Arthur let a small sigh expell from between his bitten lips, sinking further into the yeilding confines of the sofa. Between ink-stained fingers he cradled an ancient book, one from a time he couldn't recall (though he doubted he'd actually want to, in retrospect). He let his pale hands ghost over the yellowed pages and faded words, drinking them in with his darkened eyes and savouring the warm evening light flooding through the window. It was fragrant and sultry, the windows thrown wide open and allowing the perfumed aroma of roses to filter through into the cozy sitting-room. The entire expanse seemed to glow gold and shades of amber, radient light spilling across the scratched leather sofa and surfaces like molten gold. The sky was littered with a few wisps of clouds, the rest like a water-colour painting in it's entirety as yellow faded to dusky pink and then to saffron orange. One graceful, languid hand swept away a shaggy fringe, Arthur's eyes flitting shut for a moment in thought. It was a beautiful evening, and he intended to savour it; the way he'd savoured his Earl Grey earlier on in the afternoon.
It was a rare thing to be able to relax without interruption, though he'd still get the occasional messages from his friends regardless of the fact he had no work to do. It was one of the inevitable things though, and as provoking as Alfred's banter was, there was a certain rakish, boyish charm to him. Francis, beyond the snide remarks on his personality and appearance, also had the capacity to act somewhat civil towards him as well- It somewhat startled the Englishman, but in contemplation he was rather irritating himself at times (no matter how much he assured himself it was his mercurial intellect and staggeringly sharp mind, not at all his emotional ambiguity). Though, as fickle as he was, it was a good thing to know he had good company whom he could tolerate and who could tolerate him. It was also a vast reassurance having his lover, ______, around; as stubborn as a mule and as radiant as a summers day, her sunny outlook on life made Arthur's days (and nights) far more interesting. The young woman was exceptional and strange simultaneously, able to soothe him and baffle him too- He was completely and irrevocably in love with her, and nothing could change that.
Just as Arthur began to pad across the groaning floorboards of his country home, the phone rang. He ignored the whistling of the kettle, immeadietly snatching up the device in one hand and then propping himself on the arm of the sofa. "Hello?" He smiled when he heard that honeyed voice, warm and welcoming "Good evening, Mr Kirkland~" He chuckled, feeling his heart flutter.
"And the same to you, poppet~"
"Am I disturbing anything?"
"Of course not, I was just going to have a cuppa and then go to bed...my evening's all the more entertaining thanks to you."
"I miss you."
"I miss you too, it's not the same here without you."
"You've become so adjusted to having me around already?"
"Who wouldn't, love?" Arthur smiled fondly, gently drawing his faded patchwork blanket about his shoulders. Outside the window it was velvety and dark, the sky studded with stars and a full, waxy moon suspended amongst them- The trees were sparsely clothed, only a few yellow leaves flickering in the watery light as they clung to their gnarled black branches. Every shadow seemed distorted and strange, as if monsters were lurking in the darkness. "The house, everything, it all seems far emptier."
"It's a good job that I'll be back in the morning, isn't it? You've probably been waxing lyrical about everything and drinking fountains of tea, you old man~"
"I'm your old man then, dearest~" The two laughed, the emptiness overwhelming Arthur again for a moment when he realised it was only his own chuckles resonating throughout his home. ______ was probably right, though; she'd only been gone for...five days? (assisting a friend who'd named her cheif bridesmaid), and it wouldn't be long until her return. If anything the young woman's absence had made his heart grow fonder, like the saying suggested it would. ______ then piped up with another remark, and Arthur closed his eyes and listened to her speaking, picturing the mockery in her smile as she thought of him in return.
Muttering about the cost of the phone bill as he sloped up the stairs, Arthur smiled wistfully. Yes, he was far too sentimental, but that's how people were when they were in love, if films and books had taught him anything. He'd never really harboured romantic feelings for many women before, and although he had various dalliances in his youth they meant nothing to him; they were just the mistakes of a stubborn young man who thought himself special, and none of those particular traits had really left him as he'd matured (he could still be ruthless when he wanted to be). ______ was no doubt just as emotional about it as him behind her jokes and teasing though, judging by the numerous texts she'd sent him over her period away ('Miss you so much', 'Love you to the moon and back, Arthur' among other things). Arthur wasn't avid about technology, even though he was perfectly fine using it, but since letters couldn't travel as quickly he adored those little messages that he received throughout the day. It would always put him in a better mood once he'd awoke, he supposed that was an advantage too.
Finally able to settle in bed with his book again, Arthur tugged the bed-covers tighter around him. With each word he read, however, his eyes began to grow heavy- This prompted a sudden desertion of the novel, and a frantic burrow beneath the bunched fabric to get warm. There was no denying autumn had come at last, and it was haunting listening to the wind howling outside- He'd always liked the season in particular, he'd never really liked the stifling heat and humidity of summer or the bitterness of winter. Of course things were much warmer with ______ around, and with an involuntary blush the Englishman remembered their previous escapades, the way their cheeks were rosy from the warmth of the house and the way their soft fingers meandered over flesh. Sometimes they'd just curl up beside each other, his lover curling up like an over-affectionate house cat and resting her head on his exposed chest, listening to his heart beat. He'd let his fingers card and thread through her hair, the ends curling softly as he watched her. She'd comment on how vivid, how beautiful his emerald eyes looked in the dimmed lights of their room; he'd admire the constellation of freckles around her eyes and the way her long eye-lashes fanned against her skin as she fell asleep. It wasn't quite a game, more of a tradition of theirs- Whoever remained awake longer would just happen to notice more and more about their partner, the moment intimate and warm and gentle. When the two of them woke up in the mornings Arthur would press a languid kiss to her lips with a practised grace, enfolding her in his arms and smiling against her skin. On occasions one of them would be up earlier, more often than not the Englishman would emerge dripping and hot from the shower just as _____ regained consciousness. This would usually entail hands ruffling through Arthur's untameable mane of hair, admiration of the way the droplets of water ran tantalizingly down the sinews and muscles of his scarred back. Everything they did seemed romantic on those cozy autumn evenings, even if everyone else saw the more flirty, youthful side of their relationship.
Falling asleep with this thought, and wishing it would linger, Arthur smiled.
"Good morning, sunshine!~"
Arthur peered up through half-lidded eyes, taking in the unmistakeable glow of ____ eyes and the cascade of hair about the heart-shaped face. Some incomprehensible, unintelligent murmur left his lips, then a yawn- After that he began to register the cheerful face above him properly. "Good morning, love...you're back early."
"You've just had a lay in~" He felt a kiss pressed to his lips, and pushed up so he could balance himself on his elbows. A half-hearted pout was aimed at _____, but she smiled and ignored it. "You're probably worried about some paperwork or something, aren't you?" She queried, with a cocking her head gently to the side. Arthur simply shook his head, face then errupting into a grin "You should have woke me up earlier, because then I could have spent some more time with you-" He lunged at her and pressed multiple kisses over her face, he drew her close into a tight embrace, chuckling as he nuzzled into her tousuled hair "I've missed you madly~"