As he left Maurice’s rooms and the noise of those loud so-called friends of his cackling away about tea, Clive was feeling both contradicted and despondent. How dared those half-witted creatures? Rampaging into Maurice’s room unasked, unexpected and unwanted, as if they owned the place or Maurice owed them something? Demanding tea…! Damn them all! He could kill them, for a fleeting moment he thought he could kill them. Which, of course, he couldn’t, being at heart a peaceful man.
Love. He was going to confess. He had been on the brink of confession, fuelled by the tenderness he could feel in his friend’s touch, those warm fingers combing through his hair, so caring, so caressing. Two more minutes, and he’d have confessed it all.
How natural it had felt, each gesture, even the way the creaking of the wicker chair had dropped into the silence.
- Have you been well?
- Have you?
A very small creak. Silence. Then a whispered word.
- You wrote that you were…
Another small creak, and the warmth of Maurice’s hand in his hair. The closeness, the connection, how perfect it all had been, with the natural clumsiness of that tall fellow bending to be closer to Clive, his breath softly blowing warm into Clive’s hair.
He remembered Maurice’s eyes, very blue, dark blue as they had levelled with his own, speaking in silence with all the eloquence the man couldn’t muster. Ever since they had first met, Clive had appreciated Maurice’s divine gift for silence, listening intently and saying very little. But the words he did not say were all there in his dark blue eyes…
They had embraced and their bodies had moulded together so naturally! His friend’s awkwardness was so honest, so sweet! No words then, there had been no need for words.
Outside it was sunny, and the light hurt his eyes as he left the darker indoors. It seemed appropriate he should suffer some pain to balance the pleasure of the brief yet precious moment of shared cosiness. Comfort and hurt, joy and despair. His heart was so full it could burst otherwise. He would confess. «I love you.» He would say the words and the words would make it tangible, real.
Slowly, Clive withdrew from the bright light into the shadow of the arch. He would wait. There he stood, in the cold darkness, lurking, waiting, the cross all lovers must bear. Single minded, kept warm by the fire in his heart, he couldn’t tell how long he’d waited, when he saw Maurice, hands in his pockets, that dark blue cardigan that made his eyes bluer even. Clive’s heart skipped a beat and then jumped. He held out his arm and called: