Winning Phryne

Winning Phryne

Monday, August 25, 2014

Chapter 1

Just to get you into the Phryne state of mind, here's a little something that says a whole lot about Jack and Phryne!  If you right click on the link it will open in a new window!

Brief Synopsis of Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, for those who haven't seen it yet!

This story takes place at the end of the second series for the program.  Jack and Phryne (pronounced  Fry-knee) have been working together for two yeas on murder investigations.  At first Jack was definitely NOT thrilled with what he saw as a civilian nuisance involving herself in his cases but her sharp wit and keen observations quickly won him over, although he tried his best to hide that from Miss Fisher.  At the beginning, Jack was married to Rosie, but several years before she had moved out of their home and in with her sister, thus basically ending the marriage, although Jack remained true to it because as he tells Miss Fisher, "A marriage is still a marriage."  However at the end of series 1, Jack and Rosie divorce.

Several times during series 2 Rosie appears on the show, as well as her father, George Sanderson who is a Deputy Police Commissioner and Sidney Fletcher, Rosie's fiance.  George had been Jack's mentor over the years and Jack had a very high regard for him.  Sidney Fletcher was George's godson, come prospective son in law.  In two of the episodes, Rosie casts longing looks at Jack, making us realize that she regretted her actions perhaps.  Jack, being a man was clueless to it all.  In a conversation they had, Rosie tells Jack that he had some of his old fire back and perhaps it was because he was now out of a marriage that didn't suite.  He replies that it was war that didn't suit, which will be covered to some degree in my story.

In the last episode, Unnatural Habits,  young girls are being abducted from a home run by nuns and Phryne and Jack take on the case when one of them turns up in the Yarra river, dead.  Jack insists (as usual) that it is too dangerous for Phryne to be involved in, but this is Phryne we're talking about and nothing will hold her back.  The girls are tracked to a ship that is about to leave port.  Jack informs George Sanderson and discovers that George is now Chief Commissioner Sanderson in an unusual turn of events.  George orders Jack to stay out of it all and gives the case to a different Inspector.

Phryne is aided by Mary, a young, very pregnant woman at the convent and helps Mary escape by loaning her a lock pick.  When Jack discovers it, he tells Phryne, "Miss Fisher, you are a bad influence, and NO, you cannot keep her!" a reference to Phryne's penchant for aiding and adopting stray humans.  As more is discovered, Phryne is determined to storm the ship and Jack tells her to stay home as he prepares to do exactly the same thing, against direct orders from George Sanderson.  Phryne listens as well as she usually does and storms ahead, taking Dot, Cec and Bert with her, after the boys were well-armed by Mr. Butler.  Of course, they all get caught.

When Jack goes to the ship, George is there and demands that Jack leave or he will be dismissed.  Jack refuses and he and Constable Collins run for the ship, with Sanderson following.  Jack, at this point does NOT know that Phryne has been captured on board until he finds her lock pick.  He confronts Sanderson, who is not apologetic at all and tells Jack "I told you to stay out of it!"

Meanwhile, Phryne discovers that Sidney Fletcher is behind it all; they buy young, pure light haired and light skinned girls and sell them to the highest bidder.  The ship is the transport out of Australia.  Phryne and her group manage to get out of their bonds and meet Jack and Hugh.  Sidney Fletcher is shot, although not fatally and he, George, and the ships captain and crew go to jail, however George denies all charges.  When he is being led to his cell, Rosie confronts him, upset over it all.  She falls into Jack's arms, sobbing hysterically while Phryne looks on.

Later at Phryne's home, Jack turns up and their conversation is covered in my story.  I take it from there, as to how it should have ended and didn't.  Jack, on the show walked away.  So here we are, the first chapter of Winning Phryne.  I hope you'll enjoy it!

Chapter 1

Jack held Rosie as sobs tore through her body, patting her much as he would a small child.  The shock of it all, the betrayal of Sidney Fletcher and her father must have been overwhelming to her.  He felt he could do no less than to try and help her through this first shock wave of pain and humiliation.  Certainly, it was a shock to him, a blow that struck him in his gut, learning that George Sanderson, his mentor who had personally guided his career, the Chief Commissioner, was involved in all this.  He'd admired George Sanderson with a respect that was built of many years of appreciation for what he'd learned from him, the sense of justice that he had imbued to Jack.  And still, in the end, he had succumbed to temptation to - what?  To turn a blind eye on his godson's endeavors?  To sanction them?  The thought made Jack's stomach roil for a moment and he swallowed down the bitter bile that had surged upwards like an army determined to overtake him.

