Miranda had even given the book a wry smile as she finished it. He skipped to the end to see if he could see why she had smiled. She had underlined parts of the book, but, she had also underlined a line at the end of the book.

 

"I have to go, my job. My life...it's all back there in London. What is there for me here?" 

"Me. You have me here. All of me. I am tired of hiding behind a closed door, not saying my desires... I love you. Please don't go. Don't leave me".

"But we- w-what makes you think we could work out? We were a mess of love affairs and sex. It's not a great place to start a relationship"

"Oh my love"  he laughed, "It is never too late, we have time on our side".

 

Max read aloud and smiled. It almost mirrored them. He would have been very sad if she left him and had gone back to London.

“Time on our side indeed” he muttered and then looked at her apartment. The lights were now on and he could see her moving about her apartment.

He smiled, tomorrow would be a new day, and another day where he would see Miranda. And maybe, just maybe they would be given a chance to hold one another soon.

Chapter Text

True to his word, Max Winter was outside her apartment at half past 8 with two cups in his hand.

She locked her apartment and pulled her shades on. Miranda had been unable to sleep well all night. Without the warm embrace of Max and a working light to sleep with.

She had stayed awake and worked on her report.

Max smiled at her, “oat milk my lady” he grinned and handed her the cup. She smiled at him, “thank you”.

Max shrugged, “I figured you would need it. We have lots of work to do on our reports-“

“I finished mine last night”.

“What? Really?”

“Mmm couldn’t sleep” she said and moved around his car to get in.

“You should’ve called me. I would’ve –“ Max cut off, not entirely sure as to what he would’ve done.

Miranda seemed to notice and she smiled at him, “I thought you’d want a night away from me. Must've been nice to not have someone in your bed again”.

“You are not that irritating you know?” Max smiled, "besides it was nice to have someone in bed again. I've missed it the intimacy of it- I uh what I mean is that I uh just miss having someone in my arms not the- ah schiesse there is no safe way to answer this".

Miranda shook her head but smiled, "well at least you enjoyed yourself".

Max laughed and smiled, "why couldn't you sleep?"

Miranda sipped her drink, "hot night".

Max sipped his coffee before he paused, “was something troubling you?”

Miranda shrugged, “just wanted to get the report done”.

He nodded, “well you might have to help me out. If I don’t have something on my desk ready for Inés she will murder me”.

“Max you had time last night” Miranda replied.

“Well ja, but I was busy. Besides, if Inés murders me you will be put in charge of the investigation and then you will have a lot of paperwork to doooo because I won't make my murder easyyy” he grinned and nudged her, "and you will be so sad where is Max oh nooooo".

Miranda laughed at his antics but she shook her head, “not helping. Busy doing what?”

“Nothing” Max answered quickly, proving that there was in fact something.

“That nothing involve you and a good time does it?” Miranda asked, bemused at his sudden embarrassment.

"Nooo"

"Oh really?" Miranda grinned, "not gone impotent have we? You know they make pills you can take now?"

Max rolled his eyes, “ja I wasn’t doing that. And I am not impotent. I was reading if you must be so persistent in your quest for the truth Blake”.

“Anything good?”

“Oh, uh just a new book. Trashy not your thing”.

Miranda nodded, “you’re reading that romance book aren’t you”.

Max laughed, “ja…it becomes quickly addictive doesn’t it? Their love, how much you want them to get together but you have to wait. Like the slow burn is beautiful, but I just want them to do it against a wall already. And you can’t even deny it because you underlined some stuff”.

“Yeah for the case” Miranda rolled her eyes, hiding her suddenly flushed face, “just get us to the station before we are late and give Inés a reason to sniff around our desks for our reports”.


Inés calling them into her office before they could even say hello, which was never a good sign, and especially not on a Monday morning.

Max opened the door for Miranda and Miranda noted Inés had a particularly smug grin on her face.

Miranda shot a look at Max.

He shrugged in response, “Inés? Care to enlighten us?”

“I have a case for you two” she began, “spa break” holding a file to them.

“That doesn’t sound too bad” Miranda said and reached for the file, she flicked through it as Inés went on.

“The owner, Phillip Leyworth, has a private safe where he keeps his husbands diamond cufflinks. They have gone missing. No prints, the owner has CCTV and it was working, it shows nobody went for the safe. Yet they are missing. I need you two to pose as a married couple. Go there and find out more”.

“Why do we have to go as a couple?” Miranda asked as she handed Max the file.

“Because I live to torture you two” Inés replied dryly, “the owner does not want police all over the place. Causing a scene, naturally I thought of you two”.

Max looked at the name of the Spa, “wow” he muttered, “that’s the fancy place out in practically the middle of nowhere”.

“Sí” Inés replied, “exclusive to couples. So, you are married, and this is an anniversary present. I don’t care who or what you go as, but you need to be subtle. Understand? I do not want a phone call about my two Detectives doing things they should not be doing. Understood?”

“With all due respect Inés, we were solving a double murder the other day, why are we on a missing cufflink case?” Miranda asked.

“Oh yes, your double murder, tell me did you bring your suspect in?” Inés asked with mock enthusiasm.

“Well no but-“

“And have you both finished your reports?”

“Well no but-“

“Exactly” Inés stated, “besides, if you refuse the therapy offered to you, the least you can accept is a relaxing break. And I have reason to believe that you two have no problems sleeping together?”

Max flushed as Miranda looked at him.

“Indeed” Inés said and returned her attention to her computer, “now go. Get out of my sight go find the man’s precious jewellery”.


The spa was three things, Miranda thought as Max pulled up outside.

Expensive

Exclusive

And hopefully somewhere she could get a decent massage.

“We are Mr and Mrs Winter…” Max said and stopped her from leaving the car, his hand rested on her knee.

“Yeah?”

Max moved across her and opened his glove compartment. A ring box fell out and Miranda caught it.

“I uhm, well we’ll need rings” he said.

Miranda opened the box and looked at him, “this is more than just a fake wedding ring Max it looks expensive”.

Max took it and sighed, “when my Mama died she wanted me to have her ring f-for…well, in case I found the woman I wanted to be with. I always keep it here with me…it’s stupid”.

“It’s not” Miranda replied, looking at him, “you loved your Mother very much”.

Max nodded, “I love my Father too but my Mother? I was such a Mothers Boy” he smiled, “drew my Father crazy”.

“Well it’s very beautiful” she pointed out.

Max nodded and took it out of the box, “give me your hand” he said, dropping his voice.

She held her hand out and he slipped the ring on her finger, “there” he smiled, “it fits you perfectly”.

Miranda looked at it, expecting it to feel heavy, but it wasn’t. Stupidly she felt like Max's touch was that of a lovers, and that the ring was his expression of love to her.

“It’s beautiful” she repeated instead, and Max slipped a ring on his own finger.

“Before we go in” Max said, “I know we uh, are playing a couple but I won’t do anything to make you uncomfortable so just tell me if you need some space?”

“Thanks” Miranda said but squeezed his hand, “I don’t think I’ll be uncomfortable but it’s nice to know it’s there”. She kept her hand in his for a while, allowing the rush of nerves to leave her as she touched Max.

Max rubbed the back of her hand with his thumb, Miranda had been starting to show more signs of being comfy against his side. Of initiating so much with him, he could only hope for more of her walls to break down as they spent more time together at the spa.

Max nodded and smiled at her, “right then Mrs Winter. Are you ready to play frau?”


Miranda slipped her sunglasses down her nose, looking down at the receptionist as Max checked them in. The woman didn’t appear to have a name badge on which was odd, but then Miranda supposed, this was an expensive place. Names were most likely not needed around here. She looked around the large room and spotted the way to the massage parlour.

Excellent she grinned and stroked Max’s arm, “hey look, they have massages here”.

Max smiled at her, momentarily dazzled by her expressive behaviour. She leaned close to him. Playing the role of his wife, expertly.

“Our couples massages are very popular. Shall I book you in now?” the receptionist chimed in.

Miranda looked at the woman, “uhm, book?”

“Well you can always just turn up but here we believe in free love and so…well some people take it upon themselves to that time in the massage rooms. We deep clean after every use so just let us know you have been in and we can clean it”.

Max saved Miranda from making a fool out of herself by asking what they meant. He gripped her hip and smiled, “I think we’ll come down later and book. Although we like to keep our love strictly behind closed doors”.

“Oh we operate a no CCTV policy in all areas of the spa. From sauna to massage rooms, it is for the guests privacy. The only cameras are here and in the staff only areas so if it is privacy you are worried about, there's no need to be scared”.

Max nodded and felt Miranda’s cover his, she rested against him he looked at her and she smiled.

"Maybe we could try it then, did you bring some condoms?"

Max blinked, momentarily dazzled at the thoughts of Miranda and sex, “uhh, I-I uh-”

Miranda fake huffed and turned to the receptionist, “we’ve been married a year to the day and he always forgets. Do you have any condoms?” she hugged Max’s side, slipping her hand around to grip his hip, “can’t keep our hands off each other but we don’t want kids just yet” she rested her head against his chest as she felt Max hold her.

The receptionist nodded, “I’ll be back in a moment” and left them alone.

Miranda moved herself free from Max's grip and darted around to look at the womans’ screen. Typing fast she brought up a list of staff. Scanning for the names. To give them a list of possible suspects.

“Keep an eye out” she ordered Max as she printed them.

Max nodded and looked at the door the receptionist had disappeared down to. Miranda grabbed the sheet and got rid of any evidence she had been at the computer as she returned to Max’s side. She folded the paper and hid it up her sleeve as the receptionist returned.

“We do keep regular stocks so if you run out just ask” she smiled and handed a handful to Miranda.

“Thanks” she smiled, “what was your name again? I don't think I caught it” she asked as Max accepted the keys off of the woman.

“Enjoy your stay and happy anniversary!” the receptionist beamed and walked through doors marked Staff Only.

“That was odd” Miranda muttered but saw Max had darted off up the stairs with their bags, running towards their room.


When they got to their room, they saw a complimentary bottle of champagne sitting in a cooler with two glasses. A note was left out for them.

Max grinned at the vintage, “it is expensive” he said, “heh we should play couple at fancy places more often” he laughed and handed Miranda the note. Miranda looked at the handwriting and assumed it was from the spa, so she put it in her pocket, assuming it was a simple enjoy your stay.

Miranda nodded, “what’s German for husband?”

“der Mann or you could go with der Gatte that means spouse or partner if you are uncomfy calling me husband.”

“der Gatte” she tried.

Max nodded, “ja, that would make you die Gattin”.

Miranda nodded, “maybe just stick with husband and wife? Or compañeros?”

Max laughed and nodded, “okay, but for the record” he grinned and pulled her close, “I think you have excellent ehefrau material”.

Miranda swotted his chest, “let me go you giant pest”.

“Definitely my wife if you are insulting me” he smiled and sat down on the bed. He lay back, “this bed is bigger than the last one we shared”.

Miranda looked at him, memories of waking up to being in his arms made her smile slightly. She’d get that again very soon.

She nodded, “it does look it…time will tell if it’s as comfy”.

Max grinned and nodded, “you can’t wait to sleep with me again can you. Admit it”.

She approached the bed and he sat back up, gripping her butt and tugging her close, “admit it Blakey” he whispered.

“It seems you are the one who wants me back in bed so badly” she stated, "hands off we have work to do not flirting", and handed him the staff list, “have a look at that would you? I want to narrow down our list of suspects”.

Max huffed but let her go so that he could read the list. She grabbed her bag and looked at the condoms the receptionist had given them. As Max looked at the names, oblivious to her she grinned and tossed one at Max’s head.

“What- hey” he laughed, “why are you tossing these at me?”

“Keep one in your back pocket at all times” she said, “if this place is so free love they might expect us to get a little handsy. I mean not that we would ever...I mean be in that situation but-”.

"It's okay, I understand" Max nodded and pocketed the condom, "better have one on you then".

"What?"

"Well, Miss Assertive, women can carry them too?"

Miranda huffed and put one in her pocket, "happy?"

"Ja very" he grinned, before adding, "when was the last time you used one?"

"What a condom? Given I don't have what you have Max -"

"I don't mean that" he laughed, "I mean sex. You haven't as far as I am aware slept with anyone out here".

Miranda raised an eyebrow, "dangerous questions there Max Winter. Are you sure it's a good idea to keep asking me about my sex life?"

Max smiled, "maybe? Come on. I'll tell you mine".

"I'm not particularly-

"It was last month".

Miranda looked slightly hurt for a second before it changed, "good for you".

"Oh my god" he laughed, "I am just joking. It's been months...maybe 6".

"Oh" Miranda nodded and fiddled with her bag, turning her back on him, "okay".

"So?"

"So what?"

"When did you last have sex?"

Miranda huffed, "a few years ago. Happy now?"

"Very. Now that I know that I can start looking for someone good enough for you. Good save by asking her to get condoms by the way” Max commented as he looked at the names again, “I wouldn’t have thought to-“

“Oh, I know. But I suddenly thought it’s going to look suspicious if they don’t find them in our room if they tidy up”. She placed a few of the packets on the table before moving to her side of the bed and placing one beside it. 

Max nodded and patted the bed, “you going to sit? Your moving about has got me a little nervous”.

Miranda sat beside him and they surveyed the staff list, “so the manager Phillip Leyworth it was his husbands’ cufflinks.

Max placed his hand on her knee and she paused.

“Did you want something Max?”

Max grinned, "so tell me about the last guy you had sex with? Did he rock your bones?"

Miranda batted his hand away, "we aren't discussing that".

"Mine was Carmen".

"Obviously".

"It was the night before I proposed".

Miranda looked at him, "really? But I thought-"

"That I am a Casanova and every woman is powerless to resist me?"

Miranda rolled her eyes, "no, but I just thought..." she trailed off and Max shrugged.

"Once you get rejected for marriage it is pretty hard to recover from that".

Miranda nodded, "it was a hook up".

"What?"

"You asked about the last guy I had sex with. It was a hook up. There's an app...I was lonely and just wanted to let off some steam, no strings. No connection...he was crap as well".

Max laughed, "not a Casanova then?"

"No definitely not a Casanova" she agreed, laughing.

“What clothes did you bring?” Max asked suddenly.

"What? Uh well just a dress in case we go to the restaurant. Normal work clothes, a bikini if I want to go for a swim and for using the sauna”.

Max nodded, “maybe we should go… do something then, get a feel for the place”.

Miranda nodded, “I guess being undercover here will mean more than just investigating, we have to play husband and wife at some point".

"I'll get into something less, work-y and more relaxed. Why don’t I meet you down by the front? Book us in for something so it doesn’t look suspicious”.

Max nodded and grabbed his phone, “maybe wear the bikini underneath” he commented before ducking a flying pillow as she yelled at him.


Max waited for Miranda to walk down the stairs. He’d booked them in for a massage later that day but figured that Miranda might want to swim first.

He smiled at her as she approached, the ring caught his eye.

Maxi, when you know, you will know, his mothers words floated through his mind as Miranda took a hold of his hand, “come on. What did you book us in for? And yes I have got my bikini on underneath. Didn’t want to risk you booking us the pool and then having to go skinny dipping”.

“I wouldn’t have minded that” Max said.

“Oh I know you wouldn’t have minded” Miranda replied and laughed, “but I don’t exactly want to strip down and swim naked in front of a bunch of strangers”.

Max flushed at the thoughts her doing just that, “Uh so I just booked the massage for later, although it’s a couples one so they don’t employ a masseuse it’s more of I do you, you do me type deal. I hope that is okay? I mean you don't have to return the favour I'm happy to do what you want”

“Depends on how good you are with your hands” she replied offhandedly, “what else?”

“I haven’t booked it but I thought we could swim for a bit. Or you could swim and I could watch”.

Miranda nodded and looked around for a member of staff, but found none.

“There’s not really anyone about is there”.

“No, it took me a while to book the massage” Max admitted, “strange. It’s a posh place you would think they had more security”.

Miranda shrugged, “least the pool looks free”.

“Ja apparently free love only happens at night” he grinned.

“What sort of place does that” Miranda wondered, “I’m all for having sex, but in public?”

Max shrugged and opened the door to the pool room, “some people go for it”.

“Not me. Have you?”

“Not in public no” he said, “not even against a wall”.

“Really?”

“I do enjoy sex but well I guess I never really want to experiment much? I am very content to please the women I get to be with”.

Miranda nodded, at a loss for how to reply to Max’s comment.

He looked at her, “you ever had sex against a wall?”

“Once” she replied, “very long time ago” she walked into the pool room and saw it was deserted. Eyeing up a few she made her way towards them.

Max gulped, “was it good?” he asked and followed her.

Miranda took her shirt off and looked at him, “it was okay…he wasn’t as good with his hands as I wanted”.

Max nodded, because to speak now would reveal he was tongue-tied. After Miranda’s shirt had fallen to the floor he felt his mouth dry up completely.

A dark blue bikini clung to her chest and as she unzipped her shorts, a matching set of bottoms appeared. Max gulped. He could see why she ran, why she ate so healthily. It paid off. She was gorgeous.

“Max? Are you okay?”

Max blinked, “uh oh yeah sorry…zoned out. I have that book so I’m going to just read it whilst you swim”.

Miranda nodded and dove into the pool. Max sat down and groaned, “schiesse Miranda”.

 


 

After a few minutes of swimming Miranda was aware Max was watching her and not reading.

She knew he been staring at her body as she stripped, even letting him stare for a bit longer than she probably should of if she was being serious with herself.

If this case was just a case.

If her feelings were just platonic.

But she knew she had gone past the lying to herself stage. She knew she liked Max. She knew she wanted to have him as more than a work partner.

She enjoyed his company, she enjoyed being with him. What’s more is that she really enjoyed having his hands in hers. Waking up, with him. His arms around hers. Holding her close.

“Wish I had skinny dipped now” she called to Max, watching his eyes widen a fraction at the thought, “the waters lovely” she stated.

“You still could, there’s only us here” Max offered, grinning.

“Tempting as that is” Miranda said and swam over to him, “I think I’ll stay clothed. Don’t want you getting over-excited before the massage”.

Max laughed, “oh go finish your swim before I start to skinny dip”.

Miranda smirked and lifted herself out of the pool, “go on then”.

“What?”

“Strip. If you want to skinny dip, then strip”.

“I do not want to skinny dip Miranda” Max replied.

She approached him and he gulped. Staring anywhere but at her and her trim figure.

Miranda cupped his chin, “are you avoiding looking at me?” she chuckled.

“No” Max said, stubbornly not looking at her.

“Hmm” she said and looked left. At the doors.

Nobody was in here.

And they did fully support free love at the spa.

Besides, it would be rude not to tease Max at least once a day. Before she could think any further, she straddled him, “shame. I had wanted my der Gatte to show me some affection”.

Max looked at her quickly, his hands came to hold her hips. Keeping her against him.

“Miranda i-I” he began, “hey you spoke German” he smiled.

“Of course” she replied and unbuttoned his shirt, “my husband is German. I can speak a bit of German” she teased and stroked his chest. Max gulped as she freed his shirt from his shorts.

“What uhm, what are you” he began as she leaned close. Her lips ghosted his, his hands slipped under the straps of her bikini bottoms, “practicing free love, in case they are spying on us” she murmured, "I don't trust that they don't have CCTV everywhere".

Max pulled her closer, making her rock against his body, “do you think they would?” he murmured back, equally as low as her. He licked his lips and then looked into her eyes.

Miranda stared at his lips, “Max i-I”

He cupped her butt and smirked softly as his other hand untied her top, “maybe we should be doing more Schatz” he grinned. Keeping his eyes on her as he held her top up, stopping it from falling, "I'm very much enjoying you on me" he breathed low, before he let go of the strings to the top, letting it fall to his chest.

“Max!” Miranda exclaimed and covered herself quickly. Still on him, but now frantically trying to not flash him.

Max laughed, “you started it!” he looked at the top and laughed as she tried to get it back on without flashing him. But winced as she moved her shoulder.

“Turn around” he said, “I’ll help”.

