Well, this is the final part, sadly (sniff!).
I want to thank all you lovely reviewers (in no particular order of awesomeness): Tom's Mum, TemperTemper, fanficfan71, Kat, Isailaway, BoomerSooner, MaddieStJ, Leigh UK, HeatherTN, Willowsticks, JaneMarplePT, LizzieB, renegademaster, Karen, shuggieplum, Nimidias, SvengoolieCat, red2013, conansf, Unique Charm, keikoku89, lindahoyland, plus all the lovely guests who I wasn't able to respond to personally. I know a lot of people read, favourite and follow stories without ever reviewing, and I'm guilty of that myself, but believe me, it really does mean a lot to get a review. It encourages me to try to keep going during those times when the story isn't 'coming' as naturally as normal. So thank you all for contributing to this story, and don't ever think it's not worth posting a review to a story you like, however short that review may be!
I'm not going to post any spoilers here, in case there are some among you who haven't seen the new series yet…but massive kudos to Sara Martins and Kris Marshall for some beautifully sensitive acting in episode 4. And great writing too, as always. I don't understand why some of the critics are so down on this entertaining, funny and dramatic show.
Just a couple of quick notes: I know very little about the law, so I have no real idea what priorities would be given to Nieto's crimes in the UK and in the Caribbean. And Fidel's comment about the tea… he is absolutely right! Mad though it might be, on a really hot day, there is nothing like a cup of hot tea for cooling you down!
I acknowledge the rights of Robert Thorogood and Red Planet Pictures/Atlantique Production.
So, here we go, one last time…
Five days later
Fidel unlocked the door of the beach house, applying pressure with his foot when it didn't immediately give. He dumped Humphrey's bag just inside the door.
"Door's getting a bit stiff, boss. You should get someone in to take a look. Jez is the man you want; I can give him a ring if you like?"
"Nah. Don't worry. I can sort that out myself." Humphrey walked a little stiffly up the balcony steps. He was accompanied by Camille, who hovered in the background, one hand outstretched, as if to stop any potential fall. He gritted his teeth against his irritation. She meant well, but Camille was not the world's most natural nurse, as the last few days had shown him all too well.
He pretended not to notice the slightly concerned look that passed between the two of them. He knew his DIY skills weren't the best, but it was just a stiff door, for heaven's sake! How difficult could it be to sand the edges down a bit?
Perhaps not today, though. He sank into one of the balcony armchairs, sighing partly in relief and partly in pleasure at the view he had been missing.
He had been beginning to think he'd never get discharged from the hospital. Although the wound was now healing nicely, he was still on a powerful regimen of antibiotics and the doctor had only agreed to release him if he promised not to undertake any active detective work for at least another week. After many assurances that the furthest he would venture would be the station and the supermarket, he was finally allowed to leave. The strong drugs made him feel woozy, though, and he was not sorry that he was still signed off for a few more days.
It was Sunday again – extraordinary that so much had happened in just one week – and Dwayne was on-call, but Camille and Fidel had been happy to collect him from hospital.
During his absence from work, a lot had happened. Full statements had been obtained from Emma Lawrence and Ernest Nieto, and both had been shipped off to the larger police station on Guadeloupe. There was some debate over where the trials would be held and in what order. Both Emma and Nieto would need to be tried in London over Jonathan Masters' death, since that was where the crime had taken place, but there was also the small matter of Nieto's role in Emilia's murder, the unlawful drug-related deaths of half a dozen local people, and Camille's and Humphrey's drugging and abduction. If they were both shipped off to London, the local prosecutors argued, it was unlikely that either would return, and Nieto would essentially get away with his local crimes, since Emma was a key witness in the matter of her own daughter's murder.
Daniel and Antoine Le Fondre also needed to be charged locally alongside Nieto for their involvement in the distribution of the unsafe drug and in Humphrey and Camille's abduction. Josephine Parker, a young American living on the island, had been identified as the woman working alongside Nieto at the party and had been apprehended. She faced charges of drug trafficking but, after taking her statement, Humphrey and Camille decided not to charge her for aiding and abetting in Emilia's murder, since there was no firm evidence that she had known what Nieto had really intended to do. Both she and the Le Fondre boys showed obvious signs of relief that they were no longer under Ernest Nieto's control.
