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July 18, 2020 3:53 am  #1

Peach Pie

Missing scene from the end of the 5th episode of the 4th season of Grantchester. Spoilers for the episode so if you haven't seen it, be warned.

The phone rang just as she pulled the pie out of the oven, her grandmother’s peach sour cream.  It had seemed like the perfect Saturday afternoon pursuit, but she hurriedly placed it on the table to cool.  Wiping her hands on her apron, she used her shoulder as a phone rest and answered.
“Maeve, its Geordie.  Sorry to bother you, “he stammered awkwardly. She smiled at the police detective through the phone. 
“Of course, Geordie!  No bother, what can I do for you?”
“Well,” he hesitated as if thinking better of what he might say next.  “It’s not so much for me as for Will.” She and Will had become fast friends since he started at the vicarage a few months ago.  They bantered easily and she genuinely enjoyed his company.  A request to help him was certainly not a bother at all.
“Of course, Geordie.  What is it?”
“Well, Will has had a terribly rough day. I won’t share the details. He is terribly private, and they aren’t mine to tell, but I worry about him being by himself. He refused my company, but I was hoping he wouldn’t refuse yours.  I think he needs it, Maeve.”   She chewed her bottom lip in concern. 
“Don’t give it a second thought, Geordie.  I’ll drop by in a bit,” she agreed, eyeing the pie, a good enough reason as any to pay an unscheduled visit.  He sighed audibly on the other line. 
“You’re really worried about him…” she mused almost to herself.
“I am, Maeve, this means a lot to me.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do.” 
“Thank you,” she said and thoughtfully hung up.  Geordie sounded genuinely concerned, which was a bit contagious. She wondered what exactly had happened to her friend to warrant his request.  She mused on this while she wrapped the pie in a clean checkered cloth and placed it in a basket.  Whatever it was, she would do her best to offer support, and whatever she couldn’t do she hoped the pie would do the rest.  Mouthing a thankful word to her grandmother for her fantastic recipe, she straightened her hair and hurried out the door.
The drive was a short one, but it left her time to worry, alone with her thoughts.  By the time she parked at the vicarage, a small knot had formed in her stomach.  She hoped he wouldn’t turn her away. 
Making her way up the stone walkway, she was startled by Leonard who almost ran out the door holding his eye. They almost collided, her turning to avoid him just in time, the basket with the pie swinging wildly.  He continued on into the grounds without as much as an acknowledgement.  Now she was really concerned.  Leonard was one of the most polite men she had ever met.  Something was really wrong.  Taking a moment to steady herself, she knocked on the front door of the vicarage, and stepped back expectantly. 
“Oh, God, Leonard, I am so sorry,” came Will’s tortured voice as he swung open the door.  At seeing her, his face changed.  She was startled by how broken he had initially looked, but now he struggled to steal his features to maintain some semblance of composure.  He looked a mix of humiliation and despair.  Despite herself, her mouth gaped ever so slightly. 
“Will…?” she questioned gently.  He shook his head almost imperceptibly and whispered an apology, quickly retreating into the vicarage. She stood, bewildered, unsure what to do next.  He had left the door open in his haste.  Unsure of whether he had meant it as an invitation, she carefully stepped into the semi darkness of the corridor. He stood at the other end of the hall, outlined in the sunlight from the window he faced.  His hands clasped behind his head in what she guessed was an attempt to regain control.  Reaching behind her, she slowly closed the door to the prying eyes of neighbors or any other unannounced guest. She didn’t know much of what had happened, but she was certain of one thing.  He would not want an audience. Carefully, she placed the basket on the floor, pie forgotten, and turned toward him.
“Will…” she prompted again.  At the sound of her voice, he broke.  Sliding down the wall, he sat on the floor, elbows to his knees with his head in his hands.  A sob coursed through him as if his heart were breaking.  Without much conscious thought, she was suddenly on her knees in front of him.  Gingerly, she placed one hand on his knee and crept forward. He lifted his head slightly and looked her in the eye. His hands fell to his side. Her heart shattered at the expression on his face.  Tears streamed down his face, and his eyes conveyed a deep loss and pleading desperation.  She felt as though he was almost begging her not to reject him.  She pushed herself further forward and gathered him into her arms, cradling his face against her chest. By doing so, she hoped it conveyed acceptance of whatever the demon was he was wrestling with.  His arms circled around her and held on tight like she was the only thing in the world preventing him from breaking into pieces.  His sobs rocked them both as he cried with a despondency she had not experienced before. She stroked his hair, and rubbed his back murmuring soft words of comfort.  They seemed so inadequate against the pain that poured from him, mere platitudes but it was all she could offer.  After at least ten minutes, he finally quieted some. Still crying but the emotion didn’t seem to be capable of breaking him apart.  She realized they were tangled together on the floor, her all but draped in his lap.  Normally she would have blushed at her lack of propriety, but these boundaries seemed silly now.  In between shuddering breaths, he choked out an apology.  She shushed him before it even left his lips.  Slowly, she placed both her hands on his cheeks and gently lifted his face to look at her.  His eyes were deep blue pools of glistening tears which still cascaded briskly down his face. It was mesmerizing and despite herself, she found she could not keep  from softly brushing them away with the tips of her fingers.   He untangled himself from her in a few moments and leaned his head against the wall to close his eyes sending a river of fresh tears to collect on his jawline. She found she missed his warmth.
“Maeve…” he said her name with such exhaustion that it almost hurt her to hear it. 
