Assumpta Fitzgerald didn't swear often. However, the situation before her constituted it. Here she was, participating in yet another stupid decision. She was making quite a habit of it recently. Hopping from foot to foot, she knocked on the ruby red door three times, her mind repeating a mantra.
Don't be in.
Don't be in.
"Assumpta? What happened?"
Assumpta smiled feebly at Peter's confused expression as he let her into the the sitting room. She felt a bit like Fionn, meekly glancing up at Peter as if she had broken a cardinal rule by dripping rainwater all over his floor. At this rate, she was probably going to break a few more with what she was going to ask him.
"I need a place to stay."
Peter's change in expression said it all. She knew what he was thinking - after all, she was beginning to think it too. It had only been a few weeks since the both of them had been inches away from sharing a kiss. It was all for 'Ryan's Mother', of course, however Assumpta could tell that something subtle had changed in the dynamic of their relationship.
"I locked the keys in the car."
Even after the shock of her request, Peter couldn't resist a floppy grin, to which Assumpta responded with a slight jab to his shoulder as she rolled her eyes.
"What about Fitzgerald's?"
"All on the same keyring. I walked here from Cilldargan. I'll get Padraig to look at it in the morning."
A shiver rippled through her body momentarily and brought Peter back to his senses.
"Of course you can stay here - I'll take the couch. Take a shower if you want, I have some old clothes in the bottom drawer in my room."
Assumpta ignored the flutter in her heart as she mumbled a word of thanks. Peter watched her as she made her way up the stairs with one question on his mind.
What the heck had he gotten himself into?
The hot shower was refreshing and a sharp contrast to the coldness that had settled in her bones. Conscious of where she was, she didn't take too long. Searching the aforementioned bottom drawer, she spotted a old pair of jeans that actually fitted pretty well. Before she could search any more, a piece of material caught her eye…
The fire was just strong enough to provide a thin layer of heat to the small sitting room. Peter rocked back on his heels as he smiled proudly at his little victory. The sound of movement triggered his gaze to turn toward the stairs and his breath caught in his throat.
Assumpta descended the stairs in an old pair of work jeans and a jumper. Not just any jumper though - it was the woollen jumper that he had worn when rehearsing the play. It fitted her perfectly, complementing her hazel eyes and slightly damp hair. She looked absolutely beautiful. Her voice broke through his haze.
"It was the first thing I saw."
The next few hours passed by in a semi-awkward atmosphere. Peter had settled for the two of them to watch a random movie on the television. That idea had eventually led to both of them silently sipping their glasses of wine at the sight of two hormone-induced teenagers getting it on.
"It's weird, isn't it?"
Assumpta faced him with an unintelligible expression.
"Kids these days. They're going to grow up thinking this", she gestured to the TV screen, "is what love is. It's a shame really."
Peter kept his poker face.
"It's not all like that though. I mean, for every film or book like this, there's ten stories of true love." He paused for a moment as he took her in, the wine starting to take effect. How much did they drink, anyway?
"After all, people will always meet someone who changes their life. Like, you won't think it at first, but they'll work their way into your heart and soul and just stick there. Like the scent of someone's perfume. You'll probably forget the smell but you could be walking along the street ten years later and bam, it hits you like a sucker punch. All the feelings and memories come rushing back and you'll finally realise that you completely and utterly loved them."
It was only when he ran out of breath that Peter realised what he had just said.
"I mean, people could easily use that to make the next 'Sleepless In Seattle' or something."
He took a big gulp of his wine, inwardly cursing his affinity to ramble.
"I know what you mean."
Peter glanced up to meet a smiling Assumpta.
"It's like when it rains. I can't look at rain now without thinking about how I fell in love with you."
"Well, I'm off. Thanks for last night."
Assumpta couldn't hide her blush as she gazed back at the smiling Englishman. Her lips still tingled from the gentle kiss that they shared in the silence.
"At least Padraig rescued your car. I can't imagine defiant Assumpta Fitzgerald relying on other people for long." Peter chuckled slightly before continuing. "If you do though - I'm here."
He brushed a stray lock of hair from her face, tracing his finger along her cheekbone before resting it on her lips for a brief moment.
"I'll always be here."