Title: There! I've Said It Again
A/N: As always, my thanks go out to my beta dancesabove for all her hard work, and to GiuliettaC for the idea and for her support.
The streets of Hastings were alive with celebration, heaving with a population in the throes of victory.
Milner, beaming still, left the station to join his wife and new-born daughter. Sergeant Brooke and the other uniformed officers on duty followed him out of the building to celebrate in the streets with the people of Hastings.
Sam looked after them only briefly before turning back to Foyle, and finally confronting the issue that had been bothering her:
"They said you drove Milner and his wife to the hospital, sir?"
He avoided her eyes and gave a light nod, his brow furrowing. "I did," he admitted.
"But I thought you couldn't drive," she said, looking down miserably. After a beat, she pulled her eyes back up to meet her boss's. "Are you telling me that, all these years…" "Well, I've never actually ever at any time said I couldn't drive," he defended himself. "I mean, I just preferred not to."
"So you never really needed me?" Sam asked tentatively, still looking crestfallen.
Foyle drew a deep breath. "I wouldn't say that." He punctuated this by bending a steady gaze her way, then raising one eyebrow as his eyes twinkled. A shy smile of comprehension slowly lit up her face.
"All hell's breaking loose outside!" Andrew burst in, ruining the moment. "You ought to come and join us!"
Still glowing with joy and pride, Sam's heart swelled as she turned to the younger man. "I will! I'm going to dance all night."
"Will you dance with me?" Andrew pushed, sending her a charming smile.
"I'll dance with anybody," shrugged Sam, dismissing him mischievously. Then, as he seemed to deflate, she relented, "But especially you."
Andrew grinned, then turned to his father. "You coming, Dad?"
"No, I'll catch you up. You go on."
Something in his tone of voice and the way he carried himself made Sam hesitate.
"Go ahead," she told Andrew quietly. "I'll only be a moment."
Andrew looked from Sam to his father and back again, registered nothing of sufficient interest to compete with the festivities, then shrugged and left.
Sam watched him leave, making sure he was out of earshot before turning back to her boss. He was regarding her with raised brow, the unspoken question hanging between them.
"You were planning to sneak off, weren't you?" Sam accused. Foyle looked mildly offended.
"I don't sneak," he said. Sam huffed and he conceded that, yes, he had been planning to quietly go home.
"The least you could do after lying to me for five years is dance with me," she said, the smile playing at her lips softening her words.
"I don't dance," Foyle replied drily.
"Well, I'm hardly going to believe that, am I? You also told me you didn't drive!"
Foyle couldn't help but smile at her indignant tone, and settled in to enjoy the banter.
"There is no music," he reasoned stubbornly, stuffing both hands into his pockets.
"There is outside," she countered, with a challenging glare, her tone nevertheless softening as she pressed him, "Please?"
Foyle mused that, after five years, he had yet to master the art of saying 'no' to Sam, or at any rate of carrying through on a threatened 'no'. His internal struggle was therefore token and brief when she reached across to pull one hand from his pocket and dragged him by the wrist through the station doors into the raucous crowd that was Hastings Victorious.
Andrew, splendid in his RAF blues and wearing a brilliant grin, was dancing with a young lady not far from the building, and he caught Sam's eye when they exited the building, giving her a slight nod of acknowledgement.
The music was loud and modern, encouraging the young people among the revellers to jitterbug, and Foyle turned to his companion with another arched eyebrow and declared, "I am not dancing to that."
Sam laughed at that, and Foyle, delighted to have made her laugh, smiled broadly.
"There you are." Andrew, a little out of breath, bounded up beside them. "What took you so long?"'
"Your father promised me a dance, but now he's saying he won't dance with me!" Sam said blithely, turning mirthful eyes to Foyle as she teased, "Imagine: Detective Chief Superintendent Foyle, going back on his word."
"Hang on, Miss Stewart," Foyle returned crisply. "I only said I would not dance to this racket."
"Frankly, I'm amazed that you convinced him to dance at all," Andrew put in, sending his father a curious glance. "I don't think I've seen him dance with anyone since my mother died." Foyle shot him a look, but Andrew just shrugged off his father's mild disapproval, and sent Sam a grin. "Will you dance with me, then?"
