Since I won't be able to post tomorrow, I'm posting the last part, the epilogue, today too. Thank you very much for reading and reviewing. You are the best!
Octobre 13th, 1990
It took her some time to acknowledge that she was actually having a good time. Good conversations, good food, nice champaign and music indeed combined into the pleasant evening she had been predicted to have. The press, the annoying paperazzi were safely kept outside the hall, so there would be no intrusion in here. The arrival of her friend Vi, actually on the arm of Walter Ireland this time, had given her something to talk about. Walter had quickly learned he was the subject of their wit before mumbling something about 'women talk', and had gone to find some victims for what he called a 'male conversation'.
" So, where is Perry ? " Vi asked her now.
" He's with a client. "
" On a Fridaynight ? That must be some client. Just a client ? "
" A client. " She really didn't feel like going into details about this. Though she understood very well why Perry thought he had to be present at junior's deposition, she didn't like it that she was here without him.
" A client all right. Wouldn't that be the stepson of the famous Mrs. Robertson ? "
There was no answer, just a demure look.
" Oh, please, give me a break here, Della. It's been all over the news and in the papers. Today there was even a whole page about their past relationship. With photo's. "
She knew, she had seen it. Had read it. Had taken in the better half of the black and white pictures, his handsome face, his attitude. His glittering eyes, his fanatism shattering of the freeze-frame images. She had loved this man, and still loved him for very good reasons. " Well, as you say, Vi, it's in the past. "
" Aren't you bothered by it? "
She shook her head. " No, not really. "
" Why not? "
She shrugged. Why would she be bothered by something that was just a suggestion now? That was even a suggestion while it was going on actually. She had seen it back then. It was a charade. What really bothered her now, was that he wasn't here with her. The atmosphere was right. The dancefloor was rightly illuminated by the right soft lights. The music was soft and had the right tone, the right rythm. The people were the right company. They would have a great time together. He'd love it here.
Della Street watched her friend from aside, biting her lower lip. She had told Vi before how she had fallen in love with Perry Mason a long time ago and that she had loved him very deeply ever since. Vi knew that these feelings were mutually intense and intensely mutual. She knew about the struggles they had survived together, about their everlasting bond, about how well they knew eachother. About the way she could finish his sentences without thought and vice versa. About his brilliance, and the way she facilitated him to fully utilize it. And about their perfect matching sense of humour, because she had been present more than once at their fits of laughter.
But there was no way of course that she would ever tell Vi about the heated love she'd shown and shared with him, or about the lewdness of their last two nights. About the way his voice and attitude altered by the touch of her hands and lips. About their everlasting need to touch, to be close, to be physical. About his unexpected, at times very welcome, very inciting and exciting lithesomeness. She would never tell anyone about that. Some things were better left unsaid. Some things were better when just experienced, enjoyed very thoroughly and kept private.
Her wistful stare made Vi chuckle softly. " My, Della, if I had known, I wouldn't have asked. If he feels half the same as you do, there is definetely nothing to worry about. "
Smiling softly at her friend, Della stood up to fetch a drink. Water probably. The red dress she was wearing still fit, but had become more tight at her waist. Being spoiled by Perry Mason brought things like this on. No more champaign for her tonight. Or, well, maybe one. Or two. She wasn't driving home herself anyway. The car that was going to take her home wouldn't arrive until she'd phone for it. This time she would ask the driver to come in and escort her through the press outside. On her way in, she had been ambushed by journalists that all had opinions and had yelled questions at her about Perry, Glenn junior, and of course, the widow of Mr. Robertson.
One of them had taken it too far. " You must know, that he was seen in a taxi with Mrs. Robertson tonight, Miss Street. Do you have any comment on that? " She had just stopped and stared at him coldly. He had left silently and quickly, but she had felt uncomfortable afterwards anyway. This was what annoyed her most about these cases. It was not that she was confronted with ghosts from the past, or that his sense of justice moved close, or sometimes over her boundaries of what she considered necessary for their clients. It was the fact that they had no privacy concerning these matters and themselves. The spotlight was always on them.
Finishing her champaign, she smiled at the thought of him tonight, when she came out of his bedroom, dressed in her current attire. He had been overwhelmed, and had pouted that he wanted to go with her. Asking her if he could hold her to him for a while, he had smiled his mischievous smile. They had swayed through his appartment shortly, before he was picked up by Ken, to go to junior's deposition. Maybe going to his home now was a good idea, to wait for him. To make plans for the weekend together. To sleep late tomorrow, have a late breakfast somewhere. Spend their sunday in bed, lazily wrapped up in eachother's arms.
Walking to the bar to ask for a telephone to phone her driver, she turned to the door in the hallway and the sudden commotion that was going on there. She decided to see what it was that had drawn the press together this time. She observed the group in amusement, snorting at the way the men moved around eachother on the stairs, pushing eachother away, yelling and shouting. She detected Walter in the crowd. He was agitated and yelled at the security men. Voices were raised, frantic clicking of camera's almost ruled over the sound of laughter and yelled greetings. As the apparent panic subsided and was replaced by a soft muttering, the protesting journalists were thrown out of the hall by the doormen and attendants one by one. Outside, a group of police men had arrived. Some of them were discussing frantically with the journalists who showed them their entrance passes, and demanded to be granted access to the hall again. They were unsuccesful.
