Disclaimer: I do not own Keen Eddie and intend no copyright infringement.
This definitely wasn't one of Eddie Arlette's better days. In fact, it was about the worst day he could remember in quite a long while. They were getting absolutely nowhere with their latest case – and catching all kinds of hell for it – and on the way home heaven had decided to open the floodgates and send down a deluge of icy rain, combined with a cold wind that had seemed to creep right into his bones. Even after an eternity under a hot shower and dressed in the warmest sweater and trackpants he could find, he still felt as if he'd never be warm again. And to top it all off, Fiona was leaving. And this time it wasn't the "I'm glad to get rid of you, I'm moving to New York with Nigel, I feel sorry for the poor thing who will be your next flatmate"-kind of leaving. This time it was for real. For real because Nigel had dumped her for some vapid floozie; because she was not moving to New York for a new job but fleeing for the wilds of Scotland and because for the last week and a half she just hadn't been herself. Well at least not the self he had gotten used to since he had moved in with her. Not the feisty, snarky self that constantly kept him on his toes trying to keep up with her. Not one little prank, not one caustic comment, nothing. In fact, they had barely spoken at all. It was as if she was not living anymore, just going through the motions. And this time he hadn't even thought about finding someone else to share the flat with.
The weather outside had turned even nastier than before, perfectly matching his foul mood. Crashing thunder and flashing lightning made it seem as if the world was about to end. And in a way it was….
He grabbed a beer from the fridge and walked over to the living room. Not even bothering to turn on the lights, he slumped on the couch and watched the light show outside.
"Eddie." Fiona's soft voice from behind him almost made him flinch. Over the noise of the thunderstorm he hadn't heard the front door open and close. "I came to say goodbye."
"I know." He didn't want to turn around. Seeing her standing in the doorway – most probably with that stupid cat carrier in her hand – would make it all too real.
But Fiona seemed to have other ideas. With slow and hesitant steps she walked into the room until she was standing in front of him, holding out her hand. If the situation had not been so bleak, he would have laughed at the ridiculous picture she presented. "I guess this is it then….. I don't have much time, I have to catch my train…". Not even now could she find a last comment to let him know that she really hated him and that she was glad to finally be rid of him…..
Awkwardly he started getting to his feet. No sense in delaying the inevitable any longer. Suddenly an almighty roar of thunder sounded right overhead, immediately followed by a flash of lightning that illuminated the dark living room like a stroboscope. Already distraught, Fiona jumped at the noise that sounded as if the whole house was about to come crashing down on them. She caught her leg on the edge of the low table, the cat carrier went flying across the room – and Fiona tumbled forward, practically falling right into Eddie's lap. Instinctively Eddie's arms wrapped around her, to keep her from falling to the floor. For a moment time seemed to stop, neither of them knowing what to do or daring to move. The real world – the one in which they supposedly hated each other and were only too glad to go their separate ways – seemed to have disappeared, leaving them caught in a little bubble of unreality where everything was possible. The next clap of thunder and flash of lightning found Fiona burrowing deeper into the warm safety of Eddie's embrace. Hiding her face against his shirt, she mumbled indistinctly "I can't do this….. ".
I can't do this….. The words rang through Eddie's mind, drowning out the noise of the thunderstorm. Can't do what? Leave? Stay? There was only one way to find out. Slightly loosening his grip, Eddie tilted her face up so that he could look into her eyes. I don't know what to do….. help me…..they seemed to plead with him. And it was this pleading that he responded to.
"Fiona. Don't go."
He cupped her face in his hands and leaned down until their lips met in a kiss that started out slow and gentle, almost hesitant, but quickly grew into something that rivaled the intensity of the still raging thunderstorm as Fiona realized that yes, this was really happening, yes, he was really serious about not wanting her to go and started to respond, until they were both getting lightheaded from the proverbial lack of oxygen. For a brief moment, the earlier awkwardness returned as she tried to move, only to find that Eddie was not willing to let go of her quite yet.
Suddenly, a thought sprang into her mind. "Duchess?" Looking around the still dark room, she tried to find her cat, afraid that something might have happened when she had dropped the carrier. A not quite so violent flash of lightning illuminated the room and showed her the strangest sight – her cat and Eddie's dog cuddled close together on the armchair, apparently perfectly comfortable and not willing to move any time soon.
She heard – and felt – Eddie chuckle. Obviously he had seen the same thing. "Well, if those two can learn to get along, I don't see why we can't do the same…".
Oh, he was so right….. if two "dumb" animals could learn to live together, then there was no reason that two intelligent human beings should be able to do the same. And yes, she really had just done the unthinkable – she had thought of Eddie as an intelligent human being…..