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The Slightest Folly

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Phryne knocked on the door to Jack’s bungalow, smiling slightly at the sound of feet thudding towards the door―the scrambling patter of Jack’s dog, Phoebe, then the slower footfalls of Jack. The door opened to reveal Jack in shirtsleeves and slippers―a delightful image, but rather unexpected given her purpose.

He looked at her for a long moment, confused.

Dancing?” she supplied.

“We’re supposed to go Saturday.”

“It is Saturday,” Phryne laughed.

His brow furrowed as he did the mental arithmetic, then sighed.

“I swapped shifts,” he realised, stepping aside to gesture her in.

Phryne laughed again as she entered the house, reaching down to stroke Phoebe’s head before heading through to the parlour. She took up residence in her favourite armchair―well, really, the other armchair was much more comfortable, but it was also Jack’s favourite and some things were just beyond the pale―and looked at him expectantly. He’d shed his jacket, waistcoat, and tie, and unfastened the top button of his white shirt, and the braces drew attention to the lines of his shoulders. The man was positively delicious; he also looked exhausted.

Raking his hand through his hair, he eyed the uneaten plate of sandwiches and opened book on the table.

“You don’t want to go out,” she remarked.

His smile was embarrassed. “Not particularly. I saw the inside of my office for approximately thirty seconds today, and I was looking forward to a quiet night in.”

Phryne stood again, to shrug off her stole and drape it over the back of the chair, then sashayed across the room. He watched her hungrily, drinking in the dress she’d bought with this evening in mind, and when she wrapped her arms around his neck, he pulled her in by the waist until their bodies were flush against each other.

“What am I going to do with you, Jack Robinson?” she asked, toying with the soft hairs at the nape of his neck.

“Don’t let me keep you from going,” he replied, voice husky. “I know you were looking forward to it. You look beautiful, by the way.”

She smiled again, head swaying closer until their lips almost touched.

“I do,” she said seriously, then giggled as his exhaled breath tickled her cheek. “But I suppose I could adjust my plans.”


She rolled her eyes.

“If you dare tell me that I don’t have to, Jack, I’ll be quite cross,” she said firmly. “I’ve been out of town for nearly a week with my mother, and as much as I was looking forward to the dancing, I was looking forward to spending time with you more.”

There was a brief pause, and Phryne realised that perhaps his idea of a quiet night in did not include her in this particular instance, but before she could ask, he was kissing her so thoroughly that her toes curled in her shoes.

“So what do you propose we do?” he asked when they broke apart.

His arched brow told her exactly what he expected her to suggest, and she loathed being predictable. She smiled sweetly at him.

“Well, you could sit in that armchair and read your novel,” she pointed to one, “and I could sit in that armchair and entertain myself.”

He smirked. “Sounds dangerous.”

“I’ll be the very model of restraint.”

He shook his head slightly.

“Well we wouldn’t want that,” he smirked, releasing his hold and stepping back. “Wait here.”

The glint of mischief in his eye piqued her curiosity, and she waited (mostly) patiently as he left the parlour and returned a moment later, carrying a record.  He put it on the gramophone, and as the first notes began he held out his hand.

The song was jazzy and slow and definitely far more Phryne’s tastes than Jack’s, and its purchase touched her deeply. They danced together, more of a sway than their usual practiced steps, thankful to be together after days apart. When it was done, Phryne kept her head on his shoulder, breathing in the familiar scents of Jack.

“I would like to take you dancing properly next week,” she said quietly.

He murmured an agreement as he tilted his head to look at her, and she looked back at him. She smiled.

“There are definitely advantages to this arrangement though.”

“Are there?” he asked cheekily.

She snapped his braces in teasing reprimand, and stepped away. With a deliberate sway of her hips, she began to head for the door.

“Oh yes,” she called over her shoulder, knowing he wouldn’t be able to resist the challenge. Not even for sandwiches. “The proximity to the bedroom can’t be beat.”