The stars roared overhead. It was late, after midnight. The wind was sharp and tangy with the scent of mint and jasmine from Jule’s perfume.
We sat together on the hill, just the three of us as always, though Tom was asleep, his feet crossed and his hands resting on his chest, his wedding band darkly gleaming, while we drank in the silence. He looked peaceful and his serge green jacket was slightly damp when I touched it. He didn’t stir at my nudge. I could smell the polish on his newly bought boots.
The grasses were cool against my skin, tickling my ears, as Jules and I looked at our sleepy village below us. It was tucked in for the night, but a warm glow crept out from behind a few of the houses’ shutters and we could both hear strains of jazz music from the White Peak Cafe as the party wound down. Most likely Caspar, who was never willing to call it a night.
The moon shone with a cold brilliance over the valley, tinting the trees and fields with its own pale frost. I felt that in comparison the stars gleamed so very small and lonely in all that darkness.
I swigged from the bottle, felt the whisky burn my mouth and then warm my stomach. I leant back on my elbows and as the lights darkened in the village I looked up at the sky and the more I looked, the more stars I saw, until it seemed a vast ocean of phosphorescence swirled over us, and that the previous darkness was all an illusion, making me feel very small and very singular in that moment.
I reached for Jules’ hand, saw the starlight in her eyes and the moonlight bathing her face. I knew I was in love. I lifted her hand and kissed the golden wedding ring. 'Congratulations,' I whispered.