Sam turned questioning eyes to her boss and he nodded.
To anyone watching, it might have looked like a young woman asking her boss for permission to dance, but to them, it was a conversation:
Please stay while I'm dancing with Andrew?
Yep, go ahead, I'll wait.
With a grin, Sam followed Andrew into the crowd, leaving Foyle standing on his own.
Foyle watched the dancing couples for a while, catching Sam's eyes often, even as she danced with both Andrew and other young men; he wondered fondly if she were keeping an eye on him, making sure he wasn't slinking off into the shadows.
He wasn't alone for long, though; soon, Hugh Reid showed up at his side.
Breathless, Sam made her way back to where her boss was standing, talking casually with Hugh Reid.
"Sir, would it be all right to leave my jacket in the station? I'm getting awfully warm," she asked, when both men turned to her.
Foyle quirked his mouth and said, "I don't see why not. People seem to be letting their hair down."
Sam smiled her thanks and moved past them back into the police station. The building was quiet, almost everyone having gone out to celebrate, and Sam moved briskly to Foyle's office, where she unfastened her stiff leather belt and stripped off her jacket. She felt freer already, but something was pinching her scalp, and, with Foyle's words fresh in mind, she smilingly removed pins from her hair one by one, letting it tumble down over her shoulders. Then she secured the front up once again, to keep it out of her face. For a few moments she debated whether or not to take off her tie; in the end the balminess of the day and the relaxed atmosphere convinced her that it wouldn't be a great breach of propriety, so she loosened it and slipped it from beneath her collar, popping open the top button of her shirt with relief.
She hung her jacket carefully across the back of a chair and placed the tie on top of it.
Through the noise, Foyle heard her walking down the steps behind him and turned around. Hugh's words became indistinct as the policeman watched his driver come closer. Without the jacket and tie, and with the top button undone, Sam looked more relaxed, but he hadn't expected her to loosen her hair as well, and the way it tumbled to her shoulders and framed her face made her look openly alluring… Foyle clenched his hands to restrain himself from reaching out and running his fingers through the wavy locks.
"Thank you, sir. I'm feeling much better now," she said with a smile, and the sound of her voice brought him back to the present.
"Not a problem," he replied, astonished that his voice was so steady. Sam remained by his side, watching the revellers. Foyle cast a glance at Hugh Reid, who was looking smug and who, when he noticed Foyle's glance, raised his eyebrows teasingly.
Foyle suppressed the urge to roll his eyes; it wasn't the first time Reid had nudged him about Sam. He winced then as a particularly loud and brassy recording was set a-spin on a portable gramophone nearby and a young couple began a series of seemingly superhuman dance moves. It was impressive that they could accomplish it, to be sure, but the volume and the quickly growing crowd were overwhelming.
Foyle rubbed his forehead awkwardly, glancing over at Sam, who was watching the spectacle. "D'you mind if I…?" he asked, gesturing vaguely away from the crowds. "It's a bit too festive for my tastes."
"Not at all," she smiled. "In fact, I think I'll join you, if you don't mind."
A few streets away, the crowds were thinning out, though there were still plenty of people about. Grasping Foyle's hand for the second time that day, Sam lead them into a quiet alley, the thick brick walls muting the sounds from the streets and magnifying the sweet notes that floated from a window above them. It was different from the music that was being played in the streets; though it was modern, it was quieter and more melancholy.
"Listen, sir! Our own band!" Sam exclaimed happily. "You still owe me a dance, you know."
"Yes. I know," he conceded, secretly rather thrilled at the prospect. This music, unlike the swing tunes in the streets, suggested slow movements and closeness. He held out his hand to her, but spoke drily as the song ended and another began, "Fair warning: I'm not very good at this."
Sam just smiled and took his hand, stepping closer to him. She reached up to put her hand on his shoulder, while he placed his lightly on her waist. Her other hand was warm and dry in his, utterly relaxed, her long fingers curled softly around his.
I love you, there's nothing to hide,
It's better than burning inside,
I love you, no use to pretend,
There! I've said it again.