“Shhh.  You don’t have to tell me.  I am here to listen if you need to, but you owe me no explanation.”  He seemed relieved at that and slowly climbed to his feet, his breath still hitching occasionally.  Offering her his hand, he helped her from the floor and led her into his study. 
“At least I can offer you something more comfortable than the floor,” he stated, gesturing to one of his well-worn leather couches. He poured them both a glass of whiskey, and she watched intently as the tears that still lingered on his lips mingled with the warming amber liquid.  They sat silent as he studied the bottom of his glass.   After a long while, he spoke
“My father died today.”  He said it so quietly, she wasn’t sure if she was even meant to hear it, but she couldn’t help a soft intake of breath as she began to put some of the pieces together.
“Or rather, I should say my father blew his brains out in front of my mother and I like a coward.” He scoffed humorlessly as the edges of his mouth turned down to guide another fresh tear down his cheek.  His gaze was far away, and she shuddered to think what he might be seeing in his mind’s eye.
“I’m so so sorry,” she murmured, aware of just how useless the words really were.  He pursed his lips and nodded slowly in acceptance.  Sighing, he closed his eyes. He seemed he wanted to say something, but another wave of emotion washed over him again rendering him unable to speak through his faltering breath.  There was something different in this sadness, mingled with equal parts guilt.
“And, Leonard, God help me.  He didn’t deserve that,” his voice hitched as he brought his fist to his mouth to steady its shaking.  With his head bowed, she watched several tear drops succumb to gravity and splash to the floor.  Despite herself, she reached to place a comforting hand on his forearm.  His attempt at a thankful smile was pitiful as his lips wavered so that he could not produce one. 
“Do you want to know the worst part of all of it?” he shuddered.  “I reacted exactly as he would have; harming the ones I care for the most.”  After a long pause, he was barely able to utter.  “I am just like him.”  With that, he turned his face from her, covering his eyes as quiet sobs overtook him again.  Maeve surmised there was more to this story, but she knew it wasn’t the time to ask questions.  She simply moved slightly closer to him and placed a comforting had on his back making slow small circles.  These tears were different than the ones from earlier in the corridor. They were not desperate and powerful, ones that would tear a man apart, but burnt out quickly. These were long fought tears of deep seeded insecurities, fears and failures that he had been well practiced at holding in.  The depth of them engulfed them both as she laid her head on his shoulder and held on to his arm. She gently took his whiskey glass from him and leaned forward slightly to set it on the table in front of them, never moving enough to break contact with him.  She then pulled him towards her, carefully guiding him so he laid his head on her lap.  Despite himself, he curled into her and allowed a lifetime of hurt, rejection, inadequacies, and loss pour out of him in tortured sobs. Maeve stroked his back and hair softly.  He didn’t say a word, but she understood him completely.
By the time his breath steadied and slowed, the sun was beginning to fall beneath the horizon. Eyes red rimmed, and face puffy with years of pent up emotion and grief, he sat up and smiled gently at her, the first genuine one she had seen since she arrived. “What you must think of me,” he began but she silenced him with a look.  “Clearly, that was not the reason you came here,” he prompted. Although not entirely true, she gestured to the long-forgotten basket on the corridor floor.  “I brought you a pie,” she smiled.  He smiled back. “That sounds lovely,” and again led her by the hand to the kitchen retrieving the basket as they went.  He cut them both slices and as they slowly ate, he told her everything.  Over the next several hours, the long-kept secrets of his father, his abuse, his nobility poured from him.  They no longer seemed to hold quite the sting they had as he shared them with Maeve.  He confessed his treatment of Leonard and his fears that he had behaved just like his father and that despite his constant effort he would end up just like him in the end. Through it all, she just listened.  By the time he had finished, he felt a bit of lightness amid the grief that he couldn’t remember feeling in a long time.  As he walked her to her car, he brought her in for an embrace.  Kissing her cheek gently, he took both her hands in his and said,
“I’m not sure how you knew to come at just the right time, but I don’t think there will ever be words to thank you for what you have done for me tonight.”  She blushed deeply as he squeezed her hands and guided her gently into her front seat. Feeling somewhat lightheaded, as she drove home, she thought to herself,
“My goodness Geordie, when you’re right you’re right.”

" do not cry. They will do anything BUT cry. They stop themselves crying. And eventually they do cry if it is bad enough. So that's how you know with a man how bad it is for him. Because he would've stopped himself...Men always cry like that. They don't cry and in the end they do and if they do then it's overwhelming." ~Michael Caine

July 18, 2020 5:52 am  #2

Re: Peach Pie

I loved this story. I could picture every detail like I was there. The emotions you captured were mesmerizing. It was the perfect form of comforting.


July 18, 2020 9:53 am  #3

Re: Peach Pie

I notice you like guys crying like me, I love that! Amazing writing and details, the emotion is profound I could imagine the rooms and the people so well even with such little description. Hard to pull off, but you do it with such mastery.


July 18, 2020 1:50 pm  #4

Re: Peach Pie

I love how she took care of him, she closed the door to avoid unwanted guests, she held him, and I really loved the detail when "she placed both her hands on his cheeks and gently lifted his face to look at her.  His eyes were deep blue pools of glistening tears which still cascaded briskly down his face. It was mesmerizing and despite herself, she found she could not keep  from softly brushing them away with the tips of her fingers.". She is a very prudent comforter, yet, she is daring and goes for all in, she takes initiative when comforting.


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