Can You Keep a Secret?
- Text Font:
- Text Size:
- Line Height:
- Line Break Height:
'D'you want some coffee?'
I turn over and bury my throbbing head in the pillow, trying to sink into sleep again for a couple of minutes. Which normally I would find very easy. But today, something's niggling at me. Have I forgotten something?
As I half listen to Connor clattering around in the kitchen, and the tinny background sound of the telly, my mind gropes blearily around for clues. It's Saturday morning. I'm in Connor's bed. We went out for supper — oh God, that awful plane ride … he came to the airport, and he said …
We're moving in together!
I sit up, just as Connor comes in with two mugs and a cafetière. He's dressed in a white waffle robe and looks completely gorgeous. I feel a prickle of pride, and reach over to give him a kiss.
'Hi,' he says, laughing. 'Careful.' He hands me my coffee. 'How are you feeling?'
'All right.' I push my hair back off my face. 'A bit groggy.'
'I'm not surprised.' Connor raises his eyebrows. 'Quite a day yesterday.'
'Absolutely.' I nod, and take a sip of coffee. 'So. We're … going to live together!'
'If you're still on for it?'
'Of course! Of course I am!' I smile brightly.
And it's true. I am.
I feel as though overnight, I've turned into a grownup. I'm moving in with my boyfriend. Finally my life is going the way it should!
'I'll have to give Andrew notice …' Connor gestures towards the wall, on the other side of which is his flatmate's room.
'And I'll have to tell Lissy and Jemima.'
'And we'll have to find the right place. And you'll have to promise to keep it tidy.' He gives me a teasing grin.
'I like that!' I feign outrage. 'You're the one with fifty million CDs.'
'How is it different, may I ask?' I plant my hand on my hip, like someone in a sitcom, and Connor laughs.
There's a pause, as though we've both run out of steam, and we take a sip of coffee.
'So anyway,' says Connor after a while, 'I should get going.' Connor is attending a course on computers this weekend. 'I'm sorry I'll miss your parents,' he adds.
And he really is. I mean, as if he wasn't already the perfect boyfriend, he actually enjoys visiting my parents.
'That's OK,' I say benevolently. 'It doesn't matter.'
'Oh, and I forgot to tell you.' Connor gives me a mysterious grin. 'Guess what I've got tickets for?'
'Ooh!' I say excitedly. 'Um …'
I'm about to say 'Paris!'
'The jazz festival!' Connor beams. 'The Dennisson Quartet! It's their last concert of the year. Remember we heard them at Ronnie Scott's?'
For a moment I can't quite speak.
'Wow!' I manage at last. 'The … Dennisson Quartet! I do remember.'
They played clarinets. On and on and on, for about two hours, without even taking a breath.
'I knew you'd be pleased.' Connor touches my arm affectionately, and I give him a feeble smile.
'Oh, I am!'
The thing is, I probably will get to like jazz one day. In fact, I'm positive I will.
I watch fondly as he gets dressed, flosses his teeth and picks up his briefcase.
'You wore my present,' he says with a pleased smile, glancing at my discarded underwear on the floor.
'I … often wear them,' I say, crossing my fingers behind my back. 'They're so gorgeous!'
'Have a lovely day with your family.' Connor comes over to the bed to kiss me, and then hesitates. 'Emma?'
He sits down on the bed and gazes seriously at me. Gosh, his eyes are so blue.
'There's something I wanted to say.' He bites his lip. 'You know we always speak frankly to each other about our relationship.'
'Er … yes,' I say, feeling a little apprehensive.
'This is just an idea. You may not like it. I mean … it's completely up to you.'
I gaze at Connor in puzzlement. His face is growing pink, and he looks really embarrassed.
Oh my God. Is he going to start getting kinky? Does he want me to dress up in outfits and stuff?
I wouldn't mind being a nurse, actually. Or Catwoman from Batman. That would be cool. I could get some shiny boots …
'I was thinking that … perhaps … we could …' He stops awkwardly.
'Yes?' I put a supportive hand on his arm.
'We could …' He stops again.
There's another silence. I almost can't breathe. What does he want us to do? What?
'We could start calling each other "darling",' he says in an embarrassed rush.
'What?' I say blankly.
'It's just that …' Connor flushes pinker. 'We're going to be living together. It's quite a commitment. And I noticed recently, we never seem to use any … terms of endearment.'
I stare at him, feeling caught out.
'Oh.' I take a sip of coffee. Now I think about it, he's right. We don't. Why don't we?