This was posted on the mailing list and didn't take off so I figured I'd try it here and see if anyone was willing to give it a go...
Round Robin Part 1
Lewis didn't know who was more stunned when he opened the door, him or Keith Garrett. When Val had told him she'd hired someone to work on the cupboards, she hadn't mentioned a name. All she'd said was that he needed to be there to let the man into the house as she had her gardening club that afternoon. Stepping out of the way, he waved the man inside.
"Come on in."
"Thanks," Keith said, as he brought his toolbox into the house. "When your wife hired me, I had no idea I'd be working for you, Sargeant."
"Didn't know who she hired 'til I opened that door, right surprise that. Do you need anything, to help you get started?"
"Just point me in the right direction."
Once he'd gotten Keith squared away, Lewis tried to leave the man alone to work, but it was driving him crazy. This was a perfect way to find out things about Morse without him knowing. The only problem was that this was Morse and somehow he would just know.
Lewis only managed to hold out for a couple of hours before deciding that he was just going into the kitchen to make himself a cuppa. He was only being polite when he asked Keith to join him. He was still pouring when Keith startled him by speaking up.
"It's a good thing your wife hired me. Joyce and I have been meaning to track you down."
"What for?" Lewis asked as he set down the kettle and brought their tea over to the table where Keith was waiting.
"We wanted to thank you for everything you did when our Marilyn died."
"For ... I was only doing my job."
"Not just for the case, sergeant. For taking care of Dev for us. Joyce and I, well, we weren't up to being there for him, not with Marilyn gone. We had a lot on our plates just watching out for ourselves and Wayne."
"Dev?" Lewis said, confused and curious about what Dev could stand for since he knew Morse's first name began with an E.
"Joyce never could pronounce his name growing up. 'Spose we all just adopted calling him that. Only person I know who calls him by the full thing is Gwen and she only does it to wind him up."
"Gwen? Joyce's mum?"
"How such a sweet woman came from Gwen is beyond me," Keith said with a chuckle. "Joyce can't understand why our Dev is willing to help pay to keep the old witch in a home. To me, it's bloody obvious. With her in the home, he can visit whenever he wants and not have to put up with the old bat."
"That bad is she?"
"If she had her way, he'd never see a day of peace, but then, you know all of this."
"He told me some of it before he took me to meet you. Didn't want me to blunder about."
"He's awfully protective of Joyce, always has been. Mind you, it's pretty mutual. Hurt one and the other is likely to come after you with whatever's at hand. Susan found that out the hard way."
"Susan? Susan Fallon?"
"Aye, but she wasn't a Fallon back then, not yet anyways."
"He never mentioned her until we ended up investigating her husband's death."
"Wouldn't have, would he? Besides, what was he supposed to say? 'I don't let myself get seriously involved with anyone because the woman I was going to marry did a runner two weeks before the wedding.' It isn't something that comes up in conversation and he doesn't like to talk about it. Can't say as I blame him. Joyce keeps hoping he'll find someone and settle down, but I doubt it'll happen."
"No, I don't reckon. He's never had much luck with the ladies," Lewis said, his concern and affection for Morse clear in his voice.
"Nor much luck with the men for that matter. Still don't see what Morse ever saw in Jake Normington. Joyce thinks-" Keith said, trailing to a halt as he saw the frozen look on Lewis' face. "You didn't know?"
"No. I - Normington?"
"Right after Susan left him. I thought you knew. Dev said that you'd run into him on a case before he took off to America for good. I figured he would have said something."