She let herself into her small apartment, and closed the door behind her. Her shoes were kicked off and placed in their usual spot, and her coat was hung up and put away.
A glance at the clock on the wall told her that it was just after four in the morning, and she was already tired, but she knew he would be coming in through the door in a few short minutes, and she could not afford to seem sleepy or god forbid, bored in front of him.
Checking to make sure that the door was shut, but not locked, she turned and went into the cramped little kitchen, lit the gas burner and filled the kettle, before putting it over the heat to boil. As she prepared two cups, one for tea and the other for coffee, she kept listening to the door, waiting for the inevitable.
Her thoughts drifted as she waited, imagining a life where they had met under completely different circumstances. He was not... who he was, he would be a doctor or a vet, perhaps (saving lives instead of taking them), and she would have a beautiful garden and grow roses that would win prizes...
The door opened and closed again, and she heard the lock snap shut as the kettle started to whistle, so she turned off the heat and went out to greet him.
His hat was resting on the back of her tattered sofa, and his coat was damp from the rain. She helped him out of it, and hung it up as well, taking care not to crease it.
She was closing the cupboard door when he grabbed her and spun her round, kissing up and down the length of her neck.
"Watched you tonight..." his tongue gently traced a line up her neck as he spoke, "You were great. Even if you wore this dress again," Nibbling on her earlobe, his hands tightened on her hips and pulled her in close. "I thought I told you it looked bad under those lights. Hmm?"
"I... I know, and I’m sorry, I-"
"Sorry isn’t good enough, darlin’." He paused, and she could feel him tensing up slightly, but then he relaxed again, reaching up to brush a curl out of her face before letting go of her and walking over to the couch again. "Still, it’s done now, but don’t wear this dress ever again. Alright?"
She nodded as he sat down, and went back to go and finish making their drinks.
"Was I finished? Eirlys?"
"No. No, I was just going to finish making coffee for you, the kettle only just boiled when you arr-"
"I don’t want coffee. Besides, you’re staying at my place tonight. I waited for you, but Ciar said you’d went on home. Didn’t you get my message? I told you to wait at my table."
She shook her head. She had received a bunch of flowers from him, they were in the back room back at the club, but there was no message with them and she told him so.
He frowned, clenching his fist slightly, but then he just reached into his jacket and took out an almost-empty packet of cigarettes. Tapping the end of his last cigarette on the pack, he appeared lost in thought, before putting it in his mouth and getting a lighter out of his pocket.
He lit the cigarette and took a couple of drags on it while she stood there, before he put the lighter back in his pocket and crumpled the empty packet in one hand.
"...No message? Right. Can’t be helped, can it?"
And he looked at her like she was lying. She never lied to him, though, and they both knew it.
"No, I suppose not. I would have stayed behind if I’d got it, you know that."
He nodded at that, then stood up and walked over to her. The lit end of his cigarette traced his path and left a small trail in the air, and she watched that as he ran his hand down her arm and took her hand in his.
"I have something for you. Is there a mirror in this place?"
"Yes, it’s in my bedroom. Why?"
He said nothing, but nodded when she walked over and opened the door. She flicked the light switch, jerking her fingers back when it buzzed and sparked at her as it always did, and they walked over to stand in front of the mirror, him directly behind her.
"Close your eyes."
She knew better than to argue, so she shut her eyes and tried not to gasp when she heard something snap, and then felt something cold settle round her neck.
He fussed about at the back of her neck, and then placed his hands on her shoulders.
"You can look now."
So she did.
She couldn’t speak for a while.
He had just placed the most gorgeous necklace round her neck, a delicate lacework of gold and gems, and at every place where the links joined, there was a tiny diamond. At the edge of the net, there hung a series of teardrop-shaped diamonds, all with edges sharp enough to cut the light into rainbows.
"Ooh... Aidan, it’s..."
She reached up to touch it, but he caught her hand before she could do so. She looked at him in the mirror, and he was nodding, that small smug smile on his lips as usual.
"I knew it would suit you."