While the endless debates between the Guadeloupe and London prosecutors and lawyers took place, the Lawrence family were very much in limbo. Clive and Eddie had gone to Guadeloupe to be nearer to Emma. Initially, Sir Selwyn had accompanied them, but had returned once a British Embassy-appointed representative was available to assist them.
Clive had given Patterson power of attorney over several of his bank accounts, and the Commissioner was engaged in the unenviable task of getting various funds transferred so that the victims of Masters' fraud could finally be compensated. Some of them had died in the meantime, so the potential descendants had to be traced. Much to everyone's surprise, Josh Lawrence had offered to stay on for a while to help Patterson with this task. Since the Commissioner couldn't risk involving his own staff, Humphrey suspected he was extremely grateful for the help. No doubt the wily civil servant would be offering Josh a job opportunity at some stage… but Humphrey would be very surprised if the restless and adventurous young journalist decided to settle on Sainte-Marie.
Some of the released funds would come from the sale of the Lawrence's Sainte-Marie house. Since Emma was likely to serve any sentence in Britain and since Clive and Eddie were hardly likely to want to return to a place with such sad memories, this was not really much of a surprise. In addition to his research for Sir Selwyn, Josh was also busy clearing the family's property and keeping in close communication with his father over what should be disposed of or packed up for dispatch to their London home. He was expecting his brother Julien to join him shortly to help out. Humphrey hoped that this older sibling, reputedly fairly calm and level-headed, would be able to sort things out for the rest of the family. He knew Josh was hoping that Julien would take Eddie back to Britain and find a suitable rehabilitation programme for him.
As it turned out, Emma would face no charges on Guadeloupe. Although she had confessed to an attempt to run Jessica Law over, much to everyone's surprise, Law had agreed not to seek a prosecution. She was probably occupied with her own financial worries; due to the considerable payments she had made to Masters over the years, which really did amount to more than she'd originally stolen from him, she didn't have much money in reserve. What she had was sunk into her hotel business and, after some discussion with Patterson, she had decided to sell her hotel chain on Sainte-Marie in order to pay over the money. At that point, she'd probably cut her losses and leave the island for good.
Humphrey had had all this information relayed to him during Camille's daily visits. It was perhaps just as well that he'd finally been released. Camille, by her own admission, was a poor nurse, squeamish and uncertain around the sick and injured. She was prone to sudden bouts of irritation, which he suspected was just a cover for her concern. When, the day after the denouement, Humphrey's temperature had soared again for no discernible reason, he'd been distantly aware of Camille pacing back and forth in the background, while the doctors and nurses worked to bring it down again.
Surprisingly, the hospital staff hadn't insisted on her leaving. They seemed to assume she must be his significant other. The fact that she wasn't just seemed to add to the tension between them. As he grew stronger, the tension seemed also to grow by increments, until they could barely have a conversation without a minor flare-up over some small point or another. And yet, she stayed. She might have walked off for a while and there might have been a few grooves worn into the floor of the hospital room by her restless prowling, but she still stayed. Humphrey had grown used to the comforting sensation of a cool hand stroking gently across his brow or resting lightly on his hand whenever he slipped into sleep or began to wake up. As he seemed to spend a lot of his time in hospital napping at the oddest times, this happened quite frequently. After a few days, he was beginning to wonder precisely where and when she slept.
He eyed her now as she hovered nearby, as if uncertain what to do. Fidel had wandered into the house, muttering something about getting Humphrey a drink.
"I suppose I should probably go -," she began, gesturing towards the jeep, but he stopped her quickly with a hand on her arm before he could think any better of it.
"Don't go. You've got the day off anyway. Please, just… stay?"
She gave him an awkward smile and sat down in the other armchair. He noticed the tension seeping from her body as she sighed, closing her eyes for a moment.
"You haven't had much rest, have you?" he asked, noting the dark circles under her eyes.