“I’ll help!? Max you untied it!”

“You straddled me and started to rock. You are very lucky I only got to your top I was wanting a lot more than that”.

Miranda huffed but recognised a hopeless case, she got off his lap and turned around, holding up the top.

Max leaned closer and stroked her bare skin before he touched the strings.

“I didn’t peak” he promised, “even though I wanted to” he murmured against her neck as he tied her bikini up, he placed one hand against her hip and gripped it. Bringing her back to his body, “really wanted to” he whispered in her ear. He leaned back a fraction, letting her rest between his legs, pressing against his chest.

Miranda gulped and she placed her hand on his thigh. Stroking it, "I-I was just teasing you" she got out.

"Oh I know" he breathed and looked around the place, looking for a camera, when he spotted one he pulled her back so that he was lying down and she was lying against his chest.

"Stay" he murmured low, "there's a camera in the top corner of the room. I promise not to do anything you don't want but we need to act love-y".

Miranda shivered, “b-bu uhm, robe” she said, “pass me my robe?”

Max kissed her neck before he gathered it for her. She turned her head as she pulled it over their bodies, “you said we had a massage booked?”

“Ja for later, but it was free all afternoon”.

Miranda nodded and sighed, "fine we can stay like this for a few minutes" she looked at the entrance and briefly saw the receptionist walk past.

"Hmmm" she muttered, before looking at the CCTV camera, "get on top" she ordered.

"What?"

"Either you do it or I'll straddle you again" she threatened and Max moved.

He leaned above her and she wrapped her arms around his neck, "free love" he teased.

"Precisely" she muttered, "I wonder if we could have a massage earlier than booked?"

"I don't see why not. Am I meant to be moving?"

Miranda shrugged, "if you want to give off the illusion that we are having sex then yes".

Max nodded and leaned close to her, "I thought we liked sex behind doors".

"Well what can I say, you just turn me on. I'm powerless to resist" Miranda murmured.

Max gulped, and turned his attention to her neck, leaning close he whispered, "fake a noise".

"What?"

"If you don't I will".

"Max-

"Oh yes Miranda" he yelled out making her stifle a laugh.

"Max" she hissed, desperate to shut him up.

He moved above her, "yes" he said, building up volume, "oh yes Miranda" he repeated, looking at her with a wild grin.

"Oh just a little bit more? Okay my love" Max grinned, leaning close, "come on" he whispered, "make a noise".

"No I am not going to make a noise" she hissed before gasping into his body as his lips met her neck.

"m-Max" she trembled, "Max s-stop" she breathed as he moved his lips.

"Make a noise" he teased against her skin.

"n-No" she bit out and found herself groaning as his teeth bit her skin. He pulled back looking pleased before he cried her name out again.

"No Max stop it" she hissed.

"Just a little bit oh yes-" Max cut off as Miranda yanked him close and kissed him. Preventing any more fake moans from passing his lips.

Max kissed back almost immediately. Tentatively he stroked her hip. Gripping it as her tongue slipped against his. 

He moaned into her mouth and she pulled back. Looking up at him. He stroked her face, brushing his thumb against her lips as he did.

He fought back the urge to kiss her again as he heard the door shut.

They both looked left, to see who had seen them.

Max sat back, "I uh, come on maybe we can go have a massage earlier?"

Miranda nodded and sat up.

“Good. I hurt my shoulder earlier in the week…I really don’t think that swim did it much good”.

“You know that means my hands on your body again?” he stated.

“I know” she stated and took his hand in hers, “don’t tell me you are scared of touching me” she teased, "you seemed very keen on getting me to moan out your name a few seconds ago".

“Ja very” he grinned and slipped a hand inside her robe, “although here is not so bad…where did you want touching again?” he grinned.

“Hey” she laughed and batted his hand out of her robe, “get those hands clear”.

“I am just practicing free love” he grinned.

“Practise it anymore and we really will be out here needing that condom” she threatened, although the thought of it suddenly didn’t sound quite so terrible. “My shoulder kills Max. I just need a quick rub”.

“Well okay” he said, “if it’s just a quickie”.

“Max!” Miranda laughed, “no not…” she rolled her eyes, “it’s not a quickie”.

Max grinned and grabbed their stuff, “okay Miss Fussy. You go get to the massage rooms and I’ll follow on. Give you time to get ready, text me when you want me”.


Miranda stopped at the bottom of the stairs when she realised she’d left her phone with Max. She walked back towards the pool when she bumped into Max.

“Hey I was just-“ he started and laughed as Miranda said the same, “your phone”.

Miranda nodded, “let’s just skip the massage for a bit? I think we need to set a plan of how we are going to find out where those cufflinks are”.

Max nodded, “sounds good to me. Maybe we could enjoy some of that champagne too?”

Miranda nodded and they walked back up to their rooms.

“Schiesse” Max said as they got there.

“What?”

“I left my book behind” he said, “I’ll be back” he said and ran off down the hallway, leaving Miranda with the key and their stuff. It was only when she got into the room that she realised she actually had Max’s book in her hands.

“That man” she muttered and plugged their phones into the chargers. She caught sight of herself in the mirror and let the robe drop to the floor. Her hands grazed where the memory of Max’s touch lay.

She shut her eyes, picturing his hands on hers again.

A knock at the door had her scrambling for her robe until she heard Max’s voice.

“Is it open?”

“Uhm, yeah I didn’t lock it”.

“Good. Get on the bed”.

“What?”

Max opened the door a fraction, “get on the bed. Preferably without your robe on”.

Miranda raised her eyebrow and opened the door for Max, “what are you on about?”

“I stole some of the massage oil” he said and held up a bottle of oil.

“Oh” she smiled softly.

Max put the bottle to one side as he leaned against the door, “did I do something wrong?”

“No not at all” she said softly.

Max smiled as she dropped the robe and got onto the bed.

“My hands are warm” Max said as she lay down. He grabbed the bottle and put some oil on his hands before placing them on her back.

“Oil smells good” she muttered, “is it lavender?”

“Ja” Max breathed and moved his fingers up her back. She gripped the sheets as he did.

“Too much?”

“N-no just surprising” she breathed and whimpered as he dug at the knot in her shoulder.

He slid his hands under the bikini and straddled her back to give himself an easier angle within which he could massage her better.

Miranda stifled a moan as he dug at the knot once more.

“Let me know if I am hurting you”.

“Not hurting” she breathed out slowly, “feels good. You are very- o-Ohhh” Miranda cut herself off as Max dug hard against her muscle. Teasing the knot free.

He gulped and retracted his hands.

Her face had, for a second blended into ecstasy, an ecstasy that sent blood rushing through him.

He gulped and placed his hands back to her back, “this is the tricky part” he breathed, “I need to do that a few more times and it’ll be free”.

“Do it” she groaned, “Max”.

Max stroked her spine, “there is a problem though” he whispered, wanting to be brave. He pushed down at the knot again and Miranda let out an undignified moan against the pressure.

“What problem?” she breathed.

“Well…you are making these noises…and I am enjoying them very much”.

“It’s your hands, you know where to make a woman feel good Max”.

Max gulped, “j-ja?”

“Definitely” Miranda said.

“Well I uhm, I guess I-i uhm glad you are feeling good” he whispered, finally managing to get a sentence out again, his fingers grazed the edges of her bikini, teasing her as he said “the knot is out by the way”.

He leaned back as she turned over. Looking up at him she smiled, “you look flushed”.

Max half shrugged and smiled, “you look hot and it's hard not to...” he trailed off as she looked curiously at him.

Miranda sat up, looking at Max again she stroked his face, “do you need anything rubbed?” she teased.

Max laughed, “I can manage”.

“I mean… I could help” she said and rubbed his shoulders, moving herself to kneel up, so that she was closer to him, “I would actually quite like to help you”.

Max gulped and looked at her lips, “ja?”

“Mmm” she smiled and moved towards his lips. It seemed kissing him had unlocked something within her. Something that made her ache for more than his lips this time.

Max turned his head and reached for her robe, “my knee still does hurt. a-And the uh my calf too after the other day”.

He handed it to her and she nodded, “okay”.

She got off him and allowed him to extend his leg out. She put her robe on and sat by his leg, lifting it onto her lap she rubbed at the muscle.

Max watched her movements and smiled, “feels good…thank you”.

Miranda nodded.

He smiled at her and relaxed into the bed, “you know what to do” he groaned.

“Not my first time touching a man” she replied and then looked at him. His eyes shut and she stroked a hand up his calf, "or rubbing parts of him".

Max opened his eyes, and caught her double meaning. He grinned, “nice”.

Miranda leaned back and smiled at him.

“What?”

“You gave me a massage, was clearly turned on by doing it and still are so don’t even bother reaching for that pillow or I will smother you with it. I then proceed to ask you if you wanted me to rub parts of you. We very nearly had sex down at the pool, don't act innocent now”.

Max gulped, “well ja but I just thought you were uhm, well returning the favour and that we were playing couple”. He gulped as she straddled him. She looked at his shirt and made quick work of unbuttoning it and taking it off. Max gripped her wrists as she moved her hands to his belt.

“Miranda i-I…i-I”

“Let me make this very clear, this is me Miranda Blake. And I am straddling Max Winter. Not my fake husband, my very real compañero. I am saying this so that there is no room for confusion or misunderstanding. So that you can understand that this is me saying this not some fake version of me. Okay?”

Max nodded.

Miranda kissed him before she pulled back.

“Do you understand now?”

“No?” he offered.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “Max!” she huffed and got off the bed, “I’m going to have a shower, a very long one. I’m sure you’ll be fine sorting yourself out” she grumbled.

As she tried to walk away, Max kept a grip on her wrist. She looked at him as he stood. Backing her towards the wall.

“I need you to tell me again…what was it?” he murmured and smiled wickedly at her, “oh yes...I remember now”.

He pushed her against the wall and kissed her hard. Rolling his hips into hers as he slipped his hand around to her butt.

He squeezed and Miranda gripped his shoulders, moaning into his mouth, “Max?” she panted.

“Of course I knew what you wanted…what you meant” he grinned and kissed down her neck, “god do you know how much you turn me on? How many nights I have spent” he groaned, “wanting you…crying out your name? Picturing you in a lot less than this bikini…oh schatz”. He lifted her up so that her legs were wrapped tightly around his waist, "I want you Miranda...with every fibre of my being".

He looked at her and she stroked his face, “you have me”.

Max smiled and carried her across to the bed, “I am so glad you asked the receptionist for condoms”.

“Oh yeah?”

Max grinned and kissed her, “I don’t want to leave the bed for a second…” he slipped a hand down her body “so glad” he said and moved down her body, he grinned up at her and with his teeth, unlaced her bottoms, he looked at her quickly, scared she was going to stop him. But Miranda was smiling at him, a real Miranda Blake smile that set his heart alight, “me too”.

 

Chapter Text

 

Miranda woke first, her cheek pressed against Max’s chest. Arms and legs tangled against his. She slowly pulled away from the warmth of his body, clutching at the covers as she sat up. Her hair was a mess she dimly noted, a peppering of red marks against her neck were now on show. "Max" she muttered with a wry grin, and looked at her sleeping compañero, Max hadn’t woken up as she moved. Lying on his back, he was still dead to the world.

They had slept together.

Finally, her mind supplied and she stared at his chest moving up and down. At the man who had pressed kisses to her thighs. Gripped her, held her, touched her.

She shivered at the ghost of Max’s touch on her skin. The ways his hands held her so gently. Pulling her close and holding her.

And how she had enjoyed it, holding on tightly. Moving to their own rhythm, bruising each other with kisses and whispers of more. Promises of more. She slipped a hand through her hair and allowed herself a private smile.

Was this true happiness? Sleeping, having sex with, a man who knew her. And not just knew her, but a man who seemed to have making her happy wired into his DNA.

A knock at the door disturbed her thoughts.

“Detective?”

Miranda grabbed her robe and slipped it around her body. Max stirred but didn’t wake.

She opened the door, “Hello?”

Nobody was there, but there was a note.

She bent to pick it up and looked down the hallway, “hello?” she called. She shrugged and moved back into their room. She glanced across at Max and saw he was still asleep.

She sat down, letting the robe hang off her shoulders as she read the note.

“CCTV is everywhere” she muttered.

Max stirred and looked around at his surroundings. He didn’t remember falling asleep. The last he remembered was Miranda against his skin. Both basking in one another. Breathing the other in. Not wanting to break the spell of love.

Miranda.

They’d slept together. He smiled and opened his eyes, he wanted to make good on the promise of not leaving the bed.

He looked for her and saw her sitting at the end of the bed, robe hanging off her shoulders, in the mirror he saw her frowning over a note.

He sat up and kissed her shoulder, moving his lips up to her neck.

Miranda hummed and he could see in the mirror she was enjoying his actions. Fighting off a smile as he played with her robe.

“What have you got there?” he asked as he snaked a hand under her robe.

“A note”.

“Mmm” Max grinned, “not what I was asking” and felt Miranda lean to his touch, “is it important?” he asked and kissed her neck, tugging down the robe as he did. He moved his lips down, nibling her skin knowing how much she had enjoyed it before.

It took her a while to reply, and when he did he knew they had to behave.

“Yeah” she breathed and he removed his hand, “says that there is CCTV everywhere”.

Max stroked her hair and she looked at him.

“We will continue later” he smiled and kissed her, “come on. We should get dressed and investigate”.


Miranda had Max look out as she searched the receptionists’ computer, searching for access to where the cameras might be.

“Miranda” Max whispered, “have you found anything yet?”

“Nothing about CCTV but there is this” she said and held up a note, “look” she snuck back around, “the writing matches our note. The receptionist possibly knows we are Detectives, I mean it was Inés who set us up with the booking?”

Max nodded, “what about the cufflinks?”

“Nothing on that” Miranda sighed, “is there any evidence that it was a theft? All we’ve got is his word for it and he won't even see us...I mean what man asks for discretion, but he doesn’t want us to properly investigate?”

Max sighed, “I know…but if we can’t solve it by the end of tomorrow then maybe we just phone Inés and ask for help. Ask to see if we can –

“Can I help you two?”

Miranda flashed a smile at the receptionist, only it backfired when she realised that she had the note in her hands.

The receptionist frowned, “where did you get that?”

“Well I-I”

“Are you Detectives?”

Miranda nodded.

“o-Oh. I thought it was…never mind” she said.

“We are undercover” Max said, “we’re investigating your boss’ husband’s missing cufflinks?”

“Oh. I thought you were here about the missing maid”.

“Missing maid?” Miranda asked.

“Yeah, she was only a temp so I thought she just left but then now you are saying about the cufflinks? Maybe she stole them…I didn’t really know her. But I had to cover her shift”.

“What was her name?”

“Oh uhm, Erica…never got her last name”.

Max nodded, “do you think she could have taken the cuffs and then done a runner?”

“Well yeah. I mean everyone knew the cuffs were worth a fortune and if they are gone…”.

“How could she have accessed them?”

“Well I suppose uhm, she could’ve…I mean there isn’t actually a way. I don’t even know the codes”.

“So a woman goes missing at the same time a supposedly impossible crime is committed?” Max wondered.

“Your note said CCTV was everywhere? Why did you tell us its only in the staff area?”

“Well it’s to reassure the public. People pay a lot of money to come here and well be free…you two did”.

“We didn’t do that” Max countered.

“We have CCTV everywhere to ensure that if a crime happens on one of our guests then they have evidence”.

“Have you ever had to use it?”

“No”.

Miranda nodded, “okay, well, can we have a photo of this Erica?”

“Oh we don’t have photos. I’ve checked over the CCTV as well and she’s gone from it. Like someone has re-taped over it o-or messed with the CCTV...actually, no I do have one, we went out one night” the receptionist said and fumbled in her bag for her phone.

Miranda rubbed her head, this wasn’t helpful or making the investigation any easier.

The woman grinned and held up her phone before flicking through it, “o-Oh…huh, I could’ve sworn there were plenty of photos”.

Max shot Miranda a look.

Helpful he mouthed.

“Do you at least remember what she looked like?”

“Blonde, athletic, slim build you look a lot like her Mrs Winter”.

“It’s Detective Blake” Miranda said, “looks like me?”

“Mmmhm, well, she was a bit taller maybe and had better taste in clothes” the receptionist laughed and Miranda smiled tightly.

“What was your name again?” she asked, “I don’t think we asked before”.

“Her name was Erica” she replied, “look I don’t really care about her I just thought it was odd that she didn’t turn up and now if my boss has lost his cufflinks…look I know you are investigating but I really need to get back to work. And I would appreciate it if you didn’t go through my things”.

“Okay but can we check the area where the cufflinks were kept?” Max asked and pulled Miranda away from the desk when it looked like she was going to become feisty.

“Sure thing”.

She tossed him the keys, “anything else?”

“How old was Erica?” Miranda asked.

“20”.

Miranda nodded and followed Max through a door marked STAFF ONLY.

Neither saw the receptionist take off a wig to reveal she was blonde. She smirked and pulled out her phone, “oh yeah. Exact match. Think so…going to check the rooms now…why are you doing this to them again? The fat one? Okay okay I'm sorry Lena!”


Max looked at the safe, it was high up and impossible for a person of average height to reach, “thumbprint access only? Schiesse this is over us” he groaned.

Miranda eyed it and then looked around at the desk, “don’t be too sure...didn't you think the receptionist was odd?” she asked and searched the desk.

"What makes you say that?"

"That was the second time I've asked her for her name and she's ignored me".

"Hmm...why refuse to give a name..."

"Exactly" Miranda said and grinned, "thumbprint access only?"

"Ja, it’s impossible. I bet it’s an insurance scam and Inés has been worked up over nothing. Maybe the receptionist is in on it too”.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “just because it looks like it doesn’t mean it isn’t possible Max. Boost me up?”

Max looked at her now clutching a roll of Sellotape.

“What have you got that for?” but he stuck his knee out for her to stand on to get to the safe. She blew against the scanner and pressed tape to it. It beeped once and then opened.

“Voila” she smiled down at Max and he gripped her hips and hugged her, “you are a genius”.

“Nope. Just spent a lot of time with Roberto and his fingerprint club”.

“What?” he asked, looking confused. Rorberto had never mentioned to him about a fingerprint club.

Miranda laughed at his expression, “I’m joking Max. I watched a film once and these people were trapped, and the only way out was through a thumbprint scanner. They used tape”.

Max breathed a sigh of relief and smiled as she kissed his cheek, “let’s take a look inside then”.

He stood on his tip toes and peered in, “huh…there are cufflinks”.

Miranda looked at him as he got them out, “look. See they are engraved too…it’s a match…but why would you report them missing if they are-”.

“Just who the hell are you?”


They sat opposite Phillip Leyworth as he put his cufflinks away.

“I am so sorry my sister seems to have set you both up” Phillip stated, “I am a single man and I do not have any staff called Erica. But you are both welcome to stay for the remainder of your booking it is all paid for”.

“But, why did she do that?” Max pressed, eager to understand why Inés had sent them and why the receptionist had told them about Erica.

“Maybe she lives to annoy you both?” Phillip stated, “look I am a very busy man. And I have told you already that she lied, go and enjoy yourselves. Most of my clients do”.

“Your receptionist, what was her name?” Miranda asked.

“What do you mean her? My receptionist is a man” Phillip replied, “now really Detectives, go enjoy yourselves”.


“Do you ever get the feeling that you are being watched?” Miranda asked as they walked up to their room. The receptionist had gone, a brunette wig had been tossed into the bin, confirming that the woman they had spoken to, was a fraud.

“Mmm. Hey did you ever read that note that came with the champagne?”

“Huh? Oh uh no, it’s still in my jeans” Miranda admitted, “got a bit too distracted to read it”.

Max nodded and let them into their room. It had been tided since their escapade and Max blushed as he saw the oil had been left.

Miranda moved to her jeans and slipped her hand down the pocket and retrieved the note.

 

Max and Miranda, relax and do not disturb me for a few days.

