Disclaimer: Foyle's War was created by Anthony Horowitz, and the characters of Foyle and Samantha jointly created by Mr. Horowitz, Mr. Michael Kitchen and Ms. Honeysuckle Weeks. No infringement is intended.
UXB Chapter 1
Sam Wainwright leant against the closed front door of her pre-fabricated home, listening as the car drove away, and couldn't stop the smile that spread across her face. What must he be thinking? She couldn't quite believe what she'd just done. Yet, there was really nothing remarkable about it - it had simply been a momentary slip, that was all. She was a married woman now, and it was just a part of her daily routine. Perfectly understandable.
Still smiling to herself, she carried her shopping into the kitchen to drop it on the table, then washed her hands at the sink, gazing out the window at the construction site of another new home next door. She considered how to prepare the supper for herself and Adam, given the continuing shortage of anything resembling protein in the shops. She missed those times when Mr. Foyle used to bring them a fresh trout or two at Adam's guesthouse in Hastings.
Her smile slowly faded as she contemplated the fact that she had been married for more than ten months, yet somehow...this still didn't feel like her 'real' life. She couldn't get used to the idea, and now she was adjusting to being in this strange, modern new house, with new expectations and responsibilities.
Yet she hadn't really understood that something was missing until that day, a few short weeks ago, when she was walking with Professor Fraser and Dr. Hoffman - and she had seen Mr. Foyle across the courtyard, just standing there, waiting for her to notice him. He'd been away, in America, for many months, and she hadn't even known he'd returned, let alone that he was in London.
The sudden surge of joy she'd felt, unlike anything she had yet experienced with her husband, had surprised her, and then confused her, and she'd found herself behaving towards him in a reserved, almost shy, manner. And, of course, she knew he was the one person who would be likely to see the change in her, a change no one else seemed to have noticed.
Soon after that first meeting he had got it all out of her, the medical difficulties she'd had.
But because of the investigation he was involved with for the Security Service, she had lost her job, and so she'd taken the opportunity to bully Mr. Foyle into taking her on again, as his assistant. She could never have spoken to him that way during the War, as his driver, and she had quite enjoyed (for reasons she didn't wish to examine too closely) calling him onto the carpet - "If you'd been straight with me in the first place...!" - and hearing him apologise to her.
In the past two months they'd worked on several investigations together. Sam was aware of a power shift between them now - he had all but relinquished his authority over her, and she had ascended nearer to his level, owing to her maturity and married state - leaving them more as equal colleagues, really, other than his far greater experience and wisdom.
Now they were working together again, and all was right with the world.
Except, of course, it wasn't.
But she was quite certain what had happened just now had nothing to do with her present marital difficulties. ...Had it?
Christopher Foyle negotiated the busy traffic on Peckham Road as he made his way north by northwest back to Mayfair. Sam had never asked him outright where he was staying in London, now that he'd left his hotel, so he hadn't lied, really, when he told her it wouldn't take him out of his way to drive her home. He preferred to spend time after work driving her to her new prefabricated house in Peckham West - perhaps payback for her years of driving him during the War - rather than go straight to his temporary accommodation.
He was using his brother-in-law Charles Howard's room at the Naval and Military Club in Piccadilly, nearly around the corner from Curzon Street, the location of the Security Service. The "In and Out," as the Club was known for the directional signs on its two gates, was luxurious and prestigious, and he felt quite out of place among the uniformed officers, many of whom were still on active duty. But his own Club, The Flyfishers', had been bombed in '41, and it was difficult to get a room in their leased and shared premises at the present time. Though he had spent a few hours there of an evening or on his day off.
He could, of course, have stayed at the Special Forces Club where some of his Intelligence colleagues were members, but that held no attraction for him at all. He'd have to get something sorted out, on a more permanent basis, if he were to continue in London and in this position with MI-5 - if.
He didn't much care for the work so far - each case revealed more of the same double-crossing, deceptions, outright corruption and high-level lies that had led him to resign from the Police. And now there was the additional element of the entire Service believing themselves to be above, or entirely separate from, the rule of law. He couldn't even trust Miss Pierce, the person who had ostensibly recruited him into this shadowy realm. That they had approached him as they had, hiring him essentially under duress, threatening him with the American State Department over the Howard Paige affair, should have been his first clue as to what the job would be like.
And now this new case. The thought of meeting with the Nazi Officer, Karl Strasser, turned his stomach. It was yet another decidedly murky and distasteful example of a post-war coalition of convenience - the Government cooperating politically with the Soviets on their annexation of Poland, then the Security Service collaborating secretly with ex-Nazis to spy on the Soviets - a collaboration that his new employer had no qualms about entering into, apparently.
