It was raining. As usual, in Scotland, the rain was pouring from the sky, hitting the ground, and later the puddles, with splashes, the drops causing slight ripples on the surface of the murky water that collected by the kerb.
They used to sit in the pub, in Rochdale, for hours after work, drinking, sharing stories and generally enjoying each other's company. Her blue eyes would sparkle, the light reflecting of the surface of the orbs and revealing the different colours within them – and he was surprised to see tiny flecks of amber, grey and green within the blue base.
He missed her on days like this, when she'd have wandered into his classroom uninvited and sat either cross-legged on the table in front of his desk, or leant against his desk. Sometimes, if he was at the back of the room putting books on a shelf or trying to staple a display together, she'd sit in his chair, and he'd admire her beauty, apparently without her noticing, while she fished in his desk for some food, or conjured up a packet of mints from nowhere. Occasionally, she'd appear with much-needed tea or coffee; served in his favourite mug with a chocolate Hobnob, or, if she'd been to the corner shop (usually on a Wednesday, when she had a free period), Fox's Ginger Biscuits.
And as they sat in the classroom, she'd smile, laugh and grin during their conversations. He loved her smile; the way she scrunched up her nose very slightly and tossed her dark hair back over her shoulders. He remembered, one day, when she'd let him plait her luscious locks – he had, predictably, made a mess of it whilst trying to follow her instructions on how to style hair. It made her laugh, and for that, he was grateful.
After it had been announced that Waterloo Road was to relocate to Scotland, she'd cried, because she knew it would mean losing her job, and her friends, when they moved north to keep their careers. He held her tightly as she sat cross-legged on that table, as he leant on it, worried that it may collapse if he too was to sit on it. He took her home, and she sat next to him on the sofa with his arms wrapped around her, explaining to him how she'd moved so many times and finally found happiness in Manchester – how she couldn't afford to move again, never mind to Scotland, and how she'd miss him if he went. He'd been close to shedding a tear, too – he couldn't stand watching her cry, and not being able to comfort her.
They'd kissed on that night, for the first time – he took her out for dinner, after she'd stopped crying, and they'd kissed like a pair of teenagers on their first date, in a little side street by the restaurant. It had rained then, too. They ran back to his empty house, hand in hand, both of them soaked through with rainwater after the five minute dash through the streets – and their condition probably wasn't helped by Nicki's shoes, which were just high enough to make her equal his height. She'd taken them off eventually, and they ran down his street with her barefoot and trying to avoid the stones on the pavement.
They'd run, breathless, into the warm house, making their way along the hall, hand in hand, their path ending in the kitchen as he pressed her against one of the wooden units and their lips locked. His right hand was still entwined with her left, the free hand running through her thick hair just as she did to him, as she twisted to swap their positions and press him against the oak cabinet.
They'd then rushed back along the hall, dragged each other up the stairs; various items of clothing discarded on their way – and somehow, by the time they got to his bedroom, both of their coats had been flung down the stairs, closely followed by the partial unbuttoning of his white shirt. He kicked the door shut carelessly behind them, and she kissed his neck in a delicate manner he was sure only she was capable of. The scent of her perfume was in the air; and in return for her kisses, he steered her towards the unmade bed.
"You could have tidied up." She'd murmured in his ear as they fell unceremoniously to the mattress, which squeaked slightly under their combined weight. The bed was unmade; the cream covers crumpled beneath their bodies. By way of response to her voice, he directed his kisses back to her mouth, biting her bottom lip gently and smiling against her at her attempt to suppress a moan.
As they lay together later on that night, staring out of the window at the midnight sky as he ran his hands through her hair absentmindedly, she wrapped her long arms around him and rested her head on his chest. He kissed the top of her head lightly and held her as she began to fall asleep. They'd slept holding hands, woke up holding hands and lain together for minutes that felt like hours.
They'd kissed goodbye when he moved to Scotland, both of them pretending that they were fine about all of it – fine about the prospect of never seeing each other again. They'd mutually decided that it would be better that way, and that they'd get over it sooner if they weren't trying to keep up a relationship over the distance. Neither of them could bear to delete the other's numbers or texts.
He stared out of the window of his classroom. Still bloody raining. He stared for so long that his vision blurred, thinking about Nicki. Her laugh, her smile, her voice – how much he missed her.
"Tom?" a voice said from the doorway.
The very voice he'd just been thinking about.
He hardly dared to look – but, sure enough, when he did, she was there; not just a figment of his imagination. She wore her favourite dark blue skinny jeans, and a warm grey jumper; her arms folded in front of her body. Her hair had grown since he'd seen her last, and it hung, slightly wavy, just below her shoulders – the chocolate brown locks shiny yet, when he looked closer, more unkempt than they used to be. She pressed her lips together and glanced at the floor, then back to his eyes, her piercing yet nervous stare sending a shiver down his spine.
Time seemed to freeze as he stood up; and, slowly and cautiously, she advanced towards him. She was smaller than he remembered, more fragile than he'd ever seen her – even when she'd lain in his arms, even when she'd cried in his arms, even when they'd kissed goodbye for what they thought to be the final time. She looked so small, so delicate – and utterly, breathtakingly beautiful.
He uttered her name; two syllables that seemed to take a lifetime to fall from his lips. She, meanwhile, stepped into his arms took a deep breath, before exhaling; relieved as he wrapped his arms around her body, smiling into her hair and holding her to him tightly, protectively – as if he'd never let her go.
They embraced for what seemed like a lifetime, taking in every tiny detail about each other – their bodies, scents, unique hold upon each other's bodies. He kissed her hair firmly, and she buried her face in his chest. He felt her smile, and she shifted slightly before looking up at him with her massive blue eyes; the long, dark eyelashes shielding her orbs slightly, and after what felt like forever, their lips finally met.
She finally pulled away as the need for oxygen overwhelmed her, and they stood in silence, embracing alone in a deserted school classroom, listening to each other breathing. Her head rested on his shoulder; soft hair brushing against his neck as she closed her eyes and smiled.
"I missed you, Nicki." He told her simply, and she smiled, taking his hand and wandering over to sit on the front table in front of his desk cross-legged, just as she had before. And he smiled, too, remembering just how happy they'd been in Manchester; and how happy they could be in Scotland.
Perhaps, he mused, he liked the rain.
Written for HedgieX's 16th birthday (28th September). This week will, hopefully, be filled with updates! x