Nearly a year had passed in Endeavour Morse’s life since he lost his beloved Ava. He struggled to get used to things. After the death of his protégé, George Fancy plus the departure of Shirley Trewlove to pastures new (namely The Yard), Cowley, or how he knew it to be, changed forever. He, Thursday and the others were transferred to other stations, which meant new ways of thinking, of procedure but also another set of colleagues he would have to get to know or at least prove himself again to. Morse wasn’t very happy about this. He was a stickler for tradition, of how things were meant to be. He also felt he didn’t have to prove himself to anyone. It was all change in the police force in general, some would say for the better, but Morse felt it was moving at a far too fast a pace than he would have liked. 1970 beckoned and he didn’t know what that decade held for him and whether it would be better or worse. He was determined to make the most of the last year of the 1960s.
The Thursday family were still in tatters. It seemed they weren’t as close as they once were, and this showed constantly. Fred Thursday, still struggling to get used to things professionally himself, didn’t seem interested much in what Joanie did no longer and Win was missing their son, Sam badly. Joanie on the other hand had returned to Oxford as her contract in Glasgow was terminated and found a job working in a bar, something which displeased Thursday as it wasn’t a respectable one either. It seemed he lost all control of his family and this he was finding very hard to accept. The atmosphere was constantly toxic that Morse didn’t even visit as often as he used to, which secretly upset Joanie as she still held a torch for him.
An alert of an attempted robbery and sexual assault reached Morse one morning and he and a detective colleague of his went over to a grand house to investigate. She was only 15 and this disgusted Morse as he hated these types of crimes, but especially against children. The girl’s mother was seated beside her as Morse asked questions. His younger detective colleague meanwhile observed and was visibly affected by the girl and the cuts on her face and legs. Morse finished taking notes and asked the mother if anything was taken, which got a shake of the head in return. The two officers left the house with not much to go on. Morse took one look at the house before he got into his car and wondered how everybody was, but Thursday in particular.
A week passed by and Morse decided to visit the Thursday family. He was invited to Sunday lunch, something which deep down he missed, so was only too happy to accept. It had been a while; and whilst he was getting used to being on his own again, he still missed Ava.
Win Thursday rushed in all excited and set an extra place next to Morse. Joanie was standing at the far back by the window shaking her head in amusement at how her mother was acting. Morse was sitting at the side of the table and Fred at the top. Joanie rolled her eyes and tutted as she was forced to give her mother a hand. Morse watched as she walked by in amusement.
“How are you feeling, Morse?” he asked.
“Fine thank you, sir,” Morse replied. “How are you, sir?”
Thursday sighed heavily. Morse related to that. “What can I say, Morse?” he replied. “I’m working with a bunch of bloody idiots!”
“Any leads on Fancy’s murder?”
“No. But believe me, I will get to the bottom of it! You?”
“Well make sure you share whatever you find with me. I couldn’t care less if this goes against protocol, Morse! I did not become a police officer to go pussy footing around everybody else like some damn, bloody wallflower!”
Morse nodded. He could not help but stare at a small calendar on the mantelpiece. Thursday’s eyes fell to the floor briefly.
“I am still very sorry, Morse,” he said of Ava. “I know how much she meant to you.”
Morse looked up at Thursday and nodded his gratitude. He thought about the many women who came into his life since, that he has many an opportunity, but he ignored them. He just couldn’t bring himself to touch another female; that Ava would always be the one for him. He thought about their child. He or she would have been born by now and he imagined the three of them in his new digs, happy and full of love. Love…?! What was that?
“It’s not long now!” Win’s excited voice dragged Morse back into the real world. Joanie walked in with a plate and some cutlery and set them in front of Morse. She looked at him and knew his mind was somewhere else. She felt sorry for him and walked back to her previous place by the window.
“Are you excited, Mrs Thursday?” Morse asked.
“Oh, yes!” Win replied with a huge smile. She looked up as the doorbell rang and she quickly ushered Joanie to stand up properly and for her husband to smarten up. Morse smiled in amusement as Thursday rolled his eyes. They heard the door open.
Win’s face lit up as she saw Sam on the doorstep dressed in uniform. She squealed happily and gave him a hug.
“Sam!” she exclaimed. “Oh, my goodness! Look at you! A sergeant!” She was full of pride which made Sam blush.
“Hi, Mum,” Sam said giving her a kiss on the cheek. “Mum…. I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve brought someone home.”
“Oh, yes?” Win was intrigued. A pretty young girl with dark hair came into view.
“Mum, this is Amy.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mrs Thursday.” She put out her hand. Win tried not to gawp too much as she shook it.
“Likewise, Amy. Come in, both of you.” She smiled as they walked through the threshold. Sam placed his bag by the stairs and followed his mother in.
The chatter inside the dining room died down as they saw the look on Win’s face. Morse grew a little concerned as did Thursday. Joanie also was wondering what was wrong with her mother.
“Sam’s here,” she said. Thursday stood up as he walked in. The awkwardness was plain for all to see. Sam grew nervous, their previous encounter still fresh in their minds. Thursday noticed the three stripes on his son’s uniformed arm and couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of pride.
“Hello, son.” He walked forward to give him a bear hug.
“Hi, Dad.” Sam was relieved. He turned. “Hello, Morse.”
“Hello, Sam.” Morse stood up and they shook hands. Sam looked at Joanie. She walked over and they shared a long hug.
“Miss you,” she said.
“Same.” Sam walked to the door. “Dad, Joanie, Morse. I have brought someone home.” Win shuffled uncomfortably and looked directly at Morse. He watched as Sam walked briefly out of the dining room and brought his girlfriend in, holding her hand. “Everyone, this is Amy.” Morse was stunned. Joanie took one look at her father then at Morse. Thursday couldn’t believe what he was seeing either. “Amy, this is my father, that is my sister Joan and this is our family friend, Detective Sergeant Morse.”
“Pleased to meet you all,” Amy replied sweetly with a smile. Morse stared long and hard at Amy, wondering if he was seeing things. For the girl standing not far in front of him looked exactly like Ava!
Muffled voices came from the living room as Sam tried to once again justify his reasons on all manner of things. It had the makings of a full-blown argument – a typical Thursday family discussion. In the kitchen, Amy and Morse were standing on opposite sides, having been unceremoniously relegated. Dirty pots and pans and crockery from lunch were piled high around them. Morse could not keep his eyes off the newcomer. She had the same dark hair as Ava, but shorter. She was the same height as Ava, same shape, same everything. She was dressed in smart attire: she had a white long sleeved open necked blouse with a wide collar that nearly peaked at the shoulders. She wore navy blue slightly flared trousers and a beautiful neck scarf tied neatly at the side. She had low heeled boots on her feet. Everything about her screamed Ava and Morse wondered if the powers that be upstairs of which he long lost all belief could play such a cruel joke on him.
Amy sighed heavily and walked to the kitchen doorway, the heels of her boots making deep, hollow noises. She hugged herself slightly, concern and worry coming over her features. Morse watched her every movement still mesmerised. He also wondered if this was a mirage.
“I shouldn’t have come,” she suddenly said. Morse was even more alarmed – the girl even sounded like Ava!
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I knew I shouldn’t have come. They are arguing about me. I know they are.” She bowed her head. Morse took note of the yelling coming from behind the closed dining room door. “I can’t say I am surprised. I knew this would happen.”
“I don’t think they are arguing about you per se.” The voices suddenly rose and Amy turned her head.
“Are you sure?” she asked. Morse couldn’t help but look into her eyes. It was the same way Ava used to look at him.
“Where did you two meet?”
“Near barracks,” Amy replied walking back over to stand opposite Morse. “I was working in an office opposite. I used to see Sam coming back from training drills each day. Then one morning, I was running late and he had just returned. He saw me and ran over. He asked me out and that was it.” The look on her face and tone of her voice told another story however, but Morse decided against pursuing it.
“Where are you from?” he asked. Amy looked directly at him.
“Singapore,” she replied. Morse couldn’t believe his ears.
“How long have you been here?”
“Two years. My parents are English…. Well, my mother is. My father is half Northern Irish.” She smiled at him only for the smile to quickly vanish. “I’m actually adopted. My parents have recently passed on. I found a small box under their bed whilst clearing out. It had an adoption letter and a picture of me as a baby, nothing more than that. I guess I came here really to find them. All I know is my birth mother was a teenager. I don’t know any other details.” A heavy look came over her features and she walked to the kitchen doorway again.
“I’m sorry to hear that. About your parents I mean.”
“Thank you,” Amy replied. Morse approached her slowly. He stayed a little bit of a distance behind her. The sudden crash of a glass against the door made her jump suddenly.
“I’m sorry,” he said again.
“This isn’t your fault. As I said, this was mine. I think they expected someone different.” She paused. “I can’t say I am surprised. These are trying times.” Morse remembered Ava suddenly, how she also was a direct victim of racism and how she questioned herself not to mention their relationship. He suddenly held her hand. Amy glanced down quickly. “For all everyone’s angst against race, for when we accidentally cut ourselves, we all bleed red do we not?”
“Yes, we do.” Morse could not help but feel close to her. “I can help you find your parents, if you want me to.” Amy turned to look at him.
“I can’t ask you to do that,” she replied. “You have your own cases to deal with – the genuine and corrupt.”
“Of course. That is the new thing these days… If you can get away with it obviously.”
“I want to, Ava.”
“Ava? My name is Amy.”
“Yes, sorry. I mean, I would like to help you, Amy.” Amy studied Morse’s eyes for a while and realised she was still holding his hand.
“I would appreciate that. Thank you.” She slipped her hand away and Morse felt empty again.
“Where are you staying?” Morse asked. “So, I know where to get hold of you.”
“I am staying at a hostel not far from here.”
“I thought you were staying here…?”
“Me? Stay here? I don’t think so!” Her voice grew slightly bitter. “This is Sam’s home, detective sergeant. I am obviously not welcome.” She sighed, her eyes forever fixed on the dining room door. “The Army… I blame the Army.”
“In what way?” Morse knew the answer though. It wasn’t that long ago he had a similar encounter. But Amy decided against answering.
“Meet me at the Magdalen Bridge tomorrow morning,” she said to him. “I will give you the box.” Morse smiled and nodded. To his surprise, she reached over and held his hand again tightly. Morse looked at Amy and wondered whether it was Ava visiting him after all.
The next morning, Morse walked along the Magdalen Bridge. The road was busy as were the waterways below. He leaned on the bridge to look at the horizon and once more got lost in his thoughts. He thought of Ava again, how beautiful she was and how much he missed her. He thought about them as a family and whether he would have moved away to Cambridge. If their baby was a girl, what would they have called her? Likewise, if it was a boy? He thought about Ava pregnant and going through it with her. He bet she would be just as beautiful, if not more. His thoughts drifted to their wedding, what would it be like? What would she be wearing? All sorts of thoughts went through his head that he didn’t realise a figure standing next to him.
“It’s a beautiful view, isn’t it?” she observed.
“Yes, Ava.” Morse blinked and realised who it was. “Sorry.” He looked at Amy who smiled.
“The box is inside.” She handed a bag over to him. “Everything you need is in there. As I said, there really isn’t much to go on. I really appreciate you doing this for me, Morse.”
“My pleasure, Amy.” He smiled at her.
“Just don’t get into trouble with Sam’s father. Sam doesn’t know I am adopted.”
“No?” Morse was surprised.
“No,” Amy replied. “I prefer to keep that to myself.”
“Yes. Sometimes you need to keep things from others.” It was her turn to look at the horizon. Morse looked at her and related to what she said. He realised the time but didn’t care. He had leave coming up – leave that coincided with the first anniversary of Ava’s death.
Morse was glad to be signed off early and the detective sergeant left CID at his new station for two weeks. He would use this time wisely and decided to set to work trying to find Amy’s parents. He went to the public library first to see if he could access a new archive that gives old census records. He did some mental arithmetic thinking how old Amy could be and the age of her real mother at the time she gave her up for adoption. He took a stab in the dark and decided on an age. But the results came up with a blank. He tried another, but again nothing. Maybe her mother wasn’t an Oxford resident? This didn’t help Morse, but he was determined to find out. He stayed in the library until closing when he packed up and left to return in the morning.
Amy meanwhile looked out of her room window on to the street below. She watched as people went about their business and felt heavy. She hated being cooped up indoors without even a wireless for company. Sam had once again refused to visit, and this backed up Amy’s assumption that he was deliberately avoiding her. She let go of the dirty net curtain and sat down on the edge of her bed, burying her head in her hands.
A knock on the door made her look up and she prompted the person to come in. Her face lit up as Morse appeared and Amy felt happy to see a friendly face.
“Good evening, Miss Amy.” He watched as she stood up and drew the heavy drapes back to let in some light. Morse looked around the room and was disappointed with what he saw. It was a dive. Filthy and certainly no place for someone of her beauty or intelligence to stay in. He looked at her.
“Take a seat, please.” She gestured a polished wooden chair nearby. Morse politely declined.
“I can’t say I blame you,” she said. “This place was the only one that accepted my kind in.” Morse recalled a sign he saw in the window as he approached the place: ‘No blacks, No Irish, No dogs’, plus one other profanity which he deliberately ignored. He shuddered at how racist it was. Was this how things were going to be in the 1970s? “Did you find anything?” she asked. Morse looked at her.
“Unfortunately, no.” Amy’s face fell. She expected it.
“Thank you anyway, Morse.” She walked over with her hand out ready to take the bag with the box in. But to her surprise, Morse shook his head.
“I’m not finished yet, Miss Amy. I just have a few questions for you.” His tone was slightly abrupt.
“Sure!” Amy replied willing to help him.
“You said your real mother was a teenager when she gave you up. Do you know how old she would have been?”
Amy thought for a moment. Morse watched her movements. She reminded him so much of Ava when she was studying that evidence board back at the station.
“I think around 15 or 16. Yes! The letter said mother received me from a home for gymslip mothers. Teenagers. So around that, I think.”
“No. Hong Kong.”
“Hong Kong? You were born there?”
“From what I was told, yes. I was brought up in Singapore.”
“And you think your birth mother was born here in England?”
“I expect so. I don’t know where though.” She saw the look on Morse’s face. “I know it is like finding a needle in a haystack, Morse, but I know she was born and raised here. How long she stayed is another thing.”
“Born and raised here in Oxford?” But she shrugged her shoulders.
“Honestly speaking, I have no idea. All I have to go on is that letter and photograph.”
“What is your adopted father’s surname?”
“Evans,” Amy replied. She laughed softly. “Just imagine: a cheeky, part Hong Kong Chinese boy with slightly freckled skin, lovely blue eyes and strawberry blond hair. He had these huge dimples! I could imagine what he was like growing up. Father used to joke about his looks, but I could see he attracted the ladies! I never met my grandfather. Father told me he had it away with a Chinese girl, my grandmother, he met whilst on a work assignment on the island. If he brought them home to County Antrim with him, there would be a scandal. He was already married with a child back home.”
Morse looked at Amy and couldn’t help but be fascinated by her demeanour. He felt a bond with her and desperately wanted to find her family for her.
“One day, it will be easier to find long lost families.” She looked at him. “A thing called ‘DNA’, TV shows. They will find the two most genuine people to host it. Do you watch TV at all?”
“No. No, I don’t.”
“Can’t say I blame you. It is rubbish nowadays; full of soap operas, people wanting their 15 minutes, and dodgy detective shows!” Morse let out a small laugh and Amy smiled. “Please, do what you can,” she told him seriously. “Whatever you find, however small, I will really appreciate it.”
“I will do my best.” He noticed there was no food or drink anywhere in the room and figured she probably hadn’t eaten something decent in ages. “Sam not here?”
“No.” Amy’s face fell. “He has been out mostly since we arrived. I have hardly seen him. I think he is trying to tell me something we both already know.”
“Are you hungry, Miss Evans?” Amy smiled.
“Yes. Very much so,” she replied.
“Let’s go then.” He arched his arm, but Amy hesitated. “You will be all right. No one will harm you. I can guarantee it.” Amy gazed at Morse and smiled. She linked his arm and they left the room together.
Morse looked once more at the papers strewn in front of him. Things weren’t making much sense at all. He managed to get some sort of birth records from the town hall, but without a name to go on, it was a lost cause. He took another look at the adoption letter and remembered what Amy told him. He studied it carefully, taking in every detail. But as always with these things nothing much was said about the mother only that she was a teenager. Not even her age was mentioned, but Morse wasn’t too surprised by that. Amy was right – there wasn’t much to go on and it was like finding a needle in a haystack. But, as determined Morse was to solve this mystery, whether she was Ava or not, he wanted to help. He then looked up and saw a section in the library about War babies. Morse was perplexed how his eyes just focused on that section as if he was lead to it. As he was in the public library, he knew he could just go and take it out without having to take undue care.
Morse sat back down with the book and flicked through the pages. He wanted Second World War babies in Asia. After a few minutes of turning page after page, he found the chapter and began to read. His notepad was in front of him as was his pencil and he began taking notes, the expression on his face slightly aghast. He knew the same principles applied here for young, unwed mothers – or it did until things began to change – but this was something else. As always, it was run by nuns, Catholic mostly, and the treatment of the poor girls was something Morse was disgusted by. He then thought about Ava and their unborn child and how lucky both were as the child would have had him as a father and she eventually a husband. She wouldn’t have had to go through the stigma of an unmarried mother. Morse shivered at the thought of all those poor girls in that cramped home probably unwilling to give up their babies. He felt more determined to find Amy’s real parents. He finished scribbling whatever notes he needed and closed the book. As he packed up, he noticed the writing at the back underneath the preview. There at the bottom was the name of one of the researchers. The address was The Mail offices. Morse quickly reopened his notepad and scribbled down the name. He wondered if Dorothea Frazil was working there today…
Amy meanwhile decided to get some fresh air. She was sick of being cooped up in that dingy place and didn’t care who saw her or their attitudes. She was cautious however and apprehensive but took confident strides down the street. She made sure she was dressed smartly as always with a bag over her shoulder. To her surprise, she was ignored. Amy took deep breaths and her stride became much stronger and confident. A smile came over her lips and she grinned as she walked further down the street, even stopping by a grocer to buy a couple of apples. Her appetite returned, and she made a note to stop by a shop to buy some provisions on the way back. She turned into a park and sat down on a bench, the woman beside her smiling her greeting as she fed some leftover bread to the pigeons. She thought of Morse suddenly as she bit into her apple and wondered how his search was going.
Dorothea Frazil lit a cigarette and leaned back in her chair. She exhaled a huge plume of smoke and looked in Morse’s direction. She held his stare for a while before leaning forward to flick some ash into an ashtray on the desk in front of her.
“We had a hand in publishing the book,” she told him. “But nothing further than that. Why are you interested in Second World War babies anyway?”
Morse just looked at her as if was none of her business. Frazil took another drag before butting out the cigarette leaving the remains in the ashtray.
“I don’t know the journalist who wrote the book. She wasn’t one of ours. What I do know is that she was a War baby herself.”
“Do you have her details?” Morse asked. Frazil looked straight at him.
“I can find out for you,” she replied. “She is due to work here as a researcher.”