Both of the men in her life had left Rosie desolated, alone in a world where she would surely be ostracized, turned away from her set and social groups like rubbish.  Their divorce had been a huge strike against her, but Sidney Fletcher's money and connections saw to it that it was mostly hidden from her. 

Of course, all this came after Jack had deserted her as well, in a matter of speaking.  His inability to communicate his pain, pain that still clutched greedily at his mind from time to time had left him emotionally bereft.  So he'd shut her out after the war, but what else could he have done.  Rosie was not the kind of woman who would have suffered the truth about war.
After 15 years of marriage and a year after a divorce, he still cared about her happiness.  It wasn't love, but more of a nagging guilt that held him so tight at times that he felt he couldn't breathe, as if being strangled by an incompetent executioner.  After all, he'd let her down terribly; he'd let them both down.  The truth was, she never really knew why, never understood the changes in him after the war and he'd been unable to tell her either.  How do you tell someone what you saw, what you did and that sometimes only the will to survive drove you onward.  Could he tell her how it felt when his bayonet penetrated the chest of another human, the sound of steel on bone, the whoosh of air rushing out of a body?  Another person, someone who was probably as young as he was, maybe with a wife of his own. 

Jack couldn't forget the smells that had surrounded them in the trenches; blood, sulfur, death or of the keening wails of injury and suffering that ripped through the air, not only of his comrades but from the Germans as well.  It would have been indecent to tell a gentle woman such as Rosie of those things so he had remained silent on the subject, tucking it away in his own mind forever.  Of course it didn't really remain there, but it was a struggle he tried to carry on with by himself.

Jack glanced around to see that Phryne had left and the pit of his stomach clenched in pain as if he'd been sucker-punched.  She'd been through so much; she needed comforting as well, he was sure of it but being Phryne she wouldn't want anyone to know.  He felt a moment of panic and desperation; he needed to get to her but first he needed to get Rosie home to her sister's house.

He tried to gently pull her arms off of him and the sobs increased in volume and pitch, the high timbre almost hurting his ears.  He redoubled his efforts and told her, "Rosie, let's get you home to Annabelle's; you'll feel better there.  Come along now," he said, taking her arm from around his neck and leading her out of the station. 

The ride to Annabelle's home was strangely quiet.  Rosie stopped crying, and in fact Jack thought for a moment that he saw her mouth twist upwards for half a moment, but he put it down to the lateness of the night and the darkness inside the automobile, lighted only by an occasional street lamp.  She never said a word and Jack felt that she was trying to come to terms with the events of this night.

Her world was about to be turned upside down, no denying it he knew.  Annabelle's husband, Elliott was an affluent business man, from a prominent family with a history that was above reproach. The Barrington's had, like Phryne, connections to the king and used their wealth and notability to promote charity and compassion to the cities less fortunate individuals. There were so many individuals who were ragged survivors of life, struggling to take any step they could due to the current financial circumstances and the still aching wounds of a war that had taken so many young men and crippled others.  Hopefully under the umbrella of the Barrington's, Rosie might shelter and find her way in life.  But even that wouldn't be easy for her or Annabelle either for that matter.

Jack parked the car in front of the Barrington home and noted that other than an entry light, the house was dark. He sighed, knowing that what was to come would not be easy; Annabelle would have to be told of the night's goings on.  He opened his door and came around to Rosie's side and opened her door for her before holding his hand out to help her out of the vehicle.  Almost as soon as she took it the sobs started again and Jack guided her as quickly to the door as possible in the hope that she wouldn't wake the neighbors.

She fumbled with her key at the door and Jack took it from her, patiently working the lock and opening the door for her to enter.  He'd been a visitor many times in the Barrington household and steered Rosie into the front parlor, turning the switch to light the room.  A quick glance around showed several bottles of alcohol on a side table and he went to it, pouring Rosie a shot of brandy in hopes that it would steady her a bit as the sobbing had risen to near deafening levels since she had seated herself on an emerald green and mauve upholstered sofa.

