DCS Christopher Foyle put down his orange juice and watched his young bride shade her eyes against the morning sunlight flooding Castle Craiggary, the usually dark and imposing structure clinging to the cliffs above their hotel. Sam had admitted that she was greatly looking forward to visiting it, probably because she had always loved legends of knights and princesses and castles.
She'd imparted this to him as they sat before the fireplace in his house in Steep Lane nearly two years ago—well before they were married, or even fully aware of their feelings for each other. Sam had ended up staying there after she found herself with nowhere to live. She had been bombed out of her digs at Mrs Harrison's, and with billets as difficult to find as they then had been, she had even resorted to the plank-like bed in one of the station's cells.
When Foyle had noticed her stretched out on it late one evening, he suggested with some exasperation that she could use Andrew's room—he was away training with the RAF—until she was able to find something suitable.
The week she had spent in Foyle's house had given him an inkling of how comfortably they would get along together, and the first stirrings of his attraction to her had been encouraged by having her so close, sharing meals and talks beside the fire afterward.
Then, as now, he never tired of watching firelight or sunshine play upon her copper hair, or of enjoying the bright intelligence in her wide dark eyes.
Sam felt his warm gaze even as she enjoyed the sun's warmth. She turned her smile full upon him, very much as she had two years before when he had admired her in the blue dress just before her date with Antonio. He told her as much now.
She blushed slightly. "Do you remember when I made a point of telling you that Tony wasn't really my type, but that I just didn't want to let him down?"
He nodded, and she went on, "I think I wanted you to know that I already regretted accepting the date—especially right in front of you."
Foyle stroked the top of her hand with one finger, making her shiver with awareness.
"All I knew was that I was sure when I looked at you that you couldn't let anyone down. And the way you looked at me afterwards made my heart skip several beats."
Sam held his hand and wished—not for the first time—that she hadn't let so much time go by before letting Christopher know clearly how she felt about him.
Foyle poured a cup of tea one-handed, unwilling to be released just yet. "Which was it… Gawain, who was the green knight? Was he called that because he wore green surcoats?" He looked up at the medieval Scottish building on the cliffs.
Sam considered his eyes carefully, wondering whether it was a genuine question or if he was teasing her.
Not enough twinkle there, he must really want to know.
"No, he was famous for battling a green knight; a man who was literally green. But Gawain was known for his courtesy, especially to women. Rather the patron knight of Sir Christopher Foyle, I'd say."
Her husband lightly caressed her hand from the wrist to her knuckles; then squeezed softly.
Almost too polite to ever let Sam know how I felt.
It finally had happened only because she had enough courage to tell him how much she cared. Courage for which he so admired her, among the many other reasons. He had hoped, but never dared to let himself hope too much; he was sufficiently older than she that he tended to think that she was better off without him.
Christopher Foyle was not certain exactly when he had begun to feel a restless, slightly nervous pleasure every time he was in the company of his young driver. He was determined not to let Samantha know about it, as he knew the difference in their ages made the notion absurd and unfair, but his feelings were too strong—too real—to entirely put them out of his mind. He often found himself fantasising that her sidelong glances at him and her playful, sometimes almost flirtatious banter, were more than just a fondness for a father figure.
And, had he but known, they were.
Christopher's gentle concern for Sam rested easily beside his egalitarian treatment of her and it had made her all the more in awe of him, but what impressed her most was his profound compassion for his fellow human beings. It was not something that was obvious about him. Indeed, a witness speaking to him was likely to assume from his expression that he disapproved—his visage would be still, and he would listen quietly, but attentively, sometimes almost scowling in thought. He would then often surprise the other with an observation or some insight that showed with remarkable empathy that he understood exactly how a particular situation had arisen. Fortunately, he was equally able to see clearly a criminal's dishonesty or perfidy.
One fine autumn day, some months after Sam had started working for Foyle, he was talking to her about conditions in London. She thought it quite amazing how he could express anger at the ineptitude of the way matters were being handled, yet understand how difficult it was for the authorities to handle them any better, while also making it clear how much he sympathised with the people who were struggling there just to keep their heads above water.
Listening to the soft timbre of his voice, she had glanced at his profile in that moment and felt a sudden jolt. Moments later when they emerged from the Wolseley, his glance lingered.
"Sam? You all right?"
She had nodded, snapping out of the dazed way she had been looking at him; she realised that she cared for him, and not only thought objectively that he was attractive, but was powerfully drawn to him.
It was the first time Foyle had seen such an expression on her face. She had often bestowed upon him her gloriously sunny smile, of course; but he had seen her direct that at Sgt Milner, too. He was surprised that day at how quiet she had become—almost shy. Shy? Sam?
To alleviate the unaccustomed silence as they made their way back to the police station, he ventured, "I'm wondering whether Norwood was ever up in London at all."
Sam looked thoughtful.
"Well, I suppose you could ask Ben Mantle, sir."
He was further surprised to see her faint blush at his praise.
In contrast with her usual behaviour, Sam had been almost relieved to bid him goodnight and get back to her digs. She needed time to think.