Tom wasn’t home when I returned to our flat after my rehearsal and giving one Benedict Cumberbatch a good tongue lashing for being a pompous, smarmy git. He only smiled haughtily through it before turning it back on me, as if it were my fault. With his well-practiced charm and gentlemanly civility displayed all over his face, he thanked me, “As always, sweet Abigail, I thank you for your constructive criticism and honest candor regarding my person. Next time, I shall turn the other cheek so you can slap that one too. Tomorrow perhaps?”
My fiancee said that I wasn’t allowed to hit him.
I kicked off my flats in the hallway, and stripped down to nothing on the way to the en suite bathroom through our bedroom, leaving a trail of discarded clothes along the floorboards like breadcrumbs. I didn’t have time to worry about it as I had a date, an actual for real date. Tom and I did our Friday night thing every week, but we usually went to the cinema, a no brainer, our routine. But Tom called me like we were dating and asked me for a proper date, this night was special. I didn’t know why or where or what, but I didn’t care about the details, only that I would be out with my fiancée.
I hurried through a quick shower, washing away the smell of rehearsal and brand new show, to make me feel like a female again. Sitting Indian style in yoga pants, a baggy t-shirt and a jumper for comfort instead of fashion on a scuffed hardwood floor for hours, subtracted a certain amount of allure and appeal. I knew Tom wouldn’t have minded, but I did.
I was dressed in a cute little summer dress, my matching floral print knickers and bra set, and was working on taming my hair when the front door buzzer sounded. With only half my face applied and my hair far from coiffed, I raced down to answer it barefoot. I flung the door open with an exasperated sigh that caught in my throat when I saw my fiancée in the doorway, holding a bouquet of roses. The mega-watt smile appeared on my face in an instant, and I might have even swooned. Smartly he greeted with a smirk, “Abigail.”
“Thomas, please come in.”
As he moved into the foyer, he handed me the red flowers, with a kiss on the cheek. Somehow he made me feel giddy and nervous, excited and smitten all at once, and the smile never left my face. I glided into the kitchen to fetch a vase to house my fully in bloom bouquet. Tom closed the door and surveyed the mess I’d made in the hallway. “Give them back,” he teased mercilessly, rolling his eyes in mock annoyance.
“No, they’re my flowers. You gave them to me.”
“Do you think you deserve roses with the mess you’ve made in my flat?”
I placed the vase filled with water and my roses in the middle of the kitchen table, fixing this baby’s breath, moving that rose, spinning the entire thing to get the perfect display. Musing to the blooms, I said flippantly, “So when I make a mess, it’s your flat.” I approached him alluringly, leveling my gaze on him, licking my lips slowly, all for his benefit. I nuzzled his strong neck, blowing a breath against his skin, drawing him in seductively. My fingers crawled up the center of his chest from his belt buckle to the patch of skin at the v created by one button left undone. “If it’s clean, is it ours?” He held his breath, closed his eyes and attempted to restrain every male instinct in him that screamed at him to take me. I could tell by the flare of his nostrils and the twitch of his eyebrow, his hands were itching to touch me.
Valiantly, he refrained by keeping his hands to himself while I toyed with him. Whispering, on my tiptoes, into his ear, I asked, “Is it our flat when I’m writhing beneath you and screaming your name?” My finger lightly circled around each nipple under his stiff, tight white shirt before fondling the small amount of chest hair peeking through the gap at the top.
Through grated teeth and incredible amount of self-restraint, Tom gruffly replied, “Your flowers. Your flat.”
I giggled triumphantly and stepped away from him. “That’s what I thought you meant.” To appease him, I quickly swept up my clothes, shoes and bag that I left scattered in the hallway, while Tom gathered up what was left of his concentration after my tease. I’m not sure what was making him so randy the past few days, but it was so much fun to play with him when he was like this, and I was not complaining about the extra attention.
I threw my clothes in the laundry pile to deal with on the weekend, quickly finished my makeup and combing my hair enough to be seen in public, and rejoined my fiancée in the hallway. He pulled himself together enough to offer his jacket to wear for the evening.
Tom was always cautiously romantic with me, maybe because of our history, perhaps because I didn’t need it, or we were lower key than that. It’s hard to say exactly, but he knew I didn’t need or particularly want the grand gestures of love and romance. I preferred his touch, his hand in mine, his arm around me, any type of physical contact was all I needed. However this night seemed different, and it was all so wonderfully unexpected.
He took my hand possessively, staking his claim on me, and led me outside our flat. Waiting for us by the kerb in the street was chauffeured Rolls Royce with the driver holding the door open for us. I squealed excitedly, “What did you do, Tom?”