"Rosie, drink this," he all but commanded, hoping to keep her from rousing the whole household. 

She drank it straight down without a sputter and handed the glass back to him.  He refilled it and set it on a table in front of her in time to see Barlow, the Barrington's butler enter the room, attired in a gray woolen dressing gown.  Jack stepped over closer to him so that they might speak without having to yell over the sobs that continued.

"Barlow, you should wake Mr. and Mrs. Barrington.  I'm afraid I have some bad news for them."
"Mr. Barrington is not here, Detective Robinson.  I'm afraid he is in Sidney at the moment." He acknowledged Jack's nod of understanding and added, "I shall wake Mrs. Barrington then."

"Waking Mrs. Barrington is not necessary," Annabelle stated, heading down the staircase.  "Jack, always good to see you but what on earth has happened?"  She greeted Jack with a light kiss on his cheek and was perplexed by his uneasy demeanor, deciding that Rosie had somehow gotten herself into trouble; probably something to do with that rogue she called her fiancĂ©. 

Since they had been children Annabelle had detested Sidney Fletcher.  Coldly cruel, until he wanted something, Sidney had been a careless human being, always dragging Rosie into one scheme or another that usually got both of them into trouble.  When he and his family had went to England before the war everyone had breathed a sigh of relief; everyone except for Rosie that is.  She had idolized that irreverent fool and actually missed him.  Lucky for the family that Constable Jack Robinson had entered their lives and Rosie had been well and truly smitten, seeming to forget all about Sidney.

She had put Fletcher behind her and appeared sincerely in love with the handsome young constable.  They were married a year later, much to the admiration of the family and Rosie had been deliriously happy, setting up a home for them.  She seemed to float through her life, as did Jack, so much in love they were.

Until the war began a year later.  Afterward everything changed including Sidney Fletcher returning, never having spent a moment fighting for God and country.  Annabelle shuddered with the thought of that despicable man who seemed proud to have circumvented that proud service by attending university.  The coward's way Annabelle always thought.

As soon as Rosie spied Annabelle she rushed across the room and threw herself into her elder sister's arms.  Annabelle raised an eyebrow in inquiry to Jack and he shook his head.  It was clear that something was terribly wrong and she led Rosie back to the sofa and listened as Rosie poured out the whole tale, interspersed with comments by Jack at times.

As she listened her eyes narrowed and her face became angry, her hazel eyes sparking dangerously as she heard the tale.

"So that abominable man has finally managed to drag our father down with him?" she said, and her loathing for Sidney was not held back at all.  "Now father is in jail no doubt because Sidney has managed to enter him into his deceitful machinations."

"No, Annie, NO.  Sidney would never..." Rosie started but she was quickly cut off by her sisters raised voice.

"Yes, Sidney has and you know for a fact that he has done many a sly deed in the past, Rosie.  I'll make no excuses for him and neither shall you; I won't allow it."

"No, Sidney was only trying to help those poor girls; out of Australia they could start a new life, begin anew.  That's all.  Father was just to help make sure that the poor girls got the help they needed."

As he listened, the implications of Rosie's word's washed over Jack; she had known of what was happening and never said a word.  Accomplice! The word screamed through his head and he took a step back towards the door, repelled by the knowledge of this revelation.

Rosie looked at him and the look of horror and disgust that was stained upon his countenance was frightening for her to see.  She couldn't lose him now; he was all that stood between her and losing, at the very least her social standing.  And jail a desperate voice inside her whispered.  

She had to make him understand and protect her.  They could marry again, yes, they could and it would be alright.

"Jack," she said holding out a pleading hand.  "Please, it's not what you think, I swear it."

"Then what exactly IS it, Rosie?"  His voice was piercing, his words clipped, reminding Annabelle of someone shattering glass with a hammer.  She could tell that Rosie had finally, utterly lost Jack.  She stood to pull her sister back into the parlor since she had followed Jack into the foyer.

