As a compromise, he went to Janet's apartment instead. He didn't have anyone expecting him now, after all.
He knocked on her door, smiling easily, and she herself appeared almost instantly.
“Hello stranger. Coming in?”
He couldn't help admiring her in the soft light of the hallway; Janet was all he'd ever wanted in a woman: smart, beautiful, independent...
“Don't mind if I do”
Inside the only light was her fireplace, which cast around a warm glow. As Robert went to sit on the sofa, her cat jumped onto his lap and sat on him, purring. Janet poured them both a glass of wine. Janet stroked it, stoking the purrs as coal stokes a flame.
“So...Betty is dead now.”
“It would seem so.”
They sat in silence, with no noise but the purring of the cat and the crackling of the fireplace.
Janet's eyes didn't leave the cat as she spoke next.
“Was it...odd? Seeing her dead?”
“I...felt rather detached, actually.”
“They say you feel numb when you lose a loved one,” she stated, with a smirk. “Never had the pleasure myself”
She paused, preparing herself for her next words, this time locking eyes with him.
“Rob, are you sure you're okay? I mean, if you need time to grieve, or a break for a while...I...”
The cat jumped down from the couch, and watched them both.
“Jan, I need you now as much as I needed you before. And now, now we have a chance! I haven't loved Betty for years,” he took both her hands in his, “the bond was severed long before she died.”
There was another pause.
“It...I know it seems early, but, you should move in.”
He swilled his wine.
“That's a great idea. I'll go back tonight. I can sort through some of her stuff, get most of mine together, then you can come round tomorrow evening and help me sort through the rest of it. Sound good?”
“Sounds just wonderful.”
He held his glass up to chink it with hers.
“Here's to being together, at last”
“I love you, Jan.”
“I love you too.”
It was around tea time, and the kettle had just boiled. She'd bathed, dressed, and tidied the flat as was her usual routine. A routine, which she proudly noted, ran like clockwork.
She allowed herself a break, and took her tea to the sofa. She curled into the corner, checking the clock. Perhaps she noted he must be working late, again. Perhaps she just wanted to see how long it was until Eastenders was on.
She picked up her book, and started to read.
It's impossible to know whether or not she saw that she had no reflection on the TV across the room.