Thought I'd post up Chapter 9 of Today Put On Perfection and see how it goes.
Peter managed a rueful smile, "Not particularly, no."
"Well then," Brianna replied, somewhat acidly, "I'd take what you're given, Peter, and I'm not about to start throwing plates. You at least are doing what I asked."
He frowned and she clarified, "You're telling me yourself."
"Actually, we are," Miranda interrupted, "Peter and I have been seeing each other for about two weeks now. Just before the Colloquium in fact."
Brianna stared at him and a dozen thoughts rushed through her head, should she scream imprecations at him because he'd become involved with someone else whilst still dating her? Should she call him all the names under the sun? But had she not done the same thing by getting involved with Seargeant Hathaway, and was it really worth it? Smiling she replied, "Then may I wish you joy."
Peter looked a bit nonplussed and then said, "You're not mad?"
"I'm not ecstatic," Brianna confirmed, "but as long as you don't come after me with a claw hammer I think I'll survive."
He looked puzzled and then realisation dawned, and he shook his head, "Of course not!"
Miranda gently touched her arm, "Are you sure you're all right with this?"
Brianna scowled, "I'll get over it."
Miranda laughed and then she asked, "Are you sure?"
"Mmm-hmm," Bree grimaced and then changed the subject, "What's the plan for today?"
"Well, the Dean wants to have a chat with all the speakers in five minutes," Miranda replied, "and then I thought we might go to lunch. The Colloquium's over tomorrow anyway."
"And I've spent very little time on campus," Brianna sighed, "I had great hopes this time."
"Great hopes for what?" Miranda frowned.
"Of making an impression," Brianna smiled, "Trying too hard I guess."
"But you did make an impression," Miranda looked even more puzzled, "everyone thought that your paper was well researched and well thought out. And as an added bonus it was interesting."
Brianna raised an eyebrow, "That's an added bonus?"
Miranda laughed, "That's definitely an added bonus. You have no idea how many papers I have to listen to where the subject is as dull as dishwater and pretend to be interested. Yours, on the other hand was fascinating."
Brianna managed a weak smile, she found it very hard to accept compliments. She was just trying to think of an appropriate response when she saw the Dean approaching them, Brianna struggled to her feet. "Dr Forrester-" she began.
Smiling the Dean shook her hand, "Dr Talbot, I listened to your paper. Most interesting."
"That's very kind of you," Brianna smiled.
Dr Forrester smiled, "So, what are your plans now Dr Talbot?"
"I just came to tie up some loose ends," Brianna replied, "and to find out what the reaction was to my paper."
"I enjoyed it very much, Dr Talbot," the Dean smiled, "How long are you in Oxford?"
"I'm staying until the end of next week," Brianna replied, "and then it's back to Lampeter."
"Will you be publishing your paper?" the Dean asked.
"Truthfully, I hadn't considered it," Brianna replied.
"Then would you allow the College to publish it?" she asked, "It was one of the most fascinating papers presented during this Colloquium."
Brianna stared and then smiled, "I'd be delighted," she replied.
Gathering her bag she felt a light touch on her arm, she turned to see Peter standing there, she thought he looked uncomfortable, "No hard feelings, Bree?"
"No hard feelings, Peter," she replied firmly, and then she looked over his shoulder to see Inspector Hathaway entering the Common Room. To her surprise and delight he strode across the floor and swept her into an embrace.
"What are you doing here?" she gasped, when he'd set her down on the floor.
"I'm only working half-days until my side and leg heal," he explained, "I just asked around until I found out where you were. Thought we could go to lunch."
Brianna looked around helplessly and then she nodded, "I'd like that James." She smiled at the other couple, "I'll see you both around. Okay?"
Hathaway took her hand and together they walked out of the common room. "Where are we going?" she asked.
"I thought The Dew Drop," Hathaway replied, a smile curving the strong mouth, "After all it has some good memories for us."
"The best," Brianna replied, leaning up and kissing him.
"What happens now?" James asked when they were sitting in the pub.
"Well you promised me a concert," Brianna replied, stabbing a piece of chicken, "and then I suppose you'd better put me on a train for Wales." She looked up into his face, "And talk to me at least three times a week."
"Every night," Hathaway promised.
"I'll hold you to that," Brianna smiled.
"So, what was the news from the Colloquium?"
"They're going to publish the paper I presented." Bree smiled.
"The Flood Epic in Religion?"
