A Della Street / Perry Mason romance
BACK TO YOU
Disclaimer: These characters are not mine. I'm just trying to make them happy.
Setting: 1987. PM and TCOT Lost Love. Last scene. Della is standing in front of the courthouse while Perry is inside talking to Laura Robertson. This is where this story takes off. Spoilers for PERRY MASON AND THE CASE OF THE LOST LOVE, obviously. ;o)
Pairing: Della & Perry. Rating: T. Warning: Angst alert! And then some fluffin'...
Summary: Laura's personal questions about her and Perry have disturbed Della more than she let on. Will Perry realize how much the Robertson case has shook Della up?
Della stood in front of the courthouse and waited for him after the unexpected result of the prelimenary hearing. Her feet were rooted on concrete floor. She tried hard not to pace it, run back inside, go looking for him. Della Street stood, shut away her concern, her disquiet. Flickered her eyes but didn't manage to smile. She seemed mildly impatient, at best, to anyone who didn't know her. Anyone who did could sense the riot of emotions she otherwise managed to hide so effectively. Her face was a mask of grace and steadfastness. Little evidence of her roaming thoughts, the pain she was going through. The doubts, preying on her mind since Perry had come out to Denver to see his lost love.
Della's heart beat fast. Her body was tensed. This one woman, and only she. Della didn't trust him with her. After all those years, Laura Robertson still occupied his mind.
"Did you ever get married?"
Laura's question had surprised her. Thrown her off balance. She in that hotel room with her, alone. No way to escape, the situation, their past. Her eyes had pierced her.
"What about Perry and you?"
I know you love him – Laura had seemed to continue prying as she had looked at her, had waited for an answer she already seemed to know. After all, Perry hadn't married either.
Della minded that she didn't have the words to tell her. Didn't do more than confirm Laura's subliminal judgment with a simple "no".
"Am I interrupting something?"
Perry Mason had very well known that he had. Had seen it in Della's evasive behavior, her unusual discomfort, her blushed cheeks. And Laura's mask of practiced innocence.
Della wished she could have drawn a line, right there, right then, with more than a mannerly smile. Instead, she had run away, from a lie or the truth, she strangely didn't know. The famous lawyer and his secretary, Laura's words seemed to imply. A secret love affair, indecent somehow - disreputable? Such a cliché. If only her assumption hadn't nurtured a feeling that was nestling in Della's heart since Perry had taken Glenn Robertson's case. Without hesitation, for Laura. A privilege only few people were granted.
Della flickered her eyes to swallow the tears that threatened to dwell up. What if Perry decided to take on Laura's case? His eyes had told her that he didn't know what to do after the trial. Laura's crime, her confession had crushed him. He seemed to hurt as much as on that night, ten years ago, when he had left L.A. - to start a life, step by step, without her by his side.
"Let's just say I grew tired of writing opinions."
Della remembered his words upon his return to her. A little less than two years ago - they had both known he was just gilding the truth behind his reasons to step down from justice-ship. He had missed her, more than words could say. Had tried to tell her on the few occasions they had met. The great Perry Mason and his loyal secretary. Eight years apart. Their separation had left a mark on both of them.
Della sighed and tried to will away the lump that was forming in her throat. She loved him, Laura Robertson was right to presume. She had never been able to fully conceal her feelings. Della pursed her lips to control the fear that she had lost him after all, to the only woman she knew he had loved before her.
Maybe she shouldn't have insisted on taking it slow. Their re-acquaintance, a careful approach. A kiss here and there. An embrace. A tender caress, a nap on the couch in his arms, her head on his shoulders in his car...
Maybe she should have told him how much she loved him. Still. Or again. How their intimacy and his affection, her emotions for him almost suffocated her.
"Della," his voice suddenly cut into her as he exited the courthouse and approached her from behind.
"Yes?" She managed to sound all right. Her voice controlled and raw.
Perry put his arm around her and drew her close. His face was thoughtful, his touch intimate as usual. "Let's go home."
Della's face lightened up. He had made up his mind. A sigh, assuaged. But not quite.
They walked down the steps to the parking lot, his arm tenderly tugged around her shoulders. He didn't talk. She didn't ask. But something in Della had changed.