A/N: This story came from seeing a previously unnoticed exchange of glances. It is not an episode I particularly like, but I was glad to have stumbled across this brief moment.
No copyright infringement intended. All characters from Foyle's War belong to Anthony Horowitz.
From Killing Time - S07E02
The knock on the front door had come about twenty past eleven, distracting Sam from her task of folding the linen. She had taken the sheets down from the wash room at the back of the guest house, putting them in a basket and bringing it all to the dining room where the morning light shone in. Hill House was a rambling old guest house, in dire need of repairs and a fresh lick of paint, but it stood in a lovely location on top of the hill near the green. If only guests knew about the location, perhaps it wouldn't be such a shambles. And if the ones who were already here only paid on time…
Throwing down a half folded sheet, Sam went through into the hall, wondering who it could be. She hoped, for Adam Wainwright, the owner's sake, that it would be a new guest. To her utter surprise, a face she knew very well smiled back at her, a battered, green, short brimmed trilby pushed back on his forehead at a jaunty angle. Her stomach swooped with delight at seeing him, thinking that of all the distractions that could have arrived on the doorstep, this was a very welcome one.
"Hallo." He stepped forward, unwrapping a bundle of fresh fish from a piece of Hessian cloth. "Thought you might like these."
Sam stared at them, eyes momentarily torn away from the man before her. There were easily five decent sized trout there. "Good golly."
"Too much for me." He said simply, looking up at her and giving her his usual upside down smile. "Thought you and the others might like a decent meal." There was laughter behind the inflection of his words, knowing full well that the quickest way to attract her attention was with the mention of food.
Sam breathed in deeply, catching the smell of the fish, the Hessian cloth, and a soft trace of his aftershave. She didn't think he was checking up on her — not that she would entirely mind, but he was perhaps making sure she was well looked after. A responsibility he had not yet let go.
Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle of Hastings Police constabulary was, in short, a very responsible man. They had spent five years working together, overshadowed by war, as policeman and driver. She'd been in the MTC, which had been such a disappointment at first, having had her heart set on being in the WAAF, looking resplendent in Air Force blue. But within a day of being seconded to Hastings Police, and more specifically, to DCS Foyle, she never once minded.
Today, they were both out of any sort of uniform. A lazy, warm mid-July Saturday, with the war over in Europe and the hope of reinstated normalcy. He wore corduroy trousers with a checked shirt underneath a khaki fishing vest, a patterned tie done up neatly at his throat. Even off duty he managed to look immaculate with a sort of old fashioned elegance, which was something she had always admired about him. The eyes under the brim of his hat were a startling blue; how many times had she been subjected to a warning look or a soft glance? No matter how often, they still had the ability to disarm her, as they did now.
Foyle held out the bundle of fish for her, smiling.
"That's very generous." She smiled back, taking them from him carefully. The fish felt heavy and cold through the cloth. She wondered how long he had been standing in the river that morning? Had he known then he would be here, bringing her the product of his efforts? The idea of him standing knee deep in a cold river under a mid-summer sun and thinking about her made her blush inwardly. "What a catch," she managed to say, looking down at the bundle and taking a calming breath. "See you at seven."
Sam looked up then, meeting his eyes again. "Well, I can't possibly take your fish and not invite you to share it. There's enough for everyone."
Foyle's lips twitched in surprised pleasure and he nodded. "Very kind. See you at seven."
He tipped his hat to her, making her blush further still, as he had never used to do that. It felt odd in a way, seeing him here on her doorstep — usually she had been the one knocking on his door, ready with the car to drive him where he needed to go. But now he drove himself in a gorgeous little blue Austin; he didn't need her any more. They no longer worked together and it was only by a bit of luck she was still in Hastings at all. Luckier still that she managed to see him now and again. Their lives had gone their separate ways for a time after the war ended, but each instance they collided again felt irresistibly wonderful. Truth be told, she missed working with the police, the daily chores of the guest house holding no real interest for her.
"Thank you." Her face split in a wide grin, and he inclined his head with a swift quirk of his lips in acknowledgement.
