Tuesday 28th December 1999
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Bren sat at the dressing table as she finished her makeup. She was just putting on her lipstick when Tony stepped out of the bathroom. Tony was busy trying to tie his tie that he was in his thoughts.
“Bren, could you-?” Tony began when he lifted his head but was so caught off by how beautiful she looked. She was in the black sleeveless dress she wore to the Christmas party the year before. Boy, did that dress bring back some bad memories for Tony? He still felt horrible about what happened that night between him and Bren’s mum. The drink really did seem to get to him. Bren looked so lovely that night and also tonight too. Maybe even better. He wasn’t going to admit that he was totally smitten with her but he knew deep down, he was pretty close, “Wow, Bren.”
“Eh?” Bren turned. She noticed Tony’s slightly shocked look, his hands still on his untied tie, “You alright?”
“Um, yeah. Just having a bit of a mare with my tie.” Tony said, snapping out of his trance.
Bren got up from the dressing table and walked to Tony. She started tying his tie, Tony watching the concentration on her face.
“You look great.” Tony said with a smile as she tied his tie.
“Give over.” Bren giggled, her cheeks going a pinky colour though she hoped Tony didn’t notice.
“You do. You and your legs.” Tony leaned forward, a sly grin on his face.
“Duh.” Bren rolled her eyes. She then smoothed down his collar and stood back, “There you go.”
“Thanks mate.” Tony kissed her cheek before going off to put his suit jacket on.
Bren smiled at him before packing up all her makeup into her bag, her thoughts on the past few days they had spent in Scotland. Tonight was their last night before going back home tomorrow afternoon. They were going to a restaurant not far from the village just for a night to themselves.
“Shall I call a taxi?” Tony asked.
“Yeah. The table’s for half seven eh?” Bren lifted her head.
“Yep.” Tony nodded before dialling the number for the taxi and booking it, “That’s that done. They’ll be here in ten minutes.”
“Alright.” Bren nodded before going over to get her bag and get the things she needed.
“Fancy a quickie?”
“No.” Bren laughed.
“Oh, shame. We’ve got plenty time.” Tony shrugged, stuffing his hands in his pockets.
“No.” Bren laughed again, going over to him and patted his shoulder, “Have you got everything packed for tomorrow?”
“Yep. All sorted.” Tony smiled, watching as she walked through to the bathroom for something, “You?”
“Yeah, I just need to put little things away but I can do that in the morning.” Bren sprayed herself with perfume, “It’ll be good to get home though.”
“Yeah, I guess. We’ve got that dinner to sort out, remember?” Tony sighed, sitting on the edge of the bed.
“Oh, yeah, for the minnellium.” Bren stood at the bathroom door, “That’ll be fun, that, won’t it?”
“You just said ‘minnellium’.”
“Oh. I mean the millennium. It’ll be good though! Philippa’s been planning that for ages.”
“Well, I just want to get it over with. I’d rather be spending it at home with you. It’s our first New Year’s together and we have to work.”
“Oh, Tony.” Bren chuckled as she walked over to him. She put her arm around his shoulder as he did her waist, “I’m sure it’ll be good fun. We might even get home before midnight.”
“I doubt it, Bren. Hey, we should come up here one New Year’s, it’s always good up here.” Tony looked at her.
“Yeah, that would be fun. What is it they call New Year’s Eve up here again? Not ‘hog roast’, Hogmanay! They call it ‘Hogmanay’, yeah that would be really good.” Bren nodded. Bren then looked down at Tony and smiled. She could tell he was sad thinking about going home, “I know it’s crap going home.”
“I just wish we had more time, just the two of us.” Tony sighed.
“We will. We’ll be seeing each other all the time after work and that. Of course it’s early days but it’s not like we live a million miles away from each other.” Bren smiled.
“I know but you know what I mean. This week has been so good with it just being us. No nosey-Nora's barging in.” Tony shrugged.
Bren chuckled. She cupped his cheek as she leaned down. She pressed her lips against his softly, Tony’s other hand wrapping around her waist. They kissed for a couple of seconds before being interrupted by the tooting of a car horn outside.
“That’ll be the taxi.” Bren said as she broke off the kiss and went to grab her coat and bag.
