Arthur strolled into his living room, each exuding breath slow and thoughtful. Crystalline droplets of water spiralled from his wet, shaggy mane of hair and the scent of roses emanated from his pale skin. He intended to relax for the majority of the day, smiling indulgently and settling himself on the sofa once prying a book from the vast stack on his shelves. He'd arisen slightly later than normal, showered, and as far as he was concerned he didn't particularly want to do anything else. He let his fingers ghost over the rough grey material of his jumper, realising he was practically drowning in the wool. He chuckled lightly as he realised how terrible he must have looked, clothes over-sized, hair wet and feet bare; but it was a welcome change to relax.
Leafing through the yellowed pages of his book, sleeves of his jumper brushing his calloused fingers, Arthur also let his mind wander. While he was reclining on his sofa, without a care in the world, his darling wife would no doubt be working. He knew it wasn't a tedious job for her, and he was away more often in comparison, but it felt strange being home alone. Although, to be honest, he wasn't.
He had been as quiet as possible all morning, as to not wake his slumbering daughter, and thankfully she hadn't stirred as he pottered about and washed himself. It was hard for Arthur to believe that it had been three years since that stormy evening when his child was born, but day by day he began to realise that she was growing up and becoming as stubborn as him. She'd demand stories a lot of the time, cuddling beside him or peering over his shoulder when he was reading one of his own novels- He'd tried to stop her from taking his own books and flicking through them, she always folded the pages, and instead let her stare at the worn fairy-tales he'd read during his own childhood. He encouraged her enthusiasm for learning, letting her babble on intently about things she'd conjured from her mind (and sometimes he'd even find himself believing her). It was impossible to resist his daughter, and he didn't regret catering to her every whim one bit.
Arthur had got several chapters into his novel, had consumed several cups of Earl Grey, and was now somewhat occupied. Somewhere in his quaint little home his daughter was beginning to wake up, and with a smile he padded across the carpet and into her room. ______'s restless form was stirring beneath the mountain of patchwork and crotchet blankets, tousled hair (not unlike Arthur's own) standing on end as she blinked bleary emerald eyes up at him. Before anything could erupt from his daughter's lips, he scooped her up in his slender arms, kissing her forehead and rocking her gently. "Good morning, sleepy head~" The Englishman cooed, feeling chubby fingers curl in his over-sized navy jumper. ______ yawned, nuzzling her cheek into the junction between her father's neck and collar-bones. Tufts of wispy _____ hair tickled against Arthur's cheeks, a content little sigh expelling from his daughters lips. "Do you want Daddy to make some breakfast?" He queried gently, wandering towards the sitting room again. ______ watched him owlishly, cocking her head to one side "Ok Daddy!"
"How about you wait here while I get you something, yeah?"
"Okey Dokey!" He laughed, a fond smile curling at the corners of his mouth. ______ was a lot like him in some ways, but when considering her personality she was a good deal alike to her mother. His wife had always been more of a morning person than him.
After helping ______ with some breakfast, Arthur settled back on the sofa and wrapped his arms around the squirming girl in his arms. "Hush now," He soothed as her eye-brows furrowed, chuckling lightly when something alike to a pout crossed his daughters face. "Come on now, poppet, how about a story?"
"No." _____'s lower lip stuck out, and Arthur rolled his eyes.
"What would you like then? Why don't we watch some telly?"
"Park! I wanna go!" She blinked up at him again "I want Mummy to come."
"We can't go to the park, darling, it's raining outside. Maybe later, if it clears up." Arthur ruffled his daughter's hair, feeling her cuddle closer to him as he flicked on the television and browsed through the channels. "Your mother will be home soon as well," He assured her "She's just a little busy at the moment." Star-fish hands grabbed his jumper again, a toothy grin crossing _____'s face when her favourite programme flickered to life on the television screen. "Love you Daddy!"
"I love you too."
Later on in the day, ------- made her way home from work, hurrying beneath her umbrella towards the quaint little house nestled amongst the trees. Roses grew abundantly about the large bay windows, and wooden front-door the most welcoming sight she'd seen all day. She kicked off her shoes the moment she entered, raising her voice slightly and letting it resonate through the hall-way. "I'm home!~" The young woman wasn't met with a reply though, so took it upon herself to find her husband and daughter. She had no problem at all with leaving ____ at home with Arthur, but more often than not something would be wrong. Her emerald-eyed Englishman got into a lot more mischief than their child at times, if anything encouraging the little games of pretend. Once -------- had came home and found leaves in his hair and paint on his face, the young man insisting with pleading eyes that he and his daughter were 'only having a bit of innocent fun'. --------- supposed that was why she loved Arthur- On the outside, when in public, he seemed collected and refined, but when at home he was spontaneous and ridiculous and romantic.
