That Friday Feeling
The blaring of his alarm clock sliced through his subconscious raising him from his deep slumber. He stirred, staring blearily at the clock as it flashed 6:45. Scrambling from his bed he crossed to his en-suite bathroom, turning the chrome handle and stepping under the hot stream. Reaching for the shower gel he quickly washed and turned the water off. Slicking his hair back he stepped out and reached for the crisp white towel, wrapping it around his waist he crossed to the mirror, wiping the condensation from the glass he briefly examined his reflection, deciding he didn't need to shave he grabbed the hand towel and rubbed at his hair to dry it.
Walking back into the bedroom he crossed to his wardrobe, pulling out a pair of jeans and a white T shirt. Sitting on the edge of the bed he carefully dried himself; he rubbed at his chest, his arms and his legs, finally drying his feet, carefully drying between his toes before dressing. Heading out to his hallway he grabbed his keys and a jacket, pausing briefly to pick up the two envelopes that were sitting on his side table. Open the first, a simple white one he found an elegant card from his mother, the inside simply reading, 'Happy Birthday darling, all my love mum x'. The second was an entirely different affair, opening the bright blue envelope he found an equally bright card, the inside read 'To Joseph, Many happy returns on your special day. Elliot.' He laughed slightly as he placed the cards back on the table. The two contrasting cards revealing so much about the two senders contrasting personalities; His mother's organised, precise ways and Elliot's bumbling, eccentric, though caring manner.
He glanced at the clock as he opened the door, only 7:15, still early enough to miss the morning traffic. He took the steps down to the parking garage under his apartment building. Crossing to his car he pressed the button on his key fob, illuminating the garage as his hazard lights flashed twice, indicating the car was open. Opening the door he lowered himself into the dark leather seat and pushed the key card into the slot.
Pressing the start button the engine roared into life. Pressing his foot to the accelerator he smiled as the engine revved. He put it into reverse and swung it back out of his space, pulling out onto the street and making his way to the ring road. His Aston making easy work of the trip across town, cutting through what little early morning traffic there was. Turning off the ring road he turned onto a single track road. Easily taking the corners of the road he had travelled so many times, he was fairly certain he could do it with his eyes closed, not that he would risk it in this car. Turning into the familiar driveway he followed it up to the house, pulling up alongside her brand new Jaguar.
Pushing the door to as he slipped out of the car and crossed the gravel to the front door, locking his car he selected the thir key on the chain, sliding it into the lock, he twisted the key and pushed the door open as he entered the house and shut the door.
He smiled as she appeared at the top of the stairs; he smiled as she slowly walked down them, his eyes travelling up her bare legs to the slightly oversized England Rugby shirt. Reaching him she slid her arms around his neck, standing on tip toe to gently kiss him before whispering in his ear, "Happy birthday baby"
He thanked her gently kissing her back as his hands reached around her, settling in the small of her back. "I didn't know you were a rugby fan" He said, surprised by her choice of attire.
She smiled enigmatically and led him through to the living room. Grinning she handed him a parcel beautifully wrapped in glossy black paper with a sliver ribbon crisscrossing before ending in a bow. She laughed as he stood admiring the wrapping, "Well open it then."
He pulled at the two ends of the bow, unwrapping the ribbon and placing it on the table before turning the package over. Sliding a finger under the flap he pulled the sellotape from the paper and unfolded the flap. He pulled the contents from the paper and smiled at the matching rugby shirt in his size.
She looked at him expectantly, "Well put it on then…." She reached the hem of his T shirt and began pulling it upwards, smiling he took the hem and lifted it over his head. She grinned and kissed his chest, moving away slightly as he pulled the shirt over his head. Kissing him again she promised him she'd only be a few minutes and disappeared upstairs.
True to her word she reappeared in her doorway less then five minutes later, now fully dressed with a pair of jeans and high heeled boots completing her outfit. Walking over to the sofa she reached out her hand and tried to pull him up, "Come on then baby…"
He looked up at her clock before pulling her down onto his lap. "Con it's only 8:30 where could we possibly need to go this early? Can't we just wait a few minutes…?" He gently kissed her as he ran his hands under her shirt, "It is my birthday after all…"
She leaned in slowly kissing him before pulling away and standing, "And that Joe is exactly the reason we need to go… You didn't think that the shirt was your only present…" She picked up a silver envelope from her coffee table and handed it to him. He opened it to find two tickets to the Rugby World Cup final nestled in the centre of the card. She grinned at his obvious excitement. "Now come on we've got a long journey ahead, Wembley awaits us, we'll take your car…"
Following her from the house he opened the car door for her, closing it as she slid down into the seat before walking around to the driver's side and slipping into the car himself. He set the sat nav for Wembley and followed the instructions, the weak November sun forcing its way through the cloud as they made their way onto the M4 and headed for London. Slipping off the motorway he carefully negotiated his way through the smaller streets, avoiding the crowds that had begun to build up around the ground. Pulling into the car park Joseph handed over the car parking voucher Connie had managed to talk her way into. Finding a parking space he pulled into it, locking the car as they heading across the car park towards the stadium access.
