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two letters and a telegram

Chapter Text

That night, Jack pulled an atlas from his bookshelf. He poured himself a whiskey – not nearly as fine as hers – and opened it to Victoria. He turned from page, to page, to page, plotting distances with his fingers.

The next day, at the office, he sat restless at his desk. He shuffled folders, drummed his feet, and frowned. Finally, with a sigh, he flipped a sheet of notepaper, scrawled with fragmentary details from his phone calls, to its unmarked side. He started writing.

see chapter two for text version

Jack chased down the name of Singapore’s most aristocratic hotel, and addressed the letter accordingly. The post was by ship, but she wouldn’t make good time across the East Indies and it just might reach her.

Two weeks later, he received a telegram.

SAW FATHER OFF, BOOKED PASSAGE HOME ON RMS ORION, ARRIVING OCTOBER 14. DO URGE MR. AND MRS. COLLINS TO STAY ON AT WARDLOW. AND KNOW YOU’RE ALWAYS WELCOME FOR A VISIT. I CAN'T REFUSE YOU ANYTHING.
      THE HONOURABLE MISS PHRYNE FISHER


On the appointed date (and he’d verified the liner’s progress nearly every day), Jack donned his coat and hat and straightened a particularly daring tie. He checked for mail by habit as he crossed his threshold, and dizzied when he found a letter waiting. She'd known his address all along, the minx.

see chapter two for text version

Jack locked the door and headed for the pier – and if he drove rather faster than his custom, one could surely pardon the infraction.

Chapter Text

That night, Jack pulled an atlas from his bookshelf. He poured himself a whiskey – not nearly as fine as hers – and opened it to Victoria. He turned from page, to page, to page, plotting distances with his fingers.

The next day, at the office, he sat restless at his desk. He shuffled folders, drummed his feet, and frowned. Finally, with a sigh, he flipped a sheet of notepaper, scrawled with fragmentary details from his phone calls, to its unmarked side. He started writing.

SEPTEMBER 1929
Phryne — if I may —
Spring — even at City South the birds sing outside my window of a morning. I think of you perched upon my desk in your plumage, serenading me with wit and insight. It seems you drive me to distraction equally by your presence and your absence. If you were here, I wouldn't kiss you — I'd ply you with the casefile from this latest murder.
I might kiss you again at a more befitting hour — if you'd have me.
I am not and will never be an aeroplane, so it is in these meagre words only that I come after you. I'm sure you know that I do nothing but, and have done for some time. I don't fly, adventure, caper, or carouse, but you must see me follow as you hurtle forward. If you look intently (aspire, perhaps, to a more telescopic condition), you'll find that I'm not still at all, but have been expanding all this while. So patient you are with my astronomic pace. Be a bit less patient waiting for me now — I entreat you. I wish not to pursue you (and certainly not to catch you) but to meet you at a crossroads I can muster the momentum and the will.
Make me worry, always — I expect nothing less. You are mistress of the sky today, but I feel as if I've already travelled to the stars. Come back to me, Phryne Fisher.
Yours,
JACK

Jack chased down the name of Singapore’s most aristocratic hotel, and addressed the letter accordingly. The post was by ship, but she wouldn’t make good time across the East Indies and it just might reach her.

Two weeks later, he received a telegram.

SAW FATHER OFF, BOOKED PASSAGE HOME ON RMS ORION, ARRIVING OCTOBER 14. DO URGE MR. AND MRS. COLLINS TO STAY ON AT WARDLOW. AND KNOW YOU’RE ALWAYS WELCOME FOR A VISIT. I CAN'T REFUSE YOU ANYTHING.
      THE HONOURABLE MISS PHRYNE FISHER


On the appointed date (and he’d verified the liner’s progress nearly every day), Jack donned his coat and hat and straightened a particularly daring tie. He checked for mail by habit as he crossed his threshold, and dizzied when he found a letter waiting. She'd known his address all along, the minx.

Jack,
You exasperating man — of course you may. I have vowed to discover every way to wring my name from you, although those that don't require separate continents would be preferable. How delighted I am, though, to find you less taciturn by the pen. I thought of you as I was flying — oh such sights! Turquoise reefs and verdant jungles, Sydney graceful from the air and Port Moresby barely a British toehold in the tropics. But my favourite views were upwards, during the night crossings over open ocean — the heavens domed above me like a glittering crown. I could learn to be a telescope under skies like these.
Still, this fortnight gave me my fill of piloting — the Indonesian traverse was not an easy journey, a quality shared by my company. Quite certain I could have gotten away with murder, outside of your jurisdiction, but I thought it better to deliver my father to a less rugged means of transport. You didn't believe I was serious about flying him to England? — you should know by now that I'm never serious if I can help it. For you though, my grave gentleman, I might try it on occasion.
Besides, I dream of other means of flying — you may be earthbound, Jack, but you make me giddy as a swallow on the wing. As for your kisses – I've wanted nothing more than to have you, and unmistakably so. I'm firmly resolved that you shall kiss me again — you might even call it an impatience. Try to be a little like an aeroplane and make haste.
Always,
Phryne

Jack locked the door and headed for the pier – and if he drove rather faster than his custom, one could surely pardon the infraction.