September 6th 1947
St Mary Magdalene was a large church, even by Sussex standards. Dating back to before the Norman Conquest, the nave was the former parish church and what is now the chancel was the Nun's church. The nave dated from around 1040 and was the most striking feature; it was tall, narrow and dramatic. The current incumbent, Sam's father, was happy to point out the Early English lancets, the circular sexfoil windows, said to date from 1260 and the original Saxon door which was no longer used and had been blocked off, to anyone who lingered long enough to listen. Later indications of Norman influences were also highlighted, as were the 15th Century additions and replacements right down the ages to the Victorians installing the large south lancet window. Iain Stewart was proud of the history of the church and it showed.
As his daughter's nuptials were to be the second wedding service of the day, Iain Stewart did not need to return to the Vicarage for any other reason than a cup of tea and a biscuit, both of which held great appeal at this moment. He looked at his watch; ten o'clock, plenty of time for tea. Presumably, his wife and daughter were in the last minute throws of calm preparation. Or possibly not, but that was his wife's area of expertise.
With an hour still to go, there were no guests milling around yet, so Iain Stewart was surprised to see Christopher Foyle strolling up the lane to the church. They met and exchanged pleasantries.
"You're a little early, I'm afraid."
"No matter. The weather is so clement that I thought I'd come over early and have a look around. I'm meeting Andrew and his fiancee here at ten forty-five, so no-one will miss me at the pub. Paul and Edith Milner are coming up with them, so they'll also be brought straight here."
"Lovely. It will be nice to meet them again. Samantha tells me they keep in touch from time to time. Didn't they have a child? A daughter, I believe?"
"Yes, Clementine. She'll be two and a half in November."
How could he forget her arrival? Or Sam's hurt expression when she had thought that he 'never needed her' after he drove the Milner's to the hospital?
Ah, Sam, my dear Sam. You were – and are - always needed.
Foyle looked at his watch. Reverend Stewart reconsidered his desire for tea over the thought of facing the busy womenfolk likely to be buzzing around the Vicarage. His wife's two sisters were also there. Aubrey too, of course, as he had been delighted to be asked to give Samantha away as her father couldn't be in two places at once.
The Vicar's footsteps halted.
He rather suspected that he'd be in the way over at the Vicarage. Best not to risk it.
"I have a kettle and the makings for tea in my church office, if you would care for a cup?"
"That would be splendid, thank you."
The vestibule of the church was warm and close. It smelled of beeswax and old paper and gave Foyle a sense of great age and sober reflection. He wondered just how many men had waited here for their brides; how many had gone on to have satisfying lives, and how many had been left devastated or, conversely, relieved by the failure of the bride to appear.
The two men were still there talking when Andrew and Paul came looking for them some time later. Foyle greeted them with pleasure, and they all shook hands.
"You made good time, glad you could make it. How are the ladies?"
"Edith is outside with Clementine. Edith prefers the fresh air at the moment, and Clemmie simply loves to run."
Andrew was also smiling.
"Emma's outside talking to Edith. Assorted wedding talk from what I overheard. I left them to it."
Iain Stewart's dry observation left them all amused as they made their way out into the body of the church. Guests were beginning to file into the pews, directed to the Bride or the Groom's side by one of the ushers. The generally hushed hubbub quietened further when the vicar appeared, but returned to its previous level when it was clear that the vicar wasn't about to start the service.
Rationing was still governing the availability of clothing, but it was obvious that everyone was in their Sunday best, and had made every effort to look as smart as possible.
Andrew had brought a camera with him, a Kodak Brownie Reflex that he was entrusting to Paul Milner for the duration of the service. The two men had their heads together, going over how the camera worked so that there would be 'casual' pictures to remember the day as well as the official ones. Emma leaned over to Edith and whispered conspiratorially.
"They do so love their toys, mmm?"
Edith smiled and nodded. Clemmie was kneeling on the pew and faced backwards in order to look at the people seated behind her. Her curiosity was lively, but the couple didn't seem to mind.
Christopher Foyle felt both involved and removed as he waited at the front pew for his last few moments as a single man and a widower to tick away. He felt involved when a few of the guests caught his eye and smiled while they too waited, but he also felt remote and insulated from everything, as if there was a fine bubble between him and the rest of the world. He felt calm, though not entirely relaxed. He wouldn't relax until knew for sure that Sam had arrived. He glanced at his watch. Two minutes. Reverend Stewart took his place and smiled benevolently at the congregation. Foyle realised he'd better get Andrew's attention.