Inés

 

Max looked up as he noticed Miranda scowling at the note. He moved to her and accepted her angry toss of the note.

“What is it?” he asked and read the note, “oh”.

“She played us” Miranda huffed. “She lied to us to get us here a-and and now we might actually have a problem because of that bloody receptionist!” Miranda angrily spat.

“Schatz I wouldn’t worry too much about that woman. Inés probably employed her to keep us away from solving things too quickly. Look you said you wanted a shower earlier…why don’t you have a bath? I’ll order us some room service and we can relax for a bit”.

Miranda grumbled but sighed as Max’s lips found her shoulders. His arms enveloping her into his chest.

“If you behave, I might find myself tempted to join you”.

She turned in his arms and kissed him, slipping her tongue against his as she held him in the kiss before she pulled back and rested her head against his chest, “I just need to be alone for a bit”.

Max kissed her head and nodded, “okay. Would you like a glass of champagne in there?”

“No…I’ll save that for later. Champagne in bed sounds fancier than a cup of tea. I don’t think they even have that here”.

“I am sure they do” Max smiled, “now you need to relax frau”.

“Not your wife really though…not if this is all a game of Inés’” Miranda sighed and slipped the ring off her finger and handed it to Max.

He looked at her and held her hand, “I know you are not. But if it all the same to you, I-i i would like you to keep it”.

“What? Max y-“

“It looks way better on you than it does me” he cut in, shyly, and slipped the ring back on her finger.

“Max-“

He cut her off with a kiss, “I think my Mama would be okay with this. I like you a lot Miranda. And my Mama would’ve too”.

“Well I hope a little bit differently than how you like me” Miranda muttered but she smiled at him, “did you want to join me in the shower? O-Or bath?”

“As much as I want to get my hands on you again, you wanted some time to yourself. Have a bath and I'll be waiting after for you”.

Miranda looked relieved as he answered, and he knew he did the right thing.

Chapter Text

Max poured two glasses of champagne, sipping one, he smiled. He had to hand it to Inés, it was a good choice, as Miranda was in the bathroom he put on a film. They had been strictly told to relax. And if that had meant Inés had made some case up to ensure they did just that. Then maybe they should just listen to her orders.

“Max?”

Max looked in the doorway and saw Miranda smiling, she had a towel wrapped around her body, but she looked content.

“Relaxed?”

“Very” she confirmed and approached the bed.

“Champagne?” he asked and held up the glass.

“Sure” Miranda said and grabbed the clothes she had set out for bed, she huffed as she saw Max had hidden her bag and the rest of her clothes, “did you speak to Inés?”

“I tried but I went straight to voicemail. I think she is avoiding us” Max said and handed her the glass. She sipped it and he played with the towel.

“I was thinking” Max began.

“Dangerous” Miranda grinned as he began to open the towel.

“Maybe we should…do that free love. Take part in it…we’re still booked in for that massage by the way. A-And if we hurry we could go now and do it”.

Miranda rolled her eyes but let the towel fall away, “I’ve just had a bath I don’t want to be getting hot and sweaty again”.

Max groaned and stroked her thigh, “you cannot walk around naked and not expect me to want it”.

“You took my towel away” she pointed out but smiled and sat beside him, “and my clothes are nowhere to be seen”.

Max grinned, “what a shame that is”.

She sipped the drink and looked at the tv, “what are you watching?”

“You” he smiled and kissed her, slipping his hand against her hip. Moving it down.

“Max” Miranda groaned, “I said I don’t want to be getting hot and sweaty”.

Max nodded and kissed down her neck, “all you have to do is lie back”.

“Oh” Miranda smiled and looked at him, “well I can get on board with that”.


Miranda relaxed in one of his larger shirts as they finished the champagne off, Max’s hand rested on her thigh as he dozed beside her. Apparently worn out.

“Hey, we need food” Miranda said, stroking his face, “Max come on it’s not like you to miss a meal” she laughed, and moved to place her glass down. The room spun for a second before she dropped it. She blinked twice before she turned to Max who had face planted her thigh as she moved.

“Max I think that the champagne was…” she trailed off as she fell back to the sheets, asleep.

 

She was being chased down into a tunnel, her hand was gripped tightly into someone elses’. She was being dragged she suddenly noticed. Away from whatever was chasing her.

Something bad was happening.

There was no lights and she fell down twice. Crying out.

Another hand grabbed her throat and she screamed as she felt a gun against her head.

 

Miranda sat up fast, to a dark room, a hand clamped firmly down on her thigh.

“Max” she cried out.

Her nerves and fear of claustrophobia suddenly heightened in the darkness.

“Max” she tried again and shook him.

Max nuzzled closer to her, he wrinkled his nose and groaned, “what?”

“Max” she repeated, hands shaking as she fumbled for the light switch.

Max winced as the light was turned on, “Miranda?”

She shivered and he sat up, “Schatz what’s wrong?” he rubbed her back.

“Max i-i I hate the dark”.

“I know”.

“No i-I mean i-I really hate the dark. I can’t sleep in it ever”.

“Oh…is that why you like the light being on?”

“Yeah” Max kissed her head before frowning as she pulled away. Standing up she cried out suddenly.

“Miranda?!” he darted to her side and she pressed a hand to his chest as she limped, “n-no. Don’t. There’s glass”.

Max looked down and saw she had prevented him from standing in the now broken champagne flute.

“Shit” she breathed.

“Okay hang on” Max said and stood away from the glass, lifting her into his arms he carried her around to his side of the bed. Lying her on it he looked at her foot.

“Just a few scratches hold on” he murmured and gently plucked the shards out. Miranda whimpered and he smiled at her. Moving to sit at the foot of the bed

“All gone, now are you going to tell me why you are so afraid of the dark?”

“i-I n-“ Miranda sighed and moved to sit by him, “when I was a kid…I think I was about 3 or 4 maybe…my bedroom light broke. I don’t know why it wasn’t fixed right away but they refused to put a replacement in. Said only babies have a light. I had nightmares a lot…really bad ones. Sleeping in the dark always ensured they came back. we lived in the hills so it always got dark really quickly. You’d see things that weren’t there…”

Max nodded, “well we can always sleep with the light on. I meant it before you know? When I said I don’t mind sleeping with it on. I want to make sure you are comfortable”.

Miranda nodded and looked at her foot, “doesn’t look so bad now”.

Max rubbed her shoulders, “I’m sorry for turning the light off”.

“You were asleep before me” Miranda commented, “fell asleep halfway through the…film”.

“Oh…huh” Max muttered and looked at the lights, “they aren’t on any timers are they?”

“No I don’t think so”.

Max nodded, “somehow this spa is less relaxing than I hoped. I can’t believe we slept though dinner, I am starving”.

“Me too” Miranda admitted, “did you want to get room service?”


After ordering room service and finding they had closed for the night, Max, checked the time, “look, it’s only 3…let’s try and get some sleep. We both don’t work as well as we could when we are tired”.

Miranda nodded, “guess we should at least attempt it”.

Max nodded, “I’ll just clean the glass away first. Don’t want to forget about it in the morning? And then maybe we could…”

Miranda placed her hand on his arm, “Max, I-I really liked what we did. I did. But this is all very new to me. Sex and then sleeping repeatedly with the same person”.

Max nodded, “well I can dial back on the sex. But I do like sleeping beside you”.

“I like sleeping beside you too” she admitted with a small smile, “sorry look I know I was all for it earlier, but I just feel weird here. Like someone is watching us. It feels really weird to be even thinking about sex in this spa when they practise free love, the receptionists are a fraud and-“ Miranda cut off and looked at Max’s leftover champagne, “oh”. She grabbed it and sniffed, “smell”.

Max looked at her like she had grown a second head but sniffed.

“Wow okay how did I not notice that” he said, “that smells…bitter…not good…but it tasted fine?”

Max looked at her again, “do you uhm, you do not think that maybe were drugged do you?”

“But why would someone want to drug us and how could they? That champagne was sealed right?”

“Yeah there was no way anyone could- oh that’s clever” Max muttered, “look” he muttered and held up the glass to the light. At the bottom of the glass they both saw the faint trace of discolouration. The champagne was a pearlescent colour, although towards the bottom it had been growing less so.

“Someone put something in our glasses to make us pass out,” Miranda stated and looked at the door, “someone’s been in our room”.

Max placed a hand on her knee and stood, motioning for her to be quiet as he approached it.

He moved around to the door and checked it, “it’s locked from the inside”.

“What?”

Max moved to the bathroom as Miranda moved over to the window, checking it, “window is shut”.

“There’s no sign of anything untoward in here…although” Max held up a pair of pants, and grinned at her, “I did find these though”.

Miranda snatched them off him and tried to look mad at him.

“You know red is my favourite colour” he grinned at her, “and I am delighted that you own a pair of red pants”.

“I own more than a pair” she replied and batted his hands from her hips, “stop it”.

Max grinned.

“So, you are still commando?”

“I’ve had to be since you hid my bag” Miranda huffed, “and I thought were not talking about sex Max”.

“This isn’t sex. This is me discovering that you aren’t wearing anything but my shirt” he grinned.

“Oh don’t be so clever” Miranda rolled her eyes but she was smiling.

Max laughed and hugged her, “come on…admit you still want me”.

Miranda wriggled free, squealing as he held tight, fingers tugging the shirt up.

“Nooo” she laughed and he lifted her up. Holding her over his shoulder he carried her towards the bathroom.

“Max?”

Max smiled at her in the mirror, “ohh Schatz nice butt”.

“What? Max!” Miranda laughed, “put me down!”

“I don’t want you to put weight on that foot of yours” Max stated but he slid her down. She hovered her foot up.

“Well that solves that problem” Max stated.

“Mmhmm”.

Miranda straightened his shirt as he grinned down at her.

His hand slipped up her shirt and rested against it on her back, “you are very sexy” he grinned.

“Am I now?”

“Ja big time”.

“What leads you to that conclusion?” Miranda asked.

“Well” Max began, “I have seen what you look like naked, very hot” he pointed out, “what you are like when my hands touch here” he grinned and moved his hand slightly. Miranda gripped him but kept her face composed, “cheat” she whimpered as he adjusted his hand.

“Yeah?” Max grinned and moved it more.

At this she curled towards his touch.

“You like?”

“Mmm” she nodded, “very much”.

Max grinned and removed his hand, “good”.

“Hey!” Miranda laughed, “you can’t start and not finish”.

“Oh I am sure you can manage” he grinned, “I heard you having fun without me earlier. My my Miranda, I didn’t think you did that”.

Miranda gripped his hand and pulled it back to her thighs, “if you don’t keep up your actions, I’ll be doing what I did earlier…and you won’t be able to watch” she hissed.

Max kissed her and lifted her to wrap her legs around his waist, “damn you wretched woman” he moaned into her mouth as she tossed the shirt onto the floor. He pressed her against the shower wall and unzipped his shorts, “you drive me so crazy you know?”

“Less talking” she breathed, “more action”.

“Oh I am all about the act” he grinned, “shall I bother with the foreplay?” he asked, teasing her.

“Max if you even think about pulling away from me right now I won’t be walking out of this spa with bruises on my knees. And I don’t mean the kind you get from falling over”.

Max looked at her, gulping, his eyes growing wide as she arched her body closer to his, “yes ma’am”.

 


 

Inés looked up from her computer screen to see Max and Miranda, arms folded, standing in her office, “you still have your rings on” she commented before she sipped her now cold, coffee.

“Did you get the cuffs?”

“Oh we found the cuffs” Max said, “Phillip was very pleased”.

“Good” Inés remarked, “so why are in my office?”

Miranda placed a glass on Inés desk.

Inés leaned back and looked at the two of them, “if this is your idea of some sort of joke Detective. It must be lost in translation”.

“We were drugged” Miranda stated, “the next time you want us to go and relax and maybe have some time off, I really would appreciate it if you didn’t drug us!”

Inés’ eyebrows shot up, “drugged? Are you sure?”

“Yes, we are sure” Max replied, “we both had a drink and passed out”.

“Are you sure you are not just lightweights?”

“Believe us or not, but I know what happened” Miranda replied, “I know what being drugged feels like and that was exactly it. Come on Max”.

Max followed Miranda out as Inés just shook her head at her officers. Wondering why they had even bothered to come and annoy her in the first place. It was as if they thought she didn’t have work of her own to be getting on with.

“What do you mean you know what being drugged feels like?” Max asked, pulling her into a doorway.

“Back in the MET I got drugged. Nothing happened I just woke up in a car boot”.

Nothing happened?!”

“I was fine Max. Mostly. But I know we were right. I know something’s occurring in Mallorca that even Inés can’t see”.

“So, what do you suppose we do?”

Miranda sighed, “I guess we just…go back to how we were? Try and lure whoever is working against us out”.

Max nodded, “wait. What do you mean go back to how we were? You don’t mean we should-“

Max cut off as an officer walked past. He looked down at Miranda, “you don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t continue...d-do you?”

“Max it’s not as easy as that. I don’t want you hurt” she stated.

“And dumping me is not hurting me?”

“Well we never actually said we were together…as far as the spa is concerned it was a night or two of good sex. Nothing more”.

“Ja understood” Max snapped and walked off down the corridor, away from Miranda.

“Oh you overdramatic melon-headed idiot” Miranda hissed and stormed after Max.

“Oi” she called.

“Oi!” she repeated as he ignored her. She raced after him, running down the steps and darting out to his car.

“Max wait!” she called and slammed her hands on his bonnet.

He glared at her, “what?”

“If you’d’ve just listened to me I would’ve explained” she continued, “look. I really enjoyed it. Really. What scares me, however, is the fact that someone broke into our rooms whilst we were sleeping, they drugged us and watched us. Remember by the pool? We heard the door slam…and the receptionist, not revealing her name…the wig… Max, someone is watching us very closely. O-Or they know us” she approached him and sat on the side of his car, she stroked his face.

“You are the most important thing in my life Max. I want so desperately to do the right thing”.

Max groaned and pulled her into the car, she yelped and clutched him, “you do drive me crazy you know that?”

He kissed her and rested his head against hers, “I don’t know how we will face this mystery Miranda but know that I will – we will face it together. There is no separation. No tearing us apart okay? Whatever we do we do together”.

“Max-“

“If you say no I won’t do that thing you liked so much”.

Miranda eyed him suspiciously, “and what thing is that exactly?”

Max grinned, “oh you know… when your legs were wrapped around my –“

“-Okay okay I give in” Miranda cut in, “we do this together. Everything. Together”.

Max smiled, “that’s my Schatz”.

 

Chapter Text

In a dimly lit apartment in the old town, a woman and a man were watching two Detectives flirting over an ice-cream. The taller of the two gripped the smaller one and pulled her close. His spies had told him they were not together but rather insufferably flirting day after day. Clearly his spies were not as good as he had once thought.

“They don’t look like much do they?” the woman asked.

“No” the man agreed, “they don’t. But they are a pain in the backside I’ll tell you. Especially the woman”.

“Oh, I’ve got Juan ready for her. He’s just wanting to spend a little time honing his crafts”.

“Juan? Another man to add to the bill?”

“Peterson. I’m paying him, you’re not the only one who has a vendetta against Miranda Blake”.

“Just be careful. Hurt her and he’ll come running”.

“Oh, I’ve got a plan for him. Even Juan doesn’t know about it”.

“All this for the love of a man?”

“Oh, remind me how your daughter is again? Oh yes, that’s right. Arrested and your wife is where exactly?”

The man gripped the woman’s throat tightly and slammed her against the window, forcing her to look down at the now squabbling Detectives. The female Detective was slapping at her partners wandering hands. Laughing as he then played with her shirt.

“Keep talking like that and I might make an example out of you before you get to see what fun Juan does to her...but I swear if you kill her before I get to, I'll end your life”.

The woman struggled, kicking out against the man’s surprising strength, “okay! Okay!”

He let her go and looked down as the Detectives’ kissed. He smirked, yeah, they are really not together.

He watched as the man looked around as his partner pulled him towards an alley, backing them into it with a grin. He’d smile at their secrecy if he didn’t want them dead so much.

Detective Max Winter and Detective Miranda Blake.

 

 A Few Weeks Later

 

“So what do you say we-“ he glanced across at Miranda who had fallen asleep on the journey home.

“You know if you keep falling asleep on me Miranda” he chuckled and pulled up outside her apartment complex.

“Miranda” he said softly, hesitant to wake her.

“Miranda?” he repeated and nudged her shoulder, “Blakey”.

When she failed to wake, he chuckled, “okay then” before he started the car again, turning off the radio as it sparked to life.

He drove up the street and turned, briefly slowing as he approached where he usually parked to drop her off. She still didn’t wake so he just shrugged and smiled.

“Blakey are you faking just so you can get into my bed again?”

He chuckled and turned right down a side street. He thought she would wake if he drove a little longer. But he hoped she wouldn’t. She never looked like she got enough sleep. And if he was honest, he wanted her back in his bed again. It had been too long since he woke up with her in his arms.

As he parked his car underneath his apartment, he looked across at Miranda.

“You awake yet Blakey?”

“No” she grumbled and opened an eye.

Max laughed, “come on then get out”.

She looked around, “this isn’t my place”.

“Nope, it’s mine. Come on”.

“Max-“

“Hey, you were asleep when we got to yours…twice. Come on”.

“Max”.

“I will carry you if you do not move” he threatened.

She glared but got out of the car.

“You carry me I will end you in your sleep”.

“You fell asleep in my car for the third time this week” he countered, “I’m just looking out for you” he added softly.

“So, if I hadn’t of woken up then what would you have done?”

“Carried you” Max shrugged, “look...we are outside my apartment, it’s late, just stay? I promise I will have you outside of your building early so you can change? Come on it won’t be the first time we’ve done it”.

“Fine” Miranda yawned. She tried to cover it with her hand but Max caught it.

“You have been getting enough sleep haven’t you? I know we haven’t been able to sleep together recently but…”

Miranda thought about lying but shrugged, “not really. I try but I wake up every night at 3 and I can’t get back to sleep. I’ve tried everything…even going to sleep at 12 but then I wake up”.

Max nodded, “and you are still sleeping with a light on right?”

“Yeah course”.

“Have you tried reading or maybe watching a film?”

“Not really…I think I just miss being with you”.

Max smiled, “knew it. Once you slept with me you were powerless to resist my charms”.

“More like your arms but whatever” Miranda grinned, “you gonna let me sleepover?”

“Only if you behave yourself” he grinned.

“Do I have to?”

Max laughed, “do you ever?”

They walked up towards his apartment, she knew she was welcome in his apartment, knew she was more than welcome to stay the night too. But ever since they had discovered someone was watching them, they had kept their private moments few and far between. Lingering touches, kisses, small moments of affection when they knew they weren’t being watched.

But sometimes, when all of their intimate moments and gestures became super charged with electricity, it led to a lot less searching for clues and a few minutes of giving into their desires. As his hand rested on her elbow, she knew this was starting to be one of them.

“Would you like a hot drink?” he asked softly.

“I uhm-“

“Only I remember you sometimes like warm drinks at night even on the hot ones”.

Miranda nodded, “I would…thank you”.

“I have tea or would you prefer milk?”

“You have tea? Since when did you get tea?”

“My compañera likes tea, I have tea” he smiled.

“Tea would be lovely…thank you”.

“Milk in first?”

Miranda shot him a look that Max knew, would’ve been lethal if looks could be. She moved very slowly, pointedly, towards him. Max gulped, maybe her look wasn’t going to kill him but she might just do that herself.

She grabbed his shirt and pulled him close, so that their lips were nearly touching. Miranda smiled as Max let out a whimper.

“Tea bag goes in first” she whispered, “then the water, then the milk. Never ever put the milk in first”.

Max laughed as she pecked his lips and let him go. He nodded, “is it a crime against British people to do that then?”

“Yes” she replied with a seriousness that made him believe her for a fraction of a second. She grinned at him, “no, it just doesn’t taste right if you put the milk in first”.

Max nodded, “then I won’t do that. Uh if you want, you can borrow a shirt of mine? There are a load in the drawer that I don’t wear that often. And you always look sexy when you wear my clothes”.


