fredbassett: (PriWriMo - pteranodon)
[personal profile] fredbassett
Title : A Birdie, An Eagle or an Albatross
Author : fredbassett
Fandom : Primeval
Rating : 15
Characters : Jeff the Golfer, Chrissie (OC)
Disclaimer : Not mine, no money made, don’t sue.
Spoilers : None
Summary : Chrissie is going to have words with whoever let her husband Jeff go home in that state.
A/N : Written for the [ profile] primeval_denial 52 Weeks of Primeval. This one is for the Favourite Episode week, Series 1, Episode 5, the one with the Pteranodon.

Chrissie pushed the front door of the flat open and called, “You’re home early, sweetheart! Did you have a good game?”

She dropped her bags on the hall floor and shrugged off her jacket, hanging it up and kicking off her shoes. She’d had a good day with two friends. They’d started off with lunch in Covent Garden, then hit Oxford Street. She was a couple of hundred quid lighter in her bank account, but had a new pair of shoes, a dress for her cousin’s wedding and sweater that she’d had her eyes on for ages but hadn’t been able to justify. 50% off in the sale had finally dealt with that minor scruple.

“Jeff?” She knew he was home because his car was parked on the road outside, but usually when he played golf on Saturday with Andy, the guys would stay for a couple of drinks at the manor afterwards. It had been Jeff’s turn to drive this week, so he’d want to crack open a bottle of wine with supper.

She stuck her head around the living room door. Her husband was sitting at one end of the sofa, staring blankly into space as if he hadn’t even heard her.


He turned towards her and she felt something cold settle in her stomach. He was as white as a sheet, his eyes like two dark, red-rimmed pebbles.

“Jeff? What’s happened?”

“It’s…” He stared at her and she could see the faint sheen of tears on his checks.

She knelt on the floor at his feet and reached out to hold his hand. He was shivering and his skin felt cold to the touch. “What is it, love? Is it your mum? What’s happened?”

Her mother-in-law was only in her 70s and could run Chrissie off her feet on a shopping trip, but she couldn’t imagine what else could have her husband looking so upset. Something had to have happened to Margaret.

He shook his head. “Not mum. It’s… Andy.”

“Andy?” Chrissie was conscious that she was staring stupidly at her husband, just repeating what he’d said, but the look on his face was scaring her and it was hard to think straight.

“He’s dead.” The words came out flatly, almost without emotion.

Chrissie’s eyes widened and she held Jeff’s hand hard. “Jesus Christ! What happened? Did he have a heart attack?” Andy didn’t exactly live the healthiest of lifestyles – few bankers did, in her experience – but she wouldn’t have said he was that high a risk. She’d joked with him a few times about how he could do to lose a few kilos and stop smoking, but all he’d ever done was grin widely, flip her the bird, and tell her she wasn’t on shift at the hospital, so give him a break.

Jeff shook his head again. “I don’t know what happened.” He twined his fingers in hers and he stared at her almost beseechingly. “I don’t know what happened! He’d gone into the woods to look for a ball… I heard him scream…” He swallowed hard and forced the next words out. “There was nothing left of him!” Jeff’s voice rose in panic and he was hanging onto her hand so hard it was starting to hurt. “Something had ripped him to fucking shreds!” Tears started to fall again and his slim shoulders shook.

Chrissie prised her hands out of his grip and grabbed the cashmere blanket she kept on the back of the sofa, draping it around Jeff and putting her arms around him. What he was saying made no fucking sense, but she could tell he was very close to completely losing control. He turned his head into her shoulder and started to sob. They’d been together eight years and she’d never seen him cry like that, not even when his dad had keeled over with a heart attack and died even before the ambulance had arrived.

Chrissie had been in nursing for ten years. She knew all the signs of shock, and when she found who the fuck had left her husband alone after whatever he’d seen, she was going to kick their arses so fucking hard that they wouldn’t sit down for a week.

She held him tightly and let him cry himself out. When the sobs finally diminished, she handed him a tissue and said, “You need a hot drink.”

She quickly filled the kettle and grabbed a bottle of whisky out of the cupboard. A spoonful of sugar, a dollop of honey and a squeeze of lemon followed a hefty measure of whisky. It wasn’t exactly a textbook treatment, but she knew it would help. As an afterthought, she made one for herself as well. She still couldn’t get her head around the knowledge that Andy was dead.

“Drink this.” She held out the mug and Jeff wrapped his hands around it, looking grateful for the warmth.

