Another glimpse into a partnership

(Set in the middle of episode 401, a favorite because of the growing ease and intimacy between Barbara and Tommy.)

They were sitting on a hill overlooking the sea and the end of the estate and Barbara was awed by the beauty of the rugged landscape. "You're used to it, growing up here; do you still notice how beautiful it is?"

"I do," he said, "when I remember to look." He reached for her hand, but she pulled away, frowning.

"Barbara…." he said tentatively, "do you remember what it was like when I got you out of the pub? You know, after you dealt with the constable?"

"Oh yeah. I was still shaking, I was so angry", she said. "Scared too, I guess. I was sure it was the end, that he was gonna shoot me. Kill me."

He looked out at the sea, and decided to risk it. He wanted to have this conversation. "Do you remember what you were saying, when I held you?"

"I didn't say anything, sir" she said, looking uncomfortable.

"Oh yes, you did. Just one word, over and over."

"One word?" she said softly.

"Yes. My name. Over and over, not 'sir.' 'Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, Tommy'."

"I don't remember," she said, starting to get up. He gently held her down.

"Stay," he said. "Do you remember what I said?"

"You said 'hush, it's all right, you're safe."


She flushed, and this time she did stand up, brushing the seat of her jeans.

"Do you remember? If not the words, what it felt like to have my arms around you, to have me hold you tight?"

She shook her head. She didn't want to remember.

"Well, I certainly remember it, holding you and having you hold on to me. And what I said was 'Barbara, my love, it's all right, you're okay, I've got you, my love. You're safe."

"Yeah. Well, you were just as scared."

"I was," he said. "I realized how much I need you, how much I care for you. I was terrified at the thought that I could have lost you, for good this time."

She didn't like this conversation. It seemed better to her to leave these things unsaid. She knew she would keep them in her mind and heart, go over them when she was alone, but she believed that he was meant to be with Helen and was sure he should go after her, get her back. And that she herself could live with her secret feelings, keep sacred how it felt to have his arms around her. She had to move him away from what he seemed to be saying. So she took a deep breath and looked directly at him.

"Okay, fine," she said firmly. "Come on, that case is over, and this one isn't. Let's just say we're still partners, and get on with it."

He smiled. "All right. I just wanted to be sure you remembered."

"I did." Her tone of voice clearly indicated that this conversation was over. He smiled and put his hand on her back, steering her back to work.