L'Aimant – Chapter 49

Summary:

A group outing to the flickers proves to be a revelation—in more than one sense.

Set after "Broken Souls". November 1944 onwards.

Chapter 49: Sam gets her way. And Sam knows best. Or does she?

Disclaimer:

The creative rights to the characters and plotlines in "Foyle's War" belong to Anthony Horowitz. This story is a not-for-profit homage to the television series, to the talented actors who bring its characters to life, and to a fascinating era.


Author's Notes:

This is the T-rated version. For extra steam, change your filter and go hunting for the M version, published separately as L'Aimant – Chap 49 (M).

...

This chapter is an object lesson in how not to boss your characters around. I thought that I was going to write a brief, steamy interlude ("Chapter 48a" – hah!). But Foyle and Sam would not be rushed, and this was the result.

dancesabove polished this... for rather longer than she strictly needed to. Hmm :o) Then she expurgated it for publication as a 'T'. I could hear her sobs across The Pond.


Previously, in "L'Aimant"

Sam trailed after him into the sitting room. "How was your day?" she began, then added quietly, "It's a little lonely here."

Christopher tossed the folder on the dining table. "Would you like to go out for a stroll? Weather's not bad today. Wrap up, hold my arm? We needn't be out long..."

"I don't want walkies, Christopher. Nor do I want to be kissed on the forehead, or patted. Like a pet." She wrapped her arms around herself and stood before him, looking down. "I want to be made love to." Her eyes rose to meet his. "Rather badly, actually."

Foyle bit his lip. "I, um, wouldn't want to... hurt..." He turned away. "It's... too soon, Sweetheart."

Sam placed herself directly in his orbit. "I don't suppose you'd let me be the judge of that, Sir?"

"Sam, I..." Foyle took her hand, a little humbly. He should have known from earlier experience that Sam would challenge his behaviour, but somehow he hadn't quite expected it today.

He brought her fingers to his lips. "Well, if it's what you want, my love," he said. "You know Guy warned you: nothing very strenuous for a week or two."

"Two weeks. It's been two weeks," Sam moaned in desperation. "And now, I don't mean to be... clinical..." she gave him a pleading look, "... and kill the mood, but I feel... I feel a little agitated for the lack of you. And it's so pointless now. I'm almost mended. After all, you're only being noble, aren't you?"

"Rrright." Foyle raised his brows and closed his eyes. The humour of the situation struck him, and a small smile curled his lips.

"Did I say something funny?" Sam inquired, a little put out by his private musings.

"Nunno! Oh no." He squeezed her hand and drew her against him contentedly. "Sam, you see, it's just... what with your father telling me I needed to be a hero, and you scolding me for acting like one, I hardly know which way to jump."

"Daddy said that?"

"Yep. He said 'no holidays for heroes'."

"Sometimes..." Sam purred, "dear Daddy's wisdom lingers after it has served its purpose. So do you think we might just dump the heroism for now, and indulge the weakness of the flesh?"

His blue eyes locked on hers in abject adoration. "Mmmwhatever you say, my love."


Chapter 49

Wednesday, 7th March, 1945 continued...

"I shall never tire of this, you know." Sam stretched her arms obediently towards the ceiling, allowing him to pull her dress and petticoat up and over her head. The muffled 'skin a rabbit' that she uttered as he did so had become their private joke about undressing.

Foyle was silent, careful not to catch her broken fingers as he drew the layers up and free. He laid the garments reverently on a bedroom chair, then turned and took in his Samantha.

She was standing with her back to him: a long-limbed vision in her lingerie. And bare-legged. Sam had worn neither stockings nor a brassiere since the incident, the fastenings presenting too much of a challenge for her reduced dexterity. From this necessity, and from the natural changes wrought by pregnancy, the heavier fall of her breasts strained the soft peach art-silk of her camisole. This subtle alteration in his young wife's figure as she healed had not escaped him; but his body's natural response to the changing nuances of Sam's form stood somehow at odds, in his mind, with his sadness at her injuries and his duties as a caring husband. He'd felt a rank unease at the desire that she engendered.

