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Dueling Parades

Chapter Text

"Miss…Miss…Miss." Dot said several times gradually louder each time hoping to get the attention of her employer.

"Miss Fisher." Finally she turned, clearly her mind was elsewhere.

"Sorry Dot, what do you need?"

"There's a call for you." Her eyes lit up, perhaps it was Jack. She immediately hated herself for getting so excited at the thought, she had never been one to pine over a man in such a way. Even with Lin Chung she hadn't allowed herself to get that emotionally involved, but to be fair he was honest about what he could give her and she kept the boundaries to protect herself from diving in too deep. Most of her liaisons had been fun but she always knew temporary, he had been the possible exception. She jumped towards to the parlor door, "Who is it?"

"It's Constable Edwards on the phone, looks like there might be a case if you're interested." Her face suddenly turned to disappointment. The idea of a case to distract her was the only joy in that statement. "Thanks Dot, I'll take it from here."

XXX

"So it seems to me Jack that to get this lady detective to swoon for you, you need to play a little dirty. Play by her rules."

"Like what?"

"Well you already came up with the idea."

"I did." Jack was befuddled at this point, women could be so mystifying sometimes.

"Yes, well you told her that you didn't want to be another name on the parade list. The parade of men 'french artists, russian revolutionaries' so it would seem to me that you should play a little parade of your own."

He was beginning to follow, he thought, but had no idea how to execute such a thing. "I'm beginning to follow but how?"

"Well you need to start going on some dates. Be busy, keep busy. Even if you are available don't be for her. Show her that you are a liberal minded man and you can keep your own company."

He liked the idea but was still unsure of its execution, "I follow, but where am I supposed to meet all these women to go on all these dates of yours?"

"That's where I come in. A few friends from my school days are still in the area, I could phone in some favors. Explain the highlights and say they were doing a good turn. Trust me after a few weeks of you being otherwise engaged will make her crazy, if she really loves you and cares for you then you may get a similar declaration of wanting to be together without the sharing."

He smiled and nodded, "It could work. But it could backfire she could get disinterested and move on."

"Jack, if she does then you have your answer you were never more than a flirtation for her and then you will be free to move on."

XXX

Miss Fisher looked at the calendar and realized that today Jack was supposed to return to work. She hadn't heard from him the entire time he was gone. Not that he had any reason to telegram her, it seemed strange that they'd gone more than a week without talking. The last time they'd gone that long they were fighting, she'd hoped that the reason for the trip had nothing to do with her.

She decided to dress in her white trouser and red blouse, and headed to the station to greet him.

She flung open the station door and felt the excitement build once more knowing that he was back, and they could get back to their routine.

"Jack!" She yelled flinging his door open. He was standing with his back turned to her putting something into the filing cabinet. He was glad that in the moment his back was turned, it would be easier to collect himself without her observant eyes. He had missed her, but was resolved to giving Ellie's plan a shot.

"Miss Fisher. What brings you by? There hasn't been a murder yet, or has one of your psychic friends sent you a message of what's to come." He chuckled finally turning around in time to see her give him a sneer.

She was a bit put off by his suggestion, why wouldn't see come by to see him without there being a need for it to be work related, but she opted to dismiss it as she was glad to see him.

"No Jack, I just wanted to come by and invite you to dinner. I want to hear all about your adventures to Sydney!"

"Oh, well as enticing as that sounds I must decline this evening."

"Oh."

"Yes, I have prior engagement this evening."

"Oh Okay, I understand, maybe tomorrow night then?"

"Maybe. Why don't I call you? Nice to see you Miss Fisher." He said looking back down to his files. She realized that was his way of saying good day. She couldn't understand what had just transpired. It was certainly fine for him to be busy, but she had been caught off guard by it. He didn't seem upset or even cold with her, just preoccupied. She turned out of the office and walked away. Jack finally looked up and let out a breath he didn't know he had been holding. It hadn't been easy but he was determined to stick this out.