Title: FW 1945: Not Fish They Are After, Chapter 5, Conclusion
Disclaimer: Foyle's War was created by Anthony Horowitz, and the characters of Christopher Foyle and Samantha jointly created by Mr. Horowitz, Mr. Michael Kitchen and Ms. Honeysuckle Weeks. No infringement is intended.
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Chapter 5 - Conclusion
She woke first, about an hour later, to find herself spooned against him, her bottom nestled into his lap. His left arm lay heavily over hers, his hand covering her abdomen protectively. Listening to his slow breathing, feeling his exhalation on her shoulder, Sam smiled in wonder - she had never imagined that her polite, buttoned-up, very proper boss, and then quietly amusing, respectful friend, was capable of such passionate, thrilling love-making. Her mind wandered over the scene of her rather bold move at the river, their first kisses and confessions in the flowing current, and then his ready acceptance of her unwitting proposal - and she realised that he would probably never have asked her, never have courted her in the usual way. To her it had seemed almost inevitable that they would be together…, yet he hadn't considered it? Well, Sam decided with a determined set to her lips, she would do everything in her power to ensure that he'd never have cause for a moment's regret.
Chaos was not Samantha's natural state, and while Christopher slept on, she had not only sorted their clothes and picnic items, but had tended to his gear - waders draining on the back steps, fishing waistcoat hung up to dry, and she'd even plucked the hooked fly from under the breast pocket flap and returned it to the little tin box she'd found in one of the other pockets. Sam had vegetables ready to cook for their dinner, the fish prepared for baking, and the cherry pie in pride of place on the dining room table. It was going on seven o'clock and still a glorious bright day outside the kitchen window.
Eventually a very buoyant Christopher came downstairs in his dressing gown, saw that the front hall was cleared and spotless, and found Sam in the kitchen with her back turned, wearing his son's outgrown old dressing gown, a bright tartan-patterned one that never failed to remind him of Christmas. He saw several covered pots and dishes on the counter.
It had been a while since he'd embraced a woman in his kitchen, but he found to his delight he still had the knack for silent approach and surprise.
"You've been busy, sweetheart." He murmured into her right ear, arms snaking around her and squeezing.
"Oh!" She cried with a satisfying jump, nearly scolding him but too happy to do so, "Christopher!"
Sam turned from the stove, throwing her arms around his neck,
"I was just thinking of starting dinner, if you're r-."
He delayed his answer with several minutes of very contented kisses.
"Mmm, how can I help...?"
A little breathless, she laid her hands on his shoulders,
"Everything's ready. I'm just not sure about your oven. I remember it took longer than I expected when we had the coq au vin-."
"-Wwithout the 'vin.'" he grinned. "Yeh, we can turn it up a bit more...or not, and let it take a bit longer…" one raised eyebrow offered suggestively.
Sam was in a dilemma, wanting to give vigilant attention to the first meal she prepared for him as his fiancée, and wanting to please him in every other way. In addition to that, she worried she might be a bit sore...down there.
Christopher saw her lip-biting hesitation and a frown as these unspoken concerns played across her features. He reassured her,
"Nunno, just say what you prefer, darling."
His wide open eyes regarded hers frankly. When she still hesitated he gave her an encouraging smile and a blink.
"I… I just want the dinner to be perfect." To her mortification she felt the sting of tears forming in her eyes.
Christopher swallowed, reached past her to turn up the cooker's dial, and drew her over to sit on his lap on a kitchen chair, facing the oven.
He said in a soft voice, "Then we'll tend it together. But, em, just remember, Samantha, I've been putting up with my own...very inadequate cooking for years. I'll be very appreciative." He kissed her cheek tenderly, "Now. I've found it works well to let the oven come up to full temperature, and then put the pan in. Is that how you do it?"
She nodded briskly, and blinked the tears away, "I'm sorry, I don't know why-."
"W'oh, it's no wonder. You've made a very foolish choice today, taking on a...difficult, demanding, bad-tempered 'old buffer'…"
Sam was now grinning at him shyly.
"...Should really try to talk you out of it, but…" He blinked away some tears of his own, "Can't let you go now, Sam... Never admitted to myself before today how much I…" He took in a breath, "...Loved you." He rested his brow on hers and amended, "...Love you."
Samantha's heart soared as she understood what she'd been waiting for, and what underlay her near frenetic activity - a lingering doubt of her worth to him, a doubt that she had inspired his real love. So...she didn't have to prove herself, make herself useful every day…
"You love me." She whispered, her vision filled by his warm blue eyes.
"Course I love you."
"I can...burn the dinner, and you'll still..." She stated to herself.
"Still love you."
"I can...lie in bed til ten."
"Why not." He agreed with a moue.
She couldn't actually think of any other examples of egregious wifely failings just at the moment.
"Of course...I won't, but…"
"Still love you even if you did." He kissed her cheek again, then frowned in deep thought, "Nnever actually asked you, Sam, but… Will you marry me?" His brows rose hopefully.
She compressed her lips, very moved, and answered quickly, "I will. I will marry you, Christopher."
"Because...you love me?" He squinted an eye shut.
"I love you very much!" She said earnestly, then broke into a grin at his expression.
"Just checking." He gave her a lopsided smile, then looked vaguely around the kitchen, "Haven't anything that would do as a ring, I'm afraid. ...Stop in at the jeweller's Mond'y?"
"If we've nothing else to do…" she teased, her spirits quite restored.
She glanced at the oven, "Shall we put the fish in? Must be up to temperature by now."
Things went swimmingly after that.
They were sitting at the dining table, Christopher at the head and Samantha to his left, just finishing the main course as they relived the comical misadventure that led up to their watery first embrace, when the front door suddenly rattled open. For the second time that day they froze and stared at each other guiltily.
But Andrew must've heard the tail end of their shared laughter because he didn't call out his usual greeting. Still in his RAF officer's uniform, he walked cautiously into the sitting room, stared through the archway at the cosy scene, eyebrows rising over widening eyes. He checked his watch as if that might somehow help him make sense of what he was seeing. Then his expression deepened into a suspicious frown.
They set down their cutlery, waiting.
Andrew's eyes swept back and forth between them, finally settling on Sam, who was now red-faced under his glare. His disbelieving rhetorical question was aimed at his father,
"...Is that my dressing gown?"
"Hello, son. Good to see you."
Sam thought she'd best leave it to them to get through the awkwardness, met Christopher's eyes, and then continued watching the exchange mutely.
Andrew came through to stand at the end of the dining table where he could confront them both, again fixing his eyes on her but asking his father with an accusatory edge,
"Not even a ring…?"
"It's at the jeweller's."
Sam almost smiled at his quick answer. Technically it wasn't a lie.
Andrew digested that a moment, and twisted pursed lips to one side in unconscious imitation.
"How long have…?" Still frowning, he shook his head slightly, unable to comprehend.
"How long have we known?" his father said emphatically, steering the question away from anything tactless.
"Not long." Then Christopher took her hand, holding it on the table, and tilted his head, "...But it was inevitable."
Sam broke into a pleased smile gazing at him. She decided it was time for her to speak up, though she tried and utterly failed to keep a straight face,
"Foyles, you know, ...are hard to resist."
He grinned back at her, "Wull, you managed to hold out for six years."
Andrew rolled his eyes at their romantic raillery, still undecided on how he ought to react.
Then Sam turned to him with her trademark enthusiasm,
"Come on, Andrew! Sit down, I'll fetch you a plate. There's fresh-caught trout, carrots and potatoes...!"
She rose from the table, pausing to smirk privately at Christopher as she added,
"...And I've brought you a pie!"