“Thank you.” Morse made a move to leave but the call of his name stopped him.
“I am sorry you know. For what happened.” Morse just gave Frazil a straight expression, one without feeling. Frazil sighed heavily. “Where can I find you?” she asked.
“The usual place,” Morse replied.
“Not the station?”
“I am on leave. Good day, Miss Frazil.” As the door closed, Frazil looked at the desk calendar in front of her and realised how long it was until the date in question, which was circled in thick black pen. She kicked herself for the faux pas and lit another cigarette.
Morse walked down the street and turned a corner. He wasn’t in the best of moods, but he had to learn still to control it. He was changing, very fast, and in a way even he was confused with. He had to learn to toughen up over the years, but it seemed Ava’s death had forced his hand much earlier. He knew he was always going to be on his own, so why not give that impression he was unapproachable? Moody. No one else could possibly understand, so why should they care? He stopped suddenly as he saw the familiar figure of Amy eating an apple on a bench, sitting crossed legged with her back to him. She looked like she was reading a book. Morse decided to approach her, his previous stance disappearing, and he turned back into how he really was.
“Good afternoon, Miss Evans.”
Amy turned her head and Morse found himself seeing Ava again.
“Good afternoon, detective.” She smiled and sat up properly. “Please, sit down.” She moved aside.
“You decided to venture out I see.”
“Yes. I thought about what you said over dinner that evening and you were right. Why should I be scared? Look! I even bought myself some apples!” She realised she was finishing her last one. “Well… I did buy some.” She laughed suddenly. Morse found himself smiling at her, her mannerisms.
“What are you reading?” he asked looking at the novel in her hands.
“Oh, this?” Amy smiled. “It’s The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll. I like something that challenges my mind.”
“Do you know what the Snark is?”
“I haven’t a clue. That is what the beauty of it is. Each time I read it, I notice something that I missed the last time. But I still am none the wiser!” They looked at each other.
“Have you been to the Botanical Gardens, Miss Evans?”
“No, I haven’t.” Amy’s voice fell in disappointment. “Actually, I’ve been meaning to since I got here.”
“Would you like to go?” Amy’s eyes lit up and her whole being also. Morse smiled at her.
“I’d love to, detective!” she replied excitedly. She blushed and glanced downwards for a little bit. “Any progress?” she suddenly asked looking at him.
“Progress?” He realised what she meant. “Oh, yes! I found a book on Second World War babies in the library and currently have a lead I am currently pursuing.”
Amy’s face lit up again. “Really? Oh, that is wonderful! Thank you so much.”
“A pleasure, Miss Evans.”
“And you will let me know what you find out?”
“Of course.” Morse’s voice was now soft again. He watched the joy on Amy’s face and felt pleased he was able to cheer her up.
“My date of birth is the 15th September 1943. But I think that might be false.”
“15th September…” Morse took out his notepad and wrote it down. “1943?”
“Yes,” Amy replied. “Which makes me 26, but I don’t know if that is my true age.”
“Do you think you are older?” He realised what he said and backed off in embarrassment. To his surprise, Amy burst out laughing. Morse smiled as she saw her bite into her apple shaking her head in amusement. “Please… call me Endeavour.”
“Endeavour?” Amy stopped laughing and swallowed her bit of apple. “As in Captain Cook’s ship?”
“Yes!” Morse’s eyes widened. No one had ever guessed before, let alone correctly. “How did you…?”
“My father. He was into all things nautical. Well, hailing from Hong Kong and having a father from Northern Ireland working on the shipyards, you couldn’t help but not take an interest.” She took another bite of her apple. “That is really amazing.” She smiled and placed the second core into the paper bag she was holding and disposed it into the bin nearby. “Your name. It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” she said to him. “My father used to read me bedtime stories about all these famous ships, both fictional and otherwise. He was obsessed. If he was still alive, I’m sure he would have been very happy to meet you!”
Morse blushed slightly but continued to gaze into Amy’s eyes. He wondered how Sam could mistreat someone as fascinating as she was. He looked up as she stood, standing over him.
“I’m going to do a bit of shopping. Care to keep me company?” She held out her hand. Morse looked at it a bit reluctantly. “Come on! It’s nearly 1970! A girl can put her hand out for a guy, can’t she?” She smiled. Morse eventually took it and Amy pulled him up.
“That place you are staying in,” Morse said as they walked slowly through the park together. “Does Sam stay with you?”
Amy shook her head. “No, not recently. As I said to you before, I think we are both in denial.”
“I’m sorry, Miss Evans.” Amy stopped suddenly and faced Morse looking straight at him with a smile.
“Please… call me Amy.” Morse smiled again. They continued their journey. “Nothing to be sorry for,” Amy continued. “We knew it was never going to work. I think he was a bit lonely and I felt the same. We are mismatched. He was fed up of having to explain himself each time we were seen together.”
“You mentioned blaming the Army.”
“The Army!” She scoffed in disgust. “Yeah, the Army! They’re a bunch of hypocrites! They go on crusades thinking that they are doing the country a favour, that morale had taken a beating after the War, which is correct, but really when it comes down to it, they dislike the people they are trying to defend when on tours abroad. It is like they have never learnt from colonialism. They’re only doing it because they must, but deep down, they mistreat the natives as much as the people they are fighting against.
“Sam’s senior officers caught wind of the fact that we were courting, and I knew they had words with him because one evening he changed. He became stern, more heartless, cold. He was even reluctant to touch me in public just in case one of his Army friends saw us. I honestly do not know why we even continued.” She took a deep breath to calm herself. “I did not come here to fall in love with a soldier, to become a Forces wife or anyone’s wife. I came here to find my real parents. Nothing more, nothing less.” Morse became increasingly annoyed by what he heard, moreover because this was not how Fred Thursday brought up his son to become. They walked out of the park onto the main road.
“Come and stay with me, Amy,” Morse suddenly offered. “I have not long moved into a new place. There is a spare room there. I honestly think you would be safer if you did.”
Amy stopped walking and turned to look at him again. “But what about Sam’s father? What if he finds out?”
“Doesn’t matter. I am not working with Sam’s father. What I do is none of his business.” Amy tried to read Morse’s eyes to find something that would say he was lying but couldn’t find anything except genuine.
“Thank you. I’d love to.” Morse smiled. Amy linked his arm. “I honestly cannot wait to get out of there,” she said. “Madam can kiss my part Northern Irish behind!” They walked further down the street towards the hostel.
Amy moved into Morse’s new digs and felt more comfortable and safe. She completely came out of her shell and for the first time in a long time, Morse found himself more alive. It was also handy having her around as he felt she could help him more solve her quest. One evening, they were sitting on the sofa in the living room, the sound of opera filtering gently through the speakers next to a brand new turntable.
Morse looked at Amy as she took a sip of her glass of water. He gently put his glass of Scotch to his lips and watched as Amy started humming to the notes of the music. She became conscious of it suddenly and looked at Morse going slightly red.
“No. Don’t stop. Please.” Morse reassured her. Amy smiled and carried on. She giggled suddenly conscious of her actions and stopped again.
“Tell me, Endeavour,” she said. “What made you join the police force?”
“I wanted to,” Morse replied. “I was sent on this course and met Sam’s father there.”
“Do you like it?”
“I did, yes.”
“But now?” Morse hesitated.
“I don’t like change, Amy!” His tone was on the verge of reluctant stubbornness. “I know it has to happen, but not in the way it has and definitely not how quickly.”
“Sam told me you all had to leave each other. It must have been difficult.”
“It was, yes.”
“Do you hold hope that you may all be reunited eventually?”
Morse thought carefully of the question. He knew it could be a while before that happened, if it in fact will. However, such as the person Amy was, the tone of her voice that brought hope, he couldn’t help but think just as positively.
“Yes. I do,” he replied. Amy noticed the look he was giving her, more importantly in his eyes. She turned an angle to face him and her hands fell on her lap.
“Endeavour…if you don’t mind… Tell me if I am getting personal, but who is this Ava that I remind you so much of?” She watched as Morse stood up and walked to his desk study. He opened the drawer and took out a double photo frame. A gold chain with a pendant was inside a small transparent bag next to it. He looked at the photos as he sat back down next to her.
“We met at the university. Sam’s father and I were investigating a spate of murders on campus.” His eyes clouded over. “She was the most beautiful person I had ever seen. She was intelligent, funny, but also worried about what the future held. She was part of the university choir and had such a beautiful voice. She had been through a lot, but we fell in love with each other.” He ran his fingers along Ava’s face. “She was carrying my child.”
Amy held Morse’s hand. “What happened?”
“She died.” Morse’s voice was sad and sullen. “An explosion. She was caught in the middle of it. I was too late to stop her…”
“I am so sorry, Endeavour.” She glanced at the frame. “Would you mind if I can see what she looked like?” Morse handed her the frame and looked away. Amy carefully held the frame in the palms of her hands and gasped softly as she looked at the pictures. On the left was one of both Ava and Morse, happy and holding one another looking into each other’s eyes. She could spot the Bridge of Sighs in the distance. Then she looked to the frame on the right at a picture of a smiling and joyful Ava in her Cambridge robes standing on a grassy area on what looked like a campus courtyard and only then knew why. “Was she a Cambridge graduate?”
“Yes. She was also a senior lecturer. One of the first female ones. She moved back there after the murders were solved. I was present when she got her robes. I was so proud of her.”
“I can imagine. What subject did she teach?”
“Theology and Philosophy. She was also one of the youngest to obtain a doctorate there.”
“Really? No wonder you fell for her.” She settled the frame gently on the table. “Endeavour?” Morse was still looking away, unable to face her. Tears were falling from his eyes. “Endeavour.” Amy’s voice was soft and gentle. “When was the last time you saw her?”
“Her funeral. It will be one year soon.”
“Tell me to mind my own business, but perhaps you should go and see her. It might help you heal more.” Morse turned to face her. Amy pulled her sleeve down gripping the ends and wiped the tears away gently. “I know you feel guilty that you could have stopped her, that you feel you could have done more but realistically, Endeavour, there was nothing you could have done. You didn’t know there was going to be an explosion. No one does. But, please believe me when I tell you that you must go and see her! She is missing you, too. That I can guarantee.”
Morse started to sob quietly. It was the first time he had done since she died and all his built-up emotions, each and every one, not to mention his vulnerability, came out with each tear from his eyes. Amy held him. He clutched her tightly.
“It’s okay, Endeavour.” She rocked him gently.
“I miss her,” Morse whispered in agony. “I miss her so much!”
“I know.” Morse looked up at her and she smiled kindly at him. The telephone rang suddenly, but they were too lost in each other’s eyes. “I’ll get it,” she whispered. Morse didn’t want her to let go, but she walked over the short distance to pick up. “Hello, Detective Sergeant Morse’s residence? Of course, may I ask who’s calling? Okay, hold on.” She settled the receiver on the table and walked back over. She crouched down in front of Morse. “There’s a call for you, Endeavour,” she told him softly holding his hand. “Someone from The Mail regarding a journalist? Shall I take a number?”
“No, it’s fine. It is the lead I am following.” He gazed at Amy affectionately before standing up and walking over to take the call. Amy sat back down and looked again at the framed photographs. She then stood up and walked to her bedroom, passing Morse who was taking notes.
Amy knelt on the floor and opened her suitcase to take out a folder that contained a few documents. She walked back out where Morse was busy looking at what he had written. She stood next to him and took out various papers. Morse took an interest.
“These may help you,” she told him. “There is some documentation of mother’s amongst this.” Morse suddenly noticed a picture and asked if he could have a look. Amy became coy and she closed the folder. “Plenty time to show you that,” she said. “Let me know if you need these documents and I will hand them over to you.” Morse didn’t like what he heard but respected her instructions. “Was that telephone call useful?”
“Yes,” Morse replied. “Yes, it was. I am going to see her tomorrow.”
“The journalist? Do you think she could help?”
“Hopefully. I am confident.” Amy nodded slowly. She then reopened the folder and took out the photograph.
“This is my graduation photo,” she said heavily. “Mother passed away beforehand and father was ill in hospital.” Her eyes fell. Morse looked at the picture and was stunned to see how similar it was to Ava’s Cambridge one. “I didn’t want to upset you further. I know how much I look like her.”
“So, who saw you graduate?”
“No one. I don’t have any other family, Endeavour. That is why it is important I find my real parents. I need a sense of belonging.” Morse still couldn’t believe what he was seeing and hearing. This was Ava all over again. His feelings for the first time became conflicted. He stared at the photograph.
“What was your degree?”
“History. Medieval history.” This was suddenly too much for Morse and he turned his back, walking a few short steps away.
“Are you Ava?” he asked suddenly. He felt Amy’s presence behind him as she placed her hand on his shoulder. Morse turned and looked at her. He cleared the dark hair from her face and gazed into her eyes. Amy smiled kindly at him and held his hands. Nothing more was exchanged between them.
The journalist was a pleasant brown-haired lady in her early thirties. She was dressed very smartly with a bag over her shoulder and a case by her feet. She was waiting for Morse outside the train station having arrived from London a little while before. Morse pulled over in his car and got out to meet her. They shook hands and walked to a nearby pub.
Once they placed their drinks on the table and sat down, the journalist reached into her bag and brought out a heavy looking folder. She took out some documents and handed them to Morse.
“These are the records of my adoption,” she told him. “As you can see, I was born in Czechoslovakia in 1938. I was rescued by an American couple. We moved to England before War broke out. But, we left there not long after and settled in Pennsylvania.”
Morse studied the documents carefully. Sure enough, what was told to him was true. There was an English language translation of the adoption papers, her original birth certificate, adoption certificate and pictures of her as a baby. Morse realised how lucky she was to have all the information to hand. Nothing was kept from her.
“What made you write the book, Miss Howard?”
“Please, call me Rachel.” She had what could only be described as a transatlantic accent. “I wanted to write about my experiences. It may be 1969, but the War is still fresh in people’s minds. War babies was and is a sad story of the War and there are many of us all around the world, detective. I just wanted to tell mine.”
“Did you ever meet your birth parents?”
“Unfortunately, no. They perished when the country was invaded. I was lucky to be adopted. Many other babies in that hospital didn’t make it or weren’t as fortunate.”
Morse looked at Rachel and got back to the documents. He picked up a photo of a young couple and turned it over. There was writing in Czech on the back with the year 1937. Rachel smiled.
“They are my real parents,” she said. “The writing just states their names and the location the picture was taken.”
“Do you speak Czech?”
“Yes. My adopted parents wanted me to know where I came from. They paid for me to have lessons after school. There was this young teacher who managed to escape before War broke out. I used to go to her house twice a week to learn.”
“You are very lucky, Miss Howard.”
“Extremely. Most have no clue who their birth parents are because all records tend to be destroyed either by bombing or by deliberate means. This in turn causes anguish for those wanting to find them because they cannot find anything that could help them.”
“Your chapter on Asian War babies. Can I ask how you managed to write that when you were a victim of the European war?”
“I put out an advert in The New York Times and the Washington Post saying I was doing research for a book on War babies, specifically those from the War in Asia. The response was immense. There were a good few in the States and Canada and some still in the Far East. I met with the ones locally and corresponded with the long-distance ones by telephone. Their stories echoed mine, but different in the sense the war there was of a different sort of violence. It still didn’t make it any easier.” Rachel noticed the look on Morse’s face. “Do you know someone?”
“Miss Howard…Rachel. Will you be in Oxford long?”
“I am staying for a while,” she replied. “I am starting a short-term tenure at The Mail. I am due to meet with Dorothea Frazil tomorrow.”
“I may need your help.” He scribbled down a telephone number and gave it to her. “Once you are settled, can you please give me a call?”
“Of course.” Rachel smiled and placed the note inside her folder. “Do you know of someone in the same predicament?”
“I will give you all the details in due course.” Morse caught sight of Thursday walking inside. He quickly drank up. “It was lovely to meet you, Rachel. Please call me soon.” He shook her hand and quickly left. Rachel found the whole departure rather quick, but also humorous. She smiled as she gathered her papers together, her glass of orange juice still full.
Sam Thursday walked down the stairs and into the kitchen where he began to fix himself something to eat. It was lunchtime when he surfaced. The house was quiet. His sister had gone to work as did his mother and father. Having to fend for himself wasn’t a problem for him – he was used to it after all. As he grabbed a glass from the cupboard and the carton of orange juice from the fridge, the rattle of the letterbox got his attention. Taking a sip of his juice, he placed the glass on the worktop and walked over towards the door. There was a letter on the doormat and Sam bent over to pick it up. It was addressed to a ‘Mr Thursday’ but nothing else. Thinking it was for him, Sam tore open the envelope and looked at the piece of paper inside. What met his eyes sent him skywards that he ran up the stairs coming down not long later in his plain army fatigues. He grabbed a spare set of keys and ran out slamming the door.
Amy placed a record on the turntable and brought the needle over. As the music began playing she began swaying her hips side to side, taking up her hairbrush to begin singing. Morse hadn’t returned from his morning outing so that gave her the perfect opportunity to fill the living room with her voice.
“‘Anyone who ever loved, could look at me / And know that I love you / Anyone who ever dreamed, could look at me / And know I dream of you / Knowing I love you so / Anyone who had a heart…'”
Morse turned the key in the lock and walked inside. He heard the music coming from the living room and the sound of Amy singing. He smiled as he closed the door.
“‘…Like you hurt me and be so untrue / What am I to do?'” She turned and gulped as she saw Morse standing by the doorway in amusement. “Endeavour!” She quickly brought the needle back and hurriedly held the hairbrush behind her back. “Surprise…Surprise? When did you get in?”
“Just now.” He tried not to laugh, which made Amy’s blushes that much redder.
“One day, someone will cover this song,” she said. “She will be a million times better than me and be more popular for it!” She giggled and threw the hairbrush on the sofa.
Morse walked inside still amused by what he witnessed. He stood in front of Amy. “Why did you stop? I was enjoying that.”
“I’m sure you were!” Amy was still red. She looked into Morse’s eyes and he held it in return for a while. “So, how did it go?” Amy forced herself to walk to the kitchen. She ran the tap and filled a glass with water, drinking it down so fast without taking a breath.
“It went well,” Morse replied standing by the doorway watching her. “She is a former War baby herself.” Amy turned to look at Morse and her eyes widened. A look of hope came over her face and Morse felt a sense of achievement.
“Really?” She bounded over. “Do you think she can really help?”
“I think so.” Amy gave him a huge hug.
“Thank you so much, Endeavour,” she whispered in his ear. Morse brought her at half an arm’s length to look at her.
“I will find your parents for you,” he told her. Emotion came over Amy’s being.
“I honestly am so grateful to have met you,” she said. “I can see why Ava fell for you. You are such an amazing person.”
Morse bowed his head in embarrassment. He looked back up at Amy and found himself lost in her eyes. But once again, he saw Ava and his feelings became conflicted. He walked back into the living room. Amy followed him in.
“Does it upset you I am here, Endeavour?” Morse turned.
“No! Of course not. I am happy you are here, Amy. Do you feel uncomfortable?”
“No, not at all.” She watched as Morse poured himself a glass of Scotch.
