They sat by the window, opposite each other, the remains of their food in front of them, and a plastic pot plant encroaching on their space from a plinth to the side.
"It'll be odd being back on days again," Charlie commented, scooping up and eating the last of his meal with the relish of a man who hadn't eaten for weeks.
"It was odd going on nights in the first place," she picked up a piece of slightly burnt toast and frowned at it before biting off the corner, "But, I suppose I'm as used to it now as I'm ever going to get. After tonight though I could really do with a good ni...days, rather, sleep".
"Tonight was quiet. Only had one patient for most of it," Charlie pointed out.
"But what a one! Your party idea was a good one though".
"I just hope it wasn't a farewell party".
"Now who's being defeatist. Anyway Ewart's not going to give up. Susie was saying earlier that he said he'll tender his resignation before letting it drop".
"Stands to reason".
"The night shift's a good idea, and I'll support him all the way to get it back, but it's personal for him, his creation - and all he's got left."
"Now it's over with Roz, you mean?"
"Exactly. He's been throwing himself into his work more than usual lately, and that's saying something. You know, I just can't imagine it. How anyone can prefer being at work to being with their family. When it comes down to it family has to come first don't they?"
He waited for her to cast her opinion on the subject. She simply stared back for a few seconds, then bowed her head, seemingly absorbed in the task of arranging her knife and fork carefully on her plate.
"What? What did I say?" He racked his brain to try and work it out. And then it clicked. "Oh, oh, Baz, I wasn't talking about you".
He reached across the table, clasping her hand in his in an attempt to prove he was earnest. He hadn't meant to infer anything about her abortion, it hadn't even crossed his mind as he'd spoken. Charlie understood her reasons, if not her secrecy, and even agreed with them to a point. He wasn't ready to be a dad, not yet, not if he was completely honest with himself; but in a few years... he could just imagine himself, Baz and Charlie junior living together. He really could...
"Sorry. Really. Must have spent too much time hanging around with Kuba, I've picked up an inability to say what I mean." He saw her fight back a smile, and felt it safe to continue, "What I meant was after making that commitment, marrying, starting a family, how can you then not want them to come first?"
"I don't know. I have trouble seeing beyond my next set of exams, let alone settling down into a family".
"I'll tell you now though, I'm not going to end up like Ewart Plimmer, married to the job with no time for anything important".
"And what's important?"
"At the moment, you are. I hope it'll be quite a long moment an' all".
"You can be quite charming sometimes, Charlie,"
He pouted, trying to look hurt but far too pleased to carry it off successfully. "Just sometimes?!"
"Well I wouldn't want you to get big headed." She twisted her hand in his, so she could reciprocate the clasp, and gave it a small squeeze. "But for what it's worth, I hope it'll be a long moment too".
It was exactly the response he had hoped for, and his emotions got the better of him. He rose slightly, stretching across the table to kiss her full on the lips, oblivious to everything but the woman he loved. It was only as she gently pulled away that he became aware of the cheering and wolf whistling coming from the other patrons of the canteen.
Baz blushed, and whispered to him, "Well, I'm embarrassed!"
"Not as embarrassed as me," Charlie replied, straightening slowly to reveal the greasy stain that straddled his waistband. "I think I should have moved the plate..."
He sat, trying to clean himself up with a paper napkin and if anything making it even worse, while Baz shook with laughter across the table.
"That's not helpful Baz".
"I know... I'm sorry". She bit on her bottom lip, and took a deep breath to calm herself, "But it is funny!"
He gave a wry smile. "If you say so".
"Oh, don't be so grumpy! Come on, let's get you home and out of those clothes..."
"Now that might cheer me up!"
She stood, picking up her coat and bag. Indicating for him to follow her lead. He pulled his jacket off the back of his chair, folding and holding it so it covered the stain, and provoking a fresh batch of giggles from Baz for his trouble.
"I hope you're not going to show me up like this in France, Charlie!"
"Yeah, well, I'll try not to. You're not having second thoughts about coming away with me?" he joked, although merely entertaining the idea that she was made him feel queasy.
"Course not. Actually, seeing as your present to me was so much more than I expected, I have an extra present for you". She opened her bag and pulled out her door keys, dropping them on the table. "I mean, we spend enough time together anyway, it's silly to always have to knock".
He looked from her to the shining keys, and back to her again, confused. "I'm not sure I follow..."
She sat back down, "Well, we can't move in together. I promised I'd live at my aunt's place, and you can't get out of your contract, but I want you to know that you're always welcome at mine, even if we're not working the same shifts".
"You mean that?"
"Of course I do, I'll even give up one of my shelves in the bathroom!"
"Wow!" he gasped, and earned himself a punch on the arm, "And you know you're always welcome round mine as well."
"So that's sorted then," Baz replied, standing once more, "We're practically living together. Not as scary sounding as I thought it would be!"
"No it isn't, is it. Not scary at all".
Charlie looked up at her, feeling the urge to kiss her again, to hold her and not let go, and he knew in that instant that he'd found the woman he was made to be with!
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