Thomas finished his verse with a flourish, looked over his work, and smiled. Possibly the piece he was most proud of, finally complete and ready for publishing- but not before having it proof-read, of course. He turned in his chair.
“George!” He called. When he received no response, he stood up (as though this would somehow make him louder). “George! What are you doing?”
“I’m coming, I’m coming,” came George’s voice. “Hold on, Thomas.”
It took only a moment, and then he entered the room: Lord George Byron, in all his over-tired glory, mid-yawn and slightly disgruntled.
“It’s four in the damned morning, Thomas,” he scowled.
“It’s not as though you were sleeping anyway.”
“Perhaps not,” said George. “But it would be nice if you had the decency to assume I was resting and not risk waking me up.”
“You know I have no decency to speak of,” said Thomas. “Then again, neither do you.”
George rolled his eyes. He stepped closer, stroking Thomas’ cheek gently, stared down at him with nothing but pure adoration in his eyes.
“What did you call me for then, my love?” he asked.
“I finished the poem."
“Can I read it?”
Thomas smiled, his heart in heaven. “Of course.”
So, George took the poem, took Thomas’ hand, and they sat, curled up on a sofa, George reading under his breath. The room was lit by two lone candles, one on the desk, one on a side table, ink had rolled off the parchment onto the carpet, and, as Thomas took in the whole view, head on George’s shoulder, completely at ease, he knew at once that this what was meant to be.
“I love it, darling,” George whispered, still staring at the verse. “Could it possibly be written for me?”
“How clever of you to work it out,” said Thomas. “It’s almost as though it’s dedicated to ‘my beloved’ at the top of the parchment.”
“Well, knowing you, that could be anyone,” said George.
Thomas gazed up into his eyes.
“Not now I’m with you, George.”
George kissed him, then spoke:
“I’ll never leave you, Thomas.”
“And I you, my love.”
“Oh, sorry,” Alison said, picking a pile of books off the floor. “Saw you were in a bit of a trance. Didn’t mean to scare you.”
“I was not scared. As long as my dreaming did not cause you to worry, dear Alison-”
“No,” Alison said. “Nah, I wasn’t worried.”
“Though, out of interest,” she mused. “What were you dreaming about?”
“It was not only a dream, but a memory,” said Thomas. “Of how perfect life could be, if people allow it to become so.”
“Right.” Alison paused. “So, did this memory involve anyone?”
“No!” Thomas flustered. “Why would you think such a thing? I was not moping over someone long gone! I am above that! How could you accuse me of such things? Why should-”
“Okay!” Alison was walking away. “Keep it to yourself, then. I don’t care that much.”
“Good!” said Thomas. He was lucky to be dead, for he would have flushed had he any blood in his body.
He stared at the sofa across the room, at the wax stain on the side table, at the fading ink drips across the floor.
He didn’t miss him, he told himself. Why would he?