Rosie was speechless, realizing her mistake of admitting her knowledge of Sidney's activities.  She took a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves and said, "Jack, I - I didn't really understand what they were doing.  I thought they were helping the girls, really I did.  I didn't know they were- were selling them as…slaves," her voice trailed off as she raised her eyes hopefully to Jack.

Jack just shook his head, contempt darkening his eyes until they resembled blackened coal rather than their usual deep brown.  Rosie made to rush to him again and he put out a hand to stop her.  "NO, stay away from me.  Annabelle, I must leave you now.  I have to check on someone else." His eyes implored her understanding.

Annabelle gave him a brief nod and a very thin smile.  No good was going to come of this.  Jack would eventually do his duty, without a doubt which likely meant gaol for Rosie, if not hanging at the end of a noose.  Rosie knew of the treachery, there was no getting past that.

"You're going to her, aren't you, Jack?" Her face once again bathed in tears and sorrow, however real they may or may not have been.  "That woman! The whore of society who spreads her legs for any man.  Do you think I don't know of her?  Everyone does," she finished with a twisted laugh, desperation only a breath away.

"Yes, I'm going to Phryne," he told her, and his voice held a dangerous edge to it.  It took everything he had not to reach out and grab her, to shake the filth out of her.  He turned and exited the door and paid no mind to the scream he heard from her, the stream of obscenities that he wasn't aware she knew almost bringing him to his knees. The pain was nearly physical, stabbing him in his gut and taking away his breath as well. He forced himself to walk, to keep walking to the car, to leave this place.

He needed to see Phryne, as much as he needed air right now.  Would she even want to see him, after what had happened at the police station?  He didn't know but he had to find out.

To be continued...

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Cast of Characters and Introduction

Winning Phryne

This is a work of fan fiction from the series Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.  It is an Australian program and can be seen on some American PBS stations, the first series (season to Americans) on Netflix and both series on Acorn TV, which is similar to Netflix for British and Australian programs.  They begin filming the third series in October of this year, so it will be a while before any more air.  The series is based on the books of Kerry Greenwood, although they are a bit different than the series.  Still, Ms. Greenwood has my undying thanks for giving us such a lush pallet of characters to work with.  

My story starts in 1929, in Melbourne, Australia.  It takes place after the series 2 episode 12.  It sticks to canon up until that point.  Since the third series hasn't been made yet, who knows where the series will take us.  I only know what I want to happen, so this is my continuation of the program.  If you are a fan of the series, I think it will make a lot of sense to you.  If you haven't seen both series, you need to know that this story is full of spoilers, so beware!  Read at your own risk. If you haven't seen any of the series, I think you'll be able to follow along fairly well.  And if you can't, don't hesitate to ask questions!  For the first few weeks I'll post once a week and then increase the frequency.  The first chapter will be posted on Monday of next week.  A new feature on Blogger (at least for me) allows you to sign up your email and get notification when a new post is made.  I think that is kind of cool, myself.

As is usual for my stories, I'll throw in original characters and my own to hopefully blend into a delightful story that you will like.  This is mostly a PG rated story, although there will be times it ventures into R and I will warn you about that, for those of you who don't care for that. 

Below are the cast of characters from the program.  I will add to that as I add my own characters, along with a bit of information about them.  As always in my stories, there will be music added, as well as photos that I hope Moonlightlover60 will help create.  She created the beautiful story banner which inspired me!   Her work is so wonderful.

So, I hope you'll enjoy Winning Phryne, the tale that tells what might happen if Phryne and Jack had to start from scratch in their relationship.  

Phryne Fisher, late of England but born in the Antipodes or in other words, Australia into a small, poor neighborhood called Collingwood.  For the purpose of this story she is about 30.  She was in an Ambulance Unit in the Great War (WWI) and has a great capacity for opening her heart and home to those in need. She has gathered a 'family' around her who are all as loyal to her as she is to them.  Her family was extremely poor as a young child but during the war her father inherited a title and the money to go with it, so Phryne is more than comfortably well-off now.   Phryne has a penchant for men and is terribly flirtatious.  She has vowed to never be committed to a man, mostly due to an abusive relationship after the war in France.  Phryne is an independent woman, versed in all the necessary skills, as she deems them.  Birth control (which was illegal then), driving cars, carrying a gun and a knife in her garter, she feels ready to handle practically anything.  Until she meets Jack that is!