The only saving grace in the situation was that he had Sam back. Well, Mrs. Wainwright, as he reminded himself to think of her.
Approaching Vauxhall Bridge, he put his gloomy preoccupation aside, and couldn't stop the corner of his mouth from hitching upwards in amusement, pondering, again, what she had just done. Of course, it had meant nothing: they'd arrived at her street; he'd gotten out to retrieve her shopping from the car boot. Sam had been rummaging through her handbag to find her key. He'd walked with her up the path, remarking on the groundwork for another pre-fab home next door, and handed over the net bag. Rather distractedly she had thanked him and said good-bye, then quickly leaned in close... and kissed him - a wifely sort of peck on the cheek.
He'd... been a little surprised, of course, and their eyes had met before she suddenly became aware of what she'd absent-mindedly done. She'd turned away with wide eyes to put her key in the lock, choosing not to draw attention to it. He'd forgotten to say good-bye, rather nonplussed and a little wide-eyed himself as he'd turned away and walked back to the car.
But in thinking about it as he drove off, he had decided it was nothing to be concerned about, simply a little mistake. A very pleasant, charming mistake. Wouldn't happen again. ...Would it?
As Sam prepared the mock fish cakes, made of beans and rice with a little anchovy paste, and a ginger cream for afters, using tinned evaporated milk and powdered gelatin, she made herself think about Adam and what his day might have been like. Parliament had risen for the summer, so he'd not yet sat in the House as MP for Peckham West. But he was terribly busy. He had been given a position as Secretary to a Cabinet Minister, had been studying hard to learn the ins and outs of the parliamentary system, he worked in his constituency office, and he attended lots of meetings about -, well, she wasn't exactly sure what. Just as she wasn't sure what sort of work he'd done during the War - he couldn't discuss it, even with her, because he'd signed the Official Secrets Act. It left rather a large void in their evening conversations, when they had one.
But he seemed to love what he was doing now - it was important work, and she would support him in whatever way he needed. Only, it seemed he didn't need her very much, and when he did, it was mostly just to stand by his side at a public event and smile and look proud of him. She was rarely asked for her opinion, or to do anything useful. She didn't want to become one of those wives who pushed in and got rather strident to make themselves heard. But surely there was some way she could help him.
And so, when Adam had mentioned the man from Devizes with the complaint about his appropriated land, she'd decided to try to find out about the land evaluator for him. She had taken an opportunity to ask Charlotte how she might go about locating him. Because surely there could be more to their marriage than her simply waiting for him to come home every evening. Though Adam had already cautioned her not to interfere.
It wasn't like that with Mr. Foyle - he... made room for her. He welcomed her opinion, asked for it, treated her like a true partner. They were a team. The work they did together was also important, but on a different scale to Adam's - whether larger or smaller she wasn't sure.
Certainly neither of them enjoyed the deceptions and lies surrounding this new job, but by rooting out double agents, spies and traitors, they hoped they were contributing something useful to a rather troubled post-war Britain.
As she prepared the gelatin, her mind wandered over the events that had brought them to London last June, when she'd first met Adam. The events to do with the mysterious, and very dangerous, Russian House.
Mr. Foyle hadn't even blamed her for nearly getting him killed by that Soviet assassin. They'd had a mad race through the streets, and hidden in a disused air raid shelter, but when the man had followed them in she'd found the other exit was locked and they were trapped. As they'd heard the sinister footsteps approach, Mr. Foyle had taken hold of her wrist to edge her around to the other side of the column they were hiding behind, and then had firmly but gently pushed her away as he confronted the gunman. She shuddered as she recalled that moment. It seemed his last words to her would have been a quietly disappointed and resigned, "This wasn't a very good idea, was it?"
Later he'd apologised to her for involving her in such danger, and she'd brushed it off, but truthfully, all she'd wanted to do was to wrap her arms around him and hold him close, in thanks, and to reassure herself, that he was all right. But that was impossible, of course. Sam could count on one hand the times they'd even accidentally had any physical contact -Oh, lord! Why was she thinking of that?!
'Back to Adam, Mrs. W!' she admonished herself, and brought her attention back to the fish cakes - well, mock fish cakes. And... her 'mock' marriage. 'Oh dear.'
Foyle found a parking stall in the Club's own lot, for once, and walked in through the rear entrance, but then, after a dispirited glance around, kept walking, past the well-appointed lounge and the porter's desk, until he was out the front door and on the pavement. He really couldn't face the dining room again, not tonight. It was a warm evening, he had no appetite as yet, and he felt like a stroll on the Embankment. There was something in looking out over water that helped to order one's thoughts, and if he couldn't look out over the Channel, then the Thames would have to do.