Andrew was also keeping an eye on the time so he was ready for his father's raised eyebrow summons when it came. He joined his father at the first pew and the two men looked each other over.
"Have you got the rings?"
Andrew patted his pockets.
"Um, I think so."
His son grinned as he produced the matched wedding rings.
"Have some faith Dad, after all, this is the place for it."
"Very amusing, I'm sure. I'll remind you of this later."
Andrew gave him a wide smile. It was a 'man to man' smile, not in the least the kind a son gives his father.
"I rather suspect you'll be busy later."
He was spared his startled father's response to that little gem by the sudden cessation of the organ music that had been playing in the background.
Following a brief anticipatory hush, the organ burst into The Prince of Denmark's Arrival, perhaps better known by most as The Trumpet Voluntary. Sam's choice of music was writ large upon the service and Foyle was glad it was so; Wagner's Bridal Chorus was forever ruined for him; it was invariably corrupted in his head to 'Here comes the bride, all fat and wide' and that didn't fill him with the appropriate mood of joyful solemnity that he felt should set the tone of a wedding.
Moments later all thoughts of musical appreciation were wiped from Foyle's mind when he first caught sight of Sam.
Time seemed to stand still; the breath held in his throat. A wave of tenderness swept through him and he felt very moved. He made a mental vow to remind himself of this moment and this feeling as often as he could.
Sam – Samantha - was exquisite.
Afterward Foyle would admit – although only to himself - that he couldn't recall any details of the dress that Sam wore as she drifted gracefully towards him on the arm of her uncle Aubrey. The photographs would later do justice to the nip-waisted oyster silk, but all he could think was that Sam looked a vision of loveliness. The veil was not full, nor was it thick enough to obscure her features; he could see her smile and her beautiful dark eyes. His own lips curved unconsciously in welcome and Sam admitted later that she lost any last vestige of nerves at that moment, leaving her relaxed enough to fully engage in the service.
Reverend Stewart had conducted a large number of weddings during his vocation, and although all had held significance for him, this was the most important one he would ever conduct. Although he had to sacrifice the pleasure of accompanying Samantha up the aisle, it was worth it to be able to see her arrival. Her luminous joy and her serenity in the company of the man she loved was obvious to everyone, especially after her veil was lifted with the help of her bridesmaid.
Full in his heart, he was utterly sincere when he began the service...
"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the presence of these witnesses to join together this man, Christopher Foyle and this woman, Samantha Jane Stewart in Holy Matrimony, which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocence signifying to us the mystical union which is between Christ and His Church..."
It seemed only moments later to Sam that her father turned to Christopher and asked the question that she had heard so many a time as a child. Never before had it felt so full of significance.
"Do you, Christopher, take Samantha Jane to be your wedded wife, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy state of matrimony; will you love her, honour her and keep her, in sickness and in health, and, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her, so long as you both shall live?"
Foyle was looking at Sam. He could see the love in her eyes as she, bold and charming as ever, stared straight back.
Sam didn't take her gaze from her soon-to-be husband, even when her father turned towards her.
"Do you, Samantha Jane, take Christopher to be your wedded husband, to live together after God's ordinance in the holy state of matrimony: will you love him, honour him, and keep him, in sickness and in health, and forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him, so long as you both shall live?"
She didn't hesitate.
Andrew stepped forward with the two gold bands and placed them in the centre of Reverend Stewart's bible.
The vicar faced the couple.
"Heavenly Father, by your blessing let these rings be to Samantha and Christopher a symbol of unending love and faithfulness to remind them of the vow and the covenant which they have made this day: through Jesus Christ our Lord."
A strong 'Amen' came from the congregation.
Foyle took the smaller of the two rings from the bible and place the ring on Sam's fourth finger. He held it in place as he repeated after Reverend Stewart.
"Samantha Jane, I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honour you, all that I am I give to you, and all that I have I share with you, within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
Sam took the remaining ring and slid it onto the fourth finger of Foyle's left hand. She held it in place as she followed her father's lead.
"Christopher, I give you this ring as a sign of our marriage. With my body I honour you..."
She involuntarily shivered with anticipation and hoped her groom didn't think that it was nerves.
"...all that I am I give to you..."
As soon as decently possible, please!
"...and all that I have I share with you. Within the love of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit."
Sam couldn't help the relieved grin she gave Foyle. He smiled back with understanding.