Turning back to his car parked in the road, Foyle chewed at a corner of his lip, mouth still curled in a smile. Sam let out her breath as she watched him go. One couldn't know a more thoughtful and sincere man. Not only had he brought her and the others fish from his catch, he was humble enough to be truly pleased at being asked to join.
She had gone back to her linen, a small smile on her face and spring in her step. She had even started humming a tune as she carried the basket upstairs, an evening of good food and pleasant company to look forward to.
It was nearly seven. All the guests were gathered and she was listening with half an ear for the knock she knew would be right on time. She was doing well not to look at her wrist watch, tempting though it was. Bustling around the kitchen, getting in Adam's way as she tried to help, she was eager to keep busy. When the knock did sound, she gave a small start and wiped her hands on a tea towel hurriedly, rushing to answer the door. She wore the same grey trousers, white blouse, and knitted blue cardigan as earlier in the day, but Foyle had changed into a neatly pressed blue suit. Sam wasn't entirely sure what was more distracting: his casual fishing gear or his fine three piece suit. Feeling a bit flustered with the added pressure of trying to be a decent hostess, she said quickly, "Everyone is in the dining room."
"Oh, right." He was suppressing a smile, and she wondered if she looked as discomposed as she felt. She told herself firmly not to blush, as the thought that he may be laughing at her crossed her mind.
She ploughed on breathlessly. "Dinner should be ready soon."
He followed her into the dining room, putting his more formal black trilby on the stand as he went.
"Would you like a drink?"
"It will have to be cider, I'm afraid."
"Hmm, I see." They exchanged a quick glance of shared humour. Sam laughed and turned towards the others.
"Let me introduce everybody." She had hardly begun when Gabe Kelly, the American GI engaged to one of the guests, Mandy, stood and offered his hand.
"Hello, Mr Foyle."
They shook hands. "How are you?" Foyle asked.
Sam looked around in surprise, "Do you two know each other?" She liked Gabe, and Mandy too, but they had caused no end of a stir in town and here in the guest house. Mandy was staying with their baby girl, which was scandal enough in itself, but Gabe being black as well as American hadn't helped their cause much at all.
"We do," Foyle said, smiling warmly at the young man.
Pushing aside the many questions that suddenly rose to the tip of her tongue, Sam merely hummed in acknowledgement, before continuing the round of introductions. Leaving Foyle with the group, she went back to the kitchen quickly to see how dinner was coming, feeling Foyle's eyes on her as she turned and walked away. Typical of him, she thought with a rush of both admiration and impatience, to know just what's going on and who is who. He probably knew all about Gabe and Mandy's trials with trying to get a marriage license and passage to America.
Adam was still messing about with the potatoes when she came in, and she frowned at him. They had come to blows over Mandy in fact just that afternoon. He had insisted that Mandy and the baby leave by the end of the weekend because she couldn't pay. She was using the money towards the marriage license and visa, so Sam offered to pay for her, which had angered Adam for some reason. Standing her ground had worked however, as he had eventually agreed to let Mandy stay. Adam Wainwright was a nice young man, good looking and fair coloured with strong looking shoulders, and she knew he had bit of a soft spot for her, but he was infuriatingly simple when it came to practical matters. Such as running his aunt's old guest house or cooking dinner.
"What are you doing?" she demanded, sailing in.
"Mashing potatoes," he said crossly, glaring at the bowl as if it had personally offended him.
"With a wooden spoon?"
She rather felt like bashing him over the head with it when she saw that he hadn't put the oven up like she had reminded him not ten minutes ago. How they were going to get everything ready in time, she didn't know.
Between the two of them, they managed to finish preparing the meal, though dinner was served closer to eight o'clock rather than seven o'clock as intended. There were murmurs of appreciation when the fish was brought out, and one guest turned to say to Sam, "I haven't seen a meal like this in an age."