Although Sam's words absolved him now from the necessity of sublimation, his private sense of guilt remained unchanged. Foyle felt the heady throb of his arousal. Eyes closed, he breathed in through his nose to muster calm, and made a bluff attempt at humour.

"Wull, here I come to test your certainty."

He spoke as much to warn her of his approach as to tease. Sam's account of the attack had left him painfully aware that she'd been seized around the neck and torso from behind. Now, as he wrapped a gentle arm around her waist, he asked her softly, "Is this... tolerable, my darling? You'll tell me if it isn't? Anything that feels... off?"

His question passed Sam by in her enjoyment of his intimate embrace. "You can't imagine how I've missed this." She turned her head to nuzzle at his cheek.

"Can't I?" He ran a hand up underneath her camisole and cupped the weighty fullness of one breast, pressing against her soft backside.

For Sam, there was no mistaking the feel of him through the flimsy silken fabric of her knickers.

She giggled. "Christopher, for shame! Any moment I shall be able to feel the outline of every trouser button."

He felt his colour rise. "I feel I should apologise..."

"For this?" she turned immediately in his arms and slid a hand between them. "Silly. Whyever...?"

He let loose a gasp, then scrunched his eyes shut so she could not read the open evidence of guilt.

"Christopher?" Sam nudged at his nose with hers. "Tell me?"

"I should not have wanted this when you were so badly hurt."

"Oh, Love..." Sam gave a soft laugh, "is that it?"

His expressive blue orbs met her smiling gaze. "Nnnot the best admission for a 'hero' to have to make. You were bruised and broken, face all out of features... and I longed... selfishly I longed to..."

"Christopher, that wasn't selfish. That was love."

He blinked. "In your injured state, you wouldn't have welcomed the sort of love I ached to give you."

She stroked his cheek, "I wouldn't have blamed you for wanting it, though. And I know you'd never do a thing to hurt me."

He folded her against his chest with a ragged sigh. "What is this drive we have, Sam? A vehicle of bliss and yet..." He checked himself. An instrument of violence and humiliation.

Sam felt the steady thump of his heartbeat through his shoulder. "Don't, Christopher," she pleaded. "If you think like that, we never shall again. Don't hate the urge. You might as well hate your hand for being capable of striking me."

He drew his head back in a look of stark dismay. "Sam, I would never. Never!"

"Precisely." The eyes that rose to meet his glowed with confidence and love. "This," she drew his knuckles to her cheek, "is my Christopher, the gentle, loving touch that taught me joy. No Alick Fielding in this hand."

It started as a tremble in his body then. As Sam watched, his eyes filled, brimmed, then closed, releasing rivulets of teardrops down his cheeks. She hadn't felt him shake like this since that first night of her injuries. And he was silent—utterly and ominously mute.

"Christopher?" Alarmed now, Sam grasped him by the shoulders, seeking his eyes. His quaking travelled down her arms, and though she tried to stop the tremors by holding him faster, with only one good hand there was no hope of that. Sinking to his knees before her, he slid out of her grasp, the circle of his embrace slipping down the length of her body as he did so.

Stunned, Sam stared down blankly at the top of his head, angled now so that his ear pressed fast against her abdomen. She felt his grip upon her tighten, pinning her to him at the hips. To her distress, his tears were soaking through her underwear.

The awful, fearsome silence reigned on, and Sam's heart broke for him. Her hand sought the soft down of his pate, and rested there.

"Oh, my poor darling. I'd hoped you'd put this awful feeling behind you. I'm so sorry..."

They stayed that way for several minutes in unspoken communion, Sam's hand cosseting his greying curls, and Christopher's palms seeking reassurance in an exploration of the delicate contours of her back.

When finally he spoke, the words emerged as a chilling hiss.

"If he'd touched you like that... and lived… he would not have seen the inside of a courtroom."

Sam's eyes stretched in consternation. She could not let this pass. Cupping his chin, she tilted his face up and fixed him sternly.