“Do you mind if I give her your box?” he suddenly asked, doing yet another three-sixty. Amy became slightly confused at his sudden change of tone and mannerism.
“Sure. If it will help her find at least one piece of information.” She walked towards him, stopping a few yards behind his back. “Endeavour, I…”
“I want you to stay, Amy.” He turned to look at her. “Please.”
Amy once again studied Morse’s eyes but again found nothing but sincerity. She nodded. Morse placed his glass down and walked towards her.
“Endeavour…” she began, but Morse gently hushed her. He gently laced a strand of her hair behind her ear. Amy closed her eyes as she felt Morse lips brush against her cheek. “I don’t think this is a good idea,” she whispered. “I am not Ava. I can never be her…” But again, she was hushed by a gentle kiss on her lips. “Stop, Endeavour…please…” She found herself kissing him back. Morse lifted her up and she wrapped her legs around him. Amy broke free from her kissing him. “Are you sure this what you really want?” But Morse kissed her again. He guided her to his bedroom kicking the door shut with his heel.
Morse stared at Amy from above. He was balancing himself with his hands, the covers across his naked back. Amy was looking up at him, caressing his face with her right hand. Her left arm was draped across his shoulders. He suddenly turned her over, so she was arching her back over him. Amy stared into his eyes and kissed him hard, Morse gripping her hair at the back of her head pulling it slightly. She panted looking at him. Morse studied her delicate features and leaned forwards to kiss her. He turned her over again so he was now on top of her. Pleasure and ecstasy came over Amy and she closed her eyes as Morse got to work, her breath suddenly catching. She wrapped her ankles gently around Morse’s, his naked body visible as he reached over. They held hands tightly and Amy let out a soft moan…
Sam Thursday ran up the steps of a police station and walked down the corridor towards where his father was working. Two detectives looked up as he walked in and gave him very suspicious looks. One of them, a tall man with dark hair, hopped off the desk he was perched on and walked over.
“Can I help you?” he asked. Sam looked at him and scoffed rather ignorantly.
“I’m looking for DCI Thursday,” he replied with a hint of arrogance. “He works here, doesn’t he?”
“Who wants to know?” the detective asked. Sam ignored him.
“It’s all right.” Thursday suddenly came into view. His desk wasn’t too far away. “I’ll take it from here, DS Haskins.”
“Yes, sir.” The detective still viewed Sam suspiciously as he walked out with his father.
“Sorry to come to your place of work, Dad,” Sam apologised as they walked down a very busy corridor.
“No need to apologise, son. I was getting fed up of the atmosphere anyway.” They walked through a set of double doors and down a flight of stairs. They walked out on to the station forecourt and stood to the side in the mouth of an open gateway. “What is the matter, son?”
“Do you know where Morse is, Dad?”
“Presumably he is on leave. You know it is nearing the first anniversary of Ava’s death.” He paused. “What?” he asked suspiciously.
“I think you should read this.” Sam gave him the torn envelope. “I’m sorry I opened it, but it wasn’t specific to whom it was addressed to.”
“No, that is all right, son. Don’t worry.” Thursday took the note out and read it to himself quietly. “Where is Amy?” he asked. “Have you seen her recently?”
“No…” Sam replied rather sheepishly. “I haven’t seen her for a while.”
“How long, Sam?” Now Thursday raised his voice.
“Since the day I brought her home… more or less.”
“So, she has been alone all this time?!” Thursday was disappointed with his son’s attitude. “I did not bring you up to treat women this way, Sam.”
“And I refuse to justify my reasons to anyone, least of all to this family!”
Thursday stood right in front of his son getting right in his face. “Do not speak to me like that ever again. You may be in the Army, son, but that does not give you the God given right to disrespect me like that. I am still your father!” Sam lapsed into silence accepting the verbal punishment.
“She isn’t alone, Dad. She is with Morse.”
“How do you know? This note? Who wrote it? Where is your proof?”
“I know she is with him, sir.” Thursday took note of the brave look on his son’s face, but deep down he was the scared little boy he remembered growing up.
“Go and collect her and bring her home. She can stay with us.” But Sam wasn’t too happy with the idea. “Sam?”
“Is there something you are not telling me?”
“No, sir.” Sam flinched slightly, but enough for Thursday to notice.
“I am here for you, son, if you need to talk.” Thursday gave him a hug and Sam returned it tightly. “No matter what… I love you.”
“Me too, Dad.”
Thursday didn’t like seeing his son hurting the way he was. He didn’t like any member of his family hurting. “It will be all right, son. Don’t worry. Leave it with me. You love her, don’t you?”
“Yes. I love her, Dad!” Sam’s voice nearly broke and he was once again the vulnerable and polite, nice lad Thursday knew him to be.
“Go home and wait. I will bring her back.” Sam stood to attention and saluted. Thursday returned the compliment.
“Thank you, Dad.” Sam smiled at him before leaving. Thursday waited until Sam was long gone. He looked again at the note he was given, reading it one more time before tearing it up along with the envelope and stuffing it in his pocket. This was the last thing he wanted. No more shit with Morse and his sexual shenanigans. What was he trying to prove anyway? Amy was a dead ringer for Ava, which he himself noticed. It wasn’t difficult not to. Thursday sighed heavily. He began to wonder whether he too lost control of Morse, whom he painstakingly trained up over the years. Thursday began to think it was high time he threw it in, that personally it was about time he focused on his family… That and the fact he was getting older not to mention he absolutely detested the station he was working in.
He looked up and saw a female police officer in the distance walking through the forecourt. He called her name and walked over, talking to her quietly. The officer nodded before the two of them walked inside.
Amy stared up at the ceiling wondering what she had done. She had the sheets covering her modesty, her arms by her side. Thoughts went through her head: Morse, Ava, herself. No doubt the sex was good, but did it mean anything? Was Morse only like this because she looked like Ava? Amy felt sick and she slowly moved trying not to wake Morse, who was asleep beside her. She wrapped the sheet around her as she hobbled rather ungracefully trying to find her clothes. Morse opened his eyes as he heard the noise and Amy swearing under her breath as she picked up her undergarments. He sat up and watched her with a smile on his face.
“What are you doing?” he asked. Amy stopped and blinked hard.
“Nothing,” she replied with her back to him.
“Come back to bed.”
“I-I can’t.” She picked up her jumper and skirt and walked to the door.
“No, Endeavour!” She turned to look at him. She noticed the look on his face and realised she was Ava again. “I have to go. I can’t stay here.”
“What?” Morse exclaimed in disbelief. He bundled himself out of bed as Amy walked out. She walked into the spare room closing the door. Morse followed her out wearing nothing but a pair of shorts and cursed under his breath. He knocked on the door asking Amy to come out to talk. “Come on, Amy,” he said. “Please.”
Amy poked her head round the door. “I have to go.” She tried closing it, but Morse blocked her from doing so. He heard Amy sigh and walked in. To his dismay, she was packing.
“You can’t go,” he told her. Amy didn’t answer. She placed her jumper over her head and zipped up her skirt.
“Endeavour, I am not Ava! I will never be her! Please stop thinking I am!” The look on her face made Morse felt guilty. “I told you, go and see her! You need to. You cannot move on otherwise.” She pushed an Alice band over her hair and quickly styled it before picking up her suitcase.
“Where will you go?” Morse asked, visibly upset. He followed her into the living room.
“I don’t know… Anywhere!” She started to desperately search for something. “Oh, where is it?” she asked.
“Where is what?”
“I thought I was going to find your parents for you…”
“No. It’s okay. You tried. Thank you. I will continue my search on my own.” She desperately continued to look but couldn’t find it. Morse walked over and placed his hand on her shoulder tenderly. Amy hung her head and stood up. She looked away, but Morse gently persuaded her to look at him.
“Amy…” he said softly. “Please stay. I will find your parents for you.”
“What have we done, Endeavour?”
“Only what we wanted to.” He gazed into her eyes.
“You mean what you wanted to.” Amy couldn’t help but feel dirty. This went against all her principles. But there was something about Morse… Something she couldn’t resist. Maybe she was Ava after all – in that respect.
“Well, who wouldn’t?” Morse had a glint in his eye. “After hearing that lovely singing voice of yours.” Amy burst out laughing. She sniffed back a tear. She shyly smiled and Morse held her.
“You’re cold,” she said wrapping her arms around him. Morse whispered in her ear and she hit him jokingly. “Get dressed,” she said. Morse still held her with a grin on his face. Amy started to giggle and kissed him on his shoulder. A knock on the door and the doorbell ringing got their attention and Morse ran over to the bedroom. Amy sniffed back another tear in amusement as she walked over to answer.
“I knew you were here!”
“Sam…” Amy was shocked to see him. “What the…? How…?” Sam barged past her and walked into the living room.
“So, this is where you’ve been staying!”
“Well, would you rather have me stay where I was? I was obviously not welcome at your parents’ house!”
“Where is he?” Sam shouted. “Morse!” The bedroom door opened. Morse walked out with a T-shirt on over his shorts. He saw Sam standing there. Sam looked at Morse, then at Amy and his worst fears were confirmed. Amy ran between them.
“Don’t start, Sam,” she warned him.
“How long has this been going on?” Sam asked looking right at Amy. “Answer me!”
“I am not one of your corporals, Sam! Don’t ever talk to me like I am one!” Sam glared at her.
“You couldn’t resist could you, Morse?” he said looking at him from behind Amy’s shoulder. “You could have any woman in Oxford, but you decide on my girlfriend instead?!”
“I am not your girlfriend, Sam! You made sure of that a long time ago!” Sam stared at Amy. Her stance was strong and powerful.
“I’ll get you, Morse!” Sam pointed at him threateningly. “Mark my words.”
“Oh, grow a spine, Sam!” Amy sounded just like Win. “You’re pathetic. Morse here values me. He doesn’t see colour, but the person inside!”
“He thinks you are Ava, Amy! Don’t fool yourself!”
“Get out!” Amy pointed the direction to the front door.
“You are coming with me!” Sam grabbed Amy by the wrist and nearly dragged her away, but Morse stopped him.
“Let go of her!” he yelled. He pushed Sam’s hand away violently. “This is my house. As Amy kindly told you – get out!” Sam glared at Morse and had no choice but to do as he demanded.
“I’m warning you!” Sam again was threatening Morse. He looked at Amy before leaving.
As the door slammed shut, Amy turned to look at Morse. She walked over and sat down on the sofa and buried her head in her hands. Morse decided to stand away from her.
“He is a piece of work,” Amy suddenly said. “No respect. What did I tell you about the Army, Endeavour?!” She removed the Alice band from her head and chucked it on the coffee table. “I am so sorry.”
“Nothing to apologise for,” Morse replied. He looked at Amy, who by now was looking fed up. “Are you all right?”
“Sex ruins everything.” She looked up at Morse. “I think I’d better go.”
“You’re not going back to him, are you? After what he just did!” Morse was incredulous but tried not to look hurt as she walked to pick up her case.
“No, of course not! But it won’t be at the same place you found me either. I have money. I will find somewhere.” Morse bowed his head. Amy shook her head slowly before leaving only to come back a split second later. “I’ll call you when I am settled. You still owe me.”
Morse looked up at Amy and they held each other’s gaze for a while. Amy noticed how torn Morse was inside and couldn’t bear to leave him like this, not so close to the date. She knew if she walked out, it would be déjà-vu and she couldn’t do that to him. Morse watched as she walked back inside the spare room, the sound of the case making a thud as she flung it inside. She came back out and sat back down on the sofa. Morse smiled, pleased she decided to stay. Amy crossed her legs and cupped her chin with her hand, resting her elbow on the arm rest. She turned her head not wanting to look at him. The atmosphere turned awkward and once again nothing was said. Morse ventured forward to sit next to her. He held her hand.
“Thank you,” he said. Amy eventually nodded and turned to rest her head on his shoulder.
A few days passed. Morse and Amy grew closer. They spent most of their time together, he getting to know her more and that in turn helped them both with her quest. There were no more visits from Sam and it seemed the initial threat had passed. Morse took Amy to the Botanical Gardens where they looked at the various plants, admiring and savouring the rather calm atmosphere. It was there Amy found out more about one of Lewis Carroll’s haunts. Later, as Morse watched Amy feed the birds with seed, he thought about what she said. It was high time he went to Cambridge, she was right. He missed Ava badly and wanted to see her – but not on his own. He wondered if Amy would accompany him but thought it to be a very bad idea. It wouldn’t hurt though to ask, of course.
Rachel Howard started her short-term tenure at The Mail. She seemed to be enjoying the experience and was savouring her time in Oxford. It brought a lot of mystery and hidden secrets, especially within the university walls itself. Dorothea Frazil was on hand to help her and she had a few articles published. All in all, it had the makings of a very successful period.
The telephone rang on her desk and Rachel picked up. She listened to the voice on the other end and started scribbling. She told the person at the other end to meet outside the Ashmolean Museum and gave a suitable time. She placed the receiver back on its cradle and walked over to Frazil’s office.
Sam Thursday was inconsolable and no matter how hard Win tried to cheer him up, nothing would work. He was a wreck and nothing like the confident soldier he was when he arrived. Fred Thursday meanwhile looked at his son staring at the TV with a look of concern. He saw the same look on his wife’s face from the kitchen and walked over. Win shook her head slowly and got on with making dinner.
“Is this how it is going to be?” she said. “Our son comes home with a girl we hardly know… or we think we know and because she runs off with Morse he breaks down?!”
“I know, Win.” Thursday sighed heavily. “Don’t you think I haven’t noticed?”
“So, what are you going to do about it then?” Win took a deep breath to calm herself down. “Morse is turning out to be more trouble than he is worth! I don’t want him coming here anymore, Fred! Anymore! You hear me?”
Thursday knew Win was right. But if she could just wait until that female police officer reports back to him…
“I will talk to Morse,” he said. “But you have got to understand – this is difficult for him right now…”
“Don’t you think I don’t know that!” Win lowered her voice. “The girl looks like Ava! We all know! But this does not give him the right to hurt Sam like that!”
“It is our fault too, Win. We stopped him from seeing her. He hasn’t been near her since that afternoon.” He paused. “I think there is more to this than he is letting on.”
“Who? Morse or Sam?”
“Both of them.” Thursday took another look at the open living room doorway, the sound of the television filtering through.
“What is the matter, Fred?” Win noticed the look on his face. “What are you not telling me?”
“I’m not sure, love. Not yet anyway.” He walked over to give her a kiss on the cheek. “Don’t worry, my love. It will all be fine. I will talk to Morse.”
“You’d better! I don’t want this family torn into more pieces because of his philandering.” As Win got back to her cooking, Thursday once again looked at the living room doorway. He wondered whether his task for that officer would come up trumps.
Morse opened the front door and Amy walked in. Her skin was sun-kissed from spending the day at the Gardens. She entered the living room and collapsed on the sofa. Morse smiled as he followed her in and poured himself a drink before sitting down beside her.
“I had an amazing time today, Endeavour. Thank you.”
“It was a pleasure, Amy.” He took a sip and placed the glass down on a table beside him. Amy kicked off her sandals and wiggled her toes.
“The last time I did something as joyful as this was back home. I spent it with my father. We went around the docks, the beach and the parks. It was before I graduated…after mother died.” She bowed her head briefly. Morse turned himself to the side to look at her.
“What did your father die of, if I may ask?”
“Cancer,” Amy replied. “Lung cancer. He also had pneumonia. He was so frail in his final weeks, he could barely raise his head.” Morse held her hand. “I hope this Rachel Howard can find out something. I hope my box will help.”
“I’m sure it will, Amy. She seemed very keen when she looked at all the documents inside, especially the folder you gave me.”
“I hope so, Endeavour. I feel this is perhaps my final chance. The best chance I have.” She looked at him. “Again, I would like to thank you for all your help. I really couldn’t have gathered the strength without you.” Morse bowed his head blushing. He looked up at Amy and caressed her cheek. He leaned forward to kiss her and she responded. He brought her close and she nestled against him.
“Will you come with me to Cambridge, Amy?” Amy opened her eyes in shock. She gently broke free and sat up looking at him.
“Endeavour, I would only infringe on your privacy. This is between you and Ava. Who am I to come between the two of you?”
“You already have, Amy. I am asking you as someone I feel close to. I honestly can’t do this on my own. I need you! Please?” Amy looked at Morse and saw the turmoil in his eyes, in his voice. She knew this was tearing him apart inside and he was also frightened. She held him suddenly and kissed him on the forehead.
“I’ll think about it,” she whispered. A tear came out of Morse’s eye and ran down his cheek. It wasn’t that long to go now.
Rachel Howard went through the documents one more time that Morse had given her not too long ago. She studied each one carefully, making notes and making sure she hadn’t misread anything. Morse had spoken to her beforehand, telling her all about Amy and how she was looking for her real parents. He also told her that he was having trouble finding out if her birth mother was a native of Oxford or not. He also apologised for the lack of information as this was all Amy had on her. But it was enough for Rachel. She had gone on with much less during her research for the book, so this was more than enough to get started.
She bid some of her journalist colleagues a pleasant evening before getting back to the documents. Something caught her eye and she picked one up. As Rachel studied it, her eyes widened slightly. She scribbled down a few notes and picked up the phone in front of her. As she was dialling long-distance, it took a while for it to be connected and even then it was via an operator. Once the call was connected and an all familiar long ringing sound was heard, Rachel grew just that little bit nervous.
“Good afternoon. Thank you for calling the Washington Post. How can I help you?”
“Hello, good evening. My name is Rachel Howard. I am a journalist with The Oxford Mail in England. Can I speak to David Springfield, please? Yes, I’ll hold.” Rachel anxiously tapped her pencil on her desk. “David! It’s Rachel! Yes, long time no hear. Yes, I am enjoying it here in Oxford immensely. Listen, I need your help. You know that article I wrote about Asian War babies? Yes, well get this – we have a case here in Oxford! She is from Hong Kong originally.” Rachel nodded as she listened to her opposite number on the other side of the Atlantic. “She was adopted from that same home in Kowloon. Yes, that one! The one that was demolished. I know! What were the odds!” She nodded again and scribbled down a name and a contact number. “David, you are a gem amongst gems!” She laughed. “You bet! As soon as I get back! All right. Take care and thank you so much.” She placed the receiver back down and punched the air. She felt she was going to solve this much more quickly than her previous ones. She felt like calling Morse but decided against it until she was really sure. She grinned emphatically and carried on looking through the documents.
Sam’s eyes widened as he took in what his father had just told him. Win and Joanie couldn’t believe it either. They were all sitting at the dining room table, half empty glasses in front of them. A small plate with the last few slices of cake was in the middle as was a nearly empty jug of water. The gentle ticking of the small mantelpiece clock was all that could be heard cutting into the silence.
“Poor child!” Win exclaimed. “Poor, poor child. Imagine not knowing who your real parents are!”
“Are you sure, Dad?” Sam looked straight at Thursday needing more confirmation.
“I am sure, son, yes.” Thursday nodded. “I had one of my WPCs go undercover to find out.”
“She’s a bloody liar then!” Sam bitterly said of Amy.
“Sam, do not swear at the table!”
