A knock on the door startles the two lovers. They spring apart, hurriedly trying to smooth their clothes and hair, which are in disarray. The knock comes again, insistent.
“Shall I answer it?” says Niamh, a young woman, in her late twenties. Mathew shakes his head.
“It may arouse suspicion - this is my house, after all. Here, I’ll go.” Mathew gives her a swift kiss on the cheek and opens the door. A teenage boy is standing there. The rain has plastered his blond hair to his thin face, and he is shivering.
“Please, sir, is the lady Niamh there?” He is alone, and Mathew relaxes, moving back to reveal Niamh behind him. Pink spots in her cheeks betray the troubled mind beneath.
“What do you want?” she says, not unkindly. Even in her flustered state, she is beautiful. The boy bows to her, ever so slightly.
“Your husband is returning, miss,” he tells her.
“Fionn?!” Niamh looks at Mathew in horror. “But they told me a year or more!” She looks at the ring on her finger, remembering her husband.
“They’ve got the real culprit, miss,” the boy informs her. “He’ll be home in three hours at most. I’d say you could still make it.” He is chatty, a sure sign on an amateur in the messenger business.
“Thank you - you may go.” Giving the boy a coin, Niamh shuts the door and turns to Mathew, trying to keep calm.
“What’ll we do?” he says, worry etched onto his face. “Oh, Niamh, what will we do?” His lover takes several deep breaths, forcing herself to regain her composure.
“I cannot stay here,” she decides. “If he catches me, we will both be for it.” Mathew nods. “My best bet is to try and get home, before he does. If I can appear faithful …” Tears well in her eyes. She hates the deceit that desperation is driving her to.
“It will be okay,” Mathew reassures her, taking her in his arms. “If you get out of here now, you’ve got a chance. I won’t judge you for it.”
Niamh walks to the window. The moon is the only thing that illuminates the bridge spanning the dark water. On the other side she can see the city, candles visible in many windows. Somehow, she has to get back there.