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.
Note from the author: This story is came about when I began another Writer’s Workshop project – writing Donald Bain’s “Coffee, Tea, or Murder” in George Sutherland’s voice. As you will see, I am approaching that project by re-writing the story as it might have been before it was edited by the powers that be. This segment is the third installment in yet another fan fiction 100 trilogy, and picks up the story during the final chapter. Part one can be found under “Wheel” and part two under “Pendulum.”
We walked along the rocky cliffs, beneath a million brightly lit stars, until coming to a set of steep stairs that led us down to the beach, where we cuddled together in a sheltered cove after walking and talking for what must have been an hour or more. Her lips were as soft as rose petals and tasted as sweet as honey, and it took all the willpower I could muster to restrain myself and the longing that I felt for her.
“You’re a very patient man, George Sutherland,” she said as she placed her hand on my cheek, an obvious clue that our night together was drawing to a close.
“And I will continue to be,” I assured her before getting to my feet and helping her up to hers.
“You’re not disappointed?”
“That you’re not willing to turn your life upside down to
“Among other things.”
I laughed and gave her a kiss on the forehead, then took her hand and started back toward the steps. “I supposed I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a little bit disheartened, but I don’t think I could ever ask you to leave Cabot Cove.”
She squeezed my hand before replying, “I don’t think I could ever leave Cabot Cove, not permanently.”
“And as for ‘other things?’”
I stopped and looked down at her. “As you said, I’m a patient man.”
“And if I’m never ready?”
“It’s a risk I’m willing to take.” And it was. If there was one thing I was sure of, it was that Jessica Fletcher was worth any risk.
When I returned to Seth’s, the kitchen light was burning brightly. Unsure why I was suddenly feeling guilty but knowing that there was no option but to face him, I let myself in the back door. “A sandwich?” he asked before I had the door closed securely behind me.
There I was, a grown man sneaking back into his house after spending the past few hours with his best friend (it might as well have been his sister), and the man was offering to make me a sandwich. What else could I do but accept?
I pulled out a chair and took the seat across from him. “My apologies for waking you,” I added as I took the plate that he slid across the table in my direction, “I was unable to fall asleep.”
He removed two additional pieces of bread from the plastic bag and lathered on a thick layer of mayonnaise before adding two slices of ham and a slice of Swiss cheese. “You didn’t,” he admitted. “Betty Camden did. First pregnancy,” he said by way of explanation. “She thought that she was in labor but it was only Braxton-Hicks.”
I nodded, unsure exactly what he had just said but assuming that it had been a false alarm.
“Did Jessica join you?”
For a split second I found myself rendered speechless. How had he known? Our path had taken us nowhere near the hospital.
“Aye,” I finally answered. “She did.”
Seth responded with what could only be described as a grunt before taking a bite of his sandwich.
I followed his lead, unsure what more he wanted to say to me, but knowing that there was indeed more to come.
We ate in silence without another word being spoken until he had cleared both of our plates and stacked them in the sink. “If you hurt her, Sutherland,…”
“I have no intention of ever hurting her,” I responded defensively. All of the waiting had obviously made me jumpy, something I find ironic, looking back on it. Me, the seasoned Scotland Yard detective, anxious after a few minutes of silence and wondering what was yet to come.
“I love her, Seth, and have for a very long time.”
“Intent or no,” he replied, standing his ground, “if you hurt her, you’ll answer to me.”
“Understood,” I replied with a nod, knowing that there was no point in continuing the conversation. Yes, there were times when Seth was overprotective of Jessica, but in actuality it was something I very much appreciated. In some small way, knowing that he was there to look after her, whether she needed it or not, made it a bit easier for me to live an ocean away.
Hopefully it won’t take me too long to wrap up “Coffee, Tea, or Murder” in George’s voice and the entire story will be available under the “In Another Voice” Challenge.