Robin ran up Tottenham Court Road tube station’s escalator, not feeling particularly happy with herself. She knew it was stupid but just as she felt her life was getting back on track, wham! Matthew was back in her brain.
It was Valentine’s Day and she had been surprised to find a large card on the mat of her flat, big red envelope, no stamp and oh, oh, she recognised her estranged husband’s writing. It had been yet another attempt to get her to come back to him, an outpouring of his sorrow, a proclamation of how sorry he was and that he would do anything, anything for things to go back the way they were.
Really, the way they were? With me subservient to you, doing just what you want? It’s too late for that Matt, you’ve made your bed. I should have been strong before when I first discovered you had slept with Sarah, but I didn’t want to discard the nine years we’d had together. How did you repay that then? Jealousy of Cormoran, sniping about the job I love and screwing Sarah again. You want to go for the hat trick do you? Third time lucky? No, I’m well shut of you and your jealous reactions to Strike.
But since we closed the Chiswell case things have been getting so nice between Cormoran and me, he’s such a smashing, caring, bloke. I just wish I was enough for him, but I’m nothing compared with the girls he’s dated in the past.
She pulled herself back into reality and went to get the coffees, now a favourite part of her day, she ran across Denmark St, a cup-holder with four drinks to be consumed with the guys in the office, before everyone went on their current assignments. Chatting and banter while drinking, they really were a really great team to work with.
She ran up the stairs & pushed the door open, determined to banish her earlier gloomy mood
Putting the drinks on the corner of her desk she took in the huge display of red roses that stood next to her PC screen
Andy & Sam looked a little sheepishly at her,
“They were here when we arrived”
Robin passed out Andy’s Green Tea and Sam’s double expresso while studying the flowers
These must have cost a fortune on Valentine’s Day, there must be 100 stems
She picked up Cormoran’s Americano and knocked on his door, he had the phone cradled between his shoulder and ear, making the occasional confirmative grunt to whoever he was speaking with. He looked up and gave her a wide grin and thumbs up for the drink
Robin sat down at her desk and plucked the card that was nestled amongst the flowers, she knew before she read the card that it was yet another attempt from Matthew to ‘win’ her back.
Like I’m a prize at the fair, arse!
“Sam, Andy, do you think your wives would like these? Shit-bag Matt sent them to me & I was going to bin them, but that would be a waste.”
“Aye Robin, that would be cracking, I was going to stop off at a garage for some flowers on the way home but these would be champion” grinned Barclay
“If you’re sure?” a more reserved Andy asked
“OK I’ll just pop them in a bucket in the kitchen till you collect them” doing that as she spoke, ripping the card in half and dropping it into the kitchen bin, with the discarded teabags and food scraps as she passed it
Drinks consumed both contractors left for the jobs both had today, Andy, looking smart heading to Canary Wharf to try and get some evidence of insider dealing and Sam in his donkey jacket and workman’s boots off to the Cross City line workings to try and get a handle on the major pilfering that was affecting that project.
Robin had some records to retrieve from Tower Hamlets council offices, but that shouldn’t take her long, she was nearly as familiar with the filing systems now as the council workers, who almost treated her as a member of staff.
Those coffees and Krispy Kreme donuts I took in have certainly paid dividends.
Sipping the remains of her Latte she looked at the 3 envelopes addressed to her on her desk, smiling she opened the first, a lovely handmade card, with a wobbly picture of a Landrover with a girl with bright red hair driving it. A carefully written Valentines message of love on the inside
Oh Jack you are a smashing boy, you’ll make some girl happy one day I’m sure
She carefully arranged it on her desk next to her screen
The second one she opened was very rude, and very funny and she almost snorted coffee down her nose at it
Barclay you git, it was funny though
The third one she knew from the writing
Mum this must be the 15th Valentines you’ve sent me, you obviously don’t think much of me as a detective.
She felt flat, a card she’d hoped for hadn’t been waiting for her
Putting her coat back on and with a somewhat longing glance at the back of her partner, who was still talking on the phone, Robin left to catch the tube.
As soon as she’d left Cormoran excused himself to Shanker, who had been taking the piss mercilessly on the other end the fake conversation that Strike had been having
“Right oh Bunsen I’ll be off as well, and for fucks sake tell your Robin how you feel about her will you, if you can’t do it today of all days you’ve got no hope”
Strike steeled himself and opened the draw, inside he had a single, stunning white rose in its own discrete vase
I’d be an idiot to give a Lancashire rose to Robin wouldn’t I!
He picked the card up and looked at it, it had no pre-printed message just a blank page. A picture on the front of a Robin sitting on a rose bush, white roses of course.
Taking his fountain pen, a present from Robin the previous Christmas, he thought for a second and reaching back to his university days wrote steadily for several minutes.
Robin came back into the office hanging up her coat & scarf.
“Fancy a sand…….”
She stopped, looking at her partner who was standing in the doorway with a very strange look on his face, he glanced at her desk & following his eyes she saw a beautiful, single white rose in a slim, elegant vase. A pure white envelope leaned against it.
He said nothing just watching her reaction
Robin’s stomach was turning flips
He hasn’t, has he? He’s always avoided any sort of personal involvements before
She opened the envelope, and pulled out the card feeling her chest tightening when she recognised the careful, spidery handwriting inside:
The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?—
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What is all this sweet work worth
If thou kiss not me?
It was so lovely, tears leaked down her cheeks
Cormoran walked up to her and gently brushed them away with his thumbs.
“You like it then?”
“Oh Cormoran, it’s wonderful did you write it for me?”
“I wish, it’s Shelly, it just sums up what I feel for you Robin, I’ve felt this way for ages but only just built up the courage to do something about it”
Robin reached up tentatively and gently touched her lips to his and then gently explored the mouth of the man she’d felt she loved for ages, he groaned into her mouth and deepened the kiss.
They eventually broke off and stared into each other’s eyes, Robins heart was hammering in her chest, what she’d hoped for, for an age, was actually happening.
“What is it you feel for me Cormoran?”
“Well, it feels a lot like love to me”
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