As Max made them both a snack and drinks, Miranda got changed into one of his shirts. She looked out of his window and down at the streets below.

Max appeared in the doorway and smiled at her, hugging her waist. He placed their food and drinks on the table by his sofa and approached her.

“Hey” he smiled.

Miranda looked at him and smiled, “hi”.

“You look very content” he stated.

“I always feel content here”.

Max nodded and smiled, “I made us a snack too”.

Miranda nodded and followed him towards the living room. She sat on the sofa as he put music on. It wasn’t Max’s usual choice, it was softer. And she could recognise it.

“Is that Mahler?”

“Ja” Max smiled, “glad you recognise it”.

Miranda nodded and smiled at the snack, a cheese and crisp sandwich. He smiled at her.

“I saw you binning your lunch earlier”.

“I didn’t trust it”.

Max laughed, “what?”

Miranda shrugged and brought her knees to her chest and started to eat her sandwich.

Max sipped his coffee.

“It just…don’t laugh” she sighed, “I made myself a cheese sandwich okay?”

“Uhh okay” he said.

“And I always put a bit of butter in, then cheese and then crisps but – “

Miranda sighed, “no it’s stupid”.

“It’s not” Max said and sat beside her, “not if you believe it”.

“I think someone changed it”.

“What?”

Miranda turned to look at him, “I think someone changed it. I think someone got my bag, knows I have cheese sandwiches and changed it”.

“What made you think that?”

Miranda ignored his question, favouring instead to finish her sandwich.

“Miranda” he said softly, touching her knee.

She looked at him, “I ran out of my normal cheddar, so I used my spare…Red Leicester, it’s not as good but it works, and when I opened up the sandwich it was my normal Cheddar Cheese”.

“Oh”.

Miranda nodded, hugging herself, “feels like I can’t even go shopping now without someone watching me”.

Max moved her plate and pulled her into his arms, “I think you did the right thing you know? We both know someone is watching us and if you doubted the food then it is a good thing you binned it. I don’t want you to be drugged ever again”.

Miranda rested against his chest and sighed, “I’m really lucky to have you aren’t I?”

Max kissed her head and smiled, “no my love, it is I who is lucky to have you”. Miranda sighed softly and her hand fell to his hip.

“Schatz?” he asked and smiled as he saw she was asleep, “okay my love…okay”.


Max glanced across at Miranda sleeping in his bed. She had fallen asleep on his sofa before she could finish her tea, but Max being the gentleman, had opted to carry her and put her somewhere comfier. His bed being the only option despite how much he liked her resting his chest.

She stirred and curled her body closer and he pulled a blanket over her body.

“Max” she mumbled in her sleep.

“Mmm?”

“Max” she repeated and smiled before turning her head.

Max smiled, “sweet dreams schatz…maybe in those we can be free to love freely with only our eyes on one another”.

“Max?” she muttered again, only this time he knew she was awake.

“Ja?”

“Time is it?” she mumbled.

“Uh. It’s only just gone 12…why?”

She replied with an unintelligible answer so Max laughed, “roll over I can’t hear you”.

Miranda made an attempt to, but only enough so that Max could hear her.

“Get in…s’bedtime”.

“Okay” he whispered, “is it okay if I sleep shirtless tonight? Only it’s warm”.

Miranda’s reply was a gentle hum and Max smiled, taking his shirt off. He tossed it to his washing bin and got into the bed behind Miranda. She turned and wrapped her arms around him and rested her head on his chest.

“Comfy?”

“Mmm, very”.

“Good…goodnight Schatz” he said and kissed her head, risking a moment of intimacy with his compañera. They could be free in his home, so he didn’t know why he felt like he was risking the world as he pressed his lips to her head.

She rested her hand against his shoulder and drew herself even closer, “g’night Max” she smiled.


After realising Miranda had slept through 3AM, even getting to 6, Max smiled. He stroked her back as she woke up, “morning”.

She seemed to be assessing something as she gazed at him. Max chuckled, “we just slept. Nothing else, get your mind out of the gutter Blake” he teased.

Miranda blushed and sat up, “what time is it?”

“6” he said.

“What? Really?” she looked at him.

“Ja…guess you just needed my loving arms” he pointed out and sat up.

She nodded, “I know we had a rule s-so thank you for letting me stay”.

“It’s not a problem. You needed it and I am only glad I could help”.

Miranda nodded, “uh I’m just going to get changed”.

“Oh ja sorry” he said and averted his gaze, he knew she’d taken off her trousers and slept in his shirt, but he didn’t know exactly how much or little she’d left on. And thoughts about what she did or didn’t have on usually led to them being late for Inés yelling at them or work.

Thoughts of what she had or didn’t have on underneath rushed through his mind regardless and sent his pulse racing. The bed dipped as she put her shoes on.

“Done”.

“That was quick” he noted and looked at her.

She half smiled.

“I was suddenly aware I was only wearing your shirt” Miranda flushed, “wanted to be quick”.

Max nodded and then realised just how much she held tight to him. Her body pressing to his, legs clinging to his chest.

“I might need a few minutes” he admitted.

“That’s fine, I’ll make us a drink, coffee?”

Max smiled, “that would be great, thank you”.

Miranda stood and brushed her trousers down before she looked at Max who was rubbing his face. He had instantly reverted back to basking in the warmth of waking up to Miranda in his bed. Recently work hadn’t allowed for much time together in that way, or even having much sex, but the option was always lurking, simmering against the two. When they had found a chance to sleep together, and they did just sleep together, they gravitated to the other, always waking up in a tangle of limbs and warm kisses.

“Ohh you need more than a few minutes…shame I can’t help you” Miranda teased, jumping him out of his thoughts. She laughed before moving to the kitchen as he tossed a pillow her way.


Max emerged fully dressed as she sipped her drink.

“Finished?”

Max rolled his eyes, “it’s your fault”.

“How is it my fault?” she asked bemused.

“You told me you only slept in my shirt”.

“Well yeah but I had my pants on Max. I know you and your wandering hands Max Winter. I wasn’t feeling like playing last night” Miranda countered making Max blush.

“Well if you were never intending on playing” Max pouted and Miranda drew him into a kiss.

“I’ll play once we can discover who is watching us. I don’t want you dead because neither one of us couldn’t stop being handsy”.

Max laughed, “ja well when I wake up to your thighs around my body I am only thinking of one thing Schatz so I am not sorry for waking up like that”.

Miranda shrugged, “it’s not your fault” she chuckled, “a… it’s biology and b… I’m hot”.

Max laughed, “ja that you are”.

Miranda smiled and kissed him, “tonight…if we can get a chance to be together we can be handsy tonight”.

Max smiled and nodded.

“And anyway, I seemed to sleep much better by being around you and I’ve barely been sleeping recently what with this case hanging over us so it works out for me too”.

“You said you have been trying” Max pointed out, “and if you wanted sex, well I am always happy to oblige on that area”.

“Tempting as you are I’m going to decline for now” Miranda stated before she sighed, “look…I probably haven’t been trying as much as I could be. Maybe it is because I missed being in your bed and my mind created an excuse to sleep with you again. But we are adults Max. I can sleep with you and wake up to you aroused without wanting to ride you like a horse”.

Miranda turned her back to him as she searched for the tea bags.

“Well that’s a nice image you put in my mind. Just when I was thinking I was safe” Max grumbled.

“Well you’re the one who seems to think I can’t cope with sleeping with you without it leading somewhere. Sometimes it’s nice to just wake up to an arm around my waist or resting against your chest”.

“Well that brings me nicely round to my next question…if you want uhm, we could…well I was just thinking maybe you could stay more…we pull a few late shifts maybe? You said you thought someone got into your bag so maybe it’s safer if we stay together. I-I don’t want what we do to just be about sex Miranda.”

Miranda caught his meaning, “oh yeah?”

“And naturally we will be too tired to get to your apartment and mine is so much closer to work that you just stay…at mine…with me…in bed”.

Miranda nodded, “I think that sounds agreeable…as long as Inés doesn’t find out. I hate it when she has her smug told you so face on. And when she finds out about us she is going to be so smug it’s going to drive me-“

Max cut her off with a kiss as he hugged her waist, “Schatz. Don’t you think, after the spa…that Inés already knows about us?”

“Did you tell her?” she asked.

“What? No! No I am scared of her… you think I’d tell her that you and are I- well…we haven’t actually…”

Miranda stroked a finger up Max’s chest, silencing him. She didn't want him to add to what they were, yet. She didn’t know. She just knew she wanted this. Wanted him. Max smiled at her and she glanced at the clock, “we’ve got a couple of minutes you know?”

“We do?” Max asked and looked at the clock, he looked back at Miranda, “we don-“

“Oh” she murmured and drew him closer, “maybe my watch must be a little bit fast…hope that doesn’t get us in to trouble someday” she smiled and pulled him to her lips.

 


“Three murders, all within the space of a few hours” Inés said grimly as Max and Miranda appeared in the office. The latter’s hair slightly messy and the former’s shirt buttoned up wrong. Inés assessed them in a blink and narrowed her eyes across the room.

“They all have no connection to one another apart from the startlingly obvious looks, blonde hair. Slim build. Young. They vary in ages from 20 to 36. Blake, Winter. Go wait in my office you are very late”.

“But-“ Max began.

Now” Inés ordered and as they moved to her office, Miranda caught sight of the victims.

They all looked remarkably like her. One was familiar to her, she couldn’t place her but she knew that she’d seen her before.

Inés carried on speaking to her officers as Max and Miranda waited in her office like a pair of naughty school children.

“What do you suppose this is about?” Max asked her.

Miranda shrugged, although a sinking feeling in the bottom of her heart unnerved her.

“Thank you, Detectives” Inés said as she entered the room, “as you might’ve gathered. This is an incredibly tough decision for me to have to make and not one I make lightly” she said, looking at Miranda.

“Okay?” Max said, now averting his gaze to Miranda. He felt a fear run down his spine. Just an hour ago he had her in his arms, smiling and laughing at his jokes.

And now he feared he might not ever get the chance to hold her like that again.

“And I am going through with this because I trust my Detectives to get the job done”.

Miranda glanced at Max and shrugged.

“As of this morning, three bodies have now been found confirming that we have a serial killer on the island. The victims, Thea Cortez, Anna Gonza and Erica Palona. They were all blonde, athletic and look remarkably like Detective Blake”.

Max shot Miranda a look.

“Wait, Erica?” Miranda asked, “do we have any information on her? Did she work at a spa?”

Inés groaned, “I am not letting you on this investigation Detective Blake”.

“What?!” Miranda said, turning her attention to Inés, “b-but but surely-“

“And I am putting Detective Winter in charge of you. I do not want to be looking over your corpse Miranda. So, as of now you are officially on leave. I don’t want you anywhere near the station and if I find that you have somehow slipped Detective Winter’s grasp, I will personally punish you myself. Is that understood?”

“Inés surely –“ Miranda tried again.

“No. We nearly lost you last year and I do not want to find myself standing over your body because you decided to play hero. Now, go. Do whatever it is you two get up to these days, kiss, cuddle, sleep together. I do not care. What I do care is that you were right. There is someone out there watching over you both. Stay safe Detectives and please use a condom, I trust that you do know how to use one Detective Winter?”

Max flushed, “Inés” he began, “we aren’t-.

“-What about me?”

Inés looked at Miranda, “I’m sorry?”

“What about me knowing how to use a condom? Did someone-“

Max covered Miranda’s mouth with his hand, “we’ll be going now. Come along Miranda”.

“Precisely. Now, enough chit chat. I thought you would be pleased that I am taking your girlfriend out of a potentially lethal situation. Now go. Leave my office”.


Miranda shrugged free of Max’s grip as he all but carried her to his car.

“You totally outed us to Inés back there” Max grinned.

“I did not!”

“Oh please, Inés asks me if I know how to put a condom on and you jump in with what about me? You. Outed. Us”.

“Well I didn’t do it on purpose” Miranda sulked and slumped in her seat. She pulled the door shut and Max looked at her with a smile.

“What?”

“You didn’t slam it”.

Miranda huffed, “I only slam it to annoy you”.

Max grinned and ruffled her hair, “for the record. I think she guessed we were sleeping together anyway”.

Miranda batted his hands away and flattened her hair, “what makes you say that?”

“For one thing your hair”.

“What about my hair?”

“It’s messy” Max pointed out, “like I just had very good sex messy”.

“Well your shirt isn’t buttoned up properly, so if you want to talk I just had sex messy at least I can dress myself”.

“Oh ja and another thing” Max grinned and looked at her, “your shirt is on inside out”.

Chapter Text

They got back to his apartment and Miranda took her shirt off, only to turn it back the correct way as Max locked the door. He tossed his keys to one side he glanced at the kitchen table where only an hour ago they had been trying to torment one another. With Max narrowly winning.

Miranda made a move for his keys and Max snatched them up quickly, “ah ah ah Blakey no leaving”.

Miranda folded her arms as Max blocked her from leaving his apartment, "Max".

“No” he repeated.

“Max”.

“Inés said no” Max stated, “and she put me in charge of you. Now turn your butt around and sit on the sofa whilst I make you brunch”.

“Max-“

“Miranda, sit your butt down”

“But-

“No buts Detective, well apart from yours. Move it” he said, gripping it, “or I will”.

“You wouldn’t dare” she stated. Looking up at him. Daring him.

Max grinned and lifted her onto his waist, the sudden unexpectedness of Max lifting her caused her to grip his shirt with a yelp. Pulling at his shirt as they stumbled towards the sofa. Miranda clenched her legs tightly around him, not wanting to fall.

Max yelped as he found himself unbalanced and they crashed to his sofa. Max on top of her.

Miranda looked up at him as she realised, she still had her legs wrapped around his waist.

“I uh” she began.

“Is this the only way I can keep you safe? To have you in my arms all day? To hold you so close?” he asked, “the only way to keep you out of harms’ way is to have my wicked way with you my love?” he grinned.

“Max”.

“Look, I know we haven’t talked much about our feelings, or even what we are, but well, the thing is that I really do like you Miranda. And I want to keep you safe, and if it means we just relax and hang out for a few days then fine. Or if it means we do something more than hang out then I am perfectly okay with that. I want this to work and I am more than willing to go for what you want. I just want you happy and safe my love”.

Miranda stroked his arms, “I just…I feel so useless. Those girls all looked like me, why can’t I be used to lure out the murderer”.

“Uh cause it’s a murderer? I don’t want you dead”.

“So it’s okay for another girl to die in my place?!”

“Yes! No! Oh you know what I meant” Max sighed and slapped her legs away from his waist so they could both sit properly on his sofa, “look, I hate that we can’t work on this case. But I put you above everything else in the world Miranda. Schatz, look at me” he breathed and stroked her face, “I would hate it if I woke up and you weren’t there because you were hurt. O-or worse and that you were killed. It would break me. So please, let me have this chance to save you and trust that they will find the killer before anyone else dies. I would do anything and everything to keep you safe…even cuffing you to my bed”.

Miranda glared, “I’m still not happy about being taken off the case not when we were right all along”.

“I am not thrilled either. I thought I was Inés favourite” Max pouted.

Miranda laughed softly, “yeah?”

“Well of course I am” he grinned, “why? You don’t think it’s you do you?”

“Pfft…no” Miranda smiled, “although when you had food poisoning the other month she did happen to say that you were an idiot and I was the only competent Detective in her office”.

“Lies!” Max laughed.

Miranda shrugged, “believe whatever you want Winter” she looked at his coffee table and found the book she had left in his car a few weeks ago, "you kept it" she smiled.

“I was going to give it you back but well you are always here so I figured it might be wise to just keep it here for you”.

Miranda put the book on her lap and sighed, “okay fine you win Winter. I’ll play nice and stay here. But we keep things strictly professional. No sex”.

“Not even a little?” Max asked with a grin that made her ache for his lips on her skin.

“Not even a little hands under the shirt action” Miranda confirmed, “we had sex earlier I'm sure you are sated for now”.

Max nodded, “okay…no sex…not even if I whip out the handcuffs? I mean I was just joking about cuffing you to my bed but if you like that sort of thing” he grinned, his hands sliding to her wrists, “we could always have some fun”.

Miranda eyed him suspiciously, “just where are your handcuffs Max?”

“They are in my back pocket” he smiled and held them up, “why? Did you want to try them out?”

Miranda barely glanced in his direction, “nope”.

Max huffed, “okay…I’ll just make us a drink then. Tea?”

“Coffee…please”.

Max nodded and left her alone. Miranda watched him leave before she looked at the door and smirked.


It was odd, not being involved in a case yet somehow being involved at the same time, Max thought. Here he was, still working, yet he also wasn’t. Miranda’s life was potentially in danger and he was keeping her safe. It was work and yet it wasn’t.

He had attempted to make light of the situation, offering sex and a few hours of fun to compensate for Miranda being told to stand down.

He sipped some water as he waited for the coffee machine to start. And if it wasn’t for the coffee machine not making a noise, he never would’ve heard it.

The front door, clicking shut.

“Oh for the love of -“ Max groaned, “Miranda!” he yelled and ran after her.

She’d had a head start, but Max knew the streets better than her. He turned left as she turned left ahead of him. He ran down the steps and collided with Miranda.

“Going somewhere?” he asked and held her wrists tightly as she threatened to punch him.

“No! Max! Max let me go!”

“No” Max grunted as he dodged her attempts to get free. He grabbed her waist and tossed her over his shoulder, “if this is how you are going to play it Detective” he snapped and carried her despite her screams and kicks, back up to his apartment.

Without stopping, he locked the door and carried her to his bed. Tossing her to it Miranda moved to yell at him but he moved faster. Grabbing one wrist he cuffed her to the bed.

“Do not do that again” he snapped and moved back to his kitchen, ignoring her curses and threats.


Max sipped his coffee and phoned Inés. Miranda hadn’t calmed and at every point throughout the day, she had tried to escape the cuffs. Even tossing pillows at his head. Cursing him in Welsh and screaming fire to panic him.

“Detective” Inés said, even though it was nearly 10, he knew she was still working.

“Any news?”

“None. But thankfully there hasn’t been another attack. How is Miranda?”

“Angry. She escaped less than ten minutes after we got back”.

“Really? I thought you wouldn’t even get home” Inés said.

Max looked at his bedroom door.

“If there was a safe way for her to work she’d be working” Inés said suddenly.

“i-I know” Max sighed, “and I appreciate you keeping her off the case, I do not want her to die”.

“Why don’t you two just enjoy yourselves. We know who did the crimes it is just a case of locating him”.

“Wait you do? Who is it?”

“Juan Peterson. He has no fixed address but he is a hired hitman. Max, it is not just Juan Peterson that you need to be wary of. So far I have managed to only get his name. I am sorry for doubting you two the other week” Inés sighed, “keep her safe Max, this is serious...these killings...they were planned. Like he was preparing for someone else”.


Miranda looked up as Max knocked on the door, he was holding a bowl and a mug.

“Hey” he said, “are you going to throw something at me?”

Miranda turned her head.

“I’ll take that as a no” he said and set down the bowl and mug on his bedside table, “look you are in these cuffs because you tried to escape Miranda”.

He touched her knee and she flinched.

He sighed, “Inés said they have a name for the murderer, Juan Peterson. It is just a question of finding the man now but uhm, well, he’s a hitman so he could’ve been hired by the person who watched us in the spa”.

When Miranda didn’t answer he added “uh I made you some food. I know you like salad and I didn’t really want my dinner so I but I- I thought you might want something…Miranda say something?”

Miranda looked at him and his heart broke to see the tears running down her cheeks.

“Please uncuff me Max” she begged hoarsely, “please”.

 “You might run away again” he said and stroked her face. She leaned into his touch and he kissed her head, “I can’t risk losing you”.

“I won’t run” she promised, “please just…uncuff me I can’t bare it”.

Max nodded and reached into his bottom drawer, to where he kept a spare key for his handcuffs. He uncuffed her and was surprised as she brought her arms around his neck and pulled him into a hug.

