Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
The lamps along the embankment were orbs of light, each seemingly suspended in mid air. The soft glow around them a hazy aura.
Away to their left the Thames flowed silently, inky black, dotted with shimmering reflections, which danced and churned, in each eddy.
A flash, a bang and a whizz, followed by 'oooo's and 'ahhhh's'.
Knots of people staring skywards, trying to pierce the gloom.
Their breath came in white clouds, mingled and hung there, as the fog swirled around them.
Tiny beads of moisture settled in their hair.
Randall pulled the collar of his coat a little higher, taking off his glasses and wiping them on a crisp white handkerchief square which he took from his pocket.
Bel had taken his arm as they walked, threaded hers under his and over at the elbow, pulling herself in close to him.
She shivered in the November chill.
A waft of bonfire smoke seemed to assault the nostrils.
A group of children called "Penny for the Guy."
Randall took a coin and tossed it into the flat cap, they had placed on the ground, at the feet of the manikin.
Their Guy made of an old jumper and pair of slacks, stuffed with straw, with a head of papier mâché, a beard and moustache painted on.
"How much did you give them?"
"A Bob! You're too generous, they'll get lots of fireworks with that!"
They wandered on, towards Westminster Bridge.
Stopping to shelter slightly under the statue of Boudicca.
Bel leaned in, Randall slid his arms around her waist, holding her there, close to him.
His face now inches from hers, the light from the lamps reflected in his spectacles.
"It's been a lovely evening Randall. Thank you."
He smiled, a curious half smile.
"The company is what made it." He replied.
"Why have we waited so long to do this?"
"Because I'm a foolish old man, who has only just realised that life is short."
"And I'm a silly woman who was too concerned with convention."
"What a pair we make!"
They strolled along Whitehall, to Trafalgar Square.
The fountains silent and dark, mist partly obscuring the mighty Landseer Lions, and poor Nelson vanished on his column above the thick layer of oppressive cloud.
Up the Haymarket, passed the brightly lit theatre as the evening audience came spilling out, laughing and chattering happily, and on into Piccadilly.
Still arm in arm. The red glow from the Bovril advert shining flame like above their heads.
Ducking into the Criterion, for a welcome drink.
Seated together at a little table in the Art Deco surroundings, Tiffany Lamps, tiny gold wall tiles glinting in the lamplight.
Candles dancing and flickering.
A glass of champagne for her, a coffee for him.
His glasses steamed up, and he wiped them again, replacing them carefully.
"So.....do we tell them?"
"I don't know, it's up to you. What will they think of us, do you think?"
"Randall, I couldn't care less what they think!"
She reached out her hand, closing it over his.
His thumb sweeping over hers lightly.
"How lucky we are."
"Yes. Very lucky, it's wonderful. You are wonderful. Thank you Bel, you've made me so happy."
He leaned, to brush his lips to hers, but she held him there, her hand on his cheek, staying his movement, willing him not to pull back. The kiss lingering, deepening, until he was forced to break it.
"It's alright Randall. No one's looking. No one cares."
"I love you Bel. More than I can say."
"Let's go home Randall. I'm tired, it's late. We can listen to the wireless, and go to bed, and you can kiss me all night long!"
"What a brazen hussy you are, to be sure!"
"Nonsense! I'm in love, and when a girl's in love she says and does crazy things. And to wake up next to you in the morning, is all I want. I'm not afraid any more."
"Then neither am I, hang them all, hang The Hour, hang the news, and hang the stupid Suez Crisis and Anthony Eden. Hang the lot of them. I'm with the woman I love and that's all that matters."
Stepping outside again, into the chill night air, as the traffic spun around Eros, Randall hailed a black taxi, and they both piled gratefully inside.
"Gloucester Road please cabbie. And go easy in this blessed fog!"