Jack was kneeling on one knee though he was in his newest tux, helping his hostess’s grandson with his new browning camera. The little boy took his picture and then jumping up and down, he raced over to his mother who was standing by Phryne. Jack chuckled and followed him.
“Thank you, Inspector, that was very kind of you. Orry is so excited.”
Jack nodded and smiled, then he tousled the little boy’s curls and replied, “I was happy to help him. He is a good lad and I like that he is so curious and full of adventure.”
“So, do I, good job in raising Elma,” said Phryne with a wink.
“Thank you for the compliment Phryne, but I assure you it comes naturally.”
The music changed to a waltz, and Jack took Phryne’s hand lifted it his mouth for a gentle kiss and said, “My Dance, I believe Miss Fisher.”
“As always, Jack. Excuse us, Elma.”
“Of course, dears, come along Orry.”
Jack led Phryne to the Dance floor and suddenly no one was in the room except the two of them.
Prudence Stanley was standing with Count Marley enjoying the dance but thinking of the auction. Two more dances and then she and her niece would have to see to all of the arrangements. The Count was charming and he was flirting with her, but she felt she was too old for such nonsense and politely excused herself. He looked disappointed but he let her go.
“Awww, Mrs. S. He liked you. I could tell,” said Bert with a smile.
“Mr. Johnson, I don’t know what you’re talking about the Count, he was perfectly polite.”
“Then why did he scamper? He is a nice bloke. He is the real thing but he treats us workers right. You could do worse…”
“Bert…please.” She was blushing furiously so Bert took pity on her and nodded.
A very well dressed, arrogant looking man of short stature came up to them and asked, “Why does your niece insist on bringing that Civil Servant to your gatherings? You should stop her Mrs. Stanley.”
Both Aunt P. and Bert were offended by the little man’s words and with his attitude.
“He is a good bloke. And he has his heart in the right place.” Bert said with angry twist of his cig, he and Jack had come a long way and he was now part of the Wardlow Family as far as Bert was concerned. He was not going to let the little pip squeak get away with this.
“He is a lowly policeman hardly the proper escort for a member the British Aristocracy.”
“Lord Peterson, my niece is an independent woman, she makes her own choices. I also agree with Mr. Johnson; Detective Inspector Robinson is a fine man. He is also respectful, polite and an asset not only to Phryne but to me as well, and he is quite helpful at these affairs. Please refrain from talking about him in that fashion.” At first Aunt P. felt that they were not a good match but as time had gone by and she had gotten to know him, she realized he is not only a perfect match for her niece, but a wonderful and much needed addition to their family.
“Well I am going to rescue her…”
Bert and Aunt P. exchanged worried looks.
Jack and Phryne were enjoying their waltz, just the two of them floating on air. Suddenly it felt like a child was poking him with a stick in the middle of his back. Annoyed, he was ready to tell off the little rascal when he saw an arrogant grown man. He was what Jack could only call vertically challenged. Jack slid his arm protectively around Phryne’s waist and she slid her arm around his bicep, recognizing the little man she shuddered. Phryne and Jack’s eyes exchanged lighting quick signals, and Jack saw she wanted nothing to do with this man.
“Yes?” Jack asked with his best Inspector voice, melting Phryne on the spot, she wanted to kick the mean arrogant man in the teeth and pull Jack into a secluded corner.
“It’s our dance.”
“I beg your pardon?” Phryne said surprised, she shook her head and replied, “I reserved this dance for my current partner, Lord Peterson. If you will excuse us.”
“Then the next dance?” He was determined to rescue this foolish woman.
Phryne sighed, there was no polite way to wiggle out of this. Lord Peterson, though a stupid, insipid and cruel man had practically paid for the wing to the new school Aunt P. was raising money for. She met Jack’s eyes, he was full of love and understanding as he gave a barely noticeable nod. “Fine, after we are finished our dance, I will dance the next with you.” She was barely polite but she couldn’t care less. Infernal little snit.
Lord Peterson’s face was triumphant and he nodded. He walked back to where Aunt P was with Bert and now Cec had come by to talk to them. “I have invoked a rescue. Never fear, I will save her from the clutches of the lower classes.”
“I wasn’t afraid,” said Aunt P. “And my niece is the last person who needs rescue from anything.”
“Yep, Miss Fisher can handle anything.” Said Cec with smile, when he was given a withering glance, he excused himself to look for his wife. Bert said, “Sorry Mrs. I promised I would help back stage, if you need Cec and I just yell.”
“Thank you, Mr. Johnson.” Her tone was stuffy but her expression was sweet and quite grateful. Bert nodded at her, smiled and took a puff of his cigarette and blew the smoke right into the rude man’s face and then joined his mate backstage.
“Why do you allow all these low-class scoundrels into your events.”
“They are not scoundrels, they are good men and hard workers who volunteer.”
Lord Peterson’s sniffed and said, “Ahhh, I see they are from the bottom of your barrel. Excuse me, my dance.” He strode away.
“They are not, and I hope Phryne has her dagger…”
“I heard that,” said Mac with smile.
“Well I do.”
At the end of their waltz Jack escorted Phryne off the dance floor. “I could break my leg.”
“Isn’t that a bit excessive, Love?” Jack said with wicked smile as he caressed her bare back, “I could trip him though?”
“He is so short, it wouldn’t even ruffle his tiny tux…”
“It’s not that he’s short though, is it?”
“No, it’s just that he is such an arrogant little snob, Jack and I can not stand…Lord Peterson right on time” Her bright forced smile lit her face, Jack actually felt it himself, but the snob did not.
“Shall we.” Phryne nodded, and offered her arm, which he took and led her onto the dance floor.
“At least it ain’t a Waltz, Mate.” Bert said softly with a friendly smile.
“If it was, she would not have accepted this dance, even for the charity.”
“This is a rescue, Phryne.”
“From what exactly?”
“Your Civil Servant.”
Phryne’s eyes narrowed, “I beg your pardon?”
Lord Peterson shrugged, “I felt that it was below you as a member of the British Aristocracy to dance with a mere policeman.”
“Jack is not a mere anything. He is the best man I know. Present company included.”
“Tosh. I will escort you the charity do and then home. You don’t even need to speak to him again…”
“Who exactly are you to tell me who I am allowed to be with? The only person here who would be expected to put in an opinion is my Aunt and she knows better. Besides she knows what a good man Jack is, now if you will excuse me…”
“I won’t actually you are creating a black mark for the throne…”
Phryne had stopped dancing and she was trying to pull away. But Lord Peterson was pulling her back by tugging her arm. When he started to pull her hair, Phryne kneed him in the groin. “Rescue me indeed!”
When she turned around like force of war there was Jack, his expression was black and there was fire in his eyes. She took his hand, entwine their fingers, “Come on Jack, let’s go help back stage with the charity.”
“Happily, Miss Fisher, who is going to take care of the trash?”
“I have no idea and I couldn’t care less.”
The little man was rolling around on the floor holding his groin crying, Phryne got him with her heel.
“Should we help the bloke, Bert?”
“Nah Mate, fellows who try to rescue independent modern women get exactly what they deserve.”