She gripped him tightly, “I know it was stupid to run but I couldn’t i-I –“

“I know” he breathed and rubbed her back, “I know Schatz…I mean even Inés thought you would run”.

Miranda sniffed, “yeah?”

“Ja” he grinned and looked at her, he brushed the tears away from her cheeks, “she said she thought we wouldn’t even get to my apartment before you attempted to run”.

Miranda laughed, “I had considered it”.

“What stopped you?”

“Your hand”.

“My wh- my hand?” Max laughed, “why did my hand stop you running?”

“It was on my butt”.

“Ohhh” Max laughed, “did I inadvertently seduce you into staying close?”

“Sort of” Miranda admitted with a smile, she stroked his cheek and moved her hand down to his shirt. He gulped as she unbuttoned the first few buttons.

“You know maybe we should…”

“Should what?” he asked, his pulse beat a slow, steady rhythm as she unbuttoned a few more buttons.

“Discuss what our relationship should be called…or defined as” she continued.

Max nodded, “well –“

“Kiss me” she ordered and without waiting for a reply, or a nod from Max. She gripped his shirt and pulled him close, kissing him hard and fast. Max moaned into her mouth and gripped her butt. Pulling her close against his body.

He held her close, deepening the kiss as she pulled her body even closer to his. Slipping her tongue against his.

Miranda moaned against his lips as Max gripped her hip. Pressing his hips tight to hers. He had her back pressing against his pillows. The very same he had tossed her way that morning. Her hands found the back of his neck, one slipped up to rest in his hair. Forcing him to stay against her, to keep his lips against her lips. It wasn’t like their chaste kiss at the restaurant a few weeks ago. Nor was it like the time that they had spent at the spa or the subsequent times. No, this was igniting a passion that they had both fought so fiercely to deny. To put off answering the question of what they were to one another.

She moaned, caught off guard as his hands cupped her butt and squeezed, unzipping her trousers.

He breathed heavily against her, as she found herself with her legs wrapped around his waist.

“m-Mir-“ he breathed slowly, purposefully as he looked at her lips, eyes wide with insecurities. “Miranda” Max groaned against her lips, moving his own to her neck. His beard brushed her neck and she found her body pressing into his touch.

“k-Keep that up” she stuttered, pleasure surrounded her mind before she could get a grip on Max once more. Hardly sure of anything but Max’s lips on her skin.

Her eyes opened in ecstasy as Max bit her collarbone.

His hips pressed against hers once more. She longed for the feel of his skin against hers.

To feel his touch against her skin once more.

Selfishly she grabbed his hand moved it, whispering in his ear, “…keep…keep touching me there”

Max nodded and adjusted his grip on her, “can I…your shirt?”

Miranda kissed his neck in response, “can you what?” before she gasped as she felt his hands on her skin. Touching her in a way she had longed for all day.

“Max” she whimpered, gripped his arm before Max tried to move them. To make her more comfy as his hands got ever closer to her chest. His fingers danced across her skin. Singing a song of their own, moving to a beat of Max’s choosing. She couldn’t bare not having his lips against hers.

“Kiss me…keep kissing me” she breathed out, scared she would moan it.

Max found her lips again, kissing her, but keeping his hands firmly on her body. She was half tempted to rip her shirt off but that would leave her without a shirt to wear and more importantly, drive them to do nothing but each other whilst Inés looked for Juan Peterson. She was about to give in and rip it when Max’s hands made quick work of her shirt. Stripping her down to her underwear before she knew it. Miranda gripped Max’s butt, driving his hips against hers, rocking his body, into hers, one more time.

“Nug” she tried, desperate to be in control. Max grinned at her, bucking his hips into hers.

“We can do this all night” he murmured, promising it into her skin with kisses.

“Yes” she gasped as his hands found fabric and tugged down.


Max was handsome, he was clever, sexy, charming. And he was hers. She knew it. And she knew that she was his. They didn’t have to say the words, or call one another them, she felt it in every fibre of her existence. That everyone who had met them had seen but she had furiously denied. They were meant for one another. She was finally content with her life and she had Max to thank for it all.

But in the same breath she knew she had to risk it all, to save it all.

In the early hours of the following morning, after a night of many many intimate moments that ruined the spa being their hottest time together, Miranda woke early.

She pulled herself away from Max’s limbs and showered, telling herself that if Max woke she could delay her plans. Max would join her in the shower, they’d have more fun and maybe things wouldn’t be so hard or bad. She could change everything. Delay her plans and then maybe they would catch Juan.

She could stay safe.

She nearly went through with that plan were it not for Max’s phone going off.

Inés

Miranda answered it as she stared at a sleeping Max.

“There has been another body found…down by the harbour. Blonde, athletic. We thought it was Miranda before we rolled her over. How is she?”

Miranda stayed quiet. Stroking a lone finger up Max’s chest. She smiled at the reaction. He stirred and curled towards her.

“Max?”

“He’s a little tied up right now” Miranda said softly, “but I’ll pass on your message” she hung up and kissed Max till he woke.

He smiled at her and moved to her lips before he frowned. He looked at his hand and saw that at some point when he was sleeping, Miranda had cuffed him to the bed.

“I’m sorry” she began.

“Miranda” he whispered, “please…” he begged.

She kissed his free hand as it came to stroke her face. She held it against her cheek, “you have to know how much you mean to me” she whispered, “that i-I that I really do care so much for you. It’s killing me to do this”.

“Miranda please don’t do this” he sniffed, “Miranda just…let me go. We can stay in bed all day like we promised? Please...”.

Miranda kissed him again, “another body has been found Max. I can’t let more innocents die”.

“You are an innocent too!” Max cried out.

“I know. But I am also a Detective…it’s my duty to try”.

“Please don’t do this” Max begged once more.

“I have to…the key is on your side…please, give me this chance. Trust me to do this right”.

“But what if you get hurt?”

It hadn’t actually occurred to Miranda to look or ask how the victims had died. How they had been hurt.

But now wasn’t the time, “I love you” she said instead. Smiling sadly as her realisation came a little late.

“I have no doubts that Inés will be along soon” Miranda said she grabbed her bag, moving out of Max’s reach.

“Miranda please” Max said, sitting up at an awkward angle, “please don’t do this. We can figure it out, find Juan Peterson together”.

“I’m sorry” she whispered and pressed her lips to her fingertips, she waved them in sad farewell to Max. Before she could change her mind, Miranda ran.

Chapter Text

Max swore and cursed her name as he heard his door shut before he set to work on finding the key to the cuffs and chasing after Miranda.

His phone went off twice before he managed to find the key. He grabbed last nights clothes, flying through pulling them on, before he nearly collided with Inés.

The woman had let herself into his apartment alongside two other officers.

“Where is Detective Blake?” Inés said.

“She’s gone” Max breathed, “she had handcuffed me to the bed a-and she left”.

Inés nodded and turned to her officers as she raised her radio to her lips, “all officers. We are on the look out for Detective Blake. If you find her take her directly to the police station and lock her a cell until Detective Winter or I get there. Understood?”

A cacophony of replies on the radio, had Max running out of his apartment.


Miranda hid behind a wall as she watched her boss march up to Max’s apartment. She’d only just made it outside before she had spotted in the distance, Inés’ car.

Which led her to believe that the body was closer than the harbour. She sprinted down the side street Max had carried her through the previous day and spotted Roberto and his team.

“Shit” she whispered.

She caught sight of a blonde headed body and wished she’d brought a hoodie. She needed to get away from this area, knowing Inés as she did, she would’ve put all of the officers on red alert for her. Looking out and scanning alleys and places she could hide.

She turned around and thought, she had to be quick. She ran towards Max’s car as she heard his door open once more. Ducking behind it as Max ran down the stairs to his apartment, Miranda sprinted right, narrowly missing being spotted.

“Miranda!” Max yelled out. His yells soon became a distant grumble as she sprinted down to the harbour. Her usual running route.

She powered on past the shops, turning left down one shop and up past another. She didn’t know whereabouts she was, but she had stopped seeing officers.

Flipping out her phone she leaned against a wall to catch her breath, 4 missed calls, all from Max.

2 angry texts from Inés also awaited her.

She ignored them all and looked around. The alley she had found herself in was dark. Large bins offered a hiding spot should she be discovered.

Miranda squinted as she spotted a shadow in amongst the darkness.

“Hello?”

She approached slowly, turning her phones’ torch on as she did. She breathed a sigh of relief as she noticed it was just bin bags. She turned back to the entrance to the alley and turned her torch off. Maybe she should try to get back to Max’s apartment, see if she could see how the victim had been killed.

A hand suddenly covered her mouth and yanked her against a hard body.

“Finally, Miranda Blake…someone with a little fight” a nasty voice hissed into her ear.

Miranda agreed with the statement, and drove her elbow backwards. Smashing it into her attacker’s body. Stamped her foot down and as she was freed ran. Hands grabbed at her jacket, she grinned at herself, the attacker was following.

She pulled her phone out and called for Max. Sprinting towards his apartment as she did.

“Max?!”

“Miranda! Miranda where the hell are you!”

“No time no-no” she panted, “I’m being chased. I-it’s Juan. I’m going to lead him” she panted, “lead him somewhere…where are you?” she darted into another alley, smaller than the one from before.

“I’m driving. I can be with you in minutes, I’m along the strip by your apartment”.

“Oh Max I’m nowhere near! I’m near our local tapas bar!” she cried and looked out of the alley to see if her attacker was following. She saw nobody running and so she drew herself back into the alley. Keeping out of sight she dropped her voice.

She wanted to tackle the man down once he ran past this alley.

Overpower him with the element of surprise.

“I have to go” she whispered into the phone.

“Keep me on the phone Miranda, please? Let me hear where you are. Please” he begged.

“Fine” she said softly, “just keep quiet” and put her phone into her back pocket.

She waited a few minutes, watching intently for someone to run past the alley. When they didn’t she knew she must’ve lost them.

“Damnit” she grumbled and pulled out her phone, “I think I’ve lost them Max”.

“Good” he replied, “look just, make your way safely back to my place? If Inés or any officer finds you they’ll take you back to the station and keep you there. Come back to mine and we can just…stay be together?”

“Tempting as that offer is Max I can’t come back. There’s a killer on the loose. You know I’m right. We can’t let them kill again”.

Max sighed but she didn’t hear his reply. From behind, the phone was yanked out of her hand and tossed to the floor.

“You played a solid game” the nasty voice from before laughed.

Miranda turned quickly, going on the defensive immediately.

She couldn’t see in the darkness exactly who this person was but she could hazard a guess.

“Juan Peterson?”

“Charmed I am sure” he laughed and Miranda launched herself at him. He dodged and pushed her to the floor with ease, she rolled to stand and grimaced as he kicked her knee. Slamming her into the wall with ease.

“You are so easy” he laughed, “I hoped for better” he said.

Miranda swung her fist and grinned as it connected with his face. She dodged his rebuttal only to find herself slamming into the floor, onto her already injured knee.

“Fuck” she swore and winced as she tried to stand.

“Give up” he laughed and approached her. Backing her into the corner.

“Why?” she said, “why kill all those women?”

“To practise” Juan replied.

“Practise?”

“My dear” he laughed, “I had to know how much a body could take before they died”.

“What? You used those women?”

Juan laughed and turned around, “Of course…she doesn’t want you dead, just a little hurt. It’s her partner that wants you dead. I am simply here to play, I’ll be seeing you around Detective Blake”.

Miranda felt cold. Gritting her teeth against her knee, she ran once more.

The sting of what could only have been a bullet fired twice at her body, stopping her in her tracks as she stumbled back. Hand going straight to the source of pain.

“I’ll be seeing you again soon Detective” he laughed once more and left Miranda to collapse to the floor.  

Juan moved a bin to block her exit. To block her from safety. To block her from escaping.

Miranda whimpered, “m-Max” her eyes looking for the phone Juan had tossed. It would most likely be broken now. But she had to try. She tried to stand but crumbled under the pain. Looking around the alley she briefly panicked before she spotted a bright light from the corner of the alley.

She dragged herself towards it, praying her phone would still work.

She cried in pain as she reached it. Rolling onto her back as she tried to remember her first aid training.

What do you do when you are shot? How do you do when you are shot? You have been shot. Shot you have been? My name is Miranda Blake I am Miranda Blake. Miranda ydw i. Rwy'n caru Max... caru...

Miranda lost her focus and knew passing out was going to become a problem for her. She pressed down hard on the wound and cried out, turning on her side she grabbed her phone and her hands shook.

She had to focus.

Max Winter. I love Max Winter.

Her hands fumbled to find his number.

Max Winter. I love Max Winter.

As her fingers hit his number, Max answered almost immediately.

“Miranda? What happened? Your phone it must’ve-“

“Max” she cried.

“Miranda?! W-What are you- where are you?” he asked, hearing the pain in her voice.

“Alley” she groaned, “can’t…I can’t…Max” she repeated, “I don…I don’t…”.

“What?! No no no…Miranda please p-please tell me where you are, I know it’s an alley but do you know which one?”

“Don’t know” she admitted, “please…Max” she whispered as she started to lose focus.

“No no no no don’t you dare do this to me Blakey, don’t you dare” he ordered, “Blake!”

“Yeah” she whispered softly.

“How badly are you hurt?” he asked.

Miranda grimaced and dared look across the growing pool of blood staining her shirt. She shone her phone at it and cried in pain. She brought her phone back to her cheek, “n-not badly”.

“Liar” Max said, “Miranda this is serious. Please…please tell me you haven’t been shot”.

“I love you” she said instead.

“Miranda” Max whispered, softly, “please” he broke, “please tell me you haven’t been shot”.

“I love you” she repeated as a wave of pain sent black dots dancing across her eyes, “m’in an alley…s’bin at the entrance…so dark”.

“Miranda” Max cried, “Miranda put pressure on the wound. I think I know the alley and I am not too far away. Just please…put pressure on the wound and count”.

“Count?”

“Count how many kisses we have shared in the past 24 hours and I will be by your side. Okay? Count”.

“How many?” she murmured.

“Miranda no no no the point is to count” he urged, “come on my love. Count”.

“1” she started and she lost the grip on her phone, she couldn’t hear Max anymore. She couldn’t hear anything as she succumbed to a welcome release of sleep.


Max panicked when he heard her whispered 1 and then nothing else. Inés was following him and had ordered an ambulance after over hearing Max ask Miranda if she had been shot.

He had an idea as to where Miranda had been. On one of his first and only runs around Mallorca he had spotted an alley behind some shops where a bin blocked it from time to time. It had been the perfect place to throw up and not be disturbed.

His legs carried him faster than he had ever ran before. Scared and panicked for Miranda’s life.

“Miranda!” he yelled. He pushed the bin aside and looked for her. Shining his phone torch down the alley. He swore as he found nothing.

He emerged from the alley and looked at Inés. He shook his head and looked around, “Miranda!” he yelled and tried her phone once more. It rang to voicemail and he kicked the bin, crying as he did.

He looked around at every shop’s back, hoping to spot another alley, another side street.

All he saw were bins, buildings and a hill.

“Please” he begged and redialled Miranda.

“-ax…”

His heart skipped a beat as she answered, “Miranda. Make a noise. A loud noise. I think I am close”.

He didn’t hear a noise but he moved towards the next set of bins, “is there anything nearby? Something you can see? Can you hear me?”

“Max” Miranda tried again, “sky”.

Max looked up, seeing no clouds or anything he could use, “all blue?”

“Cold” she whimpered, “Max”.

Max looked around and spotted something that had caught his attention, “your bag! You took your bag with you did you drop it?”

He darted towards the black object that had caught his attention and saw it was her bag.

“Miranda?” he queried as Inés’ car drove towards him and parked.

“Winter. Have you found her?” she yelled as Max shoved aside a bin, “spread out. Check every alley” Inés yelled to her officers as Max moved down the smaller alley, it had been hidden behind a bin. He looked up and saw a wall that led onto the streets above. Towards a second darker, but much larger alley.

“Miranda?” he whispered softly as he saw a light on the floor.

He fell to his knees as he realised it was her. Miranda.

“IN HERE” Max all but screamed as he fumbled to Miranda’s side. He checked her pulse and looked for the source of bleeding. His hand came away sticky with blood as he placed it on her abdomen.

“No no no” he tapped her cheek, “Miranda? Miranda hey it’s me, come on please” Max begged, “Miranda” he pushed down on her wound and she murmured his name.

“Max…” she smiled at him and he stroked her face.

“I’m here…I am here my love” he soothed, “Inés! Inés please we need an ambulance here right now!”

Miranda whimpered in pain as he pushed down more, taking his handkerchief out he pressed it into the wound to stem the bleeding.

“Love you too you know?” Max said, “Miranda? Miranda!


From a nearby car, a young woman brought her phone to her ear, “it’s Lena. The money will be in your account shortly. Not a word of this to him. He wanted to finish her off himself. Let me deal with Max Winter”.


Max slumped against the chair, as he watched Miranda sleep.

The steady beep of the machine monitoring her, the only source of comfort, telling him she was alive. Repeating it to him over and over. The Doctors had not given anything away about her conditions, only that time would tell.

He held her hand. Noticing dried blood under her fingernails. Bruised knuckles.

She had put up a fight.

Max smiled softly to himself, he hoped she had gotten in a few punches.

He looked at his hands, although someone must’ve washed her blood off of him, he could still feel it. Feel her life ebbing away underneath him as he fought desperately to keep her by his side.

“There is no easy way to put this…earlier today, we found your gun, two bullets were missing from it. We ran a ballistics report on the ones found in Detective Blake and it is a match for the ones found in your gun”.

Max looked up, “m-my gun?”

“There were no prints at the scene” Inés said from the doorway, “only yours and Detective Blake’s…you went missing for ten minutes before” she added.

Max nodded, “looking for Miranda” he answered, “she phoned me... we were talking, and she said she was running”.

Inés moved into the room, “Max” she began, before correcting herself, “Detective Winter. I-I am arresting you for the attempted murder of Detective Miranda Blake. You do not have to say anything that you may later rely on in court. Anything you do say can and will be used as evidence. Is that understood Detective Winter?”

Max stood as two officers walked into the room.

“n-No” he began, “no I didn’t- I didn’t hurt her I swear! Inés please you have to believe me!”

Inés approached Miranda and looked at Max, “four women were found dead. All have a striking resemblance to Miranda. One of which was found very close to your apartment. Prints found there also match yours”.

“Inés” Max tried again, “please. I would never hurt Miranda. I love her”.

He felt the cuffs go onto his wrists but he didn’t resist them, “I didn’t do anything wrong” he repeated, “please let me stay with her. Let me be with her”.

“Take him away” Inés stated, “keep him in the cells until I get back”.

Max cast a glance back at Miranda, as Inés back was to her.

“I didn’t hurt you” he told her body, “I didn’t”.

Chapter Text

Max woke up in the cells the next morning, with the heavy knowledge that his girlfriend, could he call her that yet? Was in hospital. Trying to recover from being shot twice.

Before he could see her wake up, he had been arrested for her attempted murder.

The door unlocked and Max sat up.

Inés walked in, her heels clicking on the floor.

“How’s Miranda?” he asked.

“Still unconscious but the Doctors are more hopeful that she will make a full recovery”.

Max nodded, “good…good”.

Inés shut the door and then looked at Max, “Detective Blake had made a phone call to your phone shortly before we believe the attack took place. It lasted 10 minutes before it cut off. And then she made a subsequent phone call a few minutes later. Again, to your phone. What did you talk about?”

“Uhm, we, I just I begged her to come to me. She was running away from Juan I think… and she I -I told her to leave me on so I could hear if she needed help”.

“And the second phone call?”

“She was in pain” Max said, “please Inés I love her, I would never ever hurt her”.

Inés eyed him, “forensics have also found traces of semen surrounding where we found Miranda prompting a rape test to be conducted. And your fingerprints have been found in the same alley that the fourth victim was found in. Explain or I will make sure you never see the light of day again.”