“Sorry, Mum, but she is! She lied about herself to me. She lied about the real reason she was here. How can I trust someone who lies?”
“She didn’t mean to lie, son,” Thursday told him reassuringly. “It must be difficult for her. It isn’t an easy thing to disclose.”
“Yeah, but I bet she had no problems telling Morse!” Joanie flinched. “I caught them. They have been sleeping together.” Joanie stared at her brother knowing somehow it to be true. Thursday looked at his son.
“How do you know this?” he asked angrily. Sam stared at his father.
“I knew she was with him! I went over to the hostel. I was told by the landlady that she checked out a while ago. Morse was with her. It didn’t take me long to find out where they were!”
Thursday stood up and Sam did the same. They both confronted each other, the younger high on Adrenalin and eager for a face-off.
“Are you stupid?” Thursday now was fuming. “Could you not have waited! I told you I was going to bring her back!”
“Well, I am sorry, Dad! But I couldn’t. I was following a hunch. A gut instinct. Isn’t that what you drummed into my head all these years?!”
“Sam, sit down.” Joanie was anxious to diffuse the confrontation before it got worse. Thursday was now very angry and very pissed off with his son.
“I don’t know what they have taught you in your Army, Samuel Thursday. But all l know is that you have completely lost respect for me and yourself! How dare you! Who do you think you are? Now sit down before I send you into the bloody middle of next year!” Sam stared into his father’s eyes. Thursday also didn’t break the stare. Both men faced off not wanting to be the first to move.
“At least the Army taught me how to be a better man than you ever could!” Sam’s words were enough for Thursday that he landed a right hook across his face so hard he ended up flying into the mantelpiece. Win screamed and Joanie tutted. This did not come as any surprise to her. Win rushed over to comfort her son.
“Oh, why do you mollycoddle him, Win, for heaven’s sake!” Thursday’s eyes shot to the ceiling in despair.
“You do not touch my son in that way ever again, Fred Thursday! Do you hear me?!” She grabbed a tissue from nearby and Sam blotted his split lip. “Joan! Get some ice and wrap it in a tea towel. Quickly!” Joanie stood up and ran to the kitchen. Win glared at her husband.
“Look what Morse has done!” she shouted at him. “Now will you speak to him, Fred! He is banned from this house! I do not want to see him step one foot down that pathway let alone through this front door! He is trouble and I do not care what you think!”
“I’m sorry, Dad!” Sam sobbed looking at him. Thursday watched as Joanie came running back in with the ice pack. Win took it from her and gently applied it to her son’s face.
“I’ll go and see him now.” Thursday looked at the mess that was his family before leaving. As the front door closed, Win held her now weeping son and prayed to God this would be the last time Morse’s name would be uttered in her house.
Amy started humming to the opera that was playing on the turntable in the living room. She was in the kitchen making herself and Morse something to eat. She was wearing one of Morse’s shirts over her shorts with her bare legs visible.
Morse watched her from the kitchen doorway eyeing her up rather mischievously. He took his glass of orange juice to his lips not taking his eyes off her for a split second. Amy finished filling the second plate and took the cutlery from the drawer. She turned and grinned at Morse who settled the glass down and walked towards her, pushing her hard against the edge of the sink.
“Hey, come on now.” She giggled as he nuzzled her neck. “Not in here! Show a bit of class!” She burst out laughing at the look on Morse’s face. “Your food is ready.” Morse winked at her before turning to pick up his plate. Amy grinned as she followed him. They ate at the dining table hungrily. The food was finished in no time at all and Amy drank the last bits of her juice. She stood up to collect the plates, but Morse took her by the hand and playfully brought her over to his lap. As they were about to kiss each other, the doorbell rang. Amy stood up immediately to collect the dishes whilst Morse walked away to answer.
“Sir!” Amy heard the surprised tone of his voice from the kitchen and shuddered when she heard Thursday’s voice in return. She left the dishes in the sink and crept over to the living room doorway, keeping discreet to the side as she listened to the conversation, the opera suddenly coming to a premature end.
“Why didn’t you tell me, Morse?” Thursday was disappointed with him.
“I am on leave, sir. What I do with it is my own.”
“I understand that, Morse, but you still could have told me. I would have understood. I know you hate betraying confidences, but this involves my family, my son.”
“Your son…” Morse stopped himself from raising his voice. “With all due respect, sir, your son has no idea who Amy is. He doesn’t know her nor appreciates her. Not truly. Amy came to me that afternoon. She told me. She is desperate to find her birth parents. I volunteered to try.”
“You always had a soft spot for ladies in distress, Morse. It will be the end of you one day…as will your drinking.”
Morse said nothing. He wasn’t interested in Thursday’s opinion of him. Outside, Amy narrowed her eyebrows as a reaction. This wasn’t true of Morse. He was different…wasn’t he?
“Look, Morse. I haven’t come here to criticise you or ostracise you for doing what you think is right.” He paused knowing he had to do what Win asked of him. Morse studied Thursday’s features.
“Sir?” he asked as if he knew what was coming.
“Morse, Win and I think that it would be better if you do not come around any longer. You have gone too far and have become too attached to my family. I cannot bear to see them all in tears because of your endeavours.”
Morse was visibly hurt by Thursday’s words. His was the closest in family he ever had. He felt a sense of belonging, somewhere he felt he was truly welcome at any time. He even saw Thursday as the father he never had or wished he could have. This damaged him further.
“Sir, remember that time when Sam was implicated in that model’s death? You had to take a back seat whilst Strange and I did the work for you. Now really ask yourself this: he may have been found innocent, but was he really? You do not know what goes on behind those walls, sir. Your son may not be the model soldier you hoped him to be, because I can see deep inside of you there will always be doubt. Now please don’t deny that to be true.”
Amy gasped softly with her hand over her mouth. She couldn’t believe what she was hearing.
Thursday refused to accept what Morse just told him. No one had any right to tell him how they viewed his son – even though in this instance Morse was right.
“Just please respect our wishes and stay away. I am really sorry, Morse.”
“Not as much as I am, sir.”
Amy quickly ran for the dining room as Thursday walked to the front door. She stood by the doorway so she could keep watch. She gasped softly as she saw him turn.
“Is she here, Morse?”
“Is who here?”
“Amy. Is she staying with you here?” Amy watched as Morse came into view. She held her breath as he denied it. She watched as Thursday looked straight at Morse and realised the inevitable. “Can you please ask her to come back to us, Morse,” she heard him say. “I know you will do the right thing.”
Amy bowed her head sadly. She slowly ventured out as Thursday left and followed Morse back into the living room.
Morse threw the contents of his glass of Scotch down his throat and poured himself another. His world was crashing down and the one bright spark that kept him alive was standing not far away from him. He gripped her hand suddenly as he felt it on his shoulder. Amy gently turned him round and he looked at her.
“I am so sorry, Endeavour. This is all my fault. I should never have come to Oxford.”
“No! Don’t be ridiculous! I am glad you are here! I am glad you came into my life, Amy! Don’t ever think otherwise.”
“I never realised Sam was like that or his family. Not really. They mean a lot to you, Endeavour. I can tell.” She held his face gently with her hands. “I will come with you to Cambridge,” she told him. “But after that, I have to do what Sam’s father wants.” Morse’s face fell, but he held her tightly.
“Thank you, Amy,” he said. He looked at her with sincerity and Amy knew without Morse having to say it. Her face lit up, completely overjoyed.
“Are you telling me this as Amy or Ava?” she asked.
“I’m telling you as Amy,” he replied. “As Amy Evans. You don’t have to go back. I don’t want you to go back.”
Amy smiled lovingly at him and nodded, only too happy to stay. She giggled as Morse picked her up and spun her around. He settled her down and kissed her again. They gazed into each other’s eyes and he kissed her lightly on the nose. Amy stroked his cheek and they held each other tightly. Morse kissed her on top of her head and would not let go. This was one relationship he hoped would last the distance.
Sam was a lad on a mission. A mission to drunken oblivion. He drank his shot in one go to the mirth and cheers of his Army mates who were drinking along with him. They were in a pub on the outskirts of Oxford – one which was frequented by their fellow Army personnel. As usual, with soldiers came the women and this place was no exception to the rule. Women wearing near enough next to nothing clamoured in hoping to get with a soldier and in turn they got the looks they wanted and the attention they needed. Sam meanwhile was ignoring all the advances of the women as all he could think about was Amy. His face turned bitter as he thought about his girl and Morse together, sleeping together, doing things together. His blood boiled at the thought of Morse’s hands all over her as he ordered his umpteenth shot of the evening. His Army mates, already with more than one girl on their laps, watched as he gradually went down that dark road to a paralytic state and looked at each other laughing. One of them looked up at the girl on his lap and nodded in his direction whispering in her ear. She looked at Sam with a grin and walked over to him.
Sam stared into his shot glass as the girl parked herself next to him. He looked up and saw the girl in a very low-cut dress looking seductively at him.
“And what is your name?” she asked.
“His name is Sam!” His fellow soldier replied laughing. “He’s had girl trouble recently.”
“Oh, has he?” She stared deep into Sam’s eyes. She also noticed the bruising on his face that Thursday left for him. “Well, we have to see if we can change that.” Sam found himself standing up and grabbed the girl close to him. His friends cheered as he rather drunkenly shoved his tongue down her throat. He broke free and sat back down again chucking the contents of the glass down in one go. The glass made such a noise as it hit the bar ledge it broke into pieces. The girl stood back with a grin as the shards of glass hit the floor. The landlord walked over to him unimpressed.
“You’ve had enough, son,” he said. “Time to leave.”
“I want another one!” Sam barked drunkenly.
“You have had enough!” The landlord was beginning to lose his rag. He looked at his friends nearby. “Take him,” he told them. “Before I send a report to your senior officer!”
“Come on, sir.” One of them got up disappointing the girl on his lap, who wasn’t that far off drunken oblivion herself. The soldiers forced themselves to say goodbye to the girls before dragging Sam out of the door.
“She is a two-timing…!” Sam began ranting about Amy as his colleagues dragged him down a path and along a road.
“Well, what do you expect from a foreigner? They’re nothing like our women here,” one of them said.
“She isn’t worth it, sir,” another one agreed.
Sam stopped suddenly and grabbed the corporal by the collar pushing him into a nearby wall. “She is bloody worth it!” he spat. “She is my girl! Mine! No one else’s! Not some detective sergeant’s my father happened to have worked with. No one’s! Mine!”
“All right, sir. No need to bite my head off!” Sam relaxed his grip and staggered off ahead.
“We’ll get you home, sir.” They led Sam to a vehicle in the distance. Sam bundled himself into the back whilst the door was shut behind him. The three soldiers gathered round to have a quick chat amongst themselves before they climbed in at the front. The engine came to life and they drove off in the direction of Oxford.
Morse was walking down the bright and sunny streets of the city on his way to meet up with Rachel Howard, who wanted to update him on the search. He turned a corner and walked in the direction of the Radcliffe Camera. Morse stopped suddenly and saw the Bridge of Sighs to his left and his thoughts went back to his first date with Ava. He remembered how he felt upon seeing Ava walk down that street slowly to meet him. He bowed his head briefly before going on his way. He stopped suddenly as he saw the familiar figure of Joan Thursday in the distance, seated on a white walled ledge having a cigarette. Morse watched her as she took a drag, and was about to call her when a guy walked over. Morse didn’t know what to make of it as he saw Joanie stand up, the two of them involved in a passionate clinch. His thoughts quickly turned to Amy and he took a different route to meet up with Rachel.
“Sergeant Morse!” Rachel smiled as she saw Morse approach her inside one of the college cloisters. They shook hands. Morse listened to what Rachel had to say. Morse was handed a piece of paper and read it quietly to himself, still listening to Rachel’s explanations. His eyes and the expression on his face said it all.
“Thank you, Rachel,” he eventually said.
“I’m sorry it isn’t good news,” Rachel replied grimly. “When will you tell her?” Morse stared long and hard again at the piece of paper.
“Soon, Rachel. Very soon.” He looked at her and put out his hand. “Thank you again for all your help.”
“You are very welcome.” Rachel shook it firmly. “I would normally say it is a pleasure, but not in this case.” She handed him back all the documents including the box.
“Thank you,” Morse said gratefully. “Have a safe trip back to America.” He wondered how he would tell Amy as he left.
Win Thursday walked down the stairs and down the corridor. She looked inside the living room and saw Sam watching something on TV about the upcoming moon landing looking slightly hungover.
“Cup of tea, Sam?” she asked.
“Yes, please, Mum.” He looked round and smiled.
“Won’t be long.” Win walked to the kitchen and filled the kettle with water. The doorbell rang, and Sam walked out to answer. He saw Amy outside. They looked at each other for a while. Amy noticed he was dressed casually in jeans and a turtle neck jumper and he noticed she was in a knee-length flared dress with an open necked shirt underneath. She noticed the bruising and pointed to her face questionably. Sam was about to answer when they heard his mother asking who it was.
“It’s Amy, Mum.” Amy glanced at the ground briefly as Win came into view. She stared long and hard at Amy, not knowing what to think.
“Good afternoon, Mrs Thursday,” Amy said echoing Morse’s polite tones. “I am sorry to disturb you; and I know I am the last person you both want to see, but I do need to speak to Sam…”
“Get out!” Win barged past her son and pointed to the street. “I don’t want to see your face here ever again, Amy! You and Morse have ruined this family…”
“Mum, it’s okay.” Sam gently touched Win’s arm. Win turned her head to look at him. “Please, Mum.” He nodded, and Win reluctantly stepped aside. Amy walked in and Sam closed the door behind her.
“Thank you, Mrs Thursday. I won’t be long, I promise.” Win couldn’t help but feel some emotion knowing the girl’s predicament as Amy and Sam disappeared into the living room closing the door.
Amy looked at the TV and stood by the sofa as Sam walked over to turn the set off. He looked at Amy and admired how lovely she was in front of him. He gestured the sofa and Amy obliged. There was an awkward silence and Sam stood by the mantelpiece not keeping his eyes off her.
“Amy, I would like to…”
“No need, Sam.” Amy looked at him. “What happened?” she asked.
“Oh, this?” Sam was embarrassed about his face. “Nothing. I banged myself into a wall. Stupid really.” But he knew she wasn’t born yesterday. Again, there was silence. Amy looked around the living room.
“Why?” Sam suddenly asked. Amy looked at him.
“Why Morse?” Amy sighed and stared at her sandaled feet.
“I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying ‘it just happened’, Sam. I may not have agreed with how you burst into the house, but I’d like to know you are better than that.”
“It hurt, Amy!”
“Not as much as you ignored me as soon as we got here, Sam!” She looked at him. Sam looked away knowing she was right. “I was upset the way you just brushed me aside like that. I thought I meant something to you…”
“You do, Amy!” Sam looked at her. “I love you!” But Amy shook her head.
“This isn’t love, Sam. Look at us – we are at loggerheads. We were wrong from the start. Even you have to admit that to yourself.”
Sam said nothing.
“Please… Come back, Amy!” He was nearly begging. He sat down next to her and held her hand tightly. “We can talk properly. Sort this out. I will leave the Army if it means having you stay.”
“No, Sam! The Army is you. You are part of it. Look – you made sergeant! You were born for the Army, Sam. I can’t let you do that.”
“Dad tells me you came here to look for your parents. Why didn’t you tell me you were adopted, Amy?”
“I couldn’t. I didn’t know how.” She looked at him, caressing his hand in hers. “I didn’t expect the two of us to meet, Sam. I came here specifically to find them.”
“And Morse just ‘conveniently’ offered to help.”
“Yes, he offered. But I didn’t want him to. I know how close he is to you all, especially to your father. He insisted. I relented.”
“That is Morse all right.” Sam sighed heavily. “Has he found out anything?”
“I don’t know. He has gone today to get an update from the person who is helping us.”
“He doesn’t know you are here, does he?”
“I will tell him later.” Sam lifted Amy’s hand and kissed it hard.
“So, will you be staying with him?”
“Yes… Yes, I will be.” Amy nodded slowly. “And, yes, I know all about Ava and yes, I know how much I look like her. It doesn’t matter, Sam. If I can help him heal, especially as it is so close now, then I don’t mind. He is in turmoil, Sam. You have no idea.”
“Turmoiled enough that you slept together!” Sam stood up in disgust. He fought back the tears. “Do you love him, Amy?”
Amy bowed her head and didn’t answer. Sam wiped the tears away with the back of his hand.
“I’m sorry, Sam.” She stood up and walked over to him. “We just weren’t meant to be.” Sam looked at her and held her tightly.
“I love you, Amy,” he whispered. “Please reconsider!” But Amy broke free gently.
“Goodbye, Sam. Take care of yourself.” She tiptoed to kiss him on the cheek before leaving. “Goodbye, Mrs Thursday.” Win looked up from the kitchen. “Thank you again. You won’t be seeing me anymore.” She opened the door and left. Win rushed into the living room and saw Sam on the sofa looking absolutely devastated.
“Oh, no! Oh, Sam!” She sat down next to him.
“She’s gone, Mum! She’s left me. We’re over!”
“It’s okay, Sam,” Win said soothingly. “It is for the best. You deserve better.” Sam clutched his mother tightly. Win on the other hand wondered whether it was about time they all moved on.
Morse took another look at the piece of paper Rachel gave him. Should he tell Amy now or later? It wasn’t going to be an easy decision to make. He turned his head to look at Amy, who was lying in bed next to him asleep. She looked so peaceful and so beautiful. He didn’t mind she went to see Sam. In fact, he was actually quite happy she did. At least it was all over between them so they can now focus on themselves. Morse put the paper down on his lap and looked at the ceiling. He began to think long and hard about things. He wondered if Ava sent Amy to him and if this was her way in telling him to get on with his life. Such as his beliefs against this method of thinking made him think this not to be true, he couldn’t help but wonder. But such as his feelings ran deep for Amy, he was glad she waltzed into his life. He looked at Amy again as she stirred and quickly hid the paper under the mattress.
“Endeavour…?” she mumbled sleepily.
“I’m here, Amy.”
“What time is it?”
“Still early.” He glanced at the clock on the wall opposite. Amy gently opened her eyes and smiled as she saw Morse looking at her. She reached over, and he brought her to him. She draped her right arm over his torso.
“I had a lovely afternoon.”
“Me, too.” Morse leaned downwards to kiss her on the forehead. Amy raised her head to look at him.
“What’s the matter?” she asked noticing the faraway look on his face.
“Nothing. Nothing at all.”
Amy gently pushed herself up, pulling the sheets to cover her body.
“Are you sure?” she asked. She sat up properly and Morse placed his arm around her shoulders. “You never told me what Rachel found out today.”
“Oh, she said she was still looking into a lead. But, she is getting closer.” Morse hated lying, especially to one so precious as Amy. He looked at her and kissed her. Amy gazed affectionately into his eyes and gently cleared some strands of hair from his forehead.
“I’m sorry again I went to see Sam without telling you,” she said. “But I had to. At least now it is over.”
“And I said it was fine.” Morse smiled at her.
“He had this big bruise on his face. I think he and his father had a fight.” She shrugged not caring much.