After the outer door had been closed, and the security men had taken their initial positions next to it again, the rest of the crowd dispersed calmly, until a small group of guests was left standing with Walter. These men greeted eachother wholeheartedly, laughing out loud.
In the middle of it all, stood Perry Mason.
She sought for support against the doorway and pursed her lips.
The sight of the large man in his tuxedo caused some fierce, undefinable shivers. She just had to laugh at them, while closing her eyes for a moment, to open them again to start swooning. There was so much more of him now than the last time she had seen him standing in this hallway. Firmly shaking hands with firm hands. But the broad smile was the same. And the boyish eyes and the grin in them was the same. The dear wrinkles next to the eyes were new and were absolutely caused by smiling. She liked to think, they were caused by smiling at her, in the same way as hers had developed by smiling at him, and because of him. Life was such fun with Perry Mason in it.
He turned. Her eyes betrayed the amusement that was stirred up now that he was here.
Her lips parted at the sly smile on his face, when he suddenly looked straight into her eyes. He registered her flush and ignored what it elicited inside his body and mind. They moved closer.
" Would you care to dance with me? Miss Street? "
" I thought you weren't dancing tonight ? " The seductive tone was soft.
" Well, " the blue stare fondled its way downwards and went up again over her red dressed figure, halted at her cleavage shortly, and focussed on her eyes again. " I changed my mind. " It was the deepness of his voice that caught her breath. He held out his hand to her, and she took it with the same grace as in which she moved her brilliantly clad lithe figure towards his warm arms moments later on the dancefloor. She did not take her eyes off of his. The world around her could really disappear right now. Maybe it already had.
His right hand still fit perfectly on the curve of her waist. He squeezed it lightly, before caressing his hand to the small of her back, and upwards a little to the appropriate height for dancing, here, with her, in public. He found the appropriate spot was a little higher than usual, he noticed that with delight. It meant her heels were higher than usual. He made a mental note to remember that for some time later this night.
Dancing in the old days now was a matter of being close and swaying. The advantage of that was that they could keep conversing in a normal way, while holding eachother. In the new days, when nothing was supposed to be going on between them, dancing was basically a publicly accepted secret embrace, stretched and accomodated by the mercy of the music that was played. Nowadays, it was an embrace they both very obviously and visibly enjoyed, something that could be seen and explained by anyone who cared to have an opinion.
" I really didn't expected you to be here. "
" Do you mind ? "
" I don't. "
His right arm pulled her closer. He stiffled a little yawn, and smiled.
" How do you feel? "
" Perfect. "
" U-uh. New bow tie ? "
" Yes. The other one seemed to have been ruined somehow. "
" Did it take you long this time, putting it on ? "
" No. "
She pulled back a little to be able to see his face.
His face was dead serious. " Sticky tape. " This made her laugh out loud.
He pulled her back against him. " I borrowed some one else's expert fingers. "
She cocked one eyebrow. " Female fingers? "
He watched her hand in his left, brought it to his face and brushed it to his cheek and lips one second too long. " Oh, you know how I love female fingers … " She had to close her eyes at his tone of voice, and the gaze that accompanied it. " But no, this time Mr. Malansky was kind enough to help me out. On more accounts than one actually. He was very grateful for the opportunity we have given him. He agreed that this will be a very good practical lesson for him. He sends his regards, by the way. "
So, he had indeed asked Ken to help Laura defend Glenn junior, instead of helping her himself. She was silent. She was grateful for his brilliance and his love.
" I … Are you … I mean ... " Loss of words.
He brought the hand that was still holding hers, to her face, and put his index finger on her lips. His deep voice caressed her. " I love you, Della. "
She swayed in his arms, at ease, warm. He turned, she followed his lead. Wasn't that just how they had always done it?
" Can we get back on an earlier subject? " he asked her.
" Mmm-mmm. "
" I do prefer female fingers to take the tie off. Are you available? "
" I might be. "
" You might be. Depending on what? "
" I had quite some champaign already. I might not be able to meet your needs. "
" In that case, I'd better take you home. I'll make sure you'll have some more champaign, but after you took the tie off. " He stopped abruptly and offered her his arm.
She took it in one smooth movement. " You're the boss. "
The journalists and photographers they met on their way out, were allowed to be there, but were held in check by the police men that had arrived earlier.
" Do you have a comment or would you like to make a statement to the press about the Robertson case so far, sir ? Miss ?"
They turned their faces to eachother at the exact same moment. He leaned in just a little. Their lips were inches apart.
" Would you like to make a statement, Miss? " He asked her softly.
" Now? "
" Yes. "
" And kill some gossip? "
" Yes. "
" And meet my needs along the way? "
He crinkled his nose. " Amongst others. "
She gave her head a tilt, pursed her lips and answered his question with her eyes.
And then he kissed her.