The sunlight that fell through the window dyed everything it touched with a golden shine, sometimes filtered as the green foliage of the majestic oak danced before it as the soft wind let the branches sway and the twigs twirl. The grey and black shadows wrinkling over the cupboard and joyfully dancing over the kitchen table. The steam that rose from their cups at times dyed all wonderful colours as sunrays brushed over it. Seeing how the light brightened his features, curling over the rims of his dark brows, cascading down his cheeks and those mesmerising lips she knew she was seeing heaven. She took her cup and blew in it before she took a sip and felt how the hot liquid lulled her senses. "How did me meet, exactly?"
"What?" he said, stirred from daydreaming he looked at her.
"Should they ask, being nosy neighbours, we need to establish how we actually met. Where and when you fell for me, where you proposed…"
I fell for you the last time, Susan, I just haven't proposed yet. He nodded, stirring the sugar he had added through his tea. "Good thinking."
"I know, I'm not your average blonde," she quipped.
God, no, far from it. "I wouldn't settle for anything less."
"How about: we met through friends?"
"Could be, how about through work?"
"Real estate. You were from a concurrent and stormed into my office mistakably, thinking you were fuming to a colleague that pulled you a trick." His eyes sparkled with joy. "You made a lasting impression." Sue laughed with his remark. "Conman's trick: Always stick as close to the truth as possible; that way you'll never be found out." She nodded, "okay, I mistook you for someone else. You just happened to be there that day."
"I should add you look hot whenever you're fumed."
"Jack!" she swatted him, "we're trying to make our cover work here, cooperate."
"SORRY," he said with that famous boyish grin. "You intrigued me and one thing led to another…"
"You proposed where?" I could've sworn you did just a while ago, she added. And I accepted, wholeheartedly.
"I let you bid on an auction, a foreclosure from my office and when you went there for a viewing the keys I provided you with didn't fit the locks. You called me about it and I came by to take a look, supposedly helpful."
"Okay, then what?" A smile began to curl her lips.
"I looked at the key you had and I said it had been the wrong one. It fitted to a lovely tea house that stood in the back garden, you hesitantly opened it, already feeling it wasn't just a coincidence and you found an envelope on the table there that said 'will you marry me Sue?'." He smiled, "and then I came up with the brilliant line: that key has opened my heart for you and welcomed you in." He looked pretty smugly, "what'd you say?"
"I love it," she said, smiling. "Sentimental, but romantic as well…"
"You think you'd fall for it?" He grinned over the rim of his cup.
I'd fall for any way you would propose, she thought and smiled. "Oh definitely."
"Good…" He paused to finish his cup. "What else should we think of now?"
"How come we bought the house and they likely never saw us visiting ever. There's a good chance they, or one of the neighbours, would have had a guardian eye over the premises and checking out who came and went."
"Smart," he said. "You're truly beauty and brains. So, what's our excuse?"
"We're both real estate brokers, we know what's on the market. We knew gold when we saw it coming by in office and in joint decision we decided to buy 'off the page'."
"That could work."
"Of course it could work, I invented it. Just like your proposal invention wasn't farfetched, this isn't as well." She held her cup out for a refill. "Right now, I work more house-based instead of from the office. Busy with the move and everything." Halfway her lips she halted her steaming cup of tea. "What about the surveillance equipment, phones?"
"Already installed, CapTel, TTY, cameras. Oh and the house has been furnished as well."
"I hope the Bureau's standard of appropriate and tasteful meets ours."
"Nevertheless, have you seen it?"
"How could I? I haven't been near yet. But from earlier experience I think they did a pretty fair job of combining antique with modern. After all, we have to tempt as well."
"Have our neighbour burgle our place?" She drew a face. "I don't know if that's the neighbourhood I want to live in." She paused deliberately. "Or the one I'd like to see our children grow up in…"
He almost had a fit, just as he took a sip; she had been waiting for him to when she made the remark. He barely managed to hold the tea back and place the cup safely down. "What?!"
She smiled a mischievous smile. "Have you forgot? We discussed it nevertheless, once we had found a place to settle down, we'd have children. Two at least."
"I eh, I am afraid that discussion seems to be missing…." He was shocked with her comment, the smug smile plastered on her face made it clear she was only teasing but that didn't upset him as much as the sudden realisation that it was indeed something he wanted to have with her, someday. If only you knew.
"I'll blame the stress of moving over for it, once." She waved her fingers admonishingly to Jack, her lips pursed but a joyful light sparkling in her eyes. "Just don't do it again."
"That would likely be the reason," he said, smiling a still somewhat baffled smile. "And I won't. Forget it, I mean."
"Good." She finished her tea. "How about we continue packing?"
"Sounds like a good idea."
Following her as she climbed the stairs enabled him a perfect view of the woman he so madly loved but was afraid to come close to, feeling she didn't reciprocate his feelings, some of her statements and remarks only confirmed what he thought. Yet, and that brought him off balance, there had been several moments where he thought something was different and he saw something in her eyes that reflected more than he dared to think. At those moments, he could be convinced she'd felt more for him than she did show. But he blamed wishful thinking for it, dismissing many a thought and impression.
When she had finally got everything she wanted to take with her, and he had loaded everything in his car she walked through her bedroom one more last time, alone. Letting her hand slide over the dressoir, her bed, feeling the soft sheets and the wood as if she would be here for the last time and she started a whole new life elsewhere. She absent-mindedly felt for the ring on her finger and a soft tender smile broke through. Somewhere, she mused, it wasn't that far from the truth. The moment she would leave her house and step into the car with the man that waited downstairs, she would leave the safe environment of a life she knew. Where she didn't always feel stellar about the way it turned out, but at least offering some kind of shelter and steady ground, no matter how frustrating emotionally.
When she would close the door behind her, she would leave behind that safe life and venture out into something where she couldn't foresee where it would lead to. Exciting and thrilling but downright scary as well. But she had come so far, she couldn't back down anymore. She took a deep breath before she descended the stairs and would meet him. You can do this, Sue.
His smile was broad and warm as she came down, picking up her purse, keys and Levi's leash. "You ready for it?"
She nodded. "Ready as I'll ever be…"