“Are you hungry?” Morse asked.
“For what…? Oh, you mean food!” Amy had a fake look of innocence on her face. Morse grinned. “Yeah…I guess I am hungry. For food that is.”
Morse got the hint and covered them both with the covers. Amy started laughing and giggling before their bodies started writhing under the sheets in passionate synchronisation. Amy’s hands suddenly appeared from the top of the sheets. She let out a gasp and gripped the bars of the bed frame above her head tightly.
It was early evening. Morse and Amy walked down the busy street hand in hand and joined the queue inside a very crowded dance hall in the city centre. They were both dressed rather smartly: he in a suit with a bow tie and she in a lovely red number, knee-length, the material draping her body elegantly like silk. They walked inside the hall and Amy’s eyes lit up as she saw the magnificence of it. There was a huge dance floor in front of them with a chandelier suspended from the ceiling. There were tables lined against the walls around the hall and a huge stage ahead. Even Morse was taken aback with what he saw.
“This is amazing, isn’t it, Endeavour?” Amy said. The music playing drowned her voice. Morse looked at her.
“How did you know about this?” he asked.
“Poster on a noticeboard by the Sheldonian.” She grabbed his hand with a grin. “Come on! Let’s dance!” She dragged him to the dance floor to join the other patrons. Morse began to enjoy himself as he danced to the various beats of the music and Amy too as she also danced. Wooly Bully by Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs started playing and she burst into fits of giggles as Morse just stood there a bit confused. Amy took his hand and led him away for a break. They sat down at a vacant table.
“You can’t dance to that!” he exclaimed only for Amy to laugh harder.
“You’re really not into modern music, are you?”
“I am… Just not that!” Morse gazed at Amy, who was still laughing, and brought her over to kiss her. Before he had a chance to say something, Space Oddity came over the speakers. Amy’s eyes widened.
“Oh, my goodness. David Bowie!”
“David who?” Morse was now at a loss.
“David Bowie! Surely you must have heard of him.” But he gave her a clueless expression.
“He’s a rock star from London,” Amy explained with a smile. “He is up and coming. Trust me – you will be hearing a lot more from him!” She got up and outstretched her hand, but Morse politely declined. Amy shrugged her shoulders in a gentle manner and walked over to the dance floor to join in with the others. Morse watched Amy swaying with her arms in the air like she was under a trance before standing up to head for the bar. He ordered some Scotch and waited. As his drink arrived and Morse took a sip, he didn’t notice a couple of lads watching him from the other side of the bar.
Later, both Amy and Morse were sitting at the same table chatting and watching the patrons dance to various songs. Some Morse recognised and others he didn’t. As the evening progressed, he found himself not caring very much. Amy took a sip of her soft drink and smiled again at him. Morse gazed at her absolutely transfixed. He had fallen for her hook, line and sinker and this went against his promise not to when Ava died. Maybe this was a message from her after all? A beautiful intro to a song suddenly started playing and Amy stood up. Morse took her hand and they walked to the dance floor to join the others in a slow, but beautifully choreographed dance.
The Moody Blues’ Nights In White Satin saw Morse and Amy suddenly in a world of their own, the lyrics and chorus meaning a lot more to them than perhaps the other couples. Morse tenderly had his hands on Amy’s hips and she in turn had her hands laced around the back of his neck. As the music played, they danced slowly throughout, looking straight into each other’s eyes. Morse could not help but wonder again what he deserved to have such a beautiful creature like Amy in his life. He gently caressed the shape of her face as the instrumental part of the song played, the other couples dancing around them. A tear fell from Amy’s face as she felt Morse’s touch, her feelings for him the same, if not stronger. She closed her eyes as she felt him clear it away, his skin touching hers. She gazed into his blue eyes, the way he was looking at her making her feel wanted… needed… adored. The final chorus started to play and Amy gently mouthed the words to him, those three words coming from her soul. Morse found himself lost in the moment as the final bars of the song played. They gently kissed each other as the song finished.
“Excuse me? Mr Morse?” A gentle tap on the shoulder made him turn. “Sorry to bother you, sir, but there is a telephone call for you.”
“For me?” Morse found it strange that someone would know where he was. Even Amy found it odd. “Thank you,” he eventually said. He whispered something in Amy’s ear and she nodded walking back to the table.
Morse walked over to the side in a quiet corner where a white telephone was placed in front of him. He picked up the receiver and said his name.
“Morse?” The voice was quite gruff but very serious. “Detective Sergeant Morse?”
“Who is this?”
“That doesn’t matter. Did you know a policeman by the name of George Fancy?”
“Yes, I did.”
“I have information about who killed him. Meet me on the corner up the street in half-an-hour.” The line went dead. Morse found this all very bizarre as he placed the receiver back on its cradle. He thought about letting Thursday know, but such as his feelings towards him, decided not to. He would see this person first and then contact him.
Amy looked up with concern as Morse walked back out towards her. He sat down and took a sip of his new glass of Scotch that she ordered for him.
“Is everything all right?” she asked.
“Yes. Yes, everything is fine.” Morse looked at her and smiled. Amy nodded slowly still very much suspicious. Morse held her hands. “Are you hungry?” he asked. “For food!”
Amy laughed and nodded. Morse told her there was a dining area at the back and they picked up their drinks and she her bag and walked away from the dance hall. The two lads who earlier were watching Morse got up and walked towards the exit.
Sam walked up the stairs after wishing his mother and father goodnight and entered his bedroom. It was just as he left it when he departed for the Army all those years ago and this gave him some comfort. He sat down at the edge of his bed and began to think where it had all gone wrong for him personally. He wished he didn’t have to be so uptight and reserved in terms of treating Amy. He fell for her the first minute he saw her in that office block opposite barracks. So much so, he had to pluck up the courage to speak to her. He knew it would be a risk as she was classed as a foreigner, but he honestly saw beyond that. But, someone found out and grassed. He remembered the verbal beating he took at the hands of his Sergeant Major and that they gave him the carrot on a stick for promotion if he did their bidding. He hated it! He never wanted to treat Amy as second class. His father brought him up to be better than that. He used to watch his parents growing up and made it imperative he would have just a successful and happy marriage as theirs. Now what? He was alone. Alone and miserable.
He caught sight of his Army bag and walked over to the other side of the room to pick it up. As he rummaged through, he realised something was missing. He unhooked his Army jacket from behind the door and went through the pockets but found nothing. Worry came over the young lad’s features that he walked out to the corridor and called for Win.
“Yes, Sam. What is it?” She stood by the foot of the stairs looking up. Sam looked down at her from the bannister.
“Mum, have you seen my dog tags anywhere?”
“No, love. I haven’t. Is it in your bag or jacket?”
“No, Mum. I searched everywhere.”
“It might be with your stuff in the laundry. I’ll look for it tomorrow.”
“Thanks, Mum. Night.”
“Night, love.” Win watched as Sam disappeared back into his room and walked back into the living room. Fred was watching the news and Win had her sewing kit where she left it on a small table in front of the sofa.
“Everything all right?” he asked.
“Yes. Sam just misplaced his dog tags. I’ll find them tomorrow.” She picked up the garment and resumed her sewing. “Fred?”
“I think we should leave Oxford.”
There was silence. Fred tried not to display a visible reaction.
“We can’t right now, love. Not with this debt above my head.”
“I know. I mean after, when it is all paid off. There is nothing for us here anymore. A change will do us good.”
“We’ll see, Win.” Thursday picked up his glass of ale from the table beside him and took a sip. Deep down, he was thinking exactly the same thing.
Morse and Amy walked out from the dining area absolutely stuffed, but happy. They headed for the packed cloakroom area where they joined the crowd of chatty patrons. Morse was holding Amy tightly and she in turn had her arms around him. She kept nuzzling his neck and giggling. However, he brought her away to one side and the amusement left her features.
“I have to go for a little while, Amy.” He looked into her eyes. “I won’t be long.”
“Is it to do with that telephone call you received earlier?” Morse nodded. He gently cleared the loose strands of hair from Amy’s face.
“You are beautiful,” he said to her. “Go back inside the dance hall and wait for me.” He kissed her gently and left. Amy found all this quite strange but did as instructed. She heard a tune she recognised and rushed over to the dance floor.
Morse walked up the street and looked around. It was quiet, dead even, and it made him more aware to be cautious and careful. He wondered which corner the voice on the phone meant as there was obviously more than one. He turned to look in case there was someone behind him but saw no one. He continued on his way. As he walked past a side street, the same two lads who were watching him came out from the shadows. They watched as he disappeared from view and ran back in the direction of the dance hall.
The telephone rung and Thursday walked out of the living room to answer. It was already quite late, and he wondered who it could be at that hour. He picked it up only to be met with silence. He spoke again and this time the same voice that greeted Morse spoke to him, telling him that he had information about George Fancy’s murder and to meet him at a location different to Morse. Thursday though was not falling for it one bit; and when he confronted the caller asking who he was and where he was calling from was only met with the same repeated information. Thursday hung up sensing it was a hoax and walked back inside the living room.
Amy looked at the clock on the wall and became worried. It had been nearly an hour since Morse left her and she wondered if something had happened to him. The evening was beginning to wind down, so she decided to leave. She left a message with the cloakroom attendant to let Morse know she was going home before stepping out into the slightly chilly evening, her clutch bag in her hand. She made sure the road was clear before crossing. As she walked down the street, she became suddenly aware that there were footsteps following her behind. Now scared, Amy gathered pace as much as she could, the heels of her shoes making noises along the pavement. But as the steps behind her became faster and keeping in touch with her pace, Amy decided to make a run for it. She dropped her bag and sprinted down the street taking off her shoes for extra speed. But she made the huge error of turning into a dark alley and was met by a lad who grabbed her. Amy tried to fight him off but was powerless as the two others caught up with her.
“Help!” Amy tried to scream. “Get off me!” But again, she was powerless, the strength of her perpetrator too much for her.
“Shut up!” he said punching her. Amy lapsed into unconsciousness and her shoes fell to the ground. The other two lads grabbed her by the ankles and the three of them carried her over to a truck and bundled her into the back, two of them getting in with one of them chucking her bag and shoes inside and the last one running to the front. The engine came to life and he drove the vehicle at high speed down the street.
Morse by now knew he was duped and swore out loud. He looked at his watch and thought of Amy. He sprinted back down the street towards the dance hall as the truck passed him. He ran inside only to be met by the cloakroom attendant, who informed him she had long gone for home. Morse was by now annoyed with himself but thanked her and left.
“Sir?” The manager stopped him. Morse turned. “Your bill. You have to settle before you can leave.” Morse sighed irritably. He followed the manager back inside and towards his office.
The smell of breakfast wafted through the Thursday household the next morning. Right on cue, like only children are capable of detecting, Sam walked down the stairs with Joanie following on behind. She started pushing him to get a move on and Sam jokingly told her to stop annoying him so early. Joanie grinned as they walked into the dining room.
“Morning, kids!” Thursday greeted them as they sat down.
“Morning,” they both mumbled. Thursday rolled his eyes as Win came in with the plates of bacon and eggs. Straight away, the kids went for it, their eyes flying open and they began arguing over who had more or enough. Thursday smiled for the first time as this was the first sign of normality he had seen in a long while. As Joanie scolded her brother for nicking the last piece of bacon, Win walked back in with a side plate of toast. She also looked at her children in amusement and Thursday brought her over to him, his arm around her waist. Win kissed her husband on top of his head before leaving again.
“I’ll cook some more!” she called out. Joanie and Sam laughed as they ate and drank their glasses of juice. There was a loud knocking on the door suddenly and Thursday walked out to answer. What met him outside concerned him.
“Detective Chief Inspector Frederick Thursday?”
“Yes, officers. How can I help?” He looked at the two Royal Military Police officers in full uniform complete with their unique and distinctive coloured berets in front of him.
“Is Sergeant Samuel Thursday in residence, sir?” one of them asked. Win and her children came into view. Sam gulped.
“I am Sergeant Thursday,” he answered walking forward. The two officers walked inside, not wanting to do this on the doorstep.
“What is going on?” Win asked now worried sick. Joanie clutched her mother feeling vulnerable for the first time.
“We apologise for having to do this first thing in the morning, Mrs Thursday,” one of the officers told her politely. His colleague looked straight at Sam.
“Up straight, soldier,” he told him. Sam did as was told. “Sergeant Samuel Thursday, you are under arrest in connection of the rape and battery of Miss Amy Evans. Please kindly dress in full uniform and come with us.”
Win wailed, her cries piercing the corridor. Joanie gasped, the tears falling down her face. Thursday was in shock as Sam walked up the stairs to his bedroom.
“There must be some mistake surely! Sam was here with us last night.”
“I am sorry, Detective Chief Inspector Thursday, but as you can appreciate we cannot discuss this case.”
“But he is my son!” Thursday’s eyes stung. Sam walked slowly down in full uniform. He walked over to Win and kissed her on the cheek.
“I will be all right, Mum,” he told her. Joanie grabbed her brother and clutched him tightly. “It’s okay, sis. You look after Mum, okay? Promise?” Joanie looked at him and nodded. Sam walked over to his father and he placed the beret on his head. He stood to attention and saluted him as a mark of respect before following the officers out of the door. Win burst into tears as the door closed and for the first time, Thursday let the tears fall freely from his eyes. His family as he knew it was now irreparably damaged, possibly forever. His eyes focused on the telephone and Joanie picked up on it straight away.
“You have to call Morse, Dad!” she begged. “Put your feelings aside just this once. He can get to the bottom of this. He can clear Sam like he did last time!” But Thursday ignored her and walked inside the living room slamming the door. Win was by now sobbing uncontrollably. Joanie couldn’t believe how stubborn and pig headed her father was as she led her mother to the dining room.
Sam was re-read the charge against him back at barracks and was led to the cells. He was pushed inside and the dull sound of the door slamming shut and the keys in the lock brought it all home to him. He slid himself down to the cold floor, his knees hunched to his chest, and he bowed his head. The sound of his tears echoed in the cell. What else could happen to him? Yet again, he felt he was being punished for no known reason. Who could have attacked Amy? Who could have done this to her? Rape? Battery? Sam raised his head immediately realising and stood up. He ran over to the cell doors and started screaming for attention. A uniformed officer eventually arrived and looked at him.
“What is it, Thursday?” he asked.
“Sir, I know who did it. I know who attacked my girlfriend…”
“Save it for the trial, sergeant!”
“But, sir, I…” Sam could only watch as the officer disappeared down the corridor. “Ask for Morse!” Sam screamed at him. “Ask for Detective Sergeant Morse! He can help me!” But it went unheard. Sam’s face and whole being fell, and he walked slowly to the barred window. He looked out and hoped he would once again be saved from dismissal or even worse – incarceration.
Morse ran inside the hospital and down the many corridors towards the ward Amy was on. He asked the nurse at the station to where Amy was. He showed her his warrant card and straight away was pointed in the right direction. Morse ran down the corridor and burst into a private room. Just as when Ava was lying in state, Morse found himself repeating the same movements, but this time he couldn’t believe his eyes.
Amy was sitting halfway up on her side resting. She had been badly beaten; her face was swollen and bruised all over. Her eyes were black and blue as were her arms and her hands. Her hair looked like it had been pulled in all directions. Morse stood by her bedside staring at her, tears in his eyes. He still couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Guilt and pain came over his being. This was his beloved, his girlfriend, his lover. The only person who managed to help ease the grief he felt for Ava. He looked up at the ceiling cursing the powers that be but also himself before looking at her again. For the first time he was scared to touch her in case it caused her more physical pain. He didn’t know what to do. He walked forward as Amy stirred. She tried to open her eyes but could only manage it a little. She saw the silhouette of Morse and she backed further into the bed, frightened.
“Amy…” he said softly. “It’s me…”
“Endeavour? Is that you? I can barely see.” She shakily outstretched her badly beaten hand and Morse held it gently. He planted a soft kiss and the tears fell from her swollen eyes. “Endeavour…”
“Hush, Amy. Try not to cry.” He sat down by her bedside, upset at seeing her like this. Amy tried to move but was in too much pain. Morse stood up and fixed her pillows so she could feel more comfortable.
“Thank you,” she said. Morse didn’t know how he brought himself to look at her. Normally he would be his squeamish self, but this was different. Amy sensed Morse’s anguish. She outstretched her other hand and gently caressed his face to comfort him. The tears fell from Morse’s eyes.
“What happened, Amy?”
Amy hesitated for a bit. “There were three of them,” she began. “I saw two behind me and ran. I screamed, but the third one punched me, and I blacked out.” The tears fell from her face. “When I came to, I was in the back of a truck. It was stationary, like we were somewhere remote. Two of them held my arms to pin me down…” She stopped again. Morse cleared the hair from her face. “They were saying nasty things,” Amy continued remembering every detail, replaying it in her head. “Nasty horrible things. One of them said he had never been with a foreigner before. I tried to scream for help, but he slapped me. He started to laugh. He ripped my dress apart and…”
Morse now couldn’t look and bowed his head. His tears fell to the floor. He looked up as Amy pulled back the covers gently and lifted her hospital gown, the blanket covering her modesty. Morse took one look at the treated cigarette burns all over her beaten lower torso and nearly felt sick. His blood began to boil.
“When he was done burning me, he made a sick comment to his friends and then said they will show me how they punish a foreign girl who insults the British Army. He took his belt off. I started to scream but one of his friends covered my mouth. I started kicking, trying to fend him off, but he was too strong. After he finished, he let out this triumphant sigh like he got off on the thrill. That was then he took over holding me and his friend…” She stared into space, her voice trembling. “They took it in turns, Endeavour. All of them. All three of them. Twice, three times until they got fed up. I have never felt such pain. Then they started hitting me, slapping me, beating me. All the time they were laughing at me, mocking me. I can still hear them, Endeavour. I blacked out again. I couldn’t take it anymore. The next thing I know I was by the roadside. I can’t remember anything else.” She looked at Morse, the tears streaming down her face. “Why did they rape me, Endeavour?” she asked. “Why did they beat me? Why do this to me? I haven’t done anything wrong!” Morse found himself going back to the day Ava said something similar to Bright when she was held against her will by that officer. He then remembered what happened the night before and recalled a truck speeding by. The guilt overpowered him. He leaned over and kissed her on the forehead. Amy gently clutched him. Morse gently sat on the edge of the bed to hold her as she wept. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m really sorry.”
Morse looked at her, appalled she should blame herself for this. “No! No, Amy! This is not your fault. Don’t blame yourself!”
“I should have waited! I should have waited for you. I shouldn’t have left. If I had just stayed put like you told me to, then…” Morse held her again as she started screaming. He began to rock her gently, kissing her to comfort her.
A doctor and nurse ran in upon hearing Amy’s screams. They took one look at Morse, who reached into his pocket to show his warrant card.
“She is with me,” he told them. The doctor and nurse nodded and left them alone closing the door. Morse looked at Amy and cleared the hair again from her face. He still saw her beauty, her uniqueness, her soul. But he knew she would never be the same free spirit ever again. “I will find out who did this to you, Amy Evans,” he vowed to her. “I will see that those… responsible get what they deserve. I promise!”