"I don't ever want to hear such things from you, Christopher. Whatever state he left me in, presuming I were still alive, d'you think it would've helped me to see you behind bars?"

He gazed up at her, blinking back the residual moisture from his eyes. "But if he'd taken you from me, Sam, I would have had nothing left to lose."

Sam bit her lip, absorbing his plaintive, desperate expression, and saw the awful truth of it.

"Sweet Love," she breathed, and knelt in front of him. If she'd imagined there were more words to say, she found now that they wouldn't come. Instead, she simply grasped his chin in her good hand, and tilted her head to take his lips in a gentle, questing kiss.

Foyle's response was immediate. Crushing her against him, he closed his eyes and poured himself into the answer, allowing his fingers to thread up through her soft blonde tresses.

Though the kiss became a glorious catharsis, and served to whet their appetites for more, their position wasn't destined to satisfy for long. Foyle rose first, drawing Samantha up with him, and led her to the bed.

There he stooped and helped her swing her legs onto the eiderdown. He drank in her recumbent form and felt the renewed tug of his desire for her. Never quitting her with his eyes, he worked apart his collar, loosening his tie, then pulled it free. And after that, he didn't stop until he was entirely unencumbered.

Mesmerised at first by his haste, Sam nevertheless managed to shed her underwear and climb under the covers. Now she held them open, inviting him to slide in beside her.

Their bodies held few surprises for them now. They'd learned each curve and plane of one another, every scar and dimple—almost every mole and tuft of hair, each cowlick and each curl. Christopher had joked once that he could plot the constellations on Sam's freckled shoulders.

But now was not the time for levity. As they locked eyes, they both knew this time would be slow, and serious, and lovely. Every last inch of Sam's flesh ached to feel her husband; and every fibre of Foyle's nervous system twanged with tension at the weight of the responsibility he held. He still dreaded he might reawaken with his touch some sublimated terror or disgust in Sam.

Sam read his nervousness, and hooked her injured hand around his neck, pulling his lips within an inch of hers.

"I trust you with my life," she whispered. "Nothing you could do—that we could do together—could be anything but lovely."

Christopher imbibed the open faith of Sam's dark eyes. They recalled to him the beautiful, yet unschooled woman who had put her faith in him their very first time—the delicious passion of her sweetly trusting innocence; and, he thought ruefully, the fiercely upsetting aftermath.

"You trusted me before, Love," his finger slowly traced the fine hairs of her eyebrow, "and look where it got you." He trailed the same hand down along the pale valley between her breasts until it came to rest on the gently swollen mound of her abdomen. "Perhaps you've too much faith in me. I'm only human."

Sam raised her smiling lips to silence him with one long, lazy kiss.

"You think too much, Christopher. What does your body want? Your human body?"

His eyes slid sideways, and a soft, ironical purse of the lips told Sam that she'd won her point.

"It wants... your pleasure and delight, as always, Sweetheart."

"My body is relieved to hear it. And my mind is positively leaping in anticipation. Do you think," she nudged his nose affectionately with her own, "we might press on with business now? Hmm? Darling?"

"Sam." He made a last attempt to anchor things. "My worry is... this might... unleash some memories."

Sam sank back on her pillow, sighing wearily. "You think I might... sort of... relive the attack?"

"Um. Yes, I do," he admitted gently, relieved at last that he had made her acknowledge his very real anxiety.

"I see." Sam heaved another sigh. "And if I pooh-pooh that idea, you'll worry all the way through, annnnd... best case... it will spoil things?"

"Yup."

"Worst case, it will turn me into a screaming lunatic, and you into a quivering mess?"

"Mmmyup." He had to smile, in spite of himself, at her frankness.

Sam tucked her good hand underneath her head and frowned up at the ceiling. Christopher idly traced a pattern round her navel, his lips set in a miserable line of resignation.

After a few moments he rolled onto his back, then sat up in preparation to get out of bed. Sam's hand shot out to pull him back.

