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Perfectly, Imperfectly Perfect

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FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 2019: 10:50PM

Thank goodness Paul Robinson managed to talk Karl into discharging him a week earlier. There was no way he was going to let anyone or anything, not even 4 broken ribs, come between his birthday plans for Terese. Months had been spent making sure it would all be perfect for her.

Paul had been feeling the pressure as he wanted to make up for the year before when he and Leo basically ruined her day. Although he never meant any harm, asking his son to help him ‘woo’ Terese had really hurt her. He still regretted those decisions and was grateful every day that things had ended up working out the way they had.

This year, Paul thought to propose on Terese’s birthday but he quickly decided against it as he didn’t want their engagement anniversary to forever overshadow a day that was meant just for celebrating her. They had, however, managed to get engaged before her birthday even turned up … but that’s another story. The businessman then considered splashing his cash on an extravagant party with the whole suburb invited, but he knew that despite her love for planning big celebrations, Terese despised them when she was the guest of honour.

No, it had to be thoughtful, intimate … and a bit lavish too.

Paul smiled to himself as he envisioned tomorrow’s schedule in his mind. He had planned time for the two of them, but also made sure the matriarch had time with Harlow, Ned and Roxy … well, if Roxy decided to show up. Excitement bubbled in his heart at the thought of months of planning finally coming to fruition. He couldn’t wait to give his soon-to-be-wife a birthday to cherish, for all the right reasons.

Paul’s reverie was interrupted as Terese entered the room, clicking the door shut behind her.

“Hey” Terese said softly, surprised to see her fiancé sitting awake in bed with the bedside lights still on. “You didn’t have to wait up for me. You need to be resting”, she said in a tone that was soothing, concerned and authoritative all at once.

“I’ve done enough of that these past few days” Paul replied. “If anyone needs to rest, it’s you. You’ve been going between the hospital, work and home, non-stop this past week … Managing Harlow and Roxy and everything in between”.

She smiled at him, appreciating the thought, before disappearing into the bathroom.

Meanwhile, Paul decided to turn the TV on as he waited for Terese to join him in bed.

“Babe, what are you doing?” Terese called out as she heard the sound of the late-night programming.

“Umm, watching television” Paul responded. A hint of defiance and sass within his tone.

Terese rolled her eyes, “You’re meant to be resting. You can guarantee I’m not letting you go to the Tram opening on Monday if you don’t follow the doctor's orders!”

“I am resting darling … or would you rather me pull out some work documents. I can make a start on next month’s figures—”

“You know what I mean …”

 

***

 

FRIDAY, AUGUST 2, 2019: 11:20PM

Paul admired his fiancé fondly as she emerged from the bathroom, face free of makeup and wearing a plain black nightgown.

“What?” Terese asked, curiously.

“Just … you’re so beautiful” he said lovingly.

She paused for a while and smiled coyly, before remarking back, “don’t think you can talk your way out of this, mister!”

“I mean it though.”

“And I mean it too”, the brunette beauty teased as she sat down on her side of the bed and snatched the remote out of his hands.

“Is this what it’s going to be like when we’re married? You bossing me around every day!” he said playfully.

“But you love it when I’m in charge”.

“Mmm I love you”.

“I love you too”.

They shared a gentle kiss. She lightly brushed her hand over the bruises on his face.

Terese’s tone quickly became serious as intensity filled the air around them. “I don’t know what I would have done if I’d lost you. When Roxy called me, I was so scared that this was the end—”

“Oh darling … slow down … I’m still here and I always will be”, Paul replied reassuringly before pulling her into his chest as he usually did, without a second thought. They quickly realised it wasn’t the smartest idea.

“Sorry my love”, Terese said as Paul winced. She quickly lifted her head off his torso, any pressure on his broken bones was an intense discomfort at this stage.

“Oooh … I’m okay”, he grunted.

“Aw, come here”. Terese pulled him into her arms so that his head rested on her shoulder, “Much better”.

Her hand reached under Paul’s shirt and lightly massaged his tender side in soothing circles; the coldness of her engagement ring tickling his skin.

Paul nuzzled his nose into Terese's neck as they both smiled contently. Bliss.

 

***

 

SATURDAY, AUGUST 3, 2019: 7:00AM

The sound of birds chirping rung in the new morning.

Paul awoke in his lover’s arms where he had dozed off. Disentangling himself from her grip, he moved up so he was eye level and gently tucked away a piece of hair that was shading her face, careful not to wake her.

Terese looked so peaceful and he hoped she was dreaming of something lovely.

Paul pulled up the blankets and planted an affectionate kiss on her forehead.

Although he could have stayed next to her contently for hours, Paul knew there was another matter he needed to attend to before Terese woke up …

 

***

 

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART TWO