Amy nodded and clutched him again. Morse held her and kissed her hair. Deep inside though he was fuming and vowed to sort out the Army – this time once and for all!
Fred Thursday opened the front door and saw Morse standing outside. Nothing was exchanged between them, their previous conversation still fresh in their minds. Joanie ran out of the dining room and smiled in relief.
“Morse!” she exclaimed. “Let him in, Dad.” Morse looked at Thursday, not moving an inch. Thursday knew him well enough to mean business and reluctantly stepped aside. Morse walked in and nodded once at Joanie. “Mum’s inside here,” she told him gesturing the dining room. Morse walked past her inside. Joanie looked at her father and mouthed her gratitude. Thursday said nothing and followed them in.
Win looked up and saw Morse. She quickly cleared the half empty plates aside to the far end of the table to make space for him to sit, but Morse declined.
“Thank you, Mrs Thursday, but I won’t be staying long.” His tone was different, more cold. He knew he still wasn’t welcome therefore justifying his attitude. “I’ve been to see Amy at the hospital…”
“How is she?” Win asked.
“Badly beaten,” Morse replied. “She has undergone an examination and her dress and possessions are being tested as we speak.”
“Sam was arrested this morning,” Joanie told him. “You did it before, Morse. You can exonerate him. He is innocent.”
Morse glanced briefly at Joanie from his shoulder, but his attentions were with her mother. “Mrs Thursday, this may be somewhat difficult for you to accept, so I will just be straightforward and honest with you.” He walked over to her and Win looked into his eyes, her soiled tissue in her hand. “Your son’s dog tags were found with her clutch bag. It was one of the first things that was found when my officers retrieved the item from the roadside where she was found.”
Win cried out some more. Thursday wasn’t impressed with the way Morse broke the news to her. Morse tried so hard not to let his feelings get in the way. Win was always good to him, always made him feel welcome, always fed and watered him. Well, she did until recently. He suddenly looked at Joanie and stared at her with a cold expression. This set Joanie aback. This was not what she was expecting.
“My brother is innocent, Morse!” She tried again. “You have got to help him!”
“I will bring those who was responsible to justice, Miss Thursday!” he told her with a slightly raised voice. Joanie looked at him, confused at how he was suddenly treating her. Morse looked back at Win. “Now, your son was here all last night, wasn’t he?”
“Yes,” she sobbed. “He was.”
“And you, Miss Thursday?” Morse looked straight at her somewhat accusingly and Joanie backed away knowing he knew more than she was prepared to let on.
“Oh, come on! I was working, Morse.”
“Morse!” Thursday used his all familiar tone to warn him off. He was offended with his former protégé’s style of interrogation against his family. Morse looked at him but didn’t respond.
“The dog tags,” Win suddenly said. “Morse, the dog tags! Sam said he lost them. He was trying to look for them last night.”
“Mrs Thursday, are you sure?”
“Yes! Tell them, Fred! Remember? Sam called me from upstairs.” Morse looked at his old superior and he nodded.
“Can I look inside his room, please?”
“Do you have a warrant, Morse…?”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, Fred! Just show the boy Sam’s room!” Win sniffed back more tears. Thursday reluctantly walked out, and Morse followed him. Joanie watched as they both disappeared up the stairs and shook her head in disgust.
Morse walked into Sam’s room and began looking around. Thursday stood in the doorway watching his every move. Morse had changed, that he knew as much. He didn’t recognise him, but he knew deep down that this was how he was going to be. If he made Inspector, something he already recommended he go for, then he would make a good one.
Morse looked under Sam’s bed and inside his wardrobe. He came across his Army bag and looked at Thursday for permission. Once he got the nod, Morse lifted it onto a chair and began to look through it.
“I see you have learnt new things, Morse.”
“Perhaps.” Morse’s tone was still cold as he continued looking through the contents.
“If things were different, Morse…”
“Is this all?” Morse asked looking at him. “Is there no other Army possession of Sam’s here?”
“No. He took his jacket with him when he left this morning.” Morse packed the contents of the bag back inside and settled it back down where he found it. He began to look inside the desk drawers.
“Did you find out more about Amy’s parents?”
“I think that is my business, don’t you?” Morse shut the last drawer and turned to look at Thursday. “Thank you, sir. I will be on my way.” He walked past Thursday only for him to stop as he placed his hand on his shoulder.
“Morse, please help my son.” Morse looked at Thursday and couldn’t help but still feel some sense of loyalty to him. He reached into his pocket and took out the paper that Rachel gave him. Thursday looked at it and read it quietly to himself. A look of regret came over his face.
“Between you and me, sir. No one else. I haven’t told her yet.”
“Of course.” Morse took the paper back and put it inside his coat. “Morse, did you receive a call from someone claiming to have information on Fancy’s murder?”
Morse looked at Thursday not wanting to admit anything. “No, sir,” he replied. If he disclosed this to him, that would make him guiltier and he was already killing himself for falling for the dupe so easily.
“Morse, you do know this is a conflict of interest, don’t you?” But Morse ignored him.
“I will find whoever did this to Amy,” he said looking straight at him. “Whether or not your son had any hand in it.” He walked down the stairs. Thursday opened the door for Morse as he walked through. “Goodbye, sir,” he told him. “If I am unable to keep you updated, then my team will.”
“Goodbye, Morse. Thank you.”
Morse nodded once and walked down the pathway towards his car. Thursday watched as he got in and drove off down the street, sadly closing the door.
Sam was lying on the cell bunk making imaginary drawings on the dirty white walls beside him. His half-eaten tray was behind him on the floor to the side of the cell doors. He reached into his pocket and took out a rather dog-eared photograph. He looked at it and gave a half-hearted smile. It was a photo of him and Amy, taken in a booth at a railway station. He remembered her sitting on his lap and laughed a little as he remembered her trying to keep her balance. They were looking into each other’s eyes playfully with huge grins on their faces. Sam recalled how they managed to keep that pose long enough before she lost her balance completely and landed on the floor. A heavy feeling of sadness came over the young soldier before he stuffed the photo back in his pocket.
Double footsteps were heard almost immediately, and Sam sat up as the custody officer unlocked the doors. Straight away, Sam stood up to greet Morse as he walked inside. Morse thanked the officer and dismissed him. He waited until he was out of sight before approaching Sam. The young soldier backed away a little knowing their past history. But Morse stopped a few feet away from him.
“Morse,” Sam said almost gratefully. Morse said nothing, the look in his eyes cutting right through him. “How’s Amy?”
“How do you think she is, Sam?” Morse tried to curb his anger. “How does any rape victim feel?” Sam lapsed into silence. Morse walked past him before he did something he would regret. “What are the charges against you?”
“Connection of rape and battery. But I had nothing to do with it! Honest…”
“Your dog tags were found with her belongings, Sam!” Morse turned to look at him head on. “Your mother said you lost them last night, is that correct?”
“Yes! That’s right. I went to look for it but couldn’t find it in my bag or my jacket.” Morse searched Sam’s eyes for any signs of deception. “Morse! You have got to help me! Believe me, I wouldn’t hurt Amy. I love her…”
“She said three soldiers were involved.” Morse interrupted him rather abruptly. “They took it in turns to violate her, over and over again. Then they beat her. They punched her, slapped her…” He stood right in his face. “They burned her with cigarettes. Then do you know what they did when they got fed up with her?” Sam shook his head. “They threw her out on the roadside like a ragdoll! Imagine that, Sam. Only used for their own sick pleasure and then…discarded like she didn’t matter!” Morse watched Sam’s reaction and got what he wanted. The lad nearly fell apart. He jumped out of his skin when Morse suddenly banged his fist on a nearby table. “ARE YOU SURE YOU ARE REALLY INNOCENT?!” he shouted. Sam backed into the wall as Morse walked right up to him, his arm against his throat. “You know what she said one of them said to her before he raped her? No? He told her: ‘this is how we punish a foreign girl for insulting the British Army’. Now what did you think he meant by that?”
Sam knew exactly what the meaning of this was and a look of pain flashed across his face. Morse looked at him, the anger swelling.
“If this is because of what happened between me and her, so help me, I will be the one to make you really suffer! Believe me, I will never forget how you threatened me that day!” He stared dagger eyed at Sam before walking away. “Who is your superior?” he asked suddenly. “Is it that same obnoxious ingrate I had the misfortune of coming across the last time you were in a mess?”
“No, sir! He was transferred. It is someone else now.”
“Name?” Morse was getting some sick enjoyment out of this. It was his turn now after his family discarded him like he also didn’t matter. Sam was now in pieces. “Come on, Sam!” Morse decided to pace up and down rubbing it in. “Give me a name. I can find out easily, you know. But, let’s make things easier for both of us.”
“Major… Major Tom…”
“Major Tom what?” Morse stopped and turned to look at him. “Spit it out, Sam! Don’t make this more difficult for you than it is already.”
“Major Thomas Leeson!” Sam managed to get the name out. Morse walked up to him again.
“You’d better not be lying to me, Sam,” he said almost threatening.
“I am telling you the truth, Morse. That is his name and I am innocent!”
“You’d better be telling me the truth!” Morse walked over to the cell doors. He pushed it open and called the custody officer over. “Give Sergeant Thursday here a sleeping pill,” he told him quietly. “He will need one.” He took one more look at Sam and left, the look on his face as angered and determined as he was to find the ones guilty of destroying Amy.
Major Thomas Leeson was a much younger officer than what was usual in the Army. He was quite good looking with brown hair and brown eyes. He was of average height, but with him carried a feeling of pride, that this was his regiment and that he was determined to lead his soldiers to represent what the country stood for. When he took over, he inherited a bunch of men still lost and somewhat disillusioned with Army life. But, with all the good intentions Leeson had, there came a lack of discipline among his troops.
Morse was asked to wait for a little while whilst the corporal informed Leeson he was there to see him. Once he was given the all clear, Morse walked inside. Leeson was looking at a map on a fairly large easel and was in discussion with another officer of rank, pointing to various locations. The corporal marched further forward and stood to attention. Leeson turned and saw Morse standing not far away from him. Leeson whispered something in his colleague’s ear and he walked out. He approached the corporal and saluted.
“Detective Sergeant Morse, sah!”
“Thank you, corporal. You may leave.” The solider once more stood to attention and saluted. He marched out of the office closing the door. Leeson stood where he was and studied Morse for a moment. Morse just maintained his stance.
“Would you like a drink, detective sergeant?” he asked.
“No, thank you.” Morse suddenly found it strange he declined. Perhaps it was his detest for the Army that did it.
“Do you mind if I have one?”
“No. Go ahead.” Morse watched as Leeson poured himself some Scotch from a decanter on a trolley not far from the easel. He brought his glass over and sat down at his desk.
“So, what can I do for you?”
“As you know a young girl was attacked not far from here,” Morse replied. “She was repeatedly raped and badly beaten. She told me that three soldiers from your regiment were involved.”
Leeson thoughtfully took a sip from his glass and settled it down on his desk with just as good a care. He looked straight at Morse.
“And you are very sure this is the case?”
“Detective Sergeant… Morse, is it?” Leeson didn’t believe a word of what was said to him. “My soldiers conduct themselves in the best manner they can. Even out of barracks, I make sure they respect themselves and the people around them. Now, yes, there is a matter of attraction in regards the fairer sex, but even then, my boys conduct themselves properly around them.”
Morse’s eyes slightly widened in disbelief. “Are you saying Miss Evans is lying?!”
“On the contrary. I am just making sure that what she accuses my soldiers of is correct.” He paused. Morse’s anger once again grew inside of him. “Did she give a description of these soldiers?”
“She was bundled into the back of one of your trucks!” Morse’s voice rose. “Three of your soldiers brutally attacked her, nearly left her for dead not five miles from here! Now, with all due respect, I am entitled to pursue this matter. I have the jurisdiction. I would appreciate your co-operation.” Morse and Leeson stared at each other, the tension rising as high as the ceiling. Leeson was the first to break the stand-off and smiled.
“Of course, sergeant,” he replied. His tone and mannerisms were calm and collected which infuriated Morse even further. He watched as Leeson stood up. “I hear that Sergeant Samuel Thursday is in custody. Is he involved?”
“I thought your RMPs would have informed you of the crux of the case, Major.”
“Detective, as much as we value our Military Police, we can’t help but… question their motives at times.”
“Sergeant Thursday has been arrested in connection with the crime, yes.”
“I see…” Leeson was now deep in thought. Morse was finding this increasingly irritating. “Fair enough. We will help you with whatever it is you need.”
“Thank you, Major. I’ll be in touch.” Morse made his move to leave. He opened the door and walked out, the look on his face speaking more volumes than ever before. As he stepped out on to barracks and headed towards his car, he noticed a truck tucked away in a corner. Morse stared at it for a while before deciding to approach it. He looked around the vehicle, making sure he soaked everything in. He made a point of looking at the tyres and then, as he went around the back, he noticed some slight wear and tear on the fatigued covers. Morse slowly walked towards it and, taking out a pen gently, lifted the thick canvas…
“Can I help you, sir?” Morse turned and saw a solider looking straight at him. Morse took out his warrant card from his coat pocket.
“Detective Sergeant Morse, Thames Valley Police.” He flashed his card at him. “Can I ask your name, soldier?”
“Corporal Adam Hayes, sir,” the soldier replied politely albeit suspiciously. He didn’t look past the age of 18. “Is this about the attack on Sam’s girlfriend?”
Morse stared at the soldier and tried not to scoff at the idea. Sam’s girlfriend indeed!
“Do you know anything about it?”
“No, sir. All I know she was found by a roadside not far from here. Sam is innocent, detective sergeant! He wouldn’t harm Amy.”
Again, Morse ignored what the young one had just told him.
“This truck. How long has it been stationary?”
“A few days, sir. It is due to go in for repairs. The brake pads and clutch need replacing.” The solider watched as Morse began his rounds around the vehicle once more. He knew he couldn’t delve further and once again stood by the back doors. He said nothing to the youngster before leaving, walking in the direction to his car. The young soldier watched to make sure the coast was clear. Once he saw Morse’s car leave through the security gates, he turned and waved to two other soldiers. They ran out from what looked like a shed and one straight away got into the driver’s seat. Hayes and another proceeded to push the truck from the back.
“Hurry up!” he shouted.
“Give us a chance, Haysey!” the driver called back. “Bloody thing is stuck!” He managed to get the vehicle moving and all three of them guided it inside a garage. The driver hopped out slamming the door and ran out carrying what looked like a large plastic jerry can of petrol. He slammed the garage door and bolted it as his other two mates ran towards him. The three huddled in quick conference before running their separate ways.
Unbeknown to them, Major Thomas Leeson was watching from a discreet corner of the barracks courtyard, the look on his face pensive but also with concern. He lit his cigarette before walking across towards a set of offices, various soldiers stopping briefly to salute him as they ran past.
Morse picked up the poetry book from the side table as he took the seat by Amy’s hospital bedside and settled it on his lap. He lifted a jug and poured her a glass of orange squash with a straw in it before gently placing it to Amy’s lips. She gently drank a bit before Morse placed it back on her side table. He looked at her and yet again felt angry at how someone could do this to her. The swelling on her face had subsided slightly and she could open her eyes more, but the bruising was still very much visible. Amy watched as Morse took off his coat and hung it at the back of the chair. He opened the book where the bookmark was and began to read.
“‘They roused him with muffins, they roused him with ice,'” he began, his soft tones comforting Amy. “‘They roused him with mustard and cress, they roused him with jam and judicious advice. They set him conundrums to guess. When at length he sat up and was able to speak, his sad story offered to tell; and the Bellman cried…'”
“‘Silence!'” Amy finished. “‘Not even a shriek!'” Morse smiled at her. They continued together.
“‘As excitedly tingled his bell. There was silence supreme! Not a shriek, not a scream, scarcely even a howl or a groan, as the man they called ‘Ho!’ told his story of woe in an antediluvian tone…'” Morse stopped as Amy continued, reciting the poem word for word. He watched as her recital ebbed and flowed, her vocal tones rising and falling and he remembered Ava, the way she used to sing, the way she recited that hymn in the concert hall. Amy stopped as she felt Morse gently caress her cheek. He held her hand.
“Are you okay?” she asked, grimacing in pain slightly.
“Yes, Amy,” he replied. “Why did you stop?”
“I prefer you read it to me,” she said, trying to smile. A look of pain flashed across her face. “I’m okay,” she reassured him. Morse still was concerned and worried about her. Just like with Ava, he marvelled at Amy’s bravery and strength. This made him more want to punish the Army for doing this to her. “Endeavour?”
“Yes?” Morse looked into her eyes. He noticed the look on her face. “What is the matter?”
“Do you ever think of leaving Oxford?”
This question Morse had heard before… many moons before… He wondered how Monica was.
“I used to,” he replied.
“What about now?” Morse couldn’t answer.
“Why do you ask?” Amy let out a laboured sigh and coughed suddenly. Morse quickly brought her glass of squash over and she took many a sip.
“I’m just wondering.” Morse placed the glass back on the table and looked at Amy questionably.
“Tell me, Amy.” His tone was gentle and soft. Understanding. Amy gazed into his eyes as much as she could.
“I’ve decided to go back to Singapore,” she eventually replied. “After I get out. It doesn’t matter now about my birth parents. I just don’t want to stay here in England any longer.” She paused. “Endeavour… Would you come with me?”
The question stunned Morse. He didn’t know what to say. Amy managed a very weak smile.
“I know it is a lot to ask of you, Endeavour. I don’t want to leave you, but I do not want to stay here either. You would love it in Singapore! It is so much different to here: the scenery, the people, even the police force. You can get a transfer. Believe me, they will benefit from your intelligence and expertise.”
Morse looked at Amy again and thought about it. He admitted to himself the thought of moving to a yet undiscovered country, a beautiful one at that by the sounds of things, in the middle of South East Asia was appealing. He would be free of the shackles the police force here had on him, not to mention the upcoming changes he was so against. Plus, he would be with the person he adored… And the weather… Anything was better than Oxford!
“It is a lovely idea,” he eventually replied. Amy’s face lit up only for the pain to hit her just as quickly. Morse laughed softly and leaned over to kiss her. He sat back down on the chair and picked up the book from the side table. “Now, where were we?” he said. Amy listened to Morse as he continued to read, his tone and voice reminding her so much of her father’s. She gradually closed her eyes, the words fading as she fell asleep.
Sam Thursday was in a worse state than he was when he was arrested. His uniform was crumpled and a mess as he was physically and mentally. He looked like he hadn’t slept a wink and he hadn’t been eating properly. He missed home, he missed his parents, his sister. He missed his mother’s home cooked food, he missed his room, he missed his bed. Once again, the four dirty white walls were the first things he saw each morning and each morning filled him with dread. He thought about suicide. He had enough bed sheets and the ceiling was high enough, but he knew he had to fight. He must! He was a Thursday! He knew he was innocent. Yes, Amy hurt him by leaving him for Morse, but on reflection he couldn’t blame her, that if he just paid her the attention he knew he could have provided, that he wanted to show, that she deserved… She hurt his ego, that was all. She really didn’t hurt him completely. She was too gentle for that.
