They walked hand-in-hand down a quiet side street. Christmas lights still twinkled in the windows of the shops, casting bright colours o n the snow that still lingered. Bernie glanced idly into a window, spotted the time on the clock and had a sudden realisation. “Hey,” she said, stopping and pulling a startled Serena to face her. “Happy anniversary.” Serena’s lips were cold but still inviting and she kissed Bernie back with fervour.
“Not that I’m complaining,” she said as she drew back, “But what was that about? What anniversary?”
Bernie grinned. “It’s precisely twenty four hours since we met yesterday.”
“Yesterday?” Serena gaped. “Did we really only meet yesterday?”
“Well, we have used our time wisely.”
“You can say that again. How shall we celebrate this momentous occasion?”
“Nice bottle of Shiraz with lunch?” Bernie suggested.
“It’s not fair that you know me so well already,” Serena grumbled, but smiled nevertheless. “Come on, lets keep moving. It’s too cold to linger.”
T hey walked on. Serena’s grasp was tight on Bernie’s hand and she looked at her curiously, but Serena’s expression gave little away and she didn’t pry.
Serena’s words came in a rush, as they sat in her favourite restaurant waiting for their food.
“It’s a long time since I had an equal,” she said, fingers toying with the ever-present pendant at her neck. “Somebody on my level, a – a partner. Somebody I don’t have to boss around or look good to. Somebody I can just share things with. Somebody who – who understands.”
Bernie stretched out across the table, caught Serena’s free hand and caressed it gently. “I know what you mean. I feel the same way.”
Serena looked helplessly at Bernie. “This is all – it feels. It feels magic. It feels unreal. Like there’s a spell over us and soon it’ll break.”
“It won’t break if we don’t want it to,” she squeezed Serena’s hand tightly, “I think I’d forgotten how it felt to just be purely, uncomplicatedly happy, and you make me feel that. Being with you makes me feel that. And I hope I make you feel the same way.”
Serena laughed and the odd expression left her face . “It’s all the endorphins, from the exercise we’ve been doing.”
“Exercise? That’s one way of putting it.”
“How would you put it?”
“Pure, unadulterated fun,” Bernie said, “Which we are going to have plenty more of.”
A n embarrassed cough made them both jump. “Your food,” the waiter said. He placed the plates down and then fled and they looked at each other and laughed.
“His ears were all red, did you see?” Serena grinned. “I live to embarrass the youth.”
“You must have fun with your F1s.”
“Oh yes. Anyway,” Serena raised her glass, “To us. And to many more exercise-filled days.”
Bernie clinked her glass against Serena’s. “Cheers.”