--By Stephanie


Disclaimer:  As always, this is just for fun!   I do not own the characters of Jessica Fletcher or George Sutherland.  And like everyone else who is participating in this Writer’s Challenge, my intent is not to infringe on anyone’s copyright, nor is it to make any money. 


George fumbled with his keys, balancing his briefcase and umbrella in one hand, a bouquet of roses and a bottle of merlot in the other.  Finally, he managed to work the key into the lock, release it, and gain entry to his London flat.    

            Out of doors, it was gloomy, damp, and downright miserable.  But inside, there was warmth, soft lights, and smooth, velvety strains of music coming from the living room. 

After dispensing with his rain splotched coat, umbrella, and briefcase, he headed toward the source of that warmth – there she was, classically beautiful, completely unassuming, and standing in the middle of his kitchen with a dusting of flour on her cheek.  He couldn’t help but watch her for a few moments as she worked, patiently fluting the edges of a pie crust.  She was as lovely and graceful in the kitchen, wearing an apron and slacks, as she was in any ballroom, wearing diamonds and a designer gown.

As she turned to set the pie on the table, her heart leapt into her throat. 

“Sorry, love,” he apologized.  “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

Jessica patted her heart and let out a huge sigh of relief before smiling to assure him that she was alright.  “I guess I lost track of time and didn’t hear you come in,” she explained as she opened the bottom door of the double oven and inserted the pie.  After setting the timer, she turned to find George still leaning casually against the doorframe.

            “What are you smiling at?” she asked curiously.

            George shook his head and shrugged innocently before taking a small step into the kitchen.

            “Do I have flour on my face or something silly like that,” she wondered.

            “Aye, on yer righ’ cheek.”

            Jessica brushed her cheek lightly with a clean towel.  “Did I get it?”


            For the first time, she noticed the bottle of wine that he held at his side.  Pleased, she smiled.  “You remembered the wine?”

            “Aye,” he answered again as he lifted the bottle and scrutinized the label.  “I ‘ope this will suffice?” he asked as he presented it to her.

            Jessica took the bottle.  “It’s perfect.” She set the bottle of wine down on the counter and began searching for a cork screw.   

            “An’ don’ forget these,” he added as he removed the bouquet of flowers from behind his back.

            “Oh, George, they’re lovely,” she exclaimed as she drew the roses close and breathed in deeply.  “Do you have a vase?  I should get them into some water right away.”

            After scrounging up a juice decanter to substitute as a vase, Jessica arranged the flowers on the center of the dining room table.      

“Would you like a glass of wine or shall we wait until dinner?” she asked as she made final adjustments, moving one red rose to the forefront and another to the center.  When he didn’t answer, she looked up at him.  He was indeed a handsome man – the sophisticated gray that had appeared at his temples in recent years, lively green eyes, and that warm, infectious grin…and that deep, thick brogue. 

Something’s up, she decided.  “George, you’re still smiling.”

“Am I now?” he retorted playfully.

Oh, boy!  What are you smiling at?” she asked very patiently.

He reached out and gently caressed her golden blonde hair, his hand lingering there momentarily.  Then, he looked down into her wide, sparkling blue eyes.  “You,” he finally answered before touching a light kiss across her brow.  “You look as though you’re beginning to feel quite at home here.”  Something that was very important to him. 

“I do, George.  I do feel very much at home here,” she answered before rising up and welcoming him with a warm, lingering kiss. 

“Shall we eat?” she suggested after drawing away slowly and turning toward the kitchen.

George smiled, inwardly this time.  Tonight, he thought as his thumb brushed over the small velvet box that he carried in his pocket.  Tonight.