"All Adam's work," Sam replied graciously, sitting down across from Foyle. He was watching her and his eyes crinkled in a soft smile, acknowledging this remark and perhaps realising the exaggeration of it. They began to fill their plates, passing around the dishes of fish and vegetables. It was pleasant hearing the sounds of cutlery and smelling the warm scent of baked fish. It seemed so cheerful somehow, Sam thought. Reaching for her glass of rather questionable cider, Sam lifted it up. "A toast," she said, smiling around at the table, "to Mandy and Gabe."
The table echoed her, and Gabe added, "Thank you. It is good to be amongst friends."
Raising his glass to his lips, Foyle caught Sam's eye. Yes, his look seemed to say, it is.
Their eyes locked and caught hold of one another as they drank to the toast. His were burning with some inner fire, warmth radiating from the startling blue. It sent a shiver down Sam's spine that felt both at once pleasant and unsettling. Swallowing became difficult and she wondered if she might choke. She forced herself to focus on getting the cider down safely. The last thing she wanted was to spray it across the face of the man opposite her.
Good God, did he know what his look was doing to her? It was unlike any look she had experienced before, bold and sensual, making all of her insides feel like jelly, the continued shivers of such reaction creating a pleasing tingling sensation in her lower abdomen. Somewhere from inside, her body cried out to him, wanting him, needing him, nearly making her gasp. He was smiling softly across at her; knowingly almost, licking his lips free of cider.
It took Sam completely by surprise, being unaccustomed to sweeping desire, and causing her to wonder at herself and feel a moment of self-reproach and guilt. It also forced her to face the thoughts she had put aside all day. The questions she did not want to answer herself. Questions about this sudden change in her outlook towards her former employer. He had always been wonderful to work with; he was interesting and clever, if not a bit quiet, and he had always taken care to make her feel useful and a part of the all male police team; he had made her feel feminine with his appreciative looks when she was out of uniform and the way he walked close to her, ever protective and aware of his duty towards her as an employer, as well as a gentleman.
But now? In the few times they had seen each other since she had left the Police, things between them had felt different. Unsure at first, no longer in the well defined roles of boss and driver; then tentative, speaking freely as they had always done, but about themselves rather than cases; glances had lingered, as if seeing each other in a new light, and a mutual friendship formed from years of partnership grew into something quite ill-defined. Was it wrong to be attracted to a man many years her senior who had been in a position of trust and authority? Was it presumptuous to hope that he might feel an equal attraction? Moreover, was she being foolish to entertain all of this while becoming lost in his gaze, allowing him to see into her thoughts and read them?
This brought her up short and she blinked and looked away suddenly, settling her gaze on Adam who was grinning at her on her right. A suitable, eligible young man…who did nothing nearly as overwhelming and staggering to her insides as the man across from her did. But these were questions she hadn't faced in the afternoon, so she certainly wasn't going to begin to try answering them now.
Her heart was still thumping away to a mad rhythm underneath her blouse, blood pulsing hotly through her body. She felt a tiny trickle of sweat trip down her neck and she gripped her knife and fork, stabbing at the fish with some vehemence. Drat the man, she swore, cutting through the tender flesh of the fish with more force than was necessary, scraping the bottom of the plate, I'm behaving like an idiot girl…
She risked a quick glance at him, but he was focused on his plate, thank goodness. They had Christopher Foyle to thank for this fish dinner, but she personally had much to thank him for. A job for starters: a life-ring that had pulled her away from the stifling confines of a village vicarage, allowing her to become her own woman; Foyle had also given her purpose, both with the job of being his driver and with the example of living as a decent human being. At a time when the world was going to hell, he had stood firm in principles and morals, not allowing the excuse of war to get in the way of justice. She had learnt from him, watching him as he dealt with the difficulties being a policeman during wartime brought. She had seen both his compassion and straightforward judgement, and had seen up close how loneliness could test such compassion. He had been without his wife for so long, and when war came to pull his son into harm's way, Sam had finally understood what sacrifice meant.
