Phryne and Jack were enjoying a nightcap as they often did. Jack still marvelled the fact that he was in a romantic relationship with Phryne Fisher. That he did not leave the house after their shared drink, but simply followed her in her bedroom still amazed him. It had been the new routine for about three weeks now, and sometimes he felt the need to pinch himself to make sure he was not dreaming.
Phryne was sitting in his lap, her head resting against his shoulder, enjoying the fact that they were alone together. She loved the nearness of him. His presence was reassuring. She would never admit that to him though. She smiled; this new level of their relationship seemed so natural it scared her slightly. Jack’s voice brought her out of musings
“What did I do to deserve you?”
“You are just being you, Inspector Jack Robinson.”
“I never thanked you, did I?”
Phryne looked up at him and arched a brow. “Why should you thank me, my darling, Jack?”
“For letting me spread my wings. For letting me be who I am.”
“Jack, why would I want you to be anything else than what you are?” she asked surprised, by his words.”
“When I was married to Rosie…. I… after war… I… we…” his voice trailed off.
“It’s alright, Jack, take your time. And if you cannot tell me now, I’ll be here whenever you want me to listen.” Whatever it was he wanted to tell her, Phryne sensed it was important to him. He would not have started the subject otherwise.
Phryne placed her hand on his chest right above his heart.
“When I came back after the war, I felt different — I was different. I had seen so many horrible things, been in horrifying situations. I wanted to feel alive. I wanted to make sure to show Rosie how much she meant to me. She did not understand. I wanted, needed, to feel warmth. The feeling of heated skin against mine. She could not give it to me. She thought I changed. She told me I was not the man she’d married anymore. We stayed together anyway until it became too much for her and she went to live with her sister.”
He was going to say more, she knew, and chose to give him time.
“Worst is, with hindsight, I realize now I was… relieved when she left. Her priorities had not changed. Mine on the other hand…”
“War left scars on everyone,” Phryne said in a small voice.
“I was so desperate to feel alive and loved, that I did not realize what kind of man René Dubois was.” Only after the words were out did Phryne realize she had spoken out loud.
In response Jack placed a kiss atop of her raven black hair.
“I’m sorry, I did not mean to…”
“Sssh, Phryne, it’s alright. Dubois is still a shadow from your past. What he did to you was a traumatizing experience. I wish I could have been there for you then. I’m glad he’s dead.”
Phryne looked up at him, then stretched her neck to place a kiss on his lips. “You are here now, that is what matters.”
Jack kissed her back softly. “The past belongs to the past.”
“I know…” she said, but Jack sensed that something still bothered her.
“Rosie still has feeling for you, Jack.”
“I know. Like I was telling you, she has been my wife for so many years, but all I feel for her is regret and compassion. I do not love her anymore. All those years we had been married she tried to mould me into someone that suited her. You made me realize that. You helped me free myself from the armour they put on me.”
Phryne did not say a word, she simply smiled.
“You have been there pushing me out of my comfort zone. You helped me find myself again, Phryne. I love you.” As usual Jack said the three words to her not expecting her to say them back.
Phryne surprised him by removing herself from his lap and standing before him with her hand extended. He placed his hand in hers and stood.
“Let’s go. I have something to tell you, inspector Jack Robinson. Something very private.”
Jack smiled in the way that made her heart skip a beat before saying, “Lead the way, Miss Fisher.”
And with that they went to their bedroom, where their bodies would tell each other everything that words could not.