“The alley by my apartment? I-I carried Miranda through it the day before. Wait y-you said rape test? I-I di- I would never ever rape her Inés please, you know me...I would never hurt her. We had sex the night before, that is why you might find traces on her but I did not rape her. It was very much consented, she even initiated it! Please Inés, let me go I am innocent”.

Inés moved to speak but an officer appeared behind her.

“Ma’am”.

“Sí?”

“It’s Detective Blake”.


Miranda woke up alone and in pain. She was in hospital, but the absence of Max overwhelmed her almost instantly.

“Max?” she pushed a button and an orderly came in. He was taller than she had expected. Although on reflection she did not know what she was expecting from a hospital orderly.

“Where’s Max?” she asked, “Detective Winter?”

He smiled at her and she realised that he might not understand English.

“Uhm, Dónde está…está la Detective Winter?” she breathed, and looked around for some form of pain relief.

“The Detectives have gone” he spoke and dread flooded through her.

“No” she whimpered and tried to reach the call button again.

He moved it away from her and gripped her chin, “I knew you would survive”.

“Please” she whimpered, “d-don’t….no please don’t”.

“Preciosa mujer” he chuckled and looked at her charts, “two bullet wounds to the abdomen. Strong. Inflamed knee and signs that you put up a fight” he grinned at her, “well they didn’t note that bit down…rape test? What? You weren’t…Lena” he hissed and let go of Miranda for a second as he scanned the charts.

Miranda reached for the call button, lunging for it before groaning in pain as her injuries prevented her movement.

He pushed her down.

“Keep healing Miranda, I can call you that can’t I? I think we have gotten past the formalities now you need to listen to me” he gripped her tightly, keeping her down, “he needs you alive. He doesn’t care for your partner, but you need to know something…something about the woman who wanted this to happen…” the man leaned close and whispered against her ear.

“No” she grimaced and struggled, trying desperately to reach for the call button, upon pressing it she was met with a shove to the floor and the sounds of the door swinging shut as she blacked out.


Max sat looking at Miranda with handcuffs on. Inés had been dubious about letting him visit her, but she let him. Figuring that she could at least keep an eye on Max and Miranda at the same time. Only once they got to the hospital, they found that Miranda had woken up a second time.

During Max’s transportation to the hospital she had been attacked by what Max assumed must be the same one who had put her into the position she was currently in.

Unfortunately for Max however, she had been given a dose of pain medication to help her cope with the pain of her ripped stitches, and to allow the Doctor to re-stitch and redress them. Which had led to Miranda falling back to sleep shortly before he got onto her ward.

Inés stood beside Max as Max stroked Miranda’s fingers.

“How could I ever hurt her” he whispered, “she put up a fight can’t you see?” he said, his heart breaking at the thought of someone hurting her again.

He held Miranda’s hand in his, showing Inés the dirt under Miranda’s fingernails, “she punched someone, punched them, hit back so hard she has their DNA on her” Max said, “please check it out Inés. You know I love her. You know I would never do this to her”.

Inés looked at Miranda and murmured softly, “I know. But for the sake of both your lives. Shut up”.

Max raised an eyebrow but obeyed.

“I have heard a rumour” she continued, “that two people want revenge on you. A woman called Lena and another man”.

Max gulped.

“You have a choice Detective Winter. I do not want to lose either of you. But I want my island safe. What you do now, will mean life or death. Which do you pick?”

 


Getting Miranda out of hospital without being seen had been the worryingly easy part. Inés had dealt with security and his fellow officers had brought his car out to the back of the hospital as Max carried Miranda out. Holding her close. Scared that any wrong move could mean the end before it had even begun.

“Max?” Miranda murmured against his body.

He lay Miranda in his back seat and knelt, she moved, eyes flickering before he injected her with a mixture of a sedative and pain relief to push her back to unconsciousness. He tossed a blanket over her and got into the car and drove home.


Miranda woke with a headache and a start. She was not in her bed, she was in Max’s bed, which was so alarmingly starting to become a regular habit of hers she might just give up the lease on her new apartment and move in with Max.

They’d already said the illusive L word after all.

And he had offered up his place months ago when she had begrudgingly started to look for apartments with him.

Strangely though, she couldn’t remember falling asleep in his bed. But then she had fallen asleep in his car before so maybe he carried her, acting on his previous threats.

She looked left and saw he was lying beside her, another habit that had become more regular than she had dared admit to herself. A habit she wanted to keep.

“You know, maybe you should keep a drawer of things over here” Max mumbled softly.

They hadn’t woken up in a tangle of limbs this morning which disappointed her, “maybe” she replied.

Max smiled, “I would quite like to spend all of my days with you”.

She smiled and reached out to touch him. To stroke his hair back. She whimpered in pain and retracted her hand. Instead choosing to grip her side.

“You okay?”

“i-I don’t know…why does it-“ she looked up at Max as she remembered, how could she have even forgotten for a second? “Max…i-I was shot. Right? I didn’t dream that did I?”

“n-No you uhm, you were shot”.

“Why aren’t I in the hospital?! Max this is reall-“

“Oh so now you want to go to hospital?”

Max”.

“I kidnapped you okay? I-it wasn’t safe for you b-but I know what I’m doing I promise”.

“Max” she sighed and stroked his face “Max you need to take me back. What if I’ve got internal bleeding o-or-“

“You’ve been fine. Really, I mean if you want we can even go back to work. Inés had a Doctor come over and check you over whilst you slept and he took the bandages off your stomach”.

“S-So how long have I been asleep?”

“Bout 2 days. I washed you” he said softly, “got the blood off….i-I couldn’t stand seeing it”.

Miranda nodded and touched her stomach and winced.

“I have something for the pain if you need” he offered.

Miranda nodded again, “y-yeah it feels sore”.

“Lift up your shirt” he ordered.

She obeyed and noticed small bruises on her stomach alongside two scars. Max placed a needle against her stomach and she looked at him as he injected her.

“You look like you’ve done that before…h-How many times have you done that to me?”

“More times than I want to admit” Max said and tugged her shirt down, “although the first one was to keep you unconscious for a bit longer”.

You drugged me?”

Max nodded and looked away.

“Max” Miranda sighed, “I need the real truth...please… Why am I not in hospital?” she asked, placing a hand on his shoulder, slowly tugging him to her.

“Because a woman called Lena wants revenge on us. B-But Inés said there was someone else, a man not Juan but someone else. I am scared Schatz. Judging by the recording we have it is the mystery man that wants you dead. And we have nothing on him…but I don’t think that they would care if you got hurt again”.

She nodded and covered his hand, “what makes you say this?”

Max said, “when you were attacked in hospital you accidentally turned your phones voice app on and recorded a message. Your attacker said he needed you alive and that he didn’t care for me. Inés has said they found evidence that suggested they wanted me framed for your attack”.

“What evidence?”

“Someone has planted my DNA at the scene of two attacks. The one before yours and yours”.

“But that’s ridiculous”.

“They have also found evidence that made them think I raped you”.

“Well I know that didn’t happen” Miranda replied and kissed him gently. Max smiled against her lips, but his eyes looked sad.

Miranda stroked his face, “tell me what we have to do then, I trust you have a plan?”

Max bit his lip, “we have to go back to work... I know you have just woken up but I-Inés wants whoever is behind it all to be spooked by our sudden reappearance. Tried pushing it back but…”.

Miranda nodded, “well then, if we have to get back to work then I need to get dressed…” she shot Max a dirty look and grinned, “wanna strip me?”

“Sure” Max grinned and moved around the side of the bed to her, helping her stand.

Miranda grimaced in pain and Max stopped quickly, “what’s the matter? A-are you okay?”

“Just a twinge…I’ll be fine. I need to get dressed i-I want to be back at work…to find out who is really behind this”.

“You know you don’t have to” he said, “I can say you were still asleep?”

“I know…but I want to. That man is still out there Max right? The person who wants to hurt us so badly?”

“Ja” Max sighed, “there hasn’t been another death yet but we are all on high alert in regards to him. As for Lena well, I don’t know anyone I’ve pissed off called Lena do you?”

“No nobody- oh” Miranda looked at him, “Lena right? Not Leena?

“I uh ja, ja it’s Lena not Leena. Why does the name ring a- oh scheisse” Max whispered, “Lena!”

“But Jens he – he got dumped? Why would she want revenge on us?”

“Because maybe his little stunt really did get her back and she’s pissed he’s been sent to prison?”

Miranda nodded, “but we stopped him from being killed?”

“You stopped him…I wanted him shot after what he did” Max muttered darkly.

Miranda cupped his face, “but you didn’t let it happen…” and smiled as he unbuttoned the shirt she was in, how she had gotten into a shirt she surmised was Max’s doing. She grinned as his hands lingered.

“Do you remember much about being in the hospital? The attack?” Max asked suddenly.

Miranda shook her head, “I mean…there’s a vague memory of it? Like I can hear something…he seemed very insistent I stay alive”.

“Any names? We know he said Lena but the audio quality on your phone has been damaged on account of it being smashed up.”

“uh…” Miranda said and tried to think as Max stroked her thigh, fingers dancing a beat on her skin.

“Oh Max I can’t remember” Miranda sighed, “I don’t know…maybe…” she rubbed her head, “no it’s gone…sorry”.

Max shrugged, “it’s no worry” he kissed her gently, “I can’t wait to have you back in my car working with me again”.

Miranda smiled, “I don’t think Inés will be too happy about it”.

“When is she ever happy in regards to us? But at least we can give her Lena’s identity that might cheer her up”


Inés looked at Max’s car pulling up outside the latest crime scene. She spotted Miranda beside Max and rolled her eyes.

“I had expected you back next week Detective” she told Miranda, “but it is good to see you looking better”.

“She totally threatened to withhold sex” Max said.

“Didn’t” Miranda replied with a grin as she got out of the car. She stumbled slightly, causing Inés to raise an eyebrow, “are you quite sure you are well enough to be back Miranda?”

Miranda nodded and waved away Max’s concerns.

“Okay then, I would like you to go and check along the walls and bins for any clues. Keep your heads down”.

“Uh Inés” Max started, “we think we might know who Lena is?”

“Go on”.

“Oh uh well remember Jens? The singer? W-well his girlfriend was called Lena and I think uhm, well we both think she might have a vendetta against us. Or maybe against me because Miranda stopped Jens from being killed but I wasn’t exactly ready to back down”.

Inés nodded, “okay…it is a good lead Detectives. We will get a photo of her circulating and have a look for her. If we get her we might get the man. Now go on, search along the walls”.

Chapter Text

Max was a flirt even when she was taking painkillers. After an hour of searching, Miranda had found her side was troubling her. So, Max had snuck away to get some painkillers at a pharmacy as Miranda looked up Lena’s identity on social media as she leant against the wall for support. She was pretty, Miranda had thought, but she wasn’t someone she had seen before on Mallorca.

“That’s it swallow” Max grinned and handed her some water.

He hadn’t taken long in getting the painkillers but he was testing her patience with all of his jokes about putting things in her mouth.

Miranda breathed slowly, thinking about how she could reply to Max when she saw a man walking, perhaps a hundred or so meters away from them. Futilely, she looked for a place to cover themselves but only found the bins and the walls.

“What?” Max asked, noticing the change in Miranda’s body language.

Miranda realised the who the man was and knew that unless she acted they would be in danger once more. Juan Peterson was walking along the harbour, any moment now and he could glance up and see she was out with Max. See that Max was safe, not arrested. Max had informed her that there had been rumours of a Detective attacking someone all around the island, a rumour that they knew would be hard to shake.

Juan Peterson would know the truth but maybe that is what he and Lena both wanted. Max on the run, Max alone.

Max dead.

She couldn’t let that happen.

She wouldn’t. And if she was honest with herself, she was terrified of Juan and what Lena had wanted to do to them. But she was more terrified of whoever else was working with her.

She looked at Max.

Her Max, the man she loved.

They were in this together.

She yanked his hand close, “hey” she breathed. Grabbing his attention.

He looked at her and raised an eyebrow, “ja?”

She kissed him, tugging his face towards hers as she deepened the kiss.

Max whimpered as he held her tight to his body, responding into the kiss as well as she had expected him to.

“Mi-Mira-“

She chuckled and kissed him, “slowly, don’t want to cause a scene” she grinned and with her spared hand. She slipped it against his chest. Unbuttoning a few buttons.

“Ahem”

They ignored the interruption, choosing instead to focus attentions on one another. Miranda unbuttoned Max’s shirt and he grinned against her lips.

“Naughty. I thought we were meant to be working”.

She grinned back, finding a peace and happiness at being so close to this man.

“Scared?”

“Ja terrified” he grinned and locked eyes with her as his fingers moved up. Moving her shirt up, gliding across the two scars on her stomach. She shivered as he touched them, moaning into his mouth as she realised that she was letting him get ever so close to-

“Detectives!”

Miranda yelped as Max dropped her. She landed, but not before taking Max with her. He landed against her as Miranda spotted Inés standing above them, looking angry but also somewhat amused.

“So now I know how you two spend all of your so-called working time. I thought you were checking for clues not checking each other out!” she then lowered her voice, terrifying them “really, you are back one day and this happens?! I thought you two were meant to be scared not horny!”

“Inés” Miranda began.

“Save it. I should be pleased that you two are finally back. But I am also not. I am very disappointed in the two of you. We are in the middle of an investigation and you two see it fit to wander off and start doing this?!”

Max moved off of Miranda and helped her to stand, he looked at Inés, “Inés we were-“

“Oh I can see what you were” Inés snapped, “button your shirt up Detective Winter” Inés hissed.

Max flushed, turned around and buttoned up his shirt. His pulse was racing still. The feeling of Miranda’s skin under his touch. How her body reacted to his. How it always reacted so well to his hands, his touches. Her moans, breathy in his ear.

“Go home. Now!” Inés snapped, “I do not want to see your faces at all for the rest of the day. And if I do…” she left the threat hovering. When they did not move straight away, she glared, dropping her voice.

“Did I not make myself clear?”

“Yes Inés, s-sorry” Miranda stuttered, grabbed Max’s hand and dragged him away from Inés.

They got to his car and Miranda tried to stop her hands from shaking. She hated being told off, especially when she wasn’t in the wrong. She was saving the case. Sure, that had given her a delightful, lengthy amount of time with Max’s lips against hers. Hands on her body.

Max’s hand covered hers, “you okay?” he asked, breaking into her thoughts.

“i-I”

“Hey” he breathed and turned to look at her, “you did the right thing you know? You saw something and you acted. Inés didn’t listen because she was busy being a big pitbull”.

Miranda sniffed, “but-“

“Shush” he ordered and kissed her, “now, I distinctly remember Inés telling us off and sending us home. She didn’t tell us we couldn’t continue what was very enjoyable”.

“I saw Juan Peterson” she mumbled against his lips, “he knows my face a-and I know his. I wanted to protect you”.

Max nodded and looked around the surrounding area, “do you see him now?”

Miranda shook her head, “no”.

“Good. Does he know my face?”

“Maybe…he’s tall. I mean he must do right?"

"So what does this Juan look like?"

"Uh I think he had a piercing in his left ear. Black curly hair and olive skinned. About the same height as Roberto”.

Max nodded, “I shall keep an eye out for him for now though lets get you home. I don’t want him knowing you are out of hospital”.


Max smiled across at Miranda as she looked at his bookcase, surveying each title.

“You know…I didn’t bring you back here to just look at my books” Max said and folded his arms.

“Didn’t you?” she asked.

Max laughed and approached her, he wrapped his arms around her waist and turned her, “I mean I was hoping to do something fun, but you can look at my books if you like”.

Miranda stroked his arms, “and your definition of fun is continuing what we were doing in the alley?”

“And more” Max grinned.

Max moved to say something else before he stopped himself, “I know we haven’t had- what I mean is I know we haven’t exactly done it that much but-

“Max let’s not”.

“No…no I am” he said, “I really want us to go for this. To go for a serious relationship”.

Miranda stroked his face, “me too”.

Max smiled, “ja?” he moved to kiss her but she chuckled.

“Max” Miranda said softly, tilting her neck to meet his lips, “I’ve never had a boyfriend o-or or thought I could have this with someone i-I…someone I really love before”.

Max tilted her chin to meet his gaze, “never?”

“No” she breathed, eyes focused on him. Working out what he was going to do next, wondering what each breath would give her.

Max smiled, “you know…” he smiled softly, “life is always a little scary and when you are about to tackle something new…to do so with someone you like it makes it a little less scary. And besides, I really would like to have your legs wrapped around me again”.

“Max” Miranda blushed and he grinned.

“Admit it” he said, “you liked what we did, even the riskiness of it, you were turned on”.

Miranda looked around for an escape before she settled in defeat, “okay fine. I liked what we did. I did, really. And maybe yes I kept us doing it for a little longer than needed. B-But…I just…have you ever been with someone you care about before Max? The start of that relationship, it has to be so special… right? i-It-all we have done is just sex and sleeping…with the odd hot session of kissing“.

“Oh my love” Max muttered, he pressed his lips to the corner of her mouth, “let me show you just how good it can be”.

Miranda turned her head to look at him, he eyed her before he smiled as she unbuttoned her shirt slowly. Purposefully looking at him.

“Well I must admit I did like what you were doing with your hands”.

“Ja? Well, let me show you what I would’ve done had Inés not stopped us” Max grinned and stopped her from taking her shirt off.

She nodded as he slid his finger up her bra strap. To the tops of her shoulder, he then brushed aside the strap. Looking at her as he did. He kissed the faint mark that rested on her skin before he kissed her.

Miranda flushed and gripped his shirt.

He grinned and pushed the shirt over her shoulders, letting it drop to the floor. He traced his fingers down and grinned wickedly at her. He peppered kissed down the rough scars of her abdomen before he stood.

Gripping her butt, he pulled her close, lifting her to his body as he moved them towards a wall.

He pressed her against it, bucking his hips towards hers. Grinding his crotch into hers.

“o-Oh Max” Miranda moaned involuntarily.

He chuckled and moved them towards his bedroom. She pulled him close, pressing her chest to his face.

Max moaned, “that is cheating” he gripped her butt and kissed her neck, “for that I am going to tease you”.

“Don’t you dare” she breathed as he lay her back. Taking his shirt off he kissed her, wrapping his hand behind her back, pressing her close. She wrapped her legs around his waist, “trousers” she murmured as he kissed down her neck, biting the flesh. Teasing her.

Miranda whimpered as his lips danced to her stomach, he grinned, “are you- “ he cut off as she fumbled with her bra strap, “going to tease me?”

“Nope” he whimpered and crushed his lips back to hers, “going to worship you so hard you won’t be able to walk”.


Miranda gripped his arm as she woke. Max grinned, he had been awake for a few minutes. Basking in the evening sun as Miranda dozed in his arms.

Miranda looked at him and he smiled.

“Hi”.

“Hi” she replied and stroked her hand down his arm, “you been awake long?”

“Not long no” he said, he kissed her.

Miranda smiled as he held her close.

“Are you okay with this?” he asked, his bravado from earlier had disappeared into a nervousness she found endearing.

Miranda nodded, “I am…being with you is…I mean…it’s good. Really good”.

Max smiled, “ja?”

“When we slept together before…it made me realise how content I am with you. How much I just love being with you, I missed not waking up to you, you know? Being in your arms”.

“Me too” he admitted and stroked her face, “hey, I did promise you dinner though once upon a life time ago…did you want to stay here or you could help?”

Miranda nodded and looked around for her clothes, “where did I put my shirt?”

“Oh i-I uh think that might be by my bookshelf”.

“Here” Max smiled and slipped a shirt over her shoulders. He eased her hair out of the neck of the shirt and smiled at her.

“Thanks” Miranda blushed and felt his hand on her thigh. His eyes darted to her lips as he breathed heavily.

“You look very hot in my shirt i-I” he started.

“Then maybe I will just wear your shirt…nothing else” she offered, and Max grinned, “that doesn’t help my situation”.

“Oh really? What situation is that Winter” she grinned wickedly and then laughed as Max pounced.


