They all think it's so romantic. The two of you finally getting your acts together after all this time. They've caught the increasingly frequent looks shot between you, the affection, the longing, your quiet blushing and his amused smiles. They all assume that now you're finally together that it must be perfect, a perfect meeting of minds and hearts, his aging body and your scarred one. Perfection in the way you complete each other's worlds.

But perfection isn't the way he looks at you when you say something stupid or childish, the condescending disappointment in those eyes you love so much. Perfection isn't his aversion to sleeping over, the way he is uncomfortable in your bed. And neither is it the way shies from you in public, wont mention your name to his mother, wont so much as touch your hand in the presence of colleagues. And perfection certainly isn't the way you still cry yourself dry at night when he's gone.

But it's all the tiny imperfections that they don't know about that make the rest worth it to you. The fleeting moments that wouldn't seem romantic at all to them, but melt your heart more easily than roses and chocolates and expensive champagne ever could. It's the way he goes all protective-caveman on you when other men look your way, the way he eats the food you cook for him, tofu included, even though you know he hates the taste. It's the way he smiles at you when you tell him you love him, the way he gazes at you, softly, adoringly, when he thinks you aren't looking. The way he lovingly strokes his fingers through your hair when he thinks you're asleep.

But most of all, it's the way that hard veneer of his vanishes for a few moments when he comes inside of you, face in your neck, lips pressed to your skin, gasping "oh god, honey, love you" (the only time that he ever says it), and you know that he means it.

You know they would all think you were crazy to put up with him after all these years, crazy to accept the fact that he'll never treat you like a princess or promise you the world. But underneath it all, you realise that you never really needed their image of perfection any way. And you know for sure that, despite all the faults in your hopelessly flawed relationship, you wouldn't trade him for all the perfection in the world.