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She didn`t mean to eavesdrop, but because she had a hard time focusing on her reading, she overheard her husband talking on the phone instead.
“That`s good mate. Glad to hear it. Don`t hesitate to call if there`s anything! Anything at all. Have a good night.”
When she heard him get up from the chair by the kitchen table, she concentrated on her book again. Well, tried to concentrate.
Her eyes wandered over to Paul again as she watched him pour out a cup of cold coffee, rinse the mug, and leave it on the kitchen island, ready for that first cup of coffee tomorrow morning.

Soon he`d go through the mail, throw most of it in the paper bin, then come over and sit down next to her on the couch.
He had no idea she was observing him, and Terese smiled to herself, almost a little embarrassed that she was staring at him, like a young schoolgirl peeking at her crush. His white shirt complimented his summer tan. She loved his face. His green eyes, the fine lines around them. His firm jawline. Masculine, determined and kind. And appalling… His entire personality fitted his face so perfectly, and she loved everything about it. Everything about him. His flaws and his strengths. His words.
She had called him appalling earlier that day. A part of her regretted being so blunt about it. A part of her was proud of herself for giving it to him straight. Proud of them both for trusting each other enough, having a relationship strong enough to handle complete honesty like that.

Paul threw most of the mail in the paper bin and walked towards her.
Like clockwork she thought to herself, smiling, still pretending to be reading her book.

Paul lifted her feet when he sat down next to her and placed them in his lap. With his own left leg on the coffee table, he leaned his head back against the pillows, closed his eyes and started massaging her foot. She assumed he didn`t even realise he was doing it.
She quietly closed her book, had no idea what she had been reading about for the last 15 minutes anyway. Half asleep like that he looked younger, she thought to herself. Like all his worries, all the daily battles he fought with others, as well as his inner daemons all disappeared. She reaches over to gently stroke his chin, but stopped herself, almost afraid of waking him up. Though he couldn`t be sound asleep just yet, seeing as his fingers were still caressing her foot.
Oh, how good it felt to just sit here, quiet in each other’s company, feeling secured and loved. The moments like this when everything felt simple and safe, those were the moments she treasured the most. These moments she had wanted all her life, searched for, but never really found or achieved before she fell in love with Paul.
In love with Paul…

Over the years, ever since they first met, she had tried to figure out what it was about him that made her feel so drawn to him. Cause that`s what she was, from the very beginning. Drawn to him, in a way that she had never been to anyone else.
They had brought out the worst in each other, and the best. People had warned her about him, telling her not to get emotionally involved, that it would only lead to heartbreak, but time and time again she found it impossible to stay away. Impossible to such an extent that she one day just gave up. Gave in. Told him that she loved him and from that day on there was no going back. Not that she ever wanted to.

She kept studying his face, watched his chest moving with every breath he took and felt the warmth from his fingers still caressing her feet.
No one had ever loved her the way he did. No one had ever made love to her the way he did.
Without realising it she stopped breathing for a few seconds when she thought about how his hands held on to hair when he tilted her head back before kissing her lips. How Paul always kissed her with such passion. How his tongue against hers gave her chills down her spine and drove her crazy. There were days when she couldn`t get away from him fast enough, and nights that she couldn`t get enough of him. Unhealthy, some had tried to tell her. Perfect balance she thought. Every time he kissed her, it felt like the first time. Therese shook her head, almost embarrassed at her own line of thoughts.

Paul was a complexed man, from one extreme to another, but she had never doubted his love. Because when Paul loved, he loved with his heart and his mind. Fully and completely. She had seen it over and over again, and she whished others could have too. They would have, had they really tried, really opened their eyes.
They would have seen that all the hours he put in to his work, his ambition and this thrive to achieve, was to leave a legacy behind to his children. They would have seen how he deliberately burned one piece of toast every morning, only because he knew that`s the way Roxy liked them, but that she often skipped breakfast unless Paul left a burned piece of toast on a plate for her.

If others had opened their eyes they would have known that Paul almost daily moved young Hugo`s bike away from the driveway so no one would run over it. They would see how he picked a fight with Kyle and let him win it, so that he could, in his own weird way, honour his father`s memory. They would have seen how he every Friday afternoon brought flowers to Kate`s grave. How he got up at five in the morning to play a game of online chess with Jimmy, just because he missed him, and last, but not least, how he every night for the last week had called Emmet to make sure he was alright.
“That`s good mate. Glad to hear it. Don`t hesitate to call if there`s anything! Anything at all. Have a good night.”
Every night for a week. Because he cared.

And that was Paul. That was her husband. Appalling and loving. And she loved him. All of him. Everything about him. His flaws and his strengths.
She put her book down and leaned over towards him, let her hand caress his neck, and ran her fingers through his hair. He opened his eyes and smiled at her.

“How was Emmet?” she asked.
“Uhm, yeah…Good. Missing Brent. Missing David and Aron, but he was good. How did you know I was talking to him?”
Paul looked surprised. “I thought you were all caught up in your book!”

Terese smiled. “Nah, kind of hard to concentrate on reading when you`re in love!”
Paul`s eyes changed to a darker shade of green as he studied Terese`s face, and when his hands made their way to the back of her head and held on to her hair as he leaned in for a kiss, her body started to shiver.
“Cold?” he smiled.
“Chills”, she said.