Reverend Iain Stewart addressed the congregation.
"In the presence of God, and before this congregation, Samantha and Christopher have given their consent and made their vows to each other. They have declared their marriage by the joining of hands and by the giving and receiving of rings. I therefore proclaim that they are husband and wife."
He joined Sam and Foyle's right hands together.
"Those whom God has joined together let no man put asunder."
Sam felt a sudden shift in her sense of being. It startled her, very briefly, but it was, as she described later in her diary, a very spiritual moment, almost as if 'someone' up there had patted her on the head with approval. It was bizarre but wonderfully warm.
Foyle had sensed her momentary distraction, but he was reassured by the squeeze of her hand.
Reverend Stewart was prepared for this moment of uncertainty and gently prompted his new son-in-law.
"You may kiss the bride."
"Oh yes, rather!"
The congregation chuckled at Sam's heartfelt endorsement before she was gathered into her husband's embrace, where their first kiss as man and wife was demure but tender.
At least Sam certainly hoped no-one else was aware of the heat that she could feel.
The new husband and his blushing bride turned to face their family and friends, who were smiling in approval.
Andrew shook his father's hand and gave Sam a peck on the cheek under his father's watchful eye. Reverend Stewart gave his daughter a hug and shook Foyle by the hand; there may have been a few shiny eyes, but only Sam's mother had actually cried.
Reverend Stewart guided the service gently back on track with the Blessing of the Marriage and then ushered the couple off for the registration business while the assembled congregation listened to the choir sing 'Jesu, Joy of man's desiring'.
The remainder of the service both passed without incident, and soon the newlyweds were leaving the church to the triumphant chords of Mendelssohn's Wedding March from 'A Midsummer night's Dream'. Rice and rose petals greeted the newlyweds as they emerged into the sunshine.
It was, as Sam described it later, all rather wonderful.
Present Day - September
I turned from my inspection in the long mirror and grinned at Grammas. She was looking particularly lovely in a smart dress/coat combo in a soft lilac that set her colouring off a treat. Mum was downstairs having her 'vapours' calmed by dad.
"As I'll ever be. Do you think he'll approve?"
I pulled a silly face.
Grammas rolled her eyes.
"Only if you don't look at him as if you're mad. I think he'd still love you though, even then. Poor soul is clearly besotted." She smiled and added, "You look simply divine darling, absolutely glowing."
My wedding. Never thought I'd hear those words about me.
As you probably guessed, I did sign the Banns form, albeit with a somewhat shaky hand. Mike kissed me breathless after tucking the paper safely away. He then picked me up, chest to breast style and swung me around in a full circle while I hung onto his head. Luckily he caught me in a not horribly nauseous moment, or the romance would have taken a prosaic turn with a mop and bucket.
I looked back in the mirror for a last peek.
You could call it ageless, if you picked a style from so long ago. It wasn't white, but then I wasn't a virgin. I picked the softer, more flattering oyster silk that suited my colouring better, especially now that I had my original hair colour restored. I liked the black when I had it, but it was time to move on and I was ready. More sure of myself, more able to believe in me...and the future.
I had chosen flowers for the headdress coronet and the veil, a froth of obedient net was clipped beneath it at the back so that I wouldn't have to move the flowers when I got to the church. The medieval-style dress was wide at the neck, showing off my shoulders, but had fitted sleeves to the elbow, where they widened tulip-shaped to the wrist. In a nod to practicality the front more or less fell from the bust to the floor to give junior a bit of leg room. Not too shabby if I say so myself.
I picked up the bouquet of flowers that were a grander version of the headdress, tied together with white silk ribbon. They felt solid and reassuring in my hand and smelled so fragrant.
The hotel staircase was large enough to allow people to pass me if they needed to, but most stopped and smiled as I descended. I didn't know them, but it was nice.
Once downstairs the troops rallied. Grammas and mum went off in one car, Dad and I followed in the last car, a few minutes after the rest had left. I felt calm, serene almost to the point of detachment, while I was driven to the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Lyminster. I thought of Christopher. I thought about the baby. I hoped that Sam was as happy as her diaries had intimated. I thought of Mike and what would happen if he died and I realised why Sam never remarried after...
Don't think about that. They are alive in the past, only a short trip away.
I blinked away the threatening tears so my face wouldn't be blotchy. Fracking hormones had me all over the place emotionally.
My dad took my hand.
"Are you all right? No last minute change of heart?"