Listening about sacrifice each Sunday from her father's pulpit had never brought home the true devastating quality until she had seen the worry etch lines onto the face of the man across from her. And he had borne it quietly and without evident bitterness, which had touched her and made her keep Christopher Foyle and his son, Andrew, in her nightly prayers. They both had thankfully come through it all. Foyle had remained steady and unchanging, and she trusted him completely.
So, to feel such a carnal charge come over her in his presence was more than startling. It provided many problems, and yet fulfilled all she might ever hope for.
Sam looked up from her plate again, this time catching sight of Mandy and Gabe. It was much the same for them, wasn't it? Problems and dreams all bundled into one. Sam had said to Mandy only yesterday, having heard her crying in her room, that the future with Gabe and their daughter she so wanted should be possible. After all, what was the war for if not to make a future for everyone? Sam had said, "If you love him — really love him, you ought to follow your heart."
It was quite different when saying it to someone else. Sam swallowed the last few bites from her plate and imagined saying it to herself. Love. One corner of her mouth curled upward, a warm glow filling her that had nothing to do with the excellent meal. Perhaps she had been asking herself all the wrong questions: not "was it wrong", but "was it possible"?
Sam pushed her plate away, reaching for her glass. The movement caught Foyle's attention and he looked up again, breathing in deeply as if to sigh.
Yes, it was possible. Surely it must be. While his face would appear impassive to the others at the table, she saw the small movement of his jaw as he chewed his cheek and the slight narrowing of his eyes as he surveyed her. It was an open glance, neither masked nor ashamed. What had changed between them? Was it the end of a war and the hope of new beginnings? Perhaps it was a shared realisation that had taken them both unaware, drawing the other closer without intention. No matter; it was there between them now, and couldn't be withdrawn. Though no words had been spoken, a gap had been breached, closing off paths they might have once taken. Her stomach contracted unpleasantly, creating a wave of shivers through her middle. She smiled at him softly, gazing back, no longer minding if he saw her thoughts. They were his for the taking.
The sound of plates being pushed away brought her back with a jolt and she put her feet underneath her chair, ready to move back and stand to gather the empties.
"Gabe brought coffee," Adam told the table, smiling at the young man, "I'll just go make it."
He and Sam stood simultaneously, bumping shoulders. "Sorry," he muttered, giving her another one of his wide mouthed grins.
Sam began collecting the plates, the others looking up over their shoulders to compliment the meal. When she reached Foyle, he handed her his plate, their fingers brushing.
"Would you like a hand?"
"Y-yes, all right," she stammered, moving unsteadily towards the kitchen with the burden of crockery.
She felt rather than heard him following her. The kitchen, still smelling strongly of baked fish, was warm and cosy, the added fragrance of Gabe's coffee mingling in the air. Going directly to the large farmhouse sink, Sam set the plates in carefully, reaching to turn on the tap.
"I'll do that, Adam," Foyle said quietly. "Why don't you join the others? You made dinner after all."
From the corner of her eye Sam saw Adam look towards her, hesitate, then shrug. "All right."
Foyle practically grabbed the measuring cup from the young man's hand, smiling all the while. "Good. We'll make a start here and then bring it through."
"Er, right." Adam hesitated again. "Should be a sugar bowl about somewhere."
"We'll manage," Foyle said brightly, beginning on the coffee.
"Right." The door to the kitchen closed behind him.
Counting to ten, thinking it would then be safe, Sam turned from the sink. Foyle was setting a tea tray with cups and saucers for the coffee.
"Any idea where this sugar bowl is then?" he asked, looking up at her with laughter radiating from his eyes.
Her stomach swooped once more and she cleared her throat. "I'll have a look."
She passed him on the way to the Welsh dresser where blue and white plates of Spode stood proudly collecting dust. Pausing, Sam opened the window a crack to let in some fresh air. It was heaven having no more blackout and being able to throw open all the windows whenever they chose. A cool breeze, so pleasant and refreshing after a warm day, caught at her now short blond curls, lifting them away from her cheek. She felt her nipples rise underneath her blouse with the change in temperature and she shivered. Looking in the likely places unearthed nothing, and she turned back to Foyle to find him watching her with a soft look on his face.
