Pushing her hair behind her ear, Red looked through her new cottage window. The postcard street was white and Code was outside.
Through the drifting flakes, large round coins like volcanic ash, his bulky figure was visible struggling the suitcase out of the car and locking it. First he tried the remote, waving it and pressing hard down with his thumb. Then he walked to the driver’s door and locked it with the key. Battery must be running down again. Presently he came in through the door, stamping his feet and blowing, and forced the door shut slowly, the stiff bristles of the mat resisting his pushing arm.
With the door shut the room was suddenly silent, bar the ticking of the boiler.
The space between them felt solid, a magnetic repulsion, so much that when he walked over to the fire briefly before leaving, he paced an arc away from her on the cottage floor, his boots leaving wet prints on the dusty grey flagstones.
She nodded. Then she looked up and his eyes were wet. She joined him at once, her mouth a tiny oh, her huge green eyes filling up right away as if they were waiting for the slightest excuse…
“The thing that scares me most,” he said, and she immediately believed him, “is that without you I’ll never be happy.”