They began to move gently in time with the music, the lyrics not registering for a few moments. Then, when the words finally sank in, their eyes locked, and Foyle felt his colour rise. He briefly contemplated stopping the dance, but something in the way Sam looked at him made him pull her infinitesimally closer instead. He heard her sigh softly, and felt her hand move slowly closer to his neck, caressing him softly through the thick material of his jacket.
I've said it, what more can I say?
Believe me, there's no other way,
I love you, I will to the end,
There! I've said it again.
When she sighed again and rested her temple against his cheekbone, he felt emboldened enough to fasten his hold on her. His hand on her waist was no longer the light touch of a cautious employer; rather, it was the possessive grasp of a suitor holding his beloved to him, unwilling to relinquish her to dance with any other man.
Their movements slowed until they were practically swaying on the spot, and their joined hands seemed to gravitate nearer to them; Foyle shifted his grip and let their hands rest on his chest. Her palms pressed to him, Sam could feel the heavy beating of his heart, mimicking her own, even through the material of his clothes. The warmth of his hand encasing hers was reassuring, and the caress of his calloused thumb across the back of her hand somehow sensual and intimate. She dared to move slightly, turning her face a little to let her lips briefly touch his warm skin.
Foyle seemed to feel every hair on his neck rise as her lips ghosted across his cheek, and he struggled to quell sudden mental images of those lips against his, her slender body warm in his embrace…
They hadn't said a word since they'd started dancing, but now Foyle heard Sam's soft voice, singing along with Vaughn Monroe's words:
I try to drum up,
A phrase that would sum up,
All that I feel for you…
His eyes widened in amazement, and Sam fell quiet again, deliberately, it seemed. Her breath was warm against his neck, and he shivered; both from the physical sensation and from the idea that the words she had sung might be directed at him.
Sam pulled away just enough to look fully into his eyes, hers seemingly ablaze and a trace of a smile touching her lips.
But what good are phrases?
The thought that amazes…
Foyle couldn't tear his eyes away from her; her cheeks were flushed, her lips slightly parted as she breathed deeply, her chest rising and falling with each breath, her dark eyes utterly inviting.
Before he could stop himself, he leaned in and pressed his lips against hers. He scarcely had time to ponder the wisdom of his actions before Sam was responding, her mouth soft beneath his. He kissed her gently at first, taking his time to caress her lips, but when her hands moved to the back of his neck and she pulled him closer, he accepted the invitation and kissed her more firmly. He pulled her to him, desperate to feel her even nearer, and she hummed deep in her throat in appreciation. He briefly sucked her lower lip between his, then slipped his tongue into her welcoming mouth.
Is you love me,
And it's heavenly.
She gave a breathy moan of excitement and pressed her hips against him, and it briefly occurred to him that his obvious arousal might alarm her – but when Sam pulled away from his kiss and let her eyes drift down to where their hips were pushed together, she looked more eager than alarmed.
Foyle had opened his mouth to say something when the lyrics floating down to them from the open window above made him smile self-deprecatingly:
Forgive me for wanting you so,
Sam smiled then, amused and unreservedly forgiving, and reached out to let her hand caress his face. Their eyes locked once more, and they stood just drinking each other in for a few moments.
But one thing I want you to know,
I've loved you since Heaven knows when,
There I go! There, I've said it again.
As the final notes of the song sounded, Sam's lips met Foyle's in a gentle kiss, and he raised one hand to tangle in her hair, tilting her head slightly to fit his lips more snugly against hers, while the other hand stroked her waist through the coarse fabric of her uniform shirt. The kiss was slow and sensuous and deliberate, and when they parted Foyle felt the breath hitch in his throat at the sight of her: hair tousled, lips swollen, her skin flushed with passion.
"S-Sam…" he breathed. She shut her eyes dreamily, inhaling the spring air with its touch of Channel salt and seaweed, and his lovely male tweediness and shaving lotion.
When she opened them again, the look on his face was searching and intense; he wanted to ask her something or tell her something, but couldn't seem to find the words.
"I love you," she said, then. Looking utterly relieved to hear his own emotions put into words, he pulled her close for another soft kiss.