After a brisk easterly walk along The Mall, a reverse turn onto Whitehall and through Horse Guards Avenue - there still being bomb damage near Richmond Terrace - he reached the western end of the Victoria Embankment and started east. He rather felt like running, to clear his head and expend some pent up energy, but that would be an odd thing to do, in a public place, in the city. Who would do that?
He lengthened his stride and quickly passed under the Charing Cross Station bridge, then the Waterloo Bridge, and only slowed his pace somewhat as he approached Blackfriars.
Finally coming to a stop, he pushed his hat up off his brow and leant on the railing to contemplate the slow-flowing, grey river. Still a muddy grey in the sunshine, he noted - unlike the Channel, sparkling blue on a clear day like this, when viewed from the Hastings seafront, or up at the Castle. He doubted any fish worth keeping could survive in this part of the river.
After some minutes of following the movements of various watercraft, he found himself staring at the still-standing OXO Tower on the south bank with a resentful sort of irritation. It seemed to mock him with the ersatz life he'd led for the past six years: beef tea instead of beef, police work instead of war work, and this so very restrained yet vital friendship with a woman he - loved. There, he'd said it. If only to himself. Of course he loved Sam, how could he not?
But she'd been far too young, and quite forbidden, when she'd turned up like a beam of sunshine at the Station in her MTC uniform. Now she was just as forbidden, as a married woman. Sam had matured beyond her years during the War, as many young women had, taking on roles never tried before - never permitted, really.
Working with her now, post-war, it was certainly different. She was more of a colleague, in many ways. And there was, he had noticed, more of an open frankness between them, starting with her perfectly correct challenge of his decision not to be forthright with her when he began investigating her connection to Miss Pierce's fictitious 'Eternity Ring.'
Yet he had seen instantly that there was something wrong, and when Sam had explained that the grim sadness he'd seen in her was because of a failed pregnancy - and not because she had become a Communist spy disillusioned with her country - he'd so badly wanted to gather her into his arms and comfort her. But that was impossible, of course.
And she'd told him she hadn't yet discussed it with Adam? Was the man blind, not to notice the change in her?
In fact, she'd given out a number of indications that her home life was not everything she had imagined it would be, what with Adam working long hours, late nights out with his Labour cronies, and so preoccupied with his new career. In the car one day she'd even let slip a remark that her husband wasn't 'doing his bit' to help start a family, at least not very often. Staring with stretched eyes out the passenger window, Foyle's usual sympathetic response -"How can I help?" - was on the tip of his tongue, but he'd bit it back, as that would really have been crossing the line, and not respectful of her difficulties. He'd quickly changed the subject back to something work-related.
Speaking of which - the line - was, he'd noticed, being approached occasionally by Sam. He certainly didn't encourage it, did nothing to invite it, yet wasn't about to remark on it or show that he noticed it, as that would seem rather prudish on his part. Yet there were moments - Sam brushing against his arm when reaching for a file, resting her fingers on his shoulder as she set a cup of tea on his desk, or just the other day in the crowded main office, after he'd given her a research request, she'd stopped him walking away with a hand laid briefly on his breast - over his heart, to be precise - to tell him of the dispatch rider.
And, now, this evening, ...that little kiss; - even if it was a mistake.
Well, he reasoned, she was accustomed to daily physical contact with a man now, as a married woman, in a way she hadn't been before. It meant nothing; though it was a change. He'd just have to adapt.
But as he was, now, aware of it, it gave rise, involuntarily, to thoughts, to wishes, he had no business entertaining.
With an unhappy sigh Foyle pushed away from the railing, pulled his hat brim down on his brow and turned back to walk into the city, in the direction of the present location of The Flyfishers' Club. An hour in it's library, perhaps another hour at one of the fly-tying benches after dinner, would fill his evening more satisfactorily than any of his other limited options.
Author's note: From the website of The Flyfishers' Club ~
"To join The Flyfishers' Club is to become a member of one of the country's most friendly, welcoming, diverse, interesting, knowledgeable and entertaining fly fishing fraternities.
The Flyfishers' Club was founded in 1884. The Club is constituted as a social club for gentlemen interested in the art of flyfishing and for the study and furtherance of subjects and issues of interest to flyfishermen. It shall be a private members' club owned by its Ordinary Members and Honorary Life Members.
During the 120 and more years of its existence, the Flyfishers' has had a number of homes. It first moved into rooms of its own in the Arundel Hotel in 1888, then to No. 8 Haymarket in 1889 and thence, in 1907, to its own premises in Swallow Street, Piccadilly, where it remained until evicted by enemy action in 1941. Since then it has leased premises in several other London clubs, moving on when they proved less resilient than the Flyfishers'."