She sipped her own drink, feeling the hot rush of the alcohol. It took some gentle urging, but eventually Jeff started drinking. Chrissie was pleased to see some colour come back to his cheeks and was even happier when he finally stopped shivering.

“What happened?” She asked gently. “What ripped him to shreds?”

His hands started shaking again, but he’d already drunk most of the whisky. “I don’t know. They didn’t say. But there was almost nothing left of him. Something had stripped his flesh off his bones. They said it was a dog, but that’s ridiculous. We didn’t see any dogs on the course.”

“Who said that?”

“The woman with the soldiers.”

“Soldiers? What the fuck were soldiers doing at the golf club?”

Jeff shrugged. “I don’t know. I called 999 and asked for an ambulance. I stayed with Andy until they arrived, but it wasn’t Andy. There was nothing left, love. Something had ripped him to fucking shreds!” Her husband’s voice rose in outrage. “They took me to the clubhouse. I was expecting the police, but then a load of blokes in black uniforms turned up, and a woman who said she was from the Home Office. Claudia something. I didn’t catch her surname. They told everyone they had to leave. None of it made sense. They kept asking me what I’d seen and what I’d heard. But if it had been a fucking dog, I would have heard it! All I heard was birds flapping around in the trees.”

Chrissie rubbed one hand in circles on his back, trying to calm him. Jeff was right. None of it made any fucking sense. She had no idea why soldiers had turned up instead of the police and Jeff’s description of what had been done to Andy’s body made no sense, either.

“They told me not to talk to the press. Made me sign something.”

“What was it?”

Jeff looked at beseechingly, as though she could reach into his memories and haul them back out for him. “I can’t remember. They just shoved something in front of me and made me sign it.”

“Whatever it is, it’s not binding if they made you sign it without knowing what it was. That won’t stand up.” Chrissie’s sister was a lawyer. According to Maria, there was a special level of hell reserved for people who got clients to sign things without fully explaining them. That almost certainly applied to women called Claudia something or other who claimed to work for the Home Office.

“Did anyone check you over?”

Jeff nodded. “They said I was fine.”

For a given fucking definition of fine that included being in severe shock after seeing the body of his best friend, ripped to shreds. She was torn between a professional desire to know all the details and not wanting to upset her husband any more.

“When did you last eat something?”

He stared at her blankly.


He nodded. “But I threw that up.”

“I’ll do you some tomato soup and bread.”

He needed to stay warm, have something to eat, drink plenty of liquid and then go to bed.

Chrissie pulled the blanket around him and went back into the kitchen. Coffee at this time of the evening wouldn’t be good, but if she laced the decaf with whisky, he wouldn’t notice. With the tomato soup on the hob and a panini warming in the oven, Chrissie took a moment to change into her pyjamas and turn up the heating in the bedroom. As soon as Jeff had eaten and had something to drink, she was getting him into bed. Andy would be just as fucking dead in the morning, but the best thing for Jeff was to be comfortable, warm and fed. Those were things she could deal with now.

When the soup and bread was ready, they ate off trays in the living room. Heinz tomato soup was one of their guilty pleasures, but they both ate mechanically. Chrissie was still trying to get her head around what she’d been told and Jeff was still staring into space more than she was comfortable with.

When they’d finished, she stuck the bowls and plates in the dishwasher and took her husband by the hand. He stood up, the blanket still draped around his shoulders. “I’m OK.”

She nodded, but knew it was bullshit. He was anything but OK.

Dressed in a teeshirt and pyjama bottoms, Jeff slipped underneath the duvet, still holding onto the cashmere blanket.

She left her bedside light on and curled up next to her husband. Jeff rested his head on her shoulder. The shivering had stopped after he’d eaten and he was warmer now but she knew this was only the beginning.

Chrissie still wanted to know how her husband had ended up in a state of psychological shock. She wanted to know what he’d been coerced into signing and why.

She wanted to know who the woman called Claudia was and when she found her, they were going to have words, as her gran used to say.

And most of the words she was going to use weren’t polite.

Date: 2017-03-21 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's brilliant.

I love how the rewatching and/or transcribing of the episodes is bringing out some delightful fics based on little things that were pretty much glossed over or even missed before.

*g* I wouldn't want to make a bet between Claudia and Chrissie!

Date: 2017-03-21 06:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes. There's still a rich seam of material for fic to mine, I think!

Thank you!


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