Base Instruments is likely to have a very large cast. That's not ideal for produceability, but more and more I suspect I just need to adapt these Mrs. Hawking stories into a miniseries or something, so I'm not worrying about that stuff when I'm just trying to figure out what happens in each installment.
Arthur Swann, a young policeman, was introduced in Vivat Regina, and though nothing happened beyond getting to know him a little, it was pretty clear he was positively impressed by Mary. Because I think Base Instruments will end up being a murder mystery, I think it will be necessary to have Arthur reappear in this story, especially since I'm planning on him becoming more and more of an important character. That means the relationship between him and Mary will have to progress. One of his traits is that he's supposed to be charming in a way that respects and admires Mary's capability and independence, which I want to demonstrate in his pursuit of her. However, I have to be careful to not push things too hard, as I want the attentions of Nathaniel's brother Justin to be a legitimate distraction for Mary in this story. Justin'll seem less special and remarkable if lots of dudes are throwing themselves at her. I may be able to rely on the fact that he's very good-looking and a gentleman, the sort of man Mary never would have expected to give her a second look, while Arthur is a bit more ordinary-seeming. But I can balance that out later. Here's a shot at looking what Arthur reappearing in Mary's life would begin with.
I really love him calling her "rare bird," given the significance of the bird motif in these stories. :-)
Glad to Be Your Man
by Phoebe Roberts
MARY STONE, house maid and assistant society avenger
ARTHUR SWANN, a policeman
London, England, 1883
(Officer ARTHUR SWANN leans against a lamp post. He notices MARY as she walks by.)
ARTHUR: As I live and breathe. Evening, rare bird.
MARY: I beg your pardon?
ARTHUR: Don't you remember me? Because I couldn't forget you.
MARY: You're that policeman. Who needed some help with a ruffian.
ARTHUR: And you're the girl what gave it to me. Mary Stone.
MARY: Goodness. It's been more than a year, hasn't it?
ARTHUR: I'm like to recall a maid who can swing a poker like that. You know, ever since that night I've been keeping a weather eye out for you, hoping you might come back again this way. But you never have.
MARY: I'm sorry, I've had no cause.
ARTHUR: Shame on you, then. Who knows what trouble I might have gotten into without you around to watch my back? Could you bear to carry that on your conscience?
ARTHUR: So, then. Can you stay a spell to visit?
MARY: Forgive me, I've things to do.
ARTHUR: More important business, eh? Like German spies slipping away in the night from embassies?
(MARY fights to keep her expression neutral.)
MARY: I… I don't know what you mean.
ARTHUR: Well, it isn't as if us walking bobs often receive tips about when to bust up foreign spy activity. And when it comes after I've only just met a remarkable young lady clearly staking out the embassy…
(MARY laughs breezily.)
MARY: Staking out? Oh, heavens.
ARTHUR: I may look like just a pretty face, but there's a tick or two working behind my baby blues. Thank you kindly for that, by the by. My captain was fair chuffed with me.
MARY: Sir. I really don't know what you're talking about.
ARTHUR: No worries, miss. I'm not about to say anything, have no fear of that.
MARY: Perhaps I'd best be on my way.
ARTHUR: I won't keep you. Only I hope if you've a moment sometime, you might spare it to have a chat with me. And you know… if you ever need another copper to show up at the right time… I'd be glad to be your man.
MARY: Well… that's kind of you, I suppose.
ARTHUR: If I might see you again, I'll do a lot more than that.
(He tips his cap.)
ARTHUR: And remember, the name's Arthur Swann. In case you ever need it again.