“Now that,” Bernie said, as she lay back against the pillow, one arm flung wearily over her face, the other draped over Serena, “Was a fantastic idea.”
“I told you I had more.” Serena nuzzled into Bernie’s shoulder. “How’re you feeling?”
“Satisfied. Exhausted. You?”
“Shagged to tatters, darling.”
“Is that a good thing?” Bernie’s fingers drifted lazily through Serena’s hair, smoothing it out.
“What would you have done?” Bernie asked with sudden curiosity, “If we hadn’t met this morning?”
“Oh. Long walk, nice lunch, quiet afternoon of reading. Too much wine, probably.” Serena propped herself up on her elbow and studied Bernie. “It’s been a much better day than I anticipated.” She traced the scar that bisected Bernie’s chest and Bernie shivered.
“I don’t think I can manage another round. Not yet, anyway.”
“Nor I. I’m exploring. Do you mind?” Bernie shook her head and Serena’s fingers resumed their path. “Were you scared?”
“What, when this happened? Not to start with. Not until I was in the hospital waiting for the operation and wondering if I would end up paralysed.” Her voice caught and Serena stilled.
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to bring back bad memories.”
“No, no it’s okay. Maybe I should have talked about it sooner. I bottled it all up. Bad habit of mine,” she pulled a rueful face. “Thank you for listening, today. It’s been good to let it all out.”
“You’re very welcome,” Serena said with a smile. “And I’ve been more than rewarded.”
“Hmm, have you? I seem to remember you doing most of the hard work.” Bernie rolled onto her side and pressed a kiss to Serena’s lips.
“I thought you were exhausted?”
“Oh, I am. But in the morning, Serena, when I’ve recovered a bit -”
Serena laughed. “I look forward to it. Oh Bernie, it’s late. We should sleep.”
“What is the time?” Bernie stretched out an arm, fumbled for her phone on the bedside table. “It’s only midnight. Not too bad. Oh – oh dear. I’ve got hundreds of texts from Cameron.”
“Is he okay?”
Bernie scrolled through and chuckled. “He’s being nosy. Asking a lot of questions about you. And – oh – jumping to the correct conclusion about my lack of response. He says you’re very pretty and he hopes we’re having fun. He’s put – he’s put a winky face next to that. Is that an appropriate way for a son to text his mum, do you think?”
“Let me see.” Bernie passed the phone over and Serena laughed. “He’s a cheeky one isn’t he. I’ve had worse from Elinor, I’m afraid to say.” Her fingers moved over the screen and she grinned at the expression on Bernie’s face. “Don’t worry, nothing salacious.”
“Fun has been had. Goodnight Cameron! Serena,” Bernie read aloud. “I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Put the phone down, Bernie. That’s enough about our kids, blessedly absent as they are. You go and shower and I’ll make us some hot chocolate.”
“That sounds good.” Bernie placed her phone obediently on the bedside table and struggled out of bed on slightly weak legs. “Isn’t it a bit late for hot chocolate though?”
“Call it a midnight feast.”
“I thought we established, several times, that you’re too tired?”
“Oh I am, but it’s nice to think about.”
Serena laughed and swatted Bernie playfully. “Hurry up then. The sooner we’re showered the sooner we can sleep.”
Bernie threw a salute, “As you command, fraulein.” As she closed the door of the bathroom she heard Serena’s laugh ring out again, and smiled. Exhausted she might be, but it had been more than worth it.