It was a strange paradox: the moment the words left his mouth, I knew it was a moment I wouldn’t forget, and yet I wasn’t sure quite whether we were really having the conversation I thought we were having.
The Writer and I were at the tube station at the time, clutching four bottles of prosecco, one of tequila, and a lovingly created, still-warm white chocolate and ginger baked cheesecake, on our way to a New Year’s Eve dinner party.
“I’m just going to renew my Oyster,” TW said, “before the fares all go up tomorrow.” He started to fiddle with the machine.
“Gods above, tell me about it,” I said, complaining about the eye-wateringly, gut-wrenchingly, in all ways tortuous cost of season tickets into London from the Home County. “I have no idea how I’m going to pay for it next year.”
We wandered through the barriers and towards the escalator.
“Well, next year, you could always come and live with me if you wanted to.”
My heart skipped a beat, not entirely sure whether TW was being flippant, or whether, whilst atop a Northern Line escalator, he’d just suggested I move in with him. Wanting to believe it was the latter, I said that, “Yes, I think I’d like that.”
Later that night, cheesecake consumed, and as we sat amidst a host of people unknown whilst at the second party of the night, TW turned to me. “I meant what I said, you know: I want to live with you.”
“I want to live with you too,” I said, again unsure as to whether his repetition was heartfelt, or merely the result of rather too much prosecco and the romance of the night.
So when the subject didn’t surface as we lay in bed on the morning of New Year’s Day, I didn’t say anything. Maybe he was drunk, I thought. Caught up in the moment, and now he’s regretting it. I won’t say anything. Instead, I teased him about how drunk he’d been by the time we left the party.
Finally we dragged ourselves out of bed, and wandered to the kitchen for tea and croissants which we ate whilst browsing the online guide to Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan.
Staring studiously at the raspberry jam, TW started to mumble quietly. “You know what I said last night?”
Here it came. That it had been a mistake, that he loves me but doesn’t think we’ve been together long enough to make that kind of decision.
“I meant it, you know. I’m not going to put any pressure on you at all – it’s entirely up to you. I mean, you already have a house that you own, and a cat, and if you’re not ready, then I won’t love you any less. But if you wanted to move in together, then I’d be so happy.”
Of course, I said yes. Gulp.
The Big List: Part Two (Books for Young Readers)
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