"And where d'you think you're going?"

"Well, I thought we'd agreed...?"

"...nothing. Don't I get a vote?" Sam's voice was tight.

Christopher turned towards her, propping himself up on one elbow, and ran a calming hand up and down her arm. "My darling. Yes, of course."

He lowered his eyes apologetically and waited.

"In that case," Sam resumed, "I vote this as the solution."

Before he had a chance to argue, she'd nudged him down onto his back and moved nimbly to bestride him.

"Wull, aren't you fast," he observed with an admiring look.

"I know you like me in the driving seat..."—Sam bent to plant a scorching kiss on his amused lips—"so here we are again. Remind me how it feels to be made love to!"

Her hands braced against his chest, she could feel the rumble of his chuckle up her arms. This beats the trembling, she thought, stroking his chest with her thumbs. Sam sent a prayer of thanks upstairs that she had not lost that dexterity, at least.

It did the trick. Her husband caught his breath, exhaling with a 'Sssss!'that sent him arching upwards underneath her, and Sam grinned down upon the sudden, undeniable proof of his excitement.

"You're easy," she observed, and reached for him. "If I'd've known how easy—honestly!—I would've had you days ago."

"Hm. Well, it looks as if you've got me n—Ow! Oh God, Sam!" In a second, lightning move, she'd joined them, and now sat astride his pelvis wide-eyed, mouth agape, as if in shock at her own boldness.

"Satisfied?" she panted. "No screams,"—she punctuated with a brisk shake of the head—"no dilemmas. No... oh... Lord..."

Almost as if the shock of so suddenly becoming one with him had pierced the bubble of her brashness, Sam felt a welling-up inside that threatened to undo her poise, and make her lose face in the midst of triumph. Now she fought to school her features to composure as her mind screamed out the raw emotions of two weeks before: You're going to die. But not before you've suffered. And your baby won't be born, and Christopher can't help you. Noone can. You're going to—

"Die!" The word hurtled from her in a single, anguished sob that bent her double and sent Christopher's elbows digging into the soft mattress in a vain search for some leverage to push himself upright.

Christ! he whined internally. You bloody fool, Foyle. Wraps you round her little finger and now this!

By some miracle, he knew not how, Foyle struggled up into a sitting position, and fought now to enclose Sam's quaking form in a strong, rocking embrace.

"There, Love," he mouthed into her hair between kisses. "There. Shhh! I know. I know. Never mind."

He lifted her from his body—though the shock of things had already broken their connection, so to speak—and lowered her to lie on her side, so that he could hold her better.

"I have n-no idea what happened to me, there," she whimpered indignantly through her tears. "Why this? Why now? I've b-been all right for days!"

"Hush. You will be again," he soothed, and spooned against her underneath the covers. "Now rest a while."

It was a good half hour before Foyle felt her breathing deepen; then he closed his own eyes and drifted into a grateful oblivion.

...

When he woke, it was to a pleasantly intimate sensation His lids dragged open to the vision of two chocolate pools gazing across at him. Sam's hand was doing a little exploring.

"Mwah? Sam?" Frowning, he slid a hand down to cover hers.

"I want to try again," she whispered urgently. Eschewing further preamble, the fingers of her right hand continued working busily.

Foyle's brows constricted in supplication. "Please, Sam... think again."

"Been thinking, and watching you sleep, for half an hour. We can't give up. This is the only way."

He gnawed the inside of his cheek, drinking in the appeal of her: warm, strawberry blonde locks fanned around her on the pillow, the fullness of her breasts contrasting with her fragile ribcage. She had him undeniably aroused now. Oh God help him. Did he dare risk this again?

As if she sensed the weakening of his resolve, Sam rolled onto her back and drew him with her, stroking at his troubled features, opening herself to him. Then came her look of frank desire, and all resistance left him.