He sighed heavily and stood up walking to the window. He saw his fellow soldiers involved in drills in the courtyard that he wished he could be part of. But, the more he watched the more he realised that perhaps he wasn’t meant to be part of this institution, that perhaps his calling lied elsewhere? He was following in his father’s footsteps and he remembered the day he boarded the bus. He wanted Thursday to be proud of him, to gain some sort of approval. Sam’s face fell as he thought about the death on barracks not that long ago, that he was implicated then and the sheer disappointment he felt as he knew he let his father down. Now history was repeating itself, but this was different. Somehow, he knew he let his whole family down this time, that the charges against him would always hold stigma. He didn’t want his family to be known for having a son and brother connected with a rape! His father was high up in the ranks at his new station – how would he be seen as now?! This was too much for Sam and he once more looked at his messy bed sheets not far away from him, the light fixture on the ceiling and the table and chair on the opposite side of the room providing more than temptation…
“Sam!” He looked at the iron barred doors and saw his mother and his sister outside. A RMP officer was standing behind them. Sam was so happy to see them, he ran into their arms as they were let inside. They all sobbed as they held each other tightly. The same RMP officer that read the charges to him at the house observed and dismissed the officer that let them in.
“Sergeant Thursday.” The family broke apart briefly. “You know the rules.” Sam bowed his head and gestured the table and chairs to his family. Win wiped a tear from her eye as she and Joanie sat down. “I will stay outside the doors, soldier.”
“Yes, sir.” Sam nodded politely as the officer walked away. He smiled at his family and parked himself on the edge of the table. He smiled at his mother and held his sister’s hand.
“How are you, Sam?” Win asked. “Are they treating you well?” She noticed how thin and haggard her son looked. “Are you eating?” she asked worriedly. “Are they feeding you right?”
“Mum, I am fine.”
“Look at this place!” Win was disgusted as she looked around. “So…impersonal! So…grotesque!”
“I have no choice, Mum. Not until this is over…”
“Which it will be!” Sam looked at his mother and put on a brave face. He was grateful for her optimism, even if things did look more than bleak. “You will be back home soon, Sam! Back where you belong.”
Sam looked at Joanie, who didn’t look so happy herself. He noticed something in her features, like she was holding back. His eyebrows narrowed and he squeezed her hand. Joanie looked up at him, the message she was giving him getting his back up slightly.
“Has Morse found out anything yet?” she asked. Sam shook his head.
“Not yet, sis. He is on the case though.” He took a quick look at the RMP officer and leaned inwards. “Keep your voices down,” he told them. “They don’t like it when a third party is involved…”
“I heard that, Sergeant Thursday!”
“Sorry, sir!” Sam glanced at the officer and bit his lip. Joanie smiled.
“Glad to see you are still a cheeky bugger.”
“No, it’s all right, Mum. She is right.” He smiled reassuringly at her. “How is Amy?” he asked. “Have you visited her recently?”
Joanie and Win looked at each other rather awkwardly. Sam’s face fell in disappointment. He stood up and walked to the window.
“We’re sorry, Sam,” Joanie said. “It’s not that we don’t want to visit her…” She looked to her Mum for back up.
“Sam, we care more for your release. We know you are innocent…”
“SHE IS MY GIRLFRIEND!” The echo of Sam’s voice bounced off the walls around them. He turned to look at them. “No matter what, I love her!” He couldn’t look at them any longer. “I think you both should go.”
“Sam…” Win’s eyes now were full of tears again. “Please!”
“Sir!” The RMP officer turned. “Sir, can you please show my mother and sister out. If they want to see me again, it has to be done via official means.”
“Are you sure that is what you want, soldier?” Sam looked at his mother and sister, the elder in disbelief.
“Yes, sir,” Sam eventually replied.
“No, Sam!” Win started to cry as she was respectfully led out. Joanie turned to look at her brother from the other side of the bars but said nothing as she followed her mother. As the doors were locked again, Sam held his head in his hands. Anger swelled in him as he screamed at the top of his lungs. He chucked a chair against the wall in fury. This raw emotion turned to sadness and he began to cry. He fell to the floor and curled himself up in a ball like a disturbed inmate, his body shaking.
Fred Thursday walked into a police station and inquired the direction to CID showing his warrant card. He was pointed in the direction ahead and he walked down the corridor. He became aware of the many pairs of eyes in uniform watching him or glancing at him but held his head high as he walked into a very busy room. Almost immediately, the voices died down and he received many looks, the majority almost in disapproval. Thursday took a deep breath and asked for their senior officer. A man with a cigarette in his hand and clad in a suit that looked like it had seen better days walked over. Thursday looked at him and coughed as the smoke hit his lungs.
“Fred Thursday!” he said cockily taking a drag and exhaling. The hubbub resumed. “I never expected to see you here. How’s Cowley these days?” Thursday knew he was mocking him but refused to react. He was a pro at this; and had many an encounter with these kinds of people before.
“I understand you have DS Morse on your team.”
“Yes…Morse…” The DCI took another drag. “An interesting character. Gets the job done, that I can say.” He looked straight at Thursday, the smoke billowing heavily from his nostrils and mouth as he exhaled again. “He was one of yours, wasn’t he?”
“Yes, he was.”
“I see.” He took another drag and exhaled the smoke right in Thursday’s face. His detective colleagues behind him sniggered. “Well, not to worry. He is perfectly safe here. We will teach him everything we know. Right, lads?”
“Yes, sir!” the detectives nearby answered in uneven unison. The DCI laughed and stubbed out his cigarette on the floor. Thursday took one look at his actions and was completely bemused.
“Now, what is it you are here for, Thursday!” He walked away. “As you can see, we are busy and I don’t have time for you checking up on who was your boy.”
“It was Morse I wanted to have a word with you about.”
The DCI turned. “Oh, yes?”
“If we can talk somewhere private?” The DCI looked at Thursday for a while and placed a stick of gum in his mouth. “All right, in here!” He walked to the direction of an office nearby. “Tennison!”
“Sir?” Thursday was surprised to see a fairly tall dark blonde female officer looking at them. “Mind the fort – and no phone calls for at least 10 minutes.”
“Don’t look surprised, Thursday,” the DCI said to him. “Tennison is here on experience from the Met.” He leaned in towards Thursday, the stench of stale cigarettes inflaming his nostrils. “Don’t worry. She will back in uniform before you know it! Where she belongs!”
Thursday still couldn’t believe he saw a female trainee detective. His thoughts turned to Trewlove briefly before he followed the DCI inside.
Morse looked at the small calendar on top of his study and opened the drawer. He took out the double frame and stared at the picture. It wasn’t that long now, give or take a handful of days. He realised he would have to make his journey to Cambridge alone seeing as Amy would be too sick to travel. He ran his finger along Ava’s face and smiled reminiscing. He turned his head and suddenly saw her sitting there on the sofa, in the same clothes she died in, cradling their child wrapped loosely in a beautiful white knitted blanket humming a soft lullaby. He saw her raise her head to look in his direction and she smiled at him. That smile he remembered, the smile of love, affection. Of how much he meant to her. He heard her call him showing their sleeping baby and she softly uttered another name he hadn’t heard in a very long time.
“Come and take a look, Endeavour,” she beckoned to him with a loving smile. “It is our beautiful baby. Our…” The telephone suddenly rang. Morse blinked and found she had gone. He sighed heavily and placed the frame back in the drawer closing it. He walked over the short distance to pick up the receiver.
“Morse,” he answered. “Okay, thank you. I am on my way.” He hung up and grabbed his coat running out the door.
A doctor met Morse as he rushed in through the double doors of the ward Amy was on. A look of concern came over his features and Morse couldn’t help fearing the worst. He stopped a few yards away from the doctor.
“Detective Sergeant Morse?” he asked. Morse nodded. The doctor approached him. “If you would like to come with me.”
“Is Miss Evans all right, doctor?” Morse asked as he followed the white coated medic down the corridor. They reached her room. The doctor stopped and turned.
“I’m afraid there is no easy way to say this to you, sergeant,” the doctor began, the look on his face grim but professional. “Miss Evans underwent a pelvic and full examination as you well know. She also was admitted to X-ray…” He paused. “She has a few rib fractures. Considering the beating she endured, she has been quite lucky in that regard, but…” He paused again and opened the door a fraction. “I’m afraid her examination wasn’t quite as fortunate. Her internal injuries are so severe…”
“Severe?” Morse asked worriedly. “How severe?” He looked at Amy, who was sitting halfway up the bed, her head turned towards the window staring at it. He looked at the doctor again, anxiously waiting for him to continue. The doctor sighed heavily and bowed his head.
“I’m afraid she will be unable to bear children. Luckily, we found no internal bleeding, but we will try another examination later on to see the full severity of her injuries and if we can alleviate any discomfort for the future. I am so sorry, sergeant.” He placed his hand on his shoulder in empathy before leaving. Morse was in shock. He looked at Amy and saw how trance like she was, and a tear ran down his cheek. But the anger welled up in him once more. Sam will now have to answer to him, one way or another.
Sam Thursday stood up in surprise from his position at the table as the cell doors opened and Morse walked in. Sam knew he was in further trouble. He saw the look on Morse’s face and tried not to look too afraid. Morse took off his coat and flung it on the bunk. He rolled up his sleeves. Sam still maintained his stance, but inside he was quaking with fear. Morse walked to the table. He glared at Sam and didn’t say a word making it worse for the poor lad, who didn’t know what was coming next.
“How are you, Sam?” Morse asked, but received no answer in return. Morse smiled a little, but not out of friendliness. He parked himself at the edge of the table, glancing once at the cell doors, which by now were locked. The corridor was empty. No RMP or uniformed officer in sight. Sam now grew nervous. There would be no witnesses to what Morse had in store for him. “I asked you a question, soldier…”
“Fine…” Sam answered shakily.
“I see.” Morse paused to glance at the floor. “I’ve just been to the hospital. To see Amy. I didn’t see her, rather the doctor who oversees her care.”
“How…How is she, Morse…?”
“Detective Sergeant Morse to you!” Sam backed away slightly. “You know, Sam. I wondered when I first got you off that time that model was murdered whether you were truly innocent. Your father seemed to think so.”
“I was, Morse…I mean Detective Sergeant Morse.”
“Funny that, isn’t it? It seems you are involved in a lot of things that goes on here. Now, look what has happened? Again, another crime involving this barracks and once again you are in the thick of it.” He once again flashed that smile which was on the verge of a very nasty smirk. “Now, I am going to ask you this one more time… Are you telling me the entire truth?”
Sam didn’t answer. He was frozen to the spot, suddenly too scared to speak. He was frightened of Morse, this new persona of his. He knew Morse to be polite and respectful, softy spoken. This was a new Morse – one he was now very conscious of.
“Are you going to answer me, Sam or do I have to force it out of you?” The tone of Morse was calm, and this alerted Sam.
“I am innocent, sir,” he replied. “I had nothing to do with Amy’s assault!”
“DON’T LIE TO ME!” Morse’s loud and furious echo bounced off the walls. “Three of your colleagues grabbed her from the street, bundled her into a truck, took her to a clearing and repeatedly raped her! One by one, over and over. Your dog tags were found nearby! Now, please let’s not insult each other’s intelligence and just tell me the BLOODY TRUTH!” Morse stared into Sam’s eyes. He saw more than he needed to know, but he just wanted to boy to confirm it. “I need names, Sam. Those three names. You know who they are. Come on, just say it. You can’t be in even more trouble than you are already.”
Sam was confused by the constant change in Morse’s tone, his mannerisms. He didn’t know what to do. Morse stood up and the more Sam backed away.
“Three names,” Morse repeated walking slowly towards him step by step. “That is all I need. Was one of them Corporal Adam Hayes?”
“Haysey? Oh God, no! He wouldn’t harm a fly!”
“Then I need those names.” Morse suddenly stopped walking. “I am being nice to you, Sam. But please, do not make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I am angry.”
“If I tell you, will you secure my release?”
“NAMES, SAM!” Morse wasn’t going to answer Sam’s question. The young soldier froze again. Morse shook his head slowly. “Let me tell you what happened when I went to the hospital, shall I? The doctor saw me, took me to Amy’s room where I have been visiting each day, every day. I read to her each evening, take care of her, comfort her, feed her and give her squash to drink because she is in too much pain to do it herself. She has to drink through a straw. She has bruises all over, her body is covered in cigarette burns. Her skin is black and blue. Her beautiful eyes half closed because she is in too much pain to open them fully. This is what your Army fraternity did to her. Now, she underwent a pelvic and internal examination recently as is normal with victims of rape and sexual assault including an X-ray. They found she had fractured ribs, but that wasn’t all…” He paused to look at Sam, who now had tears in his eyes. But he wasn’t prepared for Morse thumping his fist so hard on the table it nearly broke. “SHE WAS RAPED REPEATEDLY TO THE POINT SHE IS DAMAGED!” he screamed. “SHE CANNOT HAVE CHILDREN, SAM! NOW… GIVE ME THE NAMES OF THOSE THREE INDIVIDUALS WHO DESTROYED HER BEFORE I DO SOMETHING I WILL REGRET!”
Shock went through Sam and the tears fell from his eyes. He couldn’t believe what he heard. He slid down the wall to the floor.
“Amy…” he whispered. Morse sighed heavily, his eyes flying to the ceiling. He looked at Sam and noticed how much of a wreck he was but also how much he still had feelings for Amy.
“Names, Sam,” he repeated. Sam looked up at him and nodded. Morse walked over to retrieve his notepad and pen from his coat and slid them across the floor. Sam shakily picked the items up and started to write.
“I’m sorry, Morse,” he said, his head bowed. Morse said nothing as he packed up. He took his coat and put it back on.
“Any message for Amy?” he asked as an officer arrived to unlock to the door. Sam shook his head, his feelings still in knots. Morse said nothing in return as he left. He met the RMP officer at the end of the corridor and handed him the notes with the names. He shook hands with him before leaving.
As he walked to his car, he saw a few of his plain clothed officers unlocking the doors to the garage where the truck was parked and going in, shouts and orders coming in all directions. Morse opened the door to his car when he saw the figure of Leeson standing in a doorway not far away. The major nodded once to him in acknowledgement and went back inside.
“DS Morse. Come in, DS Morse.”
Morse reached inside to pick up the handset. “Yes, what is it?”
“You have to come in, sir,” the voice crackled from the other end. “The DCI wants to see you.”
“What now?!” Morse was unimpressed as he saw the three soldiers walk out of their dorm, hands behind their backs, under the escort of four RMP officers. One of them was Corporal Adam Hayes.
“Yes, sir. Right away.”
Morse sighed irritably. He was still on leave, but knew he went against protocol. “All right. I’m on my way.” He threw the handset back before getting in. He wanted to head for the hospital straight away to see Amy, but that had to wait for now. He turned the key in the ignition and looked in the rear-view mirror. He saw Sam walk out of custody, hands behind his back, being led by another RMP officer. He watched as he was bundled into a separate vehicle before shoving the gear into first. He released the handbrake and drove carefully through the security gates and out on to the main road.
Win cried tears of joy when Thursday told his wife and daughter the good news – that their son and brother will be home in a couple of days. Joanie wiped away tears of relief and hugged her mother tightly. Once again, Morse had come up victorious. Thursday watched his wife and daughter’s early celebrations and thought again about what he said to Morse the last time he visited him, to stay away as he was causing trouble. He began to think that this was now wrong. Above all else, he took Morse under his wing when he was a nervous and impressionable officer all those years ago and saw something in him that no one else did. He introduced him to his family, made him feel welcome. All Morse did was show respect and gratitude in return and this was his reaction just because he came into his own? He thought about his visit to the station to see Morse’s DCI and wondered whether he actually did the right thing. He hoped it would all work out in any case…
“I need to make something special!” Win suddenly said. “To welcome Sam home! Do we have enough? Joanie, grab that pad of paper by the telephone. We need to make a list!” Joanie walked out. Win looked at her husband and held out her hand. Thursday smiled as he held it. He knew he would have to extend that invitation to Morse. But what about Amy? Poor child was still in hospital. He leaned over to kiss Win on the cheek before leaving.
“Where are you going, Fred?” Win asked.
“Off out,” he replied. “I won’t be long.” He paused to give Joanie a hug before taking his hat and coat from the peg by the door. Joanie smiled as her father left and walked back into the dining room, the pad of paper and a pen in her hand.
Amy gently opened her eyes and saw Morse standing in front of her. She smiled and gradually sat up properly. Morse smiled lovingly at her and kissed her gently. Amy held him in an embrace and Morse wrapped his arms around her.
“Hello, Endeavour,” she said. They looked at each other and Morse was happy to see more of her eyes.
“There are those eyes I miss,” he told her. Amy smiled.
“It’s nice to see yours too finally,” she said. Morse gently stroked her cheek before sitting down on the chair by her bedside.
“I have good news for you, Amy. The three soldiers who did this to you have admitted to the charges against them. They will be discharged dishonourably on completion of their sentence.” Tears welled in Amy’s eyes.
“Thank you,” she told him gratefully. She outstretched her arms like a child and Morse was only too happy to hold her again.
“How are you feeling?” he asked. Amy’s eyes fell, and she gripped Morse’s hand tightly.
“I missed you last night,” she told him. “Where were you?”
Morse’s face fell. Amy knew something was wrong. She watched as Morse looked at her, the adoration on his face and in his eyes.
“Amy…” he began.
“Hello, Amy.” Morse turned his head and saw Thursday by the doorway, a huge bunch of flowers in his hand. Amy was stunned to see him.
“Sir,” Morse said in acknowledgement. Thursday walked over towards them, stopping by the foot of the bed.
“Morse,” he replied.
“Mr Thursday,” Amy said to him. “What are you doing here? Are those for me?”
Thursday glanced at the bouquet in his hand. “Yes. Yes, they are.” There was awkwardness between the three of them. Thursday observed the way Morse and Amy were with each other and knew there would be no turning back.
“Thank you, Mr Thursday,” Amy said pleasantly. “They are lovely. You can put them on that table behind you by the door. I’ll get one of the nurses to take care of it.” Morse cleared the hair from Amy’s face as Thursday did as suggested. Amy was nervous all of a sudden and Morse held her hand. Thursday walked back to the foot of the bed.
“Sam is in the clear,” he told her. “The three soldiers admitted stealing his dog tags and planting them at the scene. Sam is facing a small disciplinary charge, namely drunken affray, but luckily nothing as bad as the others.”
Amy said nothing. She looked at Morse.
“I’m sorry… about what happened to you.” She looked at him.
“Your son held back, Mr Thursday,” she told him. Thursday looked at her injuries, the bruising and felt remorse. “Your son was jealous that I left him for Endea…” Morse suddenly gripped her hand hard and she looked at him wondering why.
“Don’t worry. I know his name, Amy. He just doesn’t like it out in the open.” Morse looked to the side in embarrassment. Amy nodded slowly finding it strange. She loved his name and wondered why he was so against people knowing. “I can only apologise for Sam, Amy. For him and for all of us. We treated you unfairly when you arrived. We had no right to.”
