Downton quotes are italicized.
Mary opened her eyes, her gaze fixing on the ceiling above her as memories of the previous night washed over her and happiness flooded her entire body, reaching from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Hearing the gentle sound of his breathing next to her, something she hadn't heard in years, she released a small sigh before turning to gaze at him. Matthew's mouth hung open slightly, his arm tucked beneath his head as he snored, his hair rumpled as it pressed against the pillow.
For a few minutes, Mary simply watched Matthew sleep, marveling at how comfortable it felt to be with him again, her heart skipping a few beats as she remembered his words from the previous night: You've lived your life and I've lived mine, and now it's time we live them together. She vaguely wondered when he would propose, and she knew he would after he'd mentioned getting her a better ring "next time." She pushed the thought from her mind, too comfortable to allow such uncertainty to cloud her enjoyment of the morning.
As though sensing she was awake, Matthew's eyes fluttered open, a smile spreading across his face as soon as he saw her.
"Good morning, darling," he said, stretching his arms slightly.
"Good morning," Mary replied, snuggling closer to him under the covers. Matthew hooked his arm around her as he rolled onto his side. "How did you sleep?" she murmured, her finger tracing across the blond stubble appearing on his jaw.
"Like a baby," Matthew said. He kissed the tip of her nose and Mary felt her smile grow at his touch. "You know how much I've missed you?"
"Judging by last night? I couldn't tell," she teased, warming at the sound of his laugh.
Matthew hooked his leg around her calf, his toes brushing against her skin as he spoke. "God, I love you, Mary."
"Of course you do," she replied. They kissed, but Matthew quickly pulled away.
"I'm such an idiot, oh, my God," he groaned, rolling away from her and onto his back. "Stupid, stupid arse."
"Darling, what are you talking about?" Mary questioned, propping herself up atop his chest before combing her fingers through his hair.
His eyes were slightly wild as he spoke. "I love you. How could I have not known that I love you? Am I really that petty and blind?"
She sighed, her hands cupping his face before she replied. "Matthew, please don't beat yourself up about this. It's not as though I gave you any indication that I-"
He sat up quickly and Mary slipped off him, pushing herself into a sitting position as he interrupted again.
"No, no that's not true. That first night at the Ritz, when we danced and I apologized for proposing and you said 'I'm sorry I couldn't say yes'…your face when you said it. You looked like…Juliet on awakening in the tomb."
Mary felt herself blush at this and Matthew smiled slightly as he placed his palm against her cheek. "My, you are a stupid arse," she offered, leaning into his touch.
He chuckled, wrapping one arm around Mary's waist to pull her close. "I do love you so terribly much."
She smiled, fingertips trailing across his chest. "Of course you do," she replied, touching her nose to his. Matthew smiled, his eyes sparkling with happiness neither had seen for quite some time. Mary could only guess that her own mirrored his.
"So, I was wondering if I could ask you something," he said after a few moments of comfortable silence.
Mary felt her heart race as he spoke. "What is it?" she asked, trying not to sound as nervous as she felt.
He grinned, as though pretending not to notice the anxiety in her voice. "Can I stay with you? In London? I don't exactly have anywhere else to go."
"That makes me feel special," she teased, releasing the breath she'd been holding, relaxing in his arms once more.
"You know what I mean," he added.
"Well, I suppose," Mary murmured, planting a path of kisses along Matthew's jaw. "I wouldn't want my boyfriend living in a box in Leicester Square."
"Boyfriend?" Matthew asked.
"For now," she replied softly.