Finding themselves at the venue with just over ninety minutes to spare they headed for a restaurant. Settling down into a table for two, overlooking the pitch, they watched the two teams warm up as they ate lunch. Smiling as they finished Connie handed over her credit card, ignoring Joseph's protests and reminding him that it was his birthday.
Heading into the stands they made their way to their seats, their excitement growing as the atmosphere around them became more and more electric as they got closer to the start of the match. The England fans enjoying the first half and loudly singing as their team took an early lead. The second half was an all together more tense affair as New Zealand began to fight back, clawing back to points try by try until they were a mere point behind with two minutes to go. England managed to hold on and there was a tremendous cheer as the hooter went and Jonny Wilkinson kicked the ball into touch marking the end of the game.
Noticing the ball heading in their direction the crowd surrounding them began to clamber in the hope of catching the ball. They were all disappointed though as one manicured hand reached up above them all and captured the ball, hooking it down into the safety of her chest she hopped down off the seat of her chair and grinned, clutching her spoils and laughing at the fact she had surprised Joseph for the second time that day. "I played a bit when I was younger… I was on the girls team and uni..." she explained, taking his hand she led him down to the fencing at the side of the pitch, pulling out a permanent pen from her handbag and smiling sweetly over at a couple of players who were celebrating closest to them. Beaming as they jogged over she held out the ball and the pen, thanking them for signing it with a kiss on the cheek, smiling she gently pushed Joseph towards them and took a picture of him with them. The news of the kiss on the cheek reward clearly spread through the squad as before long the entire team had jogged over and added their names to the ball.
Sliding her arm around Joseph's waist they had cheered along with the rest of the crowd as England had lifted the cup, joining in with the singing as the team had started their lap of honour. They were both shocked, however, to see the players jogging towards them with the cup, and even more shocked as they were asked if they'd like to hold it. Nodding eagerly Joseph took the cup as it was handed to him, holding it aloft he beamed as Connie slid her arms around his waist, looking up at him lovingly as someone took a photo for them. Handing the cup back, they watched as the players had continued on their celebrations.
Finally the crowd began to thin and Connie and Joseph made their way back to the car. They made their way out of Wembley, Joseph carefully avoiding the people celebrating in the street as Connie sat still happily clutching her ball in her lap. Accelerating as they hit the M4 Joseph made light work of the journey back, passing the exit for Holby he took the next junction and headed up a series of roads towards the Byrne estate. He pulled into the gated grounds but instead of heading up the large driveway towards the main house Joseph turned off onto a secondary track, following the winding road into a wooded area and pulling up in front of a cottage neatly hidden away from the rest of the world.
Unlocking the door they both walked inside, Connie went upstairs to change as Joseph set about lighting the real fire. The logs crackling into life as she made her way back downstairs dressed simply in one of Joseph's T shirts. Sliding onto the sofa next to him she curled up to him, resting her head on his chest and listening to the deep, gentle breaths. She smiled sleepily as she felt him kiss her head and mumbling "I love you" into his chest.
Half asleep himself he replied with "I love you too Mrs Byrne…" She sat up straight and looked at him with an interested expression on her face, "Is that a proposal Mr Byrne?"
He smiled, "And what would you say if it was?" he asked gently kissing her neck. She paused briefly, "Hypothetically?" he nodded and she continued, "Hypothetically I'd say does this proposal come with a ring?"
Laughing he replied, "Yes… hypothetically the proposal comes with a ring… what would you say?"
She gently kissed his nose, "A proposal with a ring… Well hypothetically I'd have to say yes…"
Joseph pulled away from her slightly and reached into a drawer, pulling out a small red velvet box, opening it he revealed a diamond cluster set into a platinum band. He looked at her and smiled, "So…"
She gazed back into his eyes, "So…"
He laughed slightly, "You're not going to make this easy for me are you…" She smiled and shook her head slightly so he continued, "Connie Beauchamp, will you marry me?"
She nodded and kissed him deeply, beaming as she pulled away, "Yes, yes I will…" he smiled and slipped the ring onto her finer, smiling as she admired it. "It was my grandmother's engagement ring… I borrowed one of your rings so I could have it adjusted to fit…"
She smiled snuggling up to him again, laying her head on his chest and resting her hand next to it so she could see her ring. "It's beautiful…" Joseph grinned holding her tightly, "She'd be very proud you're wearing it now… I love you…"
She gently kissed him again, "I love you too." Lapsing into a comfortable silence the two of them listening only to the sound of the wind through the trees and the occasional pop of a log on the fire as they drifted towards sleep. Glancing at his watch just as the second hand moved through the stroke of midnight Joseph smiled to himself, thinking that it really hadn't been too bad a birthday, in fact as birthdays went this had been a pretty damn good one.