A/N: I've been intrigued by the idea of what would happen if Sam and Foyle's romance was met with disapproval. In My Dinner with Andrew, Andrew learned that his father was in love with Sam. Now he has decided to take up his concerns with her.
Sins of the Father
Mrs. Audrey Phillips owned a large house.
It hadn't seemed so big when Archie was alive and the children were small, but then the children grew up and left home, and Archie never recovered from that fit of apoplexy. The big old home was nothing more than a quiet barn, it seemed. When the war came along, Audrey spotted an opportunity to fill the old house with life again, as well as put a wee bit of money in her pockets. As a result, she had kept her empty rooms filled with a steady stream of young women boarders for the past six years. She enjoyed 'her girls' for the most part. Nearly all were lonely and homesick at some point or another, and it allowed Audrey a chance to mother them and feel useful once more.
Never did she feel her motherly duties more keenly than on Friday nights. A knock on the front door would send Audrey scurrying to greet the caller who waited outside. She would invite the young man by name into the parlor to wait while she fetched his young lady with a knock of her own on the bedroom door. Not only was Audrey familiar with her girls' beaux, but she had a very definite opinion regarding each one.
"Tess, your young man is here. Looking mighty sharp tonight, he is." She would give a sly wink.
"Gloria, your young man is right on time. That's a fine quality in a man. But I don't want to hear you coming in so late tonight. Your dear mother trusts me to keep an eye on you, you know." She was all mock-sternness.
"Doreen, your young man is waiting downstairs. Hurry up, now. Men don't always like to be kept waiting." She knew Doreen's tendency to dawdle.
One of her girls, however, was completely different.
"Samantha, your… gentleman friend is here." The words always stuck in Audrey's throat. What could this lovely young woman possibly want with an older man?
The first time Christopher Foyle came calling for Sam Stewart, Audrey assumed that it was an uncle come to visit. Her assumptions crashed rather abruptly when she spotted the couple kissing a short while later. It was certainly not the sort of kiss a decent-minded uncle would bestow on a niece! And he'd done it in her parlor! Over the following weeks, Audrey had made it her business to hover nearby whenever the man came to visit, just in case there was anything more unseemly going on.
Tonight, however, a different man requested to see Samantha Stewart. A man who was of a suitable age.
"Samantha, you have a caller."
"Oh?" The young woman's eyes lit up.
"It's a young man," Audrey announced with a note of smug approval in her voice.
"A young man?" Sam echoed, disappointment setting in.
"Yes, indeed. A proper young man."
"Thank you, Mrs. Phillips. I'll be right down." Sam blew out a breath of dismay. Surely it wouldn't be Adam, come to try to change her mind. And Joe was safely back in America, which left only one possible person.
Of course the situation was rather awkward; there was absolutely no way around it. Christopher had warned her that Andrew would probably be in touch with her to try to sort out her side of their unorthodox relationship. For days, Sam had expected to receive a letter from Andrew, demanding that she explain why she had taken up with his father. A letter, at least, would have given her some time to gather her thoughts. Now she would have to plunge in and hope for the best. Sam straightened her blouse and trousers and then, squaring her shoulders, headed toward the stairs.
"Hello, Andrew," she said brightly as she reached the bottom of the steps.
"Sam." He nodded acknowledgement, his voice cool. "I was hoping we could talk."
The customary boyish smile on Andrew Foyle's face was absent. In its place was a grim, no-nonsense expression that was eerily similar to the familiar, all-business mask his father wore when ready to question a suspect.
"Of course," Sam responded lightly, as if this was an ordinary visit. "I'd say that this was a surprise, but I suppose it really isn't. Why don't you come into the parlor?" She turned to lead the way.
"'Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly'?" Andrew muttered behind her.
Sam winced inwardly. Apparently Andrew had no intention of making this easy for her. She dropped into an easy chair, one leg tucked beneath her, while Andrew settled onto the sofa.
"So," he said stiffly, "how are you?"
"Fine, thanks. You?"
"I'm good." Andrew glanced around the parlor, as if avoiding Sam's eyes. "This seems a decent place."
"It is. Mrs. Phillips is a nice old bird, even if she's a little nosy."
"Your landlady?" A near-smile flitted across Andrew's face before dying an abrupt death.
"Yes. She's very protective of all of us who live here."
Andrew made a noncommittal noise. Sam, wishing he would get to the point and be done with it, said, "I understand that you had dinner with your father."
"And you don't approve of what's going on."
"That pretty much sums it up."
No, he wasn't going to make this easy at all. Sam paused to remind herself that neither she nor Christopher had done anything wrong. She opened her mouth to speak, but Andrew beat her to it.
"Sam, how did you manage to convince my father that he's in love with you?"
"What?" She stared at him blankly.
"Come on, I know my father. Ever since Mum died, he's avoided romantic relationships like the plague. Him falling in love with you is about as likely as Herr Hitler coming back to life."
"Andrew, there wasn't any convincing involved. I told him how I felt about him, and he said that he felt the same way. I was so sure he'd never have me, I was thrilled to bits!"
"Oh, he'll have you," Andrew retorted. He leaned forward then, elbows on his knees, determined to make a point. "You do realize that people will gossip. And stare. And spread vicious rumors."
"Oh, I know." Sam tilted her head toward the stairway. "Mrs. Phillips doesn't know quite what to think."
"There you go. Is that what you want for the rest of your life?"
"It really doesn't matter to me. Nor to your father, according to him."
"You'll want children, I suppose," Andrew persisted. "How will that look? Can you see Dad chasing after a toddler or two or three?"
Sam's cheeks flushed. "We haven't really talked about marriage or any of that yet."
"Well, don't worry; it's definitely on Dad's radar." Andrew scowled at her. "What is it you want from him, Sam?"