Juan Peterson approached the man with trepidation. He had performed so well in his task that Lena had seen fit to let him meet her partner in crime.

Of course, he had neglected to tell her that Miranda Blake was out of hospital and back working with Max Winter. He’d caught their little show earlier and been somewhat bemused by Miranda’s actions.

Trying to keep him from seeing Max wasn’t arrested. That she was ready to fight for their lives still.

“I trust you are as good as Lena said?”

Juan nodded and handed the man a photograph.

“Tasteful” the man laughed and handed it back, “how did you get into the apartment without them hearing?”

“I have my own ways Sir. Why?”

“I want to know them”.

“His balcony has a door he never seems to lock. It was easy enough to get in despite the height”.

“And getting out?”

“The same way. Although depending on the time of day I suppose you could go out of the front door”.

The man nodded once.

“Good”.

“Uh was there anything else?”

“Yes. Actually, there was, I need you to get Detective Winter out of his apartment”.

“Uhm, okay. Any particular way? Do you want him dead?”

“Not really, you can beat him up if you want but it’s Lena who has her issues with him. My vendetta is on Miranda Blake. I should’ve shot that bitch when I first had the chance”.

Juan nodded, “well she’s firey. Packs a hell of a punch”.

The man nodded, “I’m sure I can manage her”.

“I’d drug her. If you want to move her to a second location that’s what I’d do”.

“And how do you suppose I get a drug into her? Did you not just tell me she’s fiery?”

“Chloroform always works well. And I have a supply”.

“Oh do you now…well Juan, I can see why Lena put us in contact. I’m Niall by the way, Niall Taylor”.

Chapter Text

Lena was watching Max Winter’s movements very carefully. He’d been cleared of any harm on Miranda which had angered her before Juan pointed out that it would be much more fun to have Max arrested after what Niall had planned for Miranda. Let Max sit in the knowledge that he had failed the woman he loved.

After he had nearly killed the man she loved.

She watched Miranda give Max a kiss as Max left the apartment, pulling a hoodie over his head as he did.

The pair had not left his apartment for a few days now. A short, larger man had occasionally dropped by, but he never stayed for long.

She pressed start on her phones’ stopwatch. This was the first time Max had left, she didn’t know how long he would be. But if their plan was to succeed, she had to find out.


Max smiled as Miranda kissed him, “thank you” she mumbled.

“It’s no problem. I would’ve asked Christian but well that idiot can’t even pick up the right coffee brand. I doubt he could get the right tampons”.

“Just be quick okay? I don’t like the idea of you being out at night”.

Max nodded and pulled his hoodie over his head, “I won’t be long I promise”.

Miranda watched him leave and waited till he left her view before she shut the door. Leaning against it she breathed slowly, they had spent the past few days staying indoors. This would be the first time they had been fully separated.

After the debacle with seeing Juan she hadn’t wanted to risk going back to work and Max had agreed. Lena was still at large and neither thought it wise to be working.

Inés had thankfully agreed and so Max had texted Christian to ask if he would do a food shop for them, figuring it would be a lot safer to have food delivered than go out and get some, potentially endangering the lives of the public in the process.

But of course, as life never was quite so simple, she realised she was due on her period and had no supplies at Max’s.

She had broached the idea of them both going out to get supplies, before Max offered to go get the stuff she needed.

Miranda looked at the bedroom and wondered if they could have sex once more before she started. She grinned, “definitely” before turning her attention to dinner.

Max had been very good at cooking over the past few days, barely letting her help but she was starting to feel guilty at sitting around doing nothing. Her stomach was still very tender but if she could have sex she could cook. Her medication had been helping, but she was weaning herself off it slowly. Not wanting to become addicted to it.

A noise behind her startled her. She grabbed the frying pan and warily called out, “w-who’s there?”

She slowly moved away from the kitchen and gulped as she approached the balcony. It was too high up for anyone to reach so she didn’t know why she was panicking. She moved onto it and cursed her nerves.

One of the candles they had put out earlier that evening had fallen down.

She picked it back up and saw Max walking up the hill to the apartment. She smiled and moved back to the kitchen. If she could at least start cooking Max might let her finish.

“I’m back” Max called, “schatz?”

“Kitchen”.

Max’s hands wrapped around her waist as she drizzled oil into the frying pan.

“Are you making dinner?”

“Mmmhmm” she replied and grinned as he kissed down her neck.

“I had hoped we were eating out tonight” he smiled dopily at her.

“Get your head out” she laughed, “I’m cooking us both a nice meal. So, sit your butt down for once”.

Max gripped her own butt and pressed against it, “are you sure?”

“Are you trying to turn me on?”

“Oh ja big time and I am succeeding. I know that face very well” he grinned, “but I’m going to behave” Max teased, “what are we having by the way?”

“Omelette if that’s alright with you”.

Max nodded, “sure. Wine?”

“Yeah. I think there’s a white open. My medication lets me have one small glass Max so don’t pour me too much”.

Max grabbed two glasses as Miranda focused on cooking their dinner.


Lena huffed as Max took five minutes. She had spotted him going into the pharmacy down the road. Barely any time for someone to get into the apartment to get to Miranda. She had used a slingshot and a stone to fire at the candle on their balcony though. To ensure Miranda was still on edge. And sure enough, the woman had emerged from the doors with a frying pan clasped in her hands. It made her smile.

She grabbed her phone and called Niall, “he was only gone for a few minutes. Five at most”.

“Disappointing. Why did he leave?”

“Went to the pharmacy…not sure why. They have someone delivering food to the door as well. I really don’t see a way to get her alone for you”.

“Try harder”.

“Don’t you think I have? She’s still spooked and he won’t leave her alone”.

“What does the man who delivers food look like? Is it the same man each time?”

“Yeah. He’s short, drives a small car and he wears Hawaiian shirts. He’s large too”.

“Get Juan to follow him. Attack the friend, see what that does”.

“Niall?”

“What?”

“Why not..”

“What Lena? I am a busy man”.

“You’ll pay bail right?”

“What?”

“If I get arrested you’ll pay my bail”.

“Lena if you get arrested then you’ll be lucky to get bail. Why do you ask?”

“If Max sees me nearby he might be inclined to abandon Miranda or leave her unattended for a bit. I can keep him out of the way for as long as you need. If you promise you’ll pay my bail”.

“Give me a week. It takes time for me to arrange funds these days, but in a week we can move on with our plans”.


 

Max rubbed Miranda’s stomach as they curled up on the sofa, she had been cramping all day and hadn’t told him. She had only relented when he told her how pale she was.

It had reminded him of when he had found her in that alley.

Miranda stroked his beard and smiled at him, “if I knew your hands could do this I would’ve slept with you at least a month earlier…maybe two”.

Max laughed, “that good are they?”

“Yeah…and you looked really hot riding that horse” she commented.

Max chuckled and kissed her, “tease”.

“Mm” she smiled, “what time is Christian coming by tomorrow?”

“Uhh 6. He said a man has booked him up all week so it’s the only time he’s got free. Apparently, this guy is new to town and looking for an apartment to furnish for him and his daughter”.

“Didn’t think Christian was meant to tell people about his clients” Miranda mused.

“Since when did Christian ever listen to the rules?”

 “That’s something you both have in common then” Miranda remarked, “rule breaking boys. Just what did your Mama’s do with you”.

“Mine disparaged over me and wished my future wife good luck because I was never listening. Christian’s just gave him leftovers”.

He touched her ring, the one he had given her nearly two months ago. His mother's ring. He kissed her and smiled as she wrinkled her nose.

“You listen to me” she pointed out.

“Of course I do” he grinned, “how could I not? One look from you sends me on my knees”.

Miranda laughed, "does it now?"

Max grinned, "of course. I am yours meine Liebe".

Chapter Text

Lena was patient, when neither Max nor Miranda left the apartment for another day, she stayed true to what Niall had wanted. She stayed, lying in wait. Watching the man deliver food and leave with no thoughts of knocking him out. Or even having Juan attack him.

But that didn’t mean she wasn’t going to have fun.

Later one night, she knocked on their door and walked back down from the door, to hide underneath the apartment, beside Max’s car.

A door opened above her and she pressed play on her phone.

Oh Lenaaaaaaa

“Hello? Who’s there?”

Leennaaa let me loooveee you

“l-Lena?”

She smirked and stopped the music.

“Max? Max what is it?”

“Nothing…i-it’s nothing”.

The door shut and Lena chuckled.


Max stroked her hair as she relaxed against his chest, “one more episode?”

“Mmm sounds good to me” Miranda murmured.

Max kissed her head and grabbed the remote, ready to hit play on the next episode. He paused as he heard a knocking.

“Expecting anything?” he asked.

“No…nothing”.

Max nodded and sat up, “I’ll check it out”.

She looked up as he approached the door, willing herself to be brave as Max opened the door.

“Hello? Who’s there?”

Miranda waited a beat before she got of the sofa and approached Max.

“l-Lena?”

“Max? Max what is it?” she asked, rubbing his back.

Max sighed and shook his head, “nothing, i-it’s nothing” he breathed and shut the door.

“This is really setting us on edge” she murmured and rubbed his chest.

“Ja” Max breathed and rubbed her back, “I’ll be glad when this is all over”.

Miranda nodded, “me too…I really just want to feel safe out there again. To just go out for a run on my own or even a walk”.

“You will one day soon” he smiled, “come on, back to the sofa. I’m still convinced that he’s not guilty”.

Miranda rolled her eyes, “how could he be anything but?” she queried, and they approached the sofa.

“Okay if he’s guilty then I will do whatever you want”.

“Oh yeah?” Miranda grinned, “and if he’s not guilty do I do anything you want?”

Max grinned and kissed her, “maybe…haven’t decided yet”.

Miranda laughed against his lips, “pack it in I can feel those wandering hands of yours Max Winter”.

Max smiled, “mmm they seem to have a mind of their own you know?”

“Oh yeah?” she grinned.

Max leaned into her body, “Schatz did you put on a bra?”

“I think you know the answer to that” she laughed and pulled him towards the sofa, “come on. Stop your touching and let’s watch the show”.

“I know exactly what I am going to ask for when I win” he grinned at her.

“And that is?”

“Topless Tuesdays” Max smiled and pressed play on the next episode.

Miranda laughed abruptly, “really…hmm doesn’t sound too bad” she grinned, “course you’ll have to restrain yourself”.

“Try and stop me” he grinned and kissed down her neck as the titles for the next episode began.


Niall stood beside Lena and Juan. As they watched the shadows of Max and Miranda from their viewpoint.

“It’s 8. They’ll move towards the main area” Lena stated, “then in half an hour he moves to the bedroom, is usually in there for ten minutes, she goes to a side room, possibly the bathroom and returns half an hour later”.

Niall nodded, “so we have a window”.

“We have a window” Lena agreed.

“Okay” Niall said and grabbed the bottle of chloroform from Juan.


Max gripped her hips, pulling her close, “any reason in particular” he grinned, “that you made pancakes?”

Miranda smiled, “well you were sleeping and as much as I wanted to have my, as you lovingly put it, my wicked way with you. I thought pancakes would be a nicer treat”.

“Miranda if you are thinking pancakes ranks above sex” Max started and she shoved a piece of pancake in his mouth.

Max moaned as he swallowed, “damn you are right”.

She laughed and kissed his cheek, “let me go shower then”.

Max nodded and turned his attentions to the pancakes.

“Can I watch?” he asked.

Miranda squealed as he chased her into the bathroom.


“I thought you said that we had a window” Niall hissed to Lena as she tried to break free from his hold.

“I did! I thought we had one! They are unpredictable” Lena replied, “you’ve met them!”

Niall let Lena go and glared at Juan, “then we go with plan B”.

Juan nodded.

Lena glared, “if he catches me”.

“Then you’ll be dealt with and I’ll still have my prize” Niall hissed.

Juan ran up to the door and knocked on the door. Banging hard and fast, to let their games, begin.


Max groaned as he got his shirt off only to then hear a banging at his door.

“I swear if that is Christian” Max grumbled and pulled his shirt back on. Miranda hesitated, she had been about to get into the shower. But something about this knocking set her nerves alight.

“Max…don’t answer it” she breathed.

Max looked at her, moved to speak only to hear the banging again.

“We could answer it together?” he offered, “we have to start getting back into the world, eventually right?”

Miranda bit her lip but nodded, “fine…”

Max kissed her and grinned, “every second we spend dealing with whatever is outside is an hour I will spend worshipping your body”.

Miranda flushed, “sounds ever so tempting to keep you pinned beneath my legs Max”.

Max laughed and held her hand, “come on”.

They approached the door and Max felt cold as he heard a cry for help.

He looked back at Miranda and gripped her shoulders, “stay here”.

“Max-“

She cut off as the person cried out again.

“Help me oh my god help me!”

“Go” she ordered him, “see what’s happening and I’ll have Inés on standby”.

Max nodded and opened the door. He looked out and saw a woman being chased by a man. He darted down the steps after them.

“Hey!” he yelled out, “stop!”

Miranda looked at him go and darted back inside for her phone. She grabbed it and ran towards the door. Only to drop her phone in shock as Niall Taylor stood in the doorway.


“Well Detective Blake. It’s been quite a while, how are you?”

 Miranda stood back, the last time she had been alone with Niall Taylor had tried to kill her. The only reason he hadn’t was Max.

And now she was alone once more.

“Oh god” she breathed as she realised it must’ve been Lena screaming, getting Max out of the apartment to leave her alone for the mysterious man to find her. Niall, a man with a vendetta against her, “it’s you” she breathed.

Niall smiled and shut the door, “how’ve you been?”

She backed up.

“Oh now come on, I’m just making conversation…it’s going to be very boring if you start to ignore me. Remember how well that turned out for you before”.

Miranda moved for her phone but Niall stepped closer. She backed up and looked at the balcony only to see Juan Peterson climbing over it.

Shit.

Niall laughed and swiftly moved towards her. Miranda moved left and headed towards the door. His arms snaked around her waist and she screamed. Struggled as she was pulled backwards. A cloth pressed against her mouth and nose. Blocking her screams and she sadly realised, drugging her. She stopped fighting as the fumes overwhelmed her. Going slack in Niall’s grip.


 

Max panted as he lost track of the man and the woman. Slowing to a jog he turned around and looked for any clues, “shit” he groaned as he saw none.

Rubbing his neck, he decided he needed to get back to his apartment. Maybe there was more signs up there.

It didn’t take him long to get home, although he was quite surprised how far he had ran without wanting to throw up afterwards.

He walked up the steps that led to his apartment, “lost them” he said as he walked into his apartment.

“Miranda?”

He shut the door, “Miranda?” he tried again and saw the bathroom door was shut. He smiled and moved to it.

"Schatz are you naked without me?"

He waited for her to appear but when she didn't he frowned.

“Miranda?” he called and knocked on the door, opening it as he did. When he saw she wasn’t there he began to panic.

He whirled around, “Miranda?!” he tried, “dammit Schatz this isn’t funny” he tried her phone only to notice it was on the floor.

“No no no no” he muttered, “NO! Miranda!” he ran back out of his apartment and looked for her in the streets.

“MIRANDA!”

Chapter Text

“Well I don’t want her dead yet”

Miranda was aware of a voice that wasn’t Max’s. She was also vaguely aware of the fact she wasn’t anywhere near Max. She hadn’t realised just how much she had grown used to waking up to his musky scent with a hint of lime. Max always seemed to make her calm whether by action or scent. And now she couldn’t smell him anywhere she knew she was in trouble.

“Max” she mumbled and opened her eyes. Three figures stood ahead of her, two men and a woman, their backs to her. She tried to sit up and slumped back as a wave of nausea pulled her down.

The shorter of the three turned and smirked, “awake now are we Detective?”

Niall

“Where’s Max?”

“Dead”.

What? No no no no no no no Max can’t be dead! No!

“n-No…no he’s he’s not” she stated.

“Well he soon will be” Niall laughed, “Juan. Cover her mouth, I don’t want to listen to her sobs”.

Juan turned and nodded, “I’m not your lacky” but he approached Miranda with tape. She tensed as he knelt before her. He eyed her and smirked before pressing tape across her mouth. Patting her cheek he stood up and Niall shot him.

Miranda screamed behind the tape as Juan fell down dead beside her.

“Uhh you totally were my lacky” Niall stated.

Miranda shook as tears fell, this really was going to be it.

The woman turned, revealing herself to be Lena, and placed her hand on Niall’s arm, “I’ve got to go”.

Niall nodded, “the money will be in your account by the end of the day. Providing my friend here didn’t lead anyone here”.

She nodded and smirked at Miranda, “I had hoped to see you dead. I guess your boyfriend will have to do”.

Miranda’s eyes widened and she struggled more, trying and failing to free herself. Lena approached her and slapped her hard, “bye bitch” she laughed as Miranda winced in pain.

“Max” she cried behind the tape, “no!”

Lena grinned and walked into the darkness leaving her alone, with Niall.


“Max!” Christian panted as he ran up the stairs to his apartment. He grabbed Max’s arm, “Max… It’s Miranda!”

Max looked broken as he looked at Christian running up the stairs, “she’s gone…s-she…someone’s taken her”.

“I know that” Christian replied, “this man, the one I have been driving around he brought her to my car. Claimed his wife was drunk and he wanted to get her home. I-I saw it was Miranda b-but I panicked. I drove them to his place…she didn’t look good”.

“What did this person look like?” Max pressed, “the man who had Miranda”.

“Short, greying hair. I was too focused on Miranda, Max”.

“But you’ve been driving him all week!”

“He wore a scarf!” Christian replied, “look I am sorry I didn’t get a better look! All I know is that he was British…maybe Irish. Always paid with cash- lots of cash”.

“Well that’s hardly going to he- wait. Irish?”

“Jaaa. Could barely understand him”.

“Can you drive me there? Fast”.

“What?”

“Drive me to where you dropped them off fast Christian. Break the limits I don’t care. Just get me to her and fast, I need to call Inés and tell her that Niall Taylor is back”.


Inés was, it was safe to say, furious. Roberto had never seen the woman look so murderous in his life. When Max phoned to say that Miranda had been kidnapped and that the perpetrator was a man called Niall Taylor, Inés ordered her entire team to stop what they were doing and search for him.

“Inés” Roberto said, “what vengeance has this man got on Max and Miranda?”

Inés looked at him, sending a shiver down his spine.

“When Miranda first came here he faked his death and tried to have her killed, twice. But they caught up with him and Miranda had a choice, save Max or stop Niall. She chose Max. But her delay allowed us to stop him from accessing his bank accounts and to have the mainland arrest his daughter. We received an e-mail a month after Miranda had been here from Niall”.

“Oh?”

“We did not tell her, but now maybe we should of…he threatened to kill her the next time he saw her and now he might be acting on his threat”.

“Then we better hope we can find her before he can. I do not want to be looking down at her body”.

 


Miranda tried not to look at Juan’s unseeing eyes, as Niall dragged the body away. Max wasn’t dead yet, but if Lena was running around out there, he soon might be.

She tried to level her breathing and looked for somewhere she could escape should she ever manage to break free. The thought she realised was stupid as Niall moved towards her with a cloth.

“Not yet” he teased and took the tape off her mouth, he pocketed the cloth “I want to have a little chat with you”.

Miranda shook as he saw beside her and tied her wrists together.

“Do you remember all those months ago when you were tryna escort me back to Britain?”

When Miranda didn’t answer she felt a gun press to her head.

“Do you remember?”

“y-Yes” she trembled, “you wouldn’t stop talking”.

Niall laughed and removed the gun.

“I annoyed you”.

“You did”.

“And then that stupid idiot blundered in and ruined my plans”.

“Max saved me” Miranda stated, “he saved me”.

Niall nodded, “I watched him dancing” he laughed, “should’ve shot him put him out of his misery”.

“He’s a good man” she stated.

“So good he abandoned you, even knowing that someone was out there who wanted to hurt you”.

“Neither of us suspected this” Miranda stated, “I thought you were long gone”.