"You remembered," she flushed with pleasure.
"Of course," he smiled and the smile lit up the stern face, "I could not forget such an eloquent title. That's great news."
"Flattery will get you everywhere, James," she laughed. "Will you be well enough to hold a guitar on Saturday?"
"I'll manage," he smiled, "So, can I show you some more college chapels or parts of Oxford you haven't seen yet, or shall we go home?"
"Oh I think an afternoon mooching around Oxford chapels," Bree smiled, "and then you can take me home."
"Now that would be a pleasure Doctor Talbot," he smiled and bent to his lunch.
She stepped into the flat and was hanging up her coat when she felt his arms snake around her waist and his lips hot against her ear, "Do you fancy dessert?" he asked softly.
She turned in his arms and wound her arms around his neck, "With you? Absolutely."
He bent his head and kissed her so fiercely it took her breath away. She cupped the back of his neck with one hand and returned the kiss with the same fervour. They broke apart looking at one another and then Bree took his hand and led him to the bedroom.
Snuggled up together afterwards James sighed softly, "That was wonderful," he murmured.
Brianna yawned and threw the covers back, "Well I'd dearly love to sleep all day but if you want supper-"
He gently ran his fingers down her back and murmured, "What are you going to cook?"
She half turned, "I don't know yet, I'm going to rummage through your fridge."
"Be there in a moment," he murmured. He watched her dress and was tempted to pull her back on the bed again, but decided against it. She pulled a brush through her hair and then leaning on her crutch hobbled from the room.
She was scrubbing a couple of potatoes when he walked into the room, "I thought steak and baked potato," she said, "And I'll make a quick vegetable stir fry – unless you want something else."
He bent to kiss the back of her neck, "Super, sweetheart."
After supper they sat in front of the television, their hands gently linked together, "Anything exciting on the television?" he asked idly.
"On a Monday evening?" she raised an eyebrow, "I sometimes watch Panorama but sometimes it upsets me too much."
"Do you fancy a DVD?"
"What've you got?" she asked.
He knelt on the floor and began rummaging through his collection, after discarding three or four he held up a DVD and said, "What about Master and Commander?"
"Never seen it," Bree replied, "Is it good?"
"I think so," he replied. "And it's either that or Play Misty For Me which I definitely wouldn't recommend if Panorama upsets you."
"Then we'll try your recommendation, James."
They sat watching the film, their fingers linked and when it was over, he gently took her hand and led her upstairs. This time they simply spooned up together, him wrapping an arm around her and holding her close while she slept.
She half-awoke when he kissed her, "Umm," she murmured, half-opening her eyes.
"Go back to sleep, sweetheart," he said softly.
She half-smiled up at him and then her eyes closed and she dropped back into slumber. He watched her for a couple of moments and then quietly slipped out of the room.
She woke slowly and stretched. For a few moments she considered spending the whole day in bed and then decided that she couldn't. Yawning, she flung back the duvet and sat up. Getting up she pottered into the kitchen and saw the note on the kitchen table. Sitting down, she opened the note and her lips curved in a smile as she read it.
She made herself some breakfast and then washed up. She had opened her laptop and was piggybacking on the nearest wi-fi network when Hathaway opened the door. She looked up and smiled, "How was work?"
"Busy." He replied shrugging off his jacket. "Had to see the shrink this morning. That was fun."
"It sounds it," Bree replied, "Did you pass?"
Hathaway grinned, "Do you mean did I know what to say?"
"Something like that," Bree replied.
"Yes, I knew what to say. It helped that I accepted the reprimand letter and the week's suspension. But I think I got the better end of the deal."
Brianna raised an eyebrow, "I hope you didn't tell the shrink that!"
"No," Hathaway smiled, "I played a rôle of sorts, I think that he bought it."
Brianna stood up and limped across to him, "You are a self-contained person, James."
"No less than you," he replied looking down at her.
Brianna nodded, "Because of the accident I think and the determination not to be treated as a second-class citizen."
"Oh you'd never be that," Hathaway said, kissing the top of her head.
"Then we're evenly matched," she replied looking up into his face. "So, what's the plan for tonight?"
"What are you doing?"
"Catching up on e-mails mostly."
Hathaway sat down and ran a hand across his face, Brianna looked up, "You all right?"
"I think so," he smiled wearily, "We've started work on a case where the woman killed herself because she was being harassed on a dating website." He paused, "I don't want people to do the same to you."