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An Unfortunate Oversight

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George Sutherland was a man accustomed to dealing with violent men of every kind.  Or so he thought.  Looking at the angry man standing just inside Jessica’s Manhattan apartment, he was quite sure he’d never dealt with this type before.

An overprotective older brother.  A very upset overprotective older brother.

“Just who the hell are you?  And what are you doing with my sister?”

Jessica rolled her eyes.  “If he has to tell you that, Marshall, I’m afraid something’s wrong with you.”  She tightened the sash of her robe.

George looked at her with a smirk.  “Mouthing off at him at this point probably isn’t very smart, Lass.”

“Well for Heaven’s sake!”  Jessica huffed.  “He’s acting as though I’m a young girl caught with a boy for the first time!”

“Well, you are his baby sister, Jessie.  He doesn’t know me, and from his reaction, didn’t even know you were involved with someone.”

Jessica looked up at George with a half grin.  “Umm, I might have forgot to mention that to him the last few times we’ve talked.”

“Jessie,” George scolded playfully.  “I don’t think you forgot.”

“Would you two stop this!”  Marshall shouted and shook his head.  “You two are standing there flirting in nothing but your robes after I’ve interrupted…” he stopped and shook his head.  “Jess, I want to talk to this man alone.”

“Oh come on, Marshall.  I’m not a child anymore.  I’m a grown woman!”

“Maybe it’s best to let us talk, Jessie.”  George smiled as he reached out to squeeze her hand.

Jessica bit her lip as she looked first at George then at her brother.  “I’ll go shower.”

George caressed her cheek when she passed by, then turned his attention to her irate brother.  “Now that she’s no longer here, I’ll be blunt.  You have no right acting as you are.  Your sister is a grown woman, as she stated earlier.  She’s fully capable of making her own decisions and that includes who she sees.”

“Does that include who she takes to her bed?”  Marshall growled as he sat heavily in a nearby chair.

“Yes, it does.”

“What kind of man are you?  Sleeping with my sister without marrying her.  Do you know what that will do to her reputation if anyone finds out?”

“This isn’t the years you grew up in, Mr. MacGill.  It wouldn’t matter to most people if Jessica were living with me without being married.”

“You’re as old as I am, man.  You grew up with the same morals I did.  And if you think that people wouldn’t think anything about it if they learned about my sister sharing her bed with you, you’re mistaken.  People have a certain perception of my sister, a perception which does not include her sleeping around.”

“She isn’t sleeping around!  I’m the only man your sister has been with since her Frank passed.”

“What are your intentions?  To just continue sleeping with her?  Take advantage of her?”

“I’m not taking advantage of Jessica.  No one takes advantage of your sister.  I should think you would know that.  She’s much too smart a woman for that.”

“So why haven’t you married her?”

George sighed.  He wasn’t getting anywhere with this man.  Jessica had told him once about how overly protective her brothers were, but now facing one, he was sure she’d understated the fact.

“Stop it, Marshall!”  Jessica hissed as she came into the room, her wet hair wrapped in a towel.  “This is completely ludicrous!  You act as if we’re still in the fifties!  It’s nothing for a man and woman to be involved and not get married.”

“But Jessica!  Your reputation!  Think of the scandal if this gets out.”  Marshall reasoned.

Jessica sighed and flopped down on the sofa.  “This is beyond ridiculous, Marshall.  My reputation be damned.”

George blinked and stared wide eyed at the woman sitting on the sofa, clearly agitated.  “Jessie!  I’ve never heard you curse before!”

Jessica shrugged as she looked at him.  “I do on occasion use a word or two.  Although I wouldn’t necessarily call what I just said swearing.”  She sighed and turned her attention back to her brother.  “Marshall, George is actually, Chief Inspector George Sutherland with New Scotland Yard.  We see each other only occasionally, and mostly in England.  The few times he manages to come to the states, are so few and far between, people would have to stop blinking to catch us.  He loves me, Marshall. More than I deserve, really.”

“Jessie,” George whispered as he moved behind her, squeezing her shoulder.

“It’s true,” she insisted as she looked up at him.  “You’ve told me how you feel about me.  Told me that you wish to marry me.”

“Then I don’t understand.”  Marshall interjected.

Jessica looked back to her brother.  “It’s my decision not to marry, to have this type of relationship instead.  Not George’s.  He would like nothing more than to marry me, but I won’t leave my home.  So, because he loves me, he settles for our stolen time together.”