She opened her eyes again. "Between getting the statements, arranging the transfers, bringing in the Le Fondres and Josephine Parker, and trying to keep the station going? Not really. To say nothing of visiting you. I'll catch up tonight."
"You didn't need to keep visiting me every five minutes." He smiled, to take the sting out of it. "But I have to admit that I'm very glad that you did."
She raised a wry eyebrow. "Really? I didn't seem to do much apart from annoy you. If it hadn't been for Maman…"
They both grimaced. It was true that Catherine, with a natural mothering instinct that her daughter seemed to lack, had taken over Humphrey's care. She'd plied him with her 'restorative' chicken soup, which admittedly was a step-up from the hospital food, and had been the one who had brought the most practical things to his hospital room, such as cooling wet wipes. However, she'd also fetched his spare pyjamas and insisted on laundering his dirty clothes, much to his embarrassment, and had lectured him sternly on the need to take much better care of himself, while her daughter had cringed and various young nurses had giggled in the background.
"You were just there," he said, simply.
Her eyes softened and she opened her mouth to speak, just as Fidel came back onto the balcony. Humphrey suppressed a sigh of irritation as the officer placed a steaming mug on the table next to him.
"What?" he said, defensively as Humphrey stared at it in disbelief. "It's tea, that's all. The doc said you couldn't have alcohol and there's nothing in your fridge apart from beer." He went back inside and fetched two more mugs, passing one of them to Camille.
"It's about a hundred degrees today, Fidel!"
"It'll cool you down." He sat on one of the dining chairs on the balcony, angling it back so he could put his feet up on the railing. He took a sip of his tea and gave a satisfied sigh. "No, really, it will. That's what Richard Poole always used to say and I'm sure he was right."
Camille gave him a sympathetic smile as she sipped from her mug.
Resigned, he picked up the mug and sipped from it. The steam from the tea made his face flush as he blew on it, but oddly the brew did refresh him a little. It was approaching midday and he could tell that this was going to be one of those sweltering days that would only be mitigated by a fierce rainstorm in the late afternoon. After that, there'd be a fresher breeze and a sweet smell of flowers drifting from the rainforest behind him. Until then, he had no intention of moving from his current shady spot.
Fidel idly surveyed the view. "Dwayne said he'd come over when he could. It's going to be a quiet day, I reckon."
"I hope you're right." Humphrey sipped the tea again and felt his drowsiness clearing. Fidel had made it quite strong which probably wasn't a bad thing, as he didn't want to fall asleep. The drugs had leeched a lot of his energy, but now that he was out of hospital, he wanted to get his circadian rhythms back to normal.
His eyes flew open as he remembered the one bit of work he had had to deal with. "So, how's the preparation for the interview going?"
"Oh…OK, I think." Fidel dipped his head, uncertainly. "I'm sorry you had to deal with my reference when you were in hospital. It all happened a bit sooner than I thought."
"It's OK, I was very happy to – although we'll miss having you around here."
Camille leaned forward. "Are you absolutely sure about this? It'll be a big change – for all of you."
The young man hesitated but then nodded. "It's the right thing to do. Juliette's thinking about getting back to work part-time, and there are far more opportunities on St. Lucia. And…" he hesitated again, a little embarrassed. "…well, it's an opportunity to progress. I'm sorry, Sir, but you know what I mean."
Humphrey nodded, warmly. "You're doing the right thing, and I support you all the way." He paused. "Does Dwayne know?"
"Um, not yet," Fidel confessed. "I didn't like to say anything until I knew I would definitely get the job."
"Well, you'll definitely get it – that's a given. They'd be foolish not to accept you." He glanced at Camille. "I would tell him if I were you." He knew how fond Dwayne was of his younger colleague – it'd be a shock for him to not have Fidel around.
Camille nodded. "Get him used to the idea."
"OK, I will." Fidel looked at the bay again and sighed. "I'm going to miss this place, though."
The trio subsided into a comfortable silence. Humphrey drained his mug and tried not to think of the pleasure of a cold beer. The waves lapped gently at the shore and a warm but not unpleasant breeze ruffled his hair.