"Oh, hang the sugar bowl," he said throatily, pushing himself away from the kitchen table and coming towards her.
"Something I never thought I'd be so happy to hear you say," she murmured, face breaking with relief, accompanied by a wobbly smile.
She was in his arms then, feeling them wrap around her strongly, pulling her gently against him. He was luckily solid of frame and held her fast in case her legs, which were already shaking, gave way. She wrapped one had around his neck, fingers catching at the soft remnants of curls which had been trimmed short by an over zealous barber. He met her lips questioningly, asking for permission which was clear he no longer needed. Returning his kiss made all the strength go right out from her legs, and he caught her, wrapping her more securely in his arms before he pushed her against the low counter top for support. The movement, so strong and assured, made her utter a little moan.
She heard his breath catch and his kiss all at once deepened, his tongue skipping a little dance across the base of her lips, seeking entrance. As his tongue met hers she felt every sense within her come alive, nerves jangling and tingling as her blood rushed loudly in her ears. The voice inside of her which had cried out to him during his penetrating glance over dinner, screamed out again, wanting him more fiercely than ever. Now there was no table between them, and his responding desire was unquestionable.
Pulling away for breath, his lips traced her cheek before dipping below her ear to her neck. One hand had come up, pushing aside the knitted blue cardigan, cupping her left breast. She gasped and felt him smile against her neck. He kissed the thin skin where her pulse raced, sending her headlong towards a pleasure she had never experienced. It filled her with an aching that she somehow knew only he could fill.
"I love you," she murmured, arms locked around the breadth of his shoulders.
He found her lips again, flicking his tongue inside, breathing all at once ragged. "I could never have hoped… I love you more than anything, Sam. Darling, darling Samantha…"
Her name on his lips was spoken with such reverence and feeling that she swallowed them with her kisses, as if to capture the sentiment. He returned her kiss deeply, uttering a small grunt of pleasure at the feel of her beneath his touch. Sam thought she might swoon with the passion that threatened to overwhelm her. It was like slaking a thirst; one that had been entirely unknown to her, the realisation of it now almost unbearable.
His aftershave drowned out the smell of the dinner, but not quite the fragrant coffee, which was brewing happily without them. It reminded her of where they stood and the waiting guests beyond the door.
"The coffee…" Sam muttered grudgingly, touching his cheek.
"Yes, the coffee." He pulled away slowly from her, their foreheads nearly touching.
"I…I never imagined…" she blushed deeply, not from embarrassment, but from joy and desire, "Oh, what a day for surprises."
Twitching his lips in subtle agreement, Foyle stepped back, catching her hands and pausing, making sure her legs weren't about to give way again.
"I'm all right."
"Good." He gave her a half smile, blue eyes dancing in delight.
She went to pour out the coffee into the cups Foyle had set out earlier on the tray, concentrating carefully as her hands were trembling. She already felt the loss of contact by stepping away, wanting only to be back in his arms, to feel his lips against hers and to know his touch, but she tried to think practically, taking deep, calming breaths through her nose.
"What shall we do?"
"I'm sure Adam can find the sugar bowl," he said dryly, lips twitching into soft laughter.
She giggled and poured the last cup, noticing that Foyle had measured just the right amount. "I meant after we have our coffee."
Standing upright again, Sam moved away from the tea tray on the table, returning to him. She reached for his hand, catching his fingers. He squeezed them lightly and brought her hand to his lips, kissing it.
"Whatever we choose…"
His eyes told a story that only days before she would not have believed, and yet it was her story; his story; theirs. It held them captivated, their gaze only for each other, the need for words long past.
A small cough from the doorway brought them both back with a jump, and they looked around the see Gabe smiling shyly at them. "Sorry Sam; Mr Foyle. Thought I'd see if I could help."
He paused, half turning away, "You've both got all the help a body would need though. That I can see fine." He flashed a quick grin and walked away, letting the door shut quietly behind him.
Sam turned back to Foyle and smiled. "I rather believe he's right…"