Amy looked at Thursday. “I made it clear to Sam that there was no way we could continue, Mr Thursday. He knew this deep down. We were wrong for each other.”
“Yes, well I don’t know if he accepts that fully. He still loves you, Amy…”
“Mr Thursday, I am leaving England as soon as I am fit to do so. I am going back to Singapore. Endeavour is coming with me.”
Morse closed his eyes. Thursday raised an eyebrow. Amy noticed the look on his face, the hint she was given. She looked at Morse hoping it wasn’t true.
“Endeavour…?” she asked softly. “You are coming with me… Aren’t you?” Morse looked at Amy in silent admission and she backed away slightly at the sheer regretful look on his face. “No…” she whispered, shaking her head slowly. “You promised!”
“I have been offered the chance to go for my Inspector exams,” he told her in just a gentle whisper. “I need to try.” He knew he hurt her and the tears stung his eyes. Thursday watched the look on both their faces and knew he had made a dreadful mistake.
“But… But you can take them in Singapore!” Amy was adamant. “I know he can… Can’t he, Mr Thursday?” Amy looked at him pleadingly, as much as she possibly could. Thursday didn’t answer. Amy’s eyes dropped slowly, and she took her hand away from Morse, moving further across the bed grimacing in pain as she did.
“I am so sorry, Amy…”
“Just go, Endeavour. Please. Leave me alone.” She looked at Thursday. “Thank you again for the flowers, Mr Thursday. They will brighten up the room.”
“You’re welcome, Amy.” Morse gave him a dirty look. This was his news to tell her, not via a hint from a third party he had nothing to do with anymore. Slowly and sadly, he stood up. He leaned over to kiss Amy, but she turned her head away. Morse refilled Amy’s glass of squash and left it on her side table before leaving. He walked past Thursday ignoring him. Thursday bid Amy farewell and followed him out. Amy watched as the door closed and she pulled up the covers to her chin, the pain suddenly too much to bear. She bowed her head sadly.
“Morse!” Thursday called to him as they walked down an empty corridor outside Amy’s ward. Morse ignored him as he walked further away. “Endeavour Morse!” This time he stopped. He turned suddenly, and Thursday was taken aback by the look on his face.
“Don’t…ever…talk to me again, Fred!” he said. “And that includes saying my name in public!” He walked off again.
“Morse!” Thursday called out again. “She was going to find out sooner or later!” Morse turned again and walked towards his former superior.
“When I tell her is my business, sir!” he told him, the betrayal he felt visible. He walked away, the tears falling down his face only to turn back again suddenly. “You know, she was my second chance of happiness after Ava passed away. Who are you to rob me of that? Just because your family is unhappy doesn’t mean I have to be! I was going to leave Oxford. To go with her. What is here for me now? I told you before that I wasn’t ready to be Inspector! But you just had to push it didn’t you, sir, by talking to my superior! Well, congratulations, sir! I hope you are happy with yourself!” He walked away this time for good, opening the double doors causing it to bang against the walls as he walked through. Thursday watched as he disappeared and sighed heavily. He seated himself down on an empty chair knowing he probably had ruined their friendship beyond repair.
Morse walked to his car and looked up at the block where Amy’s ward was. He thought he could spot her half-opened window but wasn’t sure. He sighed heavily and gave it one last look before getting in. He knew this would probably be the last time he would ever see her and that broke his heart.
Sam came home to lots of hugs and kisses from Win. The young sergeant smelled the delicious home cooking wafting from the kitchen and felt hungry instantly. He grinned at his mother and hugged her tightly. Joanie bounded down the stairs and Sam laughed as he picked her up and hugged her tightly, swaying her from side to side. Win was so happy to see her son back safely from his ordeal. Thursday, walking inside, shut the door and Win ushered her children into the living room. Sam, his arm around his sister’s shoulders, walked in only to stop as he saw someone on the sofa. Joanie looked up at her brother with a grin. Sam walked slowly over. Thursday stood to join his daughter by the doorway.
Amy looked at Sam with a smile. She was sitting half lengthways across the sofa. She was wearing one of Joanie’s dresses with her hair all done neatly. She was still bruised and in a little bit of pain. Thursday indicated the kitchen to Joanie and they both left them alone.
Sam crouched down in front of Amy and gently reached out to touch her, but she gently pushed his hand away. They looked at each other, Sam not taking his eyes off her. He could not but be affected by what he saw.
“Amy… Look at what they did to you…”
“Morse brought them to justice.” Sam’s eyes fell briefly. Amy looked at him. “The doctor gave me a day’s discharge. I must go back tonight. I still have to undergo another test.”
“What test?” Sam looked at her instantly with concern. Amy sighed heavily.
“Morse told you I take it?”
“Yes.” Sam nodded sadly. “He did.”
“It’s another exam to see how damaged I am inside and if they can help me in case I suffer in the future.” Sam looked away. “Why, Sam?” He looked at her. “Why? I want to know.” Sam didn’t answer and instead stood up. He walked over to the window and looked out of it.
“I am so sorry, Amy,” he said. “For what they did to you.”
“Is this because of what happened between us?” Amy’s voice was soft. She was sick of the anger and couldn’t cry anymore. She just wanted answers, so she could move on. She saw Sam bow his head and gasped. “I am suffering mentally and physically because you couldn’t accept we were over, Sam? Did you order them to do this to me?”
“No!” Sam turned to look at her straight away. Amy noticed his distress. Sam ran forward grabbing a chair so he could sit in front of her. “Never, Amy! I would never, ever hurt you! Please believe me that I never expected this to happen to you. I did not order anyone to destroy you. I love you!” The tears stung Sam’s eyes and he wiped them away quickly. Amy looked at him trying to figure out if he was being sincere.
“So why did they…?”
“Because they thought they were defending my honour. I know, it is stupid.”
“Your honour?!” Amy was disgusted. “Sam, this is not some gangster film you see at the picture house! This is me we’re talking about. My body, my being! I can never have children now because of what they did, Sam. Do you know how that makes me feel? Because they were so bitter and twisted and racist I went through that ordeal, that I will always carry the mental scars in addition to the physical, but as a consequence I can’t do the one thing I was created to do! Do you have any idea…?” She stopped and looked away. Sam gently persuaded Amy to look at him.
“Amy…Amy Evans. From the first day I saw you working in that office block I fell in love with you. I wanted to be with you. You know how nervous I was wanting to approach you? I didn’t care where you were from! I just wanted to get to know you better. When you agreed to court me, you know how happy I was? I didn’t care who knew, who found out. I didn’t care about the Army. All I cared about was you. You were on my mind every, single day. Even when I was out on drills, I couldn’t wait to come back just to see you at that desk by the window. At least I knew you were safe in there.”
“So, why did you ignore me? Why were you embarrassed to be around me, to touch me? You even kept your distance when we were out together some days, Sam! That is not how a couple is supposed to be!”
“I know, Amy, and I am sorry. In truth, I should have ignored everyone and showed you off more. I wanted to. You are beautiful, Amy! I have never set my eyes on anyone as wonderful as you.” Amy thought of Morse at that point, Sam’s words echoing what he had told her previously. “Dad told me you and Morse have parted.”
“Yes.” Amy tried to hold back on her feelings. “Yes, we have.”
“I am so sorry, Amy.”
“Are you?” Amy asked looking straight at him.
“Yes, Amy. But it means I am given another chance. Please, Amy. I want us to start again. I promise I will do things differently from now on.”
Amy looked into Sam’s eyes, once again studying them. All she found was some sort of honesty, that he was begging to be given that chance. In her gut, no matter how she tried to persuade herself otherwise, even when she was with Morse, she still harboured some feelings for him. She remembered too the first time she met him, how his smile and dark features just melted her like she was a lovesick teenager.
“What about the Army?” she asked.
“Well… I thought about that.” His face was slightly hesitant. “I have asked for a transfer. There is a much better opportunity in Aldershot. A different regiment. We can move there. It is a lot more accommodating than here, Amy. There are even job opportunities for you. I have already looked into it. Then… after a while, I can apply for a posting to Singapore?” Sam smiled. “It may take a couple of years though, Amy. Can you wait that long?”
Amy saw how serious Sam was and thought about it. He certainly did his research and seemed determined to make a go of things. He seemed different somehow. More open, more loving. And Singapore? Was he really serious about moving there? At least he was willing to give it a go – unlike Morse.
“Yes,” she eventually replied. “Yes, I can, Sam Thursday!” Sam held her tightly.
“Believe me when I tell you I love you, Amy. I love you so much! I would do anything for you.” Amy closed her eyes happily and nodded. They looked at each other and Sam gently stroked her face before kissing her. Amy savoured it, the memories of their first few dates coming back.
“But… I can’t give you children, Sam…”
“Irrelevant,” Sam replied. “By that I mean it honestly doesn’t matter. As long as we are together, Amy. We can always adopt. Give that child or children the same chances as your adopted parents gave you.” That was enough for Amy and she held Sam tightly again.
“Thank you,” she whispered. “You don’t know how much it means to hear you say that.” She looked at him gratefully. They heard noises coming from the dining room and they both laughed.
“Shall we?” Sam asked.
“Yes, please! I am very hungry.” Sam carefully got Amy to her feet and gently led her out slowly to the dining room. Cheers and clapping were heard as they walked in, Win fussing over them to the complaints of her husband to let them get on with it. Laughter engulfed his household for the first time in a long time along with the clinks of glasses and the toasts made for Sam’s release and for his rekindled relationship with Amy.
Morse took a look inside his spare room and saw what Amy’s bed was as when she first came to stay – hardy slept in. He saw her case in a corner and slowly walked inside to pick it up. She would be leaving Oxford today. He found out the results of her second examination and was pleased there wasn’t any further damage. He also found out she and Sam were back together. As he placed the case by the living room doorway, his thoughts turned to the desk study. He walked towards it opening the drawer. The framed pictures met him yet again and he took it out. He looked once again at Ava and bowed his head. He decided against hiding it any longer and placed it on top of the desk. He looked at the first picture of them and saw the look of happiness on her face and remembered that day…
It was breezy but bright and sunny. They were on one of their many walks she loved taking. She would always go on walks whenever she was back in Oxford visiting and he was only too happy to accompany her. A tourist took a picture of them hugging as the wind blew her hair all over the place and he was only too happy to send them the result. This was before she found out she was with child and Morse found himself going back to that fateful day. He recalled the blast and his screams ringing in his ears, his agonised calls of her name. Morse took a look at the calendar and knew he had to make his move for Cambridge.
The doorbell rung, and Morse turned. He sniffed his sorrow away and grabbed something from the drawer before closing it. He walked over to the door and found Joanie outside. They both looked at each other and Joanie couldn’t help but notice he was in a pair of casual slight flared trousers and a turtle neck sweater – completely different to how she was used to seeing him. Morse stepped aside so she could come in. Joanie took a look around and was impressed by what she saw.
“So, this is what an Inspector’s salary buys you?” she said. Morse smiled in amusement.
“Not an Inspector yet, Miss Thursday,” he told her following her into the living room. Joanie turned and smiled at him.
“I’m here for Amy’s belongings.”
“Just by your feet.” Joanie looked downwards and saw the solitary case beside her. “Oh, this also belongs to her.” Joanie watched as Morse walked over to the side of the coffee table and picked up a bag. “It’s her adoption things. She can’t leave without those.”
“Thanks.” Joanie took the bag from him and they looked at each other for a while. “So, I take it you are not going to Singapore after all?”
Morse shook his head despondently. “Thank you for not disclosing my plans to anyone when I told you that day.”
“No need. Look, I’m sorry what happened between the two of you,” she said. “My Dad can be something sometimes. But, he is grateful, you know. For what you did. We all are.” Morse said nothing but nod his head. Joanie felt awkward. “Did you find anything about her parents? I asked Dad, but he didn’t say much.”
“I asked him not to, Miss Thursday.” Morse walked over to his coat, which was hanging on a stand in the corridor. Joanie settled the bag between her feet as she took the piece of paper from him. Her eyes widened as she read it quietly. There in black and white were the results of Rachel Howard’s investigation:
Mother (Caucasian British): Juliette Rose Clifton
Died: 1944/04/07 from syphilis contracted through fornication
Father: Unknown (Imperial Army) – Missing. Possibly killed in action
Baby girl born on 1943/05/25. Birth name: Anna Caroline Clifton. Was conceived through forced means. Placed for adoption at the Sacred Heart Mother & Baby Home in Kowloon, Hong Kong. Baby was adopted by Mr & Mrs Francis Evans of Singapore City, Singapore on 1943/09/15. Baby renamed Amy Elizabeth. No other known relatives alive or deceased.
“I couldn’t tell her, Miss Thursday. Especially not now.”
“Of course not, no!” Joanie was still looking at the paper in disbelief. “A Japanese soldier… Oh, gosh!”
“That was why her mother had to give Amy up. Her parents refused to allow a child born in those circumstances like that into the family.” Joanie shook her head slowly and gave the paper back to Morse.
“I won’t mention it to her. You have my word.”
“Thank you, Miss Thursday. I appreciate it.” Once again, they looked at each other. Joanie cleared her throat and picked up the bag.
“Will you be saying goodbye to her?” she asked as she picked up Amy’s case.
“No, Miss Thursday. I am going to Cambridge.”
“Oh, yes. Sorry. It’s tomorrow, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” Morse nodded, the memories coming back once again. Joanie felt for him and made her move to leave. “Oh, Miss Thursday?”
“Morse?” Joanie turned just before she opened the door.
“Can you give this to Amy for me? It’s just a little goodbye present.”
“Sure.” Joanie was handed a small envelope, Amy’s name elegantly written on the front.
“Please ask her to open it when the bus leaves the city.”
“Thank you, Miss Thursday.” Morse opened the door so Joanie could walk out. She turned to look at him.
“One day you will be happy, Morse. Just like I told you before you met Ava: you will be snapped up – and this time permanently.” Morse forced himself to smile. Joanie rubbed his arm encouragingly. “Give my love to Ava. See you, Morse.” She walked down the steps and along the driveway, Thursday’s car in the distance. Morse watched as she slammed the boot door shut and got in at the back seat. She waved at him before the car disappeared down the street. Morse left the door open ajar and walked the short distance to grab his brown leather coat. His overnight bag was by the stand. He picked that up and left, closing the door behind him.
Sam picked up his and Amy’s things and gave them to the coach driver who packed them in the compartment along with the other passengers’ bags. His family were there once again to see him off. Amy, looking a lot better, walked forward and gave Win a hug. The Thursday matriarch embraced her tightly giving her a kiss goodbye.
“You look after yourself, Amy,” she told her. “You are welcome anytime. You are part of the family now.”
“Thank you, Mrs Thursday.” Amy smiled at Win and they hugged again.
Sam walked over to Joanie and they hugged tightly as only siblings can do. He looked at her and laughed. “You’re so sentimental,” he told her jokingly.
“Hush,” Joanie said in embarrassment. She held him tightly again. “I’m going to miss you.”
“Me too, sis. You look after Mum, okay?”
“I will.” Joanie sniffed back tears as Sam kissed her on the forehead. He walked over his father as Amy hugged Joanie goodbye.
“Dad,” he said. Thursday looked at his son, all smartly dressed in his plain olive green jumper and printed fatigued bottoms with beret and couldn’t help but feel proud. What started off as a handshake turned into a hug and he wouldn’t let go. “Thank you for everything, Dad.”
“No need,” Thursday told him. “I am proud of you, son. Always will be.” They looked at each other. “Son, can I have a word?”
“Sure.” They walked a short distance away as the three women chatted. Amy caught sight of Thursday saying something to his son and his reaction afterwards. She saw Sam look at her and wondered what was going on. She saw the two of them bear hug tightly and smiled as they walked back towards her. Sam looked at her meaningfully and placed his arm around her shoulders holding her close.
“Are you okay, Sam?” she asked.
“Perfectly.” Sam smiled looking at her.
“Time to go!” the driver announced climbing up the steps of the bus.
“Goodbye, Mr Thursday,” Amy stood in front of him respectfully. Thursday smiled and hugged her.
“Goodbye, Amy sweetheart,” he told her. Amy held him tightly closing her eyes as she was reminded of her father. She looked up at him and smiled before leaving.
“Goodbye, Mrs Thursday. Goodbye, Joan!” She waved as she climbed up the steps. Win and Joanie waved back, the younger blowing kisses as her brother followed his girlfriend. They took their seats as the doors closed and the engine revved up. Joanie and Win ran a little in chase as Sam and Amy waved from the window.
“Bye, Amy. Bye, Sam. Keep in touch!” They stopped and waved as the bus went down the road and disappeared into the distance. The two women looked at each other and hugged one another. Only Thursday stayed where he was, watching as the bus became a distant dot on the horizon. He sighed heavily wondering when he will see his son again. Thanks to Morse, his family were once again saved by a thread. He looked at the time and wondered if his former protégé was halfway to Cambridge by now.
The bus passed along the main road, passing the colleges and over the city limits. It left Oxford far behind and entered county territory going along the barren countryside on its way down south. Amy and Sam looked at each other excitedly, holding hands. This was the start of a new future for them – one away from the bad vibes that Oxford provided. Sam leaned over to give Amy a kiss and she smiled looking into his eyes. She settled back down and looked out of the window whilst Sam stood up to speak to someone who noticed his fatigues and wanted to have a chat.
As Amy watched the countryside zip by, she saw a familiar grey car standing stationary in the distance, and an even more familiar figure standing by the front, his new wide collared, unbuttoned brown leather coat distinctive as was his black turtle neck sweater and light coloured slightly flared trousers. Amy’s eyes widened. She remembered the message Joanie gave her and she reached into the pocket of her dress taking out the envelope. She opened it and to her amazement found a gold chain with a pendant inside. Amy knew who it belonged to and read the note that accompanied it. Tears fell from her eyes as she took in the words that was written to her:
You are my hope, my saviour, my light.
I will always be grateful,
Amy faced the window as the bus passed by the car and pressed her hands against the glass. She managed to lock eyes with Morse as he raised his hand to wave her goodbye. She gripped the piece of jewellery as he became a dot in the distance and would not stop looking. The tears rushed down her face. Thank you for everything, Endeavour. You don’t know how much I will miss you…I love you…
“Amy, are you okay?” Amy quickly hid the present in her pocket. Sam gently persuaded her to look at him and laughed softly seeing the tears. “You can’t miss Oxford already surely!” he said wiping them away. “We will come back and visit.” Amy nodded and settled back down again. Sam took her in his arms and held her, kissing her gently on her hair before resting his head on hers.
Endeavour Morse watched as the bus became a distant memory and he walked over to the driver’s side of the car, getting in. He slammed the door and turned on the radio. Straight away, Wooly Bully started playing and he listened for about 10 seconds before turning the dial tutting. Nights In White Satin filtered through the speakers. Morse listened for a bit before smiling, remembering how beautiful Amy looked in her red dress. He turned the dial one more time and the orchestral splendour that was Wagner boomed throughout the vehicle and beyond. Morse gave a look of satisfaction as he started the car and leaned out of the window to make sure the coast was clear before attempting a successful U-turn. He drove down the empty road, the sign post in the distance informing him he was going in the right direction towards Cambridge…