Eventually turning the handle of the living room door, --------- was amazed by what she saw; she even swore she felt her heart flutter.
Arthur and _____ were huddled on their scuffed leather sofa, the toddler still in her lace-trimmed pyjamas and the Englishman a jumper that was far too big for him. Arthur was laughing, the melodic sound prevalent in the spacious room. _____'s little hands were clapping in glee, her father glancing up from the story he was reading to beam widely at the child as another comical voice escaped his coral lips. --------- knew the story they were reading by heart- It was one of her daughter's favourites, and more often than not even she found herself intruding and listening to Arthur's voice. The blonde would use a whole manner of voices, especially enjoying acting like the pirate captain in the story. She'd seen this sight a thousand times before, but it seemed even more special now; she was tired and was missing her family, and this was exactly what she needed to see.
Arthur's soft, accented voice was all she could hear, and a look of complete and utter bliss showed on his face as he read. An adoring smile crossed the young woman's face as _______ threw her arms around her father, giggling with rosy cheeks and sparkling eyes. The two seemed to exchange some other sort of joke too moments later, Arthur throwing back his head in a graceful arc as honeyed laughter escaped him. The delicate stretch of the Englishman's neck was exposed, barely anything at all stopping his jumper from slipping from his freckled shoulders entirely. The precarious placement was disturbed as he sat up and turned a page, golden hair falling artfully in his face. He only seemed to notice his wife a short while later, face beguiling and innocent and lovely as he smiled gently at her. "Mummy's here!" He announced to _______, tilting his head back and pressing a deep, warm kiss to his partner's lips as she perched on the arm of the sofa beside him. Her husband tasted how he always did- Like rain and Earl Grey, but there was something else; chocolate cake perhaps? "What have you two been doing without me?~" She teased as _______ hugged her, now realising that the slight scent of burning lingered in the air. "Nothing~ Just a little reading and baking."
"No. Only the edges were singed so I cut them off. We popped to the shop and brought some chocolate icing." _______ grinned up at her mother.
"We had a picnic!" Arthur scratched the back of his head, grimacing slightly.
"I wouldn't call it that. We just brought some of the blankets and cuddly toys down. She wanted to go to the park, love- It was as muddy as anything so we couldn't go."
"Well I'm glad you kept her happy." ---------- slipped into her husband's arms "You look really happy. Radiant, even."
"Thank you~" Arthur wound his arms around his lover's waist "You're not too bad yourself."
"I hope you saved some of that cake for me Iggy~" ---------- felt a gentle elbow in her side.
"Don't call me that, poppet, I don't want ______ to-"
"Iggy!!" Arthur rolled his eyes, sliding off the sofa and disappearing into the kitchen for a moment. He emerged carrying a slice of cake on a china plate, handing it to his wife. He gave her a chaste kiss on the cheek before she could taste, letting it linger. She felt fingers twine with her own "Now eat up, and then I can finish the story."
"I'd love to listen~"
"Only if you help, I've been rather busy you know." Arthur nodded sagely, face serious for a fleeting moment; he broke into a smile again though, resting his unruly mop of hair on ---------'s shoulder and sighing. "Tough work being a Daddy~"
---------- realised after that how much work Arthur did put in. She even enjoyed the cake he'd made, simply dismissing the mess in the kitchen and the batter splashed across the cream Aga. She even let herself remember her husband in this moment, amazed at how handsome he was and how becoming fatherhood was to him. The lamp-light spilled across his face like molten gold, his eyes bright and alluring as he hummed softly to himself. -------- even noticed the slight constellation of freckles around his emerald orbs, the ones Arthur didn't like (even if you could only see them if you were extremely close). When she'd finished reading the story with him and _______, she even remarked as such. "You look rather handsome Mr Kirkland~" She murmured softly, shifting in his lap and kissing him when their daughter wasn't looking. Arthur smiled knowingly in return, linking the fingers of one of their hands and letting those on his opposite hand draw lazy patterns in her skin.
"Thank you Mrs Kirkland~"