“That was quick.” Tony frowned. He went over to the window to see the taxi outside. He then turned back to Bren, “Shame, we were just getting started.”
Bren giggled, playfully hitting his shoulder before the two left the room and headed down to the taxi waiting outside.
Once they reached the restaurant, they were taken to their table and given their menus. They looked through the menus, deciding what they wanted. Tony looked over the menu to Bren as she read. She looked so beautiful but as he watched her, Tony thought about everything that happened before they got together and all the miscommunication that had occurred. He felt so guilty about it all but the thing that kept popping in his head the most was the Christmas party and what happened with Petula. Tony never apologised for that and he felt she deserved that, even if she told him it was okay.
“Bren?” Tony said softly.
“Yeah?” Bren put her menu down, looking at him with her wide eyes and a little smile but they dropped when she saw the look on his face. She frowned then, “Are you alright, Tony?”
“Yeah. Well, yeah. Bren, listen. I think we need to talk about some things.” Tony replied, taking her hand in his. He covered her hand with both of his, rubbing them gently as Bren put her other hand over his. Bren could not help but feel queasy. She had no idea what Tony wanted to talk about or what was wrong. She tried to rake her mind but she couldn’t think of anything that could be a problem. Except for maybe Tony not liking her as much as he thought he did. She wondered if he realised that he had gone off her, that he should have brought someone else to Scotland like Jane, that Bren wasn’t really all she was cracked up to be. She shouldn’t have been surprised really, this always happened with her and men, “I wanted to apologise for… everything really.”
“What d’you mean?” Bren asked with a nervous giggle. This was it. Tony was dumping her. Great! The girls will love to hear about this, won’t they?
“I mean,” Tony took a deep breath. Bren was preparing herself now, “Last year, at the Christmas party. What happened with me and your mum.”
“Oh. That.” Bren sighed heavily. To tell the truth, she had forgotten about that or more, made herself forget about it. She knew that it was a miscommunication and more her mother’s fault but it still hurt.
“Yeah, that. Look, Bren. I’m really sorry about that night. I know it doesn’t take back anything that happened but you deserve an apology.” Tony rubbed her hands with his thumbs. His heart was beating fast, unsure of what Bren was going to say to this, “I never meant for-.”
“Tony.” Bren interrupted him, her hand going up to his mouth to hush, “It’s okay.”
“But Bren, I-.”
“It’s okay. I know it wasn’t meant to happen. You don’t need to apologise.”
“But I do. You deserve an apology. I mean, I got with your mum of all people when I was on a promise with you.”
“She told you something different, I don’t blame you for thinking otherwise.”
“I should have waited for you to come back from wherever you were. I shouldn’t have listened to her.”
“It’s done now. Look at us now, eh? Together in Scotland, I mean I never thought this would happen, d’you know what I mean?” Bren giggled though she noticed Tony’s pensive look. She squeezed his hand which made him look up, “I appreciate you apologising though, I do. I probably owe you an apology too.”
“For what?” Tony asked with a frown.
“For not telling you about Martin.” Bren replied.
“Oh, Bren, you don’t need to apologise for all that.” Tony shook his head.
“But I do. You deserved to know about it.” Bren explained, “I don’t want you to think I was lying to you or doing anything behind your back.”
“I’m not worried about that, mate. I just wanted you to be okay. Your Martin’s a nasty piece of work, you don’t deserve that.” Tony replied. Bren smiled with a little sigh. Tony then chuckled which made her look up, “I guess we have a lot to get off our chest, eh?”
“Well I’m glad we managed to get that off our chests while we’re here and not back home.” Bren chuckled, sitting back when she took a sip of her wine.
“Hi, are you ready to order?” Their waitress came over to them just in time.
“Uh, yes.” Tony nodded to Bren before the two of them ordered their starter and main.
“Tony?” Bren leaned forward a little.
“Yeah?” Tony asked.
“What happened? You know, with you and my mother?”
“Well, um, nothing really you know. We went out for a fag and we were just standing having a fag and then she kind of sprung herself on me. Obviously with the drink, I wasn’t thinking straight and um, yeah. That was it really.”
“So you um, you didn’t, you know…”
“What? Do it? No, no. Not at all. She definitely tried but I managed to pry myself away from her.”
