Autumn in London is likely something that poets have waxed lyrical about, what with the leaves changing colour and fruit coming into bloom elsewhere in the country. However, for those just leaving Goodenough College, the cold air and grey skies promising rain was enough to make the students and staff alike wrap up in coats, scarves and hats, umbrellas of all kinds tucked into satchels, under arms or hand bags.
The more courageous students stood in small groups, discussing evening plans – mostly for the pub, a pizza place, or to get together and work on assignments or combinations thereof as they braved the cold weather.
Theresa Chappen, wrapped up in a long, purple, all-natural-fibres coat, a knitted rainbow scarf tied loosely around her neck and a blue and white Tibetan-hat pulled down over her short blond hair, offered a silent prayer of thanks to whichever deity happened to be listening as her mobile phone gently sang out Sonata for Two Pianos – there was an argument going on in her current group of friends which had stemmed from 'should we get an Indian tonight?' to which one had replied haughtily that she didn't eat food that 'looked like it's been regurgitated', the wrong thing to say when in mixed company (but no one had ever credited Champagne Brie Jenkins, who'd joined late in the term and for some reason had attached herself to Theresa's group of friends, with many brain cells in her peroxided head)
"Hello?" she answered, with a wave at her still arguing group as she started to walk to the college gates, "Yes, I'm outside," she said the person on the other side of the phone, "Brace myself? Why do I need to brace myself?"
A moment later, all her friends would be able to say was that one second she was there, next there was a blur and she was gone.
"There's easier ways of picking me up from college," Theresa giggled from her position in Kevin's arms, where he was holding her Bridal-Style.
"Aren't you happy to see me?" he asked, almost too innocently as he put her down on a wooden bench before sitting down beside her
"Course I am," she smiled, setting both her book bag and personal-belongings-bag down at her feet, "You've been in Japan for the last three months."
"Did you miss me?" he tilted his head and was probably giving her a look, but it was hard to tell under the iron mask he wore
"No, not at all," Theresa said, dryly, "in fact, I can't wait for you to leave for another three months"
"Sorry," he told her, not sounding apologetic at all, and wrapping an arm around her shoulders "I'm afraid you're stuck with me until the IWF say otherwise"
"Oh damn, just when I'm used to having a bed all to myself. You're so horrible to me, Kevin" but she cuddled up against his side, managing to wrap an arm around his waist, "But I'm glad you're home now"
"Were you miserable without me?" he was, somewhere deep in his heart, hoping she'd say yes, she had been. But then again, that was the kind of sappy thing he normally avoided and the kind of thing Theresa would never say, one of the reasons he loved her was the lack of clichéd lines.
"Not miserable," she shook her head slowly, the flaps of her hat fluttering slightly with the movement, "Lonely in a way though, yes. I did get used to having you around and stealing most of my covers at night, Mask"
He grinned somewhat smugly under his mask, "I knew you missed me" and had to resist the urge to rest his cheek against the top of her head, if only because Theresa found having a heavy iron mask resting on top of her head horribly uncomfortable, and he found no comfort in the gesture with out his skin actually making contact with her hair.
"Course I did," she answered with a small smile.
Somewhere above them, a crow cawed in the bare branches of the tree and they simply sat, listening to the traffic, a constant thing in London, going past. It was comfortable and familiar and felt, to Kevin, almost as if the rest of the world didn't exist.
It was nice just to be able to switch off after being in 'work' mode for the last three months.
"Are you hungry?" Theresa asked finally, deigning to raise her head from Kevin's shoulder to look at him.
"It is possible," he admitted, just before his stomach gurgled
"Were you starving yourself again?"
"…No?" really, there wasn't much point in lying to her, but that didn't mean he couldn't try.
Theresa sighed in a long-suffering way, getting to her feet and grabbing one on his hands, tugging it as indication he should stand up too, "Come on, it's Friday, we'll go to Eppie's and get some fish and chips"
"I love it when you talk in such a dirty way" he replied standing up
"Was that a joke, Mr Mask?"
"I believe it was, Miss Chappen"
They shared a short laugh and began to walk away from the park. So busy chatting and laughing gently between them, too concerned with the world that consisted of just the two of them holding hands tightly, that neither of them noticed a figure on the path opposite pause to stare and watch them in interest and surprise.
Fading light glinted off a heavy iron mask as he watched the two vanish out of the gates onto the street outside.
Kate: Finally found time to start on a sequel. A few people asked for it so I thought I'd be nice and deliver it. This has been sitting, incomplete, in my word files for…two months, maybe? And this is only the first chapter. I'm also sure you've worked out who the bloke at the end was. I don't do 'subtle'.
Kevin: No! I refuse to participate! No more digging into my personal life!
Kate: Oh come on, it's not like I'm a trashy tabloid reporter.
Kevin: Oh really?
Kate: You don't see me digging through your rubbish, do you? And anyway, it's only fair Theresa meets your family. You've met hers.
Kevin: She LIVES with her grandfather! It was unavoidable!
Kate: Well, I don't care what you say, I writing more of this anyway so *phbt!*
Author's Notes: Also, I'm not joking with the name of Theresa's college. There really is a place called 'Goodenough College' in London. Google it if you don't believe me. The only thing I made up is that they do a teaching course.