Though recent traumas should have quelled his arousal, a stronger inner pull was now at work. All the roller-coaster feelings that had assailed him in the last two weeks—the perturbations that had ebbed and flowed—tugged at his sanity and conscience, and mounted now into a white-tipped wave of building need. Though his love and his concern for Sam would always be his first thought, there was a sense in which this new communion was a necessary rite—required as an erasure, an annihilation of the man who would have violated and then killed his wife, who left her bruised and broken on the Hastings shingle. If he and Sam could but achieve this loving intimacy, it would be the very weapon that would wipe Fielding from their lives, and eradicate his influence from any future they would build together as a couple, both before and after their child was born.

Now, as he prepared for them to take this step, Foyle examined all the things that drove him, and though it was a complex web of motives, there was no small element of single-minded possession. Were he honest with himself, this element counted as an act of selfishness, shaming him in his own estimation more than a little.

But Samantha was so eager to move on, that, for all he knew, her motivation matched his own. And so he bent and kissed her softly, skirting round those areas of her face he knew would still be tender, planting featherlight kisses on her lips and nose.

"Sam," he entreated, "we want this all behind us, don't we?"

"We do." She let out a ragged breath, betraying the frayed nerves behind her surface bravery.

With gentle deliberateness, Foyle grasped her injured left hand by the wrist and guided it above her head. "Out of harm's way," he told her through a kiss.

"There'll be no harm," she chided softly. Her fingers floated over the sensitive small of his back, teasing him in a repeating circle. "We're safe together. Safe and quiet and warm."

"I'll be as gentle as you need." He dipped his brow apologetically into her neck, and with one hand carefully reassured himself that she was ready for him. Moving his body closer to hers, he sought her eyes. They locked on his and spoke a poignant blend of trust and worry.

"That's it, my darling," he said softly. "Nothing sudden. No surprises this time. Just together. Warm and quiet and sssafe..."

On the last word, he carefully proceeded, chin raised as he took in every shade of the reaction on her face. His jaw slackened at the velvet welcome, and he held his breath a moment, resting there immobile.

Sam's dark eyes stretched and then settled to a half-mast languor, eyelids blinking slowly, savouring the feel of him.

He dared a faint smile. "All right so far, my love?"

She smiled back lazily. "Mmm-hmm. And so much for my earlier idea of 'in like Flynn'. The slow approach is rather better."

Her husband's tongue clicked in mock disapproval. "Flynn, eh? Filling in for Gable?"

"Men of action," grinned Sam. "Just my little fantasy."

"Rrright." Christopher's eyes narrowed at the playful challenge.

Supported on an elbow, he let a finger delicately trace the contour of one creamy breast, then lowered his head to lavish more attention.

"Mmm. Lovely," she squirmed with pleasure. "Where did you learn that?"

He gave her a droll look from under hooded lids. "Surprising what you pick up in... unhurried moments. Men who swing from chandeliers miss such a lot, I always think."

As her arousal mounted, it became more difficult to observe his movements; his teasing ministrations were threatening, in the nicest way imaginable, to undo her far earlier than she wished.

Aware of Sam's growing excitement, Foyle smiled into her breast. This couldn't have turned out better. The pleasurable sensations of their lovemaking were blotting out all else, and this, he reasoned, was as it should be. Just the two of them—no threats, no fears, and no intrusions. His hand snaked up a favourite path: the delicate, pale flesh on the underside of her arm. Cracking open one eye as he continued to pay tribute to her breast, Christopher could see the blue veins criss-crossing beneath the surface of her skin. Trickier though it was to focus at close quarters, if he raised his head just a little, the same network of blue vessels was visible under the translucent flesh of her breast. This was something fairly recent, he fancied, and he found it fascinating—as indeed he found every part of her. It was exciting to contemplate, as Sam's body changed in pregnancy, the new aspects that would soon be available to appreciate. As it was, the modest swell of her abdomen above where they were joined served as a sweet reminder of the fruits of love, and sent a glow of pleasure to his heart.

His eyes closed in an excess of emotion. "You make me so happy," he breathed, "and so proud." And he took her lips again, more strongly this time, pushing insistently to part them with his tongue. The intense pleasure of it strengthened his arousal.

