Apart from the main characters, Lewis, Hathaway, Innocent and Hobson the remainder of the characters are mine. So, no flames please. This is just the first part, will be posting up more 'chapters' later.
Today Put On Perfection
Hathaway noticed her the first time he walked into The Dew Drop Inn. She was sitting at the bar, she wore a long azure blue dress and was quietly sipping a cola, she looked up as he entered and he saw a stunning pair of purple eyes staring back at him. Someone spoke to her and she turned away, suddenly he noticed the purple crutch leaning up against the bar and wondered if it was hers.
He walked up to the bar and ordered a pint. She looked up as he lifted the glass and took a sip and again he caught a glimpse of those amethyst eyes, a smile curved the crimson mouth and Hathaway said, "I haven't seen you in here before."
"I'm just down in Oxford for the Colloquium in Comparative Religion," she replied, "Brianna, Brianna Talbot."
"James Hathaway," he replied, "Are you waiting for someone?"
"I was supposed to meet my boyfriend here," a wry smile curved the mouth, "but he's late as usual. I suppose work held him up again."
At that moment her mobile went off, she fished it out of her handbag and flipped it open, "Hello, Brianna Talbot speaking. Oh, Peter! Yes, I know you're sorry but you promised. All right, all right, I'll see you later. Don't forget, you promised to come to my presentation tomorrow."
She replaced the telephone in her handbag and stared at the bottles behind the bar, "Damn him! Just wait 'til I get my hands on him."
"Can I help?" Hathaway asked.
"Not unless you're a miracle worker," Brianna smiled ruefully, "One of the reasons I was meeting Peter here was because he promised to show me round Oxford – or at least part of it."
"I can do that," Hathaway offered, "I have friends-"
"In low places?" They both laughed and Hathaway said, "Let me buy you another drink and then I can show you some of Oxford."
"Are you sure you want to be burdened with a cripple," she replied archly, easing herself from the stool and taking her crutch.
"It never crossed my mind," he replied truthfully, as he ordered another cola. She regarded him quietly for a couple of minutes and then followed him to a table. She set her crutch against the other chair and then sat down opposite Hathaway. "To what do I owe this pleasure?" she asked softly.
"I don't get many opportunities to speak with beautiful women in my profession." He responded quietly, "and may I say, your boyfriend has missed his opportunity."
"Flattery will get you everywhere, Mr Hathaway." Brianna replied.
"James, please," he said softly, "May I call you Brianna."
"That would be nice, James," she replied. She sipped her drink and then a frown creased her forehead, "Why don't you get the chance to meet many women?"
"I'm a police officer," he replied, "people tend to lie to police officers."
"Or tell the truth they think you want to hear," Brianna replied. "I've had dealings with police officers before, can't say I like them much."
"Can I be persuaded to change your mind?" he asked quietly.
"You are welcome to try," she replied, and then she said, "I thought you'd be working at this time of day."
"Long story," he replied, a wry smile curving the strong mouth, "something I'd rather not discuss."
"Fair enough." She grinned, "so what's a handsome man like you doing all alone in Oxford?"
Hathaway laughed, "I told you, I'm a police officer, people don't like us." He smiled, "I could ask what a beautiful woman like you is doing all alone in Oxford."
"Well, I was supposed to be meeting my boyfriend," Brianna responded, "but as you know, he couldn't make it."
"Sergeant. Aren't you going to introduce me to your companion?" a voice interrupted and both looked up to see Inspector Lewis bearing down on them.
"Sir," Hathaway began, "This is-"
"Dr Brianna Talbot," a smile brightened his face, and the delight was reciprocated in hers.
"Inspector Lewis!" she gasped and they embraced like old friends, then she stepped back, carefully leaning on her crutch, "It is Inspector isn't it? I wasn't sure after-" she stopped, "I am sorry about Val, Robert."
"Ah Brianna," he smiled sadly, "You sent a card and the flowers were gorgeous. Thank you."
Hathaway stared, "You two know one another?"
"We have a history, yes." Brianna turned to look at Hathaway, "Do I tell him or do you?"
"I'll get us some more drinks, and you can start," Lewis said slowly. "What would you like?"
"A large pint of hemlock and a side order of arsenic," Brianna responded wryly, "but since they probably don't serve that I'll settle for a coke."
"Sergeant?" Lewis looked at him and Hathaway managed to croak out an order, then Lewis was gone.
Brianna regarded him sympathetically, "I'm a bit sorry about that Sergeant."
"How do you know Inspector Lewis?" Hathaway asked curiously.
"From his predecessor, Inspector Morse," she replied softly, "Seventeen years ago I came to Oxford to help celebrate a friend's graduation. It also coincided with my eighteenth birthday and I was so excited. I'd always loved Oxford and I was so looking forward to my friend's tour. Then things changed-" she paused, just as Inspector Lewis returned with the drinks, gently he touched her shoulder and said, "I can continue if you like."
Brianna shook her head, "No thank you, Inspector, if we are to conquer our demons we must face them." She smiled up at Hathaway, "We ended our pub tour at The Eagle and Child, Marcus had wanted to show me the pub that Tolkien and Lewis drank in as I was such a fan of both of their works. I had a couple of glasses of champagne and then I was feeling a bit shattered so I decide that I was going to walk home. That's the last I remember for the next month."
"Someone attacked her," Lewis said shortly, "With a claw hammer. The motive was revenge but they were spotted and the attacker was scared off. It was my predecessor that stopped her probably being killed." Lewis sighed, "She was in a coma for two weeks, at first they thought that Brianna would never walk again." He took a sip of his bitter.