"Yes, I'm fine and no, no change of heart. He's the one."
"I know. I'm just pleased that you know that."
"Sorry it took so long to find him."
"It takes as long as it takes."
I looked at him with fresh respect. He knew. No wonder he and mum had stayed together so long.
Fifteen minutes later I stood beside dad at the beginning of the aisle as the church organ jumped enthusiastically into The Trumpet Voluntary. Everyone in the church stood up and although it had been against my better judgement, Mike and Grammas had colluded together to get as many people as possible to our 'small private ceremony'. However, once I clapped eyes on Mike, everything else faded away and it was just me and him. When I reached his side Mike whispered 'You look gorgeous' under the cover of the music. Who could resist that?
The vicar smiled benevolently at his packed church and then looked at us. Mike and I had visited him only twice since the Banns went up, but he had a very winning way with him and we'd liked him from the get go.
"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here in the sight of God and in the presence of these witnesses to join together this man, Christopher Michael O'Neill and this woman, Rose Lily St Just-Carter in Holy Matrimony, which is an honourable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocence signifying to us the mystical union which is between Christ and His Church..."
Christopher Michael? He'd kept that quiet.
I glanced at him and he surreptitiously mouthed the word 'Rose?' with a lifted eyebrow.
I grinned. What's in a name?
It was, if I say so myself, all rather wonderful. Hormones or not, I felt lifted when the vicar announced to all that we were man and wife, and Mike's kiss sealed the deal. Magic.
After the rest of the service, the paperwork – real paper – and the 'caps were taken, we walked back down that aisle as so many had done before us and emerged from the cool interior of the church into sunlight and warmth and the good wishes of family and friends. And rice, which, let me tell you, gets everywhere, and when you think about its purpose, was already redundant. It's the thought that counts and I was happy enough for six people.
We walked across the grass to the reception hall holding hands and I admired my wedding ring, shiny and new; I brought Mike's hand to my lips and kissed it. He looked at me, smiled and my heart skipped a beat.
I couldn't breathe without him either.
Mike placed our luggage in the hall and came back outside for me. He was grinning as he hoisted me up into his arms and carried me over the threshold. I hung on for dear life but he was more than strong enough for me. Since the wedding yesterday he had...I don't quite know how to describe it, he just seemed more content, like he'd not really been sure I'd go through with it and now that we were married he could relax.
He lowered me to my feet and turned me in his arms.
"Hello, Mrs O'Neill."
"Hello, Mr St Just-Carter-O'Neill."
"No, but it's fun to tease."
Thank goodness he gets my sense of humour. I was happy, I felt well, and I was in the arms of a super-sexy man. What more could I want?
So I kissed him.
Mike returned it with interest and heated caresses-with-intent until I was backed against the door, his knee between mine and his hand up my skirt.
Which is why I was most put out when he stopped.
He was clearly not unaffected by the last few minutes.
"While it would be an amazing experience, as I can already attest, I'd rather not take you up against the wall, in case you do yourself a mischief. Or, indeed, I do you a mischief."
It was sweet, adorable even, but not exactly what I wanted. I cupped my hand to his cheek and he leaned into it, keeping his eyes on mine.
"I'm pregnant, not ill or made of glass. I don't want to be mollycoddled."
"Wouldn't dream of it. While I do intend to christen every room in the house making love to you, some walls may have to wait until later."
"Every room? Excellent. I look forward to that. Where and when would you like to start?"
"The master bedroom. Right now. You may have a five second head start."
His grin turned lascivious as he started unbuttoning his shirt. My mouth was suddenly dry and my fuzzy brain scrabbled to catch up.
Two more buttons popped open.
My already simmering libido kicked into a higher gear as another couple of buttons popped, revealing a tanned and pleasantly fuzzed torso.
I turned and quickly ran up the stairs, a big grin on my face. I hurtled into the bedroom and flung the covers off the bed. I heard Mike's countdown rapidly progressed to 'five' – I think he cheated but I honestly didn't care.
"...coming, ready or not!"
Oh, I sincerely hope so.
I had only managed to kick off my shoes and have my top halfway up my arms when Mike barrelled through the open doorway.
We froze for an instant, each taking the other in.
Mike's grin turned feral. He pulled his shirt off in one go – some of the buttons were still done up – and chucked it aside. Without taking his eyes off me, he shucked his trousers at the same time as he kicked off his footwear. I was still poised when he advanced on me, naked and horny.
