“Your real name is Nell?”
Lola’s head whipped up, The Major insisted on seeing her home to her flat. She blinked at him and asked, “How did you know that?”
“Dotty called you Nell a few times and you answered it. I simply added one plus one.”
Lola grimaced and replied, “You’re good at arithmetic.”
Rupert tilted his head and smiled, “Only my Mother calls me Rupert, my real name that my buddies call me is Alex, from my middle name, Alexander. I use it professionally because it is very military…”
Lola laughed, “Military? Rupert?”
“Well then professional.” He was glad he got her to smile instead of frown, he was falling very much in love with her, and he wanted her to be happy.
“I like Alex, may I call you that?”
He nodded, he was looking down toward his shoes as he asked quietly, “May I call you Nell?”
“I like it and its your private name, it means its only for family.”
“But you’re not my family…”
“I’d like to be…”
He looked up at her now with an utterly charming smile, “that was a bit hard to follow.”
“Yes, well I am flustered…do you mean what I think you mean?”
“I hope so.”
“Alex, are you asking me to marry you?”
“Yes.” His reply was quiet, his eyes glittered with hope.
“So, I think we have it all straight between the Military and the Victorian Police Force,” Said Jack, the next morning to Major Wagner in his office.
“General Fitzroy is very pleased, Sir. I think it has all worked out very well. You’ll have the two conspirators who committed the murder. Miss Flowers and Mr. Potts will be in Victorian Jail awaiting a civil trial and Madame Glodal who was the Owner of Madame Violette's and other smugglers who will be our guests.”
Jack smirked, “Interesting names, isn’t it?”
Major Wagner chuckled, “It is. But then who would think all this would come about from an exclusive women’s hat shop.”
Jack’s smile grew wider, “My wife.”
“Yes, she is a remarkable woman, you are a very lucky man.”
“Very! Um....she thinks you have become rather lucky lately yourself.”
“Phryne is very intuitive, and she sees something between you and Lola, is she correct?”
Rupert Wagner blushed a deep red, and looked down, he played with the rim of his hat and he muttered. “She is very astute…yes, there is…we…well we are….”
“You’re in love?”
The Major nodded, “very much so, in fact I proposed last night…and she…she accepted.”
Jack stood up and came around his desk and shook hands with him, “Congratulations. That’s wonderful, may I tell Phryne?”
The Major smiled at Jack’s discretion, “Yes, of course…may I call you Jack?”
“I prefer it actually; may I call you Rupert?”
“I prefer my middle name, Alex please.”
“Alex. Congratulations, I am so happy for you both.”
The Major smiled and blushed asking, “May I ask you a question?”
“You are about my age, was it difficult to adjust from bachelor to a married man?”
Jack laughed, and said, “Mine is a more…twisting path, I am afraid. I was a married man before, and then after I was free to fall in love, I chose an Intelligent, independent and very modern woman. There were many adjustments and we didn’t marry at first, we lived together. She was terrified of marriage, of love, she had been…well there were some nightmares in her past. And the war really destroyed my life, so that was my nightmare that I had to overcome. Really, we both had a lot to overcome. We became friends first, then lovers and then we were partners in both love and work. Jane was Phryne’s ward, and she’s our daughter in every way as far as we are concerned and then Ivy was a foundling, that we both fell head over heels in love with. We married so we could keep both of them, but also because it was time, we were both ready.” Then Jack smiled and shrugged.
The other man stared at Jack, he really never expected him to open up like that. He was touched and impressed. “Was Phryne very experienced with other men?”
“Very, and until we committed to each other continually. I actually had no problem with her past, not at all. It was her present that caused me heartache. I had to grow up a lot to accept her as she was, once I did, after a lot of ups and downs, it worked out beautifully. Believe me though, I set it all aside because all I truly wanted was to be with her as long as she wanted me.”
“And how long is that?”
“I am very lucky, she wants to grow old with me. She is still Phryne Fisher, she will still be a detective, and take off after adventures but she is committed to me and our family, so she balances things just as I do. A good marriage, like believe ours is, would be best described as a balancing act. A lot of give and take, but believe me Alex, it is worth it, if you found the right woman. I am so happy that I did, we are right for each other. “
“So, you don’t worry any more about the danger she gets into and other men?”
