Ruth and Nigel were at his flat. It was twenty-five minutes past midnight. There wasn’t anyone in the lift when they got into it. Nigel was happy about that. After pressing the button for his floor, he leaned against the panel and watched her. “Thanks for coming to my flat,” he said.
“I’m curious to see your flat,” Ruth replied. “Gideon mentioned that he visited you once and how impressed he was with the décor, the size and the views.”
He wished she hadn’t mentioned his uncle. “I was very lucky to find it and at an affordable price. You will love the views of the Thames and the Tower Bridge. And since I’m high up, you can also see the Tower of London. If it weren’t cold, we could have sat on the terrace for a while just enjoy the fresh air and views.”
Gideon was right, Ruth thought when they were in Nigel’s flat. It was décor was a mixture of color, eclectic vintage furniture and bold patterns. She loved it. It reminded her of Dushan’s flat the one she used to visit when they were lovers. Dushan. She mustn’t think about him. He was her past although she had wanted him to be her future. That might have been possible if he hadn’t met, fallen in love with and married another woman.
Pushing all thoughts of Dushan and his wife out of her mind, she walked over to the window where she was greeted by breathtaking views of the wharf, the Thames, the Tower Bridge and the Tower of London.
“What would you like to drink?” Nigel asked her.
“What do you have?”
“Vimto, Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer, Lime and Soda, Stout, Cider and Mead.”
“I’ll have the Lime and Soda.”
“All right. Make yourself comfortable. I’ll be right back.”
Ruth walked over to the sofa and sat down in one of the armchairs by the fireplace. It really was a very nice place. Perhaps, when Chelsey was ready to move out of the house, she could ask Nigel to help her to find a flat like this. Better yet, if she found a flat in this very building. It would give her, Ruth an excuse to visit Nigel.
Nigel returned with the Lime and Soda. He handed the glass to her. Their fingers touched when she took it from him. “Why aren’t you sitting on the sofa?” he asked.
“I prefer to sit here by the fireplace. From here, I can admire the painting on the wall over there.”
He stood by the fireplace looking down at her. “Are you sure you won’t be more comfortable on the sofa?”
“I’m sure. What’s that you’re drinking?”
“Why don’t you sit down?”
“The view is much better from here,” he replied quietly, his eyes riveted to her upturned face.
Blushing, Ruth took a couple of sips of her drink before asking, “So, what are your plans for 2023?”
“I don’t know.”
“When we went for lunch you mentioned that you would see if there were any short-term mission trips?”
“Yes, I did and I suggested that we could go together. And you said…”
“That it would be a nice change for me.”
“Yes. It would be a nice change for both of us. Would you like a tour of the flat?”
He took her glass from her, set it down on the mantlepiece with his and then, preceded her out of the living-room. Their first stop was the good-sized, open concept kitchen with its granite tops and its black stove and matching fridge. Four chairs lined the countertop. They passed by the dining-room and went down the hall. There was a guest bedroom with a twin bed. There was a bathroom opposite. The next stop was the study with its desk and an armchair and bookshelf lined with an impression collection of books and volumes.
“And, this is my bedroom,” Nigel announced as they paused in front of the last room down the hallway on the left. He went inside and she followed him.
“Does it have an ensuite?”
“Yes, right through there and there’s a large walk-in closet.”
Ruth popped her head into the ensuite. It was Ultra-modern with a glass door for the shower and a traditional roll-top bath which gave the place a luxurious look. She loved the Victorian-style floor and crisp, white wall tiles. Very nice, she thought. I can see myself soaking in that tub.
She turned on the light and looked at the walk-in closet which its neatly hanging suits, shirts, trousers and rows of shoes. This is much bigger than mine. She turned off the light.
Nigel was sitting on the bed. “Well, what did you think?”
Ruth looked at him. “I love the ensuite. It’s very elegant.”
He patted the bed. “Why don’t you come and sit down beside me?”
Ruth felt her face get hot and her heart was pounding. Now was the time for her to quickly exit his room and return to the living-room. Perhaps, she should tell him that it was time for him to take her home. “I don’t think that’s a good idea,” she said. Why did she have to sound so breathless?
“Why? What are you afraid of, Ruth?”
“Nothing,” she quickly denied. “I’m not afraid of anything.”
“Are you afraid that if you sat down on the bed, something will happen?”
She raised her chin as she tried to act calm and unaffected by how irresistible he looked. “What could happen?”
“You and I both know what could happen. It’s something we both want.”
“Maybe you should take me home right now.”
“Is that what you really want, Ruth?”
Nigel got up from the bed, strode over to her and pulled her roughly against him, making her cry out. Her eyes widened as he lowered his head and kissed her. Moaning against his lips, she clung to his arms and kissed him back.
Sources: Absolutely London; Living etc; Lacademie; Martin & Co