Well, we're at the last chapter. Thanks so much for reading a reviewing! I wish I could comment to each of your reviews personally, but as it stands, I'll thank (in no particular order) Ellie Sculder, Lilliebelle, phnxgrl, Ginny, Alexis, SJM, Capricorn, Guest, and all other guests who reviewed. They really meant a lot!
After hearing all the details Jane provides from her walk half an hour earlier, Phryne hugs her ward to her. Five minutes later, the teen and guardian look up when Jack enters the room with Andrew beside him.
"Jane, if I can explain everything," Andrew begins as he walks toward her. Quickly, Jack grabs the younger man's arm, but Phryne quickly stops her lover from hurting the newly found perpetrator.
"Jack," Phryne starts as she puts her hand on his arm to calm him. Quickly, the inspector relents and turns away from Andrew in disgust. Jane merely stares at Jack in shock unsure how to process her guardian's lover sticking up for her. Instead, the teen sits further back on the office bench.
"Want me to take her home?" Collins asks Phryne softly once Andrew is taken out of the room again. The dark haired woman nods before saying her good-byes and finding Jack.
"Are you okay?" Phryne asks as her lover grabs his coat from his office adding, "Would you like me to come? It is half my case after all."
With a sigh, Jack relents, but only after Phryne promises to leave once her part is over so she can console Jane. Nodding, the private detective adds, "In this instance, I'll acquiesce. For Jane."
"For Jane," He mumbles knowing he needs to be on his best behaviour the rest of the day.
Back at the Esplanade hours later, Phryne sees Dot out the door before sinking into the kitchen chair. With Jane upstairs, Phryne has only herself as entertainment while Mr. Butler does last minute buttling before heading to bed. Stirring her still warm tea, the female detective wonders how she keeps from detecting such behavior from Andrew. Mulling over the situation, Phryne soon finds herself taken from her thoughts by a knock on the kitchen door. Standing, she expects Cec or Bert to come in, but is instead met with the face of her handsome Inspector. Opening the door wider, Phryne utters, "Hello Jack."
"Hello. I just finished the paperwork for Andrew and thought I should tell Jane in person," Jack states knowing the turn of events is difficult for all parties involved. Phryne turns from her now shut door and replies, "Please, don't. Jane needs time to process everything first. You can tell her tomorrow."
Jack merely nods before pouring a cup of tea for himself and sitting next to his lover.
"What did Andrew say?" Phryne asks when her curiosity finally wins out. Jack puts his cup down before answering, "I will tell you, Phryne, but first I want to apologize."
"For taking over my investigation?" She teases. She is surprised when Jack nods his head and explains, "I should have let you interrogate him. However–"
"I don't have clearance," Phryne supplies with a sip of her drink. Only being partially correct, Jack gives her credit, but adds, "You were also caught up in a personal matter. Besides, Andrew and I got along rather well before this. He told me that he did steal the egg to gain more respect in his fraternity–"
"He should pick a different one," Phryne comments before she lets her lover continue.
"Yes, well, he also said he was hoping to sell it for the money. His grandfather's money took a significant loss in the last couple years due to the economy."
With Jack finishing his spiel, Phryne asks, "And Collingwood?"
"Part of a class assignment. Everything he mentioned up to now has been true. He really is a good kid," Jack praises as his lover frowns. With a shake of her head, Phryne comments, "He slapped Jane. If he can do that now, there is no telling what may happen in the future. Jack, I don't want to paint him the villain, but as it stands, he hurt Jane."
Jack listens carefully to his lover's words, and can form no rebuttal. She is right, again. Andrew is brash and altogether too immature. A man, yes, but still a child in so many ways. The couple shares a look of mutual agreement and drink to their relationship when they hear a soft thud come from the direction of the foyer.
"Miss Phryne?" Jane begins upon finding the couple in the kitchen. Quickly, she nods to Jack due to social demands. A little embarrassed to see him after the day's events, the teen turns back to her guardian. With a prompting gaze from Phryne, Jane states, "I think I've decided to go to University."
Phryne smiles widely while her lover smirks and takes of sip of his drink instead. Neither knows the outcomes of the teen's relationship, but everything seems to be heading back to normal for the family, which is all Phryne can want.