He quickly finished removing my shirt and dropped it.
I got a quick kiss for good behaviour.
My skirt followed the top to the floor.
"...way too dressed..."
Another kiss, this time my neck.
Gods, but this was hot. He had such a way of making me feel alive and sexy and incredibly desired, even when I felt self-conscious about my baby bump, all too visible now that I was nearly naked.
Mike didn't give the impression that he found me in any way lacking.
"...for what I've been dying to do to you..."
He reached behind me, kissing the other side of my neck at the same time.
"...from the second I found you again."
My bra hit the deck.
Mike's sucked-in breath and groan told me more than words ever could.
He looked me up and down as I stood there in just my knickers and the expression on his face made me think of a starving man confronted by a table of plenty. He didn't know where to start.
I licked my dry lips and Mike's eyes went straight to my mouth.
The next second we were in each other's arms, kissing with abandon. I felt shivery but hot and Mike's skin seemed almost to singe my fingertips. His mouth burned where it touched, but it was deliciously arousing. I couldn't wait to feel that heat on my breasts.
It was a measure of how closely attuned we are, that in the moment I had that thought, Mike bent and took me in his mouth.
I clasped my arms around his shoulders as I fell against him, trying to support myself when my legs wobbled.
"Hold that thought, babe."
He walked me backwards until my legs hit the edge of the bed, and I scrabbled to get my bum on it before I fell over. I propped myself up on my elbows the better to watch Mike as he leaned over me and hooked his fingers into the sides of my knickers.
"I love these on you..."
He tugged them quickly down my legs.
"...but I love them off even better."
Mike's warm hard body slid on to the bed beside me and I turned to meet his kiss; each one melted into the next until I could barely breathe. When his lips finally released mine, he used them to tease and tantalise every inch of my skin, the caresses scorching a trail wherever they touched, leaving me aroused and begging for more.
At my hips he looked up at me with an appreciative grin.
"I have to say that the red suits you. I do believe it's made you even more feisty."
"That's titian to you, philistine."
"Well, at least the collar and cuffs match now."
I sat up and pushed Mike over on his back. He smirked.
"I love it when you're bossy."
Based on the grin, I'd guess he really didn't mind. I kissed his chest, tasting the salt on his skin, and breathed in the delicious scent of him. I ran my fingertips over his torso and down past his waist, teasing him by skirting his focus of interest and lightly scraping his thighs with my nails. He was so responsive to the light touches and his arousal twitched as if begging for attention. I loved watching him like this; it made me want him even more to see that I affected him this way.
I drew my fingers back towards me along the nearest leg. Mike's hands clenched into the sheet and he sucked in his breath in anticipation; it whooshed out again and he shuddered when I circled his balls with one finger, still avoiding the main event.
"You have no idea."
"Just remember that payback's a bitch."
"I don't have a cock."
"Exactly my point."
I pouted in mock dismay. I loved the verbal back and forth.
"Oh, very well. If you insist..."
I turned my head away from him and allowed my hair to drag along his chest. His abdomen tensed against the tickles and he laughed.
"Stop messing me abouuuw-ahh! Ohfuckthatsgood!"
I'd have agreed with him, but my mouth was too busy for words.
September 6th 1947 : Evening.
The speeches had been delivered, the food consumed, and the wedding cake cut while Andrew took some pictures. The wedding spread had been top notch with what had been available, and Sam was beyond pleased at how her mother and the church ladies had laid on such a decent spread.
She sighed happily, enjoying a brief respite from all the questions and curiosity from family and friends who hadn't seen much of her since she moved to Hastings and started working for Christopher.
Sam looked down at the gold ring on her finger and smiled a small secretive smile. Mrs Christopher Foyle. Samantha Foyle.
I wonder how quickly we could decently leave? I'm almost embarrassed about how keen I am to be alone with my husband.
"Penny for them."
Sam started in surprise, caught for a terrible moment in the thought that her Uncle Aubrey had seen inside her head.
She looked up and smiled again as she got to her feet.
"I was just thinking how well it went today. Thank you so much for giving me away. It meant a great deal to me and father."
Aubrey looked pleased as he patted her on the arm.
"Delighted to do it m'dear, thought you looked absolutely splendid. Would have married you myself if I was forty years younger...and not in the Church. Or your uncle."
Aubrey looked a little flustered and stopped speaking as he realised he was digging the hole deeper. He had obviously had a snifter or two of sherry, but Sam thought him very sweet. She turned him in the direction of the kitchen and guided him forward.
