“Excuse me, Inspector?”
Greg turned to face a pretty middle-aged woman, with soft golden-brown waves of hair and bright blue eyes. It was only from the fine lines around her eyes and mouth that he knew her age; that, and the outfit that passed for casual among a certain age and set. She was at once entirely out of place in the tiny coffee shop and entirely comfortable in it.
“Detective Inspector Lestrade, am I correct?” she said, and held out her hand. “I’m Rebecca Morgan, Harry’s wife.”
Greg felt his face freeze.
“Oh no, don’t do that,” she said, taking his arm in a confident manner. “Really, how indiscreet do you think my husband is? You know his position, don’t you? If I weren’t meant to know, then I wouldn’t. And I’m not about to drag you into a screaming fight, especially as I hear you’re playing hard to get.”
“Excuse me?” Greg said, shock making his voice entirely too loud, even for a crowded cafe.
Rebecca sighed at him, but it was an oddly fond sound. “Shall we sit?”
“Here?” He’d rather not have to find a new shop.
She rolled her eyes, but it was with the same little, indulgent smile. “Come along, then. We’ll take a walk.” Greg would really rather not, but what was he going to do?
They walked down the street a ways, until they reached a small green space; it took maybe two minutes, and Rebecca’s easy chatter about the weather kept it from being entirely tortuous. Greg couldn’t find a trace of malice in her tone, and relaxed as much as he was able.
“Now,” she said, pulling him to a bench, “let’s sit and show the world a handsome couple, shall we?” She winked at him and Greg felt a bit of blush heat his cheeks.
“Harry and I have been married for thirty-two years now,” she said as Greg settled uneasily on the bench. “We have two boys, Edward and Arthur, and two dogs, Gerald and Aberforth.”
“Aberforth,” Greg repeated.
Rebecca shrugged. “It seemed a good idea at the time.”
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s happening or why,” Greg burst out, turning to look her in the eye. “I’m happily in a relationship myself--”
“With Mycroft, yes, I know,” she interrupted easily, twinkling at him. “Isn’t he lovely? A bit scary, but perfectly lovely.”
“You--” Greg’s mouth hung open as he searched for something to say, but she interrupted easily and brightly.
“I’m currently seeing a young man called Darren, which isn’t the nicest of names in my opinion, but what can we do?” Rebecca squeezed his arm. “We can’t all be Gregorys. Which is a lovely name, by the by.”
“It’s called an open marriage nowadays, I hear,” Rebecca said, with another disarming smile. “We just call it our arrangement. Oh, don’t look like that; of course I heard about what happened with your wife, and I’m terribly sorry, and I wanted to reassure you that this is nothing at all of that sort before, well, before you thought it was.” She gave a short sigh and smiled even more brightly. “We’re best friends, Harry and I, and we take a deep interest in each other’s interests.”
“I’m your husband’s interest?” Greg managed, head still whirling.
“If you weren’t his, you’d be mine,” she said, and fluttered her eyelashes.
“Rebecca, please,” she said, and laughed. “Oh, don’t tell me you don’t have a string of people sighing after you, Inspector, because I won’t believe it. I can’t believe it.”
Greg bit the inside of his cheek, trying not to grin. “Well, you ought to.”
“Perfect nonsense,” she said easily, and settled more comfortably against him.
Mycroft paused with the tea cup inches from his lips. “You set Rebecca on him?”
“She set herself, rather,” Harry said, and smiled. “She does take an interest.”