Sam gave a small gasp and tilted back her head to accommodate the deep kiss. Foyle's hand slid under her neck to support her, his other arm slipping under her torso.

He drew back for breath—but also to be satisfied he wouldn't hurt her. The weals from the attack below Sam's jawline were still visible, and he was suddenly aware that, by encouraging her to tilt her head back, he was potentially stretching a newly healed wound.

"Be sure to tell me if this is uncomfortable, Darling." His voice was low and serious. No room this time to abandon good sense in the throes of passion, or they risked undoing the benefits of physical healing.

Sam left him in no doubt. "So far, so wonderful, Sweetheart. Don't squeeze my ribs too hard, though—still a little tender."

Tender. Tender still. Suddenly, the unbidden image of Fielding wrestling his Samantha to the ground was back to taunt him, and the pain of it invaded his features.

Gazing rapturously up at her husband in the midst of what had so far been a gentle, joyous interlude, Sam caught the shadow crossing Christopher's face and frowned.

"Stop it," she commanded. "I saw that look." She grasped the downy muscle of his backside. "No one else is here but us." She gave a playful squeeze and pressed him closer against her. "Do I have your full attention, Christopher?"

Christopher's eyes went wide.

"Tsss! Jesus! Yes, Sam. Yes, you do."

"So show me, then." She let her good hand stray down over the cheek of his bottom, pinching provocatively at the light smatter of fuzz that grew there, and her eyes met his in open mischief.

Obediently he obliged, sweat popping on his brow. Sam's legs cradled him, locking him in place. Her fingers feathered up his spine, and wandered in an idle trail until they reached his nape and wove into his soft hair.

"Oh! Darling! Yes!" She covered every lovely inch of his flushed face with kisses: eyelids, cheeks and nose until he stilled her with an open-mouthed kiss, sealing his lips on hers in a clear gesture of possession.

She loves you, and she wants you. You can give her this. Don't let him take her from you—or push himself between you. Your time. Yours and Sam's.

So fierce was his compulsion to control, it took his utmost strength of will to pull his arm from underneath Sam's back, in case he crushed her in the throes of union. But, struggling, he managed it, and supporting himself now on his free elbow, he was able to intensify her pleasure. Christopher felt Sam's legs around him tighten as she bound him to her.

For Sam it was as if each place their bodies met was sparking. Every hair of his chest seemed to brush at hers, and the sensation of it sent another wave of warm excitement rolling through her. And all the time she felt her caring husband keep the forearm of her injured hand protected above her head.

The sense of power as he possessed her grew heady in Christopher—as it did in Sam, to know that she could drive him to such frantic physical extremes. Their gentle start had built into something wilder. Neither spouse found appetite dimmed by painful circumstance; the ecstasy of union had wrought its magic yet again, blotting out all shadow of events outside the here and now.

Foyle's head was bowed as he breathlessly loved his wife, his eyes screwed shut in desperate concentration. Sam lay wide-eyed but sightless, transported by his tender force.

Their coupling, quiet and restrained at the outset, had grown more vocal as their pace built: mewls from Sam, soft, low-voiced growls from Christopher now morphed into full throated cries—the less inhibited for knowing that the house was empty.

Until now Samantha had held back; but blessed (after some months' practice under the tutelage of an extraordinary lover) with excellent control of her responses, she surprised her husband now with an internal 'flick'. She found her joyous release, and her rapturous sob of his name pulled him after her, quite helpless in her wake. He remained entirely silent, excepting for the whoosh of several sharp breaths taken through the nose before he shattered; then Sam felt the familiar wave of warmth.

As his breathing calmed, Foyle felt a momentary numbness—like the enervating aftermath of pins and needles—seep from the small of his back, through his buttocks and down his legs. When the sensation passed, he rolled onto his back, bringing Sam with him so that she was spared the weight of him upon her. Quite simply unable to peel open his eyes, he felt for her hair and gently encouraged her head onto his shoulder.

