1- A Small Step for Man…
“See ya, Holly!” waved Trouble as they walked out of the LEP building.
As Holly headed home, she decided to take a bus- the Lower Elements may have been underground but the air-con was set to mimic ‘Winter’ and ‘Summer’ at the appropriate time of year. It was currently -1̊C, Foaly’s idea of a European January.
Sat on the bus, Holly deeply regretted her choice of transport; wedged between an adolescent gnome (not the nicest smell) and a hormonal pixie she almost wished she was on the LEP shuttle. Almost.
About 20 minutes and 2 miles later a mobile rang. It took a further mile for Holly to realise it was hers.
“Hello?” she gasped, her arm practically stuck to her face due to lack of space.
“Hi Holly, its Trouble,” he sounded nervous, a sound incidentally many LEP officers would pay to hear, “Are you OK?”
“Yeah, thanks. I just-” the bus jerked at the stop, and Holly was covered in the lemonade which the gnome had been drinking. She decided now would be a good time to get off the bus, despite the 2 miles left to her flat.
“Holly? Are you alright?”
“Yeah, sorry about that!”
“What was that?”
“I was on the bus, but I just got off and I’m covered in some gnome’s lemonade!”
“Why are you calling anyway?” Holly was genuinely confused; there was no human-related crisis, and she hadn’t missed any paperwork deadlines…had she?
“I was just..well you’re probably busy..err,” he stuttered, worrying Holly.
“Trouble, is something wrong?”
“Doyouwanttogotodinnerwithmetonight?” The words escaped his mouth before he could believe it. Outside her flat, Holly grinned in spite of herself, her heart felt as though it was performing several somersaults.
“Really? Excellent! I’ll pick you up about 7ish?” Trouble, still stood in Police Plaza (where he had been working up the courage to call Holly for 20 minutes), was every bit as thrilled as Holly; his heart was performing a similar routine, his legs feeling like his mother’s famous redcurrant jelly.
“That’s fine, see you later!”
“Bye!” Holly put her phone back in her pocket. As she unlocked her front door, she smiled. A date! With Trouble Kelp! Wow!
2- The Date!
At 6 O’clock, Haven Mean time, Trouble Kelp put down the phone, happy that the restaurant had had a spare table, and even happier when he remembered who he would be sitting at it with.
In spite of the fact that he was one of the LEP’s most famous officers (and apparently quite good looking), Trouble had never actually had a proper date…or girlfriend. There had only ever been Holly.
Holly, who he walked into work with most days.
Holly, who he ate lunch with every day.
Holly, who in, he checked his watch, 15 minutes!
“D’Arvit,” he swore, and rushed into the shower before he could get distracted again.
At 5 to 7, Holly finally managed to ‘style’ her hair, and checked her reflection.
‘5 minutes!’ she thought.
Of course, Holly knew that she would be the subject of wild and exciting (but probably untrue) rumours tomorrow, but was too…happy to care- Trouble Kelp had asked her out!
The buzzer on the door rang, looking through the small window Holly recognised him.
“Sorry I’m late,” panted Trouble, “I got caught up and- whoa”
He stopped mid-sentence as he took in the elf stood before him. Holly (in his mind) always looked beautiful, but tonight, in a dress the colour of emeralds, it was enough to make his knees wobble.
“Do you, err, want a drink or something?” Having never been on a ‘date’ before either, Holly was unsure of what exactly happened next.
“I’m OK, thanks. ~I got us a table at Stanza’s for 7.20, I thought we we’d walk there, if that’s OK.” Even though there was no ozone layer for them to damage, fairies were remarkably eco-friendly. During their time on the surface, they had cared for the erath whilst the humans destroyed; it was the same now (although with considerably less grunting).
Fetching her new purple coat and her bag, Holly glanced over at Trouble, who was pretending to be very interested in the family photo her cousin Lara had sent her.
‘He really is…handsome,’ she thought, ‘He could get any girl he wanted- why me?’
As they came out of Stanza’s after a delicious meal (vegetable stir-fry for Trouble and a Mediterranean salad for Holly) the same question was still playing upon her mind.
They had just reached Holly’s flat when she blurted it out.
“What do you mean?” Trouble looked puzzled.
“I mean you could get any girl in the LEP, in Haven even, but you asked me! Why?”