“Oh you did? Well thanks to you and Detective Snowflake, I lost access to my funds, my daughter was arrested and my wife wants a divorce”.

Miranda sniffed, “that’s not my fault your wife made a good decision”.

“Kind of is though, if you weren’t digging, she might’ve ran too”.

“A life on the run is no life” Miranda stated.

Niall nodded, “I meant it you know?”

“Meant what?”

“That I missed the rain…my daughter used to splash in the puddles when she was younger”.

“And now she rots in a cell” Miranda smirked.

“Better than rotting in a grave” Niall replied and moved to his pocket. Miranda saw her chance and shoved her side to his. Knocking him down she struggled to stand and began to run.

Niall fired at a box near her, she cried out and fell over. She struggled to stand but felt his foot on her back. He rolled her over and laughed, pulling her up he held up the cloth.

“I want Max to be witness to your execution” Niall stated, “so…for now Detective…sleep” he pressed it against her nose. With no other way for her to break free. She kicked out, struggling futilely as the fumes once again, overwhelmed her.


Lena walked out of the building Niall had rented and checked the CCTV set up she had rigged of Max’s apartment.

She re-wound it to when Max found out Miranda was gone and laughed. The anguish and pain on his face.

It almost matched that of hers when she had seen Jens with a gun aimed at him.

She wanted to hurt Miranda, but Niall had paid her far too well to bother. Besides, he’d let her have some fun.

She’d visited Miranda in hospital as she slept. Toyed with the idea of smother her.

But then that stupid blundering fool appeared and she had to leave.

She pressed play on the video of Max and found he was soon joined by his friend with the hideous shirts.

Max soon left with him and Lena found herself smiling.

Max would be joining her, she wouldn’t have to go to him. She got out her knife and twirled it, to stab him or not.

Lena smiled and got her phone out, “Niall?”

“What?”

“How do you feel about framing them both for murder?”

“I’m listening”.

 


Miranda was aware her head ached. She was also aware that her wrists were now bound behind her back tighter than before and tape was back covering her mouth. Her eyes flickered open and she winced.

“So now you wake…long time…your boyfriend must be ever so worried…although he could be dead. I doubt it, Lena was always a bit useless. Still, if Lena does fail me, I might just have to finish the job. And I do want him to watch after all”.

Max

She trembled as Niall approached with a gun, stroking her face as she mentally cursed herself for not locking the door when Max went off earlier.

Niall untied her ties as she fought off a wave of nausea. Yanking her close. She whimpered as he placed the gun under her chin.

“You were so quick to judge once before…no comment now?”

Miranda stared him down, hoping she would appear slightly more dignified than what she felt.

“So scared…Detective Blake …all of that bravado and now nothing?”

Mirandas’ knees buckled as he kneed her stomach hard but he held firm, “feeling good? That stupid bastard did me a favour shooting you. Means I get to hurt you even more…”

Miranda struggled and kicked out with her feet.

He cried out as she connected with his crotch. He let her go, only briefly but it was enough for her to run.

Stupid as it was. She ran. She heard a noise behind her, a groan and a scuffle of shoes.

Miranda cried behind the tape, someone else was here, to save her? She stumbled over her feet before she was tackled to the ground. A heavy weight crushed her to the floor, pinning her down before a shot sounded.

Lips brushed her ear as she screamed behind the tape.

“It’s me. Miranda it’s me”.

She cut off mid-scream and slowly turned with Max and he smiled at her. He had a cut to just under his eye and a bruised nose. Slowly he took the tape off and she half laughed, “Max”.

He half smiled back, worry etched across his features as she stroked her face.

“Max” she repeated, her mind struggling to find any other words. His fingers brushed her lips, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief to wipe the dried blood away. His movements gentle, careful. He didn’t smile at her, he was scared of hurting her.

“My wrists” she said softly, “can you undo them?”

Max nodded and looked back at Niall, lying unmoving on the floor, before he turned his attention to Miranda’s wrists. He had only just untied them when Niall groaned. They looked at one another as he stirred. One hand held his shoulder.

The other hand reached for his gun before he moved quickly.

“Max!” Miranda exclaimed. She stood on shaky legs and shoved her body into Max’s. Knocking him down, protecting him. As she did she felt Niall’s hand on her waist, pulling her close.

“Niall you don’t- please don’t do this” Max begged.

Niall laughed and raised his gun to her head, once more his captive. Tears fell down her cheeks, the terror of being shot, of dying in front of Max. And this time she just knew Niall would frame it perfectly, so Max really would be found guilty this time. Of course he’d also be dead too.

Max’s hand reached out to hers, touching it. Touching her as she remained silent.

“Please” she whispered, “just just put the gun down” her voice was shaky. Wracked with fear for her safety and Max’s. He shouldn’t even be here.

Niall laughed again, “it has been a riot coming back to deal with you two. I’m glad Lena failed me Max”.

“Let her go” Max ordered.

“Not gonna happen” Niall laughed, “I came back to kill her”.

Miranda trembled and she looked at Max as Niall’s finger moved to the trigger.

“I love you” she breathed and shut her eyes.

And Niall Taylor, began to laugh.

“No bullets left” he said and fired. Max cried out as it clicked, only to realise, Niall was telling the truth.

Miranda sobbed as she was shoved into Max’s arms. He held her tight to his chest and looked at Niall.

“Lena” Niall called out.

Max clutched Miranda tighter as the woman appeared from the shadows. Blocking their exit.

Miranda trembled as Niall slowly loaded up his gun.

He raised the gun to her, “go to Lena, Miranda. Or I’ll shoot Max”.

Miranda gripped Max and looked at him. His eyes found hers and he stroked her face. They yelped as Niall fired near them.

“Now!”

Max nodded and she stood, shaking. She approached Lena.

“Lena”.

“Miranda Blake…you didn’t want my Jen Jens killed”.

“I don’t want anyone killed” Miranda said softly, “and I don’t think you do either. You don’t strike me as a killer Lena”.

Lena laughed and held up her knife, “death or life. It hardly matters to me now. I have no chance of seeing Jen Jens again”.

Miranda gulped.

“Take the knife” Niall ordered, “and look at me”.

Miranda took the knife offered to her and turned to see Max standing with a gun to his head.

Niall nodded and then turned his attention to Max, raising the gun to her, “get your gun out Max”.

Max looked at Miranda and got his gun out.

“You two are so much more fun when you obey orders”.

Max gulped, “Niall, there are going to be a lot of police officers here soon. Let us go”.

“I want my daughter released from prison”.

“Not possible” Miranda said, despite knowing he could fire at any time.

“It is if you want loverboy here to live. Walk towards me or I blow his brains”.

Miranda moved.

“Excellent” Niall smiled, “now…stab him”.

Chapter Text

“w-What?”

“Stab him or I’ll shoot him. And you know I don’t miss”.

Miranda shot a look at Max.

He nodded, “it’s okay Schatz”.

Miranda shakily looked at the knife and then Max. Her mind going a mile a minute. Where could she stab him that wouldn’t be fatal.

Arm?

Arteries.

Stomach?

Organs.

Thigh?

Miranda nodded, “o-okay”.

As she made her decision, she looked at Niall, “I won’t stab him whilst your gun is raised. Drop it”.

Niall laughed and raised it to her, “of course…Max could always shoot you. If you didn’t want to stab him”.

Miranda looked at him.

“No way” Max breathed, “I am not shooting you”.

“Okay then” Niall chuckled and pressed his gun to Miranda’s head, “shoot her. She stabs you. Or I shoot you both in the head”.

“No” Max whispered with tears in his eyes, “i-I can’t- I-I won’t-

“Do it” Miranda whispered, “I can take it. Do it”.

“No M-Miranda” Max sniffed, his hands shook.

“Hey” she said softly, “Max” she smiled and tapped her thigh lightly, “it’ll be all okay”.

Max looked at her. Then her thigh.

He nodded.

Niall stepped back as Max raised his gun.

Miranda moved quick and stabbed Niall as Max fired. She cried out and gripped her leg. Groaning in pain as Niall backed away from them. Hands going to his chest as he stumbled back.

Max ran to catch Miranda before she fell. A second gunshot sounded and Max fell to the floor. Clutching his side. Niall fell back to the floor as Miranda fell to the floor. Reaching for Max.

“m-Miranda”.

“It’s okay it’s okay” she sniffed and dragged herself to him. She clutched his hand and side.

“I’ve got you” she breathed and turned to look at Lena. Lena saw Niall’s gun and moved quick.

Miranda gripped Max’s hand, knowing she could never reach it in time, and looked at him. She stroked his hair back as he groaned.

“Schatz run” he mumbled.

“Never” she said and kissed him, “I love you”.

Their tears mingled together as Max mumbled “I love you too”.

Miranda felt the gun against her skull. She pressed her head to Max’s and they both shut their eyes.


A pipe swung and knocked Lena down to the floor, rendering her, unconscious.

Christian grinned sheepishly from behind, “when you took too long I got a bit worried”.

Miranda cried in relief and looked at Christian, “Christian I could kiss you!” she blurted and then turned her attention to Max.

“You okay?” she asked and put more pressure on his side.

“I should be asking you that” Max shook, “I shot you”.

“I’ll be fine” she breathed, “barely hurts. Hey stay with me Max” she smiled and stroked his face.

 “You okay?” he asked again.

“I-I’m fine…shaken but fine”.

Max nodded, before realising his hands were cupping her face. She gulped and looked at him, “Max?”

He captured her lips with his, so grateful for her safety and the warmth in her skin that was flooding his own.

His lips pressed against hers with an urgency and need for his body to realise she was safe. She kissed back, resting her body to his. Wanting to clutch him with her hands. But she kept their lips locked, his hands travelled down her body, finding her butt, he smiled against her lips and pulled back.

She flushed and smiled at him.

“Gross get a room you two” Christian stated loudly, nudging Niall with his foot, “Irish prick, that’s what you get for not tipping” he looked at Max and Miranda who were raising an eyebrow at him.

“Okay and for kidnapping you and trying to kill you both” Christian grinned.

Miranda looked at the body of Niall, “is he dead?”

Christian looked at him, and into the unseeing eyes of Niall Taylor.

“Ja he’s dead”.

Miranda nodded and looked at Max. He grimaced in pain. She replaced her hand on his wound, pushing down. As she did, she felt a pressure on her thigh. She looked at Christian and smiled gratefully.

“I’m sorry for shooting you” he breathed, “I didn’t know you were going to stab him”.

“I didn’t either…but I saw a chance to end it. I-I can’t believe I -i I stabbed him”.

Max whimpered and looked at his bloodied side as they heard sirens.

“It’s going to be okay” she said to Max, “we’re alive and we’re safe now”.

“Never going to shoot you again. This is very painful” he groaned.

Miranda chuckled, “you get used to it”.

“Not reassuring” he groaned with a smile.

“Each one gets better” she added and Max chuckled.

“Like each time we have sex in the bath? Very awkward at first then gets better”.

Christian tied a tourniquet on her leg, “you two going to be okay? I don’t trust that your boss won’t find you. We are quite a way in here so I am going to get her”.

Max nodded and Miranda gripped his side, “hey don’t pass out on me” she said.

Max gritted his teeth, “hard to stay awake…lots of pain here”.

“You have to” she smiled and stroked his face, “I need you”.

“You never say that”.

“I’ll say it more from now on. Promise” she kissed him softly.

“You mean that?”

“I do” she replied, tugging him back to her lips.

Max smiled and shut his eyes, “hurts so much Schatz”.

“Guess you’ll have to be on bed rest. With me”.

Max smiled at her, “like the idea of that. W-would you consider maybe we never spend a night apart?”

“Max” she chuckled, “I just got a new apartment. I can’t move in with you just yet”.

“I know” he smiled, “but maybe we stay alternate nights at each others? I don’t want to be apart from you Schatz”.

“Needy” she said but smiled, “sounds like a good plan to me”.

Max nodded and stroked her face, “meine Liebe…I -I am scared of hospitals”.

“I’ll be with you. All the way”.

“Dios. Max! Miranda!”

Miranda turned her head and saw Inés and a pair of paramedics entering the room. Christian followed behind.

“Inés!” Max half smiled.

“Dios” she breathed, “are you two okay?”

“Shot” Max said, “it is very painful, but I am okay”.

“Liar” Miranda said, “you’ve not stopped complaining”.

“You two, sort my Detectives out. Christian?”

“Yes Ma’am?”

“Follow those idiots to the hospital. I do not want them there alone”.

“Of course”.

“And please, can someone tell me how Niall Taylor has ended up dead and Lena is unconscious?”

“That puta? I hit her with a pipe. Figured those two had been too handsy with each other to notice her”.

Inés nodded, “and Niall Taylor?” she asked, looking at Max and Miranda.

“Self Defence” Miranda stated, “he shot Max and then my leg…”

Inés nodded.

“Okay then. Roberto will go over forensics and clean up. Can you two please not get shot now? It is very tiring to see you both covered in blood”.


Miranda had refused treatment until she was sure Max was okay. As Max slept in a pain-relief induced sleep. She got her leg looked at.

Before grumbling at the crutches and pain killers she was given.

She slumped into the chair beside Max’s bed and held his hand.

“Hey” she said to Max, “it’s pretty unusual to be sat on the opposite side of the hospital bed you know? B-But you came as brilliant and brave as you are…you came to my rescue”.

Max remained asleep so she continued.

“I’ve been thinking about your offer and it’s not so bad. The idea of permanently waking up to you. I mean you’ll have to learn to bloody put the toilet seat down but that’s fine. I like it when you get in the shower with me. Gather me in your arms and hold me. Guess that’s pretty much out of the question for a while now ey? We’ve spent most of our time at yours and now I probably won’t be able to get up all those stairs…we’ll find a way though my love”.

She yawned, “I hate hospitals too you know? Reminds me of my Mam” she blinked her eyes once before she realised sleep was fast approaching.

“One day I’ll take you to Aber…Aber…” Miranda shut her eyes and let sleep claim her.


Christian knew Miranda had been kicking up a fuss in hospital and refusing to get into her own bed, instead choosing to stay with Max.

He knocked on the door and entered, smiling as he saw Max and Miranda asleep.

She looked uncomfortable from her seat so he looked around and approached Miranda. He lifted her up and carried her to Max’s bed. Lying her down beside Max he pulled a blanket over them.

“I am glad you two are finally together” he breathed, “very glad” he looked at Miranda’s hand and smiled, “I remember Max’s Mama wearing that. She would’ve approved of you Miranda. Not that Max would care if she didn’t. He loves you”.

He sat down and looked at them, “please wake up soon my friends?”

The second he saw Max and Miranda lying on the floor, blood seeping out of them both was the scariest moment of his life. What was worse however, was that he knew he had to act if he wanted to see his friends again. As Lena approached them he moved quicker than he ever had in his life.

Striking the woman down before she could murder Max and Miranda.

He shivered the image away.

If he had been a fraction slower his friends would be no more.

Miranda sighed in her sleep and Max, on instinct, pulled her closer.

Christian smiled and took a photo of them.

“God you two would make gorgeous babies” he chuckled, “Onkel Christian, works for me”.


 

Max woke up with Miranda, he blinked and saw Christian asleep in the seat beside them. He smiled at Miranda.

“Hey”.

“Hey” she smiled.

He kissed her, “makes a change hey? Me being in the hospital bed”.

“It’s not a scene I want to see ever again” she replied.

“Agreed” he said softly.

“Stay at mine? Whilst we both heal…stay at my place?”

“Yeah?”

“It’s got a shower…only one set of steps…”

Max kissed her, “sounds perfect cariad”.

Miranda wrinkled her nose, “that’s Welsh”.

“Is it?” he grinned.

“Where did you learn it?”

“You talk in your sleep” Max smiled and stroked her face, “I picked up a few things”.

Miranda grinned, “maybe I should practise saying other things in my sleep then”.

“Oh my god, can you two wait for me to leave before you start feeling each other up”

Max and Miranda laughed and looked at Christian, his faking of being asleep now rumbled.

“Sorry” Max chuckled.

“I had to deal with your whining for a month over what to do with Miranda buddy. I am used to it”.

“Whined a lot did you?” Miranda grinned, “it’s a shame I can’t make you whine some more right now”.

“Trust me Schatz, I am going to make up for it later”.


 

24 Hours Later

 

Inés surveyed her two Detectives. After dealing with the bodies of Niall Taylor and Juan Peterson. And the arrest of Lena.  She really did not want to see her Detectives anywhere near her for some time. They had convinced the Doctors to discharge them and their first stop had been the police station.

Both looked exhausted and haggard. However, they were both sporting told you so grins which was very irritating. Despite Miranda being on crutches and Max leaning heavily against her.

Miranda placed their reports on her desk and moved back into Max’s arms.

“Oh get out of my office. I don’t want to see that insufferable grin of yours Detective for at least two days maybe three”.

Max eyed Miranda and shrugged as they moved away from Inés.

Usually after finishing a case they drank at a bar, shared tapas and went to their separate homes. But despite being allowed to be in their own apartments, neither had wanted to.

They moved slowly to Christian’s car, Max’s arm around her waist as they did.

“So, your place” Max said.

“My place” she agreed, “where you are going to stay on bed rest. I’ve worked out a plan for us to not starve and still have some fun”.

“Some fun ey?” he grinned.

Miranda smiled and Christian opened the door for them. She got in beside Max and leaned against him.

“You know we never actually defined our relationship…at the moment it is two people who love each other, having sex, and the odd hot kiss against a wall whilst we are meant to be working”.

“There is always a wall somewhere” she said.

“I blame your legs. They are very sexy” Max grinned, "very distracting".

Miranda laughed but slipped her hand into his, “okay then”.

Max laughed, “I hope though, that we are slightly more than just boyfriend and girlfriend cariad…because when we are both better. We will go to the hills and find a quiet spot”.

Miranda nodded, “but for now?”

“Now we relax. You still owe me a back massage”.

“I gave you one at the spa”.

“That was my leg”.

“You wouldn’t let me rub anything else”.

Max laughed and pulled her into a kiss, “oh but we did a lot more than rubbing on that night. Besides, a lot has changed since that night Schatz…lots”.

“Mmm” Miranda agreed, “come on, if you’re at mine for a bit we need to stop by yours to pick up some clothes. No matter what you say about us not needing any more, what if we want to go out and have dinner? Might be doing Topless Tuesdays but somehow I don’t think that the locals will appreciate it if you do the same”.

Max grinned, “sounds like a good plan to me”.

He squeezed her hand, fingers brushing the ring he had given her a lifetime ago, and smiled at her, “true love does not come by often”.

“I know that line” Miranda commented and looked at him.

“It’s from the book that started us on this investigation. Amor Ciego”.

“No longer blind love now” she stated and smiled up at him. Max smiled down at her, “no it is not” he agreed.

“You know…we have a lot of holiday waiting to be used” Miranda said, “when I’m well enough to fly…I think I’d like you to come to Wales…meet my Dad”.

Max looked at her, “y-you want me to meet your Dad? The scary man who used to tell you ghost stories?”

Miranda laughed, “Max he’s not that bad. Besides I think you’d like Aber. It’s got a railway station, a beach, lots of- what?” she cut off and smiled as she saw Max staring at her.

“What?” she repeated and he laughed.

“Nothing” he smiled and kissed her, “I cannot wait to meet him”.

“Good” she remarked and ruffled his hair, “although maybe don’t tell him that I got shot? He worries enough that I'm out here”.

“Not enough to come out here though” Max mumbled, “or fix your light”.

Miranda sighed, “I know…but sometimes we have to re-vist the past to grow in the future. And” she grinned, “there are lots of private places in Aber”.

“Oh?” Max grinned, “and what do you suggest we do in those private places Detective Blake?”

Miranda wrapped her arms around his neck, “picnic…kiss…watch the waves go by”.

“Oh”.

“And have sex”.

Max laughed and held her close, “that sounds like a very good holiday to me”. Max looked at the ring and kissed her, “meeting your Dad and having sex outdoors”.