“I assure you, my intentions are honorable.  I would never do anything to harm Jessie’s reputation.  Although I don’t believe it would.”  George chuckled.  “We are quite the talk about Cabot Cove, but nothing more than gossip since Seth Hazzlit is the only person there that is privy to what our relationship really is and he’s far too protective of Jessie to ever tell anyone the truth.”

Marshall shook his head.  “I don’t understand you, Jessie.  You were so,” he shrugged at a loss for the word he was looking for.  “with Frank.  And now with this man you’re,” again he stopped and shook his head. 

“As I stated earlier.  I’m a grown woman.  I was a girl with Frank.  And back then, it wasn’t as readily accepted to sleep together before getting married.  Not that I wanted to, or that Frank wanted me to.  But I’m older now, times are different, and this is all I can give of myself to George.  I love him too much to just let him go, although I think it would be easier on him if I did.”

Marshall stood up and walked to the door.  “I’ll be in town for a week, Jessie.  Call me when you have time.”

Jessica sighed, “I will.”

George waited for the door to close before moving to sit beside Jessica.  “Jessie, look at me.”

Jessica, her eyes grey with sadness, looked at her lover.  “He isn’t ever going to really understand.  I’m afraid I’ve ruined his image of me.”

George caught a tear with his thumb.  “Jessie, what you said,” he started, choosing to wait to discuss her brother.  “It wouldn’t be easier.  It’s true that I would love nothing more than to make you my wife, but if I can’t, I’ll take all the stolen moments I can get.  Not having you in my life would be unbearably painful.”

Jessica felt more tears roll down her cheeks.  “Oh George,” she whispered as she moved to sit across his lap.

George snuggled her close, then pushed her back and pulled the towel from her head.  Combing his fingers gently through her damp hair, he nodded, satisfied that he’d fixed it sufficiently then settled her back against him.  Tucking her head under his chin, he whispered, “That’s better.”

“I’d forgotten my hair was in a towel,” she murmured as she grabbed his hand, entwining her fingers with his.



“Yes, Jessie.”

“He really isn’t that bad.”

“I know that, Jessie.  He’s just worried about his little sister.  We older brothers tend to do that, much to our sisters’ dismay.”

“You have a sister?”

“Had one, yes.  She passed away some years back.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Thank you.”  He pressed a kiss to her head.  “Marshall will come around, Jessie.  Just give him some time to adjust to a side of you he isn’t used to.”

“I don’t understand why.  He knows I’m not the same woman I was.  He knows the things I’ve seen, the cases I’ve helped with.  How I always seem to be right in the middle of things.”

“You wouldn’t be my Jessie if you weren’t right in the middle of things.”

Jessica leaned back and looked up at him.  “Oh George.  I do love you.”  She reached up and caressed his cheek.

Turning his face and pressing a kiss into the palm of her hand, he lifted his hand to cover hers.  “I know, Lass.”

Jessica closed her eyes as his lips touched hers, moaning as he pressed her body against his.  Her fingers tangled in his hair as she gasped for breath when the kiss moved to her neck, pausing over a particularly sensitive spot.  “George,” she panted.

Pulling away, George looked down at her.  “Yes, Lass?”

“Take me to bed.”

“Gladly,” he agreed as he stood with her in his arms, making his way easily to her bedroom.  “I think we’re going to miss our lunch reservations.”

Jessica chuckled.  “I didn’t make any.”

Laying her gently on the bed, George stood looking down at her.  “Oh really?” he asked, an eyebrow arched.  “Someone was intending to be naughty all day, then?”

“Naughty?” she laughed.  “I suppose so.”  Sitting up on her knees, she reached for the belt of his robe as he reached for the sash of hers.  “I didn’t want to waste one minute on dealing with the outside world.  Of course, in my delight over spending these two days with you, there was an unfortunate oversight.”

“Which was?”

“Marshall coming over for breakfast this morning,” she groaned and George laughed.

“So he didn’t just show up out of the blue, as you would say.”

“No.  I knew he was going to be here today.”  She pushed his robe to the floor as hers was tossed aside.  “Of course, knowing that I would be seeing the dashing Inspector muddied my thought processes.  So, this little incident is entirely your fault.”

Pushing her onto her back, George laid over her, staring down into her darkening blue eyes.  “Oh it was, was it?  Well then…let me muddy your thought processes some more.”