Set six months after Dead Inside.
Finally, Tommy and Barbara go out to dinner, but Tommy can only think of one thing.
A first time story.
Written: August 2009. Word count: 500.
They've been in the restaurant for an hour now, and somewhat strangely it's Barbara who seems more as ease, more relaxed than Tommy does.
He'd spent a week agonising over where to take her, not wanting to make her feel uneasy or out of place, but also not wanting her to think he didn't think she was good enough to go somewhere special.
He can still remember the surge of happiness, relief, joy and excitement he'd felt when she agreed to have dinner with him. And from the look in her eyes, he'd known she'd known it wasn't just 'as colleagues'.
From the moment she sat down, she seemed to bloom under his eyes. He doubts she's been to this kind of restaurant before, but she seems completely unfazed, even the waiter placing the napkin on her lap hasn't troubled her.
She looks more beautiful than he's ever seen her look. Not that most people would call her beautiful, or even attractive, but he's always seen beneath the way she held her body, the way she cut her own hair, the lack of make-up, her oft-time surly nature, her ill-fitting clothing, to see the real Barbara Havers - the one she kept hidden; even from herself.
But tonight that is the Barbara who sits opposite him, and that makes him so very happy - knowing that she is prepared to be her for him. That she trusts him enough to be herself.
She's talking to him, but he hardly hears her words. He's eating and drinking, but he hardly tastes anything, because he can only think of one thing: how much he wants, how much he needs, to kiss her.
Finally she stops talking mid-sentence and really looks at him. "What?" she demands. "What's wrong? Have I used the wrong fork or something?"
She had done, but it hadn't mattered, because she'd done it with confidence. That was the fork she was going to use, thus that was the correct fork.
He shakes his head. "It's not that."
"Well, what is it?" She pauses and then says, "Tommy, what's wrong?" It's the first time she's used his given name and it causes another rush of joy to surge through him. He has to kiss her. He has to. It's like breathing; it's essential.
He catches her hand and lifts it to his lips and kisses it. She blushes and looks uneasy for the first time. "Tommy," she says his name again.
He leans forward and says, his voice low, his tone sensual, "It's just that I can't stop thinking about how much I want to kiss you, Barbara." He waits for her to blush again, but she doesn't. Instead it's her who looks up, catches the waiter's eye and beckons him over.
Half an hour later, he closes the front door of his flat behind them and with as much care as if she was made of porcelain gathers her into his arms, lowers his head and put his mouth onto hers.
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