Jack Robinson is a Senior Detective Inspector for the Victoria Police, Melbourne, Australia.  He is a veteran who fought in the Great War and has been a police officer before the war and since.  He is respected, and usually obeyed by those police officers who serve below him. He is also a deeply private man with a very traditional attitude to many things, but he also sees that discrimination, where ever it rears it's head is wrong.  He respects Phryne's acute sense of warning when things are going wrong, but whole heartedly wishes she would listen to him and keep herself and others out of danger.  However, no matter how he tries, he cannot get Miss Fisher to behave!  He appreciates her sense of adventure and would never ask her to change, but sometimes its difficult to stand by without his heart breaking.  Jack was divorced in series (season) 1 after his wife moved out of their home to live with her sister. His former father in love is the Chief Commissioner of Police in Melbourne. He is very guarded about his life, but Miss Fisher has brought him out a great deal, however reluctantly that might have been.  Jack is a true Shakespeare man and often quotes the bard and recommends the prose to Hugh, who can sometimes be a bit timid with words.

Dorothy Williams is a good Catholic girl who has learned a lot from Miss Fisher! Dot is Phryne's companion and accompanies her often to crime scenes and everywhere else.  Much to her priest's disfavor in fact.  She has helped Miss Fisher in many escapades including posing as an unwed mother to catch an abortionist, and making an ostrich feather fan for her miss who was posing undercover at a gentleman's club.  She had to overcome her fear of electricity and especially telephones when she came to live and work with Phryne.  Her priest had told her that electricity would blow the world up; she's since learned that wasn't true.  She has a sister named Nell or Lola as she is called in the Imperial Club and is a 'hostess' there.  The love of Dot's life is Hugh and she tends him with pure devotion.  Her main fear is riding in Miss Fisher's Hispano Suiza automobile, which is always driven much too fast.

Constable Hugh Collins works with Jack and adores Dot.  They are engaged, although it's a long engagement since Dot has become a bit of a modern woman since living with Miss Fisher.  Still, Hugh works hard at his job and is trying to understand his Dottie.  Like a typical man, he often gets it wrong, but he always perseveres! Miss Fisher loaned him a copy of Erotica of the Far East, in an effort to help him learn a bit more about the fairer sex.  Hugh read the chapter on kissing (a whole chapter!) and eagerly waited his chance to try the new moves out on his Dot.  Hugh is not a Catholic and dating one does not make his mother happy, but he has decided to convert for Dot, who isn't quite comfortable with that idea and how if will hurt his mother.  His father was killed when he was a young boy, which left him feeling the need to mentor other young men.

Jane Ross is Phryne's ward.  Her mother has been in an asylum for years and many of those Jane lived on the streets using her wits and pick pocket skills to survive.  One of Phryne's rescued loved ones, Jane once proclaimed to Phryne that she wasn't a 'nice' girl when Phryne said that she couldn't give her up.  Phryne told Jane that it was fine because she wasn't a 'nice' girl either.   Aunt Prudence helped to get Jane into an excellent school, where Jane has turned into an avid learner.  Phryne sent her on a tour of the continent for a bit which distressed Dot a good deal.  Learning from Phryne, Jane is growing into a strong, independent young woman herself, but still holds an incredible amount of charm and innocence.

Prudence Stanley, Phryne's mother's sister is one of Melbourne's elite society.  Aunt P is on the board of many charitable institutions in Melbourne and always ready to step in to interfere in Phryne's life, much to her niece's discomfort and angst.  No matter what though, she loves her niece and might even be slowly getting used to the Inspector, much to her own chagrin.  She has two sons, Guy, the eldest who resides in London and Arthur who is mentally handicapped.  Phryne adores both her cousins and shower's Arthur with gifts when she sees him.

Doctor Elisabeth MacMillian, or Mac as she is called is Phryne's oldest friend.  They served together in the Ambulance Unit during the war and forged a bond that is unbreakable.  Mac is a lesbian, which doesn't concern Phryne at all although she wishes that Mac could find someone to be with because she knows her friend is lonely.  Mac was in love with a young woman who was killed in a factory where she worked and where Mac helped the women with 'family planning' which was against the law during those times.  Mac is a loyal to Phryne as Phryne is to her; the women share an unbreakable bond and a love for The Women's Adventurers Club, of which they are both members.