He laughed suddenly. "I still find it hard to believe my luck when I look out at that view. Most people in Britain would associate such a scene with a luxury travel website."
Camille gave a little hum of agreement. "When I was in Paris, I never thought I'd come back here. You know, when you grow up in such a place, you don't appreciate what you have."
"Would you…" he swallowed nervously. "Would you ever want to…go back?"
She looked at him, her eyes warm. "Maybe. It depends…on certain things. Would you move to Paris?"
He laughed, even as he gave it serious consideration. "Maybe. It depends…on certain things. Mind you, I'm not quite sure Paris is ready for Humphrey Goodman!"
"It wasn't so long ago that I wasn't sure that Sainte-Marie was ready for Humphrey Goodman," she murmured.
"And now?" He found he couldn't tear his eyes from her face.
She smiled at him, a small private smile meant only for him – or so he told himself. "I've changed my mind."
Fidel coughed meaningfully, drawing their attention. He stood up, draining his mug. "I'd better get off back home. Dwayne was going to collect me, but he must have been held up."
"Take the jeep," Camille told him, passing the keys over. "I won't need it for the rest of the day."
"Sure." His eyes passed quickly between them. "I take it I won't see you at Catherine's later?"
"Probably not tonight," Humphrey said, quickly. "Not me, anyway. I'd probably be too tempted."
"Right." He smiled and gave them an idle wave as he strolled off.
Humphrey huffed out a short laugh, partly out of embarrassment. "It's not hard to work out what he suspects."
"Poor Fidel," Camille commented. "He wants to be shocked, but he doesn't know how to. He knows the regulations." She emphasised the last word.
"Hmm, yes, the regulations." It was something that had been in the back of Humphrey's mind, just as it had been in Richard's before his death. There were clear rules about fraternisation between senior officers and their immediate juniors.
There was a moment's silence between them. Humphrey eventually broke it.
"To be honest, I didn't think the regulations were relevant. I mean, I didn't think you had any feelings for me in any case – I thought it was just me who felt that way. It seemed as if Richard…" His voice trailed away.
"Yes. I think I need to explain," she said, slowly. "I won't deny that I had – that I have – feelings for Richard. I…well, I think that if he hadn't died that day, we might have had a chance. I think I loved him – I might have been in love with him, given the opportunity." She laughed, a little tremulously. "And then we would have had the professional dilemma! Would I have left my job or would he? Where would we have lived?"
Humphrey smiled despite the ache in his heart. "The real question might have been: was London prepared for Camille Bordey?"
"True." She sighed. "But it wasn't to be. Richard did die and I think my heart broke a little. I didn't think I could ever get over him. But… but time passes and, little by little, the pain recedes, almost before you realise it. I had to move on. And you -," she smiled at him. "- in the end, I couldn't resist you. There is far more to you then there seems to be."
"When did you realise that you cared for me?" he asked, quietly. He knew his own moment of realisation. He didn't dare say the word 'love'. Not yet. He didn't think she was quite ready for that.
She hesitated, thinking. "Later than you may think. Or...I suppose it was actually earlier, only I didn't realise. But it became really obvious to me in the boathouse."
"Really?" Remembering their conversation that day, he was surprised.
"Yes. We were talking about Richard, and I was regretting that I'd never told him how I felt – remember? It'd been a shock when you gave me that diary and I realised that he'd been in love with me. And I kept focusing on that and regretting the missed opportunity so much. But you – you got me through it. I was so scared, and you held my hand and kept me calm and told me how sorry you were… And – and I just thought 'what am I doing?' There you were, so supportive and kind and…well, loving, really, and all I could do was think of the man that I'd already lost..."
She paused and he kept quiet, letting her work through her feelings in her own time.
"In fact, I hadn't actually lost him – how could I have, when I'd never even had him in the first place? I mean, OK, the diary suggested that he had feelings for me, and quite possibly he did. And I knew I had feelings for him...but so what? We might have gone out on a few dates, we might have fallen into a relationship...but it's as equally likely that we'd have never taken the risk. Or else we might have just as quickly fallen out of love. After all, we were very different in personality, so who knows whether we would have survived once the initial spark of romance was over?" She shrugged, smiling ruefully. "I'll never know, and I can't let the speculation dominate the rest of my life. You can't know whether something will work until you try it."
