Caught in the Act (formerly 'Lucky')
Please note the title change: this fic was originally posted as 'Lucky'. Only chapters 10 and 11 are new, so if you've read this before, you might want to skip straigh to them.
"Hello Jack." Phryne Fisher breezed into Jack Robinson's office with a smile and perched expectantly on the corner of his desk.
"Miss Fisher. What can I do for you today?" Her smile told him she wanted something. His own, he thought with some chagrin, meant that he was likely to give it to her.
"Today? Why, nothing, Jack." She leaned towards him. "I was hoping you might do something for me tonight."
Months of her company had given him enough experience to pretend that he hadn't noticed her suggestive tone, or the flirtatious body language that accompanied it.
"Very well then, what can I do for you tonight?" he enquired, leaning back in his chair and folding his hands with a pleasant smile.
"I was wondering whether you might care to join me at the theatre."
"That depends. It's not another light opera, is it?" Whilst he would admit that solving the Rudigore case with her had gone some way towards ameliorating his dislike of the genre it certainly wasn't enough to convince him to commit himself to another G&S.
"Better than that." She produced two tickets with a flourish. "A magician. The Great Benzini will dazzle us all with his mystical skills."
He was impressed. She had somehow managed to hit on the one form of theatrical entertainment that he detested even more than Gilbert and Sullivan. "I don't think so, Miss Fisher."
"Why not?" She threw him the kind of pout which, he knew, had turned many a man to putty in her hands. He was determined, however, that it would not work on him.
"Because I have no wish to spend my evening watching deception, deceit and flimflam being passed off as entertainment. I see quite enough of that at work without paying for the privilege of witnessing more."
"Well it's your lucky day: you won't be paying for anything. I already have the tickets, and it would be a shame to let them go to waste."
"Magic shows really aren't my thing. Why don't you take Dot? I'm sure she'd enjoy herself."
"The ticket was for Dot. But her sister's children have all gone down with chicken-pox and she's had to rush off to play Florence Nightingale."
"I thought Dot's sister was a hostess at the Imperial Club?"
Phryne gave him a withering look. "That's Lola. This is another one. Four little ones and a fifth on the way, and the whole herd is scratching and crying like they're at death's door."
"I'm fairly certain that the correct collective noun for a group of small children is not 'herd'," he observed.
"Oh, stop trying to change the subject. The show starts at seven, and I thought you could join me for supper afterwards."
"And there's no-one else you can ask? What about Doctor Macmillan?"
"Mac's working, and who else would be available at such short notice?"
Truthfully, she could think of at least half a dozen eligible young men who would have leapt at the chance to accompany her, particularly with the promise of 'supper' afterwards, but these days, to her confusion and disgust, she found herself preferring Jack's company more and more often. Jack might not be willing to provide her with the kind of late-night amusements to which she was accustomed, but he was witty, intelligent, and she genuinely enjoyed his company. She was also optimistic that she might at some point convince him to overcome whatever sexual hang-ups kept him from succumbing to her more sensual charms, and in the meantime it was fun to see his reaction whenever she tried.
"Oh? And yet you assume I'm available?" He gave her an arch look.
"Of course. You can't be working a murder or I'd know about it, and I doubt you have any other cases that can't wait until morning."
He really should have been ready for her sudden pounce on his files, he thought, as she scooped them up and shuffled swiftly through them. "Assault, illegal gambling, and a bank robbery. See? Nothing that can't wait," she declared airily, dropping them back in front of him. Her expression turned coy. "But if you really aren't interested I'm sure I can think of one or two other gentlemen who might be willing to accompany me."
She was trying to make him jealous, he knew, and what was worse was that it was working. He was well aware of how much she enjoyed male company, and in what ways, and tried very hard not to think too much about why it was he found it hard not to think about it too much. Phryne watched him wrestle with his conflicting desires, not to give in to her on the one hand and not to have her bed yet another lover on the other, and tried not to smile.
With a sigh, he leaned across and plucked a ticket from her hand. "Where exactly am I meeting you?" he asked as she smiled triumphantly at him.
"The Majestic, on Plum Street, at about a quarter to. That should give us plenty of time to find our seats."
Plum Street, he noted. Hardly the best neighbourhood, although Phryne was probably already well aware of that. The woman knew far too many things that a lady had no business knowing.
"Very good." He tucked his ticket into the breast pocket of his jacket. "I'll see you there."