Mr. Tobias Butler, often referred to as 'Mr. B' is Phryne's faithful manservant and runs the household.  Since he is Cordon Bleu trained, his meals are in high demand, especially by Jack who is usually hungry.  Mr. B lost a bit of his faith when he lost Mrs. B, but he is steadfast in his care of Phryne's household.  He has a fondness for the racetrack and having served in the war as well makes him good and handy to have around.  Mr. B adores Miss Jane and Dot as well and often offers very sensible advice, with his dry wit and intellect.  He is also a bit of a psychic, always ready for that glass of whiskey or delicious cocktail, usually even before you need it.

Bert, aka Albert Johnson is part of the cabbie team of Cec and Bert that Miss Fisher has adopted.  He is a single guy that will be there to back up Phryne whenever needed.  He also served in the war and was nearly killed 10 years later by Rene Dubois, a French painter who was briefly in Phryne's life.  Bert and two mates saw Rene murder Pierre Sarcelle by pushing him onto a train track at Montparnasse Station in Paris.  Rene was after a painting that Pierre had done of Phryne.  Luckily, Jack and Phryne figured out what Rene was up to before Bert was killed as well.  Bert is known as a 'red-ragger' or communist by the authorities.  Jack has to learn a little tolerance for him as he and Cec are two of Phryne's adopted family.

Much of Cec's story (short for Cecil and pronounced Ces) is the same as Bert's.  Cec, or Cecil Yates is much like Phryne and has a soft heart and Bert has accused him of taking in stray puppies and then Alice, whom Cec eventually married.  Alice and Dot worked at the same home in the first episode of the series.  When Alice was forced to have sex with her employer she got pregnant and sought an abortion.  Afterwards, the men who did it put her into Bert and Cec's cab, which is how they met.  Cec is much quieter than Bert, but very loyal to his adopted family and no matter what Miss Fisher asks, is always ready to help.

Hiram Matlock is the newest Chief Commissioner for Victoria Police.  He was appointed after George Sanderson (Jack's former father in law) was caught in a plan to sell young girls into the foreign slave trade.  He is a man that stands for justice and works tirelessly for it, but he is also a man with a heart and looks for the best in people.  He is married to Marie, his love for the last 35 years and he still finds her enchanting.

George Sanderson is the former Chief Commissioner for Victoria Police and Jack's former father in law.  He was corrupted by Sidney Fletcher who has lately become engaged to his daughter Rosie.  George had been and honest and respected Constable until Sidney Fletcher blackmailed him.

Sidney Fletcher and Rosie Sanderson became engaged soon after her divorce from Jack.  Sidney didn't waste any time in securing her affections, despite protestations from George Sanderson.  Sidney comes from a rich and socially approved family in Melbourne and because of that is questioned little about his endeavors.  George Sanderson is his god father and he has figured out a way to get George to do as he's told.  Rosie's marriage to Jack fell apart after the Great War (WWI), but in reality it might not have been that strong to begin with as George propelled her into because of his approval of Jack.  She loved Jack but in part it was an effort to appease her father.  Jack, being unable to express the hurt and pain he had suffered in the war changed their marriage and she moved in with her sister long before the divorce.

Annabelle Barrington, Rosie's sister.  Annabelle is married to John, who is a boyhood friend of Jacks.  She and Rosie are the only children of George Sanderson.  Although Rosie currently lives with Annabelle, the sisters have a difficult relationship at times, particularly when it comes to Rosie's attraction to Sidney Fletcher, who Annabelle knows from past experience has a very bad influence on Rosie.

John Barrington is a childhood friend of Jack's.  The two men fought in the war together as well which helped to form an unbreakable bond between them.  Both men suffered great trauma during the war and came home lost and having to deal with the after effects of it all.  John had the faithful and loving support of Annabelle and it helped to make his world good again.  Both he and Annabelle watched as Jack and Rosie's marriage floundered due to the lack of communication between them.