"That's a kind thought, Uncle. Have you had a chat with Cousin Nancy? She's having trouble with snails. I told her you'd be bound to be able to help. She's in the kitchen."
Like a galleon in sail, her uncle continued on his course unaided.
"Really? Snails, mmm? In the kitchen? Most odd. Is it unusually damp?"
He looked around when he received no answer, but Sam had slipped away.
Across the hall, Foyle had seen Sam expertly handle her tipsy uncle before losing herself among the people on the dance floor. He wondered – not for the first time today – how soon they could be on their way. He moved in the direction that his wife had taken, but kept being stopped and congratulated on his good fortune so often that he had only managed to move a few yards when Paul and Edith Milner caught up with him twenty minutes later. Paul had a sleeping Clementine in one arm, her face cuddled into his neck.
Foyle smiled at the picture he made. He had carried Andrew like that, more than once.
"I'm afraid so, both Clemmie and Edith need their rest. It's been a long day."
Foyle's internal radar pinged and he looked at Edith with a smile. She was blushing prettily against her pallor. She glanced at her husband before looking back to him.
"Congratulations again, Mr Foyle, we hope you and Samantha will be very happy."
He smiled and nodded.
"Thank you, I'm sure we will. I'll come out with you and we'll catch Sam on the way."
Almost as if she was looking out for them, Sam appeared just as they got to the door. Foyle was pleased to see that she had changed into her going away outfit. He slid his arm around her trim waist, comfortable at last with small public displays of his regard.
"There you are, my dear. Paul and Edith are just leaving."
"Yes, mother just told me."
They moved outside to where Andrew waited with his car. He was going to run the Milner's back to their room at the guest house where they were spending the night, and then return to the reception.
Everyone said their goodbyes and Edith reiterated their good wishes for the future, once they were settled in the car, before Andrew gave a cheery wave and pulled away.
When the noise of the car engine had faded, Sam turned to her husband. The sounds of the reception blended into the background of a late summer's evening.
"Edith is expecting again."
"I know. How did you know?'
"She told me. How did you know?"
"I'm a detective."
"I'll have to remember that."
With a smile, Foyle turned Sam to him and slipped his other arm around her. She settled into his warm embrace, feeling safe, excited, loved and blessed. She breathed in the scent of him, familiar, but new – he was hers now.
"I think this is the first moment we've been alone since we got married."
She could hear the smile in his voice. She patted his chest next to where her chin rested.
"I know; it's almost as if they don't want to give us a moment to think..."
Sam smiled; he knew her so well.
"Whereas, I've be doing nothing but think..."
She straightened up, aware that her face was tinged pink as they looked at each other. Foyle gave a small smile, just a lift to one side of his mouth, but his eyes twinkled.
"Y'know, I think it's about time we left. What do you say?"
Foyle took her by the hand and they went to find her parents.
"It'll take a while, but I should think half an hour should be enough time to say goodbye to everyone and be on our way."
"Well, then we'll have to speak quickly. Twenty minutes."
"I'll do my best."
Forty minutes later Sam conceded that her husband had a better grasp on human beings than she did. After a final farewell to her parents, the newlyweds were finally leaving in the car arranged to take them to the hotel where they were spending the rest of the weekend before leaving Monday morning for two weeks in Cornwall, England's answer to the Riviera.
Sam waved back at their guests as Foyle drove off. A mile or so up the road, he stopped the car in a lay-by and they both removed the tin cans and old boots tied to the back bumper.
Once they were both back in the car, Foyle turned to Sam.
"I have to say, you look absolutely wonderful, Mrs Foyle."
Sam's smile was wide.
"Oh, please say that again."
Foyle's tone was indulgent, but sincere.
"You look absolutely wonderful."
"No, no, the other bit."
Sam sighed happily.
"Yes, that bit. I'm so happy I'm fit to burst."
Foyle allowed a grin to escape.
"Steady on, Miss Stewart."
"Not any more."
Sam looked at Foyle with such joie de vivre that he leaned across to kiss her. She gladly met him halfway.
It was only the rude interruption of a passing car's horn that pulled them apart and reminded them where they were.
Feeling like a naughty child, Foyle cleared his throat as he attempted to regain his composure, ordering his body to settle down.
"I think we'd better get moving."
"Oh, yes please."
"Not in the least. You?"
"Not for food."
Sam didn't answer, but her smile was still wide.