Thunder roared above them and the sky bled. All about the couple, people were running, too. Lucas and Andrea leapt from cover to cover, from bridges to trees, onwards, even seeking some shelter in the alcoves of shops. Others scurried into shops to remove themselves from the storm, but Lucas and Andrea did not follow their action, not seeking the artificial warmth. Instead, they held each other as the rain spat down, an umbrella useless against this thrashing, laughing all the while as jubilation and body-heat kept them warm.
“How powerful the rain the can be,” murmured Andrea. She felt Lucas swing her around again, spinning her tightly in a Ceroc hold. Shivers struck their way down her neck and back, but each droplet touched her burning skin and almost evaporated again.
“Come on let's go home, now.”
As she skirted a puddle, Andrea complained, “my feet are soaked!”
They continued running, Lucas slightly in the lead because of his regular dancing, for Andrea herself had no frequent exercise. Even so, she let herself be pulled along.
“I told you,” said he as they stopped once more, hidden under the gable of a phone box.
It was not far, yet Andrea wished that she could go on running with Lucas forever, the adrenalin urging her onwards. The skies began to ease a little as they jogged from the phone box to one of the last bridges of Lansdale; after this cover, there would be none until they reached home.
Thankfully, it took less than two minutes to pull themselves from their spot to Lucas’ house.
They returned in some sort of glowing rain, a rainbow forming in the tips of the little newborn sunlight. When Lucas unlocked his front door, the frame slipped under his grip. The whole world had been coated in graceful slime. Neither cared. And Andrea had been soaked to her core; no more rain would dampen her mood of power that boomed under the damp wet of her outfit.
“First things first,” said Lucas, almost the instant that both pairs of shoes had been stored upside-down underneath a radiator; “get changed.”
“Yes,” Andrea’s voice must already have sounded faded to him, for she was already halfway up the stairs, throwing off her jumper in a hurry to get rid of the cold garments.
A minute later she heard his own door close, and their wardrobes creaked simultaneously. Shapeless didn’t matter. If Lucas had looked at her in her worst state of ‘bedragglement’, she would never mind looking out of sorts ever again. So, formless jumper and jeans it was. Besides, Andrea was grateful for anything that kept her warm now.
“Next…” Andrea told him, coming downstairs when she was changed. She lifted her prized bun from the pocket of the coat she was just going to hang up.
“I hope you’re not considering eating that,” muttered Lucas in his typical sort of disdain. He leant over to prod the bun.
“Squidgy, Lucas. You can say it’s squidgy.”
“Well, I prefer softened, thank you very much.”
They shot each other a glance, before bursting into typical laughter.
“Lucas… Besides, I’m hungry.”
“Let me make you something, rather than have you eat one of these.” And having said those words, he pulled his own captured meal of out of his wet coat pocket. A grin was shared once again.
“I thought you were determined not to have to eat before some designated time?”
“True… Okay, you can eat the bun if you really want to. But do so at your own peril.”
“Sure,” remarked Andrea, before biting into it. “It’s a little ‘softened’, but apart from that, it’s fine.”
Lucas pulled a face.
“Suit yourself. I’m going to nibble some biscuits.” Nevertheless, he put his own bun into their breadbin.
The afternoon was determined to rush by, according to Andrea’s attention. She loved not having to work, but Lucas’ antics left nothing for time to count by (in spite of his clocks being tuned to the Greenwich Mean Time, apparently). Though the champagne teased by its presence of one of Lucas’ counter-tops, he made a promise not to open it until after dinner, as if they both had some sort of drinking problem. Even without the help of the alcohol, Andrea was in tears of laughter by the time the Greenwich-Mean declared it was seven. What they had spent the hours chatting about- from St.Anne’s to arguing, in jest, about religion– she had little recollection, but she knew in a certain moment that every time a flutter of happiness soared through her heart, it was because Lucas was there, teasing and chatting.
“Dinner?” said he, eventually removing himself from the soft blue sofa.
“Please. What is it?”
“Lemon and rosemary roasted chicken.”
Another thing that Andrea didn’t get was why the world rushed by so quickly when she let her thoughts get the better of her. One minute, Lucas was disappearing into the kitchen and Andrea had given her thoughts to considering the way he moved and talked; the next moment, a whole lot of time had escaped her, and Lucas was popping his head around the steamy door to tell her dinner would be two minutes.
“You look tired,” he added as they sat down.
“I think I was daydreaming…”
She blushed, hiding her mouth with a forkful.
“Oh, you mean me.”
But there was the oddness of it all: Andrea never daydreamed, and she had very little memory of the times in which she had when she was a child.
“Where’s the champagne?” Andrea asked, eager to change the subject.
“Oh!” Lucas sprung up. “I forgot.”
Indeed, the champagne. It didn’t make the night move any slower…
It was somewhere between nine or ten. Andrea couldn’t tell any more, for the clocks dared to dance whenever she looked at them. Andrea was intoxicated. She giggled as Lucas ran his hands through her hair, she herself brushing a route around the stubble that stuck so miraculously to his rounded chin. There was no need for the intense indulgence of the daydreams if she had him with her, cuddled up on the sofa. After dinner, they had talked again. The champagne had been stronger than that which Andrea had previously been used to…at least, she hadn’t had champagne so much as she had that night, letting its warm fingers run themselves up and down her tingling body. Or were they actually Lucas’ fingers? Abstracts merged into concretes, and concepts became substantial.
Sitting there, listening to the heartbeat of Lucas, a stray thought suddenly reminded Andrea of the plan she had conceived in the deluge of the day. It might have been the alcohol, or just her tired mind, but the scene was being played out in the positions of the living room furniture, so neat, so perfect.
“Hmm, you’re dreamy.”
“And you’re cute. But, come on, what was it you wanted? I can hear the question in your heart.”
“Oh, romantic!” she exclaimed, before telling herself to calm down. What she needed to say next, Andrea wanted to make sure was clear and confidently put across. “I think…Keith and Léa should get together.”
“What?” Lucas remarked. “They’d make a bloody terrible couple.” (Andrea had noticed that he was in the habit of saying ‘bloody’ when he became drunk. Yet…she still marvelled at the higher threshold of intoxication that Lucas had to her).
“Think about it. Think about it, Lucas. They’re already living in the same house-”
“-and that way we’d easily get Keith off our back.”
“Hmm.” The crease on Lucas’ brows deepened as he sipped from his flute. “But would it work?”
“Oh, yeah. I think so. Léa wouldn’t mind, would she?” Andrea let the words trip, challengingly, off her tongue.
“No, she wouldn’t.”
“-and so, she could be a distraction until Keith gets back off his moral high-horse.”
“Now, Andrea, darling, there’s nothing wrong with morals,” Lucas teased.
“I know. Champagne…” she attempted as an explanation.
Andrea’s head was getting heavy. She pushed it into the waiting crux of Lucas’ arm and snuggled up closer to him. Just as she felt her right hand dropping, one of Lucas’ palms came to cease the fall of the champagne flute.
“Careful,” he soothed into her ear.
“Tired…” she mumbled, not crucially aware of what was actually going on.
“I know,” the quiet voice continued. “It’s okay. Let the alcohol call you into the realm of dewy-eyed sleep, so cosy and soft.”
“Oh, Lucas. I love you.”
“I love you, too, Andrea.”
It was the last thing she heard before the call of sleep pulled her into the soft mound beside her.