“Other men, no not at all. We have an understanding, if she ever meets someone else she will be honest and just tell me. I expected it to happen after the first year, but we have been together for many years, almost ten and she still loves me.” He had the sweetest, most loving expression for few moments. “Danger, I am always worried about that. She will always go head first into danger and it’s my job to be by her side or to head her off. That is a forever challenge that I have accepted. I cherish her.”
“Hmmm, you are something else, Jack Robinson.”
“I am a man in love.”
The other man just nodded his head and his expression very thoughtful.
Ivy was brushing her hair, it was new task that she was allowed to do by herself. She was not allowed to do anything with it yet because her first attempt ended with glue in her hair. She thought it was the best way to pile it on top of her head as she saw in her Aunt Dotty’s magazines.
Jane came to the door and smiled, her tiny sister was growing up. Dressing herself, brushing her hair, doing her own bath. She is slowly becoming an independent young girl; which Jane knew would be good for her as she grew into a young woman.
“You look lovely.”
“Mummy and Daddy will not let me do anything but brush it and wash it. I want to put it up like a lady…”
“Well Darling, the last time you tried you had that brilliant idea of yours and you had to have your hair cut. Daddy was sad to see all your curls go away.”
“I know, it still has some, but not like before…I just want to look pretty for your party.
Jane shook her head, sat next to her on the bed, and gently cupped her cheek. You are pretty. You don’t have to do a thing. And we all think your beautiful, so to us your perfect. Who do you want to look pretty for?”
Ivy tilted her head, she looked like Jack when she did that and made Jane smile.
“You looked just like Dad.”
“I wish, he has such lovely eyes…”
“So do you, my Darling,” said her mother from the doorway. "You have eyes very much the shape of your fathers. And Jane is right, you are very beautiful.”
“Thank you, Mummy, so are you.”
“She is indeed.” Said a well-loved voice from behind her. Phryne turned slightly and smiled at Jack, he took her hand kissed in the center of soft palm.
“Ok, my lovelies, we have two celebrations downstairs.
Aunt Prudence was sitting with Jack’s Sister and her husband. Bert and Cec were chatting with Jane and Freddy. Jack’s parents were talking intensely with Major Wagner and Lola. Dot and Hugh were talking to Mac and Mr. Butler, everyone had eaten a hearty a meal and family were all relieved that the murders and traitors were caught and in prison.
The children were playing happily by the piano, it was the safest place not to be stepped on, Ivy, Daphne and Celly were under it. And Robby and Jackie were on the bench. The boys were teenagers now and the Major fascinated them, but he was so interested in Aunt Lola they could not get a chance to ask him any war questions. So, Robby was tackling his newest piece of music. It was the song Hurray Home, it made Jack stiffen.
“Robby would mind playing something else? It has been a tough week.”
“What Uncle Jack?”
“Hmm, move over a bit.” He sat down, rubbed his fingers and began to play a favorite of his and Phryne’s”
“Hmm, I love Cole Porter, Jack.” Said Phryne leaning on the piano, careful not to step on the girls under it.
“I know, so do I.”
“What’s it called Uncle Jack?” Asked Robbie, swaying to lilting music.
“”Begin the Beguine,” Artie Shaw has a very popular version of it right now.”
Ivy crawled out from under the piano, followed by Daphne and Celly, they began dancing around the room to music. All the adults smiled at their antics. The boys joined it and the kids had their own little dance party.
Phryne sat down next to Jack and asked, “How about our song?”
“And which song is that?”
Phryne smirked and nudged his shoulder, “You know.”
Jack laughed and smoothly transitioned into the opening of “Let’s Misbehave.”
Phryne smiled and began to sing and at the exact point as their first time singing the song together, Jack joined her;
We're all alone
Can get our number
The world's in slumber
There's something wild
About you, child
That's so contagious
Let's be outrageous
When Adam won Eve's hand
He wouldn't stand
He didn't care about
Those apples out of season!
They say the Spring
Means just one thing
To little lovebirds;
We're not above birds
Jack played the last bars of the melody, then put his arms around the love of his life and whispered, “I so wanted to kiss you then, passionately.”
“Well you can now, as much as you like to,” she said laughing , he pulled her closer and kissed her passionately. When they ran out air, he smiled at her, rubbed noses with her and whispered;
“I love you Miss Phryne Fisher.”
“I love you too, Detective Chief Inspector Jack Robinson.”