“Marie … I …” said Sir John.

He looked down from the mirror and sighed.  Then he looked up again.

“Marie! I!” he said then looked down and shook his head. There was a knock at the door. He span round to face it.

“Come in!” he said with a tremulous voice. The door swung open.

“Marie? I …” said Sir John. Behind the door was a young maid.

“Sir Jennings?” said the girl. “There’s a French lady at the front door to see you.”

“Ah, that will be my wife,” said Sir John. “I hope. Show her in please.”

The maid started to leave the room when Sir John said,

“Wait! Who are you?”

“I’m Miss Henderson,” said the maid. “Mrs Flitwick, she’s my cousin’s aunt’s best friend, she said you would need some help as she had become spontaneously indisposed.”

“I see, very good,” said Sir John. “Please send in my wife. Oh … wait!”

Miss Henderson turned back into the room.

“What did you call me?” asked Sir John.

“Sir Jennings?” said the maid. “Have I got your name wrong, sir?”

“No, not at all,” said Sir John. “Welcome to my home.”

ff-ch11“Sir Jennings?”

Miss Henderson did a sort of curtsy then left. Shortly after, Marie came hesitantly into the room. She dropped her hat on the sideboard and looked at her husband.

“Marie, I…” started Sir John, then paused. There was silence.

“Marie. I.” said Sir John and paused again. Marie’s eyes started to water, and her chin trembled a little.

“Marie! I don’t care what you are,” said Sir John. “You’re my wife. We belong together.”

He moved to Marie and held her.  She gave a couple of little sobs.

Je t’aime,” she said.

“And I t’aime you too,” said Sir John, “with all my heart.”

“I want to explain, mon cher,” said Marie, “but first you must call the police. The fiend has struck again and …  I …  I found where he lives.”

“He has? You did? How?” said Sir John. Marie looked down.

“I’ll tell you later. I’ll tell you everything later,” she said. “But please, let Dawlish know. Farm Lane.”

Sir John left the room and Marie sat down. She looked at the crochet and picked it up absently, her fingers working as she stared into space. Presently, Sir John came back in the room and Marie stood up.

“All done, they’ll come over in the morning,” he said.

There was a pause.

“You could have told me,” said Sir John quietly.

“I … I could not,” said Marie, “I was afraid.”

“Of me?” said Sir John.

“No, not of you,” she said. “Maybe a little of what you would think. But mostly of me. Of what I can do … I … I barely know.”

Sir John stepped close to her and smiled warmly.

“We can do experiments!” he said excitedly.

Mon cher?” said Marie, a little taken aback.

“Nothing surgical, obviously, “ said Sir John, making a scissor motion absently with his fingers. Marie looked down in shock at his hand and Sir John followed her gaze. He jumped back in horror and shoved his hand in his pocket.

“I mean,” he said, “we can work this out together.  As a couple. As we should.”

Marie’s face softened and she moved close to him again.

“We certainly have all the equipment!” he said and held Marie in his arms. She rested her head on his shoulder.

There was another pause.

“What do we do now?” said Sir John.

“Something else for which we have all the equipment,” said Marie. Sir John looked puzzled.

“What’s that exactly?” he said. Marie whispered in his ear.

“Oh!” he said and turned red.

The Fulham Fiend: Chapter 12

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