He answered her with a (ahem) knee-wobbling kiss on her lips.
“Because I think you’re brilliant, Holly Short.”
3- The Morning After the Night Before
Holly Short was rudely awoken by her alarm clock. BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!
She rolled over, the digital display of the clock flashing 0615. Whilst another hour in bed greatly appeared to her, this was simply not practical; after all, as Root had always told her, criminals do not commit crime at a time suited to you. After allowing herself a pang of remembrance for her commander, Holly dragged herself out of bed.
Meanwhile, 3 miles away, Trouble woke (as always) to the sound of his brother’s radio; ‘You Raise Me Up’ making his ears hurt. Westlife were his brother’s favourites, though the same couldn’t be said for him- the only human bands he liked were the ones who could actually play their instruments.
At 5 past 7, Holly walked through Police Plaza, arriving with 25 minutes to spare, 25 minutes which Foaly decided to spend ‘chatting’ about her and Trouble.
“Morning Holly, where’s trouble?” Foaly ducked as a floppy disk narrowly missed his head.
“Hey! That’s worth a fortune-antique, a genuine Dell!” He retrieved the disk, making a mental note to store it in the Swiss account.
“How’d you know, anyway?” Holly smiled, allowing the memory of last night to wash over her.
“Oh please! I have cameras in every restaurant in Haven. I must say, that dress was stunning!
“Thanks…OI!” Foaly had begun to play the footage, the speakers were turned right up
“You look beautiful, Holly” the on-screen version of trouble was saying.
Unfortunately, nothing more was to be seen as a second disk, this one a CD, tore the video screen.
Later, at lunch, Trouble stood in the canteen, his eyes scanning the room…there! Sat with Foaly. He walked over, aware of the assorted cat-calls and wolf whistles that would ensue.
“Hey” he slid into a seat next to Holly, who promptly dropped the cheese sandwich she had been eating.
“Hi” her face glowing, Holly quickly silenced Foaly with a swift kick under the table.
Still, he couldn’t resist.
“Shall I leave you two alone, or shall I simply observe?”
About to retort, Holly felt her words escape as she read the piece of paper tossed at her earlier.
“Holly, are you OK?” Trouble saw the emotion leave her face as quickly as she then left the room.
“Oh dear,” sighed Foaly.
You are formally invited to a remembrance service dedicated to the memory of Commander Julius root, who was killed a year ago by LEP Captain Holly Short.
Everyone who cared welcome to attend
20th January, 7:30 pm, Lower Elements Council ballroom
Across the bottom, someone had scrawled
BUT NOT YOU MURDERER.
Trouble ran after her.
She was sat against the fire exit door, and when she turned to face him, hear face was tear-stained and red.
Trouble sat down and put his arm around her whilst she wept.
Foaly raced back to the Ops booth, once he had finished his soup, that is.
He knew Holly was not over the death of Julius, not many were, yet it had hit her especially hard. Deep down, Foaly suspected that her attachment to him had formed from the loss of her own father; Root had been the next best thing.
Now he and Trouble seemed to be the only ones left for her.
I must not let anything happen to Holly the centaur promised, and a plan appeared in his head.
After what felt like minutes, but was probably hours, Holly began to stir in Trouble#’s arms; she had quite literally cried herself to sleep.
An incredible peace washed over Trouble, one which he could not remember since before his father left.
Trouble, aged 14, stood opposite Alan Kelp, his father. Behind him lay his 8 year old brother, Grub, cowering in fear.
The front door clicked.
“I’m home!” called Lydia Kelp, arms laden with groceries. Her eyes took in the scene in front of her, the shopping fell from
“Alan? Alan, what’ve you done? Where are the boys?”
Alan Kelp took a step back from Trouble; a step towards Lydia.
“Don’t you DARE-”
She was cut off once Alan had hit her, hard.
“Get off her!” shouted Trouble, advancing towards him. “Stop it!”
“Daddy please stop!” whined Grub
“Daddy you’re scaring me!” Grub began to cry.
Their father took one last look around the room, and left.
Trouble looked at the sleeping Holly. She seemed so peaceful her delicate frame shielded from harm by his arms.
“Daddy’s not coming back, is he?” Grub climbed in to trouble’s bed.
A minute, maybe more, of silence passed.
“No Grub,” he sighed. “He’s not.”