The grin that met my noise of appreciation was magnetic and genuine. “I wanted to spend a special night with my girl.”
Suspiciously, I asked, “What did you do? Is there something you are trying to make up for? Are you softening a blow?”
“No, sweetheart. I wanted to spend the evening with you, do something a little different.”
As we climbed and clambered into the backseat, I casually dropped, “I think the Hamster drove one of these on the show last week.”
Tom laughed. “Only you, Abby… only you. Can we leave your telly boyfriend out of our date?” He wrapped his arms around my waist to pull me close, thoroughly erasing any other man from existence.
“Depends on where you’re taking me. Will you be able to hold my interest?”
He cocked his right eyebrow up and smirked smugly. “I know with certainty that I can. Don’t test me, woman.” He snuck his lips against my neck, kissing and nipping gently. We ignored the city passing by outside the window, the driver navigating city traffic to our destination.
When Tom pulled away from me again, he winked, our playful nature on the surface. He reached over to the console on the side of the car and poured two flutes of champagne, handing one to me. “Did I miss an anniversary or something, Tom?’
“No, love. There’s no need to worry. Just a date.”
I repeated softly, “Just a date.” The thought was incredibly delicious and intoxicating that I warranted special treatment.
Tom held up his flute, looked deep into my eyes, and said, “I love you, my sweet Abigail.”
I clinked my flute to his and repeated his sentiment, “I love you too.” I tilted the sweet, bubbly and dry liquid in a very small amount to my lips and swallowed. I shivered slightly with the pleasurably cool coating to my belly. Tom watched me closely before following suit, drinking down half of his flute. I took a second deeper swallow, throwing my legs over his lap and scooting closer.
We finished our first glass of champagne in the quiet atmosphere of the backseat, snuggling closer. The champagne flavored kisses were even sweeter than the alcohol involved. I snuggled against his shoulder, hooking my arm around his chest as he pressed me closer. When he spoke again, I felt the vibrations of his speech against my ear, hypnotized by the sensual nature of it. “How’s your rehearsal going?”
“Do you mean, ‘is Ben still alive?’?”
“Something akin to that, sure.”
“Still breathing, but not by my choice.”
“I’m proud of you.”
“I’m mad at you.”
“What else is new?”
“Where are you taking me?”
“Do I have to go back?”
“Ultimately, yes.” I groaned in protest, the memory of Ben sneering at me all too clear. “What would I do without my Abigail?”
“Oh fine! Use your charm.”
He kissed the top of my head, a small laugh rumbling in his chest. He pulled my legs closer, circling his arms all the way around me. We were silent for the rest of the journey to whatever destination Tom had determined.
The Rolls Royce slowed to a stop by the embankment, down the block from Trafalgar Square. The lights of the London evening were starting to spring to life, adding to the majestic aura of the city. The chauffeur hopped out of the car, and opened the door for my fiancée, who then helped me to my feet. “What are you up to, Hiddleston?”
“No good, to be sure.” He shook hands with the driver, exchanging pleasantries as I looked over the edge. There was a boat docked directly on the water by where we were standing. Modified from a barge tourist boat, the miniature vessel was all glass on the outside with a small cozy dining room with one table on the inside. Tom, after dismissing the driver for a few hours, offered me his arm to escort me down the dock to our awaited chariot.
“How did you do this?” I asked, impressed.
“Cunning, planning, and about fifty-three different personal favors, not to mention sixteen individual bribes.”
“You don’t want to know,” he hinted with an affected smile.
He held my hand firmly to assist me in stepping onto the rocking boat, along the rippling surface of the water of the Thames. He followed close behind me and we were swallowed up within the glass encasement. The atmosphere inside was cozy, with only three other people on board with us, the captain, the cook and the waiter. Tom had his iPod set up on a docking station in a free corner, playing soft unassuming music in the background.
“Where to, my pretty girl?”
Bewildered, I looked up to his smiling face, proud of his accomplishment, “I get to choose?”
“Anything along the river? What do you want as your backdrop while we have dinner?”
“Everything from Houses of Parliament up to Tower Bridge please.”
Tom disappeared to chat with the captain and promptly returned to my side. I was nearly pressed up against the glass watching the London Eye spin slowly across the river. My fiancée coiled himself around me from behind as the boat eased away from the dock. “Surprised?”
I shrugged teasingly. “It’ll do, for tonight, I suppose.”
“Ungrateful little minx.”
I turned around in his arms and kissed him briefly. “I’m touched, Tom… really. I’m overwhelmed. Thank you!”
“A little romance never hurt anyone.” We shared another chaste kiss. “Dance with me, Abigail.”