"Oh, Miss Stewart," he murmured, between ragged breaths, "thhhank you so much." He planted a blind kiss on her cheek as she lay against him. "Please tell me it was fine for you."

"Open those blue eyes," she nudged him. "And see for yourself."

Sighing, Foyle managed to open one eye and observe his flushed, dishevelled darling. She was beaming, and bright-eyed in that indomitable way she had—unblemished, under his admiring gaze, by any vestiges of the bruising in the socket of her right eye.

"What d'you see?" she tossed her head, presenting her profile, chin raised in mock stateliness.

He quirked an eyebrow, and offered drily, "Thhhink I see... a fallen angel. Apppears to have fallen in my lap."

Sam turned and planted an unceremonious kiss on the tip of his nose.

"If I'm an angel, you're in a lot of trouble with The Almighty, Christopher Foyle."

The Almighty. A pensive distance crept across Foyle's features.

"We... um... had a falling out some years ago," he offered, haltingly. "But in... er... recent months, I lllike to think we've patched things up a bit."

Sam watched him with curious interest as he bit into his cheek.

He blinked slowly, soulful blue eyes shot with doubt. "Wwwouldn't want to think I'd ruined things again."

She caught his face between her hands, staring a challenge at him.

"Good job that I'm your wife then, not an angel."

He gathered her against him. "Only fair to admit, Love: Just two weeks ago, relations with The Almighty were back on a knife-edge."

Sam lifted her head and tried catching his eye, but only managed to focus on his chin. She sighed and raised her hand to stroke it, absurdly delighted by the rasp of his teatime whiskers beneath her fingertip.

"Because of me?"

Foyle sighed and hauled her, bodily, level with his face.

"Don't you understand?" His clear azure eyes bored into her dark ones with such intensity, Sam found she had to look away.

"I think..." she admitted, "I'm just a little frightened to."

It was enough. He hugged her, pressing her head back to his shoulder.

"What say you, Mrs Foyle? Shall we have a little nap now?"

"Bliss," answered Sam, and snuggled in against his side.

...

Georgie parked her bike against the railings and let herself into the house.

The silence in the place struck her immediately. On so-called 'normal' days, she'd hear the wireless, or domestic noises from the kitchen. But today, as Andrew might say, 'bugger all'. She cocked her head and listened. No tell-tale sounds of plumbing or of persons bathing. Hmm...

She peered around the door into the sitting room, wondering if she'd find Sam reading, and her boss at his reports. The room was empty, and she couldn't honestly pretend she was surprised.

Which meant, of course, the pair of them were upstairs in the bedroom.

Georgie rolled her eyes and cast a longing glance towards the telephone. No chance of reaching Andrew without loads of bother, she supposed, a little miserably.

Shrugging, Georgie wandered back to hang her hat and coat up on the coat-stand, then took herself into the dining room. She shuffled through the dresser drawer in search of writing paper. Furnished at last with a fresh sheet and a fountain pen, she seated herself at the far end of the dining table, away from Christopher's papers, and began to write:

My darling, desk-bound Squadron Leader,

Here I am again, the proverbial gooseberry while your father and Samantha are upstairs showing each other their appreciation. But actually, that's a good sign, considering the insane state of the entire household two weeks ago. I thought I was about to lose the pair of them—to say nothing of my own reason, so I suppose I shouldn't niggle on to you about it.

The other argument for why I shouldn't niggle is because your dear papa is living proof the Foyles are still firing on all cylinders in middle age. Which strikes me as good news. Although I don't particularly want to wait till middle-age for my next taste of married love, thank you very much.

When are you getting a bit of time off, you utter nuisance? You've spoiled me for a life of chastity, you know. Send a visiting order p.d.q. or I shan't answer for the consequences.

Your eager, ever-loving, celibate-and-stuck-in-Hastings,

Georgie

xxx

P.S. I didn't really mean to make that dig about 'consequences'. Just send the invitation though. Honestly, it's so quiet upstairs, I know there's something going on. xXx times a thousand.

****** TBC ******

More soon.

GiuC