“Lucky you.” Bren giggled.
“Yeah! Lucky me.” Tony laughed before taking her hand squeezing it again. Bren felt her cheeks heat up a little, a soft giggle leaving her lips.
The both of them wanted to say more but it did not feel right. One, because this was not the right time to be confessing such big things and two, because their starters had just been brought to their table.
- - -
Wednesday 29th December 1999
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“Is that you, mate?” Tony asked as Bren came out of the room.
“Yes.” Bren nodded as she went to lock the door, “You got everything?”
“Yes. Oh.” Tony patted his coat down, “I’ve not got my boarding pass.”
“They’re in my bag.” Bren pointed to her bag, “That us then?”
“I guess it is.” Tony smiled, “I’ll take these cases down to the cab.”
Bren locked the door before grabbing her bag and following Tony downstairs. They were leaving the pub today and were heading back to Manchester. They were both quite happy to be going home but Tony was not looking forward to work.
They reached the bottom of the stairs and headed outside to where Hamish stood. The taxi had just pulled up and the driver who must have known Hamish was talking to him from the car window. When Bren and Tony came out, the driver got out and opened the boot for them.
“You two sorted then?” Hamish walked around to the boot.
“Yep.” Tony nodded as he put the suitcases into the boot, “Just need to get going eh, mate?”
“Yeah.” Bren nodded with a smile.
“Ah well, you two are welcome whenever. Don’t hesitate to come up.” Hamish replied.
“Cheers, mate. We better going then.” Tony smiled before giving Hamish a hug, “Thanks for everything.”
“Oh it’s no bother. It was a pleasure having you.” Hamish replied. He then turned to Bren and went to hug her, “And it was a pleasure meeting you, Bren.”
“I should say the same! It’s been really lovely being here.” Bren replied.
“You’re more than welcome anytime.” Hamish smiled. A door closed behind them which made them turn. Eileen, Isla and Alex were all walking over to them, “Oh here they come. Three musketeers.”
“Four, daddy!” Alex reminded his dad as he pointed at Eileen’s bump.
“Oh yes of course. Four.” Hamish chuckled.
Bren and Tony said goodbye to Eileen and the kids, telling them to keep in touch and send photos of when the baby was born. They soon clambered into the taxi and headed to the airport.
They spent a bit of time in the airport before they had to get to their flight. They went to a café for a quick coffee, watching people running for their flights.
“Oh. Here comes another one.” Tony said as someone ran past.
“Oh no.” Bren couldn’t help but giggle, “I don’t know if I could do flying all the time. It would be too stressful, I don’t do stress.”
“You would have loved it when we came back from Marbella. We nearly missed our flight home because Jane was throwing up in the toilets near Victoria’s Secret.” Tony chuckled.
“Why does that not surprise me?” Bren took a sip of her coffee.
Tony laughed, also taking a sip of his coffee. He then looked up at Bren who was looking out at the airport in front of her.
“What do you say about going to Marbella this summer? You and me, eh? Paralytic at ten o’clock in the morning?”
Bren giggled, bowing her head before looking back at Tony with a little smile on her lips. She then nodded.
“Yeah,” Bren said, “That would be good. Yeah. Though we need to make sure my mother doesn’t find out.”
“I can make sure of that.” Tony scoffed which made Bren laugh. Tony then looked at his watch, “Oh, we better get moving.”
The couple got up and headed towards the gate. It did not take long for them to get onto the plane and sat down. Tony was putting Bren’s bag in the overhead locker as Bren looked out the window. He then joined her in the seat, putting his arm around her.
“You okay?” Tony asked with a smile, rubbing her shoulder softly.
“Yeah. You?” Bren replied.
“Yeah.” Tony nodded, “You look tired.”
“I’m okay.” Bren replied before turning her head and yawning quietly.
“Come on.” Tony sat back in his chair as he brought Bren closer to him. He rubbed her back as Bren rested her head on his shoulder, “You can get a bit of kip, we’ll be home before you know it.”
Bren smiled up at Tony before getting comfortable and closing her eyes. She thought about what Tony had said as he rubbed her back, kissing her head softly. ‘We’ll be home before you know it’. It was such a small thing but she could get used to hearing that.