She reached out a hand to him; he took it in both of his. "And all the time, you were there, comforting me…and I suddenly realised that there was someone right there. Not a sad memory of what might have been, but something that could be. I'm not saying that something will happen for definite…only that I like you very much, I'm attracted to you, and I think that, given time, I might love you. Maybe I do already, but I have to be sure. Anyway, I'm willing to give it a try…if that's OK with you?"
He squeezed her hand. "And the regulations?"
"Why don't we take things slowly? A few dates, to see how it goes. If things progress, we can talk to Sir Selwyn at that stage. We're both professional and we can be discreet, can't we?"
"Yes, definitely." It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her that as soon as he felt up to it, he was planning to see Patterson anyway, to recommend her for the Inspector OSPRE examinations. He'd been concerned that Patterson would only support one inspector post on Sainte-Marie, but after the last case, he felt fairly sure that the Commissioner would give him whatever he asked for, even if it meant expanding the investigations team. There was enough casework to support two investigation teams, and he couldn't think of anyone better qualified for the second senior post than Camille. There were no actual regulations against relationships between police inspectors, as long as one of them wasn't in command of the other. It was slightly frowned on in the Met, but it wasn't actually illegal.
He smiled and lifted her hand to kiss it; an old-fashioned gesture that she seemed to appreciate, judging by the warmth in her eyes. "So…where do we go from here?"
She laughed, gently. "I'm thinking of a proper date, as soon as you're back on your feet."
"Ah." He shifted, uncomfortably. "I feel I should warn you, Camille, that when it comes to dates, I'm – well, they don't always go to plan…" Horrible visions of knocked-over drinks and stilted conversations assailed him.
"Why am I not surprised?" Her voice was amused. "I'm not talking about a candle-lit dinner; something tells me that it could go badly wrong. I have something else in mind."
"Yes. Remember a week ago, at just about this time? A picnic on a deserted beach with a lovely view? That's what I'd planned for us last week…of course, I hadn't expected it to be our first date."
"Um, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to get back on that bike again," he ventured.
"Neither am I," she grimaced at the memory. "Let's take the jeep instead."
He grinned. "Definitely."
There was a brief silence as they looked at each other and Humphrey wondered whether he dared kiss her. Exactly how slowly did she want this to go?
She sighed and leaned over. "Not that slowly," she murmured against his lips before capturing them.
As the kiss deepened, he wondered, in a slightly dazed manner, whether he'd spoken his thoughts aloud or whether she was just a very good mind reader. Still, as his hands came up to tangle in her hair and she ran her fingers lightly over his chest, perhaps it didn't matter all that much…
"Hey, boss! Are you there – oh, sorry -."
The voice was unmistakeably Dwayne's.
Camille sighed and then giggled against Humphrey's mouth. "We don't really get a break, do we?"
"Not much." He leaned away from her reluctantly, to look around at Dwayne. The officer was standing near the steps, very carefully looking out to sea, although his lips were twitching. He didn't look particularly startled by the change in circumstances.
"Sorry to interrupt, Sir." There was a wealth of suggestion in his tone. "I came to collect Camille. There's been a break-in at a jewellery shop. I wouldn't have called you but there's a lot missing, and it looks like they might try to make a run for it at the harbour. Fidel's already on his way there."
Camille gave Humphrey a rueful look as she got to her feet. "So, it's the side car for me – how lovely. Will you be OK by yourself?"
He smiled. "I'll be fine."
"Alright." She glanced over her shoulder, but Dwayne had very considerately wandered back over to the squad bike. She bent and gave him another lingering kiss. "I'll see you later."
"Later…" he echoed, watching her as she walked off to join Dwayne.
The bike roared off. Humphrey stretched out in his chair and gazed at the sparkling blue sea, feeling utterly content.