"What a silly question. What do you think I want? The family fortune? Because if there is one, the two of you have done a jolly good job of keeping it quiet over the years." Sam took refuge in humor. "Andrew, I don't understand why this is so hard for you. Surely you don't think that I'm trying to replace your mother…"
"Of course not. I had a wonderful mother. I don't need another."
"Well, thank God for that, because I really don't think I could fill Rosalind's shoes. I'm not that daft!"
Sam's words fell into a chilly pool of silence. She wished, not for the first time, that she possessed her father's talent for saying all the right things at the right times. Vicars were inordinately good at that sort of thing. Her own penchant for blurting out whatever was on her mind had never exactly served her well.
"Is it because you and I used to step out together?" she ventured.
"I don't know. Maybe."
"Andrew, we never did anything that we should regret."
"I know that."
"So are you worried that Christopher and I will be embarrassed, or that you'll be embarrassed?" Sam noted that Andrew flinched slightly when she referred to his father by his Christian name. "Don't you want your father to be happy?"
"Of course I do. But I'd prefer that it be with someone his own age."
"Just because this is a little unconventional doesn't make it wrong, you know."
"And what will your unconventional little marriage look like twenty years down the road when you get tired of sharing your life with an old man?"
Sam's jaw dropped in astonishment. "You honestly think that I would simply get bored with your father and dump him?"
"I'd say that's entirely possible," Andrew retorted. Remorse settled in at once, but the damage had been done. "Sam," he pleaded, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean that…"
"I loveyour father, Andrew!"
"Look, I know you think you love Dad now, but –"
"I don't think any such thing, Andrew. I know I love him. Perhaps you don't understand the concept?" Sam rose unsteadily to her feet. "I think you had better go."
Andrew stood. "Look, I'm not saying you've done anything wrong, or that you would do anything wrong in the future –"
Andrew Foyle nodded curtly and left. A cold breeze swept inside as the front door opened, then slammed shut.
Sam sank back onto the easy chair and buried her face in her hands. She dug her fists into her eyes until she saw stars in the blackness. Could it have gone any worse, she wondered desperately? She'd known Andrew Foyle for years; he wasn't an unreasonable man. Why couldn't he simply be happy for his father?
Just then the sound of footsteps in the doorway caught her attention. Sam opened her eyes and found Mrs. Phillips standing there.
"Tea for you and your young man?" the elderly woman offered cheerfully.
Christopher Foyle heard the light knock on his door. Who would be out on a dismally cold, dark night where the rain and the snow fought for supremacy? He opened the door to find a shivering Sam Stewart standing there.
"Sam? What on earth are you doing out tonight?"
"I – er – I needed to see you," she said, relieved to find that her teeth weren't chattering too badly after the long walk.
"Well, come in. You look frozen."
"Are you alone?" Sam wanted to know.
She stepped into the warmth of Foyle's hallway without answering. Foyle took her hands and scowled.
"You are frozen. Where are your gloves?"
"Forgot them," Sam muttered as she clumsily tried to unbutton her coat with numb fingers.
Can't keep anything from a top-notch detective, Sam thought miserably. She said, "I've just seen Andrew."
"Oh." The single word spoke volumes. Foyle, his expression grimly resigned, helped Sam shrug out of her coat. "Tea, then?"
"Oh, yes, please!"
"Come on through." He led her into the kitchen, motioned toward the small table. "Sit down and tell me what happened."
Sam sat, rubbing her hands together in an effort to warm them. Foyle picked up the kettle and carried it to the sink to fill it.
"Just that Andrew came to visit. He wanted to know how I made you fall in love with me."
"How you made me fall in love with you?" Christopher smiled lopsidedly. "You may be enchanting, Sam, but I doubt you resorted to witchcraft to win my heart."
"It's not funny," she admonished. "He's really quite upset."
"Well, he'll just have to get over it, won't he?"
Sam gazed ruefully at Foyle. "Easy for you to say. You're used to dealing with him when he's upset about something. It felt very much like he was blaming me for ruining your life. And, he thinks that in twenty years I'll get tired of you and toss you aside like yesterday's old fish."
Foyle, in the midst of lighting the gas ring, paused to stare at Sam with real concern. "He said that to you?"
"Yes." Sam bit her lip. "Christopher, I don't want to cause problems between the two of you…"
"Don't even start that. Andrew needs to learn once and for all that the world doesn't revolve around what he wants." Foyle checked the flame and left the kettle behind to heat. He crossed to the table and pulled out the chair opposite Sam's, then took her hands in his. "Is that why you asked if I was alone? You thought he might have come here after he left you?"
Sam nodded. "I really didn't want to jump right back into the fray."
"Understandable, although I doubt that he wanted another go at me just now. He's probably at a pub, nursing his wounded feelings."
"He'll come around eventually, won't he?"
"Eventually. Everything with Andrew has always come about eventually." Foyle rubbed thumbs over Sam's warming hands. "For someone who's never lacked for female companionship, he has yet to really love anyone. I don't think he knows what it truly means. And frankly, I think he's jealous."
"Jealous?" Sam repeated, startled. "But he was the one who broke it off all those years ago."
"He's jealous because we're happy. Because he hasn't found that."
"Oh." It was food for thought. Sam sighed. "I was ready for the scandalous talk in the shops or odd looks on the street. Somehow I never thought anyone so close to us would object."
"It won't last."
"I think that was Andrew's point, wasn't it? That you and I as a couple won't last," she said, a rueful smile finally making its way to her face.
"Let's prove him wrong, shall we?" Foyle leaned forward to take Sam into his arms and place a reassuring kiss on her forehead.
Sam closed her eyes, inhaling Christopher's scent and reveling in the sheer warmth and